LP Releases New Platform Details

Stephen Gordon gave me the heads up that the LP has updated the platform page and issued a press release to reflect their job of promoting the Libertarian Party after the recent upheaval at the 2006 Convention:

The Libertarian Party Statement of Principles is the guiding philosophy behind the platform. While the platform has been trimmed, the guiding principles behind it remain unmodified. What hasn’t changed is that the Libertarian Party still favors smaller government, fewer taxes and more freedom.

“To understand this move by the delegates, you have to have a clear understanding of what the platform is and what impact it has on our candidates, elected officials and the party as a whole,” said Shane Cory, the Libertarian Party’s executive director. “What has changed is the level of detail we provide in our policy statements as described within the body of the platform.”

I think everyone should look at the platform from this fresh new approach: pretend you’ve never heard of the LP before today. This is because most people have in fact never heard of us and this is a great starting ground to get those people to move from their own party where they have been let down to the LP which is still principled but focusing on fewer issues.

I commend them on turning this whole thing into a positive item instead of stirring up the debates. Not that it will stop both sides from fighting over it ad nauseum.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. You got your principles in my platform!
    No, you got your platform despite my principles!

    Hey, these taste great together!

    Reese’s Libertarian Cups! Two great tastes in one!

  2. The new platform isn’t too bad, is it? I think I noticed some changes in the national debt and immigration sections.

    That “omnipotent state” line needs to go sometime, though, especially because it’s right at the beginning!

  3. Just to throw a bit of gas on the fire. I think it would help to stop labelling people and trying to pigeonhole them based on what someone thinks they are.

  4. I have never figured out why the platform needed to be so large anyway. I think they should ditch the whole damn thing… it does nothing but turn people off anyway. A simple, but effective statement of principles works for me.

    Oh and get rid of the retarded pledge.

    And while I am at it, did I hear something about them re-instating dues? Correct me if I am wrong, but if they did, that has to be the dumbest friggin move ever!

    On a related note, do state chapters have to change their platforms to conform? If not, then who cares what the national platform is?

  5. I am not a “moderate” libertarian by any means — and I was a bit upset at the recent changes in the LP platform. I have actually been sweating and nervous lately because I was afraid serious changes in the LP were imminent.

    However, after reading the new LP platform, I must say that I am satisfied. I don’t see much, if any, relaxation of the spirit and principles of the LP in the new text. I think that my fear was warranted, but I am relieved with the outcome (so far).

    I am also pleased that the statement of principles and the pledge of the party both remain intact. It is true that most issue positions can be derived from the principles, but some people (who do not know about the LP) may not be able to fill in the blanks. (This is why I favored a larger platform, so that the average person could know where we stand on their pet issue.)

    But I think the bulk of the most important issues concerning libertarians are still well represented. I hope 2008 won’t bring further nailbiting…

  6. Looking at the platform as if I’d never heard of the LP, the first thing that leaps out is that the only issue listed under ‘foreign affairs’ is ‘immigration’.

    That’s also the first thing that leaps out if I look at the platform as if I have heard of the LP. Doesn’t make that much difference.

  7. Followup: Okay, I lied a little bit. The new position on immigration (way down there at the bottom) has me concerned. The real libertarian solution has been marginalized to a significant degree. The party is no longer “open borders”.

    Of course the issue of immigration is ultimately and intricately connected to the issue of welfare. End all welfare programs, then we are free to open our borders. That is the true solution to the immigration problem. Can we no longer say that?

    The text now sounds like, “We should open our borders, but in a very closed, restricted way…” Does this remind you of any other parties out there? :-P


    Well, I guess immigration is a pretty heated topic right now. I hope some day the party can return to a purely libertarian answer. Here’s to hoping to a better future for the LP with the deal with the devil we’ve made. :-P (I am speaking in fun.. don’t fret.)

  8. Mike that essay is a load of crap. I just feel so angry and/or depressed reading that, what a crock.

  9. Never change the Statement of Principles and I’m cool.

    Not a single thing in there needs to change, and then who cares what they do with the Platform?

