The First Portland Post-Mortem

First it was the pragmatists, getting angry about the pledge’s retention. Then it was purists, angry about the dumping of the pledge.

There’s been a lot of despair and hope felt by both sides. It’s been a wrenching, dramatic affair. However, if we all would just step back for a second and look at what’s been done, I think we all can be proud of what just happened.

The Libertarian Party just had a major upheaval without any major faction walking out of the party. Stop and think about that. This is the sign of a mature party-one that can handle its differences maturely and rationally. The clash between pragmatists and purists has produced much worse results than this. We set party precedent without upsetting party unity.

What’s more, I think that this has been the first truly cooperative convention we’ve ever had, where the various caucuses contribute to a greater whole instead of just taking whatever they can at the expense of the party as a whole. I’ll be the first to admit that the LRC isn’t always right. Yes, they are my “team” but we’re not the only ones with something to add. But the important thing is that both sides continue to add to the dialogue.

That’s just what we did, too. Traditionally, it’s been the hardcorest, purest-of-the-pure that’s dominated these conventions ever since Rothbard kicked out the moderates in ’81. They’re the ones presumably most dedicated to the party, or at least more dedicated to the social aspect of the party. Hence, their caucus has always tended to be over-represented at the conventions since then.

This year, we saw a concerted effort by the pragmatists to step up and take up their responsibilities in the party as well. People were dissatisfied, and instead of just complaining… they did something to change it. I think that both sides can agree that taking action to stand up for one’s beliefs is admirable.

We didn’t see one side or another dominate the debate. Even with the concerted effort by the pragmatists, Carl Milsted of the LRC went into the convention with only 15% of the delegates behind him. The rest of the LRC’s strength came through persuasion, convincing a crucial mass of neutral or purist delegates that their view is the right one. This is another victory for every Libertarian-another testament to our rationality, to our willingness to consider other viewpoints.

From there, yes the LRC did acheive a landmark overturn of most of the platform. But that’s not the only thing that happened. The purists held onto the pledge, demonstrating that not every delegate there was on one side or another-there’s plenty of middle ground, plenty of free-thinking yet in the party of free thinkers. The purists also managed to roll back the LRC’s Zero Dues a bit with an interesting reform-requiring voting members to be donors. It’s probably a wise step-ironically, I think the LRC might not have been, well, incrementalist enough in transitioning from the former cash-raising model to the newer pledge model. The purists enriched this debate, and in my opinion they definitely contributed something worthwhile, at least for now, with this act.

I think that’s how the platform’s going to go as well, in all honesty. The purists and the pragmatists will work out their kinks and collaborate to make a truly beautiful work of statesmanship. The pragmatists will see to it that the platform doesn’t weigh us down, the purists will see to it that we don’t abandon sight of our principles and go in the wrong direction.

Both sides have contributed this weekend, and I pray both sides continue to contribute. All we have to fear from more inputs and more ideals is a better party, crafted in the free marketplace of libertarian ideas.

posted by Stuart Richards
  • Joy Elliott

    I also have to say that the culture of Big L’s is we want to continue being a debate club and not a serious politicial party. We want to keep our radical off putting language and to hell with the little l’s. Who will continue to feel politically homeless or work to change the Republicans through the RLC. I have known way too many Libertarian friends over the years that have left the LP due to the Big L culture of the Libertarian party. When I found out about the LRC I was motivated to go to my first national convention ever to show my support for their efforts even if I don’t agree 100% with them. I think we need to appeal to a broader base in order to win elections and become a serious political force.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Tom B: The problem definitely is the message. The message we’ve been sending is, “We want to destroy government. If you don’t support us, you’re ignorant bumpkins or criminals, because no intelligent honest person opposes absolute liberty.”

    The fact that the GOP uses “lower taxes, smaller government, more freedom” as part of their campaign message is not a bad thing for us- it demonstrates that the formula works. In fact, considering how easy it is to demonstrate that the GOP lies like a cheap rug every time they say it, that makes it even better for us- provided we learn to shut up and stick to that simple message. Every time we rush ahead to Libertopia, we leave virtually every voter behind.

  • Joy Elliott

    Freetalk live run by an Anarchist did a poll as well and 65% of the responders identified themselves as centerist or Limited Government Libertarians.

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

    Once again, it’s much harder for the LP to do the right thing than continue doing the wrong thing. At this point the LP hs a window to address it’s most crippling problems, really address them, not just snow them under or hide them with new magic widgets.

    Badnarik was able to raise 1 million dollars in 2004. If this same money were to be raised and put into our best races for state level offices and possibly our 2 to 3 best federal races
    in 2008 we would be looking at least several libertarian officeholders at that.

    The practice of raising money for OUR PARTY being more important than raising money for our CANDIDATES has got to stop. Our candidates dont exist to serve the party, our party exists to serve our candidates.

    and I repeat my belief that the LP must not run a POTUS candidate in 2008 and use this time period from 2006 to 2010 rebuilding and retooling – unless we KNOW that we can either determine the winner of the contest or win ourselves, theres no reason to run.

  • http://wesbenedictforlnc.blogspot.com/ Wes Benedict

    Wes, Wes P, Wes Benedict – There’s a difference.

    Haven’t had time to read all the wonderful commentary, not even from the other two Wes’s. (did I spell the plural of my name correctly?)

    In any case, just in case anyone was wondering, I wanted to make it clear that the posts by Wes and Wes P were not done by me: Wes Benedict (the one from Texas).

    –Wes Benedict
    http://wesbenedictforlnc.blogspot.com/

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

    The goal of 2008 should be to elect more Ben Brandons around the country.

    There are some things that could happen hat would make me change my mind. One of hose things is a top tier POTUS candidate on the level of a Bob Barr or better – former governing offical, many years officeholder, strong name awareness, etc.

    absent such a candidate, forget it.

  • http://www.edthompson.com Rolf Lindgren

    “I believe that 50% to delete, 2/3 to amend or add will likely give us a better, more effective platform than either a uniform 50% or 2/3 threshhold for all actions.”

    Great point Steve, from post #141 above.

  • http://freelibertarian.blogspot.com Mike Renzulli

    I had a talk about Barry Hess about the goings on with the platform. Please see my site as what I wrote about is too long for me to publish here. I know that I plan on attending the 2008 LP convention and will vote for a hardcore, pure Libertarian presidential candidate and will participate to ensure that the LP platform retains the principles it is supposed to espouse. At the expense of sounding melodramatic, with liberty under attack by the state, now is not the time to back away from our party’s principles. Now is the time to assert ourselves and differentiate us from the liberty-hating Republicrat and Demopublican politicians.

  • TerryP

    IMO they did not go far enough with getting rid of the detailed planks. All we should have is the preamble and the statement of principles and if people want something on a few different issues than just the one or two sentences from the executive summary. This does not mean we are dropping our principles. In fact we would be making the statement of principles a much more prominent part if not the most prominent part of the platform. The details about handling each issue should be left up to each candidate running for office. How we go about each issue may be different in one part of the country to another, one candidate to another. The current platform only hamstrings our candidates if they are choosing to go a slightly different route than what the platform suggests which all candidates do or they are downplaying or not even bringing up certain issues that are addressed in the platform. If the media brings these up they are pushed into a corner they did not want to be in.

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

    David Tomlin’s “amicable divorce” suggestion keeps making more and more sense.

    This weekend the “reformers” gained more than they previously ever had, and the “purists” unified to a greater degree than they had recently.

