Is the LP a Political Party?

Lew Rockwell just beat up on the Libertarian Party. The main thrust of his article is about changes to the platform at the Libertarian National Convention, but I’ll leave that issue alone. Brian Dougherty covered the issue for Reason magazine — and he was actually in Portland, unlike Rockwell. Additionally, George Squyres, who chairs the Platform Committee, has provided his perspective twice (1, 2) about the issue. Here’s the point by Rockwell which bothers me:

But you know what? The LP was not founded to get people elected to office. It was founded to oppose the regime and educate the public, and use elections as the vehicle to do so. The American system of government and elections is set up and managed to accommodate two parties. The idea of becoming a third party was only to underscore the evil and trickery of the system.

The last time I checked, the Libertarian Party was a political party. Sure, education (and opposing the regime) are necessary parts of politics. But so are supporting political campaigns and organizing affiliated parties at a state and local level. The pertinent portion of the mission statement of the Libertarian Educational Organization Party provides that the purpose of the LP is to move “public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office.”

Rockwell may not agree with this portion of the LP bylaws, but it exists, nonetheless. If the role of the Libertarian Party is to merely be an educational organization, perhaps we should reorganize as a 501C3 and change our name. It’s more honest this way.

If we call ourselves a political party, raise funds for our candidates and to try to obtain votes on Election Day without actually intending (and trying) to become elected then we’ve misled the public and violated their trust. To intentionally misrepresent our motivation while obtaining donations, volunteer time or votes is tantamount to fraud.

I’m in it to win elections using the tools (like databases, GOTV efforts, mailing lists, websites, party organization and networking, professional staffs, surveys and polling, commercial advertising, door knocking, etc.) Republicans and Democrats use to win their races. Before the accusations start flying, I’m not suggesting watering down the message — merely targeting portions of the message effectively in order to increase vote totals on Election Day.

Many people cast votes (as well as donating time and money) for our candidates in hopes that we do well or actually win elections. What I am suggesting is that if we call ourselves the Libertarian Party and run candidates in elections merely for the purpose of education, we are being less than honest. The last time I checked, such actions were pretty non-libertarian.

posted by Stephen Gordon
  • Michael H. Wilson

    Apparently there are two side to this theory. I have heard the not to get elected version that Rockwell is selling I have also been told that we don’t do other things like send out info in the mail because that is an educational function and we don’t do education.
    So what is it, or am I wasting my time?
    M.H.W.

  • paulie

    The long range goal of the LP can be to either win elections or, better yet, to win the public debate to the point where elections are moot.

    Intermediate goals can include building issue coalitions, winning local races as a resume-builder and for whatever practical experience and opportunity to do good they may provide, mobilizing members for lobbying, networking, introducing people to the philosophy by way of the political process – because some people pay attention to politics, but not philosophy or educational groups. It’s useful as a protest vote, as well.

    Certainly, the LP should use all the standard political tools to prepare for the possibility that our viewpoint can become politically viable in the future. They will also help sell it in the meantime.

    Where I agree with Rockwell, however, is that when short term victory and the use of those tools becomes so paramount as to cause the party to abandon or substantially water down what it stands for, victory becomes meaningles

  • Wes P

    MHW, we should be doing both or either, as appropriate to the political situation that applies to each affiliate or locale. It’s a judgement call, but sometimes people leap to overbroad conclusions and apply them inappropriately.

    Look for a way to do what you think is right, alone or with others, via the LP or otherwise. It may be easier to keep your spirits up when working with like-minded others.

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    Educating people through the electoral process is part and parcel of what we are. To assert that we are solely a political party dedicated to electing people is disingenuous and ignorant of the facts. Nolan himself stated that as a goal. Lew is correct that changing who and what we are to attract voters is just flat out wrong.

  • Sandra Kallander

    This was my first national convention. I was unaware of any movement to vote the platform up or down; I didn’t even know it was on the agenda.

    The first time we voted, I abstained. Later, I asked the delegates on either side of me how they voted. One voted to renew all the planks and one voted to remove them.

    I asked myself why would someone remove them all? Several writing-by-committee exercises later, the sheer futility of editing the existing planks a word at a time by voting was apparent. The planks were neither clear nor tactful, qualities necessary to make our case either educationally or to voters.

    On the other hand, the Statement of Principles makes we want to cry with joy. It’s beautiful. It makes me proud.

    So, at the next opportunity, I voted down the planks, knowing that it gives us a chance, with the Statement of Principles as a standard of excellence, to rewrite the very same ideas. Nothing has really changed at all. I believe the same things, don’t you?

  • http://www.phillies2008.com George Phillies

    Rockwell’s description of why the platform was pruned a great deal is, in my opinion, a matter of believing claims not especially verified by data.

    There were a large number of reasons that the platform was greatly reduced, with different people supporting each one, and the confluence of reasons all leading to the same conclusion gave us the result.

    For example, a considerable number of people decided to replace ‘default vote yes’ on platform with ‘default vote no’. A platform committee that made only perfunctory re-organizations of words (merging planks), plus the immigration plank that the platform chair personally rammed through, did not inspire the confidence of other delegates to whom I listened.

  • paulie

    But, Steve is correct that part of the mission is in fact to try to elect people to office. Lew is wrong in denying that this is a part of the party’s mission. If it is solely an educational organization, why does it exist? The Mises Institute, the Advocates, ISIL and many more groups are better suited to that task.

    If the LP should exist, it should be both libertarian and a party. Some of the LP “reformers” seem to wish that it no longer be libertarian. Lew seems to wish that it no longer be a party.

  • http://www.vtlp.org/ Hardy Machia

    There are plenty of libertarian educational organizations out there. The mission of the Libertarian Party is to elect candidates to office. This means working within the system the Ds/Rs created to get our candidates elected.

    The statement of principles is enough to define what libertarians stand for. It gives our candidates the flexibility to pick and choose issues they want to campaign on without micromanaging them.

    If we are to have issues, then I think as a political party our platform should be short, to the point, cover ten or so issues that are relevant to the current events, and the issues ought to have at least 45-50 percent or greater support in the general public. Issues that only have 5 percent shouldn’t be in our platform. They can wait until libertarians get elected and show that we can govern and our ideas work, then you expand to other issues. Let groups like Lew Rockwell push the fringe issues, but political parties should be going for the majority issues.

  • Timothy West

    I still cant understand how people committed to the destruction of the state and removal of it from human affairs cares so much about electing people to govern the thing it hates and wants to kill.

    What up wit that?

  • http://www.titaniumgirl.blogspot.com elle

    I totally agree with Paulie’s post:

    Where I agree with Rockwell, however, is that when short term victory and the use of those tools becomes so paramount as to cause the party to abandon or substantially water down what it stands for, victory becomes meaningless.

    I would rather have principle over power. Just like I prefer freedom to security.

