Actual Elected Libertarian Weighs In On Portland

We’ve heard from quite a few people so far regarding their opinions on Portland. VanDyke, Sarwark, and of course all the commenters. We’ve got the blogosphere weighing in pretty strongly on this. We’ve got purists and pragmatists galore.

Now though, I’m pleased to bring you the opinion of at least one elected Libertarian official on the mess o’ fun we call NatCon. Beatrice Jones has been getting her hands dirty in politics for over 20 years, and she speaks out of that experience. Naturally, your mileage may vary, but nonetheless I do feel it’s a valid opinion, and it’s about damn time that the class of Libertarians with the most to say-the elected ones-finally speak up. Her statement begins after the jump.

The reason this Party has never made any real progress – IMHO! – is because we spend more time fighting amongst ourselves over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin than by effecting any real change. We back political candidates who can spout rhetoric but who cannot debate pertinent issues with their opponents. I firmly believe that some of the membership does not WANT Libertarian candidates elected, because then they would actually have to work to prove their points – and much of what unelectable candidates espouse is unachievable in two or four years – and the electorate realizes this. It has taken over 75 years to slide down the slippery slope of socialism, and radical behavior or changes will not work. (We lament about the declining level of education in this country; yet never realize that to overcome it means that people have to be gradually educated, spoon-fed if you will, instead of making declarative statements and thinking that people ‘had better get it the first time’!)

It is for this reason that I wanted to be a part of this Bylaws Committee, because of my experience in the political realm for 20 years – getting people elected and keeping them in office, myself included – to espouse gradual political change. The electorate cannot be harangued or dragged to freedom – they must be convinced in a step by step process. Those radicals who want to leave the Party because they feel disenfranchised are responsible for their own decisions. We should not feel pressured nor desperate to keep every single Libertarian – simply because they say that they are Libertarians. The purpose of a political party is not to have a breakfast or a supper speakeasy club – it is (or should be) to espouse change, to bring people together under one umbrella, not drive them away because they (for one reason or another) are not “true Libertarians” by any criteria. Only by showing gradual progress and embracing progressive change will the Libertarian Party – or any Party – grow enough to attract membership, party loyalty, and votes for candidates to cause real change to occur.

It has taken me and my Mayor 18 years to push the changes we wanted to make here; and we have come under a lot of harassment and caught a lot of flak. The death threats have died down, and now we are able to prove that, yes, we can change the status quo and lower or even eliminate taxes by making developers and people pay their own way rather than taxing people off of their property for infrastructure and amenities that they may never use or even have access to. It was a step-by-step process with a definitive goal in sight at all times. If the membership of the Libertarian Party feels that jumping up and down screaming, “We either change now or I’ll shoot myself – and don’t laugh, you’re next!” is an effective process for change, then – again, IMHO! – they are not a political Party at all, merely a group of people, self-righteous and self-aggrandizing, who will never accomplish anything in the real political world.

We have to learn the realities of the political process or the Party will die – or be ineffective, which is worse. This is only the first step. There will be many more. There will be flak all along the way. We have to decide for ourselves if taking the flak and moving onward is worth it in the long run – or if we will give up, curl up in a corner ad go foetal in our repetitive defense against members of our own Party, or if we will quit because there is too much flak.

Sorry if that offends – but if reality bites, then maybe some folks shouldn’t be trying to pet that particular dog. My opinions devolve from real life political experiences, not a fantasy life of what should/could be.

posted by Stuart Richards
  • http://freestateproject.org/ Seth

    Amen. Preach it, sister!

  • http://www.libertyforsale.com Timothy West

    There’s one other angle I dont think has been explored. Some here seem to think that what the LRC did was abnormal. In fact, mainstream political parties DESIRE caucuses composed of smaller special interest groups within a larger party umbrella. The following is the list of caucuses within the STATE Democratic Party of Michigan.

    Please notice how many different ethnic and other types of groups are represented:

    Albanian American Caucus

    Arab American Democrats

    Asian-American Caucus

    Bangladeshi Caucus

    Democratic Lawyers of Michigan

    Disability Caucus

    Environmental Caucus

    Geneese Co. Jewish Democratic Caucus

    Greek American Caucus

    Hispanic/Latino Caucus

    Hmong/ Laotian Democratic Caucus

    Hunting, Fishing & Gun Ownership Caucus

    Ingham County Women’s Caucus

    Irish Caucus

    talian Caucus

    Justice Caucus

    This is part of how a political party becomes mainstream. Instead of driving away other visions of the party, they subdivide into smaller groups much like themselves.

    (cont)

  • http://www.libertyforsale.com Timothy West

    This is what needs to happen within the LP. There needs to be a moderate caucus, a “purist caucus”, a anarcho caucus. As many people as possible being true to their caucus and representing themselves within as they like.

    Caucuses inside the LP are a good thing, but when there are only 2 of them, it tends to have the same effect as the two party system outside of the LP; it encourages fighting against ‘the enemy’, and discourages open dialouge without pre conception.

    There needs to be MORE organized sub groups in the LP. Having such would benefit everyone. Having only 2 sub groups with each pushing the other to hit the road only hurts the party as a whole.

