Paulie: Response to Derek Hunter at Townhall on “The Problem With Libertarians”

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Opinion article submitted by Paulie

Derek Hunter writes:

There was a time I called myself a Libertarian. And there was a time I was a Libertarian. I just wanted to get government to leave me alone, to leave people alone and to go all crazy and limit itself to doing only that which is spelled out clearly in the Constitution. That was what a Libertarian was. But it’s not anymore.

The word no longer has any meaning, no definition or parameters, certainly no coherent philosophy to speak of. And there’s no one to blame for that except Libertarians themselves.

So what happened?

By not even loosely defining the parameters of a set of beliefs, Libertarians allowed their brand – as it was – to be hijacked by anyone willing to wear the label. They went from the movement for individual responsibility, small government and free markets to a gaggle of misfits who want pot and prostitution legalized and a total non-interventionist foreign policy.

That pretty much sums it up.

I’m not sure where Hunter gets the idea that anything about Libertarian Party views has changed. In The Case For a Libertarian Political Party published in the July-August 1971 Individualist, David Nolan writes, in part:

we will be able to hasten the already emerging coalition between the libertarian “left” and libertarian “right”. At the moment, the former group is supporting people like Eugene McCarthy, while the latter is supporting people like Barry Goldwater. A truly libertarian party would draw support both from such “leftist” groups as the Institute for the Study of Non-Violence and the American Civil Liberties Union, and from “rightist” groups like the John Birch Society and the Liberty Amendment Committee, however. This would increase the political impact of the libertarian “movement”, as “leftist” and “rightist” libertarians now usually wind up voting so as to cancel each other (when they vote at all). Furthermore, libertarian votes now get lumped in with “liberal” and “conservative” votes, whereas the votes received by a libertarian party would not be hidden in this manner.

In addition to making the case for, and being the chief organizer of, the founding of the Libertarian Party, Nolan came up with a chart which shows that libertarianism is equidistant from the left and right, but not in the center either due to the addition of a second dimension to politics, an “up-down” liberty axis in addition to the left-right axis most people commonly think of as the main dividing line in politics. For decades, the Libertarian Party and the Advocates for Self-Government, among other libertarian groups, have been distributing the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, based on the Nolan Chart, making that same point. Just one online version of the quiz has now been taken 20 million times, in addition to all the other ways in which it has been distributed.

For as long as the Libertarian Party has existed, we have been publishing comprehensive platforms that make clear that we take a small government stance on social issues and foreign policy (non-intervention) as well as on economic issues. This has not changed. The top vote getting Libertarian presidential candidate of all time in percentage terms, Ed Clark in 1980, famously campaigned as a “low tax liberal.”

In short, this bears no relation to Hunter’s claims that we are “not even loosely defining the parameters of a set of beliefs,” or that “Libertarians allowed their brand – as it was – to be hijacked.”

For as long as the party has existed, we have favored the legalization of drugs and prostitution among other non-interventionist social policies and a non-interventionist foreign policy, as well as a non-interventionist economic policy. None of this has changed; the front page of LP.org, as I write this, has press releases and blog posts detailing our party’s and candidates’ stances “to shrink Big Government, advance liberty,” “stop Republican and Democratic reckless overspending,” “permanent government spending slowdown, defunding Obamacare,” “no state income tax,” “end state income tax, marijuana prohibition,” and “Nullify TSA, NDAA; lower taxes.” All of these views are completely in line with those expressed in Nolan’s case for a Libertarian Party, our platforms over the decades, and the issues we’ve been promoting for the entire four decades plus that the Libertarian Party has been issuing publications and press releases, holding meetings and running candidates.

While it is true that we have always supported “pot and prostitution legalized and a total non-interventionist foreign policy,” contrary to Hunter’s claims, we have and still do support “individual responsibility, small government and free markets.” Indeed, the two go inseparably hand in hand. A government which tells adults what they can put in their own bodies is essentially telling people that it owns them. If government can tell you what you may or may not smoke on your own property or on the property of others with their consent, it can tell you what you may or may not eat or drink. If government can regulate what consenting adults can do for a living with their own bodies when it comes to sex, it can also regulate how we are allowed to use our bodies to make a living in ways that don’t involve sex. It can also regulate sexual relationships among consenting adults in ways that don’t involve money. And an imperial power that plays world policeman can’t help but overpolice the lives of its own citizens at home. Both cost the taxpayers a great deal of money, taking it out of the voluntary economy and putting under the control of government central planners.

Hunter:

Honestly, what does being a Libertarian mean beyond legalizing drugs, banging hookers and sitting by while the rest of the world blows itself up?

Just as supporting economic freedom does not have to mean that one is either wealthy or greedy, support for other consenting adults’ rights to do what they wish with their own bodies or the product of their labor does not mean one has to personally desire, or even approve of, the choices they make. And a belief that the US government’s interventions overseas only worsen, not solve, the world’s problems does not mean that we don’t care about what happens in other countries. Libertarianism means exactly what Hunter claims it no longer means: a movement for individual responsibility, small government and free markets. That hasn’t changed; and all along it has meant legalizing drugs and prostitution and a non-interventionist foreign policy. That’s part and parcel of individual responsibility, small government and free markets.

