Presidential Endorsement: Ewok for McAfee

Libertarian presidential aspirant John McAfee has been endorsed by an Ewok. No, not one of the little fuzzy creatures from Return of the Jedi — one of the big fuzzy creatures from The History Channel’s  Appalachian Outlaws. On his Facebook page, Chris “Ewok” Carswell, one of the ginseng hunters featured in the “reality TV” show, writes

I am making an official endorsement of a presidential candidate. This man was born in Norton Virginia. He is a true Appalachian Outlaw. He is not running as a Republican nor Democrat. He is running as a Libertarian.

… then goes on to share some of McAfee’s political platform.

For those unfamiliar with the show, here’s “Ewok” in action:

120 thoughts on “Presidential Endorsement: Ewok for McAfee

  1. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Commenting to subscribe.

    And to wonder what the impact of “reality TV star” endorsements is.

    I know they’re a big enough deal in the major parties that “mainstream media” has mentioned the split in the “Duck Dynasty” family over Trump v. Cruz on the GOP side.

    Is it just a sort of “well, that’s some publicity” impact, or do these celebrities (of varying stature, obviously) bring their fans in behind them when they go political?

  2. Shivany Lane

    W00t!!! Go John you Appalachian Outlaw you. He wouldn’t be afraid of no devil worshipping Voodoo ritual shit either!!!

    Bout time the White House has a real American in it.

  3. Stewart Flood

    This is celebrity? You have to be kidding. I am so glad that I don’t watch reality TV.

    He says, among other things that he supports McAfee for wanting higher taxes on “rich people”. This is a Libertarian position? I don’t see it.

  4. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Stewart,

    I report, you decide 🙂

    “Celebrity” has always been a relative thing, but even more so these days when cable has become competitive with the old network lineups in many areas (and clearly has the “reality TV” market cornered).

    At one time, if you were not on ABC, NBC or CBS, nobody knew or cared how you were. Now there are lots and lots of niche followings, and one of those niche followings tends toward rural/wilderness adventure shows. My impression is that within that niche, Carswell is at least moderately well-known.

    The LP nominated a candidate who claimed to want higher taxes on rich people last time, and that same candidate is in the running and apparently doing fairly well this time on the same tax platform, so I’m really not seeing how that would automatically exclude any of his opponents.

  5. Shivany Lane

    John David McAfee was born in the UK while his father was in the Service.
    He was born on American soil, technically, to an American father and a British mother.

    Unlike Ted Cruz whose mother not only was not in Canada working for any branch of the USA services, she also, I believe, was going to become a Canadian citizen. Ted Cruz only gave up his Canadian citizenship 15 months ago.

    I can’t remember what age he was when they moved back to America but I do remember he was young.

    Didn’t I see a video here that there were 10 kinds of Libertarians?
    I really would like a transcript of that. Because while I realize that the Libertarians are against taxes of any kind. Are there not some of you who agree that the tax system will need to be transitioned out and why not make the wealthy pay the rates they paid when Reagan and Clinton were in office? They find loopholes anyway and offshore their money. Look at Apple or worse, GE.

    The “Ban Hammer” must move at a reasonable pace.

  6. Stewart Flood

    I just said that I was glad I didn’t watch reality TV. 🙂

    I did not say that he was not eligible to run for President, just that he was not born in the US. Several “recent” candidates (most notably Goldwater and McCain) were born outside of the US. Goldwater was born in a territory, while McCain was born while his father was serving in Panama, but that was on soil that was considered at the time to be US “territory”.

    I watched the video. That is reality TV? That is so obviously staged that it isn’t even funny. They are actors, pretending to be idiots. Of course they could actually be idiot actors…

    Or they could just be potential politicians. More than half of the candidates who are democrats and republicans are actors anyway…

  7. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    I haven’t seen enough of Appalachian Outlaws to assess it as TV. I generally don’t care much for “reality TV” because so much of it is so obviously staged. Every episode has a story arc that’s the same as any show that isn’t claiming to be “reality.” There’s some adventure or goal. There’s a minor setback. Then there’s a major setback (and someone always, always ALWAYS says “if [whatever], we’re screwed”). Then they accomplish the goal. Every once in awhile they’ll mix it up with an episode fail or a cliffhanger, but the formula is clearly there in most “reality” shows.

    But I do like some of it. Ink Master. American Pickers. Pawn Stars. To each their own. So far as I can tell, this show and this cast member DO have some kind of following, so the endorsement is “news.” Minor news? Major news? I’d say more the former. But worth a note.

  8. Andy Craig

    “He was born on American soil, technically,”

    It isn’t relevant because he’s a citizen by way of his father, but this isn’t how military bases and the like work. They aren’t “technically American soil,” and simply being born on one doesn’t confer citizenship like being born in American territory does. Rather the host nation agrees to allow limited immunity from local laws, and grants limited application of the home-nation laws. Ditto for embassies.

    “McCain was born while his father was serving in Panama, but that was on soil that was considered at the time to be US “territory”.”

    Same thing goes here. The Canal Zone always remained, ultimately, Panamanian, not American territory, a la Guantanamo Bay. Panamanians born in it did not automatically acquire US citizenship, even though it was in most respects governed by the U.S. as if it was an American territory. McCain is a citizen because his parents were citizens, he could have been born in Gambia or on the Moon. I think it was very silly of the Senate to even dignify claims he wasn’t eligible by refuting them.

  9. Andy Craig

    “The LP nominated a candidate who claimed to want higher taxes on rich people last time…”

    No. He conceded that the rich should be taxed “more than the poor”, not more than they are now, and defended the idea that his plan would have that effect (which, it would) as opposed to taxing the poor more than rich. At no point did he say he actually wants to raise taxes on anybody from what they pay now. I know many Ls seem to think any sort of discussion of tax reform policy is the devil’s work, but what Gary’s said on it is a pretty far cry from this stuff from McAfee:

    -Firstly, we see it as unacceptable that many of the world’s largest corporations pay little to no taxes. The system, as it exists today, favors the ultra-rich. Why should someone living at or under the poverty line be taxed at a higher rate than a multi-billion dollar corporation? [Gary Johnson wants to abolish corporate taxation altogether, and is pretty emphatic about that, it being a double-tax, economically destructive, the insanely high US rate putting us at a competitive disadvantage, etc. ]

    -Tax exemptions and credits were created to offer benefits to corporations that create U.S. Jobs, and bolster the U.S. economy. We will look to return that arrangement. Corporations that move jobs to China or Mexico, or anywhere outside of the U.S. will no longer receive preferential treatment. Rather these corporations will pay a much higher rate than those who operate and create jobs within the U.S. We will have to get creative, and look at these corporations on a case-by-case basis. [Some sort of protectionist tax on ‘outsourcing’? Sparse on details or plausiblity but whatever it is, is nothing like what Johnson has ever said. Johnson doesn’t bash free trade or promise to save us from the supposed evil of cheap goods produced overseas]

  10. Richard Winger

    John McCain was not born in the Panama Canal Zone. He was born inside Panama, in the town of Colon. Colon is at the north end of the Panama Canal. The US Canal Zone never included Colon. Colon was almost entirely surrounded by the Canal Zone. It was linked to the rest of Panama by a corridor so thin that it was just the width of the road. The U.S. did not want Colon inside the Canal Zone.

    Colon had the only hospital in the northern part of the canal area. The Canal Zone had its own hospital in Balboa, but that was at the south end of the canal, 50 miles away from where the birth was happening, so McCain’s mother went to the Colon Hospital.

  11. Robert Capozzi

    sl: Because while I realize that the Libertarians are against taxes of any kind.

    me: Not correct. Some Ls take this view. Others would believe lower taxes is makes more sense. The LP platform does not call for abolition of all taxes.

    sl: Are there not some of you who agree that the tax system will need to be transitioned out and why not make the wealthy pay the rates they paid when Reagan and Clinton were in office? They find loopholes anyway and offshore their money. Look at Apple or worse, GE.

    me: In many ways, we are all paying higher taxes since government spending has increased dramatically since Reagan and Clinton. Income taxes have generally fallen increasingly on the top quintile relative to the first four quintiles. All taxes still fall mostly on the top earners.

    Aside from L who advocate abolition of all taxes, you will see a wide range of positions on what the relatively appropriate tax base should be and what rates should be in place. Generally, most non-abolitionist Ls favor the lower rates and a straightforward base, with fewer or no loopholes. (Abolitionist Ls often want more loopholes.)

