Tom Knapp via George Dance: What the U.S. Libertarian Party ‘pledge’ means

11214240_418137728397365_2500951419619543171_nOn GD’s Political Animal, George Dance points out historical linguistic facts about the Libertarian Party’s Non-Aggression Pledge in response to the video by Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Austin Petersen (see below). Tom Knapp’s original article dated February 25, 2006 can be read here.

Often, when debating the meaning of ‘the pledge,’ Libertarians cite David F. Nolan, the ‘founder’ (with a few others, but generally recognized as the prime mover in the founding) of the Libertarian Party, to the effect that ‘the pledge’ was simply intended to let the FBI know that the members of this new political party weren’t bomb-throwing revolutionists who would shortly be assaulting the Nixon White House with molotov cocktails….

I’ve stated the content of the pledge. In every form I’ve seen, it includes the very specific phrase ‘initiation of force.’ That’s important. That phrase has a history which pre-dates the formation of the LP by at least a decade-and-a-half and possibly longer. It is a phrase which carried great weight among the adherents of two particular schools of libertarian thought throughout the 1960s: The Objectivists and the Misesian “anarcho-capitalists” (i.e. the disciples/compatriots, respectively, of Ayn Rand and of Murray N. Rothbard).

Nolan – or at least those who cite him – expect the rest of us to believe that the occurrence of the phrase in the LP’s membership pledge was a mere coincidence: That it did not arise from the ubiquitous use of that phrase within the movement from which the party emerged. Even at first blush, that assertion looks pretty untenable…. In the very first paragraph of the article which he wrote in 1971, promoting the formation of the Libertarian Party … Nolan describes the movement to which he belongs, and which he hopes to form into a party, as a coalition of ‘Randists, Miseists (sic), and elements of the old “radical right”‘….

Nolan’s biography at the Advocates for Self-Government site specifically lists Ayn Rand as a writer who ‘cemented his innate libertarianism.’ Is it possible that someone who regarded Rand in such terms, and whose libertarianism took the form of political action, would entirely miss the core principle of the political branch of her philosophy?

‘Whatever may be open to disagreement, there is one act of evil that may not, the act that no man may commit against others and no man may sanction or forgive. So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate — do you hear me? No man may start — the use of physical force against others.’

— from Galt’s Speech in Atlas Shrugged (1957), and For the New Intellectual (1961), by Ayn Rand….

Next let’s look at Rothbard — leader of the second faction which Nolan wanted to form a party around….

‘The fundamental axiom of libertarian theory is that no one may threaten or commit violence (“aggress”) against another man’s person or property…. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.’

— from “War, Peace and the State” (1963), by Murray N. Rothbard

The actual phrase ‘initiation of force’ seems to have crept into Rothbard’s personal vocabulary later rather than sooner….

‘The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. This may be called the ‘nonaggression axiom.’ ‘Aggression’ is defined as the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else.’

– from For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto (1973), by Murray N. Rothbard….

Taken in its obvious historical context, the pledge clearly derives from a Randian and/or Rothbardian worldview and therefore – at a bare minimum – clearly and indisputably binds its takers to a no-coercive-taxes approach (which even the ‘Randian minarchists’ held to), and less clearly and less indisputably (but still arguably) to Rothbardian anarchism.

The only way to get around that conclusion is to assert that the framers of the pledge were a bunch of drooling morons who in some strange trance state spontaneously and collectively forgot the entire content of the ideas they stood for, while simultaneously functioning efficiently enough to put together an organization to politically support said ideas … and who just happened to randomly pick words out of the dictionary which were identical to nearly two decades of predominant phraseology relating to those ideas, for the purpose of saying something entirely different.

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About Caryn Ann Harlos

Caryn Ann Harlos is a paralegal residing in Castle Rock, Colorado and presently serving as the Region 1 Representative on the Libertarian National Committee and is a candidate for LNC Secretary at the 2018 Libertarian Party Convention. Articles posted should NOT be considered the opinions of the LNC nor always those of Caryn Ann Harlos personally. Caryn Ann's goal is to provide information on items of interest and (sometimes) controversy about the Libertarian Party and minor parties in general not to necessarily endorse the contents.