Hunter continues:

The great Reason magazine is a wonderful publication filled with great articles, solid journalism you won’t find elsewhere…and a voice that does little more than complain.

Reason is great at highlighting abuses by every level of government, stories ignored by other media outlets. But you won’t find much in the way of philosophy or solutions. (There’s some, it just doesn’t seem to be a focus.) They preach to the choir, and it ends there.

Matt Welch at Reason responds:

As many of our libertarian-movement critics will be first to tell you, Reason is forever “compromising” pure philosophical principles by attempting to apply libertarian insights onto the very non-libertarian real policy world we inhabit. So we publish a “19 Percent Solution” about affixing federal spending to a percentage of GDP rather than merely complain that most federal government activity is morally and constitutionally illegitimate (the upshot is that our solutions end up sounding like those being offered by a new generation of libertarian-leaning Republicans). The same impulse is behind our calls to replace entitlements with a real safety net (rather than ripping up both), slowly unwind Fannie and Freddie (rather than ending them overnight), redirect federal transportation spending (rather than just getting rid of it), and on and on.

This approach is baked right into Reason’s DNA. Robert Poole wrote the first real journalistic case for deregulating airlines in the September 1969 issue of Reason, and is as responsible for the real-world solutions of airline deregulation and privatization as anyone alive. Poole, who is still Director of Transportation Policy for the Reason Foundation (the public-policy work of which embodies the very definition of pragmatically applying libertarian insights onto the fallen world of governance), described in our 2008 oral history of Reason how the magazine made the deliberate choice early on to not preach to the choir, but rather engage in the world outside our comfort zone:

We said, “Let’s leave movement stuff to movement zines and go back to our original vision and make reason a competitor to National Review and The Nation and engage in the battle of ideas with the whole spectrum of thinking people.” We’ve tried to stick with that ever since, with different ways to carry that idea out.

Hunter never mentions what kind of “solutions” he has in mind, but since he spends five paragraphs complaining about the anti-John McCain sentiment he witnessed at a 2008 D.C. election night happy hour co-sponsored by Reason and America’s Future Foundation (I wasn’t there, FWIW), it’s probably safe to infer that cheering for the electoral success of Republicans, no matter how big-government they might be, is a solution in and of itself

Hunter continues,

What Libertarians do exceedingly well is sit on the sidelines, arms folded, and complain. No idea was ever put into action by complaining that it wasn’t so, yet that seems to be the Libertarian modus operandi.

On the contrary, we offer plenty of Libertarian solutions. Libertarians in office have dissolved the government agencies they served on, and proposed and voted on plans to save taxpayers money. Libertarians have worked in coalitions to stop stadium boondoggles, end eminent domain abuse, stop tax increases, lower taxes, and so on. Libertarians pushed the ideas of marijuana legalization and marriage equality for decades before they became mainstream. We’ve helped organize backlash against “know your customer” banking regulations, REAL ID, and other government invasions of privacy. The larger libertarian movement has played a large role in pushing the idea of deregulation. Among other things.

On election night 2008, I was at a Reason/America’s Future Foundation (another Libertarian group) election night party in a Chinatown bar in DC. The results of the election were a forgone conclusion, so what better way to mark the night than with a few drinks and friends. Hell, the band played as the Titanic sank, so why not imbibe a bit as the nation hit the iceberg?

It’s not like anyone was thrilled to vote for John McCain that day. But as bad as McCain was (and still is), he was better than Barack Obama. At least that’s a conclusion you’d expect anyone who supported liberty to draw.

Why would you expect anyone who supports liberty to draw that conclusion? Certainly not on the basis of comparing the actual record of recent Democratic and Republican presidents, nor by comparing McCain with Obama on the issues.

Yet that night, as each state was declared for Obama, cheers rose from the crowd. When Obama won Ohio, you would’ve thought you were in a bar in Green Bay and the Packers had just won the Super Bowl. High-fives and laughter filled the room.

It wasn’t as though these self-described Libertarians wanted Obama to win. Well, actually, many of them did. But the majority of them wanted McCain to lose. They wanted Republicans to lose. Their victory was to let the country lose, to get that smug sense of self-satisfaction they were feeling.

Throughout his article, Hunter capitalizes Libertarian, and he starts out by saying he used to be one (while demonstrating a lack of knowledge of the most fundamental issue stances we take). Yet he somehow fails to notice that most small l libertarians such as those at Reason events are not Libertarian Party members. Big L Libertarians run our own candidates precisely because we don’t believe that the Republicans are better than the Democrats or vice versa.

In the years since, that attitude has only grown. And what it means to be a Libertarian has blurred even more than before. So much so that a “Libertarian” candidate for governor in Virginia – many of whose views would disgust “real” Libertarians – pulled 7 percent in a race decided by much less pretty much solely on the strength of his party ID.