    I suspect most Ls oppose corporate taxes, which is a hidden tax on consumers and individual investors. Personally, it seems appropriate to have some incorporation fees but not taxes.

  12. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    “Tom, when and in what context did Gary Johnson say that the rich should be taxed more?”

    When he endorsed the “Fair” Tax. The “Fair” Tax is a “progressive” tax that taxes the rich more than the poor (especially when you add its universal government welfare program the mix). You can’t endorse it without endorsing what it DOES.

  13. Robert Capozzi

    tk, are you being disingenuous on purpose, or by mistake?

    Any tax except maybe a poll tax involves the rich paying more taxes than the poor.

  14. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Bob,

    “are you being disingenuous on purpose, or by mistake?”

    Neither.

    The creators and proponents of the “Fair” Tax BRAG that the “Fair” Tax is “progressive” and taxes the rich more than the poor. They consider that a feature, not a bug.

    If you support the “Fair” Tax, you support taxing the rich more and the poor less. It’s just that simple.

    I’m not the one who complained about McAfee supporting taxing the rich more. Nor am I the one who claimed that that is not a Libertarian position. That was Stewart. I was just pointing out that it’s Johnson’s position too.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    tk, you sound evasive to me.

    The rich pay “more” than the poor now. When we use the word “more” in this context, most would take that to mean “even more.” Further, it almost always means increasing marginal income tax rates. Progressives, for ex., point to 80% top marginal tax rates in the Eisenhower years as something to aspire to.

    Like I said, the rich always pay “more” in taxes, whether it’s the FAIR tax, real estate taxes, FICA, or income taxes. This we already know. FICA is the closest to “regressive” since it is capped.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Hmm. I’m using both the plain definition (more = more) and the usual definition (“progressive” = higher rate for the wealthy). You’re dissembling. But I’m the one who’s evasive.

    Can’t say I blame you. You’re probably sweating out the question of whether or not anyone will call you out on your claim that “[t]he LP platform does not call for abolition of all taxes” and note that it did, until you and your fellow “Reform” wreckers mangled it beyond recognition, and that even today it comes pretty damn close.

  17. Robert Capozzi

    TK, as you know, I think the FAIR tax is not the way to go. But the rates level out quite quickly after the pre-bate. It’s nowhere’s near as graduated at the Y tax under Ike. It might even be less graduated than the current tax system, but we can’t know since we don’t know how consumption patterns might shift were the FAIR tax to be adopted.

    Glad to see we agree that the LP Platform doesn’t advocate tax abolition.

    Some say that disruption is healthy. And that the truth shall set you free!

    My sense is that the truth is that most Ls don’t want to abolish ALL taxes, only some do. Many would like to abolish SOME taxes. It seems odd that the party was at odds with the membership’s views.

    You call that “wrecking,” I call that “progress.” 😉

  18. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Bob,

    Actually, the LP platform does advocate the abolition of taxation, since the Statement of Principles is part of the platform. But yes, you did manage to get the individual policy planks to implicitly repudiate the SoP. So congratulations, I guess.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    tk, the SoP doesn’t mention taxes. It makes grandly grandiose statements about the nature of man and state, and alludes to a cult that is not there, as you know.

    iirc, in Portland, most planks were deleted and replaced with nothing. I didn’t walk in to the hall with that as my intention, though others may have.

    I’m also not a fan of the current platform, but it was the best language that could be cobbled together. It passed in 08, as I recall. Attempts were made to re-institute the abolitionist anarchist language of year’s past, and those efforts failed. Some have the audacity to challenge the Unanimous 89 of ’72…them’s the breaks.

    I sit and watch as tears go by.

  20. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Bob,

    No problem. Whatever gets you through the night.

    Anyway, while I don’t like McAfee’s tax proposal (if for no other reason than that is completely absent any real detail), I’m not measuring McAfee against my preferred standard (no involuntary taxes, or at LEAST the LP tradition of 1996-2008 — “repeal the income tax and replace it with nothing”). I’m measuring McAfee against the current LP standard.

  21. ATBAFT

    “alludes to a cult that is not there, as you know.”

    As I recall, forty years ago this referred to those voters who turned to the government first in order to solve any and all problems because they had faith the government was both all powerful and all good.
    If anything, this “cult” has only grown in size since then.

  22. Robert Capozzi

    around: voters who turned to the government first in order to solve any and all problems

    me: Can’t say I have ever met a person who fits this definition. All? No. Many? Yes.

  23. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Tom,

    ==Actually, the LP platform does advocate the abolition of taxation, since the Statement of Principles is part of the platform. ==

    And you are absolutely correct. I have gotten less concerned about the Platform because the SoP is primary not the other way around. Not that I wouldn’t be happy with a more solidly abolitionist platform, but the SoP is the thorn in the side of the pillagers.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    cah: And you are absolutely correct.

    me: And yet the words “tax” or “taxation” don’t appear in the SoP. Or did I miss something.

    cah: pillagers.

    me: THE funniest thing I read in at least months. It feels like the Opus Dei of the LP, maintaining the One True Way, which the unwashed vandals who don’t understand the secret daVinci Codes embedded in the SoP, are stealing the Shroud of Turin from the Vatican. Or perhaps L. Ron Hubbard branding those who don’t buy into all of the teachings of Scientology as “SPs” — a suppressive person.

    Politics should be an invitation, a means to persuade, not a witch hunt to expose the impure.

  25. ATBAFT

    “Can’t say I have ever met a person who fits this definition.”

    You might need to get out a bit more. Just check “Reason Hit & Run” everyday to find plenty of examples of people who feel this way. Oh, maybe not to run their own life, but certainly to run everyone else’s life.

  26. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Here’s the thing I find odd:

    For ten years and over the course of two presidential elections, the pillagers have had their way entirely with both the platform and the choice of presidential candidates.

    Although I would not agree with the argument “you just haven’t given us our way on everything for LONG enough — our ideas will start working … someday,” I could at least understand why they’d go that way.

    But instead, now it’s the statement of principles holding the party back and stopping the LP from loadin’ up the truck and moving to Beverly, Hills that is, swimming pools, movie stars, etc.

    And if they get their way on the statement of principles, then it will be that the candidates aren’t wearing the right color tie and that they should switch to wingtip shoes.

    And if wingtips and power ties don’t do the trick, then the problem will be that the candidates don’t stand on one leg and whistle for good luck before press conferences.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    around: Just check “Reason Hit & Run” everyday to find plenty of examples of people who feel this way.

    me: I have. Never seen one person who wants an all-powerful government. I’ve seen and known lots of people who are more-archists. More is different from all.

  28. Robert Capozzi

    tk: the pillagers have had their way entirely with both the platform and the choice of presidential candidates.

    me: Let me help you, then. The pillagers don’t like the platform, either. It’s a cut and paste job of mostly previously approved language from past platforms. So, your premise is incorrect. I suspect many of the pillagers wanted Ron Paul, not Bob Barr, so you are probably incorrect there as well. Other pillagers had the poor judgment to want Root. Also incorrect assumption on your part.

    tk: Although I would not agree with the argument “you just haven’t given us our way on everything for LONG enough — our ideas will start working … someday,” I could at least understand why they’d go that way.

    me: GIGO.

    tk: But instead, now it’s the statement of principles holding the party back and stopping the LP from loadin’ up the truck and moving to Beverly, Hills that is, swimming pools, movie stars, etc.

    me: If you count me as a pillager, I can tell you that I was advocating in the Reform Caucus 06 discussions to deep six at least the CotOS language as it’s patently insane, Unabomber rhetoric. I’m big on building on rock not sand. Most of the Reformers felt that the 7/8ths booby trap was insurmountable. Milsted liked the CotOS language.

    Truth. Free.

    tk: And if they get their way on the statement of principles, then it will be that the candidates aren’t wearing the right color tie and that they should switch to wingtip shoes.

    me: Projection. If the LP doesn’t pick the candidate with a gun to his head, who’s shacked up with his former sex worker, and who advocates massive public works programs, the damage of the pillagers will not be repaired…is that how this works? 😉

  29. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    “If the LP doesn’t pick the candidate with a gun to his head, who’s shacked up with his former sex worker, and who advocates massive public works programs, the damage of the pillagers will not be repaired … is that how this works?”

    You’re the third person I’ve run into today who seems to have somehow come under the bizarre impression that I’m a McAfee supporter. What’s up with that?

  30. langa

    It seems odd that the party was at odds with the membership’s views.

