Last Call for LP Platform Committee Survey

From an e-mail:

Dear fellow Libertarian,

I recently requested your assistance in providing feedback on the Libertarian Party Platform Committee’s recently adopted recommendations.

I’m heartened that I received responses from so many of you!  I especially want to thank the 1,556 of you so far that have invested considerable time to share your thoughts and invaluable advice.

In your comments I’ve already found many great suggestions for improvement.

In the coming days I will be assembling all of your ideas for the entire Platform Committee, and I believe your suggestions have the potential to improve our Party’s platform.

If you haven’t yet participated, please complete this questionnaire before you do anything else, before you read another e-mail message.

Before long, I’ll need to close the door to the questionnaire so the committee will have sufficient time to consider your comments.

Your suggestions and opinions do matter, so please join this effort and let your voice be heard.

Thank you in advance for all your help!

Alicia Mattson

Chair, 2012 LP Platform Committee

24 thoughts on “Last Call for LP Platform Committee Survey

  1. Matt Cholko

    A few of these proposals significantly weaken the planks. I’ll look back through it tomorrow and discuss them if anyone is interested. But, in particular, the proposed changes to the plank about gun rights are really bad. By changing the wording to “personal defense weapons” you have now opened up a legitimate argument about what weapons are truly for personal defense. Realistically, if you’re simply looking to defend YOURSELF, a shotgun, and maybe a handgun are all you need. On the other hand, if you’re looking to defend your neighborhood you may need automatic weapons.

    Once you draw an arbitrary line where that line should be can always be legitimately argued. Therefore, the plank should probably just say weapons, period.

  2. Starchild

    When exactly is the deadline for submitting survey responses? The message conspicuously doesn’t say.

    Here is a copy of the Platform Committee survey, along with the responses I submitted after each question.

    * * *

    Platform Committee Report 2012

    INTRODUCTION:
    The Libertarian Party Platform Committee’s job is to recommend changes to the platform, to be voted on by the delegates to our national convention.

    Four years ago, based on survey feedback by thousands of you, the 2008 Platform Committee learned what type of platform you wanted. This critically important feedback helped us construct proposals to successfully rebuild our party platform in a new style – short, bold and outwardly focused, yet still in keeping with our core values.

    Thanks to your input, the 2008 convention delegates were able to accomplish an amazing feat, getting the 2/3rds agreement necessary to rebuild a complete platform in a single convention day.

    Then in 2010 the Platform Committee focused on editorial cleanup, as the 2008 platform was rebuilt with cut-and-paste passages from past platforms, which left some subject matter holes and some readability shortcomings.

    With the 2012 convention just around the corner, our convention delegates will soon be voting on improvements to the platform. Again, this year’s Platform Committee focused on polishing existing language and filling in subject matter holes to address current issues not previously covered.

    The 2012 Platform Committee met in December and adopted a series of 16 recommendations. Each is presented here with a note from the committee chair describing the purpose. By completing this survey you will be able to share with us your thoughts on our recommendations, many of which were inspired by written comments received on the 2008 and 2010 surveys.

    Your responses will be very helpful. If you identify important factors we overlooked, or if you can think of improvements for the proposals, the Committee will have an opportunity to modify our report when we meet again in Las Vegas just before the convention in May.

    Thank you for taking a few minutes to participate in the process by completing this survey which allows you to show support/opposition for each recommendation as well as an opportunity to provide comments on each.

    Alicia Mattson
    Platform Committee Chair

    ————————————————-

    NOTES ABOUT THE SURVEY SOFTWARE: As a measure to prevent abuse of the online survey, at the end you will be asked provide a valid email address to which we can send a confirmation code. For reasons not always evident to us, sometimes due to spam filters, sometimes not, some people are not receiving the confirmation codes. If you do receive it, please use it to confirm your valid email address for us. If you do not receive it, don’t worry…your survey answers ARE still saved, and your time was not wasted. The software merely files your record in a category for manual review to make sure the system isn’t being abused before those records are added to the survey results.

    ————————————————-

    #1a
    Plank 1.0 – Personal Liberty
    Purpose:
    The first sentence of the existing language seems to say that individuals are “free to…accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make” as opposed to it being an obligation to do so. The foreign policy content of the second sentence doesn’t belong in a plank regarding personal liberty, and the non-initiation-of-force concept is already covered in plank 3.0. This proposal remedies both of these problems, improves the general readability and style, and additionally gives our candidates protection against accusations that we think 3-year-olds can choose whether or not to use heroin, drive cars, and carry guns.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    1.0 Personal Liberty

    Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices.
    Libertarians recognize individual self-ownership and the right to make personal choices. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices does not mean that we approve or disapprove of those choices. With rights come responsibilities, and the right to make a choice depends on both understanding that it has consequences and accepting responsibility for them. Government’s proper role is to protect the rights of every individual.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments:OPPOSE

    “Individuals should be free…” is a much better opening for a plank on Personal Liberty than “Libertarians recognize…”

    More importantly, many Libertarians do NOT believe government has *any* proper role, and the proposed language would misrepresent their beliefs.

    This proposal, with its heavy emphasis on responsibility and light emphasis on freedom, sounds way too conservative.

