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LP blog/poll: Are Libertarians too extreme?

Latest poll at LP.org:

http://www.lp.org/poll/which-one-of-the-following-libertarian-positions-strikes-you-the-most-as-being-too-extreme

Which one of the following Libertarian positions strikes you the most as being “too extreme”?:

-Ending prohibition of marijuana.

-Ending the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.

-Cutting government spending across the board.

-Cutting taxes.

-I think all of the above positions are too extreme.

-I don’t think any of the above positions are too extreme.

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13 Comments

  1. Brian Holtz Brian Holtz September 30, 2011

    These positions are quite bland. More interesting would be to ask about the full range of our platform’s positions on personal and economic freedom. It’s possible to do so using just one side of a business card, as in The World’s Smallerest Political Quiz:

    (You can see/customize the front of that card here.)

  2. Michael H. Wilson Michael H. Wilson September 30, 2011

    Ya know Robert I haven’t even approached that issue. I do talk about the need for transportation alternatives and opening the market to midwives, both of which offer benefits to all groups of people. Matter of fact I just finished a letter on transit.

    One has to be selective and use some common sense.

    Next up is a piece on how government regulations, i.e zoning, restriction on private transit and tax policy cause urban sprawl thus contributing to pollution and related problems.

  3. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi September 30, 2011

    9 mhw, that sounds like time well spent AT THAT LEVEL. I simply don’t buy that it’s a great, macro, signature issue, at least not now.

    That you are in coalition with Ds: I wonder if this is a good issue to leverage the broader L agenda. I’d be pleasantly surprised if your hanging with them opens them up to the possibility that, say, the minimum wage hurts the poor…

  4. speaking of district attorneys,

    Sandy Ego County’s Bonnie Damanis acts like she never met a constitutional amendment worth up holding, an errant legal officer worth procecuting, or a medical pot retailer not worth harassing ………

    If this GOP femi nazi runs for Sandy Ego Shitty Mayor ………….

  5. Michael H. Wilson Michael H. Wilson September 30, 2011

    Robert I have been at two meetings this week on the cannabis issue. One of those meetings we discussed what we are going to do to prepare for this upcoming legislative session and other related topics. I usually discuss the problem from the perspective of juveniles being caught up in the justice system once they get busted the first time and the medical benefits.

    I always let people know that I am a Libertarian and approach I take on the issues helps others to see us in a different light. One of those meetings cam about because I initiated the call to others.

    Most of the people I am working with are activists in the Democratic party. One is a city councilman and another’s father is a district attorney.

    It is all about how we frame the issue.

  6. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi September 30, 2011

    p, yes, it’s important for some. I’d say one of GJ’s biggest errors so far is that he’s allowed himself to be the pot prez candidate. Liberalizing/legalizing is important, BUT I don’t see the issue as being an *urgent* issue that would cause millions to swarm to the L column. They haven’t as yet, and yet it’s (unfortunately) been a signature issue for Ls for decades. What’s it gotten us?

    I’d say it’s gotten us almost nowhere as a political movement, even though the issue does seem to be ripening in recent years, due mostly to the efforts of single-issue groups, not the LP as the LP.

    Politics — as opposed to political theorizing — requires some tact and sequencing. Actually, the unnamed Obama Administration person who spoke of “leading from behind” is about right. An effective, across-the-board political movement marshalls rather than spearheads. Spearheading is done by special interest groups, near as I can tell. Trying to spearhead liberty on multiple fronts is simply not a political party’s job, for the task is simply too massive to pull off, certainly not by 15K volunteers.

    IMO.

  7. paulie paulie September 30, 2011

    I also find it interesting/curious that legalizing marijuana is the lead question, but not other lifestyle issues.

    It’s an important issue. Millions of people are left with criminal records that wreck their lives, hundreds of thousands are in prisons and jails, who knows how many harassed and abused by police, billions and billions blown year after year, and it’s a major factor in the destruction of civil liberties (along with the “war on terror”)…it even has an economic component (the potential uses of industrial hemp) and a foreign policy component (drugs as a means of financing terror and violence around the world; war for oil because fuel from hemp is not allowed).

    It’s a timely issue – medical marijuana laws are passing in state after state, and support for recreational legalization is creeping up by about 1% a year and well into the 40s in the lead states. Support for medical is well in the majority already.

    And unlike other hot button social issues such as marriage equality and (im)migration, the LP is unified on this issue, unambiguous, has a clear position from the start of the party til now, and is closely identified with the issue.

    At the moment, the front and center issue is the economy, and I’d say the expense of wars and interventionism.

