The Boston Tea Party?

Thomas Knapp is contemplating launching a new party. The Boston Tea Party, as he’s named it, was announced with this press release:

“Cyberia” (PRWEB) July 5, 2006 – Citing the Libertarian Party’s “abdication of its political responsibilities to the American people,” activists have founded the Boston Tea Party (www.bostontea.us) as an alternative, Internet-based vehicle for libertarian political action.

“For various reasons, the ball got dropped in Portland,” says Boston Tea Party founder Thomas L. Knapp, referring to the Libertarian national convention, held over the July 4th weekend in Oregon. “Factional disputes led to a wholesale gutting of the party’s platform — a muddle in which the party was left without a mechanism for expressing its positions on several of the foremost public policy issues facing America’s voters.”

Rather than setting up the new party as a splinter group, Knapp says that he thinks of it as a “hopefully a pinch hitter, going to bat for America while the LP nurses its wounds and prepares to get back in the game. Until and unless that happens, the Boston Tea Party will fill in. Americans deserve — and desperately need — a pro-freedom party which forcefully advocates libertarian solutions to the issues of the day.”

Those solutions will be set forth in a program to be put together by the new party’s organizational convention, to be held online, Knapp says, in the next 30 to 60 days.

He has a rather simple idea for a political platform, one that in all honesty I wouldn’t mind the Libertarian Party adopting.

All in all, it looks like a lot of good ideas but losing Knapp and permanently splitting the movement would be a tragedy for the Libertarian Party. We need his ideas now in the Libertarian Party, working to make it better… just as much as we need everyone else’s contributing.

I really like the idea of a small, simple Statement of Principles for the LP like the platform Knapp proposed above, as well as a four-year platform that has five key points or so. A lot of people in the LRC would agree with something simple like that, I’d imagine-it lays out our priorities and eases in-factional fighting, and says nothing about purity vs. incrementalism, freeing our candidates to be either.

When the LP fixes its platform, I hope they go with something like this. It would be a permanent, effective fix that would finally unite our party for good.

posted by Stuart Richards
  • Rob

    This has got to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen a libertarian do – and there’s a lot of stupid things to choose from over the years.

    Reminds me of petty differences the Socialists have had over the years…let’s see now there’s the Workers World Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Socialist Equality Party, etc. Yep, they’re all having having major impact on US political policy.

    Thanks, you’ve just made the libertarian movement even MORE of a laughingstock – and here I thiught we had already reached the bottom….silly me…

  • ianbernard

    I disagree, the Libertarian movement needs more competition. Way to go Thomas!

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

    I have a great deal of respect for Thomas Knapp, but I don’t see how further splintering the LP, despite it’s many faults, is going to bring us any closer to the liberty we all seek.

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

    you cant have it both ways.

    Either the platform is a document that voters dont read and therefore does not need to be redone, or it’s something important that says everything about who we are. If I had a dime for every dude that told me no voter reads the pledge or platform, therefore it’s not an issue, and we dont need to change it, I’d be able to pay my medical bills.

    No one I know has ever said the great numbers of people read the platform DIRECTLY – only our opposition, and the opinion shapers in the media. They make the interpretation for us, who then go on to tell voters “what we think” in the most hostile manner possible.

    I submit that until the new platform gets posted, nobody here including me knows how broken it is or is not. I havent seen the whole hing and nobody else has either.

    IMO the whole goddamned thing could be missing except for this part:

    contd:

  • http://www.reformthelp.org Carl

    I wish Tom all the best with his new party. It could end up being a plus for liberty. However, I think he is making a mistake calling his new organization a political party.

    Historically, the LP has waffled between two different business plans:

    1. A political party designed to move public policy in a libertarian direction by electing libertarians to public office.

    2. A protest organization that keeps shouting what is right regardless of popularity. (This was especially true with the drug war issue.)

    The libertarian movement needs BOTH. However, these tasks need to be done by DIFFERENT organizations. Taking stands on unpopular issues results in losing elections. A political party should not be a protest organization. The purpose of a political party is to cash in on the public opinion successes of the protest organizations and think tanks.

    Good luck, Tom!

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

    We, the members of the Libertarian Party defend the rights of the individual.

    We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.

    Governments throughout history have regularly operated on the opposite principle, that the State has the right to dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor. Even within the United States, all political parties other than our own grant to government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.

    this alone with NOTHING on it, would be enough. We dont elect political parties, we elect candidates!

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    ‘The “Boston Tea” Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.’

    “at all levels, all issues, any purpose.” Hmm, so any sort of midway step, that might increase government in one way, but reduce it in another, what is your position on that? (let’s be realworld, for an example, and say FairTax, which would increase _some_, even as it decreases other parts.)

    What about local government, local control? If we could remove 90% of the locally controlled laws/regs, and centralize them nationally, that would certainly reduce government size, at the cost of local control. It might even be argued that scope and power would be unchanged, just shifted. Not a good idea, thank you.

    Tom, it’s not that easy. Yes, 95% of the time, this platform is a good guideline, but the ‘always/never’ will bite you in the end.

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

    From my perspective, the LRC splintered the LP for pretty much no reason. What did people in the LRC expect? Gut the platform and everyone’s going to be happy? Continually rail against anarchists and expect them to grin and take it?

    For an organization that wants to do “real politics”, the LRC sure does suck at it. They have no idea how to unite libertarians, how do they expect to unite America?

    I’m supporting Thom and the BTP. From what I have read, Mr. Knapp is quite the statesman, and I hope that his BTP will serve to unite libertarians.

  • David Tomlin

    http://www.mwscomp.com/movies/brian/brian-07.htm

    BRIAN:
    Are you the Judean People’s Front?
    REG:
    Fuck off!
    BRIAN:
    What?
    REG:
    Judean People’s Front. We’re the People’s Front of Judea!

    . . .

    REG:
    Right. You’re in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People’s Front.
    P.F.J.:
    Yeah…
    JUDITH:
    Splitters.
    P.F.J.:
    Splitters…
    FRANCIS:
    And the Judean Popular People’s Front.
    P.F.J.:
    Yeah. Oh, yeah. Splitters. Splitters…
    LORETTA:
    And the People’s Front of Judea.
    P.F.J.:
    Yeah. Splitters. Splitters…
    REG:
    What?
    LORETTA:
    The People’s Front of Judea. Splitters.
    REG:
    We’re the People’s Front of Judea!
    LORETTA:
    Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.
    REG:
    People’s Front! C-huh.
    FRANCIS:
    Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?
    REG:
    He’s over there.
    P.F.J.:
    Splitter!

  • Wes P

    There’s nothing to stop anybody from being a member of both. I signed up (anyway, for an account on bostontea.us), and now I am.

    Until and unless the LP gets its act together, it’s great to have another nucleus for libetarians to gather round and agree upon, and the sooner we get started, the better.

    Then we’ll be ready if the LP can’t recover.

    Can local LP affiliates switch over, if and when circumstances warrant? Will their ballot status transfer? It’s all state-by-state, as I understand it.

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

    Y’all,

    I’ll take on the “splintering” issue first: There’s absolutely, positively no requirement that anyone leave the LP in order to join the BTP (I might as well start using acronyms now). I’m not leaving the LP.

    As a matter of fact, if you read the article on the site as to the new organization’s nature, you’ll see that the only BTP membership requirement is endorsement of the platform. Endorse the platform and you’re in. Since the conventions are to be held online and direct instead of in meatspace and representative, you are then free to propose a bylaws amendment abolishing the BTP.

    Yes. Really.

    You see, I am willing to take RISKS. I structured the BTP in such a “big tent” way that it welcomes those who would abolish it, on the premise that if those people constitute a 2/3 majority (whether because there are lots of them or because there are very few members), then it was a bad idea, or had become a bad idea by the time the vote was taken.

    (cont’d)

  • Wes P

    It’s the Principle, not the Party, that’s important.

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

    (cont’d from comment 11) The LP wasn’t willing to take the “risk” of abolishing the pledge and letting the Great Unwashed in … but they came in anyway, didn’t they? The pledge didn’t keep the “impure” out, it just kept the argument about “purity” going, until the “impure” remade the place in spite of — maybe even because of — the risk-averse pledge requirement.

    Now, Carl, about your division of labor argument: I agree. As a matter of fact, I almost left everything except “elect people” out of the “purpose” section of the interim bylaws, and who knows — it may end up that way when the membership (about to enter double digits when I checked a few minutes ago) gets hold of it. My idea was to couple a “purist” but non-specific platform with a biennially re-built PROGRAM. The organizing convention will tell us whether or not the people who join are willing to take seriously the idea that “baby steps” are in order in the absence of the ABILITY to take “giant steps. (cont’d)

  • http://allencountylp.blogspot.com/ Mike Sylvester

    I had a great time in Portland. I think that we need to shorten the entire LP platform down to one paragraph. I also think we should remove the Pledge entirely. I could settle for rewording it so that we all agree with it.

    I do not think that anything bad happened in Portland. Political Parties are supposed to be about change and struggle amongst members is important.

    The Republicans have several factions within their Party: Big Business, Fiscal Convservatives (This group is weak right now), The Christian Right, etc.

    They fight for dominance all the time. That is what is SUPPOSED to happen in a Political Party.

    If a group of Libertarians is unhappy with what happened in Portland they should do what they can to influence the Libertarian Party in their direction… Once again, that is politics…

    I also respect those who wish to leave the Party.

    I believe in the LP. I will work to influence it in the direction I wish to see it move…

    Mike Sylvester

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

    (cont’d from comment 13)

    Now, to Seth:

    “‘at all levels, all issues, any purpose.’ Hmm, so any sort of midway step, that might increase government in one way, but reduce it in another, what is your position on that? (let’s be realworld, for an example, and say FairTax, which would increase _some_, even as it decreases other parts.)”

    My position is irrelevant. The platform is clear. The Boston Tea party “opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.” It allows for incrementalism (small moves in the right direction), but not for compromise (attempting to “trade” moves in the wrong direction for other moves in the right direction).

    A certain segment of “reformers” have said that what they seek is incrementalism and an end to arguing about end states. Here’s their chance. The platform is directional, without end states implied. The program is rebuilt biennially, which (cont’d)

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

    (cont’d from comment 15) means that incrementalists are free to propose “eliminating the income tax” or “increasing the personal exemption to the income tax by $1,000 annually” as opposed to “ending all taxation” as a goal for the next two years.

