My friends and I used to have big debates, generally political in nature. I was always the one that no one could predict. Someone who is pro-life must be anti-gay, correct? How can you be a capitalist and an environmentalist at the same time? And what on earth is an anti-interventionist?
One night, after many drinks, about 20 of us or so were sitting around the table at a local restaurant. It was about 3 AM, and we had long solved all the worlds problems already. After a heated discussion on foreign policy, one of the guys looked at me and said: “You know what you are? You are a Libertarian.”
I knew I had libertarian ideals. But I did not know there was a Libertarian party. So I went home and did some research.
Over the next two years I became more and more comfortable identifying myself as a “big L” Libertarian. And I have not looked back since. It has been a pleasure for me to watch our party grow.
We are changing the political landscape of America, and I could not be happier. Socially liberal, fiscally conservative – we really are the best of both worlds.
Jennifer Smith, Outreach Director
I grew up in a small, conservative town in Indiana. As I went through high school and then off to college in the early 90’s, I decided to pay more and more attention to politics. As I did, I noticed that my personal feelings were not lining up with the social side of the conservative platform. Looking at the liberal stance, I found that my feelings didn’t line up with them either.
Not one to be a conformist, I did not pursue analyzing with which of the two parties I lined up the closest, but rather went looking for a third option. It was the late ‘90’s when I got information about all the minor parties and realized that my beliefs lined up most with the Libertarian Party.
At that time, there was no internet, so it was hard to get much information about the LP. I just went along with the story that anyone involved with minor parties were on the “fringe.”
Finally, in 2000, I found the LP convention on C-SPAN and realized that these were normal people! Also, I watched that year’s Gubernatorial debate in Indiana on C-SPAN, and I remember thinking that the LP candidate, Andy Horning, was the only one on that stage that I trusted, the only one who spoke the truth and the only one who would actually answer the questions. Plus, I agreed with him! I started voting Libertarian that year, but didn’t become a member of the national party or get involved locally until 2006 when, reading the state party website, I saw a notice to help volunteer at Comfest. I decided to go there to meet some people and have been involved ever since.
-Dave Howell, Executive Committee Member-At-Large
Local Libertarian Party wants to clear the sky – of unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Franklin County Libertarian Party (FCLP) supports the Muslims for Liberty’s “Clear Skies Initiative,” a universal coalition against drone violence.
“You shouldn’t have to give up your civil liberties for security,” said FCLP vice chairman Bob Bridges. “This is a common ground issue. We hope this will bring future partnerships with the Muslims for Liberty to promote freedom for all Americans.”
The Clear Skies Initiative petition, available on Change.org, calls for all levels of government to acknowledge drone strikes as unacceptable weapons of war, dismantle all drone bases, affirm a commitment to due process, ban the use of drone strikes by domestic agencies and offer reparations to families of drone strike victims whom cannot be substantiated as active combatants.
The party supports the rights recognized in the Fourth Amendment to be secure in one’s person, home and property and in the Fifth Amendment of due process.
About the Franklin County Libertarian Party
The Franklin County Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in Franklin County with more than 1,200 votes in the last primary. We stand for limited government, maximum freedom, and personal responsibility. We were the first political party to call for marriage equality, a full end to racial discrimination and profiling, and an end to the Drug War that destroys our great communities. For more information about the FCLP, please visit us online at Franklin.LPO.org.
Muslims4Liberty (M4L) is dedicated to educating and providing educational resources about Islam & Sharia (Islamic law), philosophical Libertarianism and concepts of freedom. M4L highlights the striking parallels between Islam and Libertarianism and seeks to develop a practical methodology for social, economic and political involvement based upon the overlapping principles of Islam and libertarianism. It is hoped that this will assist people in rediscovering their ideals of liberty, tolerance and justice.
M4L is committed to engage and dialogue with those who misunderstand or who spread misinformation about Islam and Muslims. M4L also seeks to correct misconceptions about libertarian and anarchist thought and about the liberty movement.
A lot of people in the liberty movement came to realize they were libertarian after reading Ayn Rand, or by participating in / watching the Ron Paul phenomenon. While I’d love to be able to claim that, the fact is that I’ve only read one Ayn Rand book and that was after I was already Libertarian. Atlas Shrugged is still on my “to read” list. My libertarianism predates my familiarity with Ron Paul, or even awareness of most of the great libertarian philosophers and thinkers.I came to realize I was libertarian in college when discussing with friends what my “ideal society” would be like. Everything I’d been raised to believe led me to the conclusion that free people left alone to pursue their own interests, both personally and in the marketplace. A friend of mine who was already libertarian then introduced me to the party. After research, I realized that the LP was indeed my political home.– Michael Johnston, Franklin County Libertarian Party Executive Committee Chair
Our nation’s birthday has always been a big deal to me. Maybe that’s unavoidable for people who were born mere hours before their nation’s Bicentennial.