I’m afraid I don’t understand what that is even supposed to mean. Sarvis polled a lot more votes than any previous Libertarian candidate in Virginia. Clearly, most of that support was not due to his party label alone.

Libertarians have devolved from the pro-liberty wing of the right side of the ledger to the annoying kid who, when he doesn’t get 100 percent of what he wants, takes his ball and goes home. The team he agrees with more than half the time loses to the team he barely agrees with at all, and he cheers while marinating in his smugness.

As the historical data I presented earlier shows, we’ve never been on the right side of the ledger at all. We don’t agree with the Republicans more than half the time. In fact, we barely agree with the Republicans at all, just as we barely agree with the Democrats at all. But, rhetoric aside, the Republicans and Democrats sure agree with each other a lot: in fact, in Congress the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans vote together well over 90% of the time. Ron Paul is famous for being the only “no” vote on many bills, and he is no longer in Congress. This is not very surprising when you consider that many of the major donors to both the Republican and Democratic parties are the same exact people, and that many of them benefit from various forms of direct and indirect corporate welfare.

Perhaps the best-known of the bastardized self-definition of Libertarian is Bill Maher. Maher is a Libertarian like David Ortiz is a world-class sprinter. But with a definition as firm as a bowl of Jell-O, there’s no one to say he isn’t.

In his largely ignored HBO show, Maher labels himself a Libertarian. On the Internet, a lazy, compliant media perpetuates that label, and soon it becomes accepted fact. In reality, Maher doesn’t have the first clue about the virtues of individual liberty, nor does he possess any love of a Libertarian philosophy beyond wanting to smoke weed and bang hookers.

But who’s saying he’s not a Libertarian? Who challenges his claim in any public and sustained way? No one.

So the progressive pap that slips past his bleached teeth and onto the Internet is associated with, and is becoming, Libertarian orthodoxy with a new generation of confused people.

Plenty of people have noted that Maher is not a libertarian, starting with Maher himself. As far as I know, Maher has never claimed to be a big L Libertarian as Hunter claims, and it’s been many years since he’s called himself any kind of libertarian. Here is a recent rant from Maher denouncing libertarianism, and making the mirror image of Hunter’s historically ignorant claim that libertarianism has changed – in Maher’s version, we used to be all about the pot and hookers and have now all of a sudden come to be for small government on the economic front. Maher and Hunter display equal but opposite forms of ignorance about what libertarianism has been and/or has become.

BILL MAHER: Libertarians have to stop ruining libertarianism, or at least do a better job explaining the difference between today’s libertarian and just being a selfish prick. Now, many years ago on a television network far, far away, I expressed support for libertarianism because back then it meant I didn’t want big government in my bedroom, or my medicine chest, or especially not in the second drawer of the nightstand on the left side of my bed. And I still believe that, but somewhere along the way, libertarianism morphed into this creepy obsession with free market capitalism based on an Ayn Rand novel called Atlas Shrugged, a book that’s never been read all the way through by anyone with a girlfriend.

Paul Ryan once said Ayn Rand taught him what my value systems are. And I believe him, because her book has a strange appeal to people who are kind of smart, but not really. (HBO’s Real Time, April 5, 2013)

Hunter makes a similarly ignorant claim:

Thanks to Maher and his ilk, the term Libertarian does now come closer to what he thinks it is than it used to.

Well, no. It’s been many years since Maher has foregone the libertarian self-label and become a proud progressive, and I don’t think I’ve met anyone who gave Bill Maher credit for making them a libertarian or defining what a libertarian is for them.

The rest of Hunter’s article deals with internal Republican Party politics between Tea Party social conservatives and establishment Republicans and is thus unrelated to his headline. Since I’m not a Republican, never have been, and don’t think they are any better than the Democrats, I will leave that part of his column without comment.

54 thoughts on “Paulie: Response to Derek Hunter at Townhall on “The Problem With Libertarians”

  1. Dave Terry

    “Honestly, what does being a Libertarian mean beyond legalizing drugs, banging hookers and sitting by while the rest of the world blows itself up?”

    Clearly, anyone who would write the above, could NEVER have been a libertarian.

  2. Bondurant

    Ms. Sheffield is clearly a pro-government GOP stalwart. I’m not sure I would give a damn about what she has to say about Libertarians. Not to mention that her article from 2 days ago has under 1k views. No one is reading her drivel. Still, I am happy that someone is calling them on their bullshit. Ms. Sheffield conveniently omitted exit polling data from her article. Said exit polling would indicate that Sarvis merely closed the gap in the VA governors race and kept it from being a blowout victory for the Democrats. She’s either a partisan hack or a poor journalist will little research skills.

  3. paulie

    All true, but both of these articles (Hunter and Sheffield) were at the top of Google News for “libertarian,” and Matt Welch at Reason and others responded to them, so I thought I would take my stab as well. Difference being that I responded more from a partisan LP perspective.