    There’s much left to fight over. The house is not “divided” — it’s a ruin. Between the ongoing poor financial situation and the long-time low in member support, it looks like something hit by a tornado after extended flooding and a small fire or two. Rather than fighting to keep it, I’d think that the sides would be fighting to not be the ones left holding the (uninsured) mortgage.

    The Dallas Accord barely survived the convention. That the “reformers” achieved only a Kristallnacht of sorts instead of getting the boxcars loaded full of anarchists and off to Auschwitz was not a function of lack of either effort or desire. I’m not sure I’m especially keen to keep hanging around the rail yard wearing my yellow star (and yes, hello, Mr. Godwin!).

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

    We ran a former Republican congressman for president in the past. Didn’t work too well. I doubt Mr. Barr is interested, anyway.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Michael writes (146): May I suggest we simplify this slogan issue with “Civil Liberties, Economic Freedom and Non-Intervention”

    Excellent suggestion. It gives clarity to “peace, prosperity and freedom”. I really like it a lot.

    I wish the folks at LPHQ would put this across the top
    of LP.Org – just as soon as they put up the new partially
    gutted platform.

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

    reformers as nazis putting purists into trains headed for the gas chamber?

    Tom, you’ve outdone yourself.

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

    Chris,

    an general example, not a recommendation. Barr would have to change his mind on MJ and show a willingness to engage on the rest of the drug war before I would support him for anything.

    Someone on Barr’s level…

  • Steve Dasbach

    Tom B. wrote:

    “I wish the folks at LPHQ would put this [Civil Liberties, Economic Freedom and Non-Intervention]across the top
    of LP.Org …”

    Actually, that’s exactly what we used to feature on the center of the home page:

    “Libertarians believe the answer to America’s political problems is the same commitment to freedom that earned America its greatness:
    * a free-market economy and the abundance and prosperity it brings;
    * a dedication to civil liberties and personal freedom that marks this country above all others; and
    * a foreign policy of non-intervention, peace, and free trade as prescribed by America’s founders.”

    The new catch phrase “fewer taxes … smaller government … more freedom” sounds too much like the catch phrase at Dick Armey’s website: “lower taxes, less government, and more freedom”, and makes us sound too much like an offshoot of the Republican Party.

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

    Tim,

    I’m not the one who’s been blathering about non-existent “purges” for the last two years. That’s been you, Kris and Dr. Milsted. How does your own medicine taste?

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Mr. Knapp writes (160): The house is not “divided” ”” it’s a ruin.

    It might be instructive to learn from the errors of the Green Party and the Reform Party.

    We are told that gutting the platform is a good thing. Then we are told that LP candidates should only run for local office as they spew conservative bromides. Why not just close down the national party?

    National elections are what have been galvanizing events for the LP and they usually attract new members. Between 1996 and 2000, the party actually grew. Since the move to have LP candidates look and sound like moderate conservatives, the number of contributing members has dwindled. Contrary to the actual numbers, we are told that the move to conservatism and people like Boortz are envigorating the LP. Electoral results have also dwindled.

    There is something wrong with this picture.

    We have handed those who hate libertarianism a huge victory.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Steve writes: The new catch phrase “fewer taxes ”¦ smaller government ”¦ more freedom” sounds too much like the catch phrase at Dick Armey’s website: “lower taxes, less government, and more freedom”, and makes us sound too much like an offshoot of the Republican Party.

    Exactly the point I made earlier (144). I remember the old page, although I don’t remember the slogan being used, just the verbiage. The real point is that the LP is supposed to be libertarian as opposed to the party of disgruntled conservatives who let their old party turn into a pile of crap.

    I imagine a lot of people, upon hearing the new slogan, dismiss the LP as a right-wing organization. The right-wingers who hear it look at the LP as a wasted vote when they can vote GOP and thwart the evil liberals – because those in the GOP don’t see themselves or their cult leaders as liars, despite what Kris says.

    Hope to see you at the SCC meeting on the 8th, Steve.

  • paulie

    It is obvious the LP wants the extreme radical anarchists out. That means you, Paulie.

    Correct.

    Accept the direction of the LP or leave.

    Unfortunately, I can’t leave, since I’m a life member, but let’s say I’ve left.

    I believe for every anarchist we can rid ourselves, we will pick up 1,000 new members.

    Prove it. I’ve left. Show me your 1,000 new members. Also, what good would it do even if you did? Your party won’t promote liberty, so its success or lack thereof is irrelevant.

    However, I predict this will actually cause the LP to become even less effective than when it welcomed real libertarians (anarchists) – not that I care anymore.

  • paulie

    So you’re thinking that now Libertarian candidates and parties (including national) can’t say anything about taxation, or worse that’s they can get away with calling for more taxes, just because it’s not in the platform?

    Of course they can get away with it. Many of them already call for more taxation, such as a national sales tax.

  • paulie

    Thanks to none other than Michael Badnarik, who used the whole LP platform as his NCP, the platform as it existed prior to this last weekend’s national convention is still an official statement of the party’s positions.

    But not for long. Julian is correct about the ideological direction of the LP, although he is wrong in thinking that it will lead to growth. Clearly, it’s circling the drain.

  • paulie

    The problem with an anti-war position is that there is a large group of Libertarians who come to the party by way of Boortz & Co. who wholeheartedly endorse the war.

    That’s a problem with the party, not the position.

  • paulie

    The problem with impeaching Bush is, after the Clinton impeachment, the process is viewed as nothing more than a partisan political ploy to injure a faction’s election chances.

    By some people. Others view it as originally designed.

    There is an argument to be made that calling for impeachment will undermine, not strengthen, our nationwide election hopes.

    That argument would be very wrong.

  • paulie

    Any issue we can’t unite on needs to be left out of the platform until and unless we can unite on a position.

    The end result of such logic is that you will soon have no platform at all; in fact, that is already almost the case.

    Why not get it over with and call it the Reform party? It’s even still on the ballot in a few states. But if you choose to call it the LP, it doesn’t change the fact that it will pretty soon take the direction of the Reform Party.

  • paulie

    I’m firmly pro-impeachment and anti-war in Iraq

    But not firmly enough to support these views as a political party.

    (pro-war in Afghanistan, if we’d only commit sufficient forces to make taking bin Laden and the Taliban leadership a possibility).

    I don’t acre if you want to kill Hajis, or yourself, in Afghanistan, so long as you don’t attempt to steal my money to do it or commit these attrocities in my name.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Tom K: I don’t call it the Dallas Accord, I call it the Dallas Suicide Pact.

    And I don’t want the anarchists out of the party; I just want them out of -control- of the party. The fact is, though, that if the purists bolt, they can’t possibly build a viable party on their own; the same positions, policies and attitude that have crippled the LP up to now would doom them.

    On the other hand, I can name names on purists I know who want me, Milstead, and every member of the LRC out of the party, never to return.

    You think the reformers are trying to purge the party. I think you need to learn that the reformers, for the most part, don’t think the same way you do. A purge is what -you- and -yours- would do in our position. We, on the other hand, know we need MORE people, not less, in the party- that’s why we’ll continue to fight to dump the Pledge and moderate our party’s positions without abandoning the principles of small government and big freedom.

  • paulie

    Shall Candidate P now vigorously affirm that hard drugs must continue to be illegal, and defend that position against tough questioning?

    How can such a ridiculous and offensive position be defended against tough questioing?