    It’s too late for the BTP to run candidates in this year’s elections (at least in most states, and I expect it will be too late in all of them by the time there’s any mechanism for nominating such candidates). I’m hoping that some LP (or other party!) candidates will endorse its platform and request an endorsement in turn from its national committee, once one is elected, or from affiliate committees once those exist.

    There are no federal elections in 2007. I don’t know if any states will have BTP affiliates that seek ballot access next year or not. Hopefully we’ll at LEAST run some members for local office.

    In 2008, my strong preference is that the LP will unscrew itself and that the BTP will hold its (cont’d)

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

    national convention immediately after the LP’s, with the main order of business being to endorse the LP’s presidential ticket, urge any of its members who are not LP members to become LP members, and dissolve itself while conveying, as best possible, any beneficial stuff it has developed to the LP.

    But, if the LP continues to have no mechanism for addressing the front-burner public policy issues of the day, hopefully the BTP will carry the banner forward.

    Final note to Rob: You left out two socialist factions: Socialist Party USA and Social Democrats USA (i.e. the Schachtmanites). I’m interested in why you left them out. Could it be because they are the “splinter groups” which are the exception to your implied rule and which now, through their dispersed membership and former membership now in the GOP and Democratic parties, substantially control the US foreign policy establishment?

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    So you seriously expect the purists who join to accept and endorse a program that is incremental, just because the platform is purist enough? Heheheh, good luck with that. I’ll believe it when I see it. I predict it getting bogged down along the same purist/moderate lines as the LP has very quickly. But I hope I’m wrong.

  • Stuart Richards

    We just really need to hang together lest we hang separately, I think.

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

    Ah, well, the BTP’s membership went up by 50% — from 8 to 12 members — just while I was posting these replies. Four members in 24 minutes.

    Hell, if that keeps up, it’s 240 members a day.

  • Wes P

    If we’re doomed to fight, better two seaworthy ships than exploded bits of one.

  • TerryP

    I agree with Tim and Mike the platform should be shortened up to just a paragraph or two. We could use the Statement of Principle the LP already has with a few possible modifications or go with something like Tim proposed above. Why do we need all the other stuff. It gets us nothing but can hurt us immensely when someone uses it against us.

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

    Seth,

    Heck, you may be right. I’m not making any bets on what the program will look like, or how pissed off people who don’t get their preferred points in it will be (I’m planning two proposals myself — immediate withdrawal from Iraq and repeal of the Patriot Act), or how assuaged the pissed off will be by the fact that they get a clean slate every two years to take their shot at writing on.

    The only thing I’m not really concerned about is “hurting the LP.” From the “reformer” standpoint, the LP was already hurt before Portland; from the “purist” standpoint, it was mangled IN Portland.

    If the LP can keep/make the BTP irrelevant, good for the LP — I’ll be grateful for the opportunity to a party that’s proven it has the testicular fortitude to recover.

    If it can’t, then that’s an indication that the BTP was needed precisely because the LP wasn’t even in strong enough to squash an Internet party startup scheme by one wild-eyed revolutionist.

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

    There will be no hanging. Nobody can possibly do any worse han what the LP hs done since 1983. I predict BOTH orgs will be just fine and those who dig one thing more than the other will be where they feel most accepted.

  • Wes P

    I dream of a world where the the two-party system IS the LP and the BTP, both broadly libertarian.

    Stranger things have happened.

  • Stuart Richards

    That would be great, Wes, but unlikely.

    I dunno, I just don’t really see the BTP as that radically different from what the LP will be once the reformers are through.

    If it was a matter of a completely purist party vs. a completely pragmatic party, I could see it. But Knapp is far more pragmatic than a lot of people give him credit for.

  • Rob

    Which cable news station is going to be the first to report on this?

    And how big of a smirk is the anchor going to be wearing when they report it?

    Yep, guys, this is going to be one of those fun moments when the mainstream press actually pays attention to us for a few minutes…

    Congrats!

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

    re: “the Libertarian movement needs more competition.”

    Right on! Why is there an assumption that the cause of liberty is better off with a Libertarian Party containing two factions with incompatible different visions, instead of two libertarian parties each with a clear vision. Let’s get on with the divorce, already.

  • Wes P

    The LP is now a mess that needs changes, and what those changes will be is the subject of a controversy that can’t help but go on for years, unfortunately.

    The point is that the BTP is coherent NOW, in a way that both purists and pragmatists can support. I support Knapp in principled pragmatism.

    In my heart, I’m an anarchist, but I’m not convinced that it’s practical.

    There’s no way to prove it now, so let’s find what we can agree now and push for that.

  • TerryP

    I am still trying to figure out why Tom is so mad at the LP for getting rid of so many planks of the platform (that IMO were not necessary) when in his new party they have a one sentence platform and don’t mention any of the things he berades the LP for getting rid of. Where is his planks for military, security, etc. in his platform. That is what he wants the LP to do but his new party doesn’t even do that.

    Actually I think it is great that he has only a short platform. That is all that is necessary. Beyond that you can have position statements or something to that effect on certain issues but they do not have to be part of your platform.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    “It allows for incrementalism (small moves in the right direction), but not for compromise (attempting to “trade” moves in the wrong direction for other moves in the right direction).”

    Ah. So, no compromise, no negotiation, gimme-or-else.

    Not interested, thanks. My views are the same as Seth’s, for once. Real politics require that you take what you can get- so long as it puts you closer to your final goal.

    One of my campaign planks is to abolish Texas school boards’ taxing powers and fund schools from the state by expanding the sales tax. It helps abolish the property tax- the most unjust and arbitrary form of taxation, as it’s practiced- and replaces it with a consumption tax- not libertarian of itself, but a lesser evil. It vastly reduces government bureaucracy- hundreds of tax assessors out of work- but it increases taxes on the state level. The BTP platform would say, “no, you can’t raise taxes anywhere even to pay for eliminating an old tax.”

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

    The mechanism for expressing the party’s views on the issues of the day continues to be the LP’s candidates.

    Tom knows that one of the lynchpins of the LP has been that it’s candidates were only there to SELL A PHILOSOPHY, in other words, they work for the party as salesmen and attempted to educate the public how great the LP’s philosophy was. It was never bout politics except in a very tangental way.

    I dont need a platform plank to tell me what I; as a libertarian, should think about taxation. I think they should be not on income and LOW but even that’s too much for many non libertarian voters. So I would find out what the best target is politically that I have to stop the increase in government size and cost.

    Now, I am free to do that in my race for whatever
    knowing it will have impact, without the media or my opposition data mining the platform to attack me with a END ALL TAXATION attack, which I dont believe in anyway.

    I’ll take a silent platform over a F’ed up platform.

  • Wes P

    Mike, real-world politics is inherently a muddle.

    It’s not so clear that we are two distinct factions. For everybody with a clear vision of what the party should be, there are MANY people who agree with each “side” on some issues, and haven’t even thought through many others — and may yet change their minds many times.

    Having two or more organizational centers to try out different ideas and even change their own visions over time will help us all to clarify our individual visions and help the movement as a whole to work out a better direction.

    On some issues/orientations/strategies, this will mean moving apart. On some it will mean moving together. We don’t know yet.

    It’s a “process”, like natural selection. Nobody knows what “fittest” means until clear results have emerged.

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    Awww…the Reformista are upset…how ironic.

    Way to go TK! Maybe this is what the LP needs as a wake up call!

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

    Terry,

    You write:

    “I am still trying to figure out why Tom is so mad at the LP for getting rid of so many planks of the platform (that IMO were not necessary) when in his new party they have a one sentence platform and don’t mention any of the things he berades the LP for getting rid of. Where is his planks for military, security, etc. in his platform. That is what he wants the LP to do but his new party doesn’t even do that.”

    First of all, I’m not “mad at the LP.” I’m still an LP member, and have no intention of leaving the LP. I’m a little miffed about the situation, but I don’t blame anyone for it — it was built into the structure of 50% retention vs. 2/3 modification let alone 7/8ths on SOP) that any group without an overwhelming supermajority was not going to achieve an true, clearcut, unambiguous victory. Basically, as soon as the “reformers” got organized, a muddle was inevitable.

    Now — as to what I “want the LP to do.” (cont’d)

  • Wes P

    Kris, what you propose might work for a candidate but don’t expect a broad mandate from all libertarians.

    Increasing one government power to decrease another is a judgement call that everyone will make differently, depending on the circumstances. I think it’s too controversial to be in the platform.

    Who knows? You might even get a majority for it at some convention, but it would be a cause for conflict from that point onward.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that opponents of your proposal would oppose you in the election or even refrain from voting for you. It depends on what else you advocate, and who your opponents are (trade-offs again).

  • Stephen VanDyke

    Where’s the Popular People’s Front of Liberty?

    [...]

    Splitters!

    /
    /what else do we expect when herding a bunch of individualists into a party? That they’ll come to a consensus (*cough* no compromising allowed *cough*)? Pshaaaa!

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

    (cont’d) If you read what I’ve been writing for years, what I’ve advocated for the LP is a short, sweet, “directional” platform, with policy issue specifics filled in on a biennial basis in a near-term program rather than being codified “permanently” and becoming a recurring battleground over the same damn territory.

    And — mirabile dictu! — that’s exactly what showed up in the BTP’s organizational structure.

    “My” planks will be in the BTP’s program (if the membership ratifies them as opposed to others), when that program is put together at the party’s first convention (online, hopefully next month).

    I am a purist who advocates an incremental realpolitik approach. That’s the bandwagon I’ve built. The reason I picked this particular time to build it and see who’s willing to get on it is because of the muddle that seems to have emerged from Portland. The reason I don’t regard it as being anti-LP is because I believe it will ultimately help heal the LP.

  • Wes P

    Kudos!

    I’m on board.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Balnton

    cHRIS WRITES (8): For an organization that wants to do “real politics”, the LRC sure does suck at it. They have no idea how to unite libertarians, how do they expect to unite America?