43 thoughts on “Tom Knapp via George Dance: What the U.S. Libertarian Party ‘pledge’ means

  1. Caryn Ann Harlos Post author

    Will fix… sorry… I cannot even tell you how tired I am right now

  2. George Dance

    The “2006” was my fault. It’s already fixed on the blog, too.
    I should point out that I can’t take any credit for any of the writing; all I did was editing. All the words are Mr. Knapp’s (and Miss Rand’s and Mr. Rothbard’s, of course).
    That’s about it, except for one very important thing:
    Thank you very much, Caryn.

  3. Thomas L. Knapp

    George,

    Thanks for finding and choosing to re-use/re-purpose that old blog post. And thanks to you and to Caryn and others for the historical work you’re doing on the early LP, what happened back then, and why.

  4. Steven Berson

    To me, Petersen completely misrepresents the NAP in the above video when he states following it would legalize parents “starving their child to death” – because in the case where the parents did in fact possess the resources to provide food to their child in that case the hypothetical parents have in fact initiated force on their hypothetical child – and intervening is a response in defense of that child’s individual right to life. (at least how this radical centrist interprets the NAP, regardless of what Murray Rothbard might have written).

  5. Steven Berson

    The main impression I get from Petersen is that he just comes off as a total tool. He just rubs me completely the wrong way in his personal manner, regardless of whether we align on many political issues, and as such I would have a really hard time voting for him, as my gut feeling of red flags for lack of integrity are getting triggered just by watching him.
    Anyway – taking the “I Side With” quiz at http://www.isidewith.com/elections/2016-presidential-quiz
    that he suggested people do in that above video my own results ended up being:
    Mark Feldman – 95%
    Darryl Perry / Gary Johnson – 93%
    John McAfee / Austin Petersen – 91%
    … for which in response I sent the “$5 maximum” to Dr. Feldman

  6. Andy

    I think that Petersen is doing relatively well because his presentation is good. He also sounds “libertarian enough” in spite of the fact that he’s not a purist, or what a lot of people here would call a hardcore libertarian.

    My problems with Petersen are:

    1) He mocks the NAP which is supposed to be the guiding principle of the party.

    2) He attacks people who talk about people in government engaging in conspiracies.

    3) He has engaged in troll like attacks against people.

    My hunch is that most of the LP delegates at the state conventions held so far, as well as most of the people who are likely to be delegates to the national convention, do not know any of these things about Petersen. Remember, most people, even most Libertarians, do not follow this stuff as closely as most of the regular readers here do.

    So if I did not know points 1, 2, and 3 about Petersen, and I just heard him speak at a convention, I’d probably be more enthusiastic about his campaign.

  7. robert capozzi

    tk: The only way to get around that conclusion is to assert that the framers of the pledge were a bunch of drooling morons who in some strange trance state spontaneously and collectively forgot the entire content of the ideas they stood for, while simultaneously functioning efficiently enough to put together an organization to politically support said ideas….

    me: Absolutism alert…absolutism alert. The ONLY way? Not even close.

    Instead of “drooling morons,” my take is the LP’s founders were probably quite bright, but also quite immature. The 89 were skewed quite young, with the apparent median age in their 20s.

    Most of them were heavily influenced by Rand, a provocative but sick polemical novelist who justifies, for ex., blowing up buildings over contract disputes. And also Rothbard, who wrote a laughably simplistic “manifesto” that, among other things, asserted the fetuses are “parasites.”

    The 89 were swept up in a dysfunctional thought system that, if tested, falls apart quite easily. Youthful exuberance mixed with youthful arrogance, where their handiwork needed to be booby trapped with a 7/8ths votes in convention.

  8. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC: Your response seems to be orthogonal to my claim.

    That is, you seem to be responding to some hypothetical claim as to whether they were right or wrong, while my assertion has to do with what they meant.

  9. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Tom, yep, which also has been the way some on FB have responded.

    What it *should* be is not the same issue as what it *is.*

    Unrelated: Interesting tidbit I learned – the SoP was passed unanimously, i.e. it met its own 7/8 test if it were in place.

  10. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And Tom you are welcome, this type of mixing of historical events and statements to determine *why* decisions were made interests me greatly.