  • David Tomlin

    I think it is important for the LP to continue to explain to the majority of Americans that their support for taxes and war makes them thieves and murderers, but it’s also important to be tactful about it.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Paulie:

    First, as you well know, the FairTax proposal is contingent on abolishing EVERY OTHER Federal tax- income tax, capital gains tax, estate tax, excise tax, gasoline tax, telephony tax, and whatever I’ve forgotten- and replacing them all with one, count ‘em, ONE tax… and a tax that can be evaded simply by spending less or buying used goods instead of new. I have a couple problems with it, but I regard it as a libertarian step- less taxes, smaller government and more freedom.

    As for the platform… if you believe that any majority should be allowed to support whatever planks it can pass, without regard to the minority, will you suggest removing the 7/8 requirement for changes to the Statement of Principles? After all, if we require that everyone agree on the SoP, then soon we’ll have no SoP, by your logic…

    (more…)

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    If I’d had the money, I would have been in Portland. I would have voted -for- resolutions calling for impeachment and immediate withdrawal from Iraq. I understand why those resolutions didn’t pass; that doesn’t mean I agree with those reasons or support them!

    As for Afghanistan… 9/11 was an attack by an organized group seeking the overthrow and destruction of the United States, by their own admission. The Taliban government protected this group, supported them, and celebrated their acts of murder. The war in Afghanistan was a war in response to open aggression- and as such I believe it a just war. Unfortunately our president botched that war beyond all belief because the war he wanted to fight was a few hundred miles to the west of Afghanistan.

    David: There’s no tactful way to call the American people stupid for believing what they believe. There’s now way to try to “educate” them that won’t insult them and drive them away. Rothbarianism does NOT work.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    er, “no way to ‘educate’,” etc. Shouldn’t type while watching a Shuttle launch.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Personally, I feel like if purity is what the purists and anarchists demand, their efforts would work much better forming their own educational organization or political action committee. A political party can never be pure because it must be political. it must be able to address the issues of the day in a relevant fashion. Toppling institutions and overturning the Constitution because they are subpar and authoritarian is not a relevant answer to 99.9% of Americans. Cutting off all revenue to the government until it collapses into itself will only lead to the destruction of the delicate economic threads that keep a level of stability in this country. We can support the threads by carefully removing the weight from on top of them, but the idea that we should cut the threads to break whatever rests on top will still leave you with broken threads and a big mess. Plus why would an anarchist run for office and, if elected, swear to uphold the Constitution before breaking their own oath?

  • paulie

    and I repeat my belief that the LP must not run a POTUS candidate in 2008 and use this time period from 2006 to 2010 rebuilding and retooling –

    This will make you even more obscure.

    http://harrybrowne.org/2000/WasItWorthIt.htm

  • http://www.edthompson.com Rolf Lindgren

    I believe there are 4 general principle which tie all Libertarians together.

    1) non-aggression principle >>> the PLEDGE

    2) socially liberal & fiscally conservative >>> the Nolan Chart

    3) the U.S. Constitution >>> the U.S. Constitution

    4) smaller government

    I would agrue that a “small l” libertarian, subcribes to at one of the above 4 principle.

  • David Tomlin

    Regarding Paulie’s comment 177, I assume the question is rhetorical. Anyway, at the moment I’m not inclined to spend time on the exercise of making a ‘devil’s advocate’ defense of drug prohibition. But I could, and in general I recommend such exercises. Becoming an effective advocate begins by taking your opponent’s arguments seriously.

  • paulie

    First, as you well know, the FairTax proposal is contingent on abolishing EVERY OTHER Federal tax-

    I know no such thing. In practice, it is much easier to pass a tax than to get rid of one, so the reality is that if/when the national sales tax will be implemented, you will still have an income tax. This is the real reason (as opposed to the stated reason) for the sales tax: to massive increase government so it can fight more wars and invade domestic civil liberty more. Even as stated, it would not get rid of FICA. There’s nothing fair about the “fair tax”, (an oxymoron) and it’s a step in the WRONG direction.

  • paulie

    As for the platform”¦ if you believe that any majority should be allowed to support whatever planks it can pass, without regard to the minority, will you suggest removing the 7/8 requirement for changes to the Statement of Principles?

    What are you talking about? I never said anything about a majority deciding anything. If the LP were really libertarian, its positions would be based on principle, not majority.

    After all, if we require that everyone agree on the SoP, then soon we’ll have no SoP, by your logic”¦

    Sorry, that would not be my logic. My logic would be that those who don’t agree with it would not be party members.

  • paulie

    If I’d had the money, I would have been in Portland. I would have voted -for- resolutions calling for impeachment and immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

    Glad to hear it.

    I understand why those resolutions didn’t pass; that doesn’t mean I agree with those reasons or support them!

    I understand the reasons they didn’t pass, too: that a majority of attendees were big L but NOT small l libertarian.

  • paulie

    As for Afghanistan”¦ 9/11 was an attack by an organized group seeking the overthrow and destruction of the United States, by their own admission. The Taliban government protected this group, supported them, and celebrated their acts of murder. The war in Afghanistan was a war in response to open aggression- and as such I believe it a just war.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. The attack on 9-11 was perpetrated BY that USSA regime.

    Even if Al Qaida were really an enemy of the US regime and not its puppet, all the Taliban did was ask for evidence that Osama was guilty before handing him over. Bush refused to provide it.

    Even if Osama was president of Afghanistan and attacked the citizens of the US, that would justify killing him, but not all the innocent people of Afghanistan who have been killed or the occupation. To call it a just war is ludicrous.

  • paulie

    Rolf, I don’t subscribe to the US Constitution, and smaller government is like smaller cancer. I have no idea how “fiscally conservative” relates to my viewpoint. And most big Ls don’t subscribe to the non-aggression principle.

  • paulie

    “I wish the folks at LPHQ would put this [Civil Liberties, Economic Freedom and Non-Intervention]across the top
    of LP.Org ”¦”

    I like LRC’s “anti-state, anti-war, pro-market” except I would change anti-war to pro-peace. Unfortunately, for the LP this would not be true.

  • paulie

    Tom B, post 167 is right on the money.

  • David Tomlin

    >Paulie: The attack on 9-11 was perpetrated BY that USSA regime.

    David Tomlin: I don’t suppose you could point to a site that summarizes the evidence for this _briefly_, that doesn’t require wading through pages of drivel?

  • Rob Latham

    Kris, since you’re responding here, perhaps you’d be willing to respond to the points I made on the bulletin board concerning the platform, and specifically the LRC’s Election Laws proposal.

    For the record, I voted against retaining all planks. I believe in this Information Age, party platforms may be old, 20th Century election technology — like the single-member district, winner-take-all system.

    I’m even for ditching the pledge; it doesn’t change my understanding of what libertarianism is.

    Anyway, on to the points …

  • paulie

    J) I believe for every anarchist we can rid ourselves, we will pick up 1,000 new members.

    me) Prove it. I’ve left. Show me your 1,000 new members.

    To quantify that, I mean contributing members, since membership no longer requires a contribution.

  • http://www.lputah.org Rob Latham

    (1) It is highly unlikely that the district-based winner-take-all system will be repealed, or even significantly changed, within our lifetimes.

    So wave the white flag on efforts to implement fair elections that would result in more Libertarians getting elected? What is it about electoral reform that you believe offends voters? Most people don’t care enough about electoral systems to be offended or attracted. My sense is that most who do care about electoral systems want them to be fair … just like the proportional representation-elected national assemblies being created in Afghanistan and Iraq at the behest of the U.S. government.
    I agree that the political class will resist this, and change will be difficult. But change is happening on the local level (see FairVote.org) and the change to more inclusive voting systems will be even more difficult if the LP falls silent on alternative electoral systems.