  • Tom Bryant

    When you think of the amount of time and energy spent by both sides of this debate, it’s pretty telling why we are unsuccessful. If we spent that time actually talking to voters, walking precincts, building relationshps with the media, and networking with like-minded politicians and organizations, we would be much closer to smaller government.

    Instead, Libertarians just beat each other up over who has the bigger libertarian penis. And then they have the gall to blame “the media bias” or “the system” for their failures.

  • GreginOz

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogo#.22We_have_met_the_enemy…..22

    OR to put it another way

    “Gradulualism in theory is perpetuity in practice”

    Or to put it another way

    Main Street can go FUCK ITSELF TO DEATH!

  • michael seebeck

    To answer Timothy West’s question: if you can’t beat them, join them, then beat them from within. In other words, get elected to kill it from the inside out–much more effective than the outside in!

  • brian

    IMO, the libertarian party should be the political machinery of LIBERTARIANISM, which, if i recall correctly, has little to do with political compromise. watering down the platform is simply a way for the lazy to come about “victory” cheaply. libertarianism isn’t easy and change takes time. we know we’re right! it isn’t a matter of opinion! i suggest that libertarians read up, get educated and hit the street – that is the only way the weight of our message will ever be felt.

  • Tom Bryant

    For such a watered down platform, I still can’t seem to find any anti-libertarian positions in it.

    Leave it to us to think that a solidly pro-libertarian platform is compromising our principles and selling out. Sheesh.

  • DAP

    “If the LP should exist, it should be both libertarian and a party.” paulie from #7

    These two things are mutually exclusive. A party, and politics in general are built on compromise. Compromise is incompatible with liberty. Therefore, liberty cannot be achieved through political means.

  • http://libspot.org/member/mlaursen/blog1/ Mike Laursen

    If the Libertarian Party focuses on getting libertarians elected to office, that’s going to bring about change gradually. If the Libertarian Party focuses on educating the public, that’s going to bring about change gradually, too.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Mr. Rockwell is not denying that electing candidates is not part of the LP’s mission, he is lamenting that many seem to think that is the only goal.

    His statement:

    “The LP was not founded to get people elected to office. It was founded to oppose the regime and educate the public, and use elections as the vehicle to do so.”

    This is factually correct as far as I know. The LP as it exists is not the LP as it was founded. Rockwell makes a number of good points and the LP should take notice of what he is saying overall – go back and re-read the last two paragraphs of his article.

    The existence of the Boston Tea Party confirms Rockwell’s point:

    “By demoralizing the serious activists and talking down to intellectuals, it will result in a diminished percentage of the overall votes.”

    By the way, what is the number of “contributing members” in the LP now? And what’s up in Maine and West Virginia?

  • Graham

    The “educating” has been going on many decades and obviously isn’t working. Or people just hear/get the message but don’t want what we are selling. IMHO libertarianism will never be a majority political philosophy ( it’s not just a matter of getting the message out there). It’s very likely that with maximum exposure( and minimal barriers), the Libertarian ceiling is high single digits to mid-teens. I accepted long ago that my beliefs are not popular. Most people are not libertarians, some hate us, and many are indifferent. The point is: how does this influence political strategy. Does this translate into a viable political option? Or perhaps just a minority advocacy group. The only way to win politically in the “winner takes all” majority voting system is to appeal to a “big tent” of libertarians and “independents.” Or play spoiler, “make deals”, and “influence” policy. But doesn’t either direction require the dreaded “compromise”? If so, I’d go with option 1 or not bother.

  • Timothy West

    west virginia is effectively defunct IMO. The website has been abandoned to rot near as I can tell, forum is overun with spam posts and theres no libertarian activity in the state. I have no idea if they even met and had elections this year or not. I havent had anything to do with them since they told me I’d never run as a LP candidate ever again because I was a nazi and a statist. (it’s so obvious. The swastika and nazi salutes must have tipped them off…)

    I think Maine took the more honorable way out and disbanded in proper fashion.

  • Michael H. Wilson

    We need to be clear that both can be done, that is education and running candidates. But too often neither happen effectively. We’ll nominate a candidate for office who gets excited about getting votes and then forgets that we actually can have a private company provide fire services, or any of the so-called basic services that the local government provides.
    The candidate doesn’t get the votes because he (usually a guy ) hasn’t much of a plan for getting elected and the public doesn’t get any information about altenatives.
    I know it is tuff to run for office. I once stood up infront of the Chamber of Commerce, or some such body as said “the function of government is to insure justice and provide adequate liablity laws. All other functions should be left to a free and open market”. At least that is what I tried to say. It got a big laugh. So I know a bit about where these guys are coming from, but …
    Stick to the script.
    M.H.W.

  • paulie

    I think Maine took the more honorable way out and disbanded in proper fashion.

    As the saying used to go, as goes Maine, so goes the nation.

    These two things are mutually exclusive. A party, and politics in general are built on compromise. Compromise is incompatible with liberty. Therefore, liberty cannot be achieved through political means.

    The path towards liberty can be aided through political means. Also, to compromise, you must have a starting position, and get something in return. At present, the LP has not compromised but given away its starting position, and received less than nothing in return.

    For such a watered down platform, I still can’t seem to find any anti-libertarian positions in it.

    Start with the immigration plank. And: Does ommission count?

  • paulie

    I still cant understand how people committed to the destruction of the state and removal of it from human affairs cares so much about electing people to govern the thing it hates and wants to kill.

    If we don’t, who will?

    If we are to have issues, then I think as a political party our platform should be short, to the point, cover ten or so issues that are relevant to the current events, and the issues ought to have at least 45-50 percent or greater support in the general public. Issues that only have 5 percent shouldn’t be in our platform. They can wait until libertarians get elected and show that we can govern and our ideas work, then you expand to other issues.

    I disagree. For starters, the issues aren’t the only barrier to getting elected. Having no principles did not make the Reform Party successful. It’s still a winner take all system. Also, what makes you think the other issues will even be agreed on by the people “we” elect, if we were ever to elect them?

  • paulie

    Using the above criteria, we would have dropped opposition to the drug war long ago. Then all kinds of prohibitionists would haave run as libertarians, and no one would have considered opposition to prohibition to be a libertarian stance. Of course, I would never have been a libertarian.

    There are not too many libertarian positions in that populatity range, and popularity is transsitory. I wonder what it would do to the party’s composition and direction in the long term if such an approach were seriously adopted. I don’t think it would take long for the party to become something like the Reform Party, and collapse for similar reasons.

    It’s interesting to note that the reform-minded libertarians can’t even stick to the issues where we do have popular support. Two thirds of the public now oppose the Iraq occupation, yet a REAL antiwar resolution was not even offered at the convention. Bush is wildly unpopular (20s and 30s, with Cheney at 18% last time I checked) (cont)

  • Stephen Gordon

    Does ommission count?

    We don’t have a platform plank about the potential for government-funded exploration of Pluto. Does that make us less libertarian?

  • Stephen Gordon

    Lew is correct that changing who and what we are to attract voters is just flat out wrong.