    Lets have other libertarians form their own caucuses in the LP, each remaining true to themselves but stying within the LP umbrella.

    You could have the Constitutional Caucus, the rothbard caucus, The Randian Caucus, and so on.

    This is how the big boys do it. You gain a measure of self determination inside the party.

  • IanC

    Timothy — I agree with your implication here. Just one problem; most whom are against what the LRC did in the convention, would state that the one single word you used — “mainstream” — is everything that must be “fought” to keep the LP “pure” enough to make it “righteously justified.”

    Because the moment it becomes mainstream either one of two would have happened: A) The nation already became libertarian enough that ‘we won’t need to be elected!’ or B) The LP will stray so far from its principles (ones that cannot *ever* vary from Rothbard/vonMises et al) that it will cease to have any real meaning.

    As evidenced by recent conversations on this forum, I am a radically different sort of libertarian than the Rothbardian/vonMises ‘crowd’ can tolerate. Yet my fundamental underlying political principle is simple: “Increase measurable freedoms.”

    It’s that simple.

  • http://www.libertyforsale.com Timothy West

    The Rothbard/Radical caucus could have the pledge required for membership inside that caucus without effecting the prospect for support in the general party.

    I remain convinced that no political party worth the name will self limit it’s membership and donation base of support that wants to succeed in any measurable way. All institutional barriers to GENERAL support from the people to this party must die. It’s directly counter productive to a political partys goals.

    The LRC should now become the moderate libertarian caucus within the LP.

  • IanC

    Timothy — I am in absolute agreement with you on both points.

    The problem I’m seeing is that so long as people continue with the thinking that states: “By not voting for us, the public is doing the LP a favor.”

    These are the same ‘radicals’ whom fight tooth & nail to keep moderates from having influence on the LP.

    I’m not going any further than that on this conversation; I’ve made my position clear. *s*

  • Stuart Richards

    Well, there’s already a movement underfoot to restart the LP Radicals. Despite my opinions of Hogarth, this is clearly a good and necessary move.

  • http://www.libertyforsale.com Timothy West

    I believe the libertarian party has only one true principle:

    to always stand for and POLITICALLY REPRESENT the advancement of the freedom of the individual person. As long as one is doing that, there can be no principle that is broken.

    Beyond this, all other principles are dust. The number of means and ways one can do this are immeasurable. Simply put there is no wrong way to advocate for freedom, but there are ways in the nature of political contests hat will yield 1000X the results of other ways.

    I dont believe in the no force principle. My mind rejects it for many reasons, but that is of no concern to anyone, or shouldnt be. I might not qualify as a member of the Rothbard Caucus, but I’m still libertarian.

    What the LP needs is MORE types of libertarians, not fewer.

    and it needs more caucuses to ive all those different kind of libertarians a home, instead of demanding all libertarians fit into one mold of belief. It wont work that way.

  • http://www.libertyforsale.com Timothy West

    Ian:

    it was the simple statement by a LPGA member on the Badnarik blog that started me blogging in Aug 2004 in the first place:

    “I prefer that the Libertarian Prty remain small and powerless; becuase it keeps our message pure.”

    I freaked out and resolved that I would change the entire culture of the LP. I could no longer accept failure represented as a glorious success of some kind.

    I really dont know how I have managed to give a shit about the LP for so long. It’s not normal, ya know. Most people would have given up by now.

    That the only political party with the most powerful political message in the world – that people should be free – be so inept and self distructive time after time is miserable. I must be a masochist.

  • David Tomlin

    Ms. Jones writes ‘The reason this Party has never made any real progress – IMHO! – is because we spend more time fighting amongst ourselves over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin than by effecting any real change.’

    Then she writes ‘I firmly believe that some of the membership does not WANT Libertarian candidates elected . . .’

    So, fighting over angels on pinheads is a wast of time, but it’s productive to pick fights by making nasty, unsupported attacks on people’s motives?

  • Stuart Richards

    It’s not productive… but it sure as hell is funny.

    Seriously though, reread this and try to glean what’s in there that’s worthwhile advice, not what’s in there to get mad about. This can go for just about anything.

  • http://articulatecampaigns.com Allen Hacker

    David Tomlin:

    You can’t be serious!

    Ms. Jones’ statement of her personal belief, ”˜I firmly believe that some of the membership does not WANT Libertarian candidates elected . . .’ is neither unsupported, nor a nasty attack of any kind.

    There are people who have openly stated that they don’t want us to get elected, that we should only be an educational debate society. If they say it, that’s their motive. Surely you can understand that.

    To state the truth is not nasty, even if the truth being stated is itself nasty.

    It seems to me that you’re the one looking for a fight.

    -0-

  • http://www.finlandforthought.net Phil

    Let’s stay away from “Rothbardian” caucus or “Misesian” caucus, it makes us sound like the uber-lefties i.e. Marxist, Lenisit, Maoist etc.. :-)

  • David Tomlin

    >Allen Hacker: Ms. Jones’ statement of her personal belief, ”˜I firmly believe that some of the membership does not WANT Libertarian candidates elected . . .’ is neither unsupported, nor a nasty attack of any kind.