  • http://www.lputah.org Rob Latham

    I am trying to figure out what motivated the LRC to strip out the language about alternative electoral systems and came up with this:

    “The LP Plank, on the other hand, raises the specter of a parliamentary system even more reflective of the divisions in our nation than the present system.”

    LRC Proposed Change – Election Laws

    First, as I teach my political science students at the local community college, even if the U.S. Congress was elected by proportional representation, Article II of the U.S. Constitution talks about an executive. So the U.S. is still likely to remain a presidential system, not become a parliamentary system. Wikipedia – Presidential system

    Second, decentralization and division is good for our liberties! The whole talk about “factions” in the Federalist Papers identified the danger they posed if they got together to wield the levers of power, and the constitutional drafters attempted to keep factions at odds. …

  • paulie

    David Tomlin: I don’t suppose you could point to a site that summarizes the evidence for this _briefly_, that doesn’t require wading through pages of drivel?

    I’d be happy to, but we’re way off topic in this thread(sorry). However: is

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/june2005/140605tenquestions.htm

    succinct enough for you?

  • http://www.lputah.org Rob Latham

    The drafters failed because they didn’t anticipate logrolling (unless you buy the “hologram of liberty” theory that the U.S. Constitution was a setup all along … bu-wah-ha-ha!). Proportional representation disperses special interests.

    (2) The Libertarian Party does not get 18% of the vote; On average, we get about one percent in a three-way race and between ten and twenty percent in a two-way race. It is unlikely in the extreme that we would poll sufficiently to get even a single proportional seat unless this party becomes more appealing to the masses.

    Don’t hate the playa (the Libertarian candidate and platform), hate the game (the winner-take-all system).

    First, most electoral reformers believe that — because of Duverger’s Law (Wikipedia – Duverger’s Law) — rational voters won’t vote for candidates and parties with platforms they agree with if the candidate or party doesn’t have a good chance of winning.

  • http://www.lputah.org Rob Latham

    Hence, the wasted vote syndrome, and why even if 16 percent of the population agreed with everything Libertarians stand for, fewer than 16 percent would vote Libertarian because of the election-rigging effect of the winner-take-all system.
    The LRC wants Libertarians to believe low vote totals are because of the LP’s platform. (I’ve heard some Republicans here in Utah make similar claims.) I believe that’s part of the reason. But I believe a bigger part of the reason is the electoral system.
    In 1998, I ran for office in Utah as a Republican candidate with an explicity libertarian platform. I received roughly the same percentage of the vote as the Republican candidates who preceded me. It’s a Democratic district, so the outcome was not in doubt … because of the winner-take-all electoral system.

  • http://www.lputah.org Rob Latham

    Second, here in Utah we have a 75 seat house of representatives. The winning threshold to elect a seat to that body — if it was elected proportionally — is (100 percent of the vote/(75 seats + 1)=) 1.3 percent/seat. Libertarian candidates pass that threshold in Utah. And by eliminating the wasted vote syndrome, voters would be more inclined to vote their preferences. I anticipate we’d also see more Constitution Party and Green Party candidates elected under such a scenario. It’d take awhile for libertarian-leaning voters to acclimate to voting Libertarian to get up to our 16 percent share — or higher. But I believe over time we’d get there.

    (3) One or two LP legislators would have about as much effect as Ron Paul does now- zilch. We need to control a significant block of a legislature to affect its conduct in any way. To my mind, trying to change the rules of the contest isn’t important or effective compared to making our team more competitive in the contest we have.

  • Steve Dasbach

    If you had been in Portland and heard the actual text of the resolution calling for immediate pullout from Iraq, I doubt than anyone on this forum would have supported it. It started off talking about Bush achieving victory over the tyranical regime and bringing democracy to the people of Iraq, etc. It was defeated by a motion objecting to consideration, which required a 2/3 vote. The vote was well more than 2/3.

    I believe that a straight-forward “bring the troops home” resolution would have passed, had one been introduced.

  • paulie

    Plus why would an anarchist run for office and, if elected, swear to uphold the Constitution before breaking their own oath?

    Why would it be OK for a victim to promise not tell anyone if a rapist lets them live, and then tell anyway?

  • http://www.lputah.org Rob Latham

    First, I believe Rep. Paul sets a moral example, and that there is value in that. He also undermines the solidarity the Bipartisan Statist/War Party wants to portray to the public. That’s why Newt Gingrich tried to take Rep. Paul out a few elections ago by funding a primary challenger.

    Second, I agree that we should make our team more competitive in the contests we have, but I haven’t been persuaded yet as to why the LP’s advocacy of more competitive and representative elections undermines our competitiveness in those contests. I believe Libertarians can do both.

    Third, I believe there’s rhetorical value for Libertarian candidates and the liberty movement as a whole in pointing out that, not just Libertarians, but all Americans are being cheated out of fair elections by Republicans and Democrats.

    For those following along, the italicized text is what Kris wrote on the convention’s platform discussion group (except point (1) on post 196 which I neglected to italicize).

  • paulie

    I believe that a straight-forward “bring the troops home” resolution would have passed, had one been introduced.

    Mark Selzer had one. Why wasn’t his resolution introduced? I thought it was because it was even less popular than the weak antiwar resolution which failed.

  • David Tomlin

    >Paulie: succinct enough for you?

    David Tomlin: Not really, but it does satisfy my stated requirement. It’s only one page of drivel.

  • Steve Dasbach

    I wasn’t aware of Mark’s resolution and I don’t know why he didn’t introduce it. I do know that the one that was introduced was horrible. It was supposedly drafted to appeal to a broad range of groups (that were all being asked to approve the same text), but the author clearly didn’t know his audience in bringing it to the LP.

    Bringing the troops home ASAP is a position that has the support of a majority of the American people. IMO, it would have been a better topic for a resolution than any of the resolutions introduced.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Paulie:

    If upholding the Constitution or any government is equivalent to rape, I’ve got a way you can live the rest of your life rape-free! Just sell your house and move to Somalia! Out there, there isn’t any corrupt governments or polluted legal systems to worry about, no gun laws or drug laws, no taxes, no police. It’s a libertarian paradise! Enjoy your trip, but make sure to stock up on guns and carry plenty of bullets. I hear the locals are a bit rowdy.

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

    Kris,

    You write: “You think the reformers are trying to purge the party. I think you need to learn that the reformers, for the most part, don’t think the same way you do. A purge is what -you- and -yours- would do in our position.”

    The “purists” have had, according to the “reformers,” a virtually undisputed — and absolutely 100% “purge”-free — 23 years in control of the party.

    You can’t have it both ways. If the “purists” were purge-prone, last weekend not only would not have, but could not have, happened, because the “reformers” would have been “purged” long ago.

    While the “reformers” have generally denied any intent to “purge” the party, significant figures in the “reformer” group — including you — have falsely accused “purists” not only of that intent, but of attempts to implement that intent. I see no reason not to at least consider the possibility that the psychiatric phenomenon known as “transference” is at play in those false accusations.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Paulie: “The attack on 9-11 was perpetrated BY that USSA regime.”

    Thanks for letting me know you’re a conspiracy theorist, and thus not worth my time responding to you.

  • http://www.lputah.org Rob Latham

    BTW, I see that I wrote above and on the convention platform discussion board:

    the change to more inclusive voting systems will be even more difficult if the LP falls silent on alternative electoral systems

    I trust that the LP will not fall silent on electoral reform with Bill Redpath as the LNC’s new chairman.