  11. robert capozzi

    tk: …what they meant.

    me: This assumes that it’s possible to make sense of nonsense.

  12. ATBAFT

    I doubt very much that Nolan ever claimed the pledge was there “simply” to reassure the FBI of the LP’s intentions. It was there for the reasons Mr. Knapp cited as all of us active at the time knew. Reassuring the FBI, or being able to disavow any member who initiated violence, were cited as additional benefits to what was, and is, a philosophical statement of the beliefs of those who founded the Party.

  13. George Phillies

    “I doubt very much that Nolan ever claimed the pledge was there “simply” to reassure the FBI of the LP’s intentions.”

    As a witness, having asked him about this exact issue. I can guarantee that Nolan’s position was that the oath was purely and entirely a guarantee that we were not organized to overthrow the government and not (specific case discussed) that taxes were inconsistent with the pledge.

    With respect to the objectivists, I was at MIT at the same time that David Nolan and the Radicals for Capitalism were. A school of philosophy whose adherents claim that quantum mechanics cannot be correct because it violates the teachings of Aristotle is wrong. The notion of starting with a few self-evident postulates and “logically deriving” all other results is close to two millennia out of date.In particular the claim about what can be done with deriving things logically is wrong, and has been known to be wrong for a century now.

  14. Kevin bjornson

    Mises was not an anarchist.
    http://www.nattvakt.com/onlineenglish/misesonanarchism.htm

    Rothbard claimed to be a type of anarchist, but his proposed agencies of defensive-retaliatory force would in fact, if not in name, be “governments”. They would organize force to regulate or control a type of behavior (specifically, force-initiation).

    The reason that Rothbard was slow to adopt the NIFP (non-initiation-of-force principle), is that he prefers the phrase “non-aggression” because that term does not define “aggression” and Rothbard conflates “intervention” and “aggression”.

    The NIFP is not something new, but can be traced back to the common law system of the roman republic, and Greco-Roman theory of Jus Naturale. In the mid-sixties, Rothbard engineered what amounts to a coup de etat by replacing the old competing governments theory with his weird theory that government necessarily initiates force and may not defend or retaliate against initiation of force.

    Almost single-handedly, Rothbard has poisoned the well from which libertarians drink. Time to discredit Rothbard and restore classical libertarianism. i explain this in my magnum opus:
    http://www.defendliberty.net

  15. George Dance

    Wikipedia, citing Brian Holtz, says: “Libertarian Party founder David Nolan created the pledge in 1971. His goal was to convince government authorities that the LP was inherently not a violent organization, during a time when many political groups were using terroristic tactics.” If that were true, then Nolan’s interpretation of the pledge would be almost definitive (“almost”, because the party delegates would still have had to vote it into the Bylaws). It does look, though, as if the first sentence is not true.

    Thanks to Ms. Harlos, I’ve been able to read the original Constitution and Articles of Incorporation, which are now archived at http://libertarianism.wikia.com/wiki/Libertarian_Party_Constitution_and_Bylaws_1972. As these are undated, it’s not clear whether they are the version submitted to, or the one passed by, the Denver convention. What is clear, though, is that the Bylaw section establishing the pledge does not appear in them.

    Next step is to look at the 1973 (Cleveland) Convention. It’s likely the pledge was adopted there, since (1) at least one member who joined in 73 (Melinda Pillsbury-Foster) remembers signing it; (2) the Libertarian Party of Canada, (the Constitution & Bylaws of which were based on the American party) had a membership pledge from its first convention in October of that year.

  16. robert capozzi

    Another interpretation is that The Nolan indeed did insert the Pledge to immunize the LP against being considered a terrorist organization, but he used the language that he and his fellow Randian/Rothbardians were inculcated with, e.g., initiation of force vs. violent overthrow or something similar. It may explain the loopy CotOS language as well. It makes no sense to the average person, who reads those words using their commonly understood meanings. To a Randian/Rothbardian, CotOS makes perfect sense, but almost no one else.

  17. Thomas L. Knapp

    That’s actually a fairly astute observation, Bob.

    Nolan was very clear when he called for formation of the party that it was meant to appeal to Randians, Rothbardians and “Old Right” types. The first two, at least, were familiar and on board with non-aggression language.

