The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts held the first Libertarian Party presidential debate on October 17. Chairman George Phillies moderated the debate. Candidates Steve Kerbel, Darryl Perry, Marc Allan Feldman, and Derrick Michael Reid participated. Below is the video and full transcript of the debate:
Phillies: Now live from Worcester, Massachusetts, the first live Libertarian Presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle. Standing next to me are Steve Kerbel, Darryl W. Perry, and Marc Allan Feldman. This will be an honest debate. Each candidate will be asked the same questions and have the same opportunity to answer. That means I can’t rig the debate the way some of our competing networks do.
There will first be opening statements of two minutes each. The order of the speaking has been determined by lot. After the two minute statements, I will start asking questions.
So we will start with Steve Kerbel, two minute statement.
Kerbel: Good morning everyone. I’d like to thank Dr. Phillies and the LP Massachusetts for organizing this debate. And I’m very happy to be here to share ideas and let you get to know us as candidates and see if you agree with us and what we can offer for you.
First of all, I’m Steve Kerbel. I’m from Colorado Springs, Colorado. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m an author and I’m a Libertarian. The reason that I am here is—as we all know Republicans and Democrats have basically taken control of our entire country for too long and we’re going nowhere. It’s time to make a difference. Life is temporary and my intention is to leave a better nation for the next generations than what we have right now. How do we do that? Well, first of all, as Libertarians, as has been discussed, you know, we have various ways of looking at things. It seems clear to me that the best way to take advantage of being the fastest growing political party in the United States of America is stick together to deliver that message. And that’s something that I would like to help accomplish is to help us stick together to deliver that message to the public, you know. And the way we deliver that message is very important. You know, we in our own discussions we’re usually at the finish line about libertarian discussion, but the rest of the United States, they’re at the starting gate. So we have to keep it simple. Keep it clear. Make them understand, first of all, those who don’t know us need to know us, and those who don’t know what we stand for need to know what we stand for. So we have to keep our communication simple. We have to keep our voice clear. We have to recognize the fact that Republicans and Democrats speak in bumper stickers. We may need to do that too. But the big thing is is if I am your nominee, I’m going to find it a big big priority to make sure that every American voter knows in some way, shape, or form they are a libertarian. Thank you.
Perry: So there’s one thing that Steve said that I will agree with and I will actually take his advice. He said Libertarians need to speak in bumper stickers. Here’s a bumper sticker for you: legalize everything like tomatoes. Why tomatoes? Well I’ve looked at various statutes and I can’t find the word tomato in statute in the half a dozen states that I’ve actually done searches on. Meaning that tomatoes are perfectly legal. That’s how I want everything: cannabis, driving, crystal meth. Not that I advocate using crystal meth, but it should be as legal as a tomato, meaning that you should be able to buy it, sell it, manufacture whatever without government interference because that’s really what libertarians want. Libertarians want to live without government interference. That is true freedom. That no person has more rights than anyone else. That no person can delegate a right to a group that they don’t have themselves. Meaning that I can’t go into the parking lot and just steal the nicest car in the parking lot. I can’t delegate that to someone else. Even if you call that someone else a government. So government right now, they love to impound cars if you don’t have the certain little stickers on your license plate or if you don’t have a license plate or God forbid you give someone a ride across town and they give you some gas money. Right now Uber and Lift, I’m sure everybody’s heard of them, they’re being shut down across the country because they’re not complying with taxi regulations. But they’re not taxis! And they shouldn’t be regulated at all. Everything, including giving people rides or giving them hamburgers, should be as legal as tomatoes.
Feldman: Yes. I’m Marc Allan Feldman. I’m an anesthesiologist coming from Cleveland, Ohio. I want to thank the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts and George Phillies for having me over today. I’ve never been a Democrat or Republican. I was a dedicated and well-informed nonvoter for most of my life. I never registered to vote ‘til I was 50 years old. It wasn’t because I didn’t care but because I grew up in and around Washington D.C. and I knew politicians personally. I never met one that I wanted to support ‘til I came to Ohio and I was looking at what was going on and say there had to be some other options, and that’s when I discovered Libertarian Party, the party of principle. I realize that politician doesn’t have to be another word for liar. I heard—I grew up with “I am NOT a crook.” “Read my lips, no new taxes.” “I did not have sexual relations with that woman Monica Lewinsky.” And “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” It’s time to stop even listening to what people say and follow the money. My campaign is not Marc Allan Feldman for President. It’s called Votes Not for Sale because the number one problem I see and I think resonates with the American people is that spending a billion dollars on a presidential race is wrong and that we need to do something to break the iron triangle of politicians, lobbyists, wealthy special interests. So that’s why in my campaign, anyone can donate unless you’re—as long as you’re an individual and with a maximum per individual of five dollars. I don’t take more than five dollars in donations for anyone because if a million people will donate five dollars that’s more than enough to run a national campaign. Thank you very much.
Phillies: We will now advance to question number one. The President of the United States is Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and gets to recommend to Congress how big they should be and gets to move them across the globe largely as he sees fit except for the war-making powers of Congress. With respect to the military, what should we be doing and how big of a military should we have? Steve, you’re first.