    David Tomlin: Ms. Jones gives no evidence of the statement in the post. That means it is unsupported, even if evidence does exist elsewhere. I guess you’re not familiar with the idiom.

    >AH: There are people who have openly stated that they don’t want us to get elected, that we should only be an educational debate society.

    DT: This also an unsupported statement.

    If Ms. Jones meant to say that she knew of people who made such statements, I assume she would have said that. She said she said ‘I firmly believe’, which implies she is making inferences about people she believes are concealing their true motives.

  • http://freelancify.com Nigel Watt

    I’ll support Allen’s second statement. A comment from the LP blog:

    I really hope Badnarik does NOT get elected. Washington can corrupt some of the best of men and it will be sad to see it corrupt Badnarik.

  • http://www.wrenbeck.net Drew

    I agree with Ms Jones – she is so correct.

    I found it funn y that after the planks were changed to make us more electable, suddently the purist blogs came up with some statement from Nolan that said the party was never designed to win, only to forward ideas.
    If that’s not a horrible case of false advertizing, what is. I didn’t join the party to have monthly lunches – I joined and ran for only one reason, to win elections.
    When asked if I was going to run this time around at a function I’ll leave nameless — I said “no, I am moving and switching cities, so I can’t.” TO this the reply was “run for a satae wide office, then it doesn’t matter”
    I said “I don’t know of a state office I can win, and I won’t run a losing campaign”
    Did I get some looks. No one could believe that I was really saying that.
    People running for offices they could never understand or hold if they accidently won makes us all look bad.

  • http://knappster.blogspot.com Thomas L. Knapp

    The “reformers” would do just as well to read Ms. Jones’s piece as the “purists.” “Purists” are not the only ones who have argued about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or proposed “silver bullets,” or threatened to splinter and/or leave the party if they don’t get their way.

    Insofar as internal caucuses go, there’s been a Rothbard Caucus for some time, but it hasn’t been especially active; Ms. Hogarth’s attempt to re-start the Radical Caucus points up the same thing as the LPRC’s inactivity: “Purist” activism within the party had been in a state of atrophy for some time.

    The “reformers” didn’t exactly wrest control of the LP from the “purists.” It was more like they sat down in a chair that had been dangerously left unoccupied. That’s okay, though — they won’t be in it long enough to get comfortable.

  • David Tomlin

    The LP blog comment was posted someone identified as ‘jeremy’. Nowhere in that thread does he say he is an LP member.

  • David Tomlin

    ‘. . . some statement from Nolan that said the party was never designed to win . . .’

    A caricature of what Nolan said.

  • http://www.steveperkins.net Steve Perkins

    I’ll support Allen’s second statement. A comment from the LP blog:

    I really hope Badnarik does NOT get elected. Washington can corrupt some of the best of men and it will be sad to see it corrupt Badnarik.

    I saw that blog, and as I replied at the time, this represents everything that’s wrong with the Party today. I like the ideas coming out of this thread. The Democrats need Bill Clinton’s “Leadership Caucus” to get anything done, yet still need the Dean and Kucinich folks to “keep ‘em honest” and stop them from becoming Republican-lite. It’s a dynamic formula, and doesn’t always work perfectly, but I thing a similar blend of caucuses could be a powerful asset to the LP.

  • Jim Allison

    I caught a really awful B-movie at 3AM on HBO a while back. I believe it was called “Ring of Steel.” The movie was about an underground gladiator ring, where folks would fight to the death with swords to win bets. Sometimes, the LP reminds me of one scene in the movie where a heavy set gentlemen asks to be one of the gladiators. He introduces himself as a “level 13 Half-Elf Barbarian with a magical sword plus four, which he has vowed to never let leave his side.” He ends up getting killed.

    Sometimes I think that many LPers view the LP as a fantasy roleplaying political party. They get to have fancy titles, draft documents that will change the world, start caucuses, run for Congress, etc. But then they shy away from doing the hard work that involves leaving the house.

    There are folks like this in both LP camps, and they often tend to be the loudest, boldly declaring their Half-Elven Barbarian bloodline to anyone who will listen.

  • http://www.ilovephysics.com Chris Moore

    My magical sword is plus FIVE!

  • jnice

    Hey David,

    It’s interesting that you demand an exact reference from anyone who disagrees with your views, yet you’ll give people like Thomas Knapp a pass on here when he makes similar statements that happen to agree with your views. Why don’t you demand that EVERYBODY cites their sources when they present opinions here?

  • http://www.reformthelp.org Carl

    My -4 Glock beats your +5 sword.

  • David Tomlin

    ‘It’s interesting that you demand an exact reference from anyone who disagrees with your views . . .’

    I haven’t demanded anything.

    ‘Why don’t you demand that EVERYBODY cites their sources when they present opinions here?’

    That’s not my job.

  • http://www.ilovephysics.com Chris Moore

    “My -4 Glock beats your +5 sword.”