    We don’t need to further conservatize or water down our platform!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #1b
    Plank 1.0 – Pending Amendment
    Purpose:
    The committee also recommended that the delegates consider substituting an alternate proposal as shown below for the proposal above.

    In a 2008 survey which asked our constituents what type of platform they ultimately wanted to see, there was a strong preference that we find positive wording to emphasize the benefits of Libertarian policies to the reader. This alternative proposal is offered by the Platform Committee to give delegates such a stylistic choice.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    1.0 Personal Liberty

    Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices.
    The very foundation of America is our recognition of the right of individuals to make choices, even those of which we may personally disapprove, provided they bear the consequences of those decisions. The right to make a choice depends on both understanding that it has consequences and accepting responsibility for them. This ideal creates unrivaled freedom and abundance, and allows the greatest number to pursue happiness in their daily lives. Libertarians seek to preserve and enhance this distinctively American quality and view government’s proper role as ensuring the right of individuals to make personal choices for themselves and voluntarily in concert with others.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    I prefer the first recommendation above over this one.
    I prefer this recommendation over the first one above.
    I support neither of these two proposals for this plank.
    I would prefer either of these proposals over the existing plank.

    Comments: I support neither of these two proposals for this plank.

    We should retain the language about not initiating force — the Non-Aggression Principle is the heart and soul of libertarianism, and deserves to be more heavily emphasized in our platform, not deleted!

    Once again this proposal represents an attempt to give our “Personal Liberty” plank a more conservative tone. It adds the unnecessary nationalism of referring to the “foundation of America”, and to a “distinctively American quality”, when in fact libertarianism is a universally applicable philosophy that is not restricted to any one country or people.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #2a
    Plank 1.2 – Personal Privacy
    Purpose:
    The proposed new first sentence introduces the philosophical underpinning of self-ownership as the rationale for the rest of this plank. The rewrite of the last two sentences emphasizes the privacy aspects of personal choices, rather than the criminalization aspect, so as to eliminate the redundancy with plank 1.5 titled “Crime and Justice”.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    1.2 Personal Privacy and Self-Ownership

    Libertarians recognize that each individual owns himself and therefore has the right to privacy. Libertarians support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, and property. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure should include records held by third parties, such as email, medical, and library records. Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. We favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes. Individuals have the freedom and responsibility to decide what media and substances they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    The language proposed for deletion is NOT redundant to what appears in the “Crime and Justice” plank (1.5).

    The language that conservative-oriented platform chair (for life?) Alicia Mattson wants to delete, sets forth in clear, simple, powerful language the important principle that “victimless crimes” that do not infringe on the rights of others are not crimes at all:

    Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. We favor the repeal of all laws creating ‘crimes’ without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.

    This language could be *moved* to plank 1.5, but it should not be deleted.

    Also, “each individual owns himself” is not gender-inclusive in line with current phrasing.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #2b
    Plank 1.2 – Pending Amendment
    Purpose:
    The committee also recommended that the delegates consider amending the final sentence of the above proposal as shown below.

    The LP is often criticized as not making sufficient distinctions between adults and children. This pending amendment would allow delegates the option to directly address this criticism.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    Individuals Adults have the freedom and responsibility to decide what media and substances they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this amendment to the final sentence of the above proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    As human beings, children have rights. How could rights be “inalienable” if people do not possess them from birth? Children merely delegate certain freedoms to their parents until such time as they choose to become legally independent and assume full responsibility for their own actions.

    This looks like an ageist attempt to write children’s rights out of our platform.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #3
    Plank 1.4 – Abortion
    Purpose:
    This is the first of two proposed changes to the 1.4 Abortion plank.

    The platform already acknowledges that there is more than one legitimate position as to when the right to life begins. The proposed additional sentence makes explicit that individuals with different viewpoints on this subject are welcome in our party.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    1.4 Abortion

    Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration. We welcome both pro-life and pro-choice members into the Libertarian Party.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    Where is the proposed platform language stating that “We welcome both anarchist and minarchist members into the Libertarian Party”?

    This proposal is one more attempt to make the Libertarian Party more conservative!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #4
    Plank 1.4 – Abortion
    Purpose:
    This is the second of two proposed changes to the 1.4 Abortion plank.

    Though pro-life and pro-choice Libertarians may have their disagreements, they can usually agree on this additional language.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    1.4 Abortion

    Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration. Taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    This needs to be balanced by language stating that taxpayer funds should not be used to subsidize organizations that discourage sex or counsel people not to have abortions.

    As the proposal includes no such balancing language, it constitutes yet *another* attempt to further conservatize our platform and our party.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #5
    Plank 1.5 – Crime and Justice
    Purpose:
    This preposition change switches to the more common usage of the word “restitution” – that it is the thing which is offered to the victim to make them whole, rather than the act of making the victim whole.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    1.5 Crime and Justice

    Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property. Criminal laws should be limited to violation of the rights of others through force or fraud, or deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Individuals retain the right to voluntarily assume risk of harm to themselves. We support restitution of to the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer. We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    My understanding is that we would be saying the same thing in either case, since “making the victim whole” is metaphorical, not literal.