  4. Steven Wilson

    Brand equity always takes time and effort. When you build a brand and people recognize something behind a name or logo, then at that one moment the present value of your investment comes to fruition. These arguments started when Goldwater was speaking about the religious movements around his “GOP”. He of course, felt the same way; how is it they you can steal my party from me?

    The main issue is that when someone takes a deeper look into the word Libertarian, in the past ten years the word has taken a significant hit. With Bob Barr and other ex-Republicans using it for their own 15 minutes of fame, they took it in a unnatural way. Their use of it warrants someone like Maher or Beck to do the same.

    “If the people who live Libertarianism with their own life and votes won’t protect the term from people who borrow it for their own use, then who exactly will protect it for them.”

    I have heard the same statements about anarchy as well.

    Hunter and his kind will always bring this up: Sarvis ran for office as a Republican and lost. Then he became a Libertarian and lost even worse than before. In doing so, he made the argument that the term Republican doesn’t mean anything anymore.

    Wittgenstein said language is use.

    But when a customer uses your product they do make it their own. If a candidate redefines Libertarian to fit their campaign or their message, then the word Libertarian becomes a public bathroom.

    The brand belongs to those who use it.

    People who run for office define the banner under which they fly. There is no way around it. That is the nature of Political philosophy.

  5. paulie

    The main issue is that when someone takes a deeper look into the word Libertarian, in the past ten years the word has taken a significant hit. With Bob Barr and other ex-Republicans using it for their own 15 minutes of fame, they took it in a unnatural way.

    Bob Barr was far from a perfect Libertarian, and is back in the NSGOP. Even so, while in the LP, he was a prominent member of the ACLU, lobbied on behalf of MPP to remove the amendment he himself earlier introduced to keep medical marijuana votes from being counted in DC, partially reversed his support for his “Defense of Marriage Act,” spoke out against government espionage on American citizens, and changed his previous position to oppose the war in Iraq. Thus, even Bob Barr, during his time with the LP anyway, was not what Hunter seems to think a Libertarian should be. Which, it seems, is just a regular Republican.

  6. Andy

    Paul said: “Thus, even Bob Barr, during his time with the LP anyway,”

    This was likely all part of the act. He had to at least pretend to be a Libertarian, or he would not have been able to capture the nomination.

  7. Jed Ziggler (@JedZiggler)

    Whenever people ask who I voted for in ’08 I usually say Nader, because I’m embarrassed of my vote for Bob Barr. So, yeah, I voted for Nader.

    I’ve made no secret of the fact that I come to libertarianism (notice the small l) from the left. While I am a card-carrying Libertarian (notice the big L), I will freely admit that I hate the Republicans just a tiny bit more than the Democrats. When everyone was blaming Sarvis for costing Cuccinelli the election, I knew it was bullshit, but part of me wanted to exclaim GOOD. McAuliffe is a sleazeball, but Cuccinelli is my idea of a true nightmare candidate. My identity as a gay man is important to me. My rights are important to me. That is my number one issue, and it is the GOP that declared war on me.

    With that said, I vote third party because I find it offensive that my choices are limited to two, when neither truly represents me. I’m a Libertarian because I believe in the principles of Austrian economics, that I have a right to the money I earn, that taxation is theft, that war is evil & must always be a last resort, that what you do with your body & your life is your business.

    If this makes me the kind of scoundrel Mr. Hunter decries because it clashes with his view of libertarianism as a purely right-wing political philosophy, then I am proud to call him my enemy.

  8. Pingback: Paulie: Response to Carrie Sheffield at Forbes on “Who Will Be The Next Libertarian Spoiler?” | Independent Political Report

  9. J.D.

    Jed, I came to the Libertarian Party from a left wing background as well. So did my mom and brother. I can’t stand Republicans and I am happy Cuccinelli lost. I don’t see anything wrong with going out, voting your conscience, and then rooting for one of the corporate parties in the show election. I always vote third party and then root Democrat when my candidates are out of contention. Our elections are nothing more than entertainment anyway so there is nothing wrong with having fun with it after you vote responsibly

    Another way to look at it is I am a Vanderbilt University and University of Hawaii fan in college football. I cheer for these teams and give them my support when they are playing but at the end of the year when the more important bowl games are being played I cheer for other teams that actually are playing. I naturally tend to root for the team I dislike the least. I think these are pretty normal things to do.

  10. Andy

    “J.D. November 13, 2013 at 11:57 pm
    Jed, I came to the Libertarian Party from a left wing background as well. So did my mom and brother. I can’t stand Republicans and I am happy Cuccinelli lost. I don’t see anything wrong with going out, voting your conscience, and then rooting for one of the corporate parties in the show election.”

    I was an independent who was leaning toward voting for Ross Perot for President in 1996, that is until I stumbled upon the Libertarian Party’s 1996 National Convention on C-SPAN and was blown away by Harry Browne. I quickly dropped Ross Perot and joined the Libertarian Party and supported Harry Browne for President.

    I generally don’t give a rat’s behind about who wins between the Democrat and the Republican, because it usually does not make a difference. I have equal disdain for both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.