My grandfathers were both WWII veterans (one a dentist, the other a radio operator), and my father served in the trenches of the cold war during the Vietnam era. Our family regularly attended an old Presbyterian church in the neighborhood. With God and country interwoven so tightly into the fabric of our family, I suppose it followed that our political views were just as mainstream.
When I became old enough to vote, I asked my parents about their thoughts. I don’t recall my parents openly rooting for Republicans or Democrats – and they seemed to engage in open and honest discussions about the merits of various candidates and policies across the kitchen table. My dad explained that the Republican Party dominated Delaware County politics, so if I wanted to have a say in selecting the winners, I should vote in the Republican primary. I did and found my first political home. I took my new adult responsibilities about as seriously as most people, listening to media reports of candidates’ positions and the opinions of family and friends. As I began participating in our county’s FidoNet-connected BBS system (a precursor to public Internet access), I encountered for the first time ideas that were not the mainstream pabulum furnished via local and national media.
This is where I first learned of concepts of liberty and natural law as I engaged the BBS owners (the SysOps) in debate on all manner of current events. Being young, naïve and well-prepared by Olentangy Local Schools to take on the world, I had practice defending the status quo.
As the seasons passed, I began to keep track of my “team”: what they said while they were running for office, and what they actually did. Gradually, and grudgingly, I started to notice that more often than not the SysOps insane and ridiculous predictions turned out to be correct. I even sparred regularly with a crazy attorney from Indianapolis who had the gall to go to Texas and defend David Koresh and the Branch Davidians before, during and after the siege in Waco. I had been taught not to question my Government – even when it senselessly murdered women and children for their religious beliefs.
I entered college and gained broader Internet access with a student account. From there, I sought to explore the world, engaging people via newsgroups and building my first website. As my world view expanded, and I learned to process ever-increasing amounts of information, I also gained technical skills that would get me a job at a local advertising agency in its Internet division.
The boss was a huge fan of Ayn Rand and kept a Colt Anaconda in his desk. Nearly everyone in the office enjoyed shooting as a hobby, and one was the son of a machinist who was a machine gun collector and dealer. From time to time, the boss would announce a range day. We’d get caught up on our work and take a company outing to the local range. Around these were many more casual visits. I was still living with my parents, and eager to strike out on my own. When my co-worker – the son of the machine gun dealer – was looking for a roommate, I saw my chance and took it. In the process I encountered my first real reason to pay attention to laws and the legislative process.
It seemed that as I learned about firearms, I was constantly discovering areas of ignorance of the law. That’s not to say I didn’t think I knew; like most people, my understanding of the law was based on news, movies, TV shows and hearsay.
At first, I voted for candidates put forward by the major parties. As I continued through college I became more and more disappointed with the way the Republicans and Democrats would break campaign promises, not stick to stated campaign trail principles, or otherwise not live up to their carefully crafted image as “leaders”.
Finally, I concluded that I couldn’t call myself a Republican or a Democrat, based mostly on how I saw them treating issues of taxation, debt, spending and gun rights. I couldn’t relate to either major party; they were the same, as I saw them. I had become politically homeless. Not wanting to give myself someone else’s label or declare allegiance with groups who would similarly disappoint, I came up with my own description: I was a “Jeffersonian Constitutionalist”.
I started using the term to describe my views, and, several times in my many online or in-person political discussions, someone called me on it. “You’re a libertarian,” they said. For years, I’d heard the term libertarian used as a caricature of everything that was wrong with the opposing party. And while it was clear that I didn’t agree with much else that sprang from these party machines, for some reason I accepted their assessment of libertarians.
I paid more and more attention to the law and the Constitution and was looking for some kind of unifying philosophy to explain my views. The 2004 election was coming, and I decided that I couldn’t vote for the major party candidates for president. They both represented the establishment; they did not represent me. As I used the Internet to explore the positions of each, one stood out: a guy named Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian candidate for president. Like any candidate, he wasn’t a perfect fit. But even on his positions that shocked me, he made an articulate case and expressed far more sensible positions and underlying principles than other candidates in the field.
The more I followed his campaign and the more I met his supporters, the more I found allies on issues important to me and the more interest I had in supporting their interests – namely, removing meddlesome involuntary intrusions from our lives.
I wasn’t politically homeless anymore.
– Mark Noble, Franklin County Libertarian Party Central Committee Chair
When I was first able to vote, I didn’t vote in the primary to remain unaffiliated because I felt neither of the major parties reflected my views, considering myself a “humanistic capitalist.” When Barack Obama came on the scene in 2007, I thought he really spoke for the youth and could be the type of change needed in politics; however, I still didn’t align with any party.. While in his first term, I was reading “The Fountainhead” and saw a frightening parallel to the big government of Ayn Rand’s novel and present, especially with the drone strikes and NDAA (reminiscent of the soundwave machine used in the book). Thus, in 2012, I sought out a candidate who represented the individual rights I had admired in Obama but with reduced spending and limited power. I advocated for Gary Johnson through most of 2012. Now I can’t wait to fully commit to the Libertarian Party when I vote in the next primary.
– Danielle Stout, Franklin County Libertarian Party Communications Director