  10. The biggest error that keeps being repeated in “opposition” to the events is that somehow the PRC is full of Republican infiltrators or “neo” libertarians. The exact reverse is true.

    I know Carl well enough I think to say that his positions tend much stronger towards the left libertarian quadrant, and mine does as well. You would NEVER hear a so called “Republican-lite” person argue against corporate personhood, and desire the LP make corporate/government collusion/corruption it’s number 2 priority. Republicans love nothing so much as subjugating individual liberty in the name of Jesus or the company.

    A simple reading of the written material out there from myself or from the LRC website pretty much tells everyone what we think about anything. Just go look it up, and see how much Republicanism you see.

    I will admit that I am a big fan of Goldwater, but he Republican Party of that era is totally gone – which creates a huge political hole that he LP is qualified to fill in 2008.

  11. I’d like to get rid of the ‘cult’ language, but other than that, I have no problem with the SoP. I could live with it as is just fine. It’s not a significant factor in reducing support that I have ever seen.

  12. Cult of the omnipotent state should stay for sure. It is an absolutely critical and profound necessity as far as I am concerned. I’m even trying to get it into the Boston Tea Party, which is focused on brevity, despite the fact that adding it would dimish brevity!

  13. I see two major errors in the Samuels article. The attempt to abolish the pledge didn’t ‘barely’ fail. It needed a 2/3 supermajority. My understanding is the vote was about even, so abolition fell way short of passing.

    The ‘reformers’ welcome recruits from all directions, and I’ve never seen anything to suggest they ‘specifically’ expect to recruit from the Constitution Party. That’s a curious charge to come from the Rockwellites, who for the most part are themselves religious/social/cultural conservatives.

    Other than that, it seems to me to be a fairly accurate description of the reform movement. How is it ‘a load of crap’?

  14. For example, one might recruit from the Constitution Party people who actually know something about the Constitution and agree with it (to balance people we have who think the President can declare state laws unconstitutional) and who are horrified to discover that the so-called Constitution Party is actually a party of the remote religious right.

  15. If you take the Constitution Party platform and drop three planks, the one on abortion, the one on privatizing education, and the one about demanding the return of the Panama Canal, I think you’d have something many ‘reformers’ would be proud of. I think most would prefer it to the 2006 LP platform.

  16. For the record, I LIKE the cult of the omnipotent state language.

    Suggested pledge:

    “I pledge to challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.”

    This is a pledge I can proudly state. It is not inherently anarchistic. It poetically states that the state is not a higher moral being or a manifestation of the general will; it is an unpleasant moral trade-off. It’s either taxes to the government or dealing with blood feuds and warlords.

    We can debate which is worse AFTER we cut out the parts of government which are clearly not necessary for civil order and national defense.

  17. I dont know about what reformers want in total ( as if we are a monolith of some kind that only have one opinion ) but mine is that simply calling for education privatization is politically impossible to implement unless you do other things first that lead to that.

    Calling for the removal of NCLB as a intrusion into the local elected authority of school boards is the first step. It get most local government on your side, the teachers on your side, and removes washingon power to control n money.

    A win on this is possible. after a few years concerted effort by the LP and others, it can happen. Simply calling for seperation of school and state…hasnt happened so far….

  18. I commend them on turning this whole thing into a positive item instead of stirring up the debates. Not that it will stop both sides from fighting over it ad nauseum.

    I think now that tempers have cooled, the conversation (at least on this site) has been more concilliatory and constructive over the past week or so. I also think you’re a little disappointed by that, and keep throwing in remarks like this in an attempt to fan dying flames.

    I think the platform is better as a light-n-lean document, reflecting what the Party feels should be the national priorites for the next Congressional/Presidential term, rather than something bloated and ridgid that only changes every couple of decades. I’m sure that some planks will be modified and added back in ’08, but I hope the delegates don’t go in with a mandate to bring us back to the 60+ plank level just for the sake of being there.