Kerbel: Well, it has to be a descending crescendo when it comes to the military. Where we are today, we have treaties, we have responsibilities, and that needs to be decreasing immediately to some level and more and more and more. As we all know, we should not be the police of the world. As we all know, many of the problems that we’re facing is because we intervened in other country’s sovereignty and so we need to stop doing that. And so, the way we do that with the military is that you start cutting expenses right off the bat. I’ve spoken to some—a career military person and asked him his opinion of what I wanted to do, which was immediate reduction, and he said there’s ways of saving money while pulling back forces and pulling back according to our treaties. So, you know, it takes a reduction. It takes a focused effort. But it has to be towards liberty and staying out of everyone else’s business. That’s the best way to save money.
Perry: In regards to how big should the military be, there should be no standing army. So ultimately, we would get to a U.S. military of zero people. The question is how quickly can we get there. And, we’ve renegotiated treaties in the past—we being the United States government—and the U.S. government has broken treaties in the past. So a treaty has never stood in the way of the U.S. government doing what they want to do. But I would as quickly as possible reduce the military to zero international bases, zero troops outside of the United States with the lone exception of U.S. embassies that have to be protected by somebody. So ultimately, zero standing army.
Feldman: I’ll take a moment to speak about how I approach many of these issues including the military. The goal in my administration is to bring power back to the individuals. Admiral Mullen, retired former member of the joint chiefs said that we need to address the number one national security issue for the United States which is our national debt. First thing I would do as President is to balance our budget on day one. I would not add a dollar to the debt. And I will change all charitable contributions for deductions to income to 100% dollar for dollar tax credits. This puts every federal agency, including the military, in direct financial funding competition with the private sector. If people want to fund private philanthropic efforts, other tax-deductible tourism efforts as opposed to military interventions that would be up to every individual citizen.
Phillies: Question number two starting with Darryl W. Perry. You are running for President. You are running for our nomination and if you are nominated you will be running for the election. How are you going to organize your campaign system?
Perry: Well, you know, this is a very interesting question and like a lot of libertarians, I am very much an individualist and I like to be in control of myself so hiring a campaign staff would be something very difficult for me to do because that would give over the control of myself to someone else. But it’s something that would have to be done if I do wind up getting the nomination. But ultimately, I would want to have as much control over my campaign as possible, and I would love to do a actual tour of the country not one of these airplane-fly-everywhere but drive and visit as many cities and as many states as possible.
Feldman: In 2012, Barack Obama won with about 61—66 million votes. Romney got 61 million votes. Gary Johnson got one million votes. There were about 100 million people who could have voted but did not vote. These are the people who I would reach out for in my presidential campaign. I’m not trying to get disaffected Democrats or Republicans. I’m going after the people who no one—who don’t support either Democrats or Republicans because they feel that they do not represent them. And they know the people are not raising a billion dollars to represent poor and struggling people in the United States. I’m a—I believe in technology. Barack Obama had a million dollars in technology to assist. Now there are more robust systems that I use that cost 20 dollars a month. I’m using the Nation Builder system. I’m actually now a certified Nation Builder expert because I couldn’t find anyone that’s a political consultant who wanted to get money out of politics. I currently have about 56 volunteers across the country, about 19,000 people in the database and things are progressing well. Thank you.
Kerbel: Well the question was about structure of the campaign and I think to run a national campaign, you need a national team without blowing a bunch of money on it. And so I think we have—I already have a deputy campaign manager who is working social media and assisting in a lot of events. We need a treasurer. We’re looking for a main campaign manager and a fundraising manager. The volunteer base is being built as well and kept in a good database. And we’re in touch with these people. So I think structurally we need to build a solid campaign. I mean, the last thing we want to do is to end up, you know, with problems because of the way we ran the campaign. That being said, I have no problem trying to build up a good budget so that we can get the word out. I think we need to take good donations because this is the playing field we live in today. It’s nice to say we don’t need that much money but we still need money to reach some people. We need it through social media. We need it through mass media and we need personal visits. It’s been my experience that the people are most responsive to a personal visit, less responsive to a verbal not personal visit, and not responsive at all to e-mails and things like that. So I think we need to actually get out there and touch the people and get the best effect possible.
Phillies: Next question domestic policy. Most Libertarians agree that the war on drugs should be eliminated. However, there is the interesting issue, there are folks saying “okay we will regulate marijuana like wine, we will have a new tax source for our government.” What is your position on this all told and the first speaker is going to be Dr. Feldman.
Feldman: Marijuana should not be legalized like alcohol and tobacco. It should be normalized like caffeine and chocolate. When taxes are put on previously illegal drugs and that money is used for surveillance, drones, warfare around the world, this doesn’t make us more free. We need to simply normalize. Takes drugs off of controlled substances list and treat drug abuse as a medical problem and not a legal problem.
Kerbel: It’s true. Creating additional bureaucracies and regulation is not in the best interest of any of us. When it comes to marijuana, I think it should be, well as Darryl said, like buying a tomato. I mean the fact is all of these drugs have built this horrible war on drugs. They built up the government infrastructure to fight it and it’s done nothing to actually discourage or eliminate any drug usage. All it’s done is built a big monstrosity. So I believe drugs that should not even be addressed legally. They should just exist and if someone has a problem with it that’s a health issue, it’s certainly not a crime.