  11. J.D.

    I was 10 years old when the 1996 LP convention was on tv. I remember 2 things. First, during one of the breaks there was a person with a super large Uncle Sam hat on down near the front of the stage. The secong thind I remember, even as a child, was just how very funny Harry Browne was. He was really good at telling jokes, especially one liners.

  12. paulie

    I was a Democrat before I became a Libertarian, but the Democrats really lost me when they picked a supporter of the drug war, military industrial and prison industrial complexes and corporate-government collusion as their presidential candidate in 1992. It was then that I realized that a generation change at the top would mean no real change at the bottom and that the hope for ending these persistent and worsening problems had to be elsewhere. These days I am torn between cheering for Republicans losing and the realization that the Democrats are every bit just as bad. I only wish they could both lose, and when that is not possible, I don’t root for either of them.

    My interest in the “football game” between the Democrats and Republicans is that of a blade of grass on the field of play – I just hope they don’t tear me up with their cleats. Otherwise, what’s it to me who wins?

  13. chill1184

    Hunter’s piece shows why conservatives know absolutely nothing about libertarians. In addition why attempting to work with conservatives is a waste of time.

    To quote Lew Rockwell:

    “What does conservatism today stand for? It stands for war. It stands for power. It stands for spying, jailing without trial, torture, counterfeiting without limit, and lying from morning to night. There comes a time in the life of every believer in freedom when he must declare, without any hesitation, to have no attachment to the idea of conservatism.”

  14. J.D.

    Paulie, I said it was a show election. It doesn’t matter who wins really. I was mainly talking about watching the infotainment on the networks and following your gut emotions. It’s not like Gary and Jill were getting any coverage that night. The only issue where there might be some real significance is in the area of foreign policy. I really believe if McCain or Romney were elected we would have had troops on the ground in Syria ASAP. We would probably be fighting in Iran as well.

    The Dems are liars, statist, and corporatist( in the American sense at least) but they are slightly less crazy than the Republicans. Every single Republican reminds me of a cross between Curtis E. Lemay and Jerry Falwell.

  15. Andy

    “J.D. November 14, 2013 at 4:23 am
    I was 10 years old when the 1996 LP convention was on tv. I remember 2 things. First, during one of the breaks there was a person with a super large Uncle Sam hat on down near the front of the stage.”

    Cool that you found out about the Libertarian Party at such a young age. I wish that I would have known what it was back then.

    I said I wish I would have known what it was back then because I remember being in school in 1984 and in 1988 and teachers bringing sample ballots to school and taping them to the chalk board. I was the only kid in the class during both years that actually examined the sample ballot that were taped to the chalk boards. I do remember seeing some weird party on the ballot that I’d never heard of that started with the letter L among the list of other parties/candidates outside of Democrat and Republican. I did not remember the name of the party correctly though, as I thought it was called the Liberalarian Party or the Liberation Party. I do not remember seeing David Bergland’s name on the 1984 sample ballot, but I do remember seeing Ron Paul’s name on the 1988 sample ballot, as I thought, “Hey, that guy from this weird party that starts with the letter L has two first names.” I did not know who Ron Paul was and I did not hear anything about him again until after I joined the Libertarian Party during the summer of 1996 and saw his name mentioned in LP News after the 1996 election in an article about the former Libertarian Party Presidential candidate from 1988, Ron Paul, being elected to the US House of Representatives as a Republican. I thought, “I remember him, he was that guy with two first names that I saw on the sample ballot that was taped to the chalk board in school back in 1988.”

    “The secong thind I remember, even as a child, was just how very funny Harry Browne was. He was really good at telling jokes, especially one liners.”

    Yes, Harry Browne was quite good with the one liners. I think that one can make a good argument that he was the best candidate that the Libertarian Party has ever had. It is too bad that more Americans did not get to hear his message. It was almost like he came along too soon. Just imagine if Harry Browne had been the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President in 2008 and 2012.

  16. Jed Ziggler (@JedZiggler)

    Amen J.D.! It’s not so much wanting the Democrats to win as it is wanting the Republicans to lose. I just… I despise them. Especially the ones that libertarians suck up to like Rand Paul & Ted Cruz. They’re the most dangerous of them all.

  17. paulie

    I remember Ron Paul’s LP run, especially from the Morton Downey show back when it originally aired, and some other places. I also remember Bergland’s run, mostly from his late night TV infomercials that came on back to back with LaRouche and helped me with my insomnia. I may have been aware of Ed Clark running, but I can’t remember whether if it was before the election (I was eight years old at the time of that election) or some time between then and the next election. Before that I was not in the US, but I remember seeing a newspaper that said Nixon was US president, which would have been when I was two years old…but it’s possible it was an old newspaper when I saw it. I guess it’s not impossible that I could have seen some mention of the LP presidential candidate in 1976, but it’s extremely unlikely and I don’t remember seeing any such thing, or anything about the US presidential election then. I do remember knowing who the US president was (Carter) before I even knew we were going to immigrate, though.