    I’m not suggesting that we change who we are. I’m suggesting that we present it in a far more electable manner by targeting specific issues.

  • paulie

    (cont) yet the LP failed to pass an impeachment resolution, even though we were proud to be the first ones to call for impeaching Clinton – and if you look back on that resolution, Bush has been far more guilty in every respect.

    36% and rapidly growing of the American public believes 9-11 – the new Pearl Harbor – was the Bush Gang’s Reichstag Fire, an inside job to trick the country into support for war and tyranny. That means it will soon be in the 45-50% plus range. Yet the LP failed to call for even a real investigation into the events of 9-11.

    Agorism is looking better all the time.

  • paulie

    We don’t have a platform plank about the potential for government-funded exploration of Pluto. Does that make us less libertarian?

    Not so much. But I would have preferred more specificity on foreign policy, among other things.

  • Stephen Gordon

    These two things are mutually exclusive. A party, and politics in general are built on compromise. Compromise is incompatible with liberty. Therefore, liberty cannot be achieved through political means.

    A rational minarchy can be achieved though political means. Our Constitution (which we once paid homage to) serves as the obvious example.

  • http://www.chuckmoulton.org/ Chuck Moulton

    >> For such a watered down platform, I still can’t
    >> seem to find any anti-libertarian positions in it.

    > Does ommission count?

    No.

  • paulie

    > Does ommission count?

    No.

    Well then, I suppose no platform at all would be ideal, as it has the least possible anti-liberty content, and the least to offend anyone.

    I think I understand what the LP should do to become a major party at last. No pledge, no statement of principles, no platform and no dues – this part is certainly clear. But, also: no fundraising (too invasive), no communication with members (junk mail! spam! telemarketers!). Perhaps, also, no candidates; I haven’t thought this one through yet.

  • Timothy West

    It’s interesting to note that the reform-minded libertarians can’t even stick to the issues where we do have popular support.

    The LP was the first “political party” to both call for withdrawal of troops from Iraq and publish a specific plan to get us out. For that, all we got was shit. The LNC defunded the HQ’s ability to promote the plan and make something of it by installing a spending freeze and work orders.
    Then some people decided that a year’s withdrawal time was not principled and we had to call to GET OUT NOW. So they went ballistic.

    Others decided it was unprincipled becuase it had two words “foreign aid” where “reparations” should have been (for fucking up Iraq under phony pretenses and lies) so they went ballistic.

    The LP is the ONLY “political party” to stick to that issue. The D’s and R’s STILL dont have a plan to get out. Some of us called the war a fraud and a pack of lies from the night it started and publically stated that they would not support it.

  • paulie

    The LP was the first “political party” to both call for withdrawal of troops from Iraq and publish a specific plan to get us out. For that, all we got was shit.

    Well deserved shit, too.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/regime-libs.html

    Then some people decided that a year’s withdrawal time was not principled and we had to call to GET OUT NOW.

    Hey, that sounds like a good idea – although too late.

    http://radgeek.com/gt/2005/11/17/exit_strategy

    The LP is the ONLY “political party” to stick to that issue. The D’s and R’s STILL dont have a plan to get out. Some of us called the war a fraud and a pack of lies from the night it started and publically stated that they would not support it.

    Yet you favor keeping US troops there for a year, followed by long term American bases in other parts of the middle east and financial aid to the Iraqi puppet regime.

  • Timothy West

    Where were you? I didnt notice “Paulie” being active and involved in any capacity. Account for your activity. You aint been around that long that I know of.

    I favored war reparations to Iraq as a way of saying “oops”, sorry for bombing and invading your country and killing a whole bunch of your poeple becuase we fucked up and you didnt have any WMD’s after all”. That would have been more honorable, yes.

    End result of your “principled position”: troops still there, *all* of them, no withdrawal at all, vietnam quagmire+, Iraq now a real terrorist haven, Democrats get the anti war vote, and wins both houses of Congress as a result. Some principled victories you got there. You should be proud.

    Under the IES, our troops would be out right now, there would be no troops in Iraq. Under your “plan”, all of them are still right there in REALITY n nothings changed.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    um, what paulie said – triple dittos!

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Tim, are you saying that if libertarians had not criticized the Iraq Exit Strategy, the troops would have been out by now? Wow, if the LP ever issues an Iran Exit Strategy, I’m keeping my mouth shut!

    The Boston Tea Party calls for a complete and unconditional withdrawal of US troops from, and a cessation of US military operations against or within, Iraq.

    Hey, if we all endorse this position, maybe the war will be over next week.

  • Timothy West

    I’m saying that the LP torpedos it’s chances of having a major party pick up it’s policy proposals becuase it see’s they’re popular. A IES with 150,000 sigs would have been news at that time. But they couldnt spend a dime.

    Are you saying that the current reality on the ground is better than what would have happened if the IES became policy?

  • paulie

    Where were you? I didnt notice “Paulie” being active and involved in any capacity. Account for your activity. You aint been around that long that I know of.

    I’ve been around and active.

    I favored war reparations to Iraq as a way of saying “oops”, sorry for bombing and invading your country and killing a whole bunch of your poeple becuase we fucked up and you didnt have any WMD’s after all”. That would have been more honorable, yes.

    I didn’t support the war, so why should I be taxed to pay for reparations?

    End result of your “principled position”: troops still there, *all* of them, no withdrawal at all, vietnam quagmire+, Iraq now a real terrorist haven, Democrats get the anti war vote, and wins both houses of Congress as a result. Some principled victories you got there. You should be proud.

    Newsflash: that would be the case if the LP was unanimously behind the IES. We’re not in power. If we sell out, no one is buying, so you only get the negative part.

  • David W

    Fantastic article! Give me my soup and you can keep the fly! Until the LP goes back to its roots it will not see any of my money or time. For I am a Libertarian! That simple.

  • Timothy West

    I’ve been around and active.

    under what name? The only dude really named “Paulie” is that poor bastard Paulie Shore. Are you Paulie Shore? Did you enjoy 5 minutes of fame by making some really bad movies? It’s hard to take a cat seriously when he won’t use his real name.

    Newsflash: that would be the case if the LP was unanimously behind the IES. We’re not in power. If we sell out, no one is buying, so you only get the negative part.

    Yes, it’s folk like you that make sure no one is buying, over and over again. Major parties can and do adopt third party positions when they prove popular. It’s far more likely to happen when members of your own party dont torpedo their own public policy proposals IN PUBLIC.

    Thats something you just dont see in major parties. They fight and fuss, but they keep it in the family, and they come back together when they need to. Not us.

  • Timothy West

    now, I have to go to PT and get my broken shoulder twisted and bent like a pretzel. Then I have to take more pills tonight and throw up, gag, and retch some more.

    I have more fun than all you fuckers, so there. I’m out.