    Not in the wizard world. ;)

  • http://www.ongforcuregent.com Daniel Ong

    David T,

    From http://www.strike-the-root.com/61/hancock/hancock1.html

    What Nolan wrote recently about the Libertarian Party:
    http://www.ernesthancock.com/archive/?2006-06-18-Bonus

    “…from the very beginning, the LP was intended primarily as a vehicle for building a network of activists and spreading libertarian ideas to the American public. Back in 1971 I listed seven reasons to form a libertarian political party, and electing people to office was the last item on the list ”“ almost an afterthought.”

    “It is time for us to recognize that for the foreseeable future, our mission is NOT to win elections, but to build a mighty cadre of dedicated libertarian activists who stand uncompromisingly for liberty, and who are willing to do something about it.”

    What Nolan wrote originally about the Libertarian Party:
    http://elfsoft.home.mindspring.com/politics/nolan.htm

    “An finally, there is always the possibility that we might actually get some libertarians elected.”

  • http://knappster.blogspot.com Thomas L. Knapp

    jnice,

    “It’s interesting that you demand an exact reference from anyone who disagrees with your views, yet you’ll give people like Thomas Knapp a pass on here when he makes similar statements that happen to agree with your views. Why don’t you demand that EVERYBODY cites their sources when they present opinions here?”

    What claim did I make that you desire a source for? I’ll be happy to provide a source, or to retract the claim.

    As for why Mr. Tomlin might not always press me for a source, that may have to do with the fact that he well knows I never make a factual claim for which I can’t provide one. We often disagree — and sometimes argue — but neither of us ever walks into the ring without evidence to support our arguments.

  • Barbara Gordon

    1. Please be patient with a novice. What is IMHO?

    2. The “purists” remind me of the “Christian Coalition”, Except that there is nothing Christian in their (CC) behavior. Both groups are self-righteous and so afraid that other groups might be right. The Christian Coalition is an embarrassment to many of us Christians. They think they are pure and will use unChristian tactics to force others to behave as they deem fit. Do you see the any parallels in the purists behavior?

  • http://www.standingupforfreedom.org Wes Wagner

    For libertarian candidates to win, they actually have to do the hard work of campaigning in a way tha can win.

    See our first television commercial… in the first 8 hours it raised over $500 just on the website and goe son the air on cable tv in my district on Wednesday.

    http://www.standingupforfreedom.org

  • David Tomlin

    IMHO = ‘In My Humble Opinion’

    Here’s a site that’s very helpful for such questions.

    http://acronymfinder.com/

  • Stephen VanDyke

    I don’t want to add fuel to the fire of “burning the heretics” — those who would rather the LP remain an education outreach (*cough* debate society *cough*) instead of a political party that elects people — but I’ve been sitting on this story about David Nolan (you know, the chart guy?) who said this the LP Ohio Convention in May:

    It is time for us to recognize that for the foreseeable future, our mission is NOT to win elections, but to build a mighty cadre of dedicated libertarian activists who stand uncompromisingly for liberty, and who are willing to do something about it.

    Sorry, but I vehemently disapprove of that sentiment. This attitude is defeatist and ignores the strides we’ve been making in recent years in ballot access reform and influencing other candidates to take more libertarian stances when we get inside their zone of comfort. I have no problem if some of you want to continue to use the LP to simply educate people (yeesh, ever heard of CATO or a bunch of other 527s whose sole job is to do this?), but we need to stop with this one or the other attitude, because frankly I think we can educate on liberty AND elect our people to fulfill the promise.

    That’s called politics, and we need to start playing the game if we want to fix this country.

  • David Tomlin

    I’m not a Christian, but I was raised as one. I don’t think it’s ‘un-Christian’ to express an honest opinion about someone else’s behavior. I recall at least one of Paul’s epistles admonishing the brethren to ‘reprove one another’.

  • R. E. Lee

    Thanks, Mr. Ong, for posting Mr. Nolan’s original call for the formation of the Libertarian Party. I hadn’t read it through in some 30 years, but it refreshed my memory of what
    Nolan had in mind. In the early seventies, hardly anyone thought the LP could elect anyone of significance. Most
    activists climbed on board because they saw the practical effects Nolan outlined. The LP would use political action
    (candidates getting free publicity, stump time, etc.) that
    would be incremental to what SIL or campus groups could get from their educational efforts, protests, and dinner club
    speeches. Also, as Nolan alludes to, the major parties would have to start incorporating libertarian ideas if the
    LP could start attracting enough votes to swing the balance of power. In other words, the LP did not have to win elections to justify its existence – that would just be a bonus. Maybe it is time to go back to Mr. Nolan’s original “path forward.”

  • R. E. Lee

    Continued:
    Many have remarked on CATO or ISIL or Advocates doing the educational work while the LP should run electable candidates. But CATO doesn’t resemble the movement of 1971:
    they don’t have local chapters with local programs spreading the word among average voters. So, if the LP doesn’t want to do it, then some group should resurrect the local chapter/dinner meeting/ local activism model. As for the LP, somewhere along the way, it never really tested the balance of power idea, opting instead for running tons of paper candidates and spreading thin its manpower and financial resources. So let’s test it by concentrating on
    five or ten particulary egregious incumbents and seeing if an LP focus on the race can make a difference that matters
    to those in power.