  19. My attitude toward the “pledge” differs from most LRC-sympathizers, I’m fine with it. It’s kind of ironic given that I’m lobbying to have the Georgia state party change the verbiage on its membership form… they refer to it as “swearing an oath”, rather than the national LP’s “certifying a statement”, which causes problems for some religious groups. However, I have no problem at all with the pledge statement itself. Perhaps that’s because I DON’T share the interpretation that all taxation is force, but that’s another blog for another day.

    I agree that the phrase “challenge the cult of the omnipotent state” in the full-length Statement of Principles is gratuitously nutty… but I wouldn’t change anything in that section, and it wouldn’t REALLY bother me much if that kook phrase stayed forever.

  20. “… if that kook phrase …”

    What makes it a “kook phrase” and “gratuitously nutty”?

    Words themselves cannot be “nutty” or “kooky”, only the ideas that the words represent. And I assume you do not consider the idea nutty.

    My guess is that you think other people are turned off by the use of the word “cult”. Or that “regular people” cannot quite grasp the meaning. If that is the case, then like many Libertarians, I think you underestimate the intelligence of a majority of Americans.

  21. Ditto to Carl and Devious David. “Cult of the Omnipotent State” rings even more true today than thirty some years ago when Rothbard and Evers and Childs composed it. It ain’t wishy-washy while at the same time being a big enough “tent” to satisfy anarchos, minarchists, and libertarian leaning Goldwater conservatives.

  22. It’s not a big deal for me. I would prefer it gone, but I’m not going to worry about it. There are much larger institutional problems to worry about.

  23. I’m a fairly radical libertarian myself, and my immediate reaction to ‘cult of the omnipotent state’ is ‘what the hell is that about?’

  24. “Cult of the Omnipotent State” must stay! Who among us hasn’t been raised to believe that Lincoln was a hero for his unconstitutional oppression of the seceding states, as we recited loyalty oaths every morning at school?

  25. On further review … the play stands! Have to admit I initially thought all those platform planks dying was a bad thing, and would destroy what was left of the LP. Now, looking at what is still there, I see the principles intact (in Preamble, SOP and section intros) even where there is no longer a specific stance on an issue. With the exception of the somewhat diluted (I am being kind here) stance on Immigration, which I expect will please nobody, it doesn’t look nearly as bad as I expected. (However, the fact that the only plank showing under that Foreign Policy section is that flawed Immigration thing … kinda throws the balance off. In an ideal world, we might have rejected that one as well, so it didn’t stick out so much!)

    I agree with several others here, that if we didn’t know what used to be there, we would really have few complaints about what still is!

  26. “I pledge to challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.”

    Sorry Carl, but I have to play devil’s advocate. :)

    Would you defend the right of the individual to quit paying all taxes starting tomorrow?

  27. Hey guys, like I said… that phrase is a relatively minor nitpick in the grand scheme of things, and I don’t really care one way or the other if it ever changes.

    As for “words vs. ideas” and “the intelligence of Americans”… my litmus test for any verbiage imagining the reaction of my parents or grandfather. It doesn’t matter if they would agree with the statement or disagree with the statement, so long as they “get” the statement it was well-phrased. However, the reaction to “cult” and “omnipotent state” would be “huh?”… it simply fails the “Grandpa Test”. It’s great for pumping up political philosophy geeks though, and I can compromise enough to be cool with that.

  28. R.E. Lee,

    I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Rothbard, Evers and Childs got the phrase “cult of the omnipotent state” from Kropotkin (Pete, not Lucy).

    Wherever it comes from, it should stay right where it is — in the LP’s Statemetn of Principles.

  29. How about replacing “cult” with “myth”?

    “We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the myth of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.”

    It drops the controversial “cult” word for those who are uncomfortable with it, while arguably strengthening the meaning what Rothbard et al intended.

    Wouldn’t almost all (or at least 7/8ths ;-) of Libertarian Party national convention attendees agree that the idea of the omnipotent state is a myth?