  • paulie

    Sorry, Tim, I don’t want have the problem with cyberstalkers that I’ve had as a result of using my full name on internet sites in the past. I’m not paully shore, although I’ve seen his nightclub act. I was stoned on xanax and fell asleep. I remember him looking like he was going to score with a couple of hot chicks after the show. His movies suck. His mom owns the nightclub, and he’s there all the time. What’s wrong with treating what I say on the basis of what I say, rather than the basis of who says it?

    Major parties can and do adopt third party positions when they prove popular. It’s far more likely to happen when members of your own party dont torpedo their own public policy proposals IN PUBLIC.

    The public policy proposal in question was contradictory to our philosophy and to our platform at that time.

  • http://www.vtlp.org/ Hardy Machia

    Bryant wrote: “If we spent that time actually talking to voters, walking precincts, building relationshps with the media, and networking with like-minded politicians and organizations, we would be much closer to smaller government.”

    The Vermont LP is doing exactly that this year. We have seven candidates running fusion campaigns. The last time we had candidates put forth this sort of effort for state house campaigns was in 1998 when we won one and lost the other race by 2% of the vote.

    We have primaries coming up and can use help making get out the vote phone calls. Our candidates are walking their districts.

    We have direct mail planned as contributions come in. To put a winning effort into our seven races will cost very little because of Vermont’s small size. Each mailing costs about $1000 to do.

    Check out the Vermont Seven.

    – Hardy Machia

  • Andy

    “I favored war reparations to Iraq as a way of saying “oops”, sorry for bombing and invading your country and killing a whole bunch of your poeple becuase we fucked up and you didnt have any WMD’s after all”. That would have been more honorable, yes.

    I didn’t support the war, so why should I be taxed to pay for reparations?”

    How about making those who supported the war and who profited from the war pay for it?

  • paulie

    Great idea. They should be the ones fighting it, too. I’ve been saying that for some time. There’s enough of them to do it on their own. Why do they need our money or to do it in our name?

  • http://360.yahoo.com/pong_god Robert Mayer

    Hardy,

    I noticed this mis-spelling on the VT-LP site: “John Stossle”

  • Andy

    “Great idea. They should be the ones fighting it, too. I’ve been saying that for some time. There’s enough of them to do it on their own.”

    Confiscate all of their assets and use that to pay back the people of Iraq for &#@&*#& up their country for no good reason.

  • IanC

    Re: “Why should I have to pay reparations” — *you* shouldn’t. But that’s an anti-taxation argument; the american government has its own responsibilities to see through. Always, ALWAYS advocate taking responsibility for your actions; even the criminals don’t get away scot-free. Self-responsibility AND personal freedom, is libertarianism. The latter alone is libertinism or conservatism (if only fiscal, as FAR too many libertarians are focused on). The latter has its own (misguided) party already (Republicans). The former is generally a-political anyhow.

    Re: “Gradualism in theory is perpetuity in practice”:

    **Absolutism in theory is defeat in practice.**

    So where does that leave us?

  • R. E. Lee

    Rockwell is right about the founding of the LP. Many of the founders were “students of objectivism” who realized you need an ideological revolution before you can have a political revolution. The LP was to use political action for education (candidate forums, debates, interviews, etc.)to achieve the ideological revolution. Sure, here and there, an LP candidate may win but that was the icing on the cake. If the ideological revolution was successful, there would be no need for the LP.

  • paulie

    Mr. Rockwell is not denying that electing candidates is not part of the LP’s mission, he is lamenting that many seem to think that is the only goal.

    His statement:

    “The LP was not founded to get people elected to office. It was founded to oppose the regime and educate the public, and use elections as the vehicle to do so.”

    If so, wouldn’t he have said it was not founded ONLY to get people in office? BTW Lew quit the LP in 1988 and hasn’t voted at all in quite some time.

  • http://www.vtlp.org/ Hardy Machia

    Mayer wrote:
    >I noticed this mis-spelling on the VT-LP site: “John Stossle”

    Thanks. Fixed.

  • Timothy West

    Well, is the amount of time since 1972 proof that the ideological revolution hasnt happened yet, or do we need 100 years before we try something else?

    Simply tell me the success. Where’s the liberty that the “intellectuals” in the libertarian moment promised us? I dont see it. I see a nation slipping into fascism and never ending war against a boogeyman to serve corporate and government masters. The intellectuals and their approach have failed their own movement – instead the country has gone the other way and we have no viable political means to change it.

    Whenever someone or something describes itself to you as a “intellectual”, run like fucking hell. It’s verbal slight of hand, just like the word “force” is in the pledge. What you think it means and what the people IN THE KNOW mean are different.

  • Timothy West

    Ok, now, I’m out. Wife was held up by work. Shes here, so I’m gone.

  • R. E. Lee

    I don’t recall any libertarian intellectuals “promising” liberty. When a product doesn’t sell, there are several possible reasons: the seller hasn’t correctly articulated why the buyer needs the product; the product was never wanted in the first place; the product is wanted but the quality of the one produced is shoddy. While the benefits of liberty are obvious to us, they apparently are not to the vast bulk of Americans. The opposition is selling a more attractive product: Santa Claus government – a magic, cost-free, cornucopia of benefits that one must seize before others do. So far, the LP and the rest of the movement, has not gotten any traction by proclaiming Santa to be a fat old thieving hustler. Maybe it is our lot to merely keep the liberty candle burning in the Mammoth Cave of collectivism in the hope that some future inhabitants will see the joy and promise of using it to light the whole stinking place.

  • paulie

    Re: “Why should I have to pay reparations” ”” *you* shouldn’t. But that’s an anti-taxation argument; the american government has its own responsibilities to see through.

    I think the people responsible should pay reparations. As Andy said, those who supported and benefited from the war. Where do you propose the money should come from? The regime doesn’t produce anything, and the money has to come from somewhere. And: where would it be going, and who would be in charge of distributing it?

    Absolutism in theory is defeat in practice.

    Not necessarily. For instance, abolitionism was an absolutist theory.

    Simply tell me the success

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/bellesiles.html

    Ok, now, I’m out.

    LOL. You don’t have to announce your comings and goins. It’ll still be here. No hurry.

  • paulie

    Blew a tag, first sentence in 55 was a quote.

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to mention that here in NH, the LPNH chairman is running as a Democrat, as are others, in both ‘major’ parties…In part, because it’s about winning, not just running, and thanks to the many fine freedom fighters working _within_ the system, we have had real results we can point to: http://www.freestateblogs.net/victories06

    If you haven’t been to New Hampshire yet, the Liberty Forum
    ( http://freestateproject.org/libertyforum ) will be a great chance to find out more, see notables including John Stossel speak, and see what you could be doing here in NH, whether you want to work within the system (as Libertarian, Democrat or Republican), or outside of it. There are both reformers and purists here, but at the end of the day, we get still together, and drink a toast to “Liberty in our Lifetime!” together….

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

    Paulie,

    You write: “But, Steve is correct that part of the mission is in fact to try to elect people to office. Lew is wrong in denying that this is a part of the party’s mission.”