    So my awareness of the existence of the LP goes back to some time in the early 1980s. I remember meeting and arguing politics with Libertarians, mostly through the drug peace movement, in the late 1980s, but I didn’t become one until the early 1990s. I don’t remember the names of any of the LP members I argued with back in the 1980s, but one of them said he was the Vice Chair of LPNY at that time.

  18. paulie

    Especially the ones that libertarians suck up to like Rand Paul & Ted Cruz. They’re the most dangerous of them all.

    In some ways, yes. But Rand Paul is a mixed bag.

  19. J.D.

    Ok Paulie big question, why doesn’t the LP run infomercials anymore? I knew Clark ran them but I didn’t know Bergland did. I am guessing Clark got the Money from the Koch brothers but where did Bergland get his funding? Hell where did Lyndon Larouche get his? I don’t think Larouche ever topped 50,000 votes. I do remember Harry Browne commercials from 1996 and 2000 but they were very short. How expensive are infomercials?

    An interesting story from school ragards the 2000 election. I wass a freshman in high school down in Tennessee. My school in Lebanon had a mock election. Bush, Gore, and Nader were on the ballots. We were also allowed to write in candidates. I protested because Browne was a Tennessean and was on the ballot in Tennessee but wasn’t on our ballots. A friend of mine along with myself wrote his name in. When they announced the results over the intercom Bush, Gore, and Nader were the only results they gave but I know Browne got 2 votes. The indoctrination starts at a young age.

    We did the same thing when I was in kindergarten and the ballot only had Bush, Clinton, and Perot. I voted for Ross perot. I can proudly say that I have never voted for a major party presidential candidate, ever.

  20. Dave Terry

    JD wrote: “We did the same thing when I was in kindergarten and the ballot only had Bush, Clinton, and Perot. I voted for Ross perot.

    Give us a freak’n break! Do you REALLY expect us to believe that you “voted” for anyone in Kindergarten, or that a teacher at that grade level would have had a mock election ????????

    I CAN’T honestly say that I’ve never voted for a major party candidate; I voted for Goldwater in ’64 and Nixon in ’68, but I was one of the 980 write in votes in California for John Hospers in ’72.
    I CAN say that I’ve voted for EVERY Libertarian Party candidate (some with regrets, including the first)

  21. paulie

    Ok Paulie big question, why doesn’t the LP run infomercials anymore?

    Not 100% sure on this, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that there used to be a law which made them really cheap for political (or maybe only presidential) candidates, and that this law is no longer in effect.

    where did Bergland get his funding?

    As far as I know Bergland was never well-funded.

    Hell where did Lyndon Larouche get his? I don’t think Larouche ever topped 50,000 votes.

    He may not get a lot of votes, but he has some ultra-wealthy backers. He also has some cult-like followers who impoverish themselves to give him every penny they can lay their hands on.

  22. Dave Terry

    By all means Jed, listen to Pope Paulie, after all he is risen from the grave and speaks directly with G-d. I caution you, however, never, EVER, disagree with him. He knows all, sees all and is
    ‘infallible’ !

    BTW, are you saying that you WISHED you had voted for Clinton?
    .

  23. Andy

    JD said: “An interesting story from school ragards the 2000 election. I wass a freshman in high school down in Tennessee. My school in Lebanon had a mock election. Bush, Gore, and Nader were on the ballots. We were also allowed to write in candidates. I protested because Browne was a Tennessean and was on the ballot in Tennessee but wasn’t on our ballots. A friend of mine along with myself wrote his name in. When they announced the results over the intercom Bush, Gore, and Nader were the only results they gave but I know Browne got 2 votes. The indoctrination starts at a young age.

    We did the same thing when I was in kindergarten and the ballot only had Bush, Clinton, and Perot. I voted for Ross perot. I can proudly say that I have never voted for a major party presidential candidate, ever.”

    There was a mock election when I was a young kid in elementary school way back in 1980. Every kid in the class except me voted for either Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter. I was thinking about voting for Jimmy Carter, because I had family members that were Democrats, but I did not want to vote for him for that reason alone, so I was trying to come up with some other reason to vote for Jimmy Carter, but there were other kids in the class that were urging me to vote for Ronald Reagan, but none of them gave me what I thought was a good reason to vote for Ronald Reagan. Everyone else in the class had already turned in their ballot and it was almost time to go to lunch or recess and I was sitting there trying to decide who to vote for in this mock election for President, then I remembered that there was an independent candidate in the race who I had seen on TV a few times (I recall him appearing on a show called “Real People” for one) named John Anderson. So I ended up voting for John Anderson. When we got back from lunch and recess the teacher announced the results of the mock election, and the winnger was Ronald Reagan, followed by Jimmy Carter in second place. I cast the one vote for John Anderson. It’s a shame that I did not know who Ed Clark was at the time.