    Therefore, unless I’m missing some hidden legal distinction connected with replacing “of” with “to”, this is an insignificant change that should be handled by the Style Committee.

    While I do not oppose the change itself, I marked “oppose” because I think to include it here is a waste of convention delegates’ time.

    At least this is the one proposal so far which does NOT seek to advance a conservative agenda (although I notice it also fails to propose adding the stronger language that the conservative-leaning committee members want to delete from Plank 1.2, which is not a bad reason to oppose it unless it gets amended, since it changes nothing important).

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #6
    Plank 1.6 – Self-Defense
    Purpose:
    This proposal begins the plank with an emphasis on the benefits of freedom. It then broadens the plank scope to cover “personal defense weapons” such as knives and tasers in addition to just “firearms” and “ammunition”, but it doesn’t broaden so far as to give the impression that we would treat WMDs the same way. The existing “all” and “any” language leaves no room for juries to restrict weapons rights of those with a history of using them to harm others. The proposed new last sentence addresses a growing trend of state governments banning the possession of defense weapons in certain types of private businesses (for example, any restaurant that serves alcohol).

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    1.6 Self-Defense

    Societies are safer when the self-defense rights of peaceable individuals are not abridged by laws prohibiting or regulating the ownership, possession and transfer of personal defense weapons. The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. We oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting, the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition. Private property owners should be free to establish their own conditions regarding the possession or use of personal defense weapons on their own property.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    This proposal begins the plank with an appeal to *safety*, not freedom. Bad change.

    It also strikes out the clear libertarian language that “We oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting, the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition” and replaces it with weaker language that refers only to property owners and only to “personal defense weapons”.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #7
    Plank 2.4 – Government Finance and Spending
    Purpose:
    This proposed rewrite uses language that is more positive, emphasizes to the reader the benefits of our policies, gives better general coverage of the topic, and improves the logical flow and general readability of the plank.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    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.
    People should be free to keep the fruits of their labor and live the American dream without having their success taxed for pork projects, social engineering, special favors to lobbyists, bailouts of failed private investments of others, subsidies for private industries, charities chosen by the government rather than by the donor, and funding the consequences of other individuals’ irresponsible personal choices. We call for the federal government to be scaled back to its Constitutional limits, which would allow the elimination of income, payroll, and many other taxes. Future generations should not be born into a debt burden from previous generations, as it is taxation without representation, so government has a responsibility to eliminate its long-term debt and operate under balanced budgets.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    This proposed rewrite again seriously waters down our message.

    It would delete three important statements from our current platform:

    (1) our call to eliminate unconstitutional departments and programs

    (2) our call for employers not to be compelled to serve as tax collectors; and

    (3) our call for government to operate without going into debt.

    All of these things are important and worth saying clearly and strongly. All that has to happen for short-term debt to become long-term, inter-generational debt is for government to fail to pay it off (because there’s other more popular stuff they’d rather spend money on than balancing the books).

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #8
    Plank 2.5 – Money and Financial Markets
    Purpose:
    Though the plank title is “Money and Financial Markets”, the existing plank only discusses the banking subset of financial markets, and the second sentence is hardly a problem on the mind of the average voter. This proposal would addresses contemporary concerns in the broader financial markets and would emphasize to the reader the benefits of our policies.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    2.5 Money and Financial Markets

    We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item. We support a halt to inflationary monetary policies and unconstitutional legal tender laws.
    Libertarians would halt government’s manipulative monetary policies, which favor large financial institutions and special interests while reducing the purchasing power of hard-working Americans. Government has a legitimate role combating fraud in financial markets. We favor free financial markets, where private investors assume financial risks, and are entitled to the rewards of honestly acquired gains, without expecting taxpayers to subsidize them or bail out their losses.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    One more attempt to water down our platform! Just because something is not a “problem on the mind of the average voter” does not mean we should expunge it from the document that states what we believe!

    This proposal would eliminate our call for people to have choice in money and an end to legal tender laws. By stating that there is a “legitimate role” for government it also explicitly violates the party’s informal Dallas Accord agreement to remain neutral on the question of anarchy versus limited government.

    Finally, it adds language that begins with an emphasis on what we oppose and deletes language that begins with an emphasis on what we favor, notwithstanding the fact that the committee justifies one of its revisions to the Rights and Discrimination plank (proposal #13) on the grounds that “The proposed re-write begins with an emphasis on what we favor, rather than what we oppose.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #9
    Plank 2.7 – Labor Markets
    Purpose:
    The original plank is poorly constructed and is likely to be misunderstood. For example, the first sentence of the original would seem to argue against laws forbidding convicted sex offenders from working in daycare centers. The second sentence spends platform “real estate” on an awfully rare problem. The proposed rewrite speaks more of what we favor than what we oppose. The last sentence of the re-write addresses a problem that is now widely recognized at all levels of government, with many city, county, and state governments finding themselves insolvent with unfunded pension obligations.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    2.7 Labor Markets

    We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment. We oppose government-fostered forced retirement. We support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and an employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union. We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.
    Libertarians believe employment and compensation agreements between private employers and employees are outside the province of government, and these private contracts should not be impeded by government-mandated benefits and social engineering requirements. We support the right of private sector employers and employees to choose whether or not to bargain with each other through a labor union, provided that it is conducted without governmental interference such as compulsory arbitration. Since government employers are protected monopolies funded by taxpayers and not subject to market forces, we oppose government employee unions and advocate replacing government employee defined-benefit pensions with defined-contribution plans which are typically found in the private sector.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    Contrary to the rationale set forth arguing for this proposal, dictating who private employers such as day care centers can or cannot hire is NOT a proper role of government.