    So, let me see if I follow. You’re saying that the party’s platform should reflect the views of the majority of its members. Correct?

    Going by that same logic, if Trump loses the GOP primary, and decides he wants to pack the LP with his followers, then in addition to nominating him (which, of course, would be a fait accompli), the LP should also alter its platform, so that it would reflect the views of the Trump supporters (who would now be a majority)? Is that your position — that the LP should simply be an empty vessel, perpetually ripe for a hostile takeover?

  31. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Tom,

    ==But instead, now it’s the statement of principles holding the party back and stopping the LP from loadin’ up the truck and moving to Beverly, Hills that is, swimming pools, movie stars, etc.==

    Yep. And then after that, it will be something else. I have to admit I enjoy seeing the SoP frothing though. I don’t feel bad in the slightest for pillagers.

  32. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Things than make you go hmmm.

    ==People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. ==

    ==all political parties other than our own grant to government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.==

    :rollseyes:

    Nope. Nothing about taxation.

    And I have an inventory of bridges.

  33. Thane Eichenauer

    Knapp > You’re the third person I’ve run into today who seems to have somehow come under the bizarre impression that I’m a McAfee supporter. What’s up with that?

    Must be a Master Persuader dabbling with the commentariat.

  34. Thane Eichenauer

    Either that or McAfee’s facial hair subliminally “I can command Ewoks! You want me to command you.” That plus Thomas L. Knapp will be the go to guy when McAfee gets to 32% in the general election polls.

    PLUS, your cover photo at http://knappster.blogspot.com just screams “I had a McAfee-esque beard before it was cool.” Some people probably think you ARE John Mcafee. Don’t ask people to be rational, Scott COUGH says they feel first and rationalize.

  35. Robert Capozzi

    cah: Nope. Nothing about taxation.

    me: Those are general statements. When many/most non-Ls and Ls read those sentences, they might well agree as a general matter. At this stage, most assume a government to provide at least baseline peacekeeping mechanisms, and taxes to fund those mechanisms.

    Yes, one could read those words to be a call to smash the State, too. Literalistic “logic” has its limitations when we are dealing with the social sciences and language, which involves a raft of assumptions, definitions, knowledge bases, and perceptions.

    In a somewhat related development, I see that Somalia tied N. Korea as the most corrupt nation on Earth. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/01/26/world/ap-world-corruption.html?_r=0

    Unqualified Anarchism has a sustainability problem. This is no surprise for those who are paying attention.

    L: hostile takeover.

    me: Yes, I recall that MNR was obsessed with the threat hostile takeovers, too. Seems paranoid, but booby trapping the SoP will not stop a hostile takeover, anyway, if one were to be launched, which hasn’t happened in 44 years. If Trump or Bloomberg wanted to they could just do it and simply ignore the SoP, as probably most current Ls in the LP do, anyway.

    There are many other ways to maintain some continuity in the larger purpose of a L party. Off the top of my head, convention attendance could be restricted to members in good standing for say a year or even two.

    Booby trapping insane language in perpetuity, however, seems like a bad idea to me.

    tk: Must be a Master Persuader dabbling with the commentariat.

    me: I seem to recall you were talking him up when McAfee announced his Cyber Party, suggesting he move to the LP. I also recall your saying you want to see his revised platform, which he has indicated will delete his many plumbline violations. And that you are still supporting NOTA, but that McAfee might be your second choice.

    Generally, I perceive that you have defended McAfee as a L candidate pretty darned consistently.

    Is that unfair? What have I missed?

  36. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    —–
    tk: Must be a Master Persuader dabbling with the commentariat.

    me: I seem to recall you were talking him up when McAfee announced his Cyber Party, suggesting he move to the LP. I also recall your saying you want to see his revised platform, which he has indicated will delete his many plumbline violations. And that you are still supporting NOTA, but that McAfee might be your second choice.

    Generally, I perceive that you have defended McAfee as a L candidate pretty darned consistently.

    Is that unfair? What have I missed?
    —–

    Well, let’s see:

    The first thing you missed is that the statement you attribute to “tk” above was made by someone other than me and that that someone does not have the initials “tk.”

    The second thing you missed is that I’ve never talked or corresponded with him, so I have no way of knowing whether he plans to revise his platform (I heard that at third hand and said so at the time).

    The third thing you’ve missed is that McAfee would be, at best, my third choice.

    The fourth thing you missed is that I’ve never “defended him as an L candidate.” I’ve suggested that he should consider becoming one, and then I’ve suggested that he should consider becoming a good one.

  37. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And more LOL- specfic statements in a specfic context in which we know was opposition to coercive taxation are “general”– even though they are quite specfic and interpreted that way by ohh… I dunno … it’s authors and the party for decades. And an artistic flourish is “literal.” Okay Mr. Clinton. No one should be forced to give up their property or the fruits of their labour*

    *except if we really really need it SoP 2.0

  38. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    cah: Nope. Nothing about taxation.

    RC: Those are general statements.

    Bob,

    So it’s OK to steal my TV, right? The statute criminalizing theft doesn’t mention TVs, after all.

  39. Robert Capozzi

    cah, are you British or Canadian, btw? Labour?

    I don’t dispute that SOME Ls have and do advocate zero taxation. (I do, too, in the sense that I support Harlos Nonarchy Pods.) I suspect that most would read the current plank as NOT advocating zero taxation. This is particularly so since its last sentence reads: “We support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes.”

    “Not by raising” implies probably for most that taxes will continue to fund constitutional government.

    Of course, anyone who knows how the current platform came about will take it with a grain of salt, anyway. Just as anyone (except the die-hardest plumbliners) would take the SoP with a grain of salt given how few approved it and booby trapped it to ensure its “legacy.”

    ____________

    tk, sorry wrong cite, and I didn’t get my recollection of the facts quite right. McAfee: third choice potentially. OK. Got it.

    It seems your ability to overlook stuff about stylistic outlaws is much greater than for non-outlaws.

  40. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    “It seems your ability to overlook stuff about stylistic outlaws is much greater than for non-outlaws.”

    OK, I’ll bite. What am I “overlooking” about McAfee that I am not about anyone else?

  41. Caryn Ann Harlos

    The ridiculous twisting that people will go to to parse out the SoP amuses me. The forthright pillagers conceded it was what it is.

    Let’s see. The prohibition of the initiation of force as applied to the tax situation.

    I don’t pay tax for state protection.

    State forces me to pay tax.

    Was I an aggressor for refusing to pay tax?

    If no, then under SoP there is no right of state to coercively tax.

    If yes… Wait ….yes is impossible under SoP which states that no people should be forced to give up their lives or property for the benefit of others unless one is going to argue that there is a positive right to paid defense that I legitimately owe in some kind of presumed contract. Which is utterly foreign to the SoP.

    Love the wailing and gnashing of teeth over its genesis. Which is a different topic than what it says.

    (And the current platform is translational by nature – the preamble states that the planks are not the goal). Why? Easy. Those planks would fail review of SoP compliance if not for the preamble.

  42. Chuck Moulton

    Tom Knapp wrote:

    You’re probably sweating out the question of whether or not anyone will call you out on your claim that “[t]he LP platform does not call for abolition of all taxes” and note that it did, until you and your fellow “Reform” wreckers mangled it beyond recognition, and that even today it comes pretty damn close.

    Robert Capozzi wrote:

    iirc, in Portland, most planks were deleted and replaced with nothing. I didn’t walk in to the hall with that as my intention, though others may have.

    I did.

    Well, I didn’t think most of the planks would be deleted and replaced with nothing. But I did come to Portland hoping to delete or amend the abolitionist taxation plank, because it was cited (along with the pledge) as the biggest impediment for moderate libertarians embracing the LP. I favor direction, not destination.

    In fact, I wagered $50 with my boss at Cato (the intern coordinator when I interned there) that I could change the abolitionist taxation plank at the Portland convention. I won the bet. Paulie met him when we stopped in Gainesville for lunch and a Neil Boortz book signing as I was giving him a ride to the Orlando state chairs conference in 2007. (No, I am not a fan of Boortz at all.)

  43. Caryn Ann Harlos

    “Moderate” sounds so demeaning. Almost as if you are saying they are less libertarian or something.