  24. J.D.

    Dave, what the hell is wrong with you? Who are you to tell me what I did when I was a child? We did have a mock election for all kids k-6 at my elementary school. I was very young but I remember it. My dad voted for Perot in the real election. I didn’t know that but once I overheard him talking about the theory that Perot had cost Bush the election. I didnt know if he was happy or upset about it. I never told my dad who I “voted” for because I didn’t know if he would be mad at me. Of course I was 6 years old and didn’t know it wasn’t real.

    The mock election I mentioned from 2000 involved little kids as well. I went to a k-12 private school, different than the one mentioned in the paragraph above. The kindergarteners were given the assignement of making up handwritten campaign literature. They were just pieces of paper that had the official candidates names written on them and the kids were standing outside handing them to the older kids.

    I think mock elections can be a very good thing for kids. I bring my kids to the LP meetings here in town and they like it. They actually ask to go.

  25. J.D.

    As far as the 1996 election I don’t think we had a mock election but we did have to go over the candidates. That was the first time I heard about Ralph Nader. I was also the only person in class that knew about Harry Browne. My brother was really into the LP in 92 and 96. That is who got me to watch the 96 LP convention. That year my mom voted for John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party. We had to watch Hagelin and Browne anytime they were on. I thought it was so neat that you had so many choices of who to vote for. Again I didn’t understand the sytem.

  26. paulie

    Who are you to tell me what I did when I was a child?

    I don’t read his comments (and suggest you shouldn’t either, because they are always a waste of time, especially when you respond) but LOL…did he really tell you what you did or did not do as a child? This would be astounding, but given the source, sadly it’s not. A reminder of why I don’t read his comments.

  27. Dave Terry

    JD:
    What is WRONG with me is that I could not grasp, I STILL find it hard to wrap my mind around it,
    how inane our school systems have become. I can certainly understand how mock elections can be valuable educational tools on the high school level, but elementary school? NO WAY

    The children wouldn’t have a clue what the candidates stood for and what the significance of these positions were. All they could do is echo what they have heard from parents, etc

    Anyway, THAT’s my opinion. I sincerely apologize for doubting the veracity of your comments.

    respectfully,
    Dave Terry

  28. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I have to admit that I don’t believe a lot of what I hear is supposedly going on in public schools. This bit about teaching kids about sex in kidnergarten and talking about homosexuality at a young age–I simply don’t believe it. I had a kid in a CA public schhol from 1998 to 2011. I suppose it’s possible things have drastically changed since then, but I hope I’m right and it really doesn’t happen.

  29. Jed Ziggler (@JedZiggler)

    What’s wrong with talking about homosexuality at a young age? Just telling kids some boys love other boys & some girls love other girls is a good thing, and it’s something simple kids will understand. Most of the nonsense about “ZOMG THEY’RE TEACHING LITTLE KIDS ABOUT THE SEX” is simple prudishness. Sex exists. Kids won’t be traumatized for life if they find out something about it. As long as nobody’s touching them or trying to tell them to have sex or what have you, they’ll be fine.

  30. J.D.

    You do have to check things out for yourself when you hear things that sound astonishing when it comes to public school. Realize the only mock elections I ever participated in were done in Tennessee. In that states public school system, at the time anyway, civics and political science were highly regarded. For instance world history was a freshman level course in Tennessee. When I moved to Kentucky it was a senior level course and its not like anything preceded it in Kentucky. You only had 2 history courses all 4 years. In Tennessee many schools required 2 history courses a year. Things differ wildly from state to state and county to county.

    I recently heard a myth that kids in Vanderburgh County schools were not allowed to say the pledge of allegiance or have a moment of silence. This was told to me by a fundamentalist Christian tea partier. Taking the source into consideration I decided to investigate. I asked my kids about it and even went first hand to observe. The myth was in fact and outright lie. My kids follow the exact same morning routine that I did at that age.

    As far as sexuality goes my wife and I started at a very young age with our kids. They were taught that there are many types of people and many types of love. They have grown up with a very tolerant attitutde toward homosexuals. My son saw two guys kissing in public once and asked me if I saw it. I said yes. He said that’s funny I’m never doing that. I asked him what he meant. He said he would never kiss someone in public because he would be too embarrassed.
    He never even mentioned the fact it was two guys.

  31. paulie

    What’s wrong with talking about homosexuality at a young age? Just telling kids some boys love other boys & some girls love other girls is a good thing, and it’s something simple kids will understand. Most of the nonsense about “ZOMG THEY’RE TEACHING LITTLE KIDS ABOUT THE SEX” is simple prudishness. Sex exists. Kids won’t be traumatized for life if they find out something about it. As long as nobody’s touching them or trying to tell them to have sex or what have you, they’ll be fine.

    Exactly. Our modern prudishness about kids and sex is overblown. Throughout most of the world’s history, and throughout most of the world even now, kids grow up watching farm animals have sex (a normal part of growing up on a farm) and/or watching their parents have sex, because they live in a one room house. We in the Western world today compound the problem by insisting that people are still children for several years after they become biological adults, another recent invention of ours. The idea that kids won’t find out about sex on their own, from their peers or older kids (or these days from the internet) is silly as well. The idea that sex education sexualizes otherwise innocent children is bogus.