    The final sentence of the proposed replacement language is not a bad addition, but since it (like virtually everything else the committee is proposing) tends to tilt our platform in a more conservative direction, it should be accompanied by adding additional details affirming our support for personal liberties so that the overall document does not tilt more to the right in terms of its appeal.

    Indeed, the first sentence of the proposed replacement language appears to say as much (“ibertarians believe employment and compensation agreements between private employers and employees are outside the province of government, and these private contracts should not be impeded by government-mandated benefits and social engineering requirements”) — the existing language simply makes the point more concisely.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #10
    Plank 2.8 – Education
    Purpose:
    This proposed rewrite uses more efficient wording and emphasizes the responsibility of parents in the education of their children, rather than the moral values aspect.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    2.8 Education
    Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Schools should be managed locally to achieve greater accountability and parental involvement. Recognizing that the education of children is inextricably linked to moral values, we would return authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. In particular, parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.
    Education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality, accountability and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Recognizing that the education of children is a parental responsibility, we would restore authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. Parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    This proposal does not fix anything that particularly needs fixing, but it does create more ambiguity in our platform, by referring to educating children as a “responsibility”, while Plank 3.5 states that it is a right:

    “Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs.”

    The language of this proposal also fails to acknowledge that children may have guardians or other persons responsible for their education.

    Part of the Education plank that *does* badly need fixing, but which the proposal fails to address, is the language, “Parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education”.

    Clearly they should have no such thing!

    If I want to spend my money to erect an educational billboard about the Bill of Rights near an educational facility, for the purposes of educating children going to school there who are likely to see it, the parents of those children should NOT have control of or responsibility for the funds I expend on this project.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #11
    Plank 2.9 – Health Care
    Purpose:
    Previous surveys about platform content resulted in numerous requests that we clarify that the “level of health insurance they want” includes the option to have none at all.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    2.9 Health Care

    We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: SUPPORT

    An unequivocally positive addition to the platform! I’m shocked!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #12
    Plank 3.4 – Free Trade and Migration
    Purpose:
    This proposed rewrite better emphasizes the practical benefits of free trade and the positive contributions made by immigrants. It also attempts to address concerns from prior-year platform surveys, when quite a number of respondents indicated they would support the existing plank only after we fix the welfare state which attracts some immigrants who don’t share our personal responsibility values which are critical for long-term success of a free society.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    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.
    We welcome those not requiring public assistance to come to our country to embrace the American dream, as their pursuit of happiness enriches their lives and our own. However, to ensure the general welfare of those already here, we would bar from entry those foreign nationals posing a credible threat to security, health or property. Because Libertarians understand that free trade improves standards of living and reduces the likelihood of war, we support the free movement of goods and capital across national borders.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    Terrible proposal that would delete our support of freedom of movement. Our platform should not surrender to the short-term xenophobic prejudices that typically arise during economic downturns.

    Immigration also improves standards of living and reduces the likelihood of war, just as free trade does, because it increases cultural connections and understandings between people in different countries.

    Besides the misguided nature of the overall change, this proposal contains numerous more specific issues.

    Contrary to the implication of the proposed language, nobody “requires” government assistance.

    And the insertion of the “American dream” language (also proposed to be inserted into Plank 2.4) introduces a needlessly nationalistic tone.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #13
    Plank 3.5 – Rights and Discrimination
    Purpose:
    This is the first of two proposals for plank 3.5 Rights and Discrimination.

    The first sentence of the existing plank is not a public policy statement, but is rather condemning specific personal opinions, even though the Personal Liberty plank states individuals have rights to make choices we don’t agree with. The proposed re-write begins with an emphasis on what we favor, rather than what we oppose. It also addresses a mistaken notion about the nature of rights.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    3.5 Rights and Discrimination

    We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should not deny or abridge any individual’s rights based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that “right.” Government should neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    Instead of deleting the first sentence, just substitute “aggression” for “bigotry”, and then it will be condemning un-libertarian actions instead of personal opinions.

    There is no need to delete the second sentence, which is perfectly correct and appropriate to include in a plank about rights and discrimination — government should *not* deny or abridge any individual’s rights based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation!

    Adding the term “human” before “rights” would appear to exclude other types of rights such as civil rights, legal or contractual rights, etc., so this is a mistake.

    Moving “wealth” further down the list would be a good idea though — putting it right at the beginning after “sex” and before the more familiar listings of race, color, and creed, could easily give the impression that we are unduly concerned with protecting the wealthy.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #14
    Plank 3.5 – Rights and Discrimination
    Purpose:
    This is the second of two proposed changes to the 3.5 Rights and Discrimination plank.