    Aren’t we about debunking statist myths?

    And who are the identifiable members of this supposed cult, anyway?

  30. Presumably totalitarians such as Joseph Stalin and William F. Buckley, Jr. (and yes, he is one — he said so himself) would qualify as previous or present “identifiable members of the cult of the omnipotent state.”

  31. “while arguably strengthening the meaning what Rothbard et al intended.”

    Not really. There is a big difference between the terms “cult” and “myth”. The LP isn’t just challenging the idea of omnipotent government, but the people who subscribe to that idea and implement policy based on it.

    Implying that Republicans and Democrats are in essence members of a cult is also good marketing. For evidence of that, look at the titles of Ann Coulter’s books and the units she sold. The same goes for Al Franken. And also remember that probably most Americans are neither R or D.

    “And who are the identifiable members of this supposed cult, anyway?”

    Ask: “Do you believe the government knows better about how you should live your life?” Those who say yes are part of the cult.

    All that said, I wouldn’t cry if the language was tossed. I just wouldn’t understand why when it is such an eloquent summary of what the LP is about.

  32. I like the platform much better now. The one change I would have liked to have seen would have been to left a plank about foreign intervention/war etc., especially since that is a very big issue right now.

    My biggest problem with “omnipotent” is that the general voter doesn’t have a clue as to what that word means. To most it might mean that someone has a sexual problem or something. What we need is to keep the meaning of the word using words that nearly everyone can understand. Keep it simple.

    IMO the word “cult” isn’t as bad but again we should try to use other words that convey the same message that may be a little simpler to understand.

    We need to be reaching out to the general voter and using terms that they can understand easily.

  33. “My biggest problem with “omnipotent” is that the general voter doesn’t have a clue as to what that word means.”

    See my earlier post. The “general voter” is a lot smarter than you think. And continually insulting the intelligence of average voters tends to piss them off.

    Go outside and find ten people. As them if they know what that word means. You may be surprised.

  34. It’s “nutty” by how folks parse it. Note I said parse, not read. Primarily because if someone does look to the platform they see that specific language right up front and unless you really think about what is being said it comes off as some kind of insult. In other words seeing that statement in that way tends to make potential Libertarians feel uncomfortabel right up front, thereby coloring their view of anything else they read. The statement may well be true, but when you consider that we are effectively talking about the American Government then people read it as saying our current government is a cult. Cult being a word that has negative religious connotation instantly parses as “You who are not yet a libertarian must, perforce, be a cult member worshiping at the alter of that nutty American Government”.

  35. (cont. from #37)
    Now you can argue that it doesn’t actually state that all you want, but it’s not a question of what the phrase actually states, but how folks tend to read the statement at first. You may say folks won’t or don’t read it that way, but I can tell you first hand that many folks I’ve spoken with do, indeed, read it in a way that makes them think, on first glance, that the phrase is “kooky”. At the very least it appears to be “geekspeak” and isn’t the intent of the platform outreach? We want to turn people ON to libertarian principle, not turn them off to it. First impressions are everything, after all. ;)

    And that is why I think the language just isn’t the right language to use.

  36. I agree TerryP about the foreign interventionism plank, that’s one of the ones I would like to have seen left in. Hopefully a consensus plank about non-interventionism will be adopted in ’08. Is the Boortz “neolibertarian” pro-war group a significant factor in LP convention attendance, or are they more “small-L” and not involved in LP platform decisions?

  37. I agree with TerryP that “omnipotent” is the problem, not “cult.” Whether or not 7 out of 10 people know what the word means, 10 out of 10 would understand “all-powerful” or “unlimited” and the clarity would make the phrase far more effective.

    “We challenge the cult of the unlimited state…” or “we challenge the cult of the all-powerful state” says the same exact thing, rolls off the tongue much easier and everyone will know what we are talking about. Picking the most difficult synonym in the thesaurus for “powerful” makes us seem as though we are trying to come off as smarter-than-thou.