    Nolan didn’t, so far as I can tell, intend the LP to be a “mainstream” party. The goals he set for it ENDED with “and hey, who knows, we might even win an election every now and then.” It seems to have been more a kind of “remnant-gathering” exercise at the outset, although later he seemed OK with a greater emphasis on the electoral end.

  18. robert capozzi

    tk, thanks. And then as MNR’s influence grew, it became even more about gathering cadre, as he suggested in his (infamous) Strategy memo.

    Remnant and even cadre gathering might have made sense in the 70s. Nowadays, L is increasingly understood and even respected by the mainstream. Large swathes of the population could be characterized as L-leaning, but they have no viable vehicle to express themselves politically, except as a pure protest vote, which most remain unwilling to waste time with.

  19. George Dance

    Mr. Carpozzi: “Another interpretation is that The Nolan indeed did insert the Pledge to immunize the LP against being considered a terrorist organization, but he used the language that he and his fellow Randian/Rothbardians were inculcated with, e.g., initiation of force vs. violent overthrow or something similar.”

    That could indeed be how he interpreted it; but there is no real evidence at this point that he had anything to do with ‘inserting’ it. (The Wikipedia claim, based as it is on a 2010 article by a pledge opponent, isn’t much evidence of anything).

    “It may explain the loopy CotOS language as well.”

    That’s Statement of Principles, not pledge; and it’s pretty well established that Nolan had nothing to do with the wording of the SoP. That was Dr. Hospers’ work.

  20. Gene Berkman

    When David Nolan and others in Colorado started “The Committee to Organize a Libertarian Party” they faced rejection from libertarians for two reasons:(a) a belief that there were not enough libertarians to maintain a party, and creating a libertarian party would only show everyone else how few of us there were (a specific criticism Dr Rothbard made at the time) and
    (b) a belief that a party, because it would have to allow anyone to join, would quickly be taken over by people who were not principled libertarians.

    The Pledge was an attempt to deal with the second objection: Nolan contended that if people had to sign a pledge committing them to the principle of the non-initiation of force, the membership would be composed of principled libertarians. The Pledge was an attempt to reassure libertarians that his new party would remain Libertarian.

    The Libertarian Party was founded at a convention in Denver in June 1972. The first time I heard the notion that the Pledge would protect the LP from being associated with terrorists came after the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma in 1995. It might be reasonable to think the Pledge could serve this purpose, but it was not the reason Dave Nolan came up with the pledge in the first place.

    Among most libertarians at the time, the principle of the non-initiation of force was considered to be the same as the non-aggression principle. The initiation of force is aggression. There are many reasons to criticize Murray Rothbard, but he did not accomplish an intellectual coup by using the term “non-aggression” rather than the term “non-initiation of force.”

  21. robert capozzi

    gd, if your point is that it’s not clear who the prime mover of the Pledge was — The Nolan or another of the 89 — I accept your point. Since The Nolan has explained why the Pledge was added, I assumed he was involved, though perhaps he wasn’t…dunno…don’t care. Why anyone would care is pretty beyond me, actually. (Although GB suggests that The Nolan was the Pledge’s author.) I wonder why there’s so much interest in crazy talk from 4 decades ago.

    So, let me amend my statement to say that since the Pledge authors were apparently all Randian/Rothbardians, it’s no surprise they used Randian/Rothbardian terminology to insulate themselves from being interested in the violent overthrow of the government.

    Does that work any better for you?

  22. Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

    Libertarians being never short of arguments I heard all of the arguments recalled above given in support of the Non-Aggression Pledge. At that point I preferred listening until the incidence of new arguments had petered out. I remember hearing David use the argument this would immunize us from accusations we were ‘terrorists.’ In those early days, while there was some threat the LP would be effective, we were aware we were being monitored by individuals who would sometimes come in suggesting we do things which were violent. When we discussed these issues it was only at private get togethers with people we knew we could trust.

    The Koch takeover, which started in 1979 with the battle over the 1980 presidential nomination, continued until after Rothbard finally ‘got it’ in 1981. I loved the characterization of Crane as having a ‘cloven hoof.’ The battle finally ended with the Walk Out during the NY National Convention in 1983. It was after that the ‘persuasion calls’ to critical activists asking them to leave the LP and re-register Republican began. That was around 1985. I received several such calls. By then the monitoring had also ended.

