Smither Campaign to Launch New Website

Bob Smither’s campaign website will be getting a much needed facelift soon. Click the picture below for a larger preview:

If you like what you see and want to help a Libertarian take Tom Delay’s old seat, please consider volunteering or donating today.

posted by disinter
  • http://lsnn.blogspot.com/ Marsh

    Wow this is a considerable upgrade. Looks great! While the old site was suffice, I like how they moved the Upcoming Events to the front page instead of it simply being a link. It will key during crunch time.

  • Zander C

    Nice! Time to send in another campaign contribution!

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    “What’s a Libertarian” shouldn’t take you to the worlds smallest quiz, (which is where I assume it goes). The quiz only “answers” the question “Are you a libertarian”. Other than that, it looks pretty good.

  • Seth

    As the designer and webmaster, I’m open to feedback, so when the site goes live (hopefully today), please feel to let me know what changes you think should happen… that doesn’t mean they will, design by committee isn’t the goal here.

    MRJarrell: it goes to the quiz at Quiz2d.com in fact, as that’s a much better intro, asks better questions with full answers (not just Y or N or M), and gives results showing moderate stances…

    Zander: please do, campaign donations are always needed!

  • disinter

    Seth,

    Thanks for doing this! It looks great.

  • Brian

    wow, awesome job

  • http://freelancify.com Nigel Watt

    Wow, nice work, Seth.

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

    Looks great, Seth! The Smither campaign team will surely appreciate your efforts!

  • putrimalu

    Speaking of launching new websites, where is that “LibertyMix” website I keep hearing about? I’m curious about the status of that.

  • http://www.lpnm.org Joseph Knight

    My nightmare scenario:

    1. Smither wins on a “fair” tax platform;

    2. Inspired, “libertarians,” including new Republican rejects, crawl out of the woodwork to run for Congress on a “fair” tax platform;

    3. The “fair” tax thereby becomes the LP signature issue (DISASTER #1);

    4. The “fair” tax actually gets enacted (DISASTER #2).

    LAST (Libertarians Against Sales Tax) is planning a massive media blitz in Houston for October to expose the “fair” tax for the scam that it is!

    Mr. Smither, PLEASE repudiate the “fair” tax. We’d all rather be supporting you that resisting you.

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    Set, it does look good…but, When the questionis “What is a libertarian” it shouldn’t take you to a quiz it should take you somewhere that explains what a libertarian is. The question header should be something along the lines of “Are you a libertarian?” or something similar.

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    That should say, “Seth”, not Set….

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    As for the 2d quiz that’s just a shill mecahnism for the reformista. Any “quiz” that makes the suggestion that someone “tone down” their political beliefs isn’t a legitimate quiz. I’d suggest something a little less biased.

  • Timothy West

    I’m supporting him even though I dont support the fair tax. A Smither in Congress or with a decent percentage vote total (>25%)is more important. He cant enact the Fair Tax by himself, and supporting him is not going to magically make the Fair Tax appear, even if he got elected.

    Whats more important, supporting an libertarian who agrees with you on 90% of issues, or defacto supporting and assisting his opponent who supports liberty 10% of the time? By refusing to support Smither, you’re supporting Lampson, a liberal democrat. Thanks for choosing statism. Of course, you dont even agree that he’s a libertarian, do you? Or me, for that matter.

    If Smither didnt support the Fair Tax, there would be some other issue that you would feel compelled to protest against, becuase thats about all some libertarians do.

    Great job Seth. Some people know how to support their party in the middle of a election year.

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

    I second Tim’s comments on Smither. The Fair Tax simply isn’t going to gain any traction in the foreseeable future and having Smither in Congress isn’t going to change that.

  • http://www.lpnm.org Joseph Knight

    Mr. West, I support lots of “90%” libertarians, but when the 10% we disagree on would take food off my table and rob my elderly father of 1/3 the value of his life savings, which he has ALREADY paid federal taxes on, I have a major problem.

    http://www.lpnm.org/essays/MemberEssays-jknight2.html

    And Seth, YES, the web site looks great. I do like the look and feel of the campaign and if BS would just lose the fascist fair tax scam, I could really be enthusiastic about his campaign.

    Now, back to TW, “there would be some other issue that you would feel compelled to protest against, becuase thats about all some libertarians do,” I’ll match my 20-year record of activism against your ANY time – very little of it dealing with “internal” matters until the “reform” sellouts came along.