    Good question. Over at the Free Liberal today, the LRC claims membership of 700, yet when one examines the Consensus 2006 page at the LRC website, it seems the top vote getter (the pledge) had less than 160 votes total (both sides). It seems the LRC had trouble even getting its own members to participate.

    The LRC article at Free Liberal says:

    After two stages of balloting, 80 percent of the original platform planks were removed by the delegates…

    We never expected this kind of success to be had at this convention, as our LRC movement has only recently begun.

    It sounds more like nihilism than reform. Too bad the LRC isn’t as gung ho to tear down government as it is to tear down the LP.

    I’m sure the Boortz brigade is happy now that the nonintervention plank is gone. The neocons win.

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

    Stuart, I took a little tongue-in-cheek jab at you in a recent thread for stirring-the-pot a bit much… but this is getting ridiculous. No disrespect to Thomas or his platform ideas (which I think warrant discussion), but can we PLEASE cut the crap here? We’re talking about a new blog, being written and cheered on by a handful of folks… none of whom are talking about abandoning the LP. A “press release”, with HoT being the only targeted “media outlet”, and reported live from “Cyberia”? Sensationalize much, Stu? I hope you don’t spend the extra $4.23 of ad-click revenue all in one place.

    Mindless pot-stirring is not helpful. Neither is people getting deeply entrenched with these “purist” and “pragmatist” labels, so that it resembles “blue state / red state” polarization with people dehumanizing each other and losing the ability to work together. However, serious discussion of the party’s platform, without all the theatrics and sensationalism, would be.

  • http://www.rockhoward.org Rock Howard

    It is not fair to say that the LRC is splintering the party. They formed a caucus within the party. They have recruited people who are not party members to join up. They have given many current and former LP members hope that it may actually have a future. From the reports I have read, the actual convention goers felt that the proceedings were quite congenial.

    Meanwhile it is non-LRCers who are talking about or actually leaving the party and therefore they are the ones actively splintering the party. I would be much more impressed if some self-proclaimed purists also formed a caucus with the LP with the intent of duking things out. (I can see their website headline now: Extra! Extra! LRCers initiate force against the LP!)

    Thomas’s BTP is close enough to a caucus where I might be persuadable to actually count it as one, but already headlines on other blogs are emphasizing it for its’ splintering effect. Not a particularly good start, but we shall see.

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

    As for serious platform discussion, I can agree wholeheartedly with Thomas Knapp’s proposed form. However, I think it goes too far to the other extreme. A platform that is an overly rigid and dogmatic encyclopedia of everthing is not very effective at reaching people. However, a platform does need to stay current and take stances on key contemporary issues (shifting emphasis, but not principles, as “contemporary” priorites change over time).

    Still, my preference leans toward the smaller and lighter end of the platform spectrum. I don’t understand this Leonard Peikoff-style view that a philosophy must have a single dogmatic answer to every conceivable question. I would love to see room for an actual INDIVIDUAL or two to run for office as a Libertarian. I would like to see pro-choice LP candidates and pro-life candidates, pro- and anti-interventionists, without all of them getting their legs cut out from under them for violating “the ONE position”.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    It feels good to be a member of the Boston Tea Party.

    It doesn’t feel so good to be a member of the LP anymore.

    I’ve been a libertarian since 1980, but after 9/11 the same disease that infected much of America infected the LP. Lots of angry people started pointing fingers and calling names. They seemed to hate libertarians, hate the LP platform, and hate the LP pledge. Why these people were in the LP remains a mystery to me. The pragmatists stopped making rational and reasonable arguments and instead began to unleash their smug vitriol and empty arguments. The Boortz cult cursed libertarians as they pulled the lever for Bush.

    I haven’t left the LP yet, but I am tempted to let the neolibertarians who have all the answers take over. If people like myself, who have been an enemy of liberty and refuse to do “real politics” (according to those in the know), leave the LP in droves, it will free them up to fail on their own merits. I’ll be willing to come back and pick up the pieces

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Wes P: A plan as specific as the one I’m running on re: property taxes and school funding is too specific for a platform anyway. That wasn’t my point- my point was ideas like that one, which would probably (I believe) result in greater freedom, would be forbidden by the BTP micro-platform.

    LP candidates need to have programs that advance liberty and can gain the support of a majority of voters in their races. I’m trying to find that balance with my campaign.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    For those who can’t understand why some of us are upset about the gutted platform, let me try to explain my view.

    First, if you want to restore an old house, you don’t tear half of it down and just leave it, calling it a success.

    I have advocated eliminating the platform, leaving the statement of principles, and letting candidates offer a platform. I would agree to shortening the old platform to resemble something like the executive summary. But simply removing a large part of the platform makes no sense.

    What remains is an incomplete document that focuses on some issues and ignores others. It relects poorly on the LP as it is even less professional than the former platform.

    While it is true that political opponents use planks to attack the LP, any position the LP or a candidate takes will be attacked by political opponents. That is the nature of politics. If you can’t respond, they win.

    It is just cowardly to fail to defend the principles you claim to believe in.

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

    Steve,

    You write:

    “We’re talking about a new blog, being written and cheered on by a handful of folks … none of whom are talking about abandoning the LP. A ‘press release,’ with HoT being the only targeted ‘media outlet,’ and reported live from ‘Cyberia?’”

    1. It was not a “press release.” It was a press release. I know what they are, I know how to write them, and I know how to get them noticed. As a matter of fact, I talked with a friend of mine tonight. He’s communications director for another party (guess which one), and I issued him a challenge: Get multiples in media coverage for his party in the next 30 days of what I get for mine. I bet he’ll do it — but he knows I’ll make it as hard for him to do so as I’m capable of.

    2. Not only was HoT not “the only targeted ‘media outlet,’ it wasn’t even one of the targeted media outlets. The press release was not sent to HoT. (cont’d)

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

    (cont’d from comment 47) The press release was published to the site, and submitted through a paid wire service for general release tomorrow. I’m working on lining up earned media right now, and expect to begin doing pro-freedom talk radio in the next few days on the subject of the Boston Tea Party. I’m also pursuing web promotion strategies that those who have worked with me know have produced results before.

    3. Okay, so Cyberia wasn’t the best turn of phrase I’ve ever reared back and passed. However, it was apt — the BTP is organizationally Internet-based, and it is a “party in (temporary, partial, self-imposed) exile.”

    I’m happy with the results so far. I expected maybe 5-10 members on the first day, and we hit 25 a little while ago. Over the course of the week, the press release will circulate, the blogosphere coverage will pick up a bit, and the earned media will begin to become possible. I’d like 500 members by the organizational convention. I think that’s doable.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Hey Tom,

    The platform is awesome! Seriously, I’m not being sarcastic at all. I genuinely feel like that should be the statement of principles for th LP. It’s not really a “platform” per se because platforms advocate policy decisions, but it is a nice summary of libertarian policy principle.

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

    “It is just cowardly to fail to defend the principles you claim to believe in.”

    What if the absolute abolition of all taxation isn’t one of your principles, but rather impedes your ability to defend your principles? I know it’s a pointed question, but come on. Are we talking about the platform of a political party, or the King James translation… never to be updated without cries that you’re perverting the Word?

  • Greg Clark

    Here’s some news — not all the Platform was deleted.

    The Preamble and introductory statements to each section were not included in the retention vote and are still in the Platform.

    These are hardcore libertarian statements, written by Murray Rothbard and Roy Childs in 1975.

    Both the Chair and the Secretary of the Platform Committee concur with this.

    I have an ironclad legal argument in favor of my position which I will take to the Judicial Committee if necessary. It boils down to this, no one has the authority to second guess what a national convention does or fails to do unless it is explicitly in the Bylaws. Regarding the Platform, the Bylaws allow that the Judicial Committee may rule that a plank is in conflict with the Statement of Principles but that is not at issue. TBCont.

  • Stuart Richards

    Steve:

    I’m not stirring the pot. Knapp posted a link to the Boston Tea Party on HoT and I went and checked it out, and decided that the establishment of a new party was newsworthy. I think I was more than fair to Knapp as well-I offered the opinion that splintering the movement is sad, but I think his SOP and platform is mostly brilliant, and I said so above.

    Knapp’s only getting more people signing up because of this… so I doubt he’s complaining. The ultrapurists who were dissatisfied with the LP have a new home, so they’re not complaining. This makes the LRC’s job easier, so they’re not complaining.

    Nobody’s complaining about this, and it was newsworthy. So what gives?

  • Greg Clark

    (cont.)

    The Preamble still reads:

    As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world
    in which all individuals are sovereign over their own
    lives, and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her
    values for the benefit of others.

    We believe that respect for individual rights is the
    essential precondition for a free and prosperous
    world, that force and fraud must be banished from
    human relationships, and that only through freedom can
    peace and prosperity be realized.

    Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage
    in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and
    welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world
    we seek to build is one where individuals are free to
    follow their own dreams in their own ways, without
    interference from government or any authoritarian
    power.

    In the following pages we have set forth our basic
    principles and enumerated various policy stands
    derived from those principles.

    TBCont.

  • Greg Clark

    (cont.)

    Individual Rights and Civil Order still reads:

    No conflict exists between civil order and individual
    rights. Both concepts are based on the same
    fundamental principle: that no individual, group, or
    government may initiate force against any other
    individual, group, or government

    TBCont.

  • Greg Clark

    (cont.)

    Trade and the Economy (part 1) still reads:

    We believe that each person has the right to offer
    goods and services to others on the free market.
    Therefore we oppose all intervention by government
    into the area of economics. The only proper role of
    existing governments in the economic realm is to
    protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and
    provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is
    protected.

    Efforts to forcibly redistribute wealth or forcibly
    manage trade are intolerable. Government manipulation
    of the economy creates an entrenched privileged class
    – those with access to tax money — and an exploited
    class — those who are net taxpayers.

    TBCont.

  • Greg Clark

    (cont.)

    Trade and the Economy (Part 2) still reads:

    We believe that all individuals have the right to
    dispose of the fruits of their labor as they see fit
    and that government has no right to take such wealth.
    We oppose government-enforced charity such as welfare
    programs and subsidies, but we heartily applaud those
    individuals and private charitable organizations that
    help the needy and contribute to a wide array of
    worthwhile causes through voluntary activities.

    TBCont.