    Lew DOESN’T deny that this is a part of the party’s mission. He doesn’t even allude to the bylaw setting forth the purpose of the party. What he actually says is:

    “The LP was not founded to get people elected to office. It was founded to oppose the regime and educate the public, and use elections as the vehicle to do so.”

    And he is absolutely correct. In his 1971 article calling for the formation of the LP, David Nolan listed six specific reasons for doing so … and AFTER those six reasons, appended “[a]nd finally, there is always the possibility that we might actually get some libertarians elected.”

    The LP’s purpose may have changed, but that’s irrelevant to what Lew says. His characterization of why the LP was founded isn’t complete, but it’s 100% accurate.

  • Tom Bryant

    Another reason a product may not sell is if the makers of the product constantly redefine the product and never bring it to the market. That is what the Libertarian Party has done over the years. They craft a perfect principled statement, then recraft it, then argue about which one was more perfect. Then various groups get upset and leave. All the while, the American public has never read the LP platform, and will never have the desire to no matter how philosophically perfect it is.

    I applaud the candidates and their volunteers in Vermont for actually doing work. That is the example to follow.

    As far as waiting for an ideological revolution…that is just a cop out to doing real work. Americans have proven time and time again that they will vote for a libertarian if he is marketed correct. When we run competitive professional campaigns, we do win. The platform, pre or post 2006, has nothing to do with it. That is another cop out for doing real work.

  • Steve Benton

    Mr. Rockwell’s article is thought provoking. I’m not one of the “principled LPers of old.” I joined the party because it was the only one that appeared to want a return to a strict adherance to The Constitution and a citzenry that enjoyed the benefits of personal liberty. However, I also joined the party in order to vote for and elect candidates who would put those principles into effect. The LRC seemed to be promising changes to the platform that would make that possible. After all, nothing in nature or in human affairs remains the same forever. So I registered on the website, read the proposals, and made a few suggestions. Never did I imagine that the ENTIRE platform, and the pledge, would be dumped!
    I remember learning in a long ago civics class that every organization goes through distinct phases. As I remember, radicalism comes at the beginning and institutionalization at the end. I don’t know where the LP is, but I think we can expect more changes in the future.

  • http://www.reformthelp.org Carl

    “Welcome to Bubba’s Auto Parts and Day Spa, the one-stop source for your car, truck, and personal beautification needs. We got yer rubbing compounds and exfoliating facial scrubs, motor oils and scented oils, paste wax and bikini wax. Relax in our steam room while we steam clean your engine. Soak in beauty mud while we install new mud flaps on your four-wheeler. And check out our specials on aisle seven: buy one Fram oil filter and get a free loofah sponge.”

    Bubba has an unusual business plan””one that is not very appealing. Both auto parts stores and day spas are viable businesses, but put the two together and the results are…not pretty. The Libertarian Party suffers from the same fundamental problem; it has two conflicting business models operating under the same roof.

    The rest at:
    http://reformthelp.org/strategy/nonElectoral/protest.php

  • http://www.lpnm.org Joseph Knight

    If “winning elections” will result in the enactment of the “fair” tax, then sign me up as a LOSERtarian! The “fair” tax does NOT move America in a libertarian direction.

    The FAIRTAX: A TROJAN HORSE FOR AMERICA?
    By Claire Wolfe & Aaron Zelman
    http://www.jpfo.org/fairtax.htm

    “Vote Libertarian – DOUBLE TAX baby boomers & the ELDERLY”

    “Vote Libertarian – GOV’T CHECKS for EVERYBODY”

    Well, here’s my rude, flaming, rant on the topic:
    http://mail.libertarian-party-nm.org/pipermail/lpnm-forum_libertarian-party-nm.org/2006q3/000577.html

  • paulie

    As far as waiting for an ideological revolution”¦that is just a cop out to doing real work.

    Who said anything about waiting for it? making it happen is real work.

    TLK:

    You, Tom Blanton, and Lew Rockwell are all excellent writers and precise thinkers. You should recognize that Lew did not say that electing candidates was just a small part of what the LP is supposed to do. He did not say that it wasn’t the only thing, or the most important thing, the party was created for. He made a categorical statement that the party was not founded to elect people to office. It seems to leave no wiggle room of the sort you and Tom B. claim it does. Wouldn’t he have qualified his statement if he meant for it to?

    His own actions illustrate his beliefs: it has been many years since he has been a member of a political party or voted. He’s said this publically, and is proud to be a non-voter.

  • Steve Benton

    If the “principled LPers of old” are so dedicated to the old platform, then how is it that the LRC accomplished so much at the Portland convention? I wasn’t at the convention, nor did I see it on C-SPAN, so I didn’t witness what happened.

  • paulie

    If the “principled LPers of old” are so dedicated to the old platform, then how is it that the LRC accomplished so much at the Portland convention?

    Well, for starters, only about 280 voting members were there.

    I also joined the party in order to vote for and elect candidates who would put those principles into effect. The LRC seemed to be promising changes to the platform that would make that possible.

    Fool’s gold.

    radicalism comes at the beginning and institutionalization at the end.

    By that standard, the LP is ready for the nursing home.

    To qualify my statement about Mr. Rockwell in comment 63, I’ve been told that he recently contributed to a local campaign. However, it may only be because of personal ties to the candidate. And he does still comment quite a bit about the LP, which indicates he has not given up on it as completely as some of his statements indicate.

  • IanC

    Steve Benton: They claim it was by having the wool pulled over their eyes. The last convention was a rather low attendance, and the ‘impression’ is that the LRC’ers swarmed it with their vote. (Nevermind that the LRC had a distinct minority representation, and that the only reason planks weren’t added was that they had a higher than 2/3rd’s requirement to *BE* added, whereas plank *removal* had a mere 1/2.)

    Lew Rockwell may have made his comments about what the LP was *founded* for. He may even have been correct.

    That does NOT make his sentiment *RIGHT* however. It may once have been. But today, with real blood, sweat, and tears, we might actually get a few people elected, and use them as a springing board to reach a LARGE segment of the population. At the end of the day; the LP has not marketed itself. Attempts to do so have been accused as ‘selling out’ or the like; there is no universal support… and there is actual work AGAINST LP success *from within the LP.*

    (cont’d)

  • IanC

    Now, I do NOT under any circumstances advocate the corruption of the following principles:

    — Advocacy of taking responsibility; of ‘honor’
    — Increase of freedoms not currently present
    — Protection of freedoms already in place.

    Period.

    Paulie; your sentiment about Absolutism, each word of the argument, could be made about ‘gradualism.’ Google “Xeno’s Paradox” and see what comes up. It’s a logic trap and a fallacious one to argue that incrementalism is perpetualism; one that was solved 3,000 years ago.

    At the end of the day, the LP has succeeded in creating sufficient movements towards the education of the population. Cato, Rothbard/vonMises, Rockwell himself, etc., are certainly able to carry THAT torch successfully. Now is the time to let the LP spread its wings and BE what a political party is MEANT to be. WITHOUT electoral success, our only other option is bloodshed. Warring on the state with bullets is NOT an option.