Perry: So as I said in my opening statement, everything should be as legal as tomatoes. Now something that I’ve learned when I first started studying the drug war, and it was really by accident because I came across a documentary on the history channel: The Untold History of Drugs in America. And it was from this documentary that I found out that until about 1906, this wonderful book that every single person in here has probably used at least once called the Sears Catalogue used to sell cocaine, morphine, heroine, and cannabis. They also sold you syringes that you could use and I long for a day when I could once again go to the Sears Catalogue, buy a cannabis tincture, and use it to treat my ailments. Thank you.
Phillies: Next question. People get to raise money for the presidential campaign. A reasonable number that a presidential campaign, based on precedence will raise 1.5 million dollars. You guys might do better. Two questions. How much of that would you want to spend on staff? And number two, if you have campaign debts at the end as the last two campaigns did, what do you propose to do about them? And we’ll actually start—we’re going to do this in reverse order now—we’ll start with Marc Allan Feldman and then Darryl Perry.
Feldman: First of all, as I said, the central thrust of my campaign is that votes should not be for sale. We’re seeing more and more in our campaigns with new technology that large campaign donations can actually turn into a problem and not an asset to a campaign. At the same time, money does need to be spent. Like I’ve said, I’m against obesity but I’m certainly not against food. A certain amount is required. However, I would avoid campaign debts. I would borrow no money for the campaign. And I would use as much money on staff as my donors feel is appropriate. I would leave it up to the decision of my donors for what they believe should be supported by my campaign and to use that money in the most effective way possible.
Perry: I believe in being fiscally responsible. It’s one of the tenets of the party of principle. And I find it very irresponsible to rack up campaign debt, much less the 1.4 million dollar campaign debt that the most recent presidential candidate still has three years after the last election. So on the issue of campaign debt, it is my goal to have zero campaign debt. As far as how much staff should be paid, I would hope to find volunteer staff or staff that would work as cheaply as possible and buy cheaply as possible. I mean hopefully below the minimum wage because I want to get rid of the minimum wage completely. So the only way to really do that is to show that people are willing to work for a “sub-par” wage and hopefully we can do that. Thank you.
Kerbel: Well, first of all, I’ve heard representations over the years of people saying “I’m going to bring in this much” or “that much,” the fact is we just don’t know how much we’re going to bring in. We have to be aggressive in bringing in as much as possible, but we have to be prudent in how we spend it. I mean, the fact is, yes, I’ve mentioned that I want a campaign staff because I want to do this right, but I want the staff to be a small percentage of what we spend because they’re not the ones that are out there touching and reaching people and distributing the message to everyone. So we have to get the bulk of the campaign money to go towards actually reaching potential voters. So staffing can’t be that expense because then you’ll end up losing the message. And as it comes to debt, there’s not going to be any. If you have it, you spend it, if you don’t have it, you don’t spend it. And that leaves away the concern of having what you deal then with the debt at the end of the campaign.
Phillies: Our next question, which we’ll start with Darryl Perry: Jobs? There’s the question.
Perry: That’s a very simple question and I have a very simple answer. Government should not hinder them. And when I say government should not hinder them what do I mean? I mean governments should not set up regulations that make it overly burdensome to hire someone or overly burdensome to fire someone or mandate a wage which you cannot find unskilled labor to do unskilled work. Now we know for a fact that New York City has decided that all fast food workers need to be paid $15 per hour. When I was 15, 16 years old and had very few skills, I expected to earn very few dollars for those very few skills. The guy flipping burgers should not be making $15 an hour unless the owner of the company thinks that he is actually worth it based on a free market, not based on some government mandate. So government regulations should be eliminated so that people can have jobs and hire and fire as they see fit.
Kerbel: Jobs. Get the government out of the way. I mean, they’re the ones—government is the biggest job killer we have in this country. Any economic factors, any competitive factors, any other factors—nobody kills more jobs in this country than our government. So there’s a benefit to knocking down these regulatory authorities, many of which should not exist anyway. But at the same time, there’s other things we can do. If you eliminate corporate tax, it—and you, and you–there’s not much we can do about union representation because it’s a first amendment right—but the fact is if we were to be able to have it like a type of tort reform which is quite libertarian. And that tort reform would be loser pays. We believe don’t hurt anybody and their fine, we’ll you know, when you’re bringing bogus lawsuits you’re hurting people and you have a right to be punished for that. If we can prove to business it’s safe to make jobs, they’re going to make jobs and the faster government gets out of the way, the more jobs we’re going to have.
Feldman: Jobs, I’m in favor of them. What millions of Americans know is that the minimum wage is zero. And what they’re calling a minimum wage is actually a wage gap between, that we don’t allow people to make between zero and some arbitrary amount. Government actually can do a very good job to create jobs by cutting the budget and not confiscating tax money that people could use for investment and job creation. Demographically, the number one group for starting new businesses in this country is Hispanic women. If we can get more of the people who love this country and can come here, work here, start businesses here, realize that they belong here, we’ll go a long way to job creation here in the United States.
Phillies: I’m going to try some 30 second questions. First 30 second question: there are a bunch of issues that Democrats and Republicans argue about and that, gee, as result, you have to take care of. So the next question goes first to Steve Kerbel: Guns?
Kerbel: Obviously we have the right to protect ourselves. We have the right to protect ourselves, our property, our loved ones and government doesn’t want us to do that because we’re infringing on their territory.