    This proposal clarifies an exception to parental rights in order to protect children from abuse. Breaking the parent/child bond is a serious decision that belongs in the realm of a jury, rather than a bureaucracy.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    3.5 Rights and Discrimination

    We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should not deny or abridge any individual’s rights based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs — unless a jury finds abuse, neglect, or reckless endangerment.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    This added language would be a positive change, *if* it included the additional clause, “or a child becomes legally independent.” Without that clause, children are denied the possibility of legal emancipation.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #15
    Plank 3.6 – Representative Government
    Purpose:
    This is the first of two proposed changes to plank 3.6 Representative Government.

    On previous platform surveys regarding other portions of this plank, quite a number of responses indicated that the readers mistakenly thought that the first sentence of the existing plank was specifically advocating a change to the electoral college. This proposal is an effort to remove that confusion.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    3.6 Representative Government

    We support electoral voting systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions. We call for an end to any tax-financed subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns. We oppose laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: OPPOSE

    Electoral systems are electoral systems, and the Electoral College is the Electoral College. Electoral systems include more things than just methods of voting — for instance, topics such as ballot access and gerrymandering which do not directly involve how voting is conducted.

    Instead of effectively dumbing down our platform for people who mistake electoral systems for the Electoral College by limiting the scope of our call for electoral reform to “voting systems”, we should clarify what we mean by “electoral systems”. We can do this by adding language following that sentence which specifically mentions proportional representation, a level playing field for all political parties via equal and reasonable rules for ballot access, and other reforms we seek.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    #16
    Plank 3.6 – Representative Government
    Purpose:
    This is the second of two proposals for plank 3.6 Representative Government.

    Not all states allow their citizens to directly be involved with adopting or repealing legislation. This proposal advocates that such tools should be more universally available, provided that they are used to reduce the size and scope of government power.

    ——————————START OF PROPOSAL——————————

    3.6 Representative Government
    We support electoral systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions. We call for an end to any tax-financed subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns. We oppose laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. We advocate initiative, referendum, recall and repeal when used as popular checks on government.

    ——————————-END OF PROPOSAL——————————-

    Would you support or oppose this proposal?

    Support
    Oppose

    Comments: SUPPORT

    This proposal should be reworded — we don’t advocate the initiative, referendum, recall and repeal when they are used to harm the cause of individual liberty rather than help it, whether such measures are “popular” or not. However, the basic thrust of the proposal is sound enough for me to support it. The problem I note could largely be fixed by adding the word “abuse” after “government” at the end of the proposed new sentence.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Will you be attending the national Libertarian Party convention scheduled May 2 through May 6, 2012 in Las Vegas and are you planning to be a delegate?
    a) Yes
    b) No

    YES

    Please feel free to use this space to provide us with general comments on this survey.

    As I pointed out two years ago, it is a conflict of interest for members of the Platform Committee, who already have a privileged position from which to push whatever agendas they favor, to have exclusive or preferential access to the information gathered by this survey.

    The survey results should be made available to all LP members on an equal basis at the same time. If they are not, then surveys should be strictly anonymous, with each member given a special code or something allowing one-time access to the survey form in order to avoid vote-packing.

    In fact, the whole practice of doing these surveys is rather questionable, as it appears designed to enable Committee insiders to tinker with their proposals in order to get more of them passed.

    A fairer practice would be to make it easier for a larger and less repetitive group of members to serve on the Platform Committee. Another real reform would be to limit the convention time devoted to considering Platform Committee proposals, to allow more proposals to be made by delegates from the floor, or to alternate one committee proposal with one from the floor, instead of considering ALL the committee proposals first and then considering proposals from the floor only if there’s any time remaining (which there often isn’t).

    I request that these comments, and my entire survey, including my contact information, be posted online and made available to anyone wishing to see survey results, and I further request to be emailed the results of this survey as soon as they are compiled and no later than they are made available to committee members.

    Here is a copy of my open letter to the LNC on this and other related matters, along with previous correspondence, minus the formatting:

    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    Members of the Libertarian National Committee,

    A few months ago I brought up a number of concerns about the Bylaws Committee survey, and now I see the same stuff happening again. People are being surveyed about proposed changes to our platform (at http://www.lp.org/phpQ/fillsurvey.php ) and asked to give their names and contact information.

    Last year this same approach was cited (designed?) as an excuse to keep many survey results hidden from the membership. (In fact, where are the responses from the Bylaws survey from those respondents like myself who opted-in to make our results public?) I don’t want to see this self-serving secrecy repeated. LNC members, please see that an advisory note is immediately added to the Platform Committee survey letting all further respondents know that all responses will be made public unless they choose to opt-out and keep their responses anonymous, and then that the info is made public. And more importantly, please take action to ensure that in the future, no surveys of this sort are sent out unless (a) they do not ask for personal information, or (b) it is made clear that personal information disclosed will be made public. It is patently unfair for some members of our party to have access to detailed information collected under the auspices of the party about how specific individuals are likely to vote on matters before the membership, and for other members of the party to be denied access to this same information. The full party membership deserves to have access to survey information gathered from LP members that may impact the future of our party — not just a handful of insiders!