  23. George Dance

    Mr. Carpozzi: “I wonder why there’s so much interest in crazy talk from 4 decades ago.”

    George Santayana gave a good reason for doing that, which I won’t repeat because I’m sure you know it. If anything, the current NAP debate shows the truth of his statement; because we don’t know the past debate on the pledge, we get stuck having to go over it again and again.

    It’s important to know that Nolan wasn’t the author of the pledge, because that indicates it was not adopted for the reason he gave for it. Which is where we are now in the debate, thanks to Mr. Berkman’s letter; it looks like the main reason for the pledge was NOT to reassure the FBI the party didn’t have terrorist sympaties, but because of a worry that if the party did not have a way to vet members, it “would quickly be taken over by people who were not principled libertarians.” It’s time to put the ‘terrorist’ explanation to bed.

  24. George Dance

    Mr. Carpozzi: “I wonder why there’s so much interest in crazy talk from 4 decades ago.”

    George Santayana gave a good reason for doing that, which I won’t repeat because I’m sure you know it. If anything, the current NAP debate shows the truth of his statement; because we don’t know the past debate on the pledge, we get stuck having to go over it again and again.

    It’s important to know that Nolan wasn’t the author of the pledge, because that indicates it was not adopted for the reason he gave for it. Which is where we are now in the debate, thanks to Mr. Berkman’s letter; it looks like the main reason for the pledge was NOT to reassure the FBI the party didn’t have terrorist sympaties, but because of a worry that if the party did not have a way to vet members, it “would quickly be taken over by people who were not principled libertarians.” It’s time to put the ‘terrorist’ explanation to bed.

  25. robert capozzi

    mpf, are you saying the LP is no longer a target of government infiltrators, and hasn’t been since 85?

  26. George Dance

    Mr. Berkman: Thank you for your letter. With Dr. Hospers, Mr. Nolan, and so many others from the earlier days gone, it’s more important than ever that we hear from people, like you, who were at the founding convention, and know first-hand what really happened back in the day. I’ve read your letters to IPR before, and the only think I don’t like is that they’re buried down in threads where they can’t be easily found, read, and cited. (That last is important to me, since too many sites — Wikipedia and all the sites that get their information about it — are giving out false information. )

    For that reason, I’d like to put your letter, or a more polished article if you have one available, onto my blog as a more accessilble source.

  27. George Dance

    Ms. Pillsbury-Foster: Thank you for writing, too; it is so important to know what was done back in the day, just so we don’t have to keep going through the same things, re-inventing the wheel every 10 years.

    I especially appreciated your comments on Mr. Nolan: you make it clear that his ‘terrorist’ explanation wasn’t deceitful in any way; that that was in fact his reason for supporting the pledge from the beginning. That is so important because those of us who try to rebut the ‘terrorist’ explanation always in turn get hit with the accusation: “Are you calling Nolan a liar? Are you accusing him of fraud?” Of course no one is doing that.

    I indeed found your “How the Neocons stole Freedom” site while doing google searches on the topic; that’s where I got the information I mentioned up above that you joined the LP in 1973. In turn, though, that leaves me with one question: When was the debate on the pledge you’re referring to? At Denver, or at the Ohio convention in 73, or the Dallas one in 74? It’s still not clear, to me, when it was put into the Bylaws; only that it wasn’t there in the original ones (probably from 1971) that I have archived. That’s not the most important point but, since Wikipedia is wrong about that too (it says the pledge dates from 1971) I think it’s important to have that corrected as well.

  28. Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

    At the time I was not as familiar with the techniques used pre-internet to manipulate movements which were viewed by disfavor by those in power. I saw those more clearly acted out later directly by the BushNeoCon White House, which had, and has, strong ties to early attempts at manipulation from what could have been multiple sources.

    1985 was the year the Kochs began moving on. Their ties to the Bush NeoCons were founded in oil, shared by the entire Bush family but extended to those working for them. Murray probably did not realize this. He was not viewing the Kochs as an arm of their industry. But they were and now that has become obvious. Crane probably realized this at some point but he was always a mercenary anyway.