Feldman: The Second Amendment is not about hunting, target practice, or even self-protection. The Second Amendment is about the supremacy of the right of the individual over the power of government. That’s why it’s a federal law and not a state law. It’s not about police. It’s not about keeping burglars away. It’s about keeping the power of the individual away from an oppressive, obtrusive government.
Perry: So a lot of gun rights advocates love pointing to the Second Amendment, “you have the right to bear arms,” and they say that means guns. We’ll it also means swords, knives, even a flailed mace if you choose to have one. Now I’m going to say something to intentionally create shock value. I 100% support gun control. What I mean by that is you are in control of your gun and you following the rules of gun safety. Meaning, you don’t put your finger on the trigger unless you’re prepared to shoot, you don’t point the gun at something unless you are prepared to kill it, and you know what is behind the thing you are prepared to shoot. So gun ownership means gun control, you control your gun.
Phillies: The next issue abortion and I will let Dr. Feldman start this one.
Feldman: This is the issue that I get most talked about—most questions about. And I start off by saying that I have issues about issues. Abortion is one of the issues which is used to divide the population up between conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, so that the majority of us can’t tell government to cut the budget. So I believe that abortion is a very serious issue and I encourage on an individual basis for people to promote their point of view about it. My feeling is that I call myself pro-life choice. I think everyone woman should have the right not to have an abortion by her free choice.
Kerbel: Abortion. I think it’s tragic. I think it’s sad. I think it’s a shame. But I also think we don’t have the right to get into other people’s lives. I think that, you know, the whole goal here what we’re trying to accomplish is to get government out of our lives. Now that doesn’t get people’s families out of their lives or their churches or any other support groups they may have that may have input in this. But what we’re talking about here is government intervention and I don’t believe we should have any government intervention where that is concerned.
Perry: I have to agree there should be zero government intervention and there should be zero government involvement on either side of the issue, not just—the Republicans are saying “we need to cut funding to Planned Parenthood” and I agree. I also think that we need to cut funding to the anti-abortion groups or the pro-adoption groups or any group that is using funds to, you know, advocate against a position. Zero government dollars should be used for any private group at all. And I would say that no funds collected by coercion should be used for anything.
Phillies: The next question, however, while we’re getting it set up, is the national surveillance state. It is abundantly clear that for a considerable number of years, the national security agency and other people have been recording all of the telephone calls in the United States, more or less, at least all the ones that went through AT&T and some other places. This appears to have been illegal. If you were elected President what would we do about it? Steve Kerbel, you’re first.
Kerbel: Let’s get stopped! The government has no right to be listening to our communications and monitoring our e-mails. You know, it’s one of the best memes I’ve ever seen is people saying something to the effect of “if you want the government to read the Constitution, put it in your e-mails.” Well, that’s got to stop because the fact is this is completely against the Fourth Amendment. It’s completely against what we stand for as a people, as a country. And this will stop under my leadership.
Perry: The National Security Agency is under the auspices of the executive branch of the federal government, which means that the President has the authority to regulate and dictate how they operate or if they operate. So, on January 20, 2017, if I am the man standing on the front lawn and putting the hand on the Bible or a copy of the Constitution and saying, “Yes, I’m the President,” on January 21st the NSA goes away.
Feldman: Edward Snowden blew the whistle on our surveillance state. Let us give—gave us information on things nobody knew. I believe he is a traitor to the current administration but not a traitor to the American people. I would offer Mr. Snowden a full presidential pardon. And hopefully have him take a role in my administration to dismantle this system. Thank you.
Phillies: And I will now welcome our last presidential candidate Derrick Michael Reid. Have a seat. Sometimes travel times do this so I will invite Mr. Reid, care to take about three minutes to talk about your positions and I will give you some of the questions we’ve already talked about.
Reid: Thank you. Praise Libertarians. The Republican candidates, the Democratic candidates, and the candidates here today talk to, in my issue, issues that are trivial in comparison to the state of the union. The state of the union is in a world of hurt. The country is bankrupt. There’s 50 million on food stamps. There’s 100 million unemployed. After 110 years of Democratic leftist proposing and Republican rightist enabling, the country is destined to collapse. It is one of social chaos, if not anarchy, economic collapse, if not devastation. I do not chop trees with individual issues that the Democrats and Republicans are pandering this day. With my intellect, I survey the entire forest, the entire hills and mountains. I understand the systemic problems facing the country and I am proposing comprehensive solutions to restore Americana greatness. As such, I am uniquely in another dimension than either of the candidates here today or any of the Democrat or Republican candidates. I have put together a blog integrating 15 years of economic, political, military memorandum being published around the world, and it is a comprehensive site. When you read it, you will understand exactly where I am coming from. I am talking about a major reformation of the federal government along the lines of the U.S. Constitution. If you want to restore the Constitution, if you want to restore the Republic, if you want maximum liberty and freedom, if you want to restore economic prosperity, if you want global peace, I’m your guy. Thank you.
Phillies: I will feed you some of other the questions as we go, but I will give you one question now. As President you will be Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, where do you propose that they should be located? That’s a presidential decision. And how large would you recommend to Congress that they should be? And I think 90 seconds would be good.