  • disinter

    I too agree with Tim West.

  • http://www.myspace.com/10forliberty Mitchell Port

    Great job on the Smither website. A Smither win is exactly what the LP needs and would hopefully garner us national attention. I think this is the best chance we have ever had on grabbing a major seat and we CANNOT let it slip by. Let’s all help out the Smither campaign in whatever capacity we can.

  • paulie

    The evil “fair” tax extortion scam is just the sort of thing which might really pass because it gives the regime what it really wants (under actual likely implementation rather than theory) – a double tax system with both income AND sales atx, since it’s a lot easier to impose a tax than repeal one. This is to fund more foreign invasions and occupations and more domestic heimland tyranny and espionage. What better way to pass it than through the misdirected efforts of freedom advocates and anti-tax rebels? Give the LP credit for this one and this ends any chance of us being a real opposition ever again.

    An even bigger concern than whether Smither supports the war, or that he supports the “fair tax” monstosity, is that he wants to prevent Pelosi from becoming speaker – precisely what we should want to gridlock the regime, get dubai-ya impeached (finally), launch investigations, bring the troops home and prevent an invasion of Iran. Smither alone won’t change policy, but a D majority

  • http://www.reformthelp.org Carl

    MRJarrell: most people complain about Quiz2D being biased in favor if libertarianism. No matter what you do, someone is going to complain…

    BTW, Quiz2D predates the reform movement by quite a few years. I wrote the first version back in 1999 as a Windows app.

    However, it is true the Quiz2D was designed to detect moderate libertarians and to broaden the libertarian movement to include moderates. At the time, the WSPQ asked very radical questions. Since then the WSPQ has been moderated significantly.

    The liberal movement includes both moderate liberals and Nancy Pelosis. The conservative movement includes squishy Republicans and the Pat Robertsons. The term socialist gets applied to both Fabians and hardcore Marxists.

    Meanwhile, the libertarian movement has adherents who demand that the term libertarian apply to radicals only. If that is to be the case, the the libertarian movement should not have a political party. It takes a coalition of moderates and radicals to win.

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    Doesn’t matter what you designed the “quiz” for, Karl. It’s biased against everyone but those who accept your particular views of what constitute libertarianism. The fact is you did with the quiz exactly what you’ve done with everything. Set it up to massage youego and alienate a large segment of libertarians. When someone scores as too libertarian for your taste they are directed to your re-education materials. Frankly, you and yours do not represent the face of libertarianism at large or even in the LP. Of course if this is the thing smithers wants, as opposed to the Advocates quiz, which has long been the standard for libertarian quizzes then that’s his choice, bad tho it is. And, as I stated before the header misleads by directing anyone to the quiz. It offers no insight as to what constitutes a libertarian.

  • Derrick

    NICE SITE!! Major props to Seth for busting this out.

    I’m rooting for Smither, fair tax or not.

    I’m also rooting for Bill Peirce, Ohio candidate for governor. He doesn’t have much traction at this point, but I believe that he could blow up if he did get some. See http://peirceforohio.com/

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    Let’s try this again…
    Doesn’t matter what you designed the “quiz” for, Karl. It’s biased against everyone but those who accept your particular views of what constitute libertarianism. The fact is you did with the quiz exactly what you’ve done with everything. Set it up to massage your ego and alienate a large segment of libertarians. When someone scores as too libertarian for your taste they are directed to your re-education materials, how Mao-like. Frankly, you and yours do not represent the face of libertarianism at large or even in the LP. Of course if this is the thing Smither wants, as opposed to the Advocates quiz, which has long been the standard for libertarian quizzes, then that’s his choice, bad tho it is. And, as I stated before the header misleads by directing anyone to the quiz. It offers no insight as to what constitutes a libertarian, just your quiz which has no bearing of defining what a libertarian is.

  • Timothy West

    There’s always been an absolute split between what the LP has said they are for to the rest of the world and what they actually have done and said inside the LP itself. The LP has long proclaimed itself to be socially tolerant and fiscally conservative, but from my first hand experience, the LP is actually extremely intolerant of internal dissent and of generally not going along with the program, and very fiscally irresponsible and acts just like the government it claims to be nothing like.

  • Timothy West

    The LP as a whole is just fucking plain weird. It’s strange, like Alice in Wonderland type of strange. It has the basic concept right, which is that people should be more free. Outside of that basic premise, which by itself is something you can sell to the american people, it’s hopelessly confused and divided about the role it should play.