    The Kochs initially believed they could covert the LP into the kind of tool they have finally achieved with the Tea Party. But the culture they left behind, using the LP for personal profit, has continued unabated. When that started happening we were no threat. Because it was impossible to get anyone to see this, I left.

  29. robert capozzi

    mpf: The Kochs…using the LP for personal profit, has continued unabated.

    me: This is an interesting and, at first blush, astounding claim. How are they doing so? I can’t imagine the profits are significant, if any.

    I see from that “Neocon” website you claim: “It was spring, 2002. [John] Fund had tried to have Morgan murdered, sending someone to her apartment late at night with a key.”

    Seems like quite the charge. Was Fund ever brought to justice? I see he’s still writing.

  30. Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

    What! Limit debates to conventions? Libertarians actually debated all the time. There was always a whole lot of discussion (arguing) going on on life boats scenarios, philosophy no one ever thought of checking against reality and ideologies.

    Libertarians engaged in debate at social events, executive committee meetings, during training sessions, and on other occasions when debate was not on the agenda. It could be tiresome since no resolutions were ever reached and it did not seem like any were actually goals. It also seemed as if no one did any real research on real life issues. Of course, then you had fewer options for carrying out research. Libraries and books, journals and interviews with people who had specialized bodies of knowledge from their own research or experience. I spent a lot of time in libraries and started joining organizations to see what structures worked and why after 1985.

    Example: FDR lifted the plan for Social Security from the Redmen. The Redmen are a fraternal order which reconstituted itself as such in 1811. Before they were known as the Sons of Liberty. I joined, bought books and studied them along with the Elks, Masons and other orgs because they had managed to carry out their ‘mission’ and remain stable over time. The LP was volatile and seemingly incapable of staying on mission. Then, I still thought I could fix it.

    If you have read “Albion’s Seed,” by David Hackett Fischer you realize the four main migratory groups to the colonies before the Revolution, Puritan, Quaker, Scot-Irish and Chesapeake (second and third sons of English nobility) had very persistent folk ways and practices. Also values. Values act as an internal regulatory system for the individual. These determine your real goals, as opposed to those enunciated to get things from other people, if honesty is not one of your directing values.

    Personal values matter and say more about the individual than they generally like other people knowing, I realized. Fraternal orders drive out dishonest people who do not commit to the mission because the cost of remaining is too high for the benefits provided.

    Oh well. Back to writing. Have a great day!

  31. Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

    mpf: The Kochs…using the LP for personal profit, has continued unabated.

    me: This is an interesting and, at first blush, astounding claim. How are they doing so? I can’t imagine the profits are significant, if any.

    Re Fund: Why would you think justice was possible when dealing with someone who was being routinely briefed by the Bush White House in 2001 – 2002? They had just started a war for oil for Cheney, you know. Incinerating and murdering people to get control of Iraq’s oil fields was the real agenda. I know I wrote some articles about this. Now, where did I publish them? No matter, here is one source. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Cheney_Energy_Task_Force

    Fund was an inside insider. I did not believe it at the time since he always seemed sort of smart but dweeby to me – but how did you think he got a gig at the WSJ with no experience except writing for the Star (tabloid)? Robert Novak placed him there. By 2000 the two first numbers on his speed dial were Cheney and Rove.
    While Morgan and he were living together she cleaned up his office and apartment. She had to clean the apartment there were a couple feet of papers on the floor. I would not believe her so she sent photos. As she was going through them she started scanning in the interesting ones. Apparently Fund always printed out the confidential briefings he received from the WH. Morgan sent these to me via l and mail on CDs. I copied them and sent them to four people I know outside the country, two inside. They are holding on to them for me just in case.

    Have you found Johnfund.blogspot.com?

    Re: Kochs
    Their attempted take over did not work. Therefore, they cut their losses and moved on. Owning a political arm or party allowed them to ensure Ronnie was elected in 1980. Ronnie ran on OUR rhetoric. Clark ran as a low-tax liberal. I think the Kochs were part of the group who solicited Ronnie to change his registration to Republican and run for Governor in California. Long story there. I got some of it from Joe Shell when he and I were working on a campaign together in the late 80s. Dad knew Ronnie from the Republican Club he, Dad, ran at UCLA beginning around 1960. Ronnie asked Dad to go to Sacramento with him after Ronnie was elected governor, then to DC when he was elected president. Dad declined.