  • TerryP

    Tom

    I actually think you are advocating through your new party exactly what I think the LP should do. Basically get rid of the entire platform except for the “Statement of Principle” or something short like your platform sentence and then highlight what you would do on a handful of issues that are meaningful to the voting public in an issues area or the way you put it in a Program area.

    We do not need position statements on everything under the sun, just issues that are currently important to the voter at the time. From a national perspective I would also speak in general terms as to what our position is on the issue. That is why I like the short phrases from the executive summary for each issue or something like that. Candidates need to have room to have their own plans on the issues as long as they are in a libertarian direction. What might work in California may not work in Nebraska. They need room to come up with their own ideas about what will work best for them.

  • Greg Clark

    (cont.)

    Domestic Ills still reads:

    Current problems in such areas as energy, pollution,
    health care delivery, decaying cities, and poverty are
    not solved, but are primarily caused, by government.
    The welfare state, supposedly designed to aid the
    poor, is in reality a growing and parasitic burden on
    all productive people, and injures, rather than
    benefits, the poor themselves.

    TBCont.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    To clarify, I would support your “platform” as long as it was always “netting” less government. If the FairTax nets less government and more freedom because it gets rid of the intrusive Income Tax, I would still suggest that would qualify as reducing government and not increasing government. My one exception to this rule is the enforcement of laws to prevent the violation of anothers freedom. We should not reduce basic, good faith law enforcement and a legal system that targets murderers, rapists and kidnappers, including government murderers, rapists and kidnappers.

    I wish you luck, and I think what Carl says is truer than anything else – the LP can not operate with two conflicting business plans. I would also like to point out that the LP can not operate when there are two different views over whether the government has a valid role or not in our lives. That basic and fundamental disagreement will always leave the LP feuding and splintered. I think two parties working together(cont)

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

    Stuart, I guess I’m just old-fashioned in that I still see a major distinction between “the blogosphere” and “reality”. Anybody can launch a new blog or website and get a couple dozen (hell, even Thomas’ best-case hopes of 500) people to visit the site and agree with you. I could launch the “Neo-Nazi-Socialist-Workers-Tom-Cruise-is-Crazy-Chris Daughtry-Got-Robbed-On-American-Idol Party”, and have 5,000 online “members” by Christmas.

    The Internet is great for chatter, but it is just chatter. Until you have several hundred or more people dropping hundreds or thousands in travel costs and registration donations to book a Hilton or Marriott somewhere and hold a convention… then you’re just guys blowing off steam in a chat room. Guys who aren’t even talking about LEAVING the LP. This isn’t an exodus, this isn’t a “new home” as you put it… this isn’t a story.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    one as the political wing and one as the education wing, could do a lot more because both could quit wasting our time over these internal debates and start focusing on real politics. The education wing can cling adamantly to their principles without any reason to care whether they win or lose elections. The political wing can master the art of compromise to get the very real libertarian policies we need enacted and candidates we need elected in this country. I agree with some others here that this is a very good thing for all of us and I hope you succeed.

  • Greg Clark

    (cont.)

    And Foreign Affairs still states:

    American foreign policy should seek an America at
    peace with the world and the defense — against attack
    from abroad — of the lives, liberty, and property of
    the American people on American soil. Provision of
    such defense must respect the individual rights of
    people everywhere.

    The principle of non-intervention should guide
    relationships between governments. The United States
    government should return to the historic libertarian
    tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, abstaining
    totally from foreign quarrels and imperialist
    adventures, and recognizing the right to unrestricted
    trade, travel, and immigration.

    All of this is in addition to the planks modified and retained in Portland.

    The LP is still the Party of Principle…for the next two years anyway.

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

    Stuart,

    The BTP isn’t just for “ultra-purists.” As I’ve pointed out, it allows for incrementalism, and the program process encourages incrementalism. Not compromise, incrementalism. It’s up to the membership to decide whether the biennial program calls for “passage of the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment” or “elimination of all laws related to the consumption of drugs,” or anything in between. All it has to do is propose moving things in the right direction, and only the right direction. Whether the proposed move is an inch or a mile is a tactical call to be made from election cycle to election cycle.

    If it accomplishes nothing else, I hope the BTP will encourage the LP to think politically — to place its electoral focus on near-term deliverables. Principles are important, but they’re either there or they aren’t. Pledges and secret handshakes guarantee nothing — as Portland should prove to anyone who thinks it constituted a betrayal of principle.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Steve, even the LP started with a few guys chilling in David Nolan’s living room.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Once again, you are the most reasonable, pragmatic and respectable purist I think I have ever met, and I wish you luck.

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

    Steve,

    The distinction you see between “the blogosphere” and “reality” is quite valid. Thing is, the Internet is a tool that is worth trying to utilize.

    I don’t know if it will work. I know that I’m not the first person to try it by a damn sight, and if I go down in flames I won’t be the first person to do that either. But I can say that I’d rather see several hundred people doing their organizational stuff online and then spending those “hundreds or thousands” of their dollars getting themselves or someone else elected to local office or fighting a ballot proposition than on “travel costs and registration donations to book a Hilton or Marriott somewhere and hold a convention” to do business that they could have done with mouse-clicks in between walking precincts and doing lit drops.

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

    Nick,

    Thanks!

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

    Yes, it’s true. Neocons state lovers have joined with weak-kneed libertarian-lites to gut the LP platform. But I think by now most of the real libertarians had fled the party in disgust since it attracts so many people willing to sell out principles for a tiny whiff of power they will never ever weild.

    You see we REAL libertarians are getting read to join the growing SECESSION movement to break up the United States into the self-governing communites networking and confederating only as necessary.

    Piss off the neocons and the libertarian-lites, link to my new blog
    http://carolmoorereport.blogspot.com

    And buy stuff at the site… I need the money since full-time activism against Bush’s next catostrophic war is supported now by only a few donors and buyers. A popular blog can help turn that situation around, she dreamed…

    Carol in dc

    Are they passing around secret codebooks over the internet to each other? I cant tell one from the next…poor Carol…

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

    “If it accomplishes nothing else, I hope the BTP will encourage the LP to think politically ”” to place its electoral focus on near-term deliverables. Principles are important, but they’re either there or they aren’t. Pledges and secret handshakes guarantee nothing ”” as Portland should prove to anyone who thinks it constituted a betrayal of principle.”

    Well said. I’m 100% on board with the first half of this paragragh, and not really sure I understand the second part. However, I can see this bit of activism sparking very healthy discussion for where the LP goes from here. Much as the LRC served as a “staging area” for safely hashing out platform ideas leading into ’06, maybe your website can serve as a clean slate for people to hash out ideas before ’08. If it doesn’t devolve into a bunch of name-calling and divisiveness, I could see this becoming a valuable asset.

  • http://warcriminal.freeservers.com Sol

    I appreciate all that’s being done to advance liberty and understand the positions of both sides here but what first came to mind was does it matter?

    The sad fact is that Americans certainly aren’t ready for the freedom the more hard core libertarians are promoting but more to the point they aren’t even ready for a watered down version either. In fact they are not even ready to take baby steps towards a watered down version.

    Face it, Americans want a big government nanny/police state. They truly believe that the bigger the government is the safer and freer they will be.

    The only thing that may shake them out of that belief is if a Katrina times 10 occurs but maybe then they will just demand even more government. After all the result of 9/11 was that the people demanded the government become even more powerful. (Same result as the Depression and almost all wars.)

    The more the government screws up, the more people it gets killed, the more Americans “give” it more power.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Steve asks (50): What if the absolute abolition of all taxation isn’t one of your principles, but rather impedes your ability to defend your principles?

    The abolition of taxation isn’t a principle, it is a goal. The principle is that coercive taxation is a form of theft.

    On a national level, it might be possible to end taxation if the federal government was scaled back – say to the size required to perform those functions enumerated in the Constitution. The federal govt owns millions of acres of land which could generate revenue through sales, rent & royalties. User fees could be another source of revenue. Space restricts the many ways revenue can be raised.

    I’m not saying this could happen overnight – despite claims from the “pragamtists” that us “purists” insist on instant “libertopia”. In fact, I know of no LP candidate that has ever insisted that this must be accomplished overnight.

    Elimination of the income tax would be a first step. Forget the Fair Tax – cut govt.

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

    Yep, it’s all good. Lets the politicos be politicos in the LP
    an if we ever start advocating more government and higher taxes, the circle will be joined….

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

    “The abolition of taxation isn’t a principle, it is a goal. The principle is that coercive taxation is a form of theft.”

    Errr… but what if that isn’t your principle either? What if you’re not an anarchist, miniarchist, anarco-capitalist, or whatever term your term of choice is. What if you’re just a person who wants smaller government, and doesn’t see either major party as being a viable path toward that goal. Is the Libertarian Party a home for you, or do you not belong because you’re more interested in affecting whatever change you can vs. toiling away for 35 years as an obscure think tank?

    I think there’s room (and need!) for both perspectives, but others on both sides disagree with that statement… which I find disappointing and sad.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Thomas, I gave your new party an introduction on the LP blog which I hope is to your liking. The more I think about it, a gentlemanly split over our differences and a refocusing time on the aspects at which each side is best (education vs. politics) sounds like a good and very pragmatic idea.

    Actually, I was hoping this would happen for a long time and was probably unavoidable. If the hardliners had maintained control during the convention, many of us reformers would probably have bolted and started something from scratch as well. Obviously neither side wants to do this, but it would have probably happened either way, and it is probably better in the long term if there are two seperate organizations working in conjunction towards liberty.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Sol makes an excellent point (70) and is correct. This is the reason that libertarian candidates can’t merely tell voters what they want to hear but must exhibit leadership.

    Libertarians should challenge voters to make some hard choices. For example, voters need to make the choice between maintaining an economic/military empire or endless meaningless wars. They need to choose between having an ineffective welfare state or leaving a bankrupt nation to their children and grandchildren.

    The observation Sol makes is exactly why libertarians need to tell the truth and offer solutions that bring hope rather than just telling voters what amatuer political strategists think they want to hear.

    Ross Perot had some success with bringing some serious issues to the table. It is time libertarians did the same. It is already apparent to most that we can no longer sustain the massive deficits year after year.

    Libertarian ideas can solve or mitigate many of the problems that now exist.