    And putting in hints at unlibertarian support for taxation has driven away the not-moderate base — the ones who will not continually push the Party to more statism making it functionally irrelevant. As it has grown even increasingly moreso. And will continue to do so as long as it thirsts after coercive solutions that are better served by a major party who actually can win now. We are worse off now than ever. Yet more “moderate” than ever. That doesn’t appear to be working out. And bleeding activists. Yes there are some moderates who will not tolerate a consistent libertarian end-game statement. But many who would. And yes there are some radicals who tolerate lukewarm statements (particularly because the SoP is intact— I am in that group), But many will not— and every more general liberty event in CO I run into them… former board members, former LP activists, who just couldn’t take the mixed signal wishy washy skirt-hiking ineffectiveness of the present LP and moved on. And bleeding radicals I submit harms us far more. But hey, congratulations on the destruction. Count me in as one who will always be working to have the platform back to our abolitionist roots. And of course, the SoP remains, and no matter what vague weak-bladdered posturing the platform does, it speaks. The principles keep me here. If the “moderates” had their way… they would gut it all, effectively driving out all but moderates, and congratulating themselves on their roomy big tent that oddly enough, pretty much only contains them. Until subsumed by a major party or factored into moderate moderates and radical moderates.

    And I actually am not hostile to the current Platform. Imagine if I were. I find much of the language quite inspiring, and there is a some very good word-smithing in it. I find it too vague, but what it does say specifically libertarian, it says it very well and solidly. On the LPRC platcomm, I am often advocating for us using the very good parts of the present Platform… some of the wording is impressively solid, and I am a fan.

  44. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Chuck,

    So you’ve had 8-10 years for the moderates who were scared off by the abolitionist tax plank to notice it’s gone and come flooding into the LP.

    Um …. where are they?

  45. Chuck Moulton

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    And putting in hints at unlibertarian support for taxation has driven away the not-moderate base

    Yep, and I opposed that language too.

    As long as both radicals and moderates insist on destinational platform language, the circular firing squad will continue. Radicals and moderates can’t co-exist with destinational language: it necessarily alienates one or the other group (or both).

    I hope Robert Capozzi brings back the Rodney King caucus: “Can’t we all just get along?!”

  46. Chuck Moulton

    Tom Knapp wrote:

    So you’ve had 8-10 years for the moderates who were scared off by the abolitionist tax plank to notice it’s gone and come flooding into the LP.

    Um …. where are they?

    You’re confusing a necessary condition with a sufficient condition. I’ve seen overwhelming anecdotal evidence the tax plank and the pledge were the former, not the latter. I don’t believe in silver bullets.

    Even if my comment from a few minutes ago were misinterpreted as articulating an exhaustive list of sufficient conditions, we’ve still had the pledge for 8-10 years.

  47. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Chuck,

    ==Yep, and I opposed that language too.==

    Thank you for that.

    ==As long as both radicals and moderates insist on destinational platform language, the circular firing squad will continue.===

    No. Because hiding the ball doesn’t work. Principles in themselves give the destination. Not stating them doesn’t do anything but make a muddy mess. And those who can hear the principles see the snow job. And the SoP is destinational. And it isn’t going anywhere.

    == Radicals and moderates can’t co-exist with destinational language: it necessarily alienates one or the other group (or both).==

    Already there. In the SoP.

    Directional ideas belong in strategy statements not in ideological statements, which platforms are. Unless we went back to the old principle-transition format which was unwieldy, but philosophically, I had no problem with.

    Because the destination is always there. We can either be honest about it or not.

  48. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And I would add that inherently radical destinational language is inherently *more* inclusive. Because all the steps in between are subsumed. Someone can get off the path anytime they wish when they had enough. This isn’t the Hotel California after all.

  49. Caryn Ann Harlos

    ==Even if my comment from a few minutes ago were misinterpreted as articulating an exhaustive list of sufficient conditions, we’ve still had the pledge for 8-10 years.==

    That moderates have been agreeing to for even longer. And is contained in the SoP (that is, the NAP).

    There already is a place for these moderates who won’t disavow aggression. It’s called the Tea Party.

  50. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Tom,

    ==So you’ve had 8-10 years for the moderates who were scared off by the abolitionist tax plank to notice it’s gone and come flooding into the LP.

    Um …. where are they?===

    Shhhh…. you know it’s always “just one more concession and then they will like us! They will really really like us!

  51. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Chuck,

    Well, as you know, I support getting rid of the pledge because I am more than happy to share the party with non-anarchists.

    I’m somewhat less positive about getting rid of tax abolitionism, because voluntary taxation through “user fees” and such works with minarchism and even has a certain amount of mainstream testing and support.

    My impression was that you were going a bit silver bullet there. Glad to see I was mistaken.

    But there’s also a “necessary but not sufficient” slippery slope to watch out for.

    Back in the old, old, OLD days — pre-Bill-Clinton, IIRC — I recall listening to Rush Limbaugh make fun of the case for continuing/increasing sanctions on South Africa. He described that case as “we need to do more of it because it’s NOT WORKING.”

    That’s the slippery slope that bothers me with the LP.

    Every time the “moderates” get the concessions they claim fix things that are holding back the LP, and it turns out that the LP doesn’t advance, the response is never “oh, well, that didn’t work, I guess we were wrong.”

    It’s always “oh, well, that didn’t work, so we should keep doing it and do more of it.”

    In my opinion, the factors holding back the LP have little if anything to do with the pledge, the Statement of Principles or the platform.

    Other third parties are in the same position as we are despite their platforms, etc. being drastically different.

    The factors holding us back are more externally environmental than internally political or philosophical.

    That’s not to say that the latter COULDN’T hold us back. But I’ve seen no evidence that they ARE holding us back.

    And they’re important. Purposes and goals underlie everything. If we’re just going to change our purposes and goals willy-nilly in search of “success,” then we’re doing it backward and what we’re doing is no more important than a football game or a beauty contest. We’re incorrectly defining “success.” Real success is achieving your goals.

  52. Green_W/O/A

    One of the problems with tax abolitionism is it seems impossible to square it with a commitment to addressing the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of the few. Tax abolitionism seems to signal the LP’s commitment to preserve the existing privileges of the elite. Given that the current corruption of our institutions and economic/political life seems so closely tied to the concentration of power in the hands of the few, abolishing taxation appears to be a program that moves us closer to neo-feudal economic/political relationships and farther from equal liberty.

    Even if somehow government was abolished and government services became non-coercive or voluntary, it would still be necessary for there to be “taxes” or “dues” to keep essential public services going. All religions have tithes, just as all states have taxes. Realistically, there are 2 things we simply cannot escape–death and taxes.

    Practically speaking, if we want a society where people rule themselves, have the opportunity to work for themselves and start small businesses, and where self-ownership flourishes (eg if we want to rollback neo-liberalism and the accompanying concentration of wealth/ownership in the hands of the few), then there has to be some mechanism for a transfer of wealth/capital from the hands of elites into the hands of people. Wealth taxation is the most obvious mechanism, unless you are proposing that people seize the wealth of the rich or expropriate them. I personally favor a tax on existing concentrated capital/wealth that is used to create public banks that invest in (community-friendly) cooperatives and small business. Which means I’m at odds with the LP.

    Sure, taxation and/or redistribution may not be the only way to solve the inequality problem. But the problem with the LP is there doesn’t seem to be any program at all for addressing inequality. Worse, there seems to be an assumption that inequality is simply not a problem. Or worse yet, that egalitarianism is some kind of social disease (the idea that people seriously think this shows how alienated from the natural world Western people are these days). The roots of this can be traced back to the false distinction between economics and politics implicit in neo-liberal doctrine. In reality, economic power and political power cannot be cleanly separated and concentration of economic power in the hands of the few almost always goes along with concentration of political power in the hands of the few.

    So imho tax abolitionism and the NAP (which people interpret as favoring tax abolitionism) seem to demonstrate that the LP is more devoted to the idea of “rule by bosses” than the idea of “equal liberty”.

  53. Chuck Moulton

    Green w/o Adjectives wrote:

    But the problem with the LP is there doesn’t seem to be any program at all for addressing inequality. Worse, there seems to be an assumption that inequality is simply not a problem.

    Inequality isn’t a problem.

    Poverty is a problem.

    People who focus on inequality suffer from envy. For some reason they believe relative wealth is more important than absolute wealth. I, for one, would rather be poor in a rich country than average in a poor, equal country. Go live in a socialist country like Cuba if you really like equality of outcome.