    It’s called “Shit or get off the pot.”

  • http://www.lpvc.blogspot.com Ed Gluck

    Today I watched a U.S. President ask Congress to allow Americans to torture and throw away the Bill of Rights. He called this the most important legislation of the next session.

    I agree.

    I was very disappointed in Lew’s article. Maybe he hasn’t realized his two parties are controlled top down by corporations. I would hope he will contain his criticism of the LP until they have proven themselves corporate whores.

    The Democrat Party does not teach democracy. The Republican Party does not teach of republics. Perhaps Lew can comment on the corporate whore parties.

  • R. E. Lee

    It seems what Lew Rockwell was calling for in the Platform is really what should be in White Papers. Such papers can give the historical perspective, the current problem, and the libertarian recommendations. White papers would be especially useful for candidates and those attracted by one or two special interests of theirs. A Platform assumes at least some familiarity with an issue; inasmuch as dumbed down voters don’t have such familiarity with many of the issues in the Old Platform, the Platform the Party should run on should expound on up to ten current issues.
    Rockwell is correct that Platform planks should not be sound bites, weaselily or mealymouthed. If that means only 2 or 3% of the voters agree, so be it. Many third parties started out with only a minority of the vote using an unpopular issue – abolition of slavery, prohibition of alchohol, opposition to a national bank – but their losing candidates gradually convinced a majority of voters to accept radical positions.

  • Timothy West

    Paulie needs to know I got home safe and sound. I know he worries about me.

    Got home ok, Paulie. I’ll be in da house all night.

  • Tom Bryant

    Let’s start a new political party where we all get together and complain about the government and the media.

    We’ll also combine the best that objectivism, anarchists, and conspiracy theorists have to offer in one glorious platform. We’ll even throw in the best of the Greek philosophers, a few chapters of Austrian economics, and the entire John Galt speech.

    Oh..and to make sure that this political party stays true, we will put it in our bylaws that the party will disband as soon as one of its members suggests that we win an election.

    And if, by some fluke, this political fails to bring about libertopia in 5 years, we will blame it on one faction and try again with a much smaller political party. This too will be in our bylaws.

    Who is with me??

  • getreal

    Rockwell’s strategy has been to attack any aspect of the movement he doesn’t control be it the LP, libertarian think tanks, etc. Meanwhile he plays footsie with White Supremacists, anti-Semites and the like.

  • http://ctizenclark.com Dick Clark

    Getreal, How do you define “footsie”? I know Lew is a erlatively safe target for Palmer’s slander and your slander too (since Lew doesn’t believe in slander/libel as a crime), but geez, would it be so hard to support your assertions? If they’re worth making, they’re worth supporting. After all, Rockwell runs the Mises Institute, which is named after an Austrian Jew and was co-founded by a New York Jew. Oh yeah, and he runs the Center for Libertarian Studies, which is of course run by Burt Blumert, who is himself semitic. Rockwell sounds like a real dyed-in-the-wool anti-semite…

    As for the earlier assertion that Rockwell has supported local campaigns, I can only assume that someone might be referring to my campaign, which is the only recent libertarian race in the area. I can assure everyone that my campaign has neither solicited nor received funds from Lew.

    Just to throw in my two-cents: I’m in the LP so that when the revolution comes I can say I tried it the peaceful way first.

  • http://ctizenclark.com Dick Clark

    I am pretty damn sure that Robert Higgs and others are correct about the ratchet of government. The ship is sinking too fast to save it, but maybe a little bailing as a formality will cast us as the folks who knew it was going down. Libertarians are right on ethics and economics, and I fully expect for every American who lives to the half century mark to see the most grim predictions of libertarians come true.

    I don’t want to see the US fall into totalitarian socialism, but we’re headed that way folks. Maybe we can avert disaster, but I’m not betting on it. I just want to go down fighting for the good guys…

  • http://www.bostontea.us/ Tom Blanton

    Paulie writes:

    “He made a categorical statement that the party was not founded to elect people to office. It seems to leave no wiggle room of the sort you and Tom B. claim it does.”

    I am basing my position that Mr. Rockwell is correct when he says, “The LP was not founded to get people elected to office”, on a 1971 article by David Nolan titled “The Case For a Libertarian Political Party”.

    SEE: http://elfsoft.home.mindspring.com/politics/nolan.htm

    Nolan makes six points to make the case for a libertarian party – none of them refer to electing a candidate. In fact, the last line is:

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

    This suggests that electing a candidate was only a possible side benefit. I think Mr. Rockwell is correct.

    Society needs more libertarians, not more collectivists that call themselves libertarians. Conservatives already did that.

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

    Paulie,

    I don’t know what you think our argument is here. I was simply pointing out that Rockwell’s statement was, in fact, correct: The LP was not founded for the purpose of electing people to office. Its own founder publicly said so WHILE HE WAS FOUNDING IT, so that shouldn’t be a matter of controversy.

    Whether or not the LP has since adopted election of libertarians to public office as one of its goals should be equally non-controversial. Its bylaws clearly state that as one of its purposes.

    Whether or not the LP should have electing libertarians to public office as one of its goals or as its only goal is a separate question from whether it did or does.

  • paulie

    Paulie needs to know I got home safe and sound. I know he worries about me.

    Ok, OK, I admit it: I’ve thought of nothing else since you left.

    Tom Bryant, I have a better idea: we’ll start a political party with no party and no ideology, and if it doesn’t become a major party, we’ll all drink poisoned kool-aid. Are you with me?

    Dick,

    As for the earlier assertion that Rockwell has supported local campaigns, I can only assume that someone might be referring to my campaign, which is the only recent libertarian race in the area. I can assure everyone that my campaign has neither solicited nor received funds from Lew.

    My mistake, I thought you told me that was part of the plan. But I did word it in such a way so as not to implicate you, in case that was not public: both “recently” and “local” are relative terms.

    TNT (Tom-N-Thomas), you are correct about the founding of the LP. But, it’s run candidates since at least ’72.

  • paulie

    Tom Bryant, I have a better idea: we’ll start a political party with no party and no ideology, and if it doesn’t become a major party, we’ll all drink poisoned kool-aid. Are you with me?

    That should read no platform and no ideology.

  • Michael H. Wilson

    So how do we get the LP to put Civil Liberties, Economic Freedom and non-Intervention back in the forefront?
    Or should I just go drink a beer and forget it?
    Anyhow for about $700 bucks you can make a up a newspaper and mail it to about 3000 people (helps if they are registered Libertarian voters) using bulk mail. Volunteers help to keep the cost down. You can cover half a dozen issues of about 500 words each. Also ask people to donate, help to staff a booth, run for office.
    Copies can be placed in the local library and its branches, university library, etc. Thus you have an educational tool and one that helps to get people involved.
    Whatever.
    M.H.W.