Reid: One of the responsibilities of the federal government is to maintain Armed Forces to defend the nation, I have no problem with that. But a 170 something military bases around the world? The Russians feel caged for some reason. They felt threatened. And the—I wrote a memorandum yesterday that dealt with the U.S.-Russian confrontation. It’s culture. I know what the drivers are. I know how to confine U.S. military interventions abroad. The problem is lack of clarity at the highest level. And defining what and when military power should be used and for what reason. It needs to be controlled. As far as 170 bases are concerned, American industrial, military, banking, and transnational complex. It’s basically seeking a new world order in the Democracy century, and they’re going to blow people up anyway whether they like it or not. Cultural evolution takes centuries and when you try to do it at gun point, though the intent may be noble, you cause death and destruction and that needs to be limited. Thank you very much.
Phillies: Okay we will advance to our next question and we will return to sort of original order and I will insert you at some point. And the next issue is free trade and relations with China. This is a new question we will be starting over here with Steve Kerbel. And the issue is we have supposed free trade agreement which is vast numbers of pages keeping people from trading freely, destroying intellectual property rights and all sorts of other great things, at least in some people’s opinion. What is your stand on the current free trade and services et cetera treaties that have been proposed? We will start with Steve Kerbel. I think a minute.
Kerbel: Well, just like everything else we seem to do through our government structure is nothing. If we want free trade, why do we have so many caveats, so many rules, so many regulations? It doesn’t work. We don’t actually get—you know free trade is a—it’s a misnomer from what we actually created. Because what we created is a government sanctioned free trade, which isn’t free trade. So if we really want to try this, we need to stop the treaties, we need to stop all of these games, all of these regulations, and just let it happen, because that’s the only way—it’s the same thing as a free market. Have we ever had a chance at a really free market? No. Because we’re too busy messing it up. So that’s why we need to—if we were to put some new tires on this thing and let it spin, let’s find out what it’s really like to have real free trade.
Perry: A free trade agreement does not require multiple pages of paper. It does not even require multiple index cards. It requires one index card; one side of one index card and you can write it in a fairly large font that says, “Government shall not interfere in the movement of goods and services.” That is the free trade agreement that I would support and it would exist with every country on the globe.
Reid: Again to understand the problems, you have to get to the root. What is the cultural driver? It is the banking elitists and the transnationalists trying to open up other markets for exploitations and they’ll use a gun if necessary. We talk about free and fair trade. It’s not free and it’s not fair if it’s not balanced. And that’s the key. We will freely and fairly trade with anyone and buy as much from them as they do from us. This 50 billion dollars a year of global subsidies to foreign countries has to end. We have lost our manufacturing base as a result of it because it’s not balanced. Free and fair trade agreements are basically not products for free and fair. It’s basically for transnational corporations’ exploitation. I don’t care what you call it. If it’s balanced that makes it fair. Thank you.
Feldman: Fair and free trade agreements and the proposed ones are well built to achieve their goals, which is raising campaign funds and supporting multi-national corporations. We need to look at how we organize the infrastructure of this country. People say there’s never been a libertarian country but we do have libertarian sectors of our country. We have separation of church and state. Despite the fact that we have separation of church and state, we have one of the most religious countries in the world with booming churches and synagogues and temples and mosques of every variety without the involvement of government. I like to see separation of health care and state, separation of gun control and state, and separation of free trade and state. Thank you.
Phillies: Next question. And the next question is—gee, someone mentioned Mr. Snowden once—and the question on Mr. Snowden is, is he a traitor—I could find a bunch of people who said that—or is he the greatest living American patriot? That was me actually. But I’ll give you a choice on that; thirty seconds to comment on Mr. Snowden and what should be done about him. Mr. Perry, you are next.
Perry: Edward Snowden is not a traitor at all. A traitor means that he betrayed someone. And well, yes, maybe he betrayed Barack Obama and members of Congress and George Bush and some other people that want to steal your freedoms, but he did one of the most important things ever. Another wonderful human being is Private Chelsea Manning, who is being rewarded with 35 years in a military prison and has also been given a lot of solitary confinement. Both of those individuals, on day one, would get a full pardon from President Darryl W. Perry. Ross Ulbricht would also get a full pardon.
Reid: Mr. Snowden is like, I believe, the Soviet submarine commander who, during the Cuban crisis did not launch the nuclear missiles when ordered. Snowden is in that vein. He is both a traitor and a hero. He should have quit his job, gotten a Senator on the intelligence committee and spilled the beans. He took the wrong path. We understand what he did, why he did it. I would recommend that he come plead guilty, serve one year in prison and be pardoned. Thank you.
Feldman: If he could be convinced to come to this country and stand a fair trial, I would like Mr. Snowden to come to this country, stand a trial, be judged by a jury of his peers, be found guilty, and be assigned penalty according to the law, and then get a full pardon by President of the United States and join the administration. I think that it is important that we can’t view breaking classified information under all circumstances, as something we’d like to promote. However, clearly, Edward Snowden is a hero and he should be treated as such.
Kerbel: Edward Snowden is brave. He’s a patriot. He’s a hero. And there’s no way he’s going to get a fair trial here in this country. Here’s the point, when it comes to—why is it okay when people can blow whistles against business but when they blow whistles against the establishment, they get in trouble? Does that seem right to any of you? It goes back to Thomas Jefferson. If government is afraid of the people, we have liberty. If people are afraid of government, we have tyranny. Well, ladies and gentlemen, seems to me, according to Edward Snowden and me, we have tyranny.