    More importantly, people who focus on inequality usually have no understanding whatsoever of basic economics. Wealth is not a fixed pie. The wealthy did not (necessarily) get their wealth by exploiting anyone or taking from the poor; (unless they used the force of government) they got it by voluntary trade: providing a service to others. Someone else doing well does not hurt me at all. They grow the pie. Progressives want to shrink the pie by taking from creators and entrepreneurs, disincentivizing behavior that makes everyone better off (providing goods and services people want).

    I’ll have no part of that. If you want to drag down everyone else so they’ll be as poor as the poorest Cuban in the name of equality, you’ll find no allies in libertarians.

  54. Robert Capozzi

    tk: Every time the “moderates” get the concessions they claim fix things that are holding back the LP, and it turns out that the LP doesn’t advance, the response is never “oh, well, that didn’t work, I guess we were wrong.”

    me: False. I don’t believe moderates got what they wanted at all. First, most of the platform was gutted. Next, seeing the intense pushback they got from the plumbliners, the cut-and-paste platform was the only thing that seemed to fly with all concerned, more or less. The CotOS language remains. The SoP remains. The Pledge remains.

    In short, the kluge of an outcome was not something anyone wanted, near as I can tell.

    As I saw the intractable nature of the NAP-as-sacrament problem, I decided that as long as 1/8th of the membership would protect it, there really is no real reform. Yes, the SoP can be ignored, but because it’s booby trapped, any lessarchist political movement is basically unwelcome in the LP. That sets the foundation as an impediment to success.

    tk: Other third parties are in the same position as we are despite their platforms, etc. being drastically different.

    me: Except the nation is increasingly ready for a lessarchist message. The message from other third parties are unpopular and unripe.

    It’s tragic that ’16 will likely see the 2 weakest R/D candidates, and odds are high that the L candidate will be largely unheard.

  55. Green_W/O/A

    “More importantly, people who focus on inequality usually have no understanding whatsoever of basic economics. Wealth is not a fixed pie. The wealthy did not (necessarily) get their wealth by exploiting anyone or taking from the poor; (unless they used the force of government) they got it by voluntary trade: providing a service to others. Someone else doing well does not hurt me at all. They grow the pie. Progressives want to shrink the pie by taking from creators and entrepreneurs, disincentivizing behavior that makes everyone better off (providing goods and services people want).”

    The ideology is strong with this one.

    The basic problem with concentrated wealth and power is that those who obtain it will use government to maintain it. If concentrated wealth and power is combined with the capitalist mode of production, then the general tendency is for wealth to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. What this adds up to in contemporary terms is an imperialist spy state run by and for monied interests. It means that governments (and thus economic policy) will be determined according to the interests of these few elites, rather than according to the interests of all. Two of the most common externalties associated with this concentration of power which effect everyone are war and ecological degradation.

    When you defend the right of the wealthy to hold onto the capital/wealth they’ve obtained under the capitalist order, then you are essentially defending the state necessary for the wealthy to maintain that wealth and power. To want the capitalist mode of production is to want the capitalist/imperialist/spy state that goes with it…this is the lesson that every American needs to learn sooner or later.

    http://anticapitalismfaq.com/wealthispower.html

  56. Green_W/O/A

    “Progressives want to shrink the pie by taking from creators and entrepreneurs, disincentivizing behavior that makes everyone better off (providing goods and services people want)”

    I find this argument particularly silly. Nobody wants to disincentivize creators and entrepreneurs. What we want to do is free up entrepeneurship (and small business initiative in general) by taking away monopoly ownership of creation and entrepreneurship and providing a social context where every individual who is capable has a shot at running their own life and having their own business. Concentrated economic power means that entrepreneurs and creators are beholden to the owners of capital and must work according to the capital owner’s terms. Which means that whatever value the entrepeneur creates will be at least partially appropriated by the capital owner.

    Worse still, sometimes monopoly capital ownership means useful innovations do not happen. For example if an entrepreneur creates a workable electric car, but concentrated capital is better off suppressing the patent (because of profits from oil/gas), then under capitalism as we know it the innovation will most likely be prevented (either by law/patent or by simply withholding investment capitial) for as long as possible.

    Below is a decent introduction to why capitalism is exploitative and why capitalism is always bound up with a strong state apparatus.

    http://www.infoshop.org/AnarchistFAQSectionC2

  57. Robert Capozzi

    I didn’t put my last post all that well.

    I came to the conclusion that:

    1) I’m not a NAPster, except as a nice sentiment.
    2) I feel unwelcome in the LP, despite being a lessarchist
    3) The booby-traps in the LP’s foundation make any lasting reform extremely difficult, and sets the situation up for constant bickering between the cadre and the rest of us.
    4) I think it’s a shame, since I think a L party is ripe, if not to become a majority party to at least be an influential force.

  58. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Green W/O/A,

    You seem to have the answer to your own question in your second rant there.

    The state’s main job — pretty much its ONLY job — is to keep wealth and power concentrated in the hands of the already wealthy and powerful.

    Taxes are the fees received by the state for doing that job.

    If I stop paying the janitor, the janitor stops mopping the floor.

    If you stop paying the state to maintain economic inequality, the state will stop working 24/7 to maintain economic inequality.

  59. natural born citizen

    Some good information in this thread. Didn’t realize that McAfee was foreign born. He needs to pack up this campaign and go home. LP should not nominate someone ineligible to serve in the presidency.

  60. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    nbc,

    Since the Libertarian Party’s candidate will not be elected, it really wouldn’t matter if that nominee was not a natural born citizen and otherwise eligible.

    Fortunately, since all the likely nominees, including McAfee, are natural born citizens, it’s not something that requires a lot of discussion though.

  61. Robert Capozzi

    cm: I hope Robert Capozzi brings back the Rodney King caucus

    me: Thanks, but while I thought it might work, I came to the conclusion that it cannot, since some Ls believe they are superior to others, specifically plumbliners vs those who don’t genuflect at the altar of the NAP.

    cah and tk are now referring to non-NAPsters as “pillagers”!

    That SHOULD be nuf said….

  62. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    “cah and tk are now referring to non-NAPsters as ‘pillagers’!”

    Um, no. I’m referring to the people who pillaged the platform as pillagers.

  63. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Tom, I had typed a correction but then was like.. shrug … and I don’t even refer to everyone involved in that as such, but those of a certain entitled mindset that …. oh… rant about “booby traps” (how DARE a voluntary organization set its own foundations!). There are people who were involved that I don’t. They were, I believe, mistaken, but I respect and work very well with them.

  64. Robert Capozzi

    tk, wait a sec…the SoP is governed by a rule. So is the platform.

    Are you suggesting that the platform was stolen/pillaged through non-rules-based means? If the old platform was all that and a bag of chips, surely you’ve had many cycles to impress it’s obvious superiority to NAPster and non-NAPster alike?

    What’s the hold up?

  65. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Bob,

    I didn’t understand any of that. You seem to be speaking in tongues. No problem, I’m sure you’ll calm down and get coherent eventually, and I’m happy to wait.

  66. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Tom, do you believe “tongues” are a thing? Just curious. We can discuss that while Robert is composing himself.

  67. Robert Capozzi

    tk, let me break it down for you.

    TK: I’m referring to the people who pillaged the platform as pillagers.

    me: Near as I can tell, the platform was not pillaged. It was voted down by the convention. It wasn’t “pillaged.” Fair and square.

    I thought the vote to deep-six the (insane) CotOS language was fairly done, despite the fact that I was disappointed that 1/8+ cling to that crazytown notion. And I find it offensive that the 89 of 72 thought that super-super-majority was appropriate.

    You’ve had several cycles to make the case that the old (I’d say extremist) platform was a better representation of L political thought. Perhaps you have made your case, but were unsuccessful in reversing the platform back to one you were more comfortable with. Or perhaps you didn’t have the bandwidth to impress upon the unwashed the grievous mistakes that were made in 06 and 08, platform-wise.

    No matter. Deal with it, or agitate to change it. My advice is don’t call it “pillaging,” since was done by the rules and did not involve theft.
    \
    Maintaining credibility is important in this world.

  68. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Ahhh the hyper literalism strikes again. You can legally pillage btw. The government does it every day.

  69. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Re: the booby-trap bellyaching on being “offended” by the 72 convention. People who start voluntary organizations – even allegedly small groups (the nefarious small cadre who had the impudence to set up their party the way they wished and even gave a two year window for modification at a lower threshold, the sneaky bastards) – are free to set them up in whatever way they wish. Carping and being “offended” about “booby-traps” in a voluntary group is simply a gross entitlement mentality.