    I wish the above were the only problem with the Platform Committee survey (besides the contents of the proposals it is pushing, which I won’t get into here), but it is not. The survey once again fails to disclose how many committee members voted for each proposal, let alone how each committee member voted, and fails to present “pro” and “con” positions on the proposals voted out of the committee, something that LNC member Rebecca Sink-Burris joined me in objecting to last September (see below).

    Why are these things happening again? I suspect it is because this is at least the third time in a row that Alicia Mattson has chaired the national Platform Committee. Did someone appoint her chair for life!? If I’m not mistaken, she has played a role in preparing both Bylaws and Platform surveys, and currently sits on *both* committees, as well as being national Secretary. All that is too much power/responsibility for one individual! Other Platform Committee members have also served on multiple past iterations of this committee, and considering what a huge role the Platform Committee plays in shaping our platform, the official statement of what we stand for as a party, it is vital that this body be opened up to greater participation and transparency.

    I wish that the Platform Committee were the only leadership body in the LP to have such problems, but it’s not. LNC rep Kevin Knedler just told me that LNC subcommittees such as the Convention Oversight Committee are limited to two non-LNC members per committee. He said that since the Convention Oversight committee already has two such members, he could not nominate me to this committee on which I have for years been interested in serving, even though there is no fixed limit to the number of people on the committee. He wrote that “opening up the LNC committees further may work in the future,” but that “It took a LOT of work to get some folks to agree to opening the door up ever-so-slightly.”

    If we can’t do better than opening the door “ever-so-slightly”, it is outrageous and pathetic! How do those of you who deliberately fight to maintain this kind of cozy insider-ism justify your role in a political party that is supposed to be a grassroots organization of freedom-loving individuals seeking *decentralization* of power?

    I’m a firm believer that sunshine can work wonders in such matters. Therefore, I request to see a list of all present and as many past members of the Platform and Bylaws committees and other LNC committees as can be identified, along with their contact info, and ask that this list also be published on LP.org and distributed to any interested LP member. Maintaining such a list logically seems like part of the Secretary’s job — if she feels overworked, perhaps she ought to consider stepping back from some of her responsibilities.

    Kevin told me he has asked for a list of committee members as well — apparently unsuccessfully, since he did not offer to produce one. Chuck Moulton, who has often been exemplary in promoting LNC transparency, both when serving on the body and as a regular party member, was able to dig up some info, but even he was unsure who all the current Platform and Bylaws committee members may be.

    In order for you folks on the LNC to get more volunteers and support for LNC operations from the membership, people must first care enough about what you are doing to want to give that support. And in order to care about what you are doing, they must first be aware of what you are doing. Right now, you are artificially limiting that awareness by keeping information produced by party committees from reaching the membership, and by populating the Platform, Bylaws, and other committees with many of the “usual suspects” over and over again!

    Will those on the LNC who favor the current practices described in this email defend them publicly? Will you defend them when you are running for reelection and speaking in front of convention delegates? If you don’t defend them, then will you work hard to change them, and let the rest of us know how we can help? We can’t afford a bunch of go-along-to-get-along fence-sitters! Do the right thing, and stand up for the rights of Libertarian Party members to be fully informed about what the party’s leadership is doing, and for ordinary members to be able to more fully participate in our party!

    Love & Liberty,
    ((( starchild )))

  3. NH Constitution

    [Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

  4. Robert Capozzi

    2 sc: Children merely delegate certain freedoms to their parents until such time as they choose to become legally independent and assume full responsibility for their own actions.

    me: Please amplify what you mean by “delegate”? I don’t recall doing this as a child, but perhaps others have.

  5. Starchild

    Robert @5 – It follows from the fact that people have inalienable rights by virtue of their being human, that human children also naturally possess such rights.

    As an analogy (although this was a false “right”), consider regents in the age of monarchy who ruled on behalf of royal heirs too young to assume their duties. The “right” of inheritance belonged to a royal child from birth; the regent merely acted in the name of the future king or queen.

    “Delegate” is indeed not an ideal word to describe the relationship, since an infant does not knowingly entrust a parent with control over his or her freedom. I’m open to other word choices which affirm the essential concept, namely that a temporary condition of dependence, such as childhood, being in a coma, etc., does not negate the inalienable right of each human being to live his or her life as he or she chooses so long as it does not involve the initiation of force or fraud. It merely necessitates the temporary transfer of some rights which stem from that fundamental right to the person’s legal designee(s) or next of kin.

    Technically speaking, parents are the custodians of their children’s rights. Just as governments do not inherently have rights, but only powers delegated by the people, parents likewise have no inherent “right” to educate their children, discipline their children, etc. Their temporary possession of the legal and moral authority and responsibility to do these things is contingent on the fact of a child’s temporary incapacity, and must be surrendered when the child expresses the desire and demonstrates the ability to be legally independent and take responsibility for his or her own affairs, if parents have not already voluntarily given up that legal authority/responsibility.

  6. Robert Capozzi

    8 sc, yes, I like the idea that parents serve as “custodians” for children. As to what circumstances children can claim majority status under law, I’m OK with the current convention of 18 or by court determination at a younger age.