    Those that want to make it amount to something are shit on, and everything the LP has historically claimed it represents outside the LP is denied by it’s own internal conduct towards people that are different enough to want to try another direction, after observation in plain view that what the party has done DIDNT WORK.

  • George Whitfield

    Thank you Seth for your work on Bob Smither’s behalf. I just emailed the Boortz Show asking that he invite Bob Smither to appear. Lets pull together to help a Libertarian who has a real chance to win.

  • Timothy West

    of course, what I say is only true if you accept the following premises:

    1. The Libertarian Party exists as a political party, to serve the purpose of electing libertarians to public office. While it CAN have other effects as a result of this activity, there is no other purpose it SERVES BEST. It is not a educational tool to teach people what libertarianism is, beyond what it’s candidates run on.

    2. Libertarians are not only pledge takers and accepters, but anyone who desires less governmental and corporate control over their lives. The idea of a “true libertarian” or a “real libertarian” is corrosive to the expansion ability of the party to attract a broad coalition of freedomists from the left-right political spectrum.

    3. The LP should be more like what it claims to be. It claims to be socially tolerant. It’s anything but to those
    who dont accept the status quo. That the status quo hasnt worked doesnt matter. Just stop excluding, and start including.

  • paulie

    cont from 19 whereas a democrat majority will bring about changes for the good, until a Democrat becomes president – when it would be just the opposite.

    Tim: you’re right about the fiscal irresponsibility. Raiser’s edge? As for socially tolerant…we are, but we can’t tolerate those who would use force against us – that’s all.

    I’m betting on Lampson. Here’s to a Democrat majority, major investigations, a successful impeachment and conviction next year, followed by conviction of the whole Bush Crime Family in war crimes trials whereupon they can be hung just like an earlier generation of nazi war criminals. If Lampson getting elected helps make Pelosi speaker that will be a good thing.

  • http://freelancify.com Nigel Watt

    Also, Seth, nice touch on including both the Texas and US flags.

  • paulie

    MR Jarrell: he’s right about one thing tho – the Advocates quiz has been watered down lately, which is unfortunate.

  • http://www.reformthelp.org Carl

    Let’s look at the horrible “re-education” I am accused of foisting upon delicate radical libertarians:

    Description

    Hey! We need you in Congress! Or at least in your state legislature. Join the Libertarian Party and we’ll put you on the ballot.

    What? Not ready to run yourself? Well, join the party anyway and put someone of like mind into office. It is high time we kicked the envy-mongers, busy-bodies and angst-worshippers out of office.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Suggested Links

    You may need to work on toning down your rhetoric in order to reach the masses””in order to get the liberty you desire. Here are some sites to help.

    ———————————————————
    That’s right. I suggest “toning down rhetoric.” How awful! And my reading list includes such statist thinkers as David Friedman and Robert Heinlein.

    See for yourself at:
    http://quiz2d.com/quiz/rtest.php?quad=RadicalLibertarian

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    It may have been watered down but it is not insulting and doesn’t recommend re-education for those who aren’t reformista. The quiz it links to is solely the brain child of Milstead and serves only his interests and those of the reformista, not those of the larger libertarian community. Consider the numbers of his essays and re-education materials that quiz takers are redirected to and all you have is a platform for his ego and not for any type of overview of what libertarianism is. Better a watered down Advocates quiz than an insult and an egotists platform.

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    Yeah, Carl…Centrists and democrats inevitably get redirected to Holistic Politics…wonder who that might be? If Smithers wants this “quiz” based upon your ego on his site, more power to him. http://www.politicalcompass.org/ would be better than yours…not that your quiz answers the question, “What Is A Libertarian”….

  • paulie

    I like Bryan Caplan’s quiz

    http://www.bcaplan.com/cgi-bin/purity.cgi

  • IanC

    Carl — always glad to see someone reviving the name of Teh Greatest Lech Ever. (R.A.H. that is).

    To Joseph — I suggest the following thought. Send Mr. Smither — yourself and advocate that those at LAST also do the same — twenty dollars, and a letter earmarked, “This donation is NOT to go towards the endorsement or advocacy of the Fair Tax.” Once we all GET HIM IN OFFICE — *THEN* start bombarding him with letters, calls, and the like, indicating that you want him to cease endorsing the Fair Tax.