  • IanC

    David T: Proselytization is in the opinions of many cultures in the world as one of the greatest of evils to ever exist. Christianity, while in nature and form good and benevolent, being centered upon proselytization to a degree unmatched by any other religion ever known, is in *essence* and *impact* the most evil religion to ever exist.

    I can make a foundation for that statement as well, with two words: “Deus Invictus.” (also: “Deus vult”)
    http://gbgm-umc.org/UMW/bible/crusades.stm

  • Wendy Terry

    Jones is RIGHT ON! It’s time to get LP candidates elected, or we will lose our window of opportunity.

    Time is running short!

    If “reform” is what it takes, then so be it. Mostly, IMHO, what it will take is for us all to hang together to avoid hanging seperately.

    Divided we fall!

  • IanC

    Tim West, SVD — sorry for taking so long to respond.

    I am in absolute agreement with y’all on this one. *s*

    People whom participate in the LP need to understand that only by taking electoral efforts *SERIOUSLY* will our message reach or be heard.

    I interpret Mr. Nolan’s message — regardless of his intent, admittedly — to mean the following:

    “We must not expect to win to the point of declaring ourselves defunct if we fail to elect libertarians. Yet only by making serious efforts to do so will we succeed in the more fundamentally significant goals of the party.”

    I.e.; — a political machine that by *ACTING LIKE A POLITICAL MACHINE* accomplishes *ALL* of the goals of the LP.

    Leaving the CATO, vonMises, et al institutes to capitalize on the successes of the LP to create a broader audience-base through actual attempts to elect representatives.

    Honestly, in this regards, despite Loretta Nall’s failure to actually reach ballot status, I look at her as the
    (cont’d)

  • IanC

    I look at her as the paragon of success on this issue.

    She converted *sheriff’s candidates* to an anti-drug-prohibition stance, *AND* made local televised newscats.

    Bill Pierce is doing the same in Ohio.

    We need *MORE* of this if we want our message to reach to vox populi status.

  • Steve Benton

    Like you, Timothy West, I joined the LP because I believe it is the only political party that actually works for personal liberty, along with personal responsibility and property rights. I also joined the party because I want to see Libertarians in office. On the other hand, I’m not a purist. I cringe every time I hear a Libertarian candidate for federal office say, “If I’m elected the first thing I’ll do is get rid of the IRS,” and by implication the income tax. However, IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN! Most people in this nation, and I’m one of them, want the federal, and state, government to provide services. What is needed is to determine which services government will, or should, provide. I think that it’s in this area that LP candidates could distinguish themselves from Dems and Reps who all seem to believe that cutting taxes and increasing spending are compatible.

  • http://freelancify.com Nigel Watt

    Wes, that commercial is awesome.

  • David Tomlin

    >Stephen VanDyke: ‘I have no problem if some of you want to continue to use the LP to simply educate people (yeesh, ever heard of CATO or a bunch of other 527s whose sole job is to do this?), but we need to stop with this one or the other attitude, because frankly I think we can educate on liberty AND elect our people to fulfill the promise.’

    David Tomlin: Wonderful! I’m glad you’ve come around to the ‘purist’ position on this point.

    My most fundamental disagreement with ‘reformers’ has always been their insistence that education is somehow incompatible with electing candidates.

  • Barbara Gordon

    Thank you, David, for pointing me to the acronymn finder
    ……………………………………………………
    “I don’t think it’s ”˜un-Christian’ to express an honest opinion about someone else’s behavior. I recall at least one of Paul’s epistles admonishing the brethren to ”˜reprove one another’. ”
    I agree, but to rebuke is not the same as force or ex-communicate.
    …………………………..
    It seems to me to be unlibertarian to say “one isn’t a Libertarian if he is not as pure as I am.” Individual liberty is lost somewhere in the idea…
    …………..
    Conversion, whether religious or political, for many is a gradual transformation. Allowance must be made for those who are “growing”.

    If my first introduction to libertarianism had been through the internet, blogs and comments, I would have run from it!
    Instead, I was led to it (libertarianism)by a very patient teacher.

    Can’t we discuss differances without virulant personal attacks on one another?

  • http://www.libertyforsale.com Timothy West

    There’s information involved, but the point of the sale is not to convince others to become libertarians themselves. The point of sale is to get their votes for our candidates.

    Not education for converting others – education for convincing non libertarians into pulling a lever for us no matter what they may be.

    The goal is different. One is the goal of a membership org and the other uses education only for what a political party does – to get more people to pull a lever for our guy than any other.

    What Zero dues brought us was the end of measuring success in this party by how many we could convert, when we can “educate” thousands of times as many people by actually winning elections.