Phillies: Next question and it will start with Derrick Michael Reid, Social Security, a system which is currently able to pay its way but at some point may run into issues, what is your position on Social Security?
Reid: I read the Constitution. I didn’t find Social Security in there at all. Have any of you? I haven’t. Under our constitution, the federal government has limited powers. States are responsible for social engineering. In my administration, all social programs at the federal level will be transferred unto the states. Instead of having, systemic socialism at the federal level, we would have robust safety nets at the State level. The idea being is that we have a level economy. We have anti-trust under Federal Commerce Clause on one end. We have state safety nets under the other. There should have never been a butter and guns debate of the 1960s. They have bastardized our Constitution by migrating social programs at the federal level by leftist pandering and rightist enabling and it’s going to stop under my administration.
Feldman: There are millions of people who have received promises from Social Security and are dependent on those promises. We have to make sure that we find some way to keep those promises. At the same time, we need to recognize that Social Security is not a legitimate action of government and that we should find ways to get government out on the basis of voluntary choice. One other problem we have in the United States is our terrible student debt problem. The problem with Social Security is that government doesn’t invest those funds. It’s simply a Ponzi scheme, where you take money from the new people and give it to the old people. If we could take Social Security funds and use it for something that actually generates an income such as financing student debt, we could increase Social Security return up to two percent and decrease student debt down to two percent and solve two problems. Thank you.
Kerbel: Social Security is what it is right now. I’ve been investing in the Social Security fund for 37 years. Every job I’ve had, I’ve paid money in. And so, a portion of people’s retirement is counted on by what they already made the investment in Social Security. But, so what we have to do is to get away from that. Now, if we were to immediately privatize that, I don’t know anyone we could trust with three trillion dollars and so we basically have to say, “Okay, at this point, you could simply choose not to invest in Social Security anymore. You can take what you’ve earned and run that off. But you can also begin to invest in something you are in control of.” It needs to be the choice of the people and it’s going to take time for it to work its way through.
Perry: So I do agree that Social Security needs to be privatized but not this weird government-corporate-privatization thing that is happening with prisons and these things that they’re calling charter schools that are still being funded through force. What I would work towards is a system to where everybody over the age of 45 and not yet at retirement age would have the choice: do you want to receive Social Security or do you want a check right now for the amount of money that has been stolen from you and we’ve told you that it’s going into a Social Security fund? One or the other. Either get your money now or you can still collect. Everybody currently receiving would still receive. Everybody under the age of 45, sorry we stole money from you but you’re now in charge of your own retirement.
Phillies: The next question will be on campaigns but it won’t actually be on campaigning. You’re going to go out and be the presidential candidate. And, it is reasonable. I can promise you you will have bunches of people who will want to volunteer, whether you are interested in volunteers or not, some campaigns have and some haven’t. But after the campaign is over, what are you going to do to set up whatever local organization, special interest group, your choice, so that these people who you’ve brought in to Libertarian politics stay active in Libertarian politics? And I will do something different, I will ask a volunteer. Who wants to take this one first?
Perry: I’ll take this one first.
Phillies: Darryl, you may take it first. No one else said anything. Okay Darryl you get it first.
Perry: So what I would encourage volunteers in my campaign to do is instead of me creating another organization, because there so many wonderful liberty organizations that currently exist, I would encourage volunteers to my campaign to get involved with one of the organizations that currently exists. One of the organizations that I’m personally involved with in New Hampshire is the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance that reviews legislation. And the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance is willing to give their software to anybody in any state so that they can create their own liberty alliance. So maybe that’s something that I could encourage volunteers to do, to review bills, testify on legislation to the state legislatures to actually influence a change at the state level.
Phillies: Derrick Michael Reid you are next and then you will get some of the old questions for 30 seconds. Go ahead.
Reid: I am libertarian. I believe in maximum liberties and freedoms. I align philosophically with the Libertarian Party. But I am first and foremost an American. And I seek to unite Americans for common cause for reformation of the federal government. I want the Democrats in there to make sure that there are sufficient safety nets; Republicans in there for fiscal responsibility. There are about ten significant political groups I want to unite as Americans to stand united and plant a Libertarian banner on the White House.
Phillies: And if you will stay there, there will be the questions you weren’t here to get earlier. I’ll give you one minute. Issues that Republicans and Democrats—actually within each of them—will be throwing rocks at each other about: guns and abortion, in either order.
Reid: The abortion issue is a difficult one. It starts with the common law. A life in being was at birth. That’s the starting point. I’m a Christian and I don’t believe in abortion but I follow the law. Now, under equal protection, the Supreme Court could come down and say the third trimester is general equal protection—life is protected—general equal protection protects the first trimester rights to an abortion. Or they could kick it to the state under social engineering prospect.
The guns. With totalitarian socialistic fascism concentrating in D.C., every true American should be packing to defend our liberties and freedom from government.
Phillies: Returning to the question of volunteerism, which I sort of gave you, didn’t I? Yes. But I didn’t give you Dr. Feldman and I will get to you Steve Kerbel next. Volunteers, how do you keep them active after the campaign is over?