    If someone doesn’t like the terms of a voluntary group they have many choices – foremost of which is to not join or leave. And start their own in terms they find more favourable. Nolan and company pretty much proved anyone can do it. If the initial group doesn’t survive that- that’s the market.

    Or one could just continue with the entitled whingeing which asks nothing of a person and requires little more than logging into a blog and pontificating.

  70. Robert Capozzi

    cah, it’s sometimes hard for me to know when deontologists relax their linguistic precision and when they are being rigid.

    Y’all seem quite literalistic when it comes to the NAP. But then sometimes y’all use words like “cult,” “omnipotent” and “pillagers” in a loosey-goosey fashion.

    So am I to take it that you don’t literally mean that those who voted against the pre-06 platform were “pillagers”? Maybe you could come up with a little symbol [:] to indicate when you really mean something and when you are kidding.

    Might be helpful….

  71. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I would also note Chuck Moulton’s observations that everything might not have been entirely overboard about what happened either.

  72. Robert Capozzi

    cah: If someone doesn’t like the terms of a voluntary group they have many choices – foremost of which is to not join or leave.

    me: Gives me the warm and fuzzies.

  73. Caryn Ann Harlos

    If you can’t get basic communication and signals, I can’t help you. You will just have to muddle along. Feel free though to point out that no ravishing or burning or other mayhem wasn’t done in the pillaging though. It would be par for course.

    Oh wait. I wasn’t really talking about golf there. I am sorry if that was confusing.

  74. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Its life. It is how voluntary groups work. I have decided not to join or leave many in my life.

  75. Caryn Ann Harlos

    If the terms of this voluntary group (the LP) ever becomes not to my liking… I will leave. Say for instance, if they follow the terms and manage to get the 7/8 and gut the SoP. Those are the terms that I accepted.

  76. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I respect that you did that. Yet you still act “offended” by something that was perfectly within the rights of people to do because it did not suit you. Thus the entitlement mindset. And then you hang around blogs to now harangue those who are following the voluntary agreement.

    I am a Christian as you know. If I ever left the church because I decided I didn’t like something in the catechism, I wouldn’t haunt church sites heckling them about how they didn’t change for me EVEN if I thought the “people” were ready for a new kind of spirituality.

    I would get a group of like-minded people and start my own. I have done it before with other groups.

  77. Robert Capozzi

    cah: If you can’t get basic communication and signals, I can’t help you.

    me: Well thanks for trying! 😉

    Basic communications and signals generally involves trying to persuade others by making a case.

    You seem to be saying, “The LP is an exclusive club, reserved only for NAPsters. Non-NAPsters need not apply. If you stumble into our little club and don’t buy our program, you are free to quit.”

    Ya know, I guess that might work. I see no evidence that it has or will, but I do wish you the best of luck with that approach to “communications” and “signals.”

  78. Robert Capozzi

    cah: Yet you still act “offended” by something that was perfectly within the rights of people to do because it did not suit you. Thus the entitlement mindset.

    me: Thanks. Offended isn’t quite right. Let me see…I find that 7/8ths thing profoundly arrogant…how’s that?

  79. Caryn Ann Harlos

    You said offended. And okay, arrogant. Then don’t be a part of a such a group. It was their right to make such a decision.

    ==Basic communications and signals generally involves trying to persuade others by making a case.===

    Been there, done that.

    ==You seem to be saying, “The LP is an exclusive club, reserved only for NAPsters. Non-NAPsters need not apply. If you stumble into our little club and don’t buy our program, you are free to quit.”==

    I actually am saying that it is an ideological group that voluntarily in its formation embedded the NAP as part of its foundational principles and if the ideology isn’t for you, then it isn’t for you. Just like if the Christ thing isn’t good for you, Christianity might not be a good fit. Some people get a lot out of church, even if they don’t believe, and they choose to stay. Others don’t. But trying to take the Christ out of Christianity is a fool’s (and arrogant, how’s that?) errand. So is trying to jackhammer the founding principles of the LP because it doesn’t suit you.

  80. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Tom, me either. I tend to believe it was just a gift of actual human languages back then and not relevant today. I was curious as to your view.

  81. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Bob,

    Looks like Caryn has you well in hand on the pillaging thing. All I’d add is that I didn’t bother to look the word up and now that I have I consider it inaccurate/imprecise.

    “Wrecker” would be what I would have gone with. You guys couldn’t get your way entirely in Portland, so you just burned the place down, or at least threw a bunch of stink bombs into it. And the odor still lingers.

  82. Robert Capozzi

    cah: Just like if the Christ thing isn’t good for you, Christianity might not be a good fit.

    me: Perhaps inadvertently, you make a great analogy here. If one looks into the reportage about JC, one finds that the “Bible” is heavily edited non-first-hand accounts and that other accounts were suppressed and buried in the desert by the “winning” faction.

    I offer a more ecumenical view of things.

    Truth is one, paths are many.
    –Mahatma Gandhi

    Truth is one, path is one.
    — Murray Rothbard 🙂

  83. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I actually referred to catechisms Robert, pay attention. Catechisms are not the Bible, but the founding principles of religious denominations. I disagree with you on the Bible (and I suspect you *really* do not want to debate me on that, I actually have a goodly deal of theological knowledge and debate experience), but i anticipated this diversion of yours and chose my words very carefully.

    This circle goes nowhere. We disagree. And you seem intent on painting your opposition in grossly distorted ways, and I am profoundly uninterested. Get out there and start your own. If there are these masses of disenchanted like-minded people it should be easy. Though not as easy as attempting to destroy someone else’s work. Destruction is always easier than creation.

  84. Thomas L. Knapp Post author

    Caryn,

    I don’t claim to have an informed theological opinion on tongues. What I really have is experience with being there when people did it, and an opinion I developed over time — an opinion that is biased by the fact that I developed it as an aside in the midst of rejecting the overall milieu in which it took place.

    I sat through a lot of speaking in tongues, and simultaneous interpretation, and to this day I have no belief whatsoever that the people doing it were intentionally faking it, as they have always seemed to me to be good, sincere, honest people.

    But I think it’s a form of religious hysteria — an emotional outburst driven by strong belief.

    One reason I don’t think it’s the real deal is that the people who spoke in tongues tended to use the same combinations of seemingly nonsense syllables over and over, week after week — but the “interpretations” were always different. And always delivered in the King’s English circa the 1700s (I may be assuming too much, but I assume this is an artifact of the churches I attended using the King James Bible; I see no reason to assume that God would insist on using it in the 1970s when speaking directly to modern worshipers).

  85. Robert Capozzi

    “Get out there and start your own. ” says the 1-year L rookie to the LP Class of 1980.

    Can’t know, but I suspect that the deontological approach tends to breed arrogance. Something about having all the answers leads to shocking conclusions, or something.

  86. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Ahh, I love it when the “get away from me kid, you’re too new” line gets mixed with the “you’re arrogant” line. The irony is delicious.

    Yes,never hid I was new with the LP. But I am not new to ideological groups and voluntary associations. As I said, I was once very unhappy, dissatisfied with a group I was involved in. I left and started my own with terms that were acceptable to me… and as it turns out, a lot of other people.

    Nice to have you talk down to me in that way though. With that dismissive hurl at me, I am done and back to pretty much bypassing the exercise of feeding your attention-seeking.

  87. Robert Capozzi

    and then I recall, “Forgive them for they know not what they do” and I find peace!

  88. Robert Capozzi

    cah, that’s rich!

    You suggest lessarchists leave the LP if they don’t buy the NAP plumbline and accuse me of talking down to you!!!!

    Chutzpah!

  89. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Only because it is a gross misrepresentation, I will respond.

    I never said “lessarchists” should leave. I said people who are profoundly opposed to the founding principles to the point that they wish to destroy it should. Plenty of lessarchists are there and are fine with it, and I work with them daily and quite joyfully. Anarchists who can’t stand their existence should leave too btw. People should not stay with groups that have certain embedded principles that are the core of its existence by design that they find ludicrous or arrogant or repugnant or otherwise loathsome– that is common sense. I have no desire to continue to battle against straw-manning of my actual positions.

  90. Jeff Wood

    I never knew that Moulton supported the Plank Massacre. I guess I should have voted NOTA for Secretary in Columbus. The LNC deserves a better class of candidate for Secretary in Orlando.

  91. Steve Scheetz

    And yet the words “tax” or “taxation” don’t appear in the SoP. Or did I miss something.