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

    Citing the Libertarian Party’s “abdication of its political responsibilities to the American people,”

    Tom, the only way that statement would be true is if you added “since 1983″ on it, since the Ed Clark Campaign was the last actual politically motivated LP campaign.

    A cursory exam of that campaign versus those that followed it is a good history read. To compare 1980 Clark with 1984 Bergland is to watch the exact moment in time where the LP abdicated it’s political responsibility to the American People. It’s almost painful how so much promise was so squandered on magic beans.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Steve writes: What if you’re not an anarchist, miniarchist, anarco-capitalist, or whatever term your term of choice is. What if you’re just a person who wants smaller government, and doesn’t see either major party as being a viable path toward that goal.

    I don’t know what to tell you, Steve. If you are a small government conservative, maybe you need to explore the differences between libertarians and conservatives. Maybe you should join one of the major parties and try to reform it. Maybe you should focus on specific issues that would advance whatever it is you want.

    You claim you want smaller government, but what does that mean? What are you willing to give up? What do you want to remain? Do you want across the board cuts? What attracted you to the LP in the first place? Were you under the mistaken impression that the LP was just more conservative than Republicans?

    The best thing you can do is advocate for specifically what it is you want. Smaller govt is not very specific.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Actually it is specific, considering the fact that even the conservative party, the Republicans, are no longer pretending to be a “small government.” If you want small government, there is really no choice except the LP at this moment.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    “small government” party, I meant.

  • Devious David

    Knapp, YOU GENIUS! I love it I REALLY REALLY LOVE IT!

    Thank you so very much! This is exactly the stuff I keep talking about. It’s got purism and pragmatism and flexibility without offending both. And best of all, it’s got the reformers on the run and all bent out of shape. Which is ironic (unsurprisingly), because it achieves their stated objectives. This is really revealing of what they really hoped to achieve versus what they said they wanted to achieve. Dishonest bastards.

    I am now going to start the RBTPC. “Reform the Boston Tea Party” Caucus. It needs reform. See above whining/comments. boo hoo boo hoo. LOL.

    COUNT ME ON!!!

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    No, actually “smaller government” is not very specific. It is very general. In fact, it is almost meaningless. A cut in government spending of 1/2% would be smaller government. A cut of 50% would also be smaller government.

    Cutting the Dept of Education by 5% and leaving the rest of government alone would be smaller government.

    I’ve always found that when you are trying to sell something, it is a good idea to describe it so that everyone knows what you are talking about.

    It is the lack of specificity that may cause many voters to dismiss a candidate. Perhaps a reasonable (and incremental) position for an LP candidate to take would be to pledge to introduce legislation to cut government spending by 5% across the board. That would be advocating smaller government with specificity.

  • Devious David

    Like Republicans and Democrats are known for specificity with all the flip flopping and well… lack of specifics. Unless it’s gay marriage or abortion.

    Specifics are up to the candidates and will vary wildly. One issue where governnment needs to be decreased might not be an issue at all in another state.

    Besides, now the LP isn’t specific on many issues to the point of silence. So, even if you were right you are still wrong.

    I think not being a D or R causes most voters to dismiss a candidate, so to hell with it as far as I am concerned. People that might otherwise be swayed because they are quasi-tarian and not total idiots like most Americans, will be willing to give it a try.

  • Devious David

    I think it would be a big embarassment to the establishment if BTPers got into a legislature and refused to pass the budget unless, say it was balanced and was $1 million (or billion) less than the previous year and included no new taxes or regulation etc (no new government).

  • http://warcriminal.freeservers.com Sol

    Thanks Tom (75) for elaborating on the point I was trying to make. I think that most Americans believe that today’s problems stem not from the government having too much power but from the wrong individuals being in government. And this is why for a very long time the best Americans could do was to exchange one set of government criminals for another at election time.

    The American public needs to be jarred from the belief that it’s the wrong people in government and not the issue of government having too much power. Considering all his shortcomings, Perot did quite a job of it. Maybe a straight talker could convince the public that the current course is untenable and offer solutions that won’t be painless but will be necessary to keep the situation from getting even worse.

  • David Tomlin

    Here’s a thought.

    Make a short list of the most recently created federal departments, like Education and Energy, and advocate abolishing them completely. Include Homeland Security, with the argument that creating it was a blunder that made the country less safe.

    This would probably be a ‘kooky’ idea for the median voter. But if the aim is to get at 35% who think government should be smaller, this is a simple, exciting idea. Remember it hasn’t been that long since Reagan got elected promising to abolish the Education Department.

  • Stuart Richards

    “Bent out of shape?” “Dishonest?”

    Oh come now, you know I love it when you talk dirty.

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

    Stuart,

    Actually, one or two of the “reformers” HAVE gotten bent out of shape, because they HAVE been dishonest. Not all, or even most, of the “reformers” by any means, but a few.

    I’m thinking of some guys who have been “oh, now let’s not use dirty words like compromise. I’m not about compromise, I’m about incrementalism. We all want the same thing, there, there.” But then when they’re offered incrementalism and not compromise, all of a sudden it’s “but I waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant to be able to slap new taxes I like on people so that I can axe old taxes I don’t like. If you won’t compromise and let me use your label to push new taxes on people, why you’re just a mean ole anarchy next week sumbitch.”

    Let the lines be drawn: Incrementalism and compromise are NOT the same thing, and if you try to smuggle in the latter disguised as the former, you’re never going to get the support of either “purists” OR “pragmatists” — because compromise is wrong, and because compromise DOESN’T WORK.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Actually Devious David, most reformers seem to think it is a very good idea (note my comments, Carl’s comments) or just think it won’t go anywhere. I haven’t heard many “bent out of shape” over it.

  • http://carolmoore.net Carol Moore

    So who is going to run as the SECESSIONIST CANDIDATE for the 2008 nomination? That is the project I am organizing via SECESSION.NET. My g-g-g-g-grandfather was Col. James Barrett, head of the militia at Concord, and object of the British expedition and of Paul Reveres ride, even if he didn’t make it. Barrett gave Buttrick the authority to shoot, and he used it when self-defense was necessary. (And John Buttrick of the LP is his descendent.) Two other of my g-g-g-grandfathers were at Concord and Lexington (their kids later married). So I just laugh at people who think Americans aren’t read for hard core liberty! On the fourth of July I was marching in DC with the only people chanting DOWN WITH KING GEORGE and I DO NOT CONSENT and WE’RE MARCHING FOR LIBERTY. That was the PEACENIKS, mostly women in Pink. I’m on day three of my TROOPS HOME FAST. Check out my home page for all my other pages including SECESSION.NET and Brand NEW! CAROLMOOREREPORT.BLOGSPOT.COM

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

    The only people in politics who dont have to compromise are absolute dictators and royality. The entire american governance system is built around it. Remember “checks and balances?”

    Libertarians must practice compromise the FUCKING SECOND they start to serve their elected term in office Tom, and you know that’s the case.

    If a LP guy says they have to raise taxes, then they better cut spending somewhere else more than the tax they have to
    raise. an example is a specific raise to say, retire a targeted liability, where the money goes to say, get rid of a shortfall in a pension system. A libertarian might raise a tax just to retire that debt to improve the states bond rating becuase doing so will flood the state with new investment money from private sources.

    Result: you raised a tax, but the unemployment rate in your state goes from 6% to 3.5% in 2 years. In the mean time, while this is happening, you develop a plan to privatize the part of government and are able to get it through.

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

    Shit like this happens all the time, and that the reality of amaeican politics, it’s totally built on consensus building, deal making, COMPROMISE, and getting the best deal you can get from your politial enemies in the legislature.

    Any libertarian who says otherwise is full of shit. Thats the reality of politics. There ARE some things who wont deal on – and I suggest the barrier for a libertarian is simple – that they NEVER advocate or propose a tax or growth in government without offsetting cuts in either the size or cost of one area of government more than the tax or growth of what they will eliminate.

    As long as libertarians keep cutting government size or costs, they’re still libertarians. The SECOND they advocate bigger government or more taxes without bigger government ****cuts and tax decreases*** somewhere ELSE in that government, then they are no longer libertarians in my book. They’ve sold out and become something else.

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    Tom B: “In fact, I know of no LP candidate that has ever insisted that this must be accomplished overnight.”

    Let me refresh your memory:

    Harry Browne -

    On that first day in office, by executive order I would:

    * Pardon everyone who had been convicted on a federal, non-violent drug charge, order their immediate release, reunite them with their families, and restore all their civil rights. (Anyone convicted of using violence against someone else in a drug case would not qualify as “non-violent.”)

    * Pardon everyone who had been convicted on any federal gun-control charge, tax-evasion charge, or any other victimless crime, order their immediate release, and restore all their civil rights.

    I would empty the prisons of those who haven’t harmed anyone else and make room for the violent criminals who are currently getting out on plea bargains and early release.

    (cont)

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    Following the issuance of the pardons:

    * I would announce a policy to penalize, dismiss, or even prosecute any federal employee who violated the Bill of Rights by treating you as guilty until proven innocent, by searching or seizing your property without due process of law, by treating you as a servant, or in any other way violating your rights as a sovereign American citizen.

    * I would immediately order that no federal asset forfeiture could occur unless the property’s owner had been convicted by full due process. And I would initiate steps to make restitution to anyone whose property had been impounded, frozen, or seized by the federal government without a legal conviction. (Over 80 percent of such seizures occur when no one has even been charged with a crime.)

    (cont)

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    # As commander in chief of the Armed Forces, I would immediately remove all American troops from foreign soil. Europe and Asia can pay for their own defense, and they can risk their own lives in their eternal squabbles. This would save billions of dollars a year in taxes, but — more important — it would make sure your sons and daughters never fight or die in someone else’s war.

    # I would order everyone in the executive branch to stop harassing smokers, tobacco companies, successful computer companies, gun owners, gun manufacturers, alternative medicine suppliers, religious groups (whether respected or labeled as “cults”), investment companies, health-care providers, businessmen, or anyone else who’s conducting his affairs peaceably.

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    * I would end federal affirmative action, federal quotas, set-asides, preferential treatments, and other discriminatory practices of the federal government. Any previous president could have done this with a stroke of the pen. Do you wonder why none of them did?