  38. I just did the experiment. 10 out of 10 people knew what the word “omnipotent” meant. Of course, I’m on a college campus so my sample is more educated.

  39. Chris, I agree completely that Libertarians tend to underestimate the intellegence of the average American – it makes me angrier than almost anything when Libertarians display a condescending attitude to moderates, calling them “sheep,” “statist” and “stupid” when moderates are mostly just looking for real solutions in a polarized world, and neither party is providing them (in fact, the LP hasn’t either – hopefully that is beginning to change).

    Regardless, it is undeniable that more people will understand “unlimited” or “all-powerful” than “omnipotent” and the phrase will be much clearer with simpler language.

  40. How about just “… challenge the power of the state…”?

    OTOH, I suspect that there is no change that’s will get 7/8 support from the registered delegates, so maybe our time is better spent trying to grow to the point where we can actually shrink the size and power of government.

  41. OK, how about “challenge the cult of the all-powerful state”? Just about any voter looking at that would agree that they were part of the cult and that they were against the all-powerful state too. Love the word “cult” because
    most voters are against cults too. And if you don’t think these state-worshippers are in a cult, look at the kinds of
    nonsense state-worshippers are advocating – see, for instance, Reason’s Hit and Run blog.

  42. I’m glad the platform is as big as it is. The first part says everything that needs to be said for those seeking a quick idea of what the LP is about. The details below that have been enlightening even for me (and I’ve been a fairly committed Libertarian since January 1st of this year), and yet they can easily be ignored by those with little time or patience.

  43. “If the first sentence of the Statement of Principles needs to be explained in this much detail, is it really doing us any good?”

    I don’t think anyone here misunderstands its meaning. We’re arguing over whether “the average voter” would understand it. Not that it truly matters. Mr. Dasbach makes the most important point of them all.

  44. Curry,

    The party is no longer “open borders”.

    Now that I’ve read the plank, it’s not quite that bad. It ends with “Repeal all immigration quotas.” That’s better than what I expected.

  45. now…..was it really as bad as all the vitriol that was expended on it? I had a advance copy before it was published, so I knew what was there…..but a great many of you didnt even see it before the shit hit the fan. And I knew from the anger that many of you hadnt even read it yet.

    Soon as my wife comes back from the store with the magic card, it’s time for me to make another donation to the LP and the LRC.

  46. Frankly I think the discussion of anybody understanding the phrase just has nothing to do with it. Everyone I’ve asked understands what it says, but the problem isn’t WAHT is said, it’s HOW it’s said.

    Think advertising, instead of philosophical treatise.

  47. Quoth Tim:

    “was it really as bad as all the vitriol that was expended on it?”

    Depends on what you’re talking about.

    The damage to the platform wasn’t as terribly bad as it looked before it turned out that the preliminary language to various planks had been kept. It was bad — especially with respect to making it look like the LP was retreating on foreign policy — but it wasn’t quite the disaster it could have been.

    The immigration plank, on the other hand, is much worse than the early reports indicated. Aside from being anti-libertarian, anti-American, anti-reason and anti-[insert every other good thing you can think of here], it’s just flatly internally contradictory. As one commenter on the BTP site points out, the intro supports “the right to unrestricted trade, travel, and immigration,” while the new language does a 180 degree turn in favor of what the intro rejects. Above and beyond its repugnant political character, it’s just plain embarrassing in terms of craftsmanship.

  48. ‘Our borders are currently neither open, closed, nor secure.’

    I’ve never liked the phrase ‘open borders’ because I don’t know that it has a generally understood meaning. This sentence seems odd and confusing, and doesn’t seem to contribute any essential meaning.

    ‘Pandering politicians guarantee access to public services for undocumented aliens . . .’

    I think it’s been mainly activist judges, rather than ‘pandering politicians’, who’ve been to blame for this.

    ‘Documenting the entry of individuals must be restricted to screening for criminal background and threats to public health and national security.’

    This is the key part, I think. I like it, and I think it is perfectly libertarian.