    Since you can’t grasp these concepts and since you need to have the words “tax or taxation” in order for you to comprehend the idea that Libertarians are opposed to tax /taxation within their statement of principles, Robert, you seem to have missed the entire point made by the SoP. My suggestion is to take a language class, a writing class, re-read the SOP, afterward. It is my hope that after some thought, you will begin to understand that when an organization is against force, this applies to ALL forms of forceful action. i.e. Taxation. Taxation = force, because it is NOT voluntary. There are consequences if one does not pay his/her taxes.

    These consequences include, but are not limited to

    Losing one’s home
    Losing one’s personal property
    Losing one’s freedom

    Libertarians oppose this. Some people (not Libertarians) believe that it is OK for the government to take people’s homes, their stuff, and their freedom if those people do not pay their taxes, because government needs the money for “X” (endless wars of aggression, corporate bailouts particularly for campaign donors’ corporations, political cause du jour designed to get politicians re-elected.. These people generally fall under the banner of Republican or Democrat, although some have left the Democrat Party and went to the Green Party, but obviously not the majority. Some would fall under the heading Authoritarian, though those people make their political homes in the Republican Party and Democrat Party. Again, not Libertarian.

    Simply put, those “moderates” we have been trying and failing to court by watering down the language of our platform are not the major problem. Instead, the major problem falls to people like you who seem to add things to the SoP that are not there, delete things that are in order to placate those who would NEVER be happy under circumstances where people are able to make their own choices governing their own lives.

    We do not water down our Statement of Principles for them or anyone else. Otherwise, we might as well throw out the slogan “party of principle”

    Remember, take those classes I told you about, it will be most helpful moving forward if you understand what it is that you are reading.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  92. langa

    …booby trapping the SoP will not stop a hostile takeover, anyway, if one were to be launched, which hasn’t happened in 44 years. If Trump or Bloomberg wanted to they could just do it and simply ignore the SoP…

    I didn’t ask you if it would be possible to prevent a hostile takeover (obviously, it wouldn’t, if the people trying to take over were determined enough). Rather, I asked you if you think the LP should encourage such a takeover. More to the point, I asked you if you view the LP as an empty vessel.

    To use one of your patented ridiculous analogies (and yes, I realize you don’t actually hold a patent on them), imagine that there was a sudden increase in support for white nationalist policies, similar to those currently espoused by the AFP. Now, imagine that these hordes of white nationalists, seeing how the LP has a much better infrastructure, and especially much better ballot access than the AFP, decided to stage a hostile takeover. Is it your contention that such a takeover would be fine and dandy, or should the LP do everything in its power to resist such a takeover? In other words, do you believe that the principles on which the LP was founded have inherent value, or would any other set of principles be just as good, as long as it was favored by a clear majority of LP members?

  93. langa

    GWOA,

    You seem to be missing a crucial distinction between libertarianism and basically every other ideology out there. Virtually everyone else across the political spectrum (conservatives, progressives, Marxists, and so forth) all believe that the ends justify the means. We libertarians, on the other hand, believe the exact opposite. We believe that the means justify the ends. This belief has a couple of profound implications:

    First, it means that inequality (or poverty, or anything else, for that matter) is only a problem if it is the result of unjust means (by which we mean if it is a result of aggression). So, if Bert is filthy rich, and Ernie is dirt poor, that might or might not be a problem. If Bert made his money through cronyism or otherwise illegitimate means, then yes, it’s a problem (although the problem lies not in the wealth disparity itself, but rather in the events that led up to it). On the other hand, if the wealth disparity is simply the result of Bert outcompeting Ernie, fair and square, then no, it’s not the least bit problematic.

    Second, even if inequality is determined to be the result of unjust means, that does not mean that it is OK to use unjust means to right the wrong. Specifically, a blunt instrument like taxation, to “take from the rich and give to the poor”, could never lead to a just outcome, since it employs unjust means. It does not look at each individual and determine whether they were the victims or beneficiaries of state theft. Rather, it simply adopts the crude calculus that “rich people are all crooks, and poor people are all victims” — no ifs, no ands, no buts. It is just as ridiculous as simply assuming that in a sporting event, the winning team obviously cheated, and therefore, the only fair solution is to declare every game a tie. Such a preposterous rule would do just as much to promote fairness and sportsmanship as your crude income redistribution does to promote freedom and justice.

  94. Green_W/O/A

    “We believe that the means justify the ends. ”

    Honestly, a closer consideration of means and ends is what I’m advocating. For example, if the end is a free society and free people, then hierarchical and/or authoritarian management and firm structures (which in turn, require and/or reinforce authoritarian structures in public institutions) are not a means to that end. If the end is self-sufficient and virtuous people, then being dependent on managers and bosses to tell us what to do is not a means to that end. If our end is justice, then neglecting to fight for justice because we are afraid of using coercion is not a means to that end.

    When we adopt ethical maxims, they should not be based on their coherence with some ideology and/or deontology, but based on an ongoing and rigorous evaluation of the concrete consequences of those maxims in our life.

    “First, it means that inequality (or poverty, or anything else, for that matter) is only a problem if it is the result of unjust means (by which we mean if it is a result of aggression). So, if Bert is filthy rich, and Ernie is dirt poor, that might or might not be a problem. If Bert made his money through cronyism or otherwise illegitimate means, then yes, it’s a problem (although the problem lies not in the wealth disparity itself, but rather in the events that led up to it). On the other hand, if the wealth disparity is simply the result of Bert outcompeting Ernie, fair and square, then no, it’s not the least bit problematic.”

    Aren’t the majority of large fortunes in the USA built upon usury/rent/exploitation of some sort? The fortune of the typical American millionaire/billionaire is based upon the ownership of capital/property/stock from which more capital/revenue was generated without the owner of that capital/property/stock actually working for it (via the property and contract laws that depend on state violence). There’s no reason to blame the wealthy person for amassing this wealth in the capitalist system….this person was merely pursuing their self-interest as they perceived it. However there is plenty of reason to challenge whether such accumulation would be possible without the capitalist state apparatus and its accompanying injustices. If the wealthy person could demonstrate that all of his wealth stemmed directly from honest labor without coercion or relying on coercive apparti, then this wealthy person can hardly be blamed. But it’s very difficult to seriously imagine a person making millions of dollars per year in this manner, unless they possess some kind of extraordinary rare skill like being a star pro basketball player or something.

    “Second, even if inequality is determined to be the result of unjust means, that does not mean that it is OK to use unjust means to right the wrong.”

    I’m not sure what you mean to imply by this. But sometimes it is necessary to use coercion to enforce codes of justice, particularly if someone has been harmed and restitution is necessary. If an entire class of people has been systematically controlled and exploited, then they have just cause to demand restitution including via expropriation.

    “Specifically, a blunt instrument like taxation, to “take from the rich and give to the poor”, could never lead to a just outcome, since it employs unjust means.

    Well, for the record I don’t advocate UBI or direct redistribution (though I think some services should be public or common, in the interest of maximizing the utility of everyone in the community). The reason I support wealth/capital taxation is I’d want to transfer that capital to democratically accountable local public banks who can invest it in small business and cooperatives. “Capital” and “physical capital” are things that are produced socially and ought to be owned and managed socially. However, unlike communists I support a limited concept of property insofar as each worker ought to be entitled to the fruit of their labor, or at least credits for commodities equal to the value of their labor (which is more than they get under capitalism).

    “It does not look at each individual and determine whether they were the victims or beneficiaries of state theft””

    Any worker who is exploited by a capitalist is a victim of state theft (eg the state is necessary for the capitalist contract to be enforceable). So taxing the wealth of the super rich is in this case a kind of equity.

  95. Robert Capozzi

    L: Is it your contention that such a takeover would be fine and dandy, or should the LP do everything in its power to resist such a takeover?

    me: Well, no, of course not. White nationalism is among the most deeply dysfunctional ideas I can think of.

    L: In other words, do you believe that the principles on which the LP was founded have inherent value, or would any other set of principles be just as good, as long as it was favored by a clear majority of LP members?

    me: Recall that I am a Randian/Rothbardian in recovery. I once bought the NAP hook, line, and sinker. Now I view it as a nice sentiment.

    Personally, I like the idea of a lessarchist party, where all those who want to roll back the State can co-exist and cooperate to challenge the size and scope of government in all aspects of the citizenry’s lives. How that can be done might take many forms, and I have no particular thoughts on the matter.