    This process has been working for DECADES. It is how EVERY ‘Small Interest’ has effected itself. You and yours are no different. Tow the line as it were, to creating more freedom in this world. Make each step COUNT. After all — Smither may disagree with you… but at least you and he speak the same language. Try telling one of the fascists running things now to lower taxes or not follow specific taxation Route A… see what happens.

    (cont’d)

  • IanC

    What I advocate above, is in my opinion the only clearly libertarian approach open in terms of this particular campaign, saving in specifics of dollar amounts.

    I personally shall consider *ANYONE* advocating against him to be the enemy of freedom, be they libertarian or not. (Yes, libertarians can be the enemy of freedom. How? When they become fundamentalists on the issues; intolerant of any opposing views. Read my comments elsewhere.)

    He may be MISTAKEN… but that is NOT just cause to hamstring the first real opportunity of an at least MODERATELY libertarian person to actually gain office as a *L*ibertarian.

  • paulie

    That would be counterproductive, as it would neutralize the opposition.

  • Scott Lieberman

    This is all you need to know about Joseph Knight:

    A few years ago, the LNC passed a motion to raise National LP dues to $50 per year, but this motion was made moot since dues were reduced to zero dollars per year before the $50 dues took effect.

    Mr. Joseph Knight was soooo mad at Aaron Starr for having the nerve to sponsor the motion to make dues $50 per year that Mr. Knight sent Mr. Starr an e-mail wishing
    that Mr. Starr would die.

    If you think this is not true, you can e-mail Aaron at starrcpa@pacbell.net and ask him to verify this.

    If you can manage to locate on the Internet the State Chairs e-mail list archives from 2004 (20005?), you can also locate Mr. Starr’s message verifying the above.

  • http://www.chrisbennettfromillinois.blogspot.com Chris Bennett

    Oh this is the same Scott Lieberman that kow-tows to Aaron Starr’s every whim. Joesph Knight despite a short-fused temper in an e-mail to Republitarian Aaron Starr, he has been a true freedom fighter and a great LP activist.

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    why does warmongering ronnie raygun worshipper aaron starr hold a leadership position in the LP or even call himself a libertarian at all?

  • Timothy West

    careful Paulie – he signed a pledge, ya know. It’s effective isnt it? Been proven to keep the riff raff out for 35 years.

    obvious to the most casual observer.

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    Some defendants and witnesses lie under oath. Clearly, the problem is the oath and the solution is to get rid of it.

  • Timothy West

    no, not all lie. I didnt. I really thought force meant violence. I didnt come to the LP by way of the sacred texts of rand or rothbard, you see. Peter Mc Williams was my introduction.

    http://www.mcwilliams.com/books/books/aint/toc.htm

    I didnt know the truth for almost 5 years until a LPMD member set me straight, then told me to get out of the meeting becuase I was a statist and a pig. Some intro.

    I never gave a shit about libertarian philosophy beyond the idea that people should live MORE free than LESS free. I was never exposed to it, and when I was exposed to it, I couldnt believe how boring and uninspiring it was. It’s like reading lines of computer code where not even one line can be changed or the whole program falls apart and stops running.

    You either accept all of it, believe that the entire world will follow, or you’re not one of the chosen. A cult of liberty is no better than any other cult.

    I’m a practical, nuts and bolts guy. I want my LP to be that way too.

  • Seth

    MRJarrell:

    1) Smither’s audience is NOT Libertarians. It is everyone in TX-22 who is not a Liberal Democrat who might support Lampson getting elected again.

    2) People want to know what Smither stands for, which is what position papers are about. Telling them what ‘all Libertarians’ stand for is beside the point and liable to be confusing. Zero Aggression Principle? Bob has that mentioned already:
    http://smither4congress.com/a_libertarian_dream
    He’s drawing flack for his support of a FairTax, even here among Libertarians, so how do you reconcile the 2? You don’t. Bob is Bob. And yet, you need to answer the question of “He’s a Libertarian? What’s that?”

    (continued below)

  • Seth

    3) Like it or not, Carl’s quiz is the best right now. It’s not too simple nor too complex… Bob wanted to include a link to the WSPQ at first too… but I pointed out that asking a YNM question doesn’t allow for any sort of positioning in the middle, or ‘Yes but…’ which is exactly where his voters will be. Go take the quiz and pretend you are someone who is NOT a Libertarian, but who is fiscally conservative and only mildly socially moderate in your preferred candidates/stances, and notice how the questions don’t force you toward an extreme, but let you take many degrees of answers. “Well, I’m not sure I want A or Z but I agree that Q sounds like what I’d like most.”