    ‘Once effective immigration policies are in place, general amnesties will no longer be necessary.’

    I don’t see the point of this, unless it’s to appeal to some people’s phobia of the word ‘amnesty’. But such people don’t agree amnesties were ever ‘necessary’, so it seems a lose-lose.


  49. (Continued from #53)

    Missing from the plank is any mention of legalizing the illegal immigrants already in the country.

    ‘End federal requirements that benefits and services be provided to those in the country illegally. Repeal all measures that punish employers for hiring undocumented workers. Repeal all immigration quotas.’

    Strong finish.

    It’s not the plank I would have written, mainly because of some clunky and unnecessary verbiage. I’m content with the substance of it.

    Tom, what’s your problem with it? Weren’t you for ‘shoot on sight’?

  50. David,

    “Tom, what’s your problem with it? Weren’t you for ‘shoot on sight?'”

    Um, no.

    As far as my problems with it go, there’s

    1) The contradiction problem (intro: unrestricted immigration; body: A bunch of restrictions);

    2) The fact that it places the burden of proof on the individual to establish that he’s engaged in legitimate activity, rather than on the state to prove that he’s engaged in illegitimate activity, including an obnoxious demand for “appropriate documentation” (i.e. government ID); and

    3) The fact that it does exactly what it accuses politicans of doing: It panders, in this case to the Know-Nothings, by falsely blaming the failures of “public services” on pressures created by immigration (in fact, the opposite is true — immigrants, especially illegal ones, are net subsidizers, not net beneficiaries, of “social services”).

  51. Kris,

    And your point is? It’s hard for the state to prove I’m a murderer without finding the body in my closet. But to do that, they have to demonstrate probable cause and get a warrant. They don’t get to just randomly search houses on the off-chance that they’ll turn up a murderer.

    With respect to immigration, the US government has been conducting illegal searches for years. Most of those searches have been conducted near the border, but there’s no reason to believe that the dragnet can’t or won’t be expanded.

    Anyone who’s lived in SoCal can tell you about the checkpoints and ID demands. I sat on a bus one time while the border patrol checked everyone‘s ID. They had no probable cause to pull over the bus; they had no probable cause to suspect that anyone on the bus was an illegal alien. How do I know this? Um, because the bus was a US government vehicle full of uniformed Marines.

    Libertarians don’t support that BS. Neither should the LP.

  52. The main objection to the new “reformed” platform I have is that it is too sparse and gives the impression that the LP has no position on a number of issues, not the least of which is the complete gutting of all the planks under Foreign Policy. I have problems with the new immigration plank, including the fact that it was moved from the Individual Rights section to the Foreign Policy section.

    I would like a clarification on what constitutes the statement of principles (SOP) and what are the intentions of the reformers regarding the same.

    Are the principles that are located under each section part of the SOP?

    Does the LRC intend to amend or remove these principles located under each section?

    The reason for my inquiry is that LRC leaders have stated that they do not intend on changing the SOP except for the “omnipotent state” language.

  53. continued..

    The LRC leaders have stated their intention to get rid of the pledge. They have also repeatedly objected to the phrase in the old platform: “(we) support the repeal of all taxation”. LRC members have repeatedly objected to the pledge and that statement as indications that the LP is an anarchist party that repels mainstream voters.

    The principles under the Trade and the Economy section contains the sentence: “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.”

    There are other phrases in the SOP and in the principles listed under the various sections that could easily be interpreted by the LRC to advocate anarchy or so far outside the mainstream that these principles prevent LP candidates from being elected.

    Is it part of the LRC’s strategy (and talking points) to avoid the issue of the SOP now, but make a big deal about it in 2008?

  54. >>David Tomlin: Tom, what’s your problem with it? Weren’t you for ‘shoot on sight?’

    >Tom Knapp: Um, no.

    David Tomlin: My mistake, my apologies.