Feldman: I’m using a voter relationship management system called Nation Builder. It keeps track of all volunteers and it allows you to divide up the United States into region-states, sub-states. I have ten levels of organization down to a plus four. So, on the one hand, this will facilitate getting people involved, getting them into the system, and learning how to use technology to produce grassroots person-to-person politicking on steroids. This is the way to get things done. At the same time, I would like to see our government get so much smaller and move so much to the private sector that there won’t be a need for people to be getting involved in politics except to be involved at their own private social service organizations to make changes in their own community.
Kerbel: If I’ve done a good enough job motivating volunteers during the campaign, hopefully that excitement will have some residual effects. Of course, I’m going to involve them to be involved in the party. I’m going to suggest that they’re involved in the party. I’m going to suggest that some of them may run for office to help expand our footprint in the future. The way I look at our position for 2016 is all about momentum. Okay? So if we can get the people excited and let them stay excited that momentum’s going to grow. And we’re going to grow in 2016 over what we did in 2012. We’re going to grow in 2020 over what we did in 2016. Keeping the people involved and interested is the key and that’s something that I very much intend to do.
Phillies: Actually I’m going to give you a 30 second question. Once upon a time when I was a young man there was this great rock song, “Bomb, bomb, b-bomb, bomb, bomb, b-bomb.” This is apparently new American foreign policy. The most recent countries we’ve invaded are Mali and Cameroon but if you go back a decade, we also put people into the Philippines and Nepal and most people never knew about it. At 30 seconds, what is your position on the American—on Obama’s Christian Crusade against the Islamic State? That’s a loaded question and I believe the next person to get it will be Steve Kerbel. And we will be in reverse order. So Steve you’ve got 30 seconds.
Kerbel: Well, don’t you think we ought to stop bombing people to begin with? Isn’t that why the world is the way it is today? So, Obama’s Crusade is nothing about Christianity or Islam or anything like that. Obama’s Crusade is all about Obama and government and that’s the problem. The fact is we should not be bombing these people because we wouldn’t be attacked if we weren’t constantly attacking others.
Feldman: In terms of Middle East policy, I would want to start the discussion about Israel. I’m a big supporter of Israel, a friend of Israel, a friend of the Israeli defense forces. I support Israel and I would continue to support Israel as President of the United States with my credit card and my checkbook. However, the appropriate amount of foreign aid for our country to other countries from the standpoint of our government is zero. And I would start that on my first day in office. Foreign aid doesn’t help other countries. The military interventions don’t help. There’s no country in this world that has any conflict because of a lack of influence of the United States. We don’t belong there.
Reid: The first thing we need to determine is did McCain and the CIA create ISIS for the purpose of overthrowing the Assad regime in Syria. We don’t know. But my friends, understand the cultural driver. This is a Christian nation, basically, and we want to help thy neighbor. When we see a brutal regime, we want to help them. And we’re going to go in and help them at gunpoint if necessary. It’s a failed policy because they have not established at the highest level what the redlines are justifying military interventions. We’re going to clean that up and get foreign policy squared. Thank you.
Perry: So, what would I do to deal with the Islamic State? Well, first off, I would stop “accidentally” dropping weapons that can be used in areas that they control. I would stop funding rebels that wind up surrendering their weapons to the Islamic State. I would stop funding governments in the Middle East. I would stop delivering weapons to governments in the Middle East. That means every government in the Middle East; not just one, not just two, but all of them, and not just in the Middle East, but the entire world. And also, it should be noted that Barack Obama is the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to bomb another Nobel Peace Prize winner when he had the hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan bombed.
Phillies: You’re arguing to your fellow Libertarians that you have the executive experience to run a campaign. You’re arguing to the American people that you have the executive experience or know what to do to run the country, or maybe the President doesn’t run the country but does run the executive branch. So what are you going to do to present yourself as credible candidate? And I believe we will start with Darryl Perry and work backwards. So Darryl, you’re in.
Perry: What would I do to portray myself as a credible candidate? Well, I would show my experience of leadership, not just as a small business owner and a member of the board of directors of the local public access television station, but also show leadership going back to every management position that I have held through pretty much every job I’ve ever had. And also that, and this is a bit of a stretch, but going back to high school when I played sports, even though I was not a starter, I was chosen by the team to be a team captain. And you don’t become a team captain unless you’re a leader. And you can be a leader without actually, you know, being one of the guys out there on the field every Friday night. But I do have the leadership and ethos from my work experience and my management experience. Thank you.
Kerbel: For the last twenty years, I’ve been in leadership positions in business. For the last twenty years, I’ve been in leadership positions with family. The thing is, leadership is an important thing you need to be used to having leadership so that you’re comfortable with it. I’ve been doing that for decades. But here’s the thing. Leadership can also come through communication. If you look at good communicators in the past that were effective, they always had charisma, they always had the ability to relate to the common person to get their message across. So all of these things are very very important to become a successful candidate and a successful President.
Feldman: If executive experience on our national level was the most important, then I suppose Hillary Clinton would be our choice for President of the United States. But she’s not, even among many of the Democrats. When we look at the Republican candidates, in terms of government experience, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, my former colleague from Johns Hopkins Dr. Ben Carson, none of them so much have ran for dogcatcher. This is not a time where we’re looking for experience, for name recognition, or fundraising. This is a movement. I don’t want this to be about Marc Allan Feldman. I want this to be about Libertarianism and empowering the individual. Taking power away, both from our government and from the multinational corporations and from the wealthy special interests and let people make decisions for themselves, to control themselves, their property, and their environment, as long as they’re not infringing on the rights of others. Thank you.