  • jnice

    Thomas Knapp (Re: Post #28), David Tomlin (Re: Post #25): Come on, fellas, you HAVE to know what I’m getting at here… Okay, since you don’t, here’s my time-wasting response:

    Thomas, until you cite your claims made on post #17 that reformers have threatened to splinter from the party if they don’t get their way, or that reformers have proposed “silver bullets” (you used quotes here, which may imply that some reformer actually used that term), I refuse to accept them concerning the debate taking place amongst this thread. I don’t even understand the whole angels dancing on a pinhead phrase, so never mind on that one.

    Even though I believe that both of your claims are, in fact, true, I’d rather stay ignorant for an additional two or three hours (or however much time it’ll take for you to find specific examples to share with us), knowing that during this precious interval of time, I’m still winning the debate (or replace this with whatever motivator is at hand here).

  • http://freenewworld.blogspot.com Nick Wilson

    Great thread. This thread makes me feel far more optimistic about the future of LP reform than several other recent threads I have participated in. Ms. Jones hits the nail on the head. My only disagreement on this thread is with the idea that we should break down into hundreds of caucuses. When you are established like the Democrats or Republicans, it is more understandable to have many different interests vying for control – there are two reasons why this won’t work for the LP. 1.) our two “primary” interest groups (the reformers and the purists) have two completely different ideas on the role of government and whether or not the means justifies the end for candidates and a political party – this is a difference that won’t be solved easily. To break this down into No-Compromise Anarcho, Incrementalist Anarcho “Today” Paleo/Purist, Incrementalist Paleo/Purist, Constitutionalist, Neolibertarian, Moderate, Randian etc. Caucuses will only contribute to this fundamental divide…(cont’d)

  • jnice

    Re: Posts 32, 42 & 44, concerning educating the public with libertarian ideas: I agree with Stephen and David that the LP can do both. However, I agree with Tim that getting elected should be the main focus.

    I feel that the public may already be educated enough, or at least have some experiences, to already consider supporting a libertarian agenda on certain issues. I think it’ll be easier to sell the smaller steps (ex: loosening regulations on pharmaceutical companies) than the big goals (ex: ending the Food and Drug Administration).

    Health care is probably a bad place to start, though, as there’s been a LOT of misinformation given to us that we need to follow the strategy of Canada, Cuba, etc. regarding health care.

  • http://freenewworld.blogspot.com Nick Wilson

    (cont from 46) and possibly make even more internal gang wars/special interest groups. Caucuses are about getting their voice represented and determining what policies the party advocates – we need to start agreeing, and I think I can agree with most, except the no-compromisers who won’t agree with anyone else anyway. The LRC was trying to draw a clear line where the LP was divided between incrementalists and no-compromisers, or big tenters vs. limited admission tenters, but kinda turned into a moderate vs. purist/anarchist debate.

    Secondly, our national party probably has less members than Michigan has Democrats, and we certainly win less elections. Sad reality, but the Democrats actually have enough power to merit vying for.

  • http://articulatecampaigns.com Allen Hacker

    David Tomlin: Give it up, man. You don’t get to add rules for others and then joke them away when you’re called on it. Not that I expect you to give detailed substantiation for every phrase you type in every 1000-character post you make.

    That would be stupid, don’t you agree?

    -0-

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    IanC writes (6): The problem I’m seeing is that so long as people continue with the thinking that states: “By not voting for us, the public is doing the LP a favor.”

    Beatrice Jones writes: ”˜I firmly believe that some of the membership does not WANT Libertarian candidates elected . . .’

    Now, I can’t read the minds of others so I can’t really know what others are thinking or what they want, but judging by the number of purists and anarchists I know that put time, money and effort into supporting LP candidates (even moderate ones), I find it hard to believe that very many hold the sentiments attributed to them in the statements above.

    If I were to read on some blog the statement: “I prefer that the Libertarian Prty remain small and powerless; becuase it keeps our message pure.”, I just can’t take
    it seriously. For all I know, it could just be another “purist” basher’s agitprop designed to “prove” that purists are crazy.

  • http://www.libertyforsale.com Timothy West

    It was a FEATURE on the LPGA on Badnarik’s blog in either early August or late July 2004. He was one of a few profiled members. HE WAS DEAD SERIOUS, and that’s what made me go nuts and start blogging about the LP in the first place.

    Hell, you saw Silbergers video on here a few posts ago, in it, he exactly says that the goal is not election butis to advocate IDEAS to the public. ( education angle) I didnt bribe him to say that. Thats what he really thinks…just like a lot of others do.

  • IanC

    Tom Blanton — in direct personal conversation with local individuals in the LP as well as libertarian conversation lists I have seen *PRECISELY* that statement made, by a self-proclaimed “Hard-core” anarchist/purist libertarian.

    This particular individual has stated this repeatedly and in many manners… and the thinking was agreed with by such individuals as, amongst others, Barry Hess (whom I plan to vote for by the way).

    This is not a conspiracy. It is not mudslinging.

    I have sat by and *watched* as serious candidacies attempting real wins were brought down by the “bully-pulpit” mentalities of those around them in the LP. (Again, their words.)

    I reference only the words/phrases of advocates of the vonMises/Rothbardian/anarchist/’purist’ ideology. Not my opinion *of* their statements. Not *my opinions.* Only what has been said.