    Those committed to the SoP and the NAP-as-dogma — coupled with the booby trap — made it clear to me that the LP is probably not such a vehicle.

    ss: Some people (not Libertarians) believe that it is OK for the government to take people’s homes, their stuff, and their freedom if those people do not pay their taxes, because government needs the money for “X” (endless wars of aggression, corporate bailouts particularly for campaign donors’ corporations, political cause du jour designed to get politicians re-elected..

    me: Thanks for the primer. Please read my response just above to Langa.

    I consider myself libertarian, but for me I think politics is about advocating the possible in the near term. Aspirational statements can be helpful, too, but specific destinational statements often alienate and backfire, since specific constructs invite mockery.

    I happen to think it’s possible that government can and should be rolled back incrementally, not immediately. In my judgment, it is all but impossible to end government tomorrow, and if it WERE possible, the “cure” could be worse than the disease. Witness Somalia, which was briefly an anarcho territory, and is now rated as corrupt as North Korea.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/somalia-north-korea-and-afghanistan-named-most-corrupt-countries-in-the-world-but-fight-against-a6836286.html

    I understand that there is a very small number of folk who conscientiously object to anything and everything the State does. I respect them for that, and I have great compassion and some sympathy for that worldview. For them, I advocate Harlos Nonarchy Pods.

    If someone really wants out of the civil society as currently structured, I believe they should be able to secede onto their property.

  96. Robert Capozzi

    GWOA: If the end is self-sufficient and virtuous people, then being dependent on managers and bosses to tell us what to do is not a means to that end.

    ME: You’d need to define “self-sufficient” and “virtuous” for me to consider this. On its face, aside from the rare mountain man, no one is “self sufficient.” We are all in networks of some sort.

    GWOA: If our end is justice, then neglecting to fight for justice because we are afraid of using coercion is not a means to that end.

    ME: Makes sense to me. Many of my L brothers and sisters assume justice because there is a rule of law. Unfortunately, on closer inspection, it should be obvious that jurisprudential means are no guarantee of justice. Not even close! Civil law especially is often prohibitively expensive, so property rights are hardly secured by jurisprudence. You must pay to play. The assumption of property rights, then, starts to get pretty darned dubious.

    Gwoa: When we adopt ethical maxims, they should not be based on their coherence with some ideology and/or deontology, but based on an ongoing and rigorous evaluation of the concrete consequences of those maxims in our life.

    me: Yep.

  97. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Langa,

    It appears that claim on the SoP was dropped. It wasn’t a forthright one to begin with. There are always two mutually exclusive arguments out forth when people hate on the LP for being the LP yet are unwilling to motivate to go start this elusive perfect party that everyone is allegedly waiting for –

    1. The SoP is general and doesn’t say anything radical
    2. The SoP is hopelessly extreme and not general enough

    Which one gets pulled out will vary.

    The SoP is just – libertarian. Anyone going towards those ideals are welcome. Someone who really loves more state so much more than protecting basic rights – sorry if this hurts feelz but the LP wasn’t created in that foundation.

    Just like the CP wasn’t created for people like me that might like a lot of their freedom talk but draw the line at embedding Christianity and specific Christianity morality. They could reach a lot more people (maybe) if they dropped that fundamentalist shtick but that is their thing,

  98. Chuck Moulton

    I don’t understand why Robert Capozzi (or anyone) gets bent out of shape about the Statement of Principles. It’s very unlikely to be an impediment to any potential supporter.

    When someone new wants to find out about the Libertarian Party, they often read our platform. Why? Because political parties have platforms. Candidates have platforms. That’s a thing. People have heard of platforms and are looking for them. They expect platforms to talk about issues. They expect platforms to list what the party/candidate wants to happen with those issues over a medium time horizon (1-6 years) — not because that’s the definition of “platform”, but because that’s the way every other political party or candidate throughout human history structures a platform.

    In contrast, no one sets out looking for a statement of principles. It’s very unusual to have something like that. Maybe they’ll stumble across it while looking at the platform, but it’s obvious that the SoP is different from the platform. To a neophyte it probably closest resembles a mission statement… what we want in broad aspirational terms. No one is going to get bent out of shape by an overly optimistic mission statement — except maybe Robert Capozzi.

    Unlike the pledge, which everyone makes a cult-like death pact with as a condition of membership, no one is forced to take a vow to worship the statement of principles.

    I’ve never understood what the big deal was about the SoP to “reformers” or “moderates”. Leave it alone and focus on things that actually matter.

  99. Robert Capozzi

    cah: Anyone going towards those ideals are welcome.

    me: It strikes me that non-NAPsters are “welcome” as lesser-than the NAP cadre. This sets up a constant tension between the self-appointed true believers vs the lesser unwashed non-NAPsters (or the rare NAPster who resonates with NAP theory but finds it irrelevant in the here and now).

    cm: I don’t understand why Robert Capozzi (or anyone) gets bent out of shape about the Statement of Principles. It’s very unlikely to be an impediment to any potential supporter.

    me: Yes, I don’t think it offputs prospective supporters per se. I think it is emblematic of a thought of school (the Randian Rothbardian construct) that approaches politics with simplistic moral deontologicalisms that sound — and are — fringy and irrelevant to the here and now.

    Since the SoP burns the NAP into the foundation, NAPsters (somewhat correctly) claim the mantle of true believers, sniping at the unwashed who are not with the plumbline program.

    Yes, it’s a voluntary organization. Yes, the booby trap was there from the inception. My feedback is that IF the LP wants to appeal to tens of millions of lessarchists, y’all should consider going back to Square One. If it’s to be a NAP theory promotion machine, my take is that a huge opportunity will continue to be missed.

  100. Caryn Ann Harlos

    While I disagree with Chuck on the Pledge, he is absolutely right about the SoP. It is pretty much an aspirational, long-range, wishlist mission statement. It is important in that it does provide the standard by which planks and other items can be overturned, but very few people even in the LP even know that. It isn’t some great impediment to potential supporters- and those that characterize it as such just seem irrational. I know people in the LP who don’t agree with it strictly but don’t go around attacking it. They think it a good goal, and perhaps, they would get off the bus before we got all the way there,that we are so far from there, that they are fine with having the philosophizers give their vision.

    And Chuck, your words on the Pledge simply do not match reality IMHO writ large. You know I make an issue out of people who openly repudiate basic principles. And I challenge anyone to find where I have ever made it all about the Pledge or ever primarily about the Pledge. The Pledge is always in passing. In my video, I don’t think I even mentioned the Pledge. If I did it was for about 15 seconds. I do absolutely support it, and will strongly oppose any change, but it isn’t my obsession and I certainly don’t make it a cult-like death vow. I like it as far as it encapsulates the SoP and a good way to determine libertarian direction. We’ve been to that rodeo before, and the bulls are tired.

    It seems everyone has an issue they like to blow out of all proportions of reality.

    The Pledge doesn’t embed the NAP. The SoP does. And it is an end-game goal that is very far off.

    PS: I thought you were considering running for secretary. I don’t know where I got that impression.

  101. Robert Capozzi

    cah: I know people in the LP who don’t agree with it strictly but don’t go around attacking it.

    me: “I know people” who think a lot of things, and don’t think of other things. Anecdotes can be helpful, and anecdotes can be wildly misleading.

    Untruth needs to be unmasked, as the truth really does set you free. Maintaining falsehoods and claiming they are true is something we probably all do to some extent, but I find that supporting delusions just because we have always supported a delusion to be exhausting.

    When the emperor was told he had no clothes, not only was it true, but it was probably too chilly for the emperor to be prancing around naked! 😉

  102. Chuck Moulton

    Caryn Ann Harlos wrote:

    I thought you were considering running for secretary. I don’t know where I got that impression.

    I ran for secretary last convention. I have no plans to run again.

    Running for LNC office takes a lot of time and money. It makes the conventions much more hectic and much less fun. I’m willing to put myself out there every few years because I know I’d do a vastly better job than the alternatives if elected, but it’s very emotionally draining being rejected and defeated over and over again, so I don’t take on the perennial candidate mantle. Maybe 2020.

  103. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Thanks for the information Chuck. I can imagine it would be draining. No matter how much we say it doesn’t matter (and even if it generally doesn’t) it is a bit personally stinging to lose and even when you know there are a lot of factors that have absolutely nothing to do with the actual individual.

  104. Chuck Moulton

    I might have said somewhere that I would run for LNC secretary if Mattson jumps the shark by contacting the Oregon secretary of state under color of office without LNC approval. She hasn’t done that already (this term) though, so I doubt she’ll take that step.

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