    And then I would break for lunch.

    So TomB, does that help you recall that Yes, some want to do it all overnight?

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

    “A libertarian might raise a tax just to retire that debt to improve the states bond rating becuase doing so will flood the state with new investment money from private sources.”

    A Virginia governor did this not too long ago. He’s currently running for president as a Democrat. You don’t need a Libertarian party to get compromises of this sort.

    Maybe we should advocate a $200,000 deduction on everyones income tax, and then charge a flat 70% on everything over that. 200 million people would no longer have to file with the IRS. We could drastically reduce the size of that agency. It would be a net decrease in government. Is it Libertarian? Hell, even the Republicans won’t pass a tax cut unless it’s across the board.

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

    Tim,

    Thanks for proving my point. I advocate incrementalism. You advocate incrementalism and compromise.

    Tell you what. I’ll compromise with you. I’ll let you have incrementalism if you give up the compromise.

    Anytime someone offers you a compromise in politics, it’s because he thinks he can screw you on the outcome. And 99.9% of the time, he’s right. I’d rather have an honest 1% tax cut than a “compromise” where I get a purported 10% tax cut that’s actually just shifted over to deficit spending, meaning either implied future taxation, or just hidden taxation through inflation.

    The Republicans have been pushing this “smaller government through compromise” bullshit for 25 years now — but they got to the point where they COULD push effectively it by saying “no compromise, we’ll cut government.” You’re advocating giving away what you don’t even have yet, not only before you’ve got it, but in a way that guarantees that you never WILL get it.

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    Lest TomB dismiss Harry Browne as unique, here’s Mike Badarik:

    TLE: What would you do on your first day in office?

    BADNARIK: a) Declare that all four national emergencies are immediately terminated, as well as the presumption of Emergency War Powers. Senate Report 93-549 has found that the “national emergencies” announced by FDR in 1933 because of the Great Depression, by Truman because of the Korean War, and two initiated by Nixon because of the Vietnam War, are still in effect today. (Skeptical readers can search the internet for this report and read it for themselves.)

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

    I miss Harry Browne. :(

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    (cont)
    b) Declare that all 20,000+ gun control laws in the United States are unconstitutional and unenforceable. I would also issue a valid executive order to the BATF and other pseudo police agencies informing them that any agent who confiscates a weapon of any kind, from someone who is not currently engaged in a murder or robbery, will not only be terminated from their position, but they will also be prosecuted for violating the unalienable rights of the citizens they have sworn to protect.

    (cont)

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    (cont)
    c) Issue another valid executive order to my subordinates executives working for the IRS. That order would instruct them to come to work, make a pot of coffee, and begin working on their resumes’ pending a federal grand jury investigation as to the legitimacy of the Sixteenth Amendment and the Internal Revenue Code. High ranking officials from that department would be closely monitored as flight risks, pending indictments for fraud in the event that evidence proves that they knew that no statute exists that requires Americans to fill out a 1040 form and relinquish a significant percentage of their hard earned money to an unconstitutional government that refuses to operate within a budget.
    (cont)

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    d) Declare the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to be unconstitutional, and prohibit that organization from printing even one more dollar of fiat currency. I would immediate appoint Bernard Von Nothaus, Monetary Architect for the Liberty Dollar, to be my Secretary of the Treasury, placing the stability of our economy in his capable hands.

    e) I would announce a special one-week session of Congress where all 535 members would be required to sit through a special version of my Constitution class. Once I was convinced that every member of Congress understood my interpretation of their very limited powers, I would insist that they restate their oath of office while being videotaped. Those videos could then be used as future evidence should they ever vote to violate the rights of Americans again.

    f) I would take a short break for lunch.

    Ok, TomB, care to continue to believe that nobody is saying do it overnight?

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

    Time to send Mr. Badnarik another contribution. :)

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

    Tom,

    nothing more than a scenario for example to prove a point that you already well know.

    ALL POLITICS IS COMPROMISE BY IT’S VERY NATURE, BOTH IN IT’S PRACTICE AND IT’S APPLICATION.

    That’s the goddamned truth, you know it, and I know it.

    Quit grandstanding. You dont make a reality unreal by claiming it so.

  • http://www.freeme.org Keith

    Boston Tea Party is a libertarian author that writes books on freedom issues. He is moving to Wyoming. The political party- BTP would need 1000s of members to become as famous as Boston Tea Party and then it would just confuse libertarians. Seriously, BTP is one of the worst possible political party names I have ever heard because of this.

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

    And, lessee, Harry Browne got 0.5% of the vote and Badnarik got 0.34%. Seems they fell a little short in their plans to get themselves elected and issue Executive orders to change everything about the government overnight. Can we all stop believing in fantasies that it’s that easy to change the world.

  • http://RadioFreeLiberty.com Cato Craft

    With regard to “Politics is Compromise”- True.
    The point here is that some of us feel that some LP members are willing to compromise with our principles.

    Personally my principles are not available as currency in deal making. BTP has established a simple principle in its platform upon which there can be no compromise. Therefore it is not available for political deal making.

    Go ahead and compromise all you want in how you are going to get there, as long as the principle is honored in the process.

  • http://www.reformthelp.org Carl

    Tom: replacing the income tax with a less horrible tax is incrementalism. However, it is not Rothbardian. But since Murray Rothbard was a complete dumbass when it comes to politics, that’s a good thing. (Apologies for insulting dumbasses.)

    Murray Rothbard said that advocating phase outs to reduce transition costs was to validate government in the interim. It’s in his book (For a New Liberty). He said that we should always advocate cutting every government program as fast as is physically possible. He also condemned replacing one tax with another (keep the income tax until the government is cut 80%!). He also said that liberty trumps every other value (let’s be insensitive to other need! That’ll win us votes!). And he said any cut in any order (let’s go ahead and open the borders before getting rid of the welfare state; let’s cut taxes before cutting spending. Let’s be the fanatical stupid party!)

    (con’d)

  • http://mushinnoshin.com Jon

    >Ah. So, no compromise, no negotiation, gimme-or-else.
    >>Not interested, thanks. My views are the same as Seth’s,
    >>for once. Real politics require that you take what you
    >>can get- so long as it puts you closer to your final goal.

    Which is why Tom’s vision of ‘no platform’ is substantially different from the LRC vision of ‘no platform’. It is also why Tom’s vision is compatable with libertarianism, and why the LRC vision is not.

    When you trade movement — more liberty here, less liberty there — the varying movements usually affect DIFFERENT PEOPLE. What you ask is not to be able to give up some of your own liberty in X for more of your own liberty in Y, but to give up *all* liberty for the person who only cares about X in exchange for your liberty to do Y. This is utterly incompatible with libertarian principle. No vision of libertarianism can grant one person the right to trade another person’s liberty for their own.

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

    Keith,

    I know Boston T. Party. Boston T. Party is a friend of mine. I own signed copies of at least two of Boston T. Party’s books. However, I’ve not heard from Boston T. Party that he is interested in joining the Boston Tea Party, which is an entirely different thing, and which takes its name from an historical incident which is much, much more famous than Boston T. Party (presumably he takes his nom de plume from the same incident — GMTA).

    As to whether the Boston Tea Party (the political party) will become more famous than Boston T. Party (the author), or even the Boston Tea Party (the incident), I can’t say.

    Tim,

    You can stamp your feet and yell that all politics is compromise if you like. But you’re wrong. Besides, I’ve offered you a compromise, so you have nothing to bitch about.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  • http://www.reformthelp.org Carl

    If it weren’t for Murray Rothbard, we’d already have a bunch of Libertarians in Congress. Government growth would have already leveled off.

    When I talked of “anarchy next Wednesday” I was being diplomatic. To properly describe Rothbardianism, I would have to use phrases like Bozoidial Bolshevik, Atheistic Pharisee, Medieval Revivalist, Anti-Scientific Ostrich, Militant Insensitive, Defender of Slavery, and Transcendental Masturbator.

    Through his metaphysical super power of Ignoring Common SenseTM, Rothbard was capable of coming concluding that the only two valid U.S. wars were the Revolution and the Confederacy’s defense against the North. Hmmmm, stopping a genocidal madman from conquering most of the world — bad. Defending slavery — good.

    Murray Rothbard was an enemy to liberty, just as he was an enemy to everything else.

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

    “Tom: replacing the income tax with a less horrible tax is incrementalism.”

    Who’s to say it is less horrible. Replacing the income tax with, say, a consumption tax may be great for me. I buy stuff used when I buy stuff at all. But the guy who likes a new car and a new boat every two years, always has the newest gadgets, and keeps up to date with current styles in clothes could end up paying MORE taxes than he would have under the income tax.

    If the government brings in $100 in one tax scheme, and you propose they bring in the same $100 via some other tax scheme, then you have not advocated cutting government.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Keith: Never heard of him.

    Tom K: Since by “some people” you apparently mean me, let me lay it on the table. I believe that the fundamental unifying principle of the Libertarian Party- as the radicals have been saying to the moderates all these years- is reducing the size and expense of government and expanding and defending the rights of the individual. That principle I do not compromise- but I will gladly -make- a compromise if it advances that principle.

    I can’t support your effort because, although you advocate incremental steps, your micro-platform still approaches politics from an all-or-nothing standpoint. “Either give me what I want, with no changes, or I don’t want it at all!” It gets in the way of efforts which can make this country a more free place to live in, at least in my opinion.

    Finally- since the purists and anarchists have had twenty years to prove their model- you could at least give us reformers until Nov. 2008 to prove we’re right or wrong.

  • http://mushinnoshin.com Jon

    >“Either give me what I want, with no changes, or I don’t want it at all!” It gets in the way of efforts which can make this country a more free place to live in, at least in my opinion.

    Sigh. Let’s make it simpler:

    Incrementalism:
    “I want all drugs legal”
    “You can’t have it”
    “OK I want medical marijuana legal”

    Compromise:
    “I want medical marijuana legal”
    “You can have it if you agree to double prison sentences for heroin users”

    The compromise might seem like a step in the right direction. Until you realize that the medical marijuana users got what they wanted AT SOMEONE *ELSE*’S EXPENSE. This is not compatible with ANY notion of liberty, libertarianism, or even just basic right and wrong.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Chris: In my personal case, I think replacing an arbitrary and uncontrollable property tax- where the tax is determined solely by the opinion of the local assessor- with a visible sales tax that doesn’t change from person to person, which everybody can see, that can be avoided simply by spending less, IS a cut in government and a step towards freedom.