  • Andy

    “I don’t want to see the US fall into totalitarian socialism, but we’re headed that way folks. Maybe we can avert disaster, but I’m not betting on it. I just want to go down fighting for the good guys”¦

    Comment by Dick Clark”

    I agree. I’d rather go down fighting than bend over and lick the boots of those who want to rob us of our freedom.

  • Timothy West

    The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.

    H. L. Mencken

  • http://libspot.org/member/mlaursen/blog1/ Mike Laursen

    Tom Bryant, I have a better idea: we’ll start a political party with no party and no ideology, and if it doesn’t become a major party, we’ll all drink poisoned kool-aid. Are you with me?

    paulie, I got completely lost on your punchline. What does drinking poisoned Kool-Aid have to do with LP reformers? Drinking poisoned Kool-Aid is just the kind of thing that a person who doesn’t have a cultish, dogmatic view of the world would not do.

  • GreginOz

    ….Libertarian Party…like herding cats…

    Forget elections, see http://www.agorism.info

    “Show me the money!”

  • Tom Bryant

    Mike Laursen…you’re forgetting that everyone who wants to win an election will become part of the “cult of the omnipotent state”

    The true Libertarians are simply waiting until all the politicians simultaneously drink poisoned Kool-Aid and libertopia is brought to America. That’s why there is no need to do any real political work, the best bet to success is to do nothing and all our dreams will come true.

    How many times have we heard that some imminent monetary crisis would destroy the US government and the public would decide just not to replace it? I’m sure there’s some sci-fi novel where that happened, so it’s not much of a stretch.

    Meanwhile, those bastards who are changing public policy in a libertarian direction are just delaying the crisis that will bring us libertopia. That is why we must fight them and throw tantrums anytime they do something.

  • http://www.outrightusa.org Rob Power

    A platform committee that made only perfunctory re-organizations of words (merging planks), plus the immigration plank that the platform chair personally rammed through, did not inspire the confidence of other delegates to whom I listened. — George Phillies

    The Sexuality and Gender plank was hardly a perfunctory re-organization of words. Compare the old planks with the new one. We FINALLY have precise wording in opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment and state bans on same-sex marriage.

    Having sat in the platform committee’s gallery for their entire session over two days (others came and went, but I think only 1 or 2 of us at most were in the gallery the WHOLE time), I think Squyres made the best of a bad situation. By prioritizing the merger of planks, he was able to get the committee to deal with a dozen planks from the old platform. Had re-writes from scratch been the top priority, the committee would have spent two full days on two, or three, planks at best.

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    Tom Bryant: your sarcastic tone is probably lost on the very people who most need to hear the message behind it. Oh well, made me laugh hard. Thanks.

  • Robert Capozzi

    I recommend that anyone interested in this matter read the article Lew links to with the words “LP to gain power.” Read that article (by me) “Portland: After the Dust Has Settled”, then read what Rockwell wrote.

    Has Lew fairly characterized what happened in Portland, and the Reform Caucus? Or does he have an axe to grind?

    People with hidden agendas, in my experience, are prone to mispresenting those they disagree with.

  • Tom Bryant

    Thanks for “getting” me Seth =)

    I joke around because I find this subject to be pretty much a joke. Unfortunately, too many on both sides of this whole ‘reform’ debate take it way too seriously.

    Libertarians do not all come from the exact same philosophy. We all have come here from different ways, and many of us have arrived at different points (abortion is a good one, same with immigration). At the end of the day, we agree with each other on 95% of the issues. That’s what is important. Why we fight each other on the 5% instead of fighting the others on the 95% is beyond me.

    The platform is not the end all document. The platform is not going to make us win or lose elections. Proper funding and competent campaign managers will win us elections. If a campaign cannot recover from an opponent attacking us on our platform, that is the fault of the campaign, not the platform. This is politics, we can be attacked for stuff not in our platform. We have to know how to respond.

  • Timothy West

    That’s true enough. I guess my only comment is that it’s hard to respond to attacks when your platform calls for politically impossible to defend positions. The platform, at the very least, has to be a document that does no harm to our own candidates. We took a big step to that and we need to continue to make it better.

    I take it seriously becuase I dont want the country I live in to slip further into government-corporate fascism, where left wing and right wing socialism meet at a nexus of centralized power and form a state of affairs impossible to live under or change. Then comes REAL oppression.

    The stakes are too high to keep fucking around debating if all taxation is theft, or if the Fairtax sucks. It wont suck worse than what the real powers to the throne have in store for us if we don’t become a factor. LP supporters will be the first ones on the bus to the relocation camps, just like the Japanese-Americans were in their own country in WW2.

  • Tom Bryant

    Tim…the previous platform did not have any politically impossible to defend positions. Now, certain campaigns and certain campaign managers may not have been able to defend those positions, but that is the shortcoming of the campaign or manager. Look at the crap that was thrown at Clinton…if a politician can take foreign bribes, lie under oath, have an affair, and be linked to dozens of questionable “suicides” and walk away clean, there is nothing in the old platform that could not be defended against. Of course, the LP doesn’t have the handlers that Clinton had…

    Candidates in Michigan have been attacked by out platform and walk away with over 70% of the vote. It can be done, we just need to play like the big boys with experienced and competent candidates/campaign teams.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Tim writes:

    The stakes are too high to keep fucking around debating if all taxation is theft, or if the Fairtax sucks. It wont suck worse than what the real powers to the throne have in store for us if we don’t become a factor. LP supporters will be the first ones on the bus to the relocation camps, just like the Japanese-Americans were in their own country in WW2.

    But Tim, the Fair Tax DOES suck. Just because it doesn’t suck as bad as being put in a “relocation camp” is not a good argument to favor the Fair Tax.

    Hot wiring your testicles to a car battery doesn’t suck as bad as driving nails into your own skull, but that isn’t a good reason to hook up the jumper cables.

    Nobody is more sick of debating the Fair Tax than me. It is one idea that belongs in a collectivist relocation camp.

  • Timothy West

    The platform is not the end all document. The platform is not going to make us win or lose elections.

    first point, true, second point, demonstrably false to the extent that it is not the only thing that does or does not make us win or lose. There is no one thing, as I and most of the other cats in the “reform camp” have said over and over again over a space of the last 2 years. It’s a whole lot of small things that add up to: are we making things better or worse for our candidates?

    As you know, I dont support the Fairtax, but I tend to believe just as with our medical system, anything would be marginally better than what the overlords have set up for us now. And I’d rather have a Fairtax pushing Bob Smither in office than just another R or D.

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    I can see the new Reformista mantra now: “The LP Platform is not a suicide pact!”

    Now where have I heard something similar before?

  • paulie

    When Nixon said he’s not a crook?

  • paulie

    paulie, I got completely lost on your punchline. What does drinking poisoned Kool-Aid have to do with LP reformers? Drinking poisoned Kool-Aid is just the kind of thing that a person who doesn’t have a cultish, dogmatic view of the world would not do.