    See my further comments on this at:

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Well, wait: -one- response on the “conspiracy”:

    http://www.filibustercartoons.com/archive.php?id=20060619

  • http://www.lputah.org Rob Latham
  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Tom K: I say that not only have purists tried to do it, they have routinely done it- they have driven off moderates right and left by accusing them of being Republicrat plants, closet Socialists, etc. etc. A few of us, like myself, decline to give them the satisfaction of victory.

    Every time a purist accuses a party member of “not being a true libertarian,” that’s a call to oust that person. That’s a demand that the person in question be ostracised, abused, denounced, driven out by whatever means. The law and the bylaws won’t allow the purists to do it legally… which is probably the only reason I’ve lasted seven years in the party, since I’ve been attacked almost from the first DAY. Other reformers can and will report similar experiences.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Rob: My personal view is that Instant Runoff Voting and/or Proportional Representation will not move any significant voter group to go to the polls and vote Libertarian. That kind of election reform is not a major issue to the voters, who quite honestly couldn’t care less how the sausage is made. The benefits for us are obvious; the benefits to them, not so much.

    One of the goals of the LRC in general was a shorter, easier-to-read platform. (And incidentally, not as short as what we got- this was NOT what we wanted or intended.) Any platform plank or section which didn’t serve to draw a significant group of voters to us was just as much targeted for removal as planks which drove those voters actively away from us.

    Also, I personally am ambivalent about Prop. Rep. I personally think that, in a Prop. Rep. system, the “wasted vote” problem would grow WORSE, not better, as people rush to the Big Two to prevent to prevent the D/Rs from getting control at any cost. (More in a bit.)

  • paulie

    Just sell your house and move to Somalia!

    You are welcome to buy my non-existent house for enough money for me to move to Somalia and live on while I figure out what I would do for a living there.

    Out there, there isn’t any corrupt governments or polluted legal systems to worry about, no gun laws or drug laws, no taxes, no police. It’s a libertarian paradise!

    Not a paradise, but making great progress. It has the fastest growing economy in Africa and the north (somaliland) is peaceful.

    http://somalianarchy.com/

    Enjoy your trip, but make sure to stock up on guns and carry plenty of bullets.

    I would just subcontract that to the professionals, just as you do. However, with a choice of service providers, I would get better prices and better service.

  • David Tomlin

    Kris, thanks for the cartoon (comment #212). It’s funny, and also makes a good substantive point: If Bush’s people engineered 9/11, they would have included stronger evidence pointing to Saddam.

    The prevalence in modern political discourse of blanket dismissals of ‘conspiracy theory’ is an interesting phenomenon. It is a modern development.

    For example, Edmund Burke’s famous work _Reflections on the Revolution in France_, much touted by modern conservatives, argues for a conspiracy theory regarding that revolution. It’s available on-line, and a good read.

    In American history there was the Anti-Masonic Party, premised on the suspicion that the Masons were a front for the Bavarian Illuminati. Contrary to what is sometimes implied, the leaders of the Anti-Masonic Party were not fringe kooks, but prominent Americans who were welcomed into the major parties after the AMP broke up.

    (Con.)

  • paulie

    Kris,

    Thanks for letting me know you’re a conspiracy theorist,

    So are you. You just believe the regime’s ridiculous conspiracy theory about 9-11. Or do you deny that the attack was carried out by a conspiracy?

    I followed up with conditional arguments which pre-suppose that your official conspiracy theory were true, and demonstrated that even if that was the case, the war would not be justified.

    Every time a purist accuses a party member of “not being a true libertarian,”

    There’s a high chance that is in fact the case.

  • paulie

    If Bush’s people engineered 9/11,

    Which they did

    they would have included stronger evidence pointing to Saddam.

    They actually tried to plant fake WMDs and failed. Just because the Bush gang engages in conspiracies does not mean that they always succeed.

    In any case, they did succeed in selling the Iraq war, so why the need to go further in that respect?

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Now to respond to your particular points:

    First- no, don’t raise the white flag, but don’t make it a top priority, either. Implementing proportional representation and/or instant runoff (and I -do- favor the latter, unreservedly) is something we try once we are in office, not something we push as a reason for voters to put us in office.

    Second, I don’t fear a parliamentary system per se; the words about “representing the divisions in our nation,” etc. were the proposal’s author’s. The LRC supported his proposal for two reasons: it was better than the old version, and PR and IRV are not relevant issues to the vast, vast, vast majority of voters. In this second point, the benefits and drawbacks of the proposal are utterly irrelevant. We have to go to the voters- not they to us- if we are to win sufficient elections to change the system.

    The only moral example Ron Paul sets is the lie that people can work within the Republican party for smaller government and greater liberty. (more)

  • David Tomlin

    (Continued from #217)

    A priori dismissal of political conspiracy is also un-empirical. Conspiracies have played an important role in history, often coming to light once memoirs are written, documents declassified, and private papers posthumously published.

    Regarding the possibility that the real culprit in 9/11 was the government of the U.S. or Israel, such things certainly happen. Intelligence agencies have a name for them: ‘false flag operations’. Israel is notorious for them. Google ‘Lavon Affair’, and note that the facts in this case are not in dispute. They came to light long ago, causing a major scandal in Israeli politics.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Continuing: Ron Paul does not vote against the Republicans on any issue where his vote would be the deciding one. His moral stance on issues has no effect. One representative, or even a dozen, is not sufficient. We need, at a minimum, a bloc sufficient to deny a clear majority to any party- and preferably a majority in our own right- to push through genuine change for the better.

    “Adding to the debate,” “presenting the message,” and the like are excuses given by people who DIDN’T GET ELECTED.

    Finally, there are election reforms Libertarians can back which DO have public support, which WILL turn out voters. Rolling back “campaign finance reform,” which nobody believes is fair. Stopping electronic voting and bringing back the paper trail to voting. Ending gerrymandering either through nonpolitical districting or at-large elections. These positions WILL get voters to the polls- and thus, practically speaking, they’re more worthy of the platform than PR or IRV.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    No house? Well you could sell your computer and cancel your internet connection for a few months and you might be able to afford a plane ticket. “Private security force?” Ah, you mean you’ll hire a meaner mob than the other mean mobs – assuming that they won’t kill you for being an American when negotiating with you. Fastest growing economy? Tell that to the millions of people starving to death there. Somaliland? Peaceful? Thank the UN, given that its the area occupied by UN security. http://www.somalianarchy.com? It’s either a joke or a bunch of white anarchocapitalists deluding themselves into thinking Somalia is some sort of a utopia.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Paulie, you leave me in stitches. Somalian utopianism and conspiracy theory make for lovely entertainment, but really I don’t see why you even waste your time with the LP.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    David: The problem with conspiracies is that they have a tendency to fall apart the larger they become.

    In the case of 9-11, I apply Occam’s Razor:

    Is it more likely that George W. Bush snuck a multitude of explosives into the World Trade Center, dismantled four airliners and replaced them with USAF cargo planes full of explosives, falsified radio and cel phone messages from the faked planes, deliberately executed thousands of Americans, and made himself the subject of ridicule for the purpose of a botched war in Afghanistan followed by a controversial, divisive, and incompetent war in Iraq- all without anyone knowing a thing about any of it…

    … or is it more likely that a small group of radicals backed by wealthy men hijacked four airliners, flying two of them into structures that relied heavily on their external facades to support their own weight, for the purpose of following their faith- and were observed at every step by the FBI and CIA, who failed to act?