Reid: The country needs saving and it needs bold leadership in the executive office. Were it to perfect the plans that I have for the country, save it from ruination, it’s going to require basically three aspects: bold leadership, project engineering methodology coupled with military command and control in a hierarchy of command structure setting up teams for specific tasks at hand. I can build a space shuttle. I know how to do it. I can run the federal government. Thank you.
Phillies: It appears to me lunch is approaching and we’ll be ready in 8 minutes. Therefore, it is time for the final two minute statements. The order of the final two minute statements was determined by a somewhat complicated choose lots process but it has been determined and I have inserted Mr. Reid into the thing at one point. So the first person to give two minutes is Dr. Marc Feldman
Feldman: Thank you Dr. Phillies. Libertarians are different and I’m a different kind of libertarian. I’m not a minarchist or an anarchist, I call myself an intersectional libertarian populist. Because I’m not so much about limiting government, I’m about unlimiting the individual. What I’m looking for is to not to as take power away from both government and corporations and give it to the individual. I am dedicated to one of the most fundamental principles of our organization, if not the fundamental principle, the moral and ethical principle of the non-aggression principle. However, it’s a non-aggression, it’s essentially negative. Although it’s great as a moral and ethical principle, it does not provide a political guide. I propose a positive empowerment principle that every individual should have a maximized power to control themselves, their property, and their environment as long as they’re not infringing on the rights of others. That means both us as individuals. It means blacks for the black community. It means to the lesbian and gay community, and for every community organization; for the Hispanics, trying to get better education. And if that means that they need to support some government program that should be their individual decision. But the power needs to move from the federal government down through the states, through the communities, and back to the individual. That’s where I stand. Thank you.
Perry: So the choice that many of you or some of you may be making in May in Orlando—those of you going to Orlando for the National Convention—the choice that you have is not just between the four people sitting up here that are running for President, but the choice is whether or not you want the Libertarian Party going in the same direction it’s been going for the last several years. Or whether you want the Libertarian Party to once again be the party of principle. The party of principle that individuals have rights, and no person has any more rights than anyone else. No person can delegate a right that they don’t have. Meaning that government cannot legitimately steal things from you. Government cannot force you to do things. And one of the planks that I’m running on is an abolition plank. I want to completely, with all due respect to Mr. Reid, he wants to restore America, I want to abolish the federal government because as long as the federal government exists, you cannot truly be free. As long as someone steals money from you and uses that money to kill people around the globe, you will never have real freedom. Because the federal government through their corporate branches will tell you that “you must be afraid.” And you cannot be free if you’re afraid. You can be free when nobody is threatening you. You can be free when nobody is stealing from you. And you can be free by abolishing the federal government and that’s just one of the planks that I have. I do have some campaign literature on the bar in the middle, feel free to take some. And Darryl W. Perry 2016.
Reid: Societies need control systems in order to prosper. That includes government controls, economic controls, and cultural controls. Without those three interacting, societies devolve into anarchy. I seek to unite all Americans under the Libertarian banner for the purposes of winning in next November for restoring Americana greatness. While I do have a libertarian bent to me and would oversee such reformation of maximum liberties from government, I want to unite the country for common cause. The country needs savings. I offer the Libertarian Party an opportunity to stand up and save the country. Thank you.
Kerbel: So why after all these years don’t we have major party status? It wasn’t because we haven’t been working hard. It wasn’t because we’re not dedicated and risk taking. There is a break in communication between us and the rest of the country. We are—we have been a party of policy for 40 years. My view is we need to take the Libertarian Party from theory to practice. Now how do we do that? I talked about communication. Communication is crucial, but when we’re communicating with each other, as I said, we’re at the finish line. We’ve got to get the interest of the rest of America that’s still at the starting gate. So how do we do that? We need to build a bridge between where we are today and where we want to go because people are going to say, “Oh you guys are just fantasizing. Oh that’s crazy. How are you going to do that?” Well here’s how. We build a roadmap from where we are today to where we’re gonna go, and then, that first step is going to be a whole lot more palatable to the rest of America than the final result because they haven’t been talking about this for 40 years. So that’s my goal. If you look at my website you’ll see a page called Road to Reform. The point of that is to show Americans the first step to go where we want to go and why we want to get there. So I encourage you to get to know what I am talking about because what I’m talking about is a good method of communication to connect us with the Americans so that not only do they know we exist, they also know what we stand for, and they realize they are part of us. Thank you.
Phillies: I’m George Phillies, chairman of the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts. I extend greetings from Libertarians of Massachusetts to our fellow Libertarians across America, Libertarians around the world, all Americans, all people around the world. I hope you have enjoyed this debate. You’ve had the chance to hear about a political party, a party that actually exists in many other countries that many of you will never have heard of. A party that stands for smaller no-government, lower no-taxes, social freedom, personal freedom, economic freedom. For those of you in some other parts of the world, we are a classic Libertarian Party, Partido Libertario or the Partido Liberal, and I hope you consider the Libertarian message and what it can do for you and your town and your state and your country no matter where you are. So Greetings from Massachusetts and thank you very much. And please thank our candidates.