    I met the Kochs at the 1979 convention at the Bonaventure. Crane actually dragged me over to meet them for some reason. I was actually working with Roger MacBride for Hunscher at the time. Roger had realized the Kochs were bad players in it to build a political tool. That was not something people were going to believe at the time – but I thought by now this was obvious. The Kochs do senior strategic planning for their industry, which works together to protect themselves from accountability for the damage they do to people, air, land, and water. The oil industry depends on government to protect them from the consequences of their actions.

    Now that alternative energy is taking a real bit out of the energy market they are on thin ice. But the Kochs have diversified more than anyone else in the industry. They are not stupid.

    If you have an android you could download our app on related petroleum poisoning issues. Eco-Emergency Alert (Google Play)

  32. robert capozzi

    mpf: Why would you think justice was possible when dealing with someone who was being routinely briefed by the Bush White House in 2001 – 2002?

    me: I’d not thought about it one way or another. I do recall Scooter Libby and Claude Allen, who were both IN the WH and did not get preferential passes.I knew Fund a bit when he worked for Evans & Novak, and yes the WSJ gig seemed like a great advancement for him, I thought at the time.

    I didn’t see that he and your daughter were an item on your website. It was just a bit shocking to see someone I once knew decades ago being accused of a murder attempt, as you can imagine, I’m sure. I trust she weathered whatever trauma she experienced.

    mpf: Owning a political arm or party allowed them to ensure Ronnie was elected in 1980. Ronnie ran on OUR rhetoric. Clark ran as a low-tax liberal.

    me: Interesting. David was veep nominee and funding Clark 80 to get Reagan to win. I guess anything is possible. Clark used the term “low-tax liberal” one time, as I recall it, and it was an off-the-cuff throwaway line.

    mpf: I think the Kochs were part of the group who solicited Ronnie to change his registration to Republican and run for Governor in California.

    me: Charles was two years out of college in 1962, when RR became a R. He was with what is now Koch Industries all of one year. Again, anything’s possible, but this seems a highly unlikely alternative history.

  33. Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

    Well, Tom,life is like that. It comes with shocks and disappointments large and small.

    Here is the WeaselSearch Tape, a recording of John Fund talking to Morgan made in September 1999. She and I were talking when she arguing because John had told me the previous March (as it turned out exactly at the time Morgan was in California aborting his baby – Medical record available) he had never had a relationship with Morgan, just fed her cat for her when she was away. I believed John because Morgan lied constantly to get what she wanted from everyone in the family.

    Our conversation was interrupted when the phone beeped. Morgan put me on hold. I waited for a while then hung up and called back. Morgan was recording John, taking him through a recitation of events which exposed his lies to me.

    I would not have cared about them having a relationship. But I do not tolerate well being lied to. I had had enough of that. Generally people lie to you to get what they want then the truth seeps out.

    Listen to the recording. http://www.apj.us/fundpillsburyfull.mp3

    At the time I was not talking to Morgan because of her disgusting behavior when my son, her brother, shot himself through the brain. Morgan called me at the hospital to persuade me to let her have his heart. She told me she had the ‘family’ heart condition. I had had two heart attacks at the time and one of my sisters had died of a heart attack when she was 36 in 1974. All of my older siblings eventually died of the same condition.

    Craig paid Morgan $10,000 to persuade me to take Arthur off life support, as recommended by his physicians. We found the check for $10,000, documenting what another source told me, during the course of the divorce discovery.

    I should never have trusted her again, but I persuaded myself she had changed. She had not.

    After hearing the tape, replayed for me immediately after Morgan hung up from her call with Fund, I called Fund to tell him how shocked I was at being lied to. He hung up on me. he blocked emails. So I faxed him at the WSJ. I was later told by a reporter the fax was copied multiple times before landing on his desk. He unblocked and told me he loved Morgan and wanted to marry her.

    That was fine with me. But John was outraged he did not get the job as a speechwriter in the Bush White House he had been promised for his hard work as a political operative.