    Of course, it’s not my only campaign platform. I also call for a statewide moratorium on bond issues (cut spending on debt management!), noncompliance with Federal education laws (cut spending on unfunded Federal mandates), and repeal the governor’s pet project, his publicly owned toll roads program (stop double-taxation and competition with private toll road efforts).

    I choose these stances, and the others in my campaign platform, because they are positions that large portions of voters here already agree with- they don’t need “education”- that advance, in small ways, the ultimate goal of smaller government. (cont.)

  • http://www.shepardelectionlaw.com Richard Shepard

    How childish we are! The post-mortem on the Portland Convention debacle continues and a handful of activists continues the debate, as if it matters. The fact is that roughly 98% of the public doesn’t know the LP exists, let alone what it’s platform says.

    Never mind figuring out how to pick up the pieces and put it all back together. Let’s form a new party instead…as if a new party is going to attract any more members, or voters, than the LP has so far.

    This is all so much wasted effort. Of course some pundits and major media know what the LP stands for, and of course they pick out the most incendiary facts they can find. But that will always be true, regardless what the platform says, because incendiary sells.

    By far, the more important work of the LP is to listen to the public. Find out in some disciplined way on which issues the LP has strong public acceptance and agreement. Recognize that the platform is not a constitutional document, but a program for current action.

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

    From the articles I’ve read, Murry Rothbard had a similar style and tone as the LRC. He had no real interest in uniting libertarians. Neither do many within the LRC. If the LP shrunk the platform to the size of the BTP’s and adopted a 2-year program, then I’d be 100% on board. I would guess most “purists” and anrchists would as well.

    But it seems many in the LRC would STILL not be happy. No pledge, no platform that could be used against them, freedom for their candidates to advocate new incremental policies, and they’d still claim that anarchists and purists are causing them to fail.

    Murray Rothbard is dead. Stop blaming him for getting in your way.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    That’s how Democrats and Republicans get elected- by picking issues for which there is already support, without any need to “educate the sheeple.” The difference is, Democrats and Republicans have proven, time and again, that they LIE when they advocate smaller government.

    Tom B: “I don’t know what to tell you…” Sounds quite a bit like, “We don’t want your support if you’re not 100% for anarchy- go vote Republican,” to me.

    Jon: That’s one possible compromise, and one I wouldn’t buy into. Another might be, “We’ll make medical marijuana legal if it’s heavily taxed and regulated for- ha ha- safety purposes.” That I’d go for. It means overall more freedom for marijuana users. It means a foot in the door towards legal marijuana with or without a medical excuse. Under the BTP platform, though, it would still be impermissible.

  • http://darianworden.tripod.com D Worden

    Nice explanation by Jon in #114.

    And if all politics were compromise, then wouldn’t it make sense to advocate something slightly more radical than what you expect to get at the moment? That way when you make that “inevitable compromise” you can actually get SOMETHING out of the deal instead of needing your whole idea to get approved to get even a miniscule success.

  • http://www.reformthelp.org Carl

    Richard: see http://www.quiz2d.com/stats/homepage I have asked in a disciplined way how much liberty the public is willing to accept.

    Since this is a self-selected data sample, it is biased in favor of the hardcore libertarian approach.

    Much of these results were mailed to the delegates in Portland. I tried to get them published in LP News. Will try again.

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

    “I think replacing an arbitrary and uncontrollable property tax … with a visible sales tax that doesn’t change from person to person … IS a cut in government and a step towards freedom.”

    If it raises the same amount of money for the government, then you have cut government absolutely ZERO.

    It may save some homeowners some change (depending on their spending habits), but at the expense of renters who now have to pay a sales tax that didn’t exist before.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Chris: Rothbard’s body lies a-mouldring in the grave, but as you demonstrate, his soul goes marching on.

    As for the platform, the LRC didn’t want it extinguished. In fact, quite a few planks we wanted -retained- got washed out in the flood. We advocated voting no on retention for all planks because we thought it was the best way to dump the -worst- planks, like for example the secession plank. What we got was, well, more victory than we wanted.

    Guy McLendon had a number of reformed planks to add, some of which we’d probably have supported… but the convention was adjourned early, just before they would have come up for a vote.

    But if you want a one-sentence platform like the BTP’s, here’s my attempt: “We, the (insert name here) Party and its candidates, will work reduce government power and expense to the smallest amount necessary to protect the rights of the individual.”

    Finally: It’s hard to unite with non-compromisers- you can only do it by agreeing with everything they say.

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    Kris: exactly right. (Wow, we do agree!)

    Under the BTP, a “tax and regulate” approach to legalized drugs, be it marijuana or anything else, would be against the platform, since it would increases taxes and government.
    According to BTP, that is forbidden.

    That is the flaw in Knapp’s BTP: the inability to recognize that some “deals” are a win for liberty, because half a loaf is still better than no loaf at all. I encourage all of the purists to join BTP, leave the LP, and have fun storming the castle! In the meantime, the reformers will get elected (finally!), get half a loaf and make a difference for real liberty in this country.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Chris: If I abolish 254 property appraisal boards and all their employees, without expanding the pre-existing sales tax comptroller infrastructure, I’ve cut government by -that- much.

    If I remove the ability of government to raise taxes by lying about how much a property is worth, or granting tax breaks to favored individuals by the same means, I’ve increased liberty by -that- much.

    And if I replace an indecipherable network of taxes controlled by unelected officials with a single plain, simple tax controlled by elected officials- officials who will cut that tax when their voters bitch and holler about how high it is- then I’ve reduced government power by -that- much.

    And even if you don’t agree with any of that: I have not increased government, either- and I’ve made it a little easier to decrease it the next go-round.

    And more important, I’m MUCH more likely to get in a position to do anything at all this way than by calling for an end to public education and public road repair.

  • ianbernard

    Seth,

    Thanks for posting the Harry Browne excerpt. He was a true Libertarian. All you compromisers should try his book, “Why Government Doesn’t Work”, it’s excellent.

    Also, the BTP is not flawed. Taxing and regulating marijuana is not the answer, and we should not be pushing for that.

    I have joined the BTP, and have mentioned it on-air. It’s about damn time the LP got some friendly competition.

  • http://RadioFreeLiberty.com Cato Craft

    #123- “Under the BTP, a “tax and regulate” approach to legalized drugs, be it marijuana or anything else, would be against the platform, since it would increases taxes and government.
    According to BTP, that is forbidden”

    Not if you can figure out a way to do it and decrease government at the same time. You’re right- you can’t just add taxes and regulations on top of what we already have. But end the “War on Drugs” and all the governmental bureaucracy that goes with it and replace it with “tax and regulate”? You might just be moving in the right direction; totally acceptible under BTP.

    You just have to be creative.

  • http://www.shepardelectionlaw.com Richard Shepard

    Carl:

    Your ad hoc poll is a step in the right direction. I hope the LP News does publish your findings.

    But we still need scientifically valid results that we can take to the major media outlets to show that libertarian ideas and libertarian candidates DO have resonance with the voters, particularly at the local level, if only to gain access to the televised debates.

    You may be aware of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. If you are not a member log in as a guest and search for the word “libertarian”. You may be shocked, as I was, at the miniscule number of times the public is even asked about libertarians or about libertarian ideas.

    This leads us to another subject area, so I will simply say that the two major political parties (and most publicly traded businesses) rely public opinion research. But the LP refuses, deeming it somehow unprincipled and/or too expensive. In my view, it is sine qua non to an effective political party.

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

    Seth,

    You write:

    “Under the BTP, a ‘tax and regulate’ approach to legalized drugs, be it marijuana or anything else, would be against the platform, since it would increases taxes and government.
    According to BTP, that is forbidden.”

    Marijuana is already taxed.

    As a matter of fact, one of the government’s favorite ways of nabbing drug dealers is through prosecutions for failure to pay the taxes (sometimes it’s the IRS claiming the drug revenues as income, sometimes its state authorities citing sales tax evasion).

    Marijuana is also already regulated pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §812(b). It is classified under that regulation as a “Schedule I” drug (no accepted medical use, potential for abuse, unafe to use), and the form of regulation prescribed for drugs on that schedule is prohibition of possession or use.

    A proposal to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II (or any other schedule, or off-schedule) would be a 100% non-compromise, incremental proposal, with no tax impact.

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

    It is interesting to read assertions above that Michael Badnarik supports Bush’s unitary executive model, in the sense that he asserts that the President has the power to declare laws or parts of laws unconstitutional. Is this true?

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

    Well, as head of the executive branch that includes the Justice Department, the president does have the power not to enforce certain laws up until the time of his/her removal via impeachment. Which, had Badnarik been elected by miracle, the house and senate remained firmly in R’s and D’s hands, and he had actually acted as he said he would, then I would imagine his imeachment and conviction would have taken about 2 days.

  • http://www.lpradicals.org Susan Hogarth

    I appreciate Tom’s novel thinking, but for now at least I am committed to staying with the LP and bending my energies to BOTH internal and external campaigning.

    Witness the rebirth of the Radical Caucus!

    http://www.lpradicals.org/

    Radicals take heart! The LP is a radical party!

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

    Tim,

    You can stamp your feet and yell that all politics is compromise if you like. But you’re wrong.

    Tom,

    you’re becoming a poser. Don’t lose your credibility with the masses. You wont be able to get it back later on.

  • Stuart Richards

    So who is going to run as the SECESSIONIST CANDIDATE for the 2008 nomination? That is the project I am organizing via SECESSION.NET. My g-g-g-g-grandfather was Col. James Barrett, head of the militia at Concord, and object of the British expedition and of Paul Reveres ride, even if he didn’t make it. Barrett gave Buttrick the authority to shoot, and he used it when self-defense was necessary. (And John Buttrick of the LP is his descendent.) Two other of my g-g-g-grandfathers were at Concord and Lexington (their kids later married). So I just laugh at people who think Americans aren’t read for hard core liberty! On the fourth of July I was marching in DC with the only people chanting DOWN WITH KING GEORGE and I DO NOT CONSENT and WE’RE MARCHING FOR LIBERTY. That was the PEACENIKS, mostly women in Pink. I’m on day three of my TROOPS HOME FAST. Check out my home page for all my other pages including SECESSION.NET and Brand NEW! CAROLMOOREREPORT.BLOGSPOT.COM

    LOL!!