    Quiz2D recognizes that moderate or centrist positions exist, and that those people are the ones who decide elections, as the stats over the years show… Once they learn what their OWN position is called, the “Gee, I never knew I leaned just a little bit libertarian” crowd, these are the ones who can get behind Bob.

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    Seth, you’ve completely missed the point somehow. Your header on that section reads “What Is A Libertarian” and the link takes the reader to a place that fails to answer that question. If you had bothered to head it as “Are You A Libertarian?” it would have been correct. Here’s an example of what I am talking about. It asks the same question and provides an answer…not misdirection to a quiz.
    The issue isn’t Carls ego quiz, (it’s not a better quiz unless you’re a Milstead cheerleader) it’s providing an unintentionally misleading link. Other than that you did a great job, I’m impressed!

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

    Well, I’m happy with Mr. Smither’s position paper on the War. A bit of a hedge, but that’s politics.

    Now that he has a position that I can support (although, I’d like something a little more, well, radical), a donation is on the way.

  • disinter

    I agree with MRJarrell. “What is a Libertarian” should point to a page with content similar to this:

    http://www.lp.org/article_85.shtml

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

    I just took Carl’s quiz. Apparently I’m a left-leaning radical libertarian.

    I also didn’t much appreciate the little lecture Carl gives at the end, and I’ve been to “Holistic Politics” and was not very impressed. But overall, I didn’t think the quiz was too biased in its results. The questions are slightly biased in their wording, though. He lectures about rhetoric if you end up a radical, though he phrases the radical positions in as radical a way as possible. It’s one thing to hold a fundementally radical position on, say, drug leagalization while working towards a more short-term acheivable goal of, say, marijauna decriminalization. And it’s another thing altogether to advocate taxing and regulating drugs.

    He also manages to incorporate in some of his ridiculous ideas such as the “Citizens Dividend”. Though, He does pay for the site upkeep and badnwidth, so of course it is going to serve his agenda. As it should.

  • http://www.reformthelp.org Carl

    To the Grand Inquisitors:

    Yes, I have an ego. I have the temerity to hold positions that are not exactly along the party line. I have not allowed the Spirit of Rothbard to possess my body and mind. Where common sense, data, and/or basic love of humanity conflict with the Sacred Axioms, I have dared to depart from the Chosen Path and walk my own way.

    We all know what a horrible thing that ego is. Just read what Ayn Rand had to say on the subject.

  • Seth

    MRJarrell and Mike, understood. I’m not ignoring the suggestion (and thanks for the pointers, you’ll see a change later today on the site), but was responding the criticisms of the quiz choice itself. No, Carl’s quiz is not perfect… I would love to see a competitor who does as nice (or nicer) a job… Please provide tracking stats to those who link to you, a variety of option choices not just YMN, a popup function, and other features. I told Carl privately a “Web 2.0″ version is sorely needed. It’s a free market: if you think you can do a better job, please do so – if you do, likely I’ll start linking to you instead. Heck, if someone out there wants to do this, contact me.. I’ll beta test it.

    Chris: that ‘ridiculous’ idea has plenty of Libertarian supporters all over, including most notably Charles Murray.
    It’s not a new idea, and the pros and cons are very arguable, but it’s certainly within an established realm of directions to go in the future, and a realistic choice.

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    We all know what a horrible thing that ego is. Just read what Ayn Rand had to say on the subject.

    Right after which, you can read her ideas on rape.

    http://www.strangewords.com/archive/ayn.html

    or the environment, or some of her other amazing ideas. Not to begrudge your great ego, but deviation from libertarian principle is not in itself some great achievement. If it were, Clinton and Bush could be heroes, Mao and Hitler saints, and Eduard Limonov a truly outstanding individual.

    Why, Bill Clinton once called himself a libertarian. Eric Dondero calls Joe Lieberman and Jeb Bush “mainstream libertarians”. So why not a citizens dividend and holistic LP reform politics?

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

    “Chris: that ”˜ridiculous’ idea has plenty of Libertarian supporters all over, including most notably Charles Murray.”

    Let me rephrase:

    He also manages to incorporate in some of his ridiculous (in my opinion) ideas such as the “Citizens Dividend”.

    “it’s certainly within an established realm of directions to go in the future”

    Again, my belief: the wrong direction.

    But let us not go down that avenue of discussion. It would serve no purpose. I like what I’ve seen from Smither, and I’m behind him about 92%.