    LOL, I thought you’d get lost. But what do you plan to do if you don’t become a major party?

    That’s why there is no need to do any real political work, the best bet to success is to do nothing and all our dreams will come true.

    Who said that? Can we say “strawman”?

    Meanwhile, those bastards who are changing public policy in a libertarian direction

    Oh, and who might those be?

    I take it seriously becuase I dont want the country I live in to slip further into government-corporate fascism, where left wing and right wing socialism meet at a nexus of centralized power and form a state of affairs impossible to live under or change. Then comes REAL oppression.

    With no real alternative, it’s only a matter of ..

  • paulie

    …time. As you would be the first to know, unless you cut out all the cancer cells, it just grows back. Cutting out 95% does not help, not really. The regime is a cancer. It can’t be reformed. End it, don’t try to mend it.

    The stakes are too high to keep fucking around debating if all taxation is theft,

    They’re too high not to.

    or if the Fairtax sucks. It wont suck worse than what the real powers to the throne have in store for us if we don’t become a factor. LP supporters will be the first ones on the bus to the relocation camps, just like the Japanese-Americans were in their own country in WW2.

    True. But the alternative posed by an LP which supports things like the unFair Tax is that “Libertarians” will be driving the buses and helping run the camps.

    just as with our medical system, anything would be marginally better than what the overlords have set up for us now.

    How about fully nationalized health care?

  • Tom Bryant

    Paulie,

    I said the line “That’s why there is no need to do any real political work, the best bet to success is to do nothing and all our dreams will come true.” You can find the name of posters at the bottom of a message. This helps you keep track of who said what.

    The bastards who are changing public policy in a libertarian direction are the hundreds of elected and appointed officials the Libertarian Party has. They didn’t get the memo that they aren’t supposed to win! But rest assured, after they win, our standard response is to ignore them and give them no moral support. Sooner of later, they will join the Republican Liberty Caucus where they belong and are appreciated. The LP has no use for successful candidates, damnit.

    By the way…after reading this, we are a few minutes closer to the financial meltdown that will bring libertopia to the world. Woo hoo!

  • paulie

    I said the line “That’s why there is no need to do any real political work, the best bet to success is to do nothing and all our dreams will come true.”

    Ah, I see now. Here I thought it was a position you were trying to ascribe to me. I always thought that’s what the Deform Caucus would actually achieve, but I never realized until now that was intentional.

    The bastards who are changing public policy in a libertarian direction are the hundreds of elected and appointed officials the Libertarian Party has.

    I’m feeling freer every day.

    Sooner of later, they will join the Republican Liberty Caucus where they belong and are appreciated.

    Why any alleged libertarians would still belong to a Republican group is beyond me.

    http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=9669

  • Timothy West

    How about fully nationalized health care?

    I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

  • Timothy West

    Seth,

    shoot me a email when you get a chance, I need to get your mailing address again. Need to send you another check.

  • http://libspot.org/member/mlaursen/blog1/ Mike Laursen

    LOL, I thought you’d get lost. But what do you plan to do if you don’t become a major party?

    After 35 years, the Libertarian Party has clearly already failed to become a major party. The reformers are acknowledging that and trying to do something different.

    Personally, I’m not a platform reformer. I don’t care about the platform. But, I sympathize with the platform reformers.

    My response to the Libertarian Party’s not doing well, and its seemingly unchangeable dogmatic culture, has been to put more energy into local politics, much of it non-partisan. And to support other libertarian institutions like the Institute for Justice and Reason Foundation.

  • paulie

    After 35 years, the Libertarian Party has clearly already failed to become a major party. The reformers are acknowledging that and trying to do something different.

    Doing “something different” is hardly an adequate answer. The American political system is created to make it virtually impossible to become a major party. The LP serves a function, but it isn’t to become a major party no matter what it does. If it gives up what it stands for, it still won’t be a major party, but will cease to have any function whatsoever.

  • IanC

    Paulie — let me get this straight: Doing something for 35 years hasn’t worked.

    So someone else says, “Let’s do something different!” … and your answer to this is, “[this] is hardly an adequate answer.” ??

    Definition of insanity: “Continuing to perform the same act and expecting different results.”

  • Michael H. Wilson

    We’ve probably worn this topic out, but one last comment from me. Doing something different is one thing when you are failing, but it also helps to know what you are doing wrong. And from what I have seen far too often our candidates go into elections unprepared. They are not versed in the issues. They don’t have the funds to compete.
    They lack volunteer help. And on and on. We’ve been on the scene long enough to know you have to prepare, but we don’t want to take the time to do so. Sadly this comes from a group this is suppossed to be wise too the world of business.
    M.H.W.

  • paulie

    I didn’t say anything about doing things the same. I simply said that “something different” is an inadequate answer. For instance, turning the party into a paintball league is different. Does it solve the problem?

  • IanC

    Paulie… I can accept that. Given your history of being contrary to my positions, I took that to mean something other than what your most recent comment implies.

    So here’s *MY* ‘something different.’

    1) Create a contract for each local party member to sign (county level, state level, national level each separately) that indicates that those whom have so signed — entirely voluntarily — will endorse the chosen party candidate regardless of disagreements, valid during such time as individual members remain within the LP.
    Reason? We need *UNITY* if we are going to accomplish anything. Not lockstepping… but come elections time, we ‘keep it in the family’ and present a unified front to those whom would oppress us.

    2) Included in this contract will be litigational provisions for candidates whom fail to treat the candidacy as a full-time position.

    This is *ADDITIONAL* to all other current practices, mind you. Howsabout you?

  • paulie

    No, I’m not for muzzling our ability to criticize anti-liberty stances by LP nominees, like some stalinist gang. It brings to mind phrases like “premature anti-fascism”.

    As for your suggestion 2, most candidates don’t have time to treat it as a full time job. Having fewer candidates on the ballot only makes the few remaining less credible. In many cases, an inactive or even paper candidate may be the only choice to vote against an incumbent. They may well do better than active candidates in many cases. In Alabama 2000, a paper candidate who had never been to meetings (we couldn’t even get a picture of him) got over 20% in s statewide race, surpassing the highest barrier in the country to make the LP the first minor party to (briefly) become a major party in Alabama since George Wallace days. As a result, we were able to run about 60 candidates in 2002, including an active campaign for governor and some inactive candidates who were the only alternative to the incumbent.

  • paulie

    Now, as for what I would change:

    Quit coddling reichwingers and open up to the liberty-friendly folks from the left. see

    http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14

    for my specific ideas.

    Kubby would do a lot of good, if nominated.

    http://kubby.com/

  • http://www.lpnevada.org Jim Duensing

    My thoughts exactly Steve. We are the political wing of the freedom movement. Our job is to build a coalition of those who want more freedom than we currently have and get them to vote Libertarian – in this election and all subsequent elections.

    To see a caucus of candidates who are doing just that, see:

    http://www.VoteForAChange.US