    I found the Yahoo posts (on LPAZ), and I see I confused your views with those attributed to a third party. I also note, to my embarrassment, that you specifically said you didn’t want to express either agreement or disagreement with them at that time.

    >TK: The fact that it places the burden of proof on the individual . . .

    DT: I’m not sure it does. ‘It is the obligation of the prospective immigrant to demonstrate compliance with these requirements.’ That could mean only that the immigrant is required to notify the authorities that he is in the country, so they can do a background check.


  55. (Continued from #62)

    Deportation would still require a judicial hearing, where the government would have to show that the person falls into one of the threat categories by a preponderance of evidence. (Deportation is considered a civil remedy, not a criminal penalty, and so is subject to the civil standard of proof.)

    >Tom Knapp: . . . including an obnoxious demand for “appropriate documentation” (i.e. government ID)

    David Tomlin: How do you know ‘appropriate documentation’ means ‘government ID’?

    >TK: . . . falsely blaming the failures of “public services” on pressures created by immigration . . .

    DT: It doesn’t say public services have failed, much less blame such failure on anything.

    The phrase ‘increasing the burden on taxpayers’ should be read as meaning ‘relative to immigrants not getting the services’, not as ‘relative to the immigrants being kept out’. That immigrants are ‘are net subsidizers, not net beneficiaries’ under the present system is irrelevant even if true.

  56. The statement of principles was written by John Hospers, a neo-objectivist. That includes the phrase, “cult of the ominipotent state.”

    Rothbard and his disciples opposed the formation of the LP, though they joined up within the first few years.

    The statement of principles was modified at that time, removing an explicit endorsement of limited government as well as replacing the word “capitalism” with “free market.” The changes in the SOP and platfrom at that time (1974) is called “the Dallas accord.”

  57. I favor removing the “cult of the omnipotent state” from the LP statement of principles.

    I beleive that the LP should be challenging the Republicans and Democrats; the conservatives and liberals, the parties and movements that dominate U.S. politics today.

    I don’t believe that “cult of the ominipotent state” effectively communicates a description of those groups. They are too amorphous to be cult-like and none of them advocates complete government control of everything.

    The “cult of the omipotent state” suggests to me a single totalitarian movement. If the LP were organizing in Mao’s China, Stalin’s Russia, or Hitler’s Germany, then there were be a cult-like movement that advocated absolute government control of everything that we would be challenging.

    What we are challenging is an amorphous mess that advocates too much government in too many areas, not a cult of an omnipotent state.

  58. Before 9/11, I would have said that only Communists and Neo-Nazis support an omnipotent state, and the differences between them, and among their various splinters, rule out considering them a single cult.

    Since 9/11, I would say our President and much of his party, though I hope not a majority, appear to favor an omnipotent state, and to be bending every effort to achieve it.

    That the Democrats are so far largely untainted by such sentiments, may be largely due to their being out of power. It is worthy of note that terrorism was used as a pretext for eroding civil liberties by the Clinton administration after the Oklahoma City bombing.

  59. Some alternatives:

    We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the authority of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.


    We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the collective omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.

  60. I don’t believe that Bush or Cheney are totalitarians.

    That doesn’t mean that their abuses of power are unimportant. But it just isn’t the same as what Hitler did to German society or what Mao did to Chinese society.

    The reason I don’t like the “cult of the ominipotent state” language is it suggests just this inability to tell the difference between our rather unfortunate status quo and something like North Korea.

    And, by the way, is our purpose to challenge Cheney’s theory of Presidential powers? Isn’t that just one small part of our purpose?

  61. If I gave the impression that I was arguing for keeping the ‘cult’ language, that wasn’t my intention. I think it should be deleted.

  62. Following up to my post at 32, and the responses to it at 33 and 34, let me rephrase my point differently with this question: Do you think that Rothbard et al opposed the idea of the omnipotent state because it is a myth, or because it is supported by a cult?

    P.S.: Interesting about W.F. Buckley … not that I’m doubting the claim, but I’d love a cite to a source or quote that he supports the idea of an omnipotent state.