  • disinter

    MRJarrell and Mike, understood. I’m not ignoring the suggestion (and thanks for the pointers, you’ll see a change later today on the site)

    I am curious if this change is still going to happen?

  • http://www.lpnm.org Joseph Knight

    CB, THANKS for sticking up for me.

    SL, you got me on this one, not that it’s relevant, but I have nearly worn out my keyboard apologizing. I AM old, cranky, oppressed, and feel betrayed by an LP I’ve stuggled mightely to build.

    TW, I’m not choosing statism, the fair tax IS statism.

    LC, I’m not an enemy of freedom, the fair tax is NOT freedom. BS wants to impose a tax on me, & YES, I fundamentally oppose that view. I have NEVER advocated imposing a tax on him – or you!
    http://www.lpnm.org/essays/MemberEssays-jknight2.html

    TW, “the LP is actually extremely intolerant of internal dissent and of generally not going along with the program,” you are correct and I’ve got a bunch of e-mails from Smither’s enforcer, Tunstall, to prove it.

  • Seth

    Mike: yes, I just had other priorities ahead of it. Sometime today most likely.

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

    Good-looking site, Seth! It’s nice to see Libertarian candidates running real campaigns! But (you knew there was a but, didn’t you), there are some big problems.

    Folks, the “Fair” Tax isn’t a “purity” issue. This isn’t choosing between cutting taxes 5% or 10%, or even between cutting taxes 10% or 100%. This is the difference between a) cutting taxes, or b) creating 50 new IRSes and putting every man, woman and child in America on a monthly government welfare check. Hint: One of those is arguable within the context of libertarianism. One isn’t libertarian, isn’t close to being libertarian, and isn’t going to magically become libertarian no matter how much K.T. Tunstall hops up and down on one foot ordering people to STFU.

    The other big problem is the war. It’s the front-burner issue in this election, and Smither’s position is, frankly, mealy-mouthed. As Jim Hightower put it there’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadilloes. Time to strap on some balls.

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    Actually there’s a third. In this election cycle, keeping Pelosi from becoming speaker as Smither has pledged to do would be extremely counterproductive to liberty. The best we can realistically hope for is a Democrat controlled Congress next year.

  • Seth

    Thom, you ignorant freedomslut….

    As I pointed out, plenty of people from Charles Murray and others have discussed very libertarian ways to implement such a payment check. You disagree, but that doesn’t allow you to define who is a libertarian and who isn’t. Murray’s “What it Means to be a Libertarian” is pretty good credentials for him to self-define where he stands. I think Boortz, Murray, Milsted, Heinlein and all of the other libertarians who have made a case for some form of social payment, are valid members of the circle of liberty, as much as you are.

    As for the war position, first Bob was criticized for not having a published position, now you criticize the position. It’s clear that unless he agrees with you, he’s in the wrong. Thom, when you decide to run for office in Texas, in the Houston area, you can “strap on some balls” perhaps. It’s clear that Bob has principles (remember those?), which is where his position comes from: the Constitution and what it says.

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    Boortz and Murray? Who else endorses it – David Duke?

    I’d be embarrassed with endorsements like that.

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

    Seth,

    Let me be very clear here: Yes, I oppose the war, and no, I wouldn’t support Smither if he supported it, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about practical politics.

    - The war is the front-burner issue, or at least a big part of the front-burner issue (national security), in this campaign.

    - Two “major party” candidates might be able to go up against each other with mealy-mouthed positioning on the war, if they explicitly or tacitly agreed to let each other to get away with doing so (i.e. if neither one, as I put it, strapped on some balls). A minor party candidate is not going to get away with that. He has to have extra gas in his tank, because he has to overcome the “minor party” disadvantage. He can’t slide by on straight-ticketism, he has to light fires under asses and get said asses to the polls and he ain’t gonna do that by hemming and hawing and “triangulating.”

    Let Smither be for or against the war, but let him be SOMETHING on it.

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

    And oh, by the way, Seth: I most certainly DO get to “define who is a libertarian and who isn’t.” So do you. So does everyone else. My definition happens to be pretty “big tent.” Among the figures you mention, it would certainly include Milsted and Heinlein, and it might include Murray (I haven’t read anything of his since The Bell Curve, which I didn’t find intensely useful). Not Boortz. YMMV.