    And teaching tolerance should be encouraged, not feared.

  32. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    What you gentlemen are describing is absolutely fine, and in fact, what I would hope is the attitude in schools. The extreme right makes it sounds like teeny kids are given how-to pictures. That’s what I don’t believe goes on.

    I’m glad I had a chance to explain myself.

    Someone posted the graphics on Facebook that were supposedly being used in either juinior high or high school, and I was supposed to be outraged. They were sophisticated cartoon-type drawings of people changing in their respective gymns (boys in one, girls in another). Words pointed out the correct anatomical names of the genitalia. I was stunned that this was the type of thing people were getting upset about.

  33. paulie

    The extreme right makes it sounds like teeny kids are given how-to pictures.

    Yeah, that’s pretty much wishful thinking on their part. No one is actually doing anything like that, other than some Catholic priests and other unsanctioned degenerates.

  34. Fozz Fovozzo

    well then, whats the libetarian response for the federal reserve? aka the real power in our gov atm? the banks behind it control several other country’s as well, are you wiling to do whats nessasary, to shut it down,to prosecute those responsible? realizing the fact it will probably cost your lives and others to even try? if your answer is yes to a removal of the fed, then you have my vote, otherwise your just the same as whats there and you wont be able to fix nothing. the public wants justice, and the freedom its supposed to have, and we will accept nothing less.

  35. J.D.

    The Libertarians have been anti-fed for a long time. So yes the LP wants to shut it down and restore the power of the treasury to print money. Along with that many, if not most,Libertarians believe in competitive currencies. Which means businesses would be free to accept patment however they chose.

  36. paulie

    LP national platform:

    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.

  37. Andy

    Fozz Fovozzo said: ” the public wants justice, and the freedom its supposed to have, and we will accept nothing less.”

    It depends on what you mean by the public. I think that there is a large chunk of the public, maybe around 1/3 of the population, possibly more, that does not want freedom. These people are either control freaks, or they are people who prefer to be lead around by control freaks. They like things they way they are now, or, if anything, want even more government control.

    There are also a lot of people out there who do want more freedom, but I’m just pointing out that “public” if a very broad term. Yes, some of the public wants more freedom, in varying degrees, but others among the public want the opposite.

  38. Dave Terry

    Allowing “the public” to rule instead of following the Constitution is how we got where we are now!

  39. Bondurant

    The fifth grade at my elementary school had a mock election in ’92. Ross Perot won.

    These things happen. Why is the concept of a mock election so difficult to comprehend. Even Toys R Us held a mock election in 2000. Kids could scan bar codes at a kiosk in the store. I don’t recall who won.

  40. paulie

    Kids discuss politics even without mock elections. For example, in 1980, when I was eight, there was a lot of debate over the presidential election on the school bus. The other kids were for Reagan, so I was for Carter. By 1984 I had what I thought were better reasons to be against Reagan: he was going to start a nuclear war, literally enslave poor people to greedy corporations, make evangelical “Christianity” the government religion, and/or kill millions of people because their drug of choice wasn’t alcohol, tobacco, caffeine or doctor prescribed pills. That was when I was twelve. I know plenty of adults who were actually voting and were no more well informed about politics than when I was eight…and still do. So why not mock elections? Honestly, from my experience in petitioning, I don’t know that adults are much more well informed even on average than kids on political issues.

  41. Dave Terry

    PP> “Why is the concept of a mock election so difficult to comprehend.”

    Not difficult to comprehend at all, once you comprehend that “mock” is derived from mockery.

    > “Kids could scan bar codes at a kiosk in the store. I don’t recall who won.”

    Gee, if it WERE important, would you have forgotten?

    > “The fifth grade at my elementary school had a mock election in ’92. Ross Perot won.”

    LOL, I rest my case.

  42. Dave Terry

    PP> “By 1984 I had what I thought were better reasons to be against Reagan: he was going to start a nuclear war, literally enslave poor people to greedy corporations, make evangelical “Christianity” the government religion, and/or kill millions of people because their drug of choice wasn’t alcohol, tobacco, caffeine or doctor prescribed pills.”

    You just proved my point. Clearly political discussion for children is a waste of time. If class time is used for that purpose, it is ALSO a waste taxpayer funds (not that most of school curriculum isn’t also.)

    > “Honestly, from my experience in petitioning, I don’t know that adults are much more well informed even on average than kids on political issues.

    You have just made a BETTER case for not allowing some adults to vote FOR REAL than for having children pretend to vote

  43. Bondurant

    I am amused that you still refuse to believe that meaningless mock “elections” take place at schools despite hearing from 2 or 3 people that took part in them. Why live the cantankerous old crank role?

  44. paulie

    Dave Terry has long since lost touch with reality, presuming he was ever in touch with it to begin with. He is suffering from advanced aged and severe comprehension problems. You would be well advised to read none of his comments and, if you accidentally read them, to not acknowledge them in any way.

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