    Take its implications from there.

  • http://knappster.blogspot.com Thomas L. Knapp

    jnice, you write: “until you cite your claims made on post #17 that reformers have threatened to splinter from the party if they don’t get their way, or that reformers have proposed ‘silver bullets’ (you used quotes here, which may imply that some reformer actually used that term), I refuse to accept them concerning the debate taking place amongst this thread.”

    I didn’t either of those claims (read more carefully), but I’ll bite.

    “Personally, I’ll devote myself until the 2008 elections to the LP. If no gains are made, no measurable movement by the membership is seen towards the reforms in attitudes needed to give this party wings, then I’ll quit too. I’ll take my efforts into a new party, and I hope there will be enough of us disaffected Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians to gain the majority.”

    — Tim West, Liberty For Sale, May 27th 2005

    That one took about five seconds to find using Google (the site is gone — it’s a cache copy).

    Want more?

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  • http://knappster.blogspot.com Thomas L. Knapp

    jnice,

    All quotes from Liberty For Sale:

    “If the time comes where we feel the best interests of the libertarian movement are to seperate, thats exactly what we will do, and it will tear this party up.” — Tim West, 07/20/05

    “In launching the LRC, we decided that the best way to recruit for a new party was a reform movement for the old one. … I want to put the decision in the hands of the party’s core: should the LP become a real political party or should it be a monastery. If the latter, the politicians should leave and start a new party.” — Carl Milsted, (08/03/05)

    “Is the time better speant trying to put a slik purse ona sow’a ear inside the LP, or could this time be better spent building a new party?” — Tim West, 06/29/05

    “It is possible that we may fail to reform the Libertarian Party. If the Hegelian libertarians thwart us, we always have the option of starting a new party.” — Carl Milsted, 05/26/05

    I trust the claim I didn’t make is well-proven now.

  • http://www.libertyforsale.com Timothy West

    Tom,

    there’s never been any secret made of the fact. If the LRC failed to gain traction within the LP, I always intended to give up on the LP, and not only give up on it, but start a competitor…… which shouldnt be a problem, becuase libertarians love competition. The LRC was my last hope for the LP amounting to anything.

    I’ve been encouraged to stay by the process of zero dues passing, seeing more and more political activity out of HQ, the hiring of both Gordon and Shane Cory, the ballot base, and of course what happened in Portland. I like the general course of party direction, even though I didnt get everything I wanted yet. The pledge still has to go.

    A pro liberty/anti-government/corporate party minus the LP’s baggage would quickly destroy the existing LP in a very few years. But there’s no reason to do that. The LP IS becoming that party, slowly but surely.

  • http://www.libertyforsale.com Timothy West

    I’m motivated by one thing and one thing only. That thing is having a politically effective third party that promotes individual liberty in a practical manner and achieves real political results.

    If the LP can’t ever become that party, then fuck it, I say. It deserves to die and be replaced, becuase as such it’s been committing fraud upon the american people for 25 years. VOTERS have the expectation that a vote cast for a LP candidate will be expressed in the political arena, not be thrown away on a “party” where it’s candidates openly admit that they dont run to win elections.

    I frankly dont give a shit about the non force principle, or most of the typical stuff that motivates most libertarians. I also said expressly :multiple times: that I’m not as “libertarian” as most people are in the LP.

    I’m not married to “libertarianism”. I’m here becuase the LP is still the closest match to what *I* believe, not the other way around.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    I don’t deny that people make weird statements and some may actually believe them. I don’t question that everyone here has seen such statements.

    You guys are free to believe there are vast numbers of libertarians that hope the LP never elects anyone or prefer the LP stay small, I just don’t buy it.

    I know of one reformer who is running for public office and he has a picture of himself wearing a Confederate uniform on his website. Should I infer that many libertarian reformers wear Confederate uniforms and consider this to be the way to win elections? Should I embark on a mission to change the entire culture of the LP based on this one anecdotal aberration?

    Of all the things the LP has to worry about, the anecdotal statements made by a handful of people should be the least of our worries. The elevate the importance of these off the wall statements or to use them to indict an entire group of people is wrong and is a distraction from more important issues.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    It will be hard enough for those deemed to be purists to have a meaningful debate about the platform with reformers as it is without having the reformers throw out red herrings such as these anecdotal statements made by a small number of people.

    Is it time for purists to start scouring the LRC website and the many writings of Carl Milstead and the Milsteadians for absurd and bizarre statements? It seems the purists will need plenty of talking points to throw out to counter those from the realists.

    Or can the debate about the platform be had without the red herrings that consist of what one or two people said once or twice on some blog?

  • David Tomlin

    From the events of Portland, it seems to me that there are many in the LP, perhaps a majority, who can’t be put in either the radical (‘purist’) or ‘reformer’ camp. I think the key to understanding the rhetoric of the ‘reformers’ is that they want to discredit the ‘purists’ with the undecideds. They don’t really want any dialogue with the ‘nutball’, ‘tinfoil hat’, ‘lunatic fringe’.