    I vote (B).

  • paulie

    No house? Well you could sell your computer and cancel your internet connection for a few months and you might be able to afford a plane ticket.

    I don’t hae a computer or an internet connection either. At the moment, I’m typing from a hotel business center. A plane ticket is insufficient for a real move, and your regime wouldn’t issue me a passport in any case.

    “Private security force?” Ah, you mean you’ll hire a meaner mob than the other mean mobs

    That’s what you’ve done, except you did not get a choice as to which one.

    - assuming that they won’t kill you for being an American when negotiating with you.

    You have some delusional fantasies about conditions there.

    Fastest growing economy? Tell that to the millions of people starving to death there.

    You must mean a long time ago, when Somalia had a government or right after it collapsed.

  • paulie

    Somaliland? Peaceful? Thank the UN, given that its the area occupied by UN security.

    Incorrect.

    It’s either a joke or a bunch of white anarchocapitalists deluding themselves into thinking Somalia is some sort of a utopia.

    It’s not a joke, a wide vriety of people post there, and nobody thinks it’s a utopia – however, it does offer a lot of advantages.

  • http://www.lputah.org Rob Latham

    Thanks for your replies, Kris.

    They’ve helped me clarify what a lot of LRC members intend vis a vis making the national platform a marketing document.

    However, the whole idea of a shared statement is, to me, problematic.

    I’ve been suggesting since the convention that perhaps party platforms are obsolete in the Information Age. It’s now cheaper for a campaign to get its message out, and for a voter to find out what a campaign or candidate stands for.

    Even Republicans are split between elected Republicans and “platform Republicans”. In fairness to them, it’s difficult to move one’s agenda in a legislative body with competing interests (which is a good point for Libertarians to raise — even if elected, it’s difficult for radical change to happen overnight).

    Similarly with electoral reform. I’ve been of the view that electoral reform will have to happen by initiative, as incumbents are reluctant to change the rules that put them in office.

    On Paul, not perfect, but more + than -. ;)

  • paulie

    In the case of 9-11, I apply Occam’s Razor:

    Me too.

    http://killtown.blogspot.com/2006/05/occams-razor-proves-911-is-conspiracy.html

  • Pingback: Hammer of Truth » A Fair Idea For Jilted Purists

  • paulie

    but really I don’t see why you even waste your time with the LP.

    Old answer: sort of in the same way a blade of grass on a football field cares about the game. Or, just because I wish the government didn’t exist does not mean they’ll ignore me.

    New answer: It’s kind of like watching a fine but stuck up bitch I used to go out with (or tried to) degenerate into a toothless crack whore with AIDS.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    paulie: Er… so, you cite as your evidence a page that destroys the conspiracy theory through Occam’s Razor, utterly fails to address any point, and merely asserts that a conspiracy is the simplest and most likely explanation.

    It really is NOT worth my time responding to you.

  • Michael H. Wilson

    Steve Dasbach writes: “I believe that a straight-forward “bring the troops home” resolution would have passed, had one been introduced.”

    Steve, you are correct. While I was listening to this being read I could only think that it was a doomed effort.
    There is a simple rule in Public Relations. Get to the point.
    M.H.W.

  • paulie
  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    MHW: “In the oilfield we have a rule about speechmaking: if you don’t strike oil in the first ten minutes, quit boring.”

    (No, I don’t know who said it; I read it in a Reader’s Digest humor collection from 1947.)

  • Michael H. Wilson

    The new catch phrase “fewer taxes ”¦ smaller government ”¦ more freedom” sounds too much like the catch phrase at Dick Armey’s website: “lower taxes, less government, and more freedom”, and makes us sound too much like an offshoot of the Republican Party. To which Tom Blanton agrees. I as well.

    The phrase “Socially Tolerant and Fiscally Conservative” needs to be dropped as well imho. To be tolerant of someone requires some degree of knowledge about them and we cannot know everyone, but we should not deny them the right to live as they choose as long as they harm no one. And as for being “fiscally Conservative” well a government can be that and still have a bundle of regulations in place to control your life. Maybe someone can talk the National folks into adopting something else.
    M.W.

  • http://www.reformthelp.org Carl

    A few notes on what happened.

    1. The LRC was not the only reform movement involved. We provided the extra push to get done things that many others wanted done. I never would have launched the LRC if I thought we had to do it alone. Starting another party would have been easier and more honorable.

    2. Zero dues was not the position of all reformers. I am adamantly against and have always been so. The party should be run by those who support it. $25 is less than five hours at minimum wage. If you won’t give five hours of work for the party, you shouldn’t be making its decisions.

    2a. The bylaws committee DID make the clarification between “member” and “sustaining member.” Using different words for general party member and those who are the “shareholders” in LNC Inc. is an important distinction.

    3. Unless I missed something, the national campaign platform is no longer part of the bylaws. Therefore the 2004 platform is not our national campaign platform. Sorry Tom.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Most of the stuff on that page is not proof of anything – things that don’t imply a conspiracy. And why would the government admit to the things that may be coincidental if they were truly guilty of committing the attacks? That’s just stupid! Some fighter jets that were moving to Alaska or a few dudes who thought they “heard” a missile at the Pentagon doesn’t mean anything. The multiple explosions could have been compressed air exploding because of the fire. This is a waste of time.

    Also, Somaliland considers itself an independent country and does indeed have a government, thus I think you would not find it to your liking. I learn something new every day. Probably Mogadishu would be your best bet.

  • paulie

    Nick, were in the wrong thread about this. I’ll talk to you about that some other time. Although talking to you is probably a waste of time, maybe someone reading will learn something. Mogadishu is not to my liking.

  • David Tomlin

    When I see an assertion like ‘The World Trade Center was the first steel building to collapse from fire damage in history’, with no source, I call it drivel.

    I’m not saying it’s not true, since for all I know it could be, though it seems unlikely. By why should I believe it, or waste time on an anonymous author who expects me to take his word for such things?

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Nick, Mogadishu has a government now- an Islamic fundamentalist government.

    Proof of what I’ve said for years: anarchy will always collapse into tyranny.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Of course – scare the masses into paying the local mob leader dues, run the block, set the rules, suddenly anarchism starts to look like government not made through any guise of democracy or providing any legal protection.

    I’ve always said that anarchism can’t ever exist in practice – it is just government by whoever can control the biggest guns. The left anarchists are less rational, because they think that everyone will voluntarily give up their guns and live in collective harmony, ignoring the fact that they would then be even more likely targets for outside mobs and foreign armies.

    At least the LP is theoretically no longer anarchistic!

  • David Tomlin

    ‘Proof of what I’ve said for years: anarchy will always collapse into tyranny.’

    For centuries that was the conventional wisdom about democracy.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    David: True- all governments eventually revert to or fall to tyranny, left long enough.

    To be a bit clearer about my thought: anarchy leads directly, swiftly, and immediately to tyranny; greed abhors a vacuum.

  • Michael H. Wilson

    Nick Wilson and Carl Milstead since you are still about will you please explain what you mean with the following from the LRC platform “And when it comes to the world wide military commitments what does this quote mean; ” reducing the overextension of our troops through strategic placement to respond to attacks and threats, and using diplomacy where possible to avoid the necessity of military action.”

    Do you intend for U.S. troops to remain abroad?
    Thank you,
    M.H.W.

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

    I have zero problem with the concept of sustaining member, as long as there remains an avenue to join the LP with a no dues option. There must be no *institutional* barrier to party support for rank and file.