    I’m not OK with a 7 year old just saying one day: I’m an adult with full citizenship rights and privileges.

    To me, the current configuration is not broken and I would spend zero energy tweaking it.

    As to whether adults somehow possess “inalienable” rights, some Rothbardians don’t even argue that. Violent criminals, for ex., give up their ability to walk freely among us if convicted, so their rights are “alienable.”

    As a general proposition, the very notion of “inalienable” rights is an unassailable assertion at best and a tautology at worst. I like the sentiment of it, but it’s hardly a fact. It’s a convention and a construct.

    I think Richard Epstein’s calling it a default position, which seems way more workable a notion….

  7. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@9,

    “I’m not OK with a 7 year old just saying one day: I’m an adult with full citizenship rights and privileges.”

    Well, there’s more to it than “just saying” it.

    But the cool part about it is that you don’t have to be “OK with” things that are none of your fucking business.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    10 tk, or your business either, yes?

    It’s in some sense true that the current laws are not your or my business…they are what they are. You and I can choose to comply with them, or not.

    It IS your and my business, however, to share (or not share) our concerns about which ones are working or not working.

    Or are you saying that only 7 year olds have any business commenting on laws that do not grant majority-status citizenship to 7 year olds?

  9. Marc Montoni

    In my view, age of majority laws are broken, and should be revised to reflect reality.

    Human behavior doesn’t change greatly over time. The majority of us still act very similar to those who lived in colonial times and earlier. People are still doing exactly the same things they did 2,000, and 400, and 100 years ago. The only difference is that the consequences of doing so have changed.

    A large majority of people tend to experience sex, drugs, alcohol, and other vices (actions or behavior which are the primary things that age of consent laws are *intended* to meddle with) long before their 18th birthday. Which means almost everyone starts out in adulthood as an unindicted criminal.

    In traffic engineering [when it isn’t politicized] a typical rule of thumb is to adjust speed limits to a point where 90% of drivers are in compliance. This would be a good rule for other areas of lawmaking, as well.

    My position is that unless a supermajority (90% or more — 95% would probably be optimum, IMO) are in compliance with a law, then the law shouldn’t exist.

    If age of majority laws were adjusted in that manner — to reflect reality — the age of majority would probably be 13 or 14.

    A better system would be to have a “stepped” system — below a certain age the law presumes you cannot consent and treats you as a “minor” — perhaps 8 or 9, or 10. After that, from 10 to 12 or 13, “presume individual cannot consent but if person states at any point he can consent, then be treated as adult”. After age 14, adult.

    Under this scenario, non-adults in the “presumable” stage who move out on their own and manage their own affairs should be able to run over to the clerk’s office, show they are capable and responsible, and thence be formally recognized as emancipated and “adult”. If they are in a situation where they assert to a prospective sexual partner that they have all the rights of adults, that should be evidence that they intend to be treated as adults as well and the state should recognize it as such.

    People with some sort of mental disability are a different case. There are of course 40 year olds who cannot give consent in the normal fashion, and they should be protected.

    I do not agree that criminalizing voluntary, consensual behavior that humans have engaged in for tens of thousands of years has any real benefit to society. It has tremendous benefits for the state, however. Being a sex felon before you’re 18 means you can never vote or hold a gun in your hand. Gee — imagine that — the state creating crimes which infantilize vast numbers of citizens, and strip them of any right to do anything about it. Who woulda thunk it?

    Why don’t we just call for the state to criminalize everything, and wait til everyone has a felony conviction of some sort on their record, and then we won’t even have to worry about a free market, voting, gun rights, or any other individual liberties?

    Oh, wait, we already have the mechanism in place — we just need to catch everyone in the act.

    I would expect Libertarians would at least understand that about 99% of the federal, state, and local laws on the books trample both the rights of free individuals and are in violation of the federal and state constitutions.

  10. Robert Capozzi

    MM, the legal age for a few behaviors does vary by state, and such laws have been on the books for centuries. You may believe that the very existence of such laws represents a centuries-long nefarious plot to control a free peoples. In this case, the existence of these laws represents for me a commonsensical solution to an age-old problem: How to signal through laws that young people are not fully responsible.

    Regardless of the underlying intent of legal age statutes, I would suggest that a political party dedicated to advancing liberty has limited bandwidth, and this is not a strategic issue, IMO. I’d table it, at least in a political context.

  11. Marc Montoni

    Yeah, sure.

    There are people who say the same thing about speaking of abolishing the income tax (even though dozens of sitting R congressmen have called loudly for same), privatizing roads (even though both D’s and R’s have tripped over each other to sell off “public” bridges, roads, dams, etc), and repealing Drug Prohibition (even though hundreds of cops, prosecutors, and politicians have done the same).

    I would imagine that if we’re to damn chicken to say anything that might scandalize any of the mainstream purists, then yeah, you’re right — we shouldn’t mention age of majority issues, either. After all, we’re the greyhair party these days, so there’s no reason at all to stake out a claim to an issue youth care about which isn’t addressed by either of the other two — we don’t want any young people to join up to help us keep our fat wallets safe, now would we?

    I understand that some think we should never say much about anything.

    I disagree.