  • Stuart Richards

    Carol Moore needs to post on here more often. That was almost as hilarious as GregInOz, but in a completely unintentional way.

    Anyway, would it be “newsworthy” to report on the rebirth of the Radical Caucus? Or would I just be sensationalist OMG?

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

    Susan Hogarth (131),

    You might want to check out the Libertarian Party Rothbard Caucus lprc.org

    Just as there have been several “LP reform” groups active recently, there might prove to be several “LP traditional/paleo” groups active between now and the 2008 LP presidential nominating convention, including Tom Knapp’s new BTP.

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

    Two things (my browser keeps timing out trying to load these comments — who do I have to stroke of to get a new thread?):

    1) I’ve already started seeing the “BTP splinter group” characterized as the LP’s “Old Guard.” In point of fact, I suspect that most of its members joined the LP after, say, Dr. Milsted (1988, if I recall correctly). I haven’t had phone calls from David Nolan or David Bergland saying “hey, great idea!” This isn’t about “old” or “new.” The disputes have been going on for a long time and the disputants are of varying tenure in the LP (joined in 1996 myself — a relative pup).

    3) Dr. Milsted keeps dragging out Murray N. Rothbard’s rotting corpse and parading it around. In point of fact, I am not a Rothbardian. In additional point of fact, Dr. Milsted acknowledges that he USED to be a Rothbardian and says he’s changed his views, while simultaneously quoting anti-incrementalist Rothbard (1973) and igoring incrementalist Rothbard (1977). Mr. Rothbard, he dead. Really.

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

    One thing about starting a group is that its members will decide to take it, which may or may not be where you want it to go. I’ve embraced that. The Boston Tea Party will decide what it is going to be and do at its organizational convention, which will hopefully occur next month. I’ve posted my opinions on the proper course in detail at the site. Here are some teasers:

    Carrot: “the prospect that we will return and reinvigorate the LP … on our terms. We’re willing to accept incrementalism, but not compromise. We’re willing to accept a big tent, but not to have a circus inside it. We too want the Party to be about winning, but we insist that it be about winning something, not just anything.

    Stick: “If we become convinced that we cannot participate in the LP on acceptable terms, then we begin running our own ballot access campaigns and nominating our own candidates for public office.”

    There’s a peace offering proposal as well. Check it out, or not.

  • http://freestateproject.org Seth

    Knapp, I almost mentioned the marijuana “tax” but didn’t, figuring that someone else would… The example might be flawed, but the principle isn’t. Pick a drug of your choice that isn’t “taxed” but is illegal otherwise, and use that instead. Or imagine the “tax and regulate” was set at a hefty $25 tax per ‘pack’ of 20 MJ smokes, limiting sales to those 21 or over, with an id check, and licensed sales equivalent to alcohol (which vary, but let’s say it requires a license to serve). As I read it, since that would _add_ new regulation, new taxes (for the sake of argument, call it higher than the current ‘tax’) and new government bureaucrats created, the BTP position would be against it. Incorrect? Because if you are saying that’s still equal to what we have now, I’d argue it’s not, and you’re already finding ways to compromise… (grin)

    And Ian, you don’t speak for me, with your ‘we’… I feel T&R is the only current viable next step (after medical marijuana). And others do too.

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

    Seth,

    You write:

    “Pick a drug of your choice that isn’t ‘taxed’ but is illegal otherwise.”

    I can’t, because there’s no such thing. Even the bottle of aspirin I picked up at the store the other day was taxed. All drugs are taxed, just like everything else is.

    The status of marijuana or any other Schedule I drug is that they are subject to a federal regulation, and that the particular classification they’re given under that regulation amounts to prohibition. If you’d prefer to substitute heroin or LSD for marijuana in the example, feel free.

    A proposal to reduce LSD from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule IV drug would have no tax impact (except that the sellers might start collecting the taxes levied on it — but that’s their decision, not a new legal requirement). Its impact prohibition-wise would be 100% in the right direction (schedule I-IV drugs by definition require a prescription, but the regulation forbids issuing one for Schedule I drugs).

    (cont’d)

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

    (cont’d from comment 139) Now, if someone says “the party (or this or that candidate) should propose reducing LSD from Schedule I to Schedule IV,” I’m all for it. I’d rather it became unscheduled, but a move in the right direction is a move in the right direction.

    On the other hand if someone says “if the party (or this or that candidate) endorses (or, if already elected, votes for) a 10 cent per microgram tax on LSD, we’ll include language requiring the DEA to move it down the schedule,” I won’t support the party (or this or that candiadate) taking such a position.

    Libertarians are in the business of reducing the size, power and scope of government, not increasing the size, power and scope of government. I’m sure that someone will propose the 10 cent per microgram tax, and that it will pass, but it’s not our job to propose it or support it. There are other guys whose job includes doing that. They’re called Republicans and Democrats. Not our bailiwick.

  • David Tomlin

    ‘Defending slavery ”” good.’

    The 13th Amendment wasn’t passed until the Civil War was over. And (dirty open secret) some ‘slave states’ remained in the Union, and some ‘free states’ were still in the process of ‘gradual abolition’. Both the Union and the Confederacy were slaveholding nations throughout the Civil War.

    Not only did Lincoln and the Congress not declare abolition to be among their war aims, they officially declared that it was not.

  • David Tomlin

    >Chris Moore: If the government brings in $100 in one tax scheme, and you propose they bring in the same $100 via some other tax scheme, then you have not advocated cutting government.

    David Tomlin: You have if the other scheme uses a smaller bureaucracy for collecting the tax. (Note the ‘bring in’, which to me implies net of collection costs.)

    Even if the other tax scheme has the same collection costs, it’s an improvement if it has a lower excess burden. For an explanation of ‘excess burden’, see

    http://ddfr.best.vwh.net/Academic/Price_Theory/PThy_Chapter_7/PThy_Chapter_7.html

    (Con.)

  • David Tomlin

    (Continued from #142)

    It’s true that reducing excess burden isn’t the same as ‘cutting government’. That’s one reason ‘smaller government’ isn’t a perfect proxy for ‘more liberty’.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Tom K: Our job is to move government overall in a libertarian direction- shrinking regulation, reducing taxes, increasing freedom. That means doing whatever it takes- and whatever is effective- to meet that goal. It also means NOT doing those things which make that goal more difficult or even impossible to reach.

    David Tomlin: What you say is true- and, furthermore, the Confederacy had taken the first steps to emancipation itself just before Appomattox. However, it is equally true that the war itself- the Emancipation Proclamation, the seizure of slaves as contraband of war, the flood of runaways- destroyed slavery so thoroughly that the Thirteenth Amendment was little more than an endorsement of an already established fact.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Tim writes: Libertarians must practice compromise the FUCKING SECOND they start to serve their elected term in office Tom, and you know that’s the case.

    The problem some of us have with the reformers’ brand of compromise is that they seem to want to compromise before a candidate is even selected. It takes at least two to compromise. In many cases, the reformers have suggested unilateral compromise. Tim is right, compromise begins once elected – but not one second sooner.

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

    Kris,

    “Our job is to move government overall in a libertarian direction- shrinking regulation, reducing taxes, increasing freedom. That means doing whatever it takes- and whatever is effective- to meet that goal. It also means NOT doing those things which make that goal more difficult or even impossible to reach.”

    I couldn’t agree more. However, there’s such a thing as “division of labor.”

    We already HAVE people to do the “propose a different tax to ‘make up’ for the one that just got cut” or “propose another draconian regulation scheme to replace the one that just got rolled back” thing. Trust me, they’re HAPPY to do that job. They don’t NEED us to do it for them, and trying to is nothing but a distraction from OUR job. Hell, the union steward would go ballistic.

    If libertarians mount a credible effort to CUT OR ELIMINATE THE INCOME TAX, we won’t have to get our hands dirty by dipping them in the shit of the “fair” tax. Those other guys will already be rolling in it.

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

    The LRC is no monolith. There are many, in fact I believe most, that are against the Fairtax without an removal of the 16th amendment first. I know I am.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Seth writes(92): So TomB, does that help you recall that Yes, some want to do it all overnight?

    Thanks for posting Harry Browne’s message of freedom. But it has no relevance to what I said in my post (71) regarding taxation. Harry’s message was talking about the powers of the executive and how he would legally use them to reduce the intrusiveness of government. Harry makes no reference to income taxes.

    Badnarik, on the other hand, addresses income taxes by promising to look into the legitimacy of the 16th amendment. He does not declare he will get rid of income taxes.

    So, if you want to refute my claim that it is possible to eliminate taxation, you didn’t. If you sought to refute my claim that I don’t think it could be done overnight, you didn’t and you also failed to make a point that some LP candidates have.

    But thanks for the refreshing quotes from Browne and Badnarik.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Kris writes: Tom B: “I don’t know what to tell you”¦” Sounds quite a bit like, “We don’t want your support if you’re not 100% for anarchy- go vote Republican,” to me.

    Thanks for putting words in my mouth.

    I checked your website, Kris. It inspired me to write a rather harsh review of it at:

    http://hammeroftruth.com/2006/07/02/libertarian-party-convention-recap-sunday/

    It is a perfect example why some LP candidates do so poorly. This has nothing to do with your issues. It has to do with presentation. It is to your credit that you post your issues – some LP candidate sites I’ve checked out this cycle don’t even present any clear issues, just platitudes.

    But for you to be claiming, as most reformists do, that you have some innate knowledge of what appeals to voters is laughable after looking at your site. You need to get some brutally honest feedback on your campaign – quick.

  • Seth

    TomB: I didn’t bother to quote Browne’s other line about asking all of the IRS executive to sharpen pencils and work on their resume… but I could have.

    It’s pointless to bother replying to you… you just want to slide away from your own words. You said you had LP candidates who wanted it overnight. I found 2 of the biggest who said exactly that, overnight massive change.

    Whatever. Good Day, Sir. I said, Good Day!