    Also, I didn’t reject a “libertarian social payment scheme” per se (depending on what one believes to the be property status of various natural resources, etc., it might very well be possible). What I said is that the “Fair” Tax isn’t libertarian. Big difference. With respect to “social payment schemes,” the “Fair” Tax “prebate” is not, for example, a distribution of resources acknowledged to exist in some sort of common ownership and requiring division. It is a redistribution of wealth acknowledged to have been produced by, and taken from, individuals.

  • Seth

    Thom: last response on this, and I’ll firmly disclaimer it as my own opinion, and not that of the Smither campaign in any fashion…

    Lampson admits he was one of those in Congress who voted to let Bush go to Iraq. http://www.lampson.com/issues?id=0003

    Smither’s position is simple: “Had Congress lived up to its responsiblity and debated the matter properly, it is quite probable that we would not find ourselves in the situation we have today. From a practical perspective though, it is impossible to return to 2003 and vote on a declaration of war.”

    _You_ might want the war to be the front-burner issue, but is it the big issue in TX-22? No, doesn’t look like it. Go find it on Lampson’s site.

    If you want to further disagree, I hereby publically challenge you to personally fund a polling which can ask what the voters in TX-22 want re: Iraq policy…

  • Seth

    As for the Fair Tax, I’m not a supporter of it personally (I’m not convinced of the economics on it), but supporters of it can still be [Ll]ibertarians just fine.

    No, you don’t get to define it. You don’t get to define the Big L’s because didn’t you form and join the Boston Tea Party… which decided to become it’s own party? You do get to decided who is a Dormouse, Mad Hatter or a March Hare, since that’s who attends Tea Party, right?

    You don’t get to define little l’s either, since we don’t all entirely agrees on what exactly what it means, though the broad strokes are clear enough, the fine details are not… which is my point.

  • Seth

    BTW, for those not in the know, the “ignorant freedomslut” comment is joking combination of the old SNL bit with Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtin, and the fact that Thom is part of the forces behind freedomslut.com, a nifty bookmarking site ala delicious.

    I like Thom, though we strongly disagree most of the time despite being in the same political corner of the map.

  • http://www.reformthelp.org Carl

    Thomas:

    For the record, I have criticized the Fair Tax for similar reasons. I have endorsed the Citizen Dividend idea, but at a lesser dollar amount than Murray, and have stated that I much prefer that the dividend come out of natural resource taxes, vs. sales taxes. And I think the dividend should be in cash — not in kind. I haven’t read Murray’s book, but the reviews I have read indicated something about buying people health insurance. This would compound the already bad moral hazard problem we have in that area. The big problem we have is too many people who are over insured.

    Most of the LPers in my county are big Fair Tax fans. I am the big dissenter.

  • http://libertariansmither.blogspot.com Lloyd Laughlin

    OCTOBER is the month for campaign mode.

    Talk up the SMITHER candidacy.
    We need buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    NO Libertarian has ever won Congress.

    Can you imagine the media and public’s reaction when SMITHER comes from nowhere to WIN, not only win, win DeLay’s old seat.

    From power to principle.

    “Mr. Smither Goes to Washington”

    Talk it up. DONATE HELP

    Lloyd Laughlin laughlinou@yahoo.com

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

    Seth,

    You write:

    “No, you don’t get to define it. You don’t get to define the Big L’s because didn’t you form and join the Boston Tea Party … which decided to become it’s own party?”

    I don’t see how that’s relevant to my eligibility to “define the Big L’s.” First of all, I continue to be a member of the LP. Secondly, one need not be a member of the LP to define it.

    “You don’t get to define little l’s either, since we don’t all entirely agrees on what exactly what it means”

    That’s like saying that OED doesn’t get to define “bird” because its definition might not be the same as Webster’s. EVERYONE who is interested in defining “libertarian” gets to do so. Some definitions may gain wider acceptance than others, but everyone gets their shot.

    Insofar as how this relates to the “Fair” Tax is concerned, however, it’s not really a matter of how I define “libertarian.” It’s a matter of noticing that when studied in any detail, the “Fair” Tax doesn’t meet most of the varying definitions.

  • Seth

    Thom, my point seems getting lost: There are those who are “libertarian” who embrace the Fair Tax, and like it or not, whether or not you think it meets the varying definitions, they do.

    You formed the BTP because you felt the Libertarian Party had lost it’s way, so your public prior sentiments of disagreement is well noted, but that’s the point: you are not the standard bearer for the LP, nor guardian of who is, nor what is, officially “libertarian” and that comment #57 smacks heavily of it.