  12. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@11,

    “Or are you saying that only 7 year olds have any business commenting on laws that do not grant majority-status citizenship to 7 year olds?”

    You said you’re not OK with a hypothetical 7-year-old deciding to be an adult.

    I simply pointed out that whether or not you’re OK with it is irrelevant, seeing as how it’s none of your fucking business what that hypothetical 7-year-old does.

  13. Robert Capozzi

    14 mm, OK. If you don’t see a difference between tax, road and drug policies and the age of majority policy, then you don’t. It seems to me, however, that while the idea of an age of majority can and probably should be tweaked, as a general proposition, having such laws is a good idea.

    Assuming you generally agree that some age-of-majority rules makes some sense, if you want to press tweaks to the issue now, I certainly have no problem with your doing so. I simply find it to be indicated for the back burner.

    15 tk, yes, in so many ways, my opinions about public policy are none of my (or your) business. Yet we share them nevertheless.

  14. Starchild

    Robert @9 – The idea that parents serve as “custodians” of children is directly based on the ideas that parents do not have true rights where controlling their children is concerned, because only the children themselves can properly have a right to such control, i.e. that such rights are inalienable.

    I do not believe that Thomas Jefferson, who popularized the phrase “inalienable (or unalienable) rights” by using it in the Declaration of Independence, intended by this construction that people could never be incarcerated for wrongdoing.

    If I am using the word in a way that contradicts its literal meaning, I am merely using it in the sense which I believe Jefferson had in mind — that certain rights cannot be justly taken from people except in consequence of they themselves violating the rights of others, and then only in proportion to the offense.

    A child does not commit any violation of the rights of others simply by existing, therefore a child has not given up any rights. I would say that a child is born with the presumption of wanting to be dependent on, and taken care of by, his or her parents or guardians, because I believe the vast majority of adults looking back on their childhoods would wish this for themselves. Children should however be empowered to challenge this presumption by taking certain easy legal steps demonstrating their desire to be independent.

    The phrase in your remarks which most jumped out at me, however, is the same one that jumped out at Thomas Knapp:

    “I’m not OK with a 7 year old just saying one day: I’m an adult with full citizenship rights and privileges.”

    I was going to ask, “So what are you going to do, tape her mouth shut?” but Tom effectively beat me to the punch.

    “Broken” is not necessarily how I would describe the “current configuration” (i.e. laws governing children). Some terms that do come to mind are “paternalistic,” “arbitrary”, “tyrannical”, “ageist”, “out of step with nature” and “rights-violating”.

    Marc Montoni @12 and @14 – Many excellent comments, including the one about most people growing up as un-indicted criminals. I like the “90% compliance” standard as a measure for evaluating laws.

    Robert @16 – “If you don’t see a difference between tax, road and drug policies and the age of majority policy, then you don’t.”

    Good, glad to have that out of the way.

    “It seems to me, however, that while the idea of an age of majority can and probably should be tweaked, as a general proposition, having such laws is a good idea.”

    I don’t think anyone’s arguing that you shouldn’t be able to choose such age of majority laws for yourself if you think they are a good idea, only that you shouldn’t get to impose them on others.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    17 sc, no, I would not tape anyone’s mouth shut. Sorry if I SOMEHOW gave you that impression.

    I agree that age of majority rules are ageist and arbitrary, and yes of course paternalistic! In the grand scheme of things, I would spend zero energy on tweaking these rules.

    I view such rules as signals, not a matter to shift based on compliance rates.

  16. Vamp of Savannah

    Why is it necessary to rewrite this every convention? Can’t these people understand that all these constant changes don’t do anything to improve it. Or is it just so many little egos have to play big egos?

  17. Erik Viker

    A party platform is a valuable marketing tool and a way to show non-members what we promote, so they can decide if they want to affilate with us.

    The most important platform anybody can adopt is the code of personal conduct that person demonstrates in positions of responsibility. As an organization, we’ll never create a document that can appeal to every LP member. A party platform is not a purity test. There is no way to ensure any member behaves in accordance with whatever platform we adopt. There is no way to ensure any member believes everything in whatever platform we adopt. We cannot read members’ minds, or keep them under surveillance to guarantee they behave in adequately Libertarian ways at all times. Do those who fear a “big tent” party plan to post guards at the tent flaps? Of course not. Anybody who leaves the LP because of the text of some bureaucratic document wasn’t all that serious about cooperating with the LP to promote citizen liberty and limited government.

    If a state or county LP group is comprised of people who prefer stricter Libertarian behaviors than those informed by a national platform, then that local group can adopt a local platform that defines their very strict Libertarian preferences. If we choose to, we can all be MORE personally Libertarian than the platform describes.

  18. Robert Capozzi

    19 vamp, no, it’s not “necessary.” But if you look at the context, the platform was all but gutted in 06, as the pre-Portland platform had been loaded up with all sorts of dysfunctional ideas and poor language. The idea in 08 was to reconstitute a platform based on a Greatest Hits idea…to find previously adopted language.

    That was not a perfect document, either. So, the platform continues to be fine tuned.

  19. paulie

    I think almost all parties review their platform regularly. BTP is the only one I can think of off the top of my head that doesn’t.

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