    I believed Morgan had been battered because I heard her being beaten more than once in 2001 when they were living together. So did another person who was then talking to her. He provided an affidavit to that effect.

    At this point my son, Arthur, who survived his second major brain injury, the shot through the brain, was still relearning how to walk and talk. I was his caretaker, 24/7.

    I was on the phone with Morgan the night someone used a key to open the door. She was standing next to it because it was right next to the kitchen and she was getting something. I had no reason to think she was lying about that. The only person with a key besides her was John. So it was logical to believe John had supplied the key to the guy who did his dirty work for him.

    I’ve sworn to these statements as facts for court but there was never a hearing. I was forced to put everything up on line because, surprise, all these people lie.

  34. Gene Berkman

    George Dance – you may repost any of my comments, as long as you don’t edit them to make them mean something different.

    Just a historical note – as far as I know, Dave Nolan came up with the idea for the Pledge, and wrote it. I heard the explanation I gave – the Pledge would protect us from non-libertarians moving in and taking over The Libertarian Party – from Dave Nolan and from a couple other people as well.

    A note on “Low Tax Liberal” – I don’t remember Ed Clark using the term. I saw the term in ads the Clark for President campaign ran in “Libertarian Review” and “Reason.” The ads said “join the Core of the New Coalition” positing Libertarians as the main element of a coalition including “low tax liberals, antiwar conservatives” and others. It was clever, and aspirational. It did not define Libertarians as “low tax liberals” but noted they would be a constituency open to The Libertarian Party.

    The ideas was that many young people identified as liberals because they were antiwar, and supported social freedoms, such as legal marijuana and legal abortion. But it was believed that support for social freedoms and for peace did not mean that they accepted the full progressive tax and spend welfare state program. In politics, Sen. William Proxmire was probably the best example of a low tax liberal.

  35. Jim

    George Phillies said: “As a witness, having asked him about this exact issue. I can guarantee that Nolan’s position was that the oath was purely and entirely a guarantee that we were not organized to overthrow the government and not (specific case discussed) that taxes were inconsistent with the pledge.”

    My position is that government which collects taxes under threat of force has “pre-aggressed”, and thus use of force against their agents (and all government employees) is entirely consistent with NAP. See my “Assassination Politics” essay of 1995-1996, at: https://cryptome.org/ap.htm .

    “At that point, the question shifted to one of practicality: Sure, theoretically we might morally have the “right” to protect ourselves with lethal force, but if they have any reputation at all, government agents have a habit of showing up in large numbers when they actually apply direct force. To take a position that you can only defend yourself when they’ve chosen the “where” and “when” of the confrontation is downright suicidal, and I hope you understand that I would consider any such restriction to be highly unfair and totally impractical. Understand, too, that the reason we’re still stuck under the thumb of the government is that to the extent it’s true, “we’ve” been playing by THEIR rules, not by our own. By our own rules, THEY are the aggressors and we should be able to treat them accordingly, on our own terms, at our own convenience, whenever we choose, especially when we feel the odds are on our side.
    I understand, obviously, that the “no initiation of aggression” principle is still valid, but please recognize that I simply don’t consider it to be a valid counter-argument to “Assassination Politics,” at least as applied to targets who happen to be government agents. They’ve “pre-aggressed,” and I don’t see any limit to the defenses I should be able to muster to stop that aggression completely and permanently. Not that I don’t see a difference between different levels of guilt: I fully recognize that some of them are far worse than others, and I would certainly not treat a lowly Forest Service grunt in the same fashion as an ATF sniper.”

  36. Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

    I don’t think I was Southern California Vice Chairman when we had a member try to blow up the Federal Building. But we laid low and they never realized he was a member. He had told someone in advance what he was going to do but I can’t remember who that was now. That must have been around 1985-1986.

  37. jim

    Melinda Pillsbury-Foster: What was the triggering incident for that 1986 thing? For McVeigh, it was the Waco matter. I’m trying to think what happened around and before 1986.

  38. Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

    We never knew why he did it. He ranted about everything, so who could know? He may have called some people to tell them before hand but I don’t think anyone took him seriously before hand. Neal Donner could have been S. Vice Chair then. I remember being astonished when I received the call.

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