    Those that seek a greater level of party involvement should pony up some money.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    I’ll be glad to explain, but let me clarify first: there is no LRC “platform,” only a platform I submitted for review that the LRC should propose as a replacement in full to the current LP platform. It did not happen, but may be used in the future for alternative planks.

    In my proposal, I was indeed suggesting that we keep troops abroad, in strategic locations. In the event the US is attacked, we should be able to respond in no more than a day. We can do this by centering our troops in friendly countries in various strategic areas. While I would say we don’t really need troops in South America and Europe, I think keeping troops specifically in Japan (to watch North Korea and China) and Kuwait (to cover operations in the Middle East), and maybe a friendly location in Central Africa is a good idea as well, as long as the country wants and agrees to it. That said, I also say in my proposal that the military is overutilized and is stretched too thin. We do not need to be the world’s (cont

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    MHW: It’s an incremental step and a compromise with those who favor fighting the war on terrorism. Bring home SOME troops now, find ways to end our current commitments and bring home the rest as we can.

    I can’t speak for Carl or Nick. My personal preference would be to bail out of Iraq ASAP; pour every groundpounder we can into Afghanistan and Pakistan, ferret out ben Laden and the Taliban leadership, then bail out of THAT war too; secure rights to share -foreign- naval stations and air bases with friendly powers for rapid response in case of attack by a foreign power; and, these things done, barring any new (and genuine) emergency in the meantime, bring the whole army home.

    I’d also renounce for all time the principle of “pre-emptive self-defense” and the use of military force to protect commercial interests, to make future entanglements less likely.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    policemen, but we do need a strategic defensive response plan in the event of an attack. This is one area in which isolationist tactics fail miserably. I agree that our overinvolvement has exacerbated our relations with the world, and I think we should withdraw troops from Iraq, put them back in Afghanistan, and continue to look for Al Qaeda while being ready in case Iran action becomes undeniably necessary. Just because our overinvolvement has hurt the US does not mean that it is a good idea to station the entire military domestically. Typical libertarian logic, like saying the public school system is flawed, so the solution is to ban it. The thing is, vouchers makes more sense as a current solution and is far more politically viable. In the same circumstance, remove our military from the 140 countries, center it in about 10 strategic countries, and mostly let the rest of the world do its thing. Military response is crucial to national defense, so it is constitutionally sound policy.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    I agree mostly, Kris, but I would argue there are certain cases where pre-emptive defensive action is necessary, such as if Iran or N. Korea arm their weapons and seriously threaten to wipe us off the face of the planet. I would rather bomb the hell out of Kim Jong Il’s house, take out the defense headquarters and destroy the weapons makers than wait for them to launch the missiles before we do anything. On the other hand, the war in Iraq never had a case for pre-emptive action, and that was always obvious.

  • David Tomlin

    > Nick Wilson: This is one area in which isolationist tactics fail miserably.

    David Tomlin: Right. I’ve heard about that terrorist campaign that’s been devastating Switzerland.

  • David Tomlin

    >Kris Overstreet: . . . pour every groundpounder we can into Afghanistan and Pakistan . . .

    David Tomlin: Are you assuming the Pakistani government will consent to that, or are you talking about an invasion?

    I assume you know the Pakistanis have nukes.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Switzerland has had that policy from the beginning. It is too late for the US to “take back” 100 years of military expansionism, say “we made a few boo boos” and expect all wounds to be healed, especially if we are considering cutting all foreign aid, which won’t make us many friends either.

    Furthermore, I think the terrorists are afraid of the Swiss army, with their knives and compulsory national service…

  • http://www.pnar.org/ Tom Blanton

    I can’t for the life of me understand how having troops stationed around the world helps if America is attacked. It would make more sense to have troops in America working on defense.

    If we should pre-emptively attack Iran and/or North Korea if they “threaten to wipe us off the face of the planet” (absurd as that is), shouldn’t we have gone to war with the USSR and shouldn’t we attack China immediately since they have threatened to nuke us and they actually have nukes?

    Contrary to what the war party wants you to believe, the rest of the world is not run by “madmen” willing to risk destroying their own nation by lobbing a bomb at America.

    All this talk about preventive war against Iran, who can only enrich uranium to 3% and is years away from even having a nuke, is insane.

    North Korea may have nukes but has never even tested them. If anything the attitude of the US only serves to inspire other nations to acquire WMD.

    This rabid paranoia has no place in the LP.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    I doubt it is just the “war party” – maybe you don’t read headlines, or maybe you think the news is just bogus, but Iran’s president did threaten to start a nuclear war last week, and N. Korea just tried to launch a missile that in a few years may be able to reach America. The issue is countries where mutual deterrence is irrelevant because they are run by religious lunatics (Iran) or by pure stark raving lunatics (North Korea). To expect them to care about mutually assured destruction, like the USSR and China, is asking a lot.

    It makes perfect sense to have the military situated strategically to respond in the event of an attack. To have to move a whole operation suddenly from the US to, say, Iran, would be more expensive and the response time would not be as fast as if we had units already stationed in Kuwait, ready to respond.

    Nonetheless, this is not really much of a debate to have on this thread – I think there are more appropriate forums.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    Last comment: it’s not rabid paranoia – it is simply smart defensive strategy.

  • David Tomlin

    Nick Wilson: ‘I doubt it is just the “war party” – maybe you don’t read headlines, or maybe you think the news is just bogus, but Iran’s president did threaten to start a nuclear war last week . . .’

    David Tomlin: I must confess this is the first I’ve heard of this. Some googling didn’t turn up anything. Would you care to give us a cite?

    You are likely to get a bogus impression of the news if you only read headlines. I have often found, upon reading an article, that the headline gave a misleading impression or was just flat wrong.

    There’s been a lot of bogus news about Iran lately. Did you catch the yellow star story?

    If you’ve read much history, particularly of periods just before nations go to war, you should recognize the kind of hysteria campaign currently being directed against Iran.

    Whatever Ahmadinejad actually said, it is almost certainly being exaggerated and distorted as part of this campaign.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    I was mistaken – I meant North Korea. And that was in the event of a pre-emptive attack, which I do not believe should happen if it can be avoided. I feel like the US is taking the right course of action on N. Korea and Iran by pushing negotiations and diplomacy. That’s why I am not necessarily paranoid about them; I do believe that they are bigger threats than any other country at this point, but I do not support attacking them unless a very real and very immediate threat takes place. We have not reached that point, and thus should not be militarily entangled if we can. However, I still think stationing troops nearby is a deterrent and a precaution that is a good defensive military policy.

    I’m tired and have barely gotten any sleep the past few days…I think I’ll call it a night.

  • Stuart Richards

    I think the entire Party could use a little R&R at this point.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    “I can’t for the life of me understand how having troops stationed around the world helps if America is attacked. It would make more sense to have troops in America working on defense.”

    It’s called fighting the war on the enemy’s real estate. We are highly unlikely to be attacked by Canada or Mexico, which means that if and when we are attacked we need to send our armies thousands of miles to reach our attackers. Bombing campaigns are NOT sufficient.

    My view, however, is that naval and air bases are sufficient for this purpose. There’s no need to station ground troops permanently in other nations.

    As for Pakistan, we’d have to buy our way in there- but as things stand we cannot end the war in Afghanistan without the ability to put troops on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border. The only hope we have of capturing those who ordered and masterminded 9/11 is to surround and capture them- and we can’t do that with the Pakistani border in its current porous state.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    When I say “permanently stationed” I mean obviously setting up bases in a few strategically located and friendly countries, with their consent, of course. Countries like Kuwait asked for our protection and reciprocally gave us a strategic base.