    If you want editorially define who is or isn’t “libertarian” in RRND or Kn@ppster, those are your soapboxes with no feedback, but expect to get called on it when you do it in a public comment like here.

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

    Seth,

    First, a major distinction: There is a big difference between saying “the ‘Fair’ Tax is not libertarian” and saying “anyone who supports the ‘Fair’ Tax is not a libertarian.” I’ve said the former, not the latter. I agree that it is entirely possible for libertarians to mistakenly endorse an anti-libertarian proposition without ceasing to be libertarians.

    I will, however, stand by my claim that there’s no reasonable way to classify the “Fair” Tax as a libertarian policy proposal. It does not in any way reduce the size, scope or power of government, either directly or consequentially. It creates a minimum of 50 new government agencies with taxing and enforcement authority. And it forcibly redistributes wealth which its advocates do not make any claim for the common ownership (and subsequent acceptability of forcible equitable distribution) of.

    It may not be as facially obviously anti-libertarian as other policy proposals (like, say, “kill all the Jews!”) (cont’d)

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

    (cont’d from 70) but it does fairly obviously (if investigated — I do grant that its most prominent promoters do engage in gross fraud to hide its flaws) fall on the other side of any line dividing “libertarian” from “everything else.”

    If you want to discuss that line, we can. I’ll offer you two examples of reasonable definitions between multiple actors. First, there’s a definition of conservatism which I think originated with Russell Kirk but which I read when William F. Buckley, Jr. quoted it favorably: Conservatism is “the paradigm of essences toward which the phenomenology of society is in continuing approximation.” Kind of hard to miss the non-specificity there, isn’t it?

    The second example is from (sigh — I hate to do this) Murray Rothbard, who referred to a “libertarian plumbline.” If you’re familiar with a plumb bob, it’s a pendulum. It may swing pretty far in any given direction, but it tends back toward some center. A proposal that can’t reasonably be related (cont’d)

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

    (cont’d from 71) to some central tenet can’t reasonably be said to characterize the ideas flowing from that tenet. We don’t have to agree that the central tenet of libertarianism is anarcho-capitalism or the Zero Aggression Principle or “pro-choice on everything” or even “less government than we have now” — an ideological plumb bob would encompass ALL of those in its swing. No plumb bob which encompassed ANY of those in its swing, however, would also encompass putting every man, woman and child in America on a new welfare program financed by a new coercive taxation program, requiring the creation of 50 new government enforcement agencies, and resulting in no concomitant reduction of the size, scope or power of government anywhere.

    That doesn’t mean I think Smith isn’t a libertarian or that he’s unworthy of support. It just means I notice he’s been snookered by the “Fair” Tax frauds into thinking that tax is something other than what it is.

    And yes, I expect you to “call me on it.”

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

    Carl,

    Thanks for weighing in. I knew that you didn’t care for the “Fair” Tax, and I’ve argued versus your “citizen’s dividend” elsewhere on tactical grounds rather than on the issue of whether such a “dividend” could or could not rightly/”libertarianishly” be constructed (if we accept the Georgist/Geoist theory of land ownership, one presumably could be).

    While I am, if anything, even more strident than Mr. Knight versus the “Fair” Tax, I don’t regard it as a final litmus test for candidate support. If a Libertarian candidate’s only difference with me is that he’s mistaken on the “Fair” Tax, I’ll still pull for him. The war is more of a litmus test from my standpoint. I won’t support a pro-Iraq-war candidate, period. Smither is trying to play the game of nuance on an issue which doesn’t currently allow for any, and I think that’s a tactical mistake, but I still hope he wins.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  • http://www.lpnm.org Joseph Knight

    Tom, I don’t think anybody can be more strident than me about the fair tax, but I welcome your attempt – every little bit helps.

    Well, I think the “fair” tax makes Smither unworthy of support. It would just hurt me way too much personally, re-define libertarianism, and hurt the LP. (see comment #10 and http://www.lpnm.org/essays/MemberEssays-jknight2.html)

    And it breaks my heart. I would LOVE to be a Smither man. We NEED a candidate like this with an actual chance to get elected. But not with the “fair” tax.

    About the war, I beleive he’s anti-war and understand why he’s downplaying it, but I agree that he needs to make a clear statement. Just a little one-liner would do, like “I think it was a grave mistake.” He doesn’t have to dwell on it in a pro-war district, just have the courage of his conviction.