    They are on the questionnaire. I don’t know that the question order has any significance; it may just be random.

  8. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi September 30, 2011

    those positions are not too extreme, IMO, they are about right for a political party wanting to advance the case for increased liberty across the board.

    I agree with DW that these questions are disingenuous, as the LP’s foundational documents are often far more extreme than these positions.

    I also find it interesting/curious that legalizing marijuana is the lead question, but not other lifestyle issues. At the moment, the front and center issue is the economy, and I’d say the expense of wars and interventionism. IF the LP wants to be relevant, it needs to calibrate its message to the times. The LP can sometimes present as having collective OCD by emphasizing side issues, as if it wants to pick a fight with “the world” over peripheral matters.

  9. paulie paulie September 30, 2011

    And how exactly might a government collect taxes if it is not allowed to use force?

    It says initiate force. While I don’t personally agree with them, there are libertarians who believe that some forms of taxation are responsive force. For example, Brian Holtz makes a decent case that pollution taxes and land taxes fit this definition. He hasn’t quite convinced me, but I think he makes a good case. He just might be right.

    The population of the world is maybe 6 billion. We’ve already 300 million here. Subtract those who are a credible threat to security, health or property leaves maybe 5 billion who would be eligible to immediately and permanently enter the USA. I’d say that’s a quite extreme position.

    That assumes they have the motive and ability to do so. I see no evidence for that.

    I stand by statement that the poll is bogus. It is bogus because it waters down the drug question,

    True, it does do that.

    it waters down the real position of the LP on taxation,

    Possibly, but not necessarily. See above.

    it completely omits one of the most extreme positions of the LP – that of open borders (with the slight caveat that is irrelevant to the big picture).

    It’s not designed to be a comprehensive review of all LP positions.

    And please don’t use the “it’s not really possible for all 5 billion to move here” argument. True, but tens of millions per year could! With an open Mexican border, super tankers, ships and planes, it would be easy for 100,000 immigrants to show up on our shores each and every day. That’s 36 million new, potentially permanent residents added per year.

    Yeah, I don’t think that would be likely either. Maybe 36 million over a decade – if that. As the US economy has sunk in the last 3-4 years or so , many Mexicans have voluntarily moved back to Mexico. Go to any town in Mexico and you are likely to find Mexican people who have lived in the US and left by choice.

    US border enforcement has done very little to stop people who actually want to immigrate, so I don’t believe it is holding back tens of millions of people a year.

    Immigration is a huge undertaking and many people simply don’t want to do it even if the alternatives are very bleak. People surviving on a dollar a day can’t do it even if it very cheap. And if too many came in all at once and there were not enough jobs or charities to absorb them, and no government welfare, people would stop coming in…because there would be nothing here for them, so it
    would be a self-correcting problem.

    In any case the immigration issue is besides the point. There are all kinds of different libertarian positions that are not addressed in the quiz that some people think are extreme. It only has four issues addressed so you can’t expect it to cover everything.

  10. Don Wills Don Wills September 30, 2011

    WRT taxes –
    LP Platform section 1.0: “No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.”

    And how exactly might a government collect taxes if it is not allowed to use force?

    WRT immigration –
    The population of the world is maybe 6 billion. We’ve already 300 million here. Subtract those who are a credible threat to security, health or property leaves maybe 5 billion who would be eligible to immediately and permanently enter the USA. I’d say that’s a quite extreme position.

    I stand by statement that the poll is bogus. It is bogus because it waters down the drug question, it waters down the real position of the LP on taxation, and it completely omits one of the most extreme positions of the LP – that of open borders (with the slight caveat that is irrelevant to the big picture).

    And please don’t use the “it’s not really possible for all 5 billion to move here” argument. True, but tens of millions per year could! With an open Mexican border, super tankers, ships and planes, it would be easy for 100,000 immigrants to show up on our shores each and every day. That’s 36 million new, potentially permanent residents added per year.

  11. paulie paulie September 29, 2011

    2.4 Government Finance and Spending

    All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors. Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. We support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes.

    This can be read as allowing for some forms of taxation.

    3.4 Free Trade and Migration

    We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.

    That does not open borders to all, which was not one of the issues covered in the questionnaire in any case.

    Don Wills is correct that section 1.2 Personal Privacy of http://www.lp.org/platform calls for the legalization of all currently illicit substances, not only marijuana.

  12. Don Wills Don Wills September 29, 2011

    What a bogus poll!

    Here are the actual positions of the LP, not the watered down options in the poll.

    1. Legalize all drugs.

    2. Open the borders to all.

    3. End all taxation.

    4. All of the above

    Answer: 4.

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