  • jnice

    Tom Blanton (posts 57-58): Good points. I’m actually looking forward to getting more involved with proposals for the future LP platform, and will definitely be focusing more energy on this in the near future.

    “Milsteadians”? Actually, his last name is spelled “Milsted”, but I’m sure he’s excited to be such a celebrity within our party that his name is used in such a manner.

  • paleolibertarian

    Typical politician, she said a whole lot of nothing.

    The neolibertarians have been bullhorning a need for a platform that reflects “incremental” change, yet they practiced not what they preach in Portland. Gutting the platform was not an “incremental” change that could’ve made transition smoother and less divisive on the party.

    I agreed with the LRC on many issues, but my resentment for the way they went about it outwieghs any support I once held for the LRC. What they did was inconsiderate to the other 5 factions of the Lp.

    I really think the Lp jumped the gun in 2006. People are looking for something different from the old parties, not cheap immitations.

    I will no longer be paying dues or donating money to the Lp, and any L candidate that has not signed the pledge will not recieve my support nor my vote. I will donate generously, and work hard for those that have, but from now on I’m an independent libertarian, whose vote no longer is to endorse the Lp, my vote must be earned.

  • jnice

    paleolibertarian: I signed the pledge thinking that it was only a promise to be nonviolent in my efforts to promote libertarian ideas. I think others also view the pledge as this, and nothing more.

  • IanC

    Jnice: It *does* mean that. And shoe-horning by “anarchists” and “vonMiseans” be damned.

    They keep focusing on only one clause and not the remainder: “I do not endorse or advocate the initiation of force for social or political *CHANGE*.”

    That says not a damned thing about keeping things the way they are — which is interesting — and further says not a damned thing about things on a personal or economical level.

    Strangely, by strict definition — using the “vonMisean” definition of non-initiation of force — this means that taxation is permissible. Because it is *economic* change rather than social. And the pledge is silent on that.

    But do ‘they’ wish to hear this? No. ‘They’ focus on the NIFP and state if you don’t believe *IN THEIR INTERPRETATION OF IT* — then you aren’t a libertarian, and that’s that.

  • http://knappster.blogspot.com Thomas L. Knapp

    Tim,

    You write: “there’s never been any secret made of the fact.”

    If the fact you are referring to is that prominent LRC members have publicly mulled the possibility of forming a new party, you’re correct: It’s never been any secret.

    Nor do I think there’s anything wrong with it (I mean, c’mon, I just did it myself!). The reason one joins an organization is because that organization serves one’s goals. If it doesn’t, one’s options are to GET it to serve those goals, or to find or create another organization which does so, or to leave those goals unserved, or to go it alone. I don’t see any implication of evil conduct in any of those actions so long as they’re honestly taken.

    The reason I produced the quotes was not to make you or Dr. Milsted look like assholes, nor do I see that it had that effect. The reason I produced the quotes was that jnice asked me to support a claim to which they were relevant.

  • http://www.libertyforsale.com Timothy West

    Tom,

    I think they have been honestly taken. I’m not much for subterfuge, and you’ve been watching my act for some years now.

    not a problem.

  • http://freenewworld.blogspot.com Nick Wilson

    Paleolibertarian: Maybe some of the more reasonable of the “other five factions” also realized that the old platform was an old, worn out joke that badly needed replacing.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    I think I prefer the spelling “Milstead” over “Milsted”, or is the second arrangement of letters carved in stone somewhere and never subject to change?

    Anyway, I thought I’d extend an olive, no two olives, and propose a compromise pledge that can be debated for the next 25 years:

    I certify that I do not generally believe in or advocate the initiation of excessive force as a means of achieving political or social goals unless I sense mainstream voters would prefer that government promote values other than liberty.

  • paleolibertarian

    Nick,
    I was one of those who thought the old platform needed work. I just don’t like the strong arm tactic used in getting it done. I really bought into that whole “incremental change” line of B.S the LRC fed me. There was nothing incremental about Portland.

    If I sold my wife on the idea of remodeling the house “incrementally”, and she comes home from work tomorrow to just the foundation, 4 walls, and the roof, the entire interior gutted, ummmmm she’s gonna flip her lid, and rightfuly so.

    If you guy’s don’t think what the LRC did in Portland is every bit as radical as the purists wanting to hold on to the old platform then you’re every bit as egotistically blind as they are.

    How could I ever in sound conscience vote for a LRC Libertarian candidate running on an “incremental change” campaign, knowing the kind of incremental change they applied at the 2006 Lp National Convention?

    I so regret participating in the LRC, and apologize to all Lp members, past, present, and future.

  • http://www.libertyforsale.com Timothy West

    total change would have been the pledge removed, the SoP changed or altered, and the platform be wiped clean. None of these hings happened. Most of the new platform is in fact left over from 2004 and 2002.

    The pledge is still here, though it wont be for long. We may not get rid of it in 2008, but in 2010 it’s a goner. By then we’ll have hundreds of LRC people at each convention.

    I submit it is still incremental, and furthermore, the LRC wont ever try to get the SoP changed, except for dropping the cult language. I dont think its a big problem.

    principle belongs in the statement of principles.