    I’m really not a hawk, I swear. I loathe war and think it should be very rare and only when very necessary. I think by getting out of most countries we are currently engaged in, we stand a better chance at friendlier relations with the world. I just think we need a more realistic defense plan than isolationism.

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

    Nick,

    The problem with “permanently stationed” troops overseas is that even if the “host government” willingly permits it, there’s still the problem of whether or not the populace agrees. American boots on the ground overseas can cause discontent and problems even with “host government agreemeent.” You’ll note that the Saudis agreed to a continued US troop presence after Gulf War I, and that that troop presence, not withstanding the monarchy’s acceptance of it, provided a casus belli for al Qaeda. Even if we assume that they would have found one anyway, the US presence allowed them to curry popular support that they otherwise would have had a hard time getting.

    Now — I’m an old jarhead, and I agree that the US needs to be able to project force over the horizon and, if attacked, “take the fight to the enemy’s ground.” But things have changed since World War II. A modern Carrier Battle Group allegedly disposes of more firepower than was expended by all sides (cont’d)

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

    (cont’d from comment 261) in that war, and can operate independently of forward bases for months.

    Would forward bases with US troops stationed on foreign soil make projecting force into an attacker’s part of the world easier? Yeah, sure. But there are tradeoffs.

    Forward bases are more expensive to maintain than domestic bases, and more of the money goes into foreign economies rather than back into American taxpayers’ pockets (directly, at least — yes, I’m aware that dollars clear back into the US market eventually).

    Forward bases have more potential to create or encourage new enemies than domestic bases — or, to put a finer point on it, while lack of forward bases may make war more expensive, the existence of forward bases makes war more LIKELY. A war you don’t have is by definition not as expensive as one you do have.

    The US government should save the money spent on forward bases, and in so doing decrease the risk that those forward bases will be NEEDED.

  • David Tomlin

    Well said, Tom. (#261-262)

    Regarding ‘buy our way in’ to Pakistan (Kris Overstreet, # 259), there’s a problem. It would be very unpopular with Pakistanis, both the general population and factions, Islamist and probably others, in the military and intelligence services, who have the power to take immediate action. For a Pakistani president to take the bribe could be suicide, politically and quite likely literally. Consent might not be available at any price.

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    First, Tom, I’m glad we can respectfully disagree on strategy without having to call each other names. If more Libertarians had your tact, we might actually be able to sit down and talk about things realistically. You bring good points to the table, and I will concede that some are true. However, although I agree with your points about the bases having the potential to make more enemies among the locals, I would say in countries like Kuwait and Japan, the conditions are relatively favorable towards our presence. From what I have read Kuwait mostly likes having our support in such a volatile region. I also point to the recent democratic elections in which women can now vote as a sign that perhaps US presence has brought around good things for its people. Japan became an economic superpower partially because of our postwar occupation and economic planning. While many believe it is time for Japan to raise its own military again and that should be allowed to happen, I don’t know of (cont’d

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    many Japanese arguing for getting rid of the currently remaining US troops. That’s one thing I am interested in finding out about when I go live there for four months. To clarify, I don’t think bases should be “permanent” but if we are in a good situation with a good relationship with the government and the people, in a strategic location to problem regions, setting up a base for defensive response forces should be considered. If conditions change, we should change our strategy. That’s the reality of foreign affairs and military planning. If we cut our foreign operations to the minimal necessary, we can minimize the probability of making people angry (and costs), while maximizing our probability of being able to respond quickly when we have no choice. This is the balance I think we should try to attain.

  • David Tomlin

    >Nick Wilson: Japan became an economic superpower partially because of our postwar occupation and economic planning.

    David Tomlin: That’s the sort of thing that’s taught in public schools.

    In both Germany and Japan, American occupation authorities continued wartime economic controls and sometimes added more controls. Japan was also isolated from its former trading partners. The result was poor economic performance in both countries, and in Japan there was widespread starvation.

  • Michael H. Wilson

    Nick Wilson :” I would say in countries like Kuwait and Japan, the conditions are relatively favorable towards our presence.” That may be true of Kuwait but Kuwait is a kingdom and why are American dollars being spent to prop up a kingdom. Prior to the 1st Gulf War Iraq had a complaint about Kuwait drilling in Iraqi oil fields at the gulf. The U.N. refused to hear the complaint. It is worth noting that the present Iraqi government has filled the a similar complaint.
    You list Iran as a potential problem, but why? Are you ignoring the work by the CIA and the Brits in 1953 which resulted in the over throw of an elected government?
    On Okinawa there are regular demostration against the American bases. In So Korea there is the same.
    Much of the animosity towrds the U.S. can be described as a result of “blowback”.
    One thing for sure is that this is not going to be solved here. We need a larger format to discuss this issue.
    M.H.W.

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

    The claim that Iran’s President threatened to start a nuclear war is bogus. The position of the Iranian government is that nuclear weapons are immoral and it is not allowable for the Iranian government to possess them–and they don’t–so they are unlikely to start a nuclear war.

    For those of you who would like a more deeply threaded discussion, in which you can all write your own diaries on which other people can comment, I invite you all to visit Liberty for America The Web site
    http://www.LibertyForAmerica.NET

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    I feel like I have been very unclear in my feelings on this issue, so let me better explain. The US is very wrong to overthow democratically elected governments, even if they threaten our “economic interests” like Hugo Chavez. They have the right to sovreignty on their own turf. If Japan, South Korea and Kuwait do not want our presence, they should be able to tell us to leave, and we should respect their wishes. My base strategy was only in a case where both countries mutually benefit and agree with our presence there. At the same time, we should cut our international military operations from all but the base countries and countries where we are engaged for a valid defense purpose (like Afghanistan). Furthermore, I believe N. Korea and Iran have the right to own WMDs. I laugh when the cover story in the news is “US condemns N. Korea missile launch,” and the inside cover is “US tidying up nuclear arsenal.” But we must take real threats seriously, and must not be blackmailed into paying

  • http://Reformthelp.org Nick Wilson

    N. Korea millions of dollars or else Kim will press the button. The fact that we have already angered the world by our military operations must be factored in to any future military strategy, and withdrawing all our forces from everywhere may only increase our likelihood of being attacked because we allow our enemies to thrive, and in the event of an attack we will be unable to respond immediately.

  • John

    Nick Wilson, from what I have read of your posts, you belong in the Republican Party, or as was stated about another, are you just trying to be a big fish in a small pond?

  • http://www.ethmar.com Ethan

    I’m late to this conversation, but ironically I just wrote an article examining some of the LP planks (pre-convention) and giving my “take” on them as a non-Libertarian. Interested parties may read it here.

    I am trying to find something that explains what the new platform is. Perhaps elsewhere on this site? I’ll keep looking. Thanks!

  • http://FreedomsPhoenix.com Fascist Nation

    The pragmatists have won ”” for now. They are in charge. So we will see what they do implementing their vision for the LP in the next two years. Compromise, moderation and appeasement have always worked so well to deliver freedom and liberty from government.

    2008 will be exciting, I am sure. I cannot wait for the excuses. ["The plank," "we are broke," "the platform," "harsh purists," whhaaaaa!!!!]

    Powell
    Freedom’s Phoenix

  • http://fortbendlp.org K Tunstall

    Ethan, I liked your article. I may disagree with some of your points and perhaps could debate certain issues in the future. However, your points thoughtful are articulated quite well.