If you’re a stickler for purist libertarian philosophy, please don’t read this as it’s likely to piss you off. If you’re a right-leaning libertarian, ditto.
Wednesday afternoon, I had lunch with three bloggers: Blue Gal (personal site, DailyKos), Bitter Old Punk (BOP isn’t all that old), and Loretta Nall ( , , USMJ blog, other activities). Generally, my mainstream political activities require me to be around pretenders with corn cobs temporarily shoved up their asses (at least while they are in the public eye) or around non-mainstream libertarians — who tend to be nerdish, withdrawn and philosophical (I resemble that remark). Even though the table tilted to the left a bit, it was very refreshing to sit and discuss things of a political nature with relatively normal, but very bright, people.
Loretta has been described as a left-leaning libertarian, but I’ve known her for years and don’t find this to be the case. She’s what I’d call a populist libertarian — a point which Bitter Old Punk made on his blog. BOP, as he explains in the same entry, is leery of Libertarians. In conversation, he seemed (to use libertarian Nolan Chart terminology) to be socially liberal and economically liberal-to-moderate. Blue supported Dean for president, then had Nader signs in her yard sometime after Dean crashed and burned. She described her hubby as a libertarian law professor who is active in the ACLU. Another party was to meet us. Due to a scheduling conflict, he missed the meeting. Because I’ve known him for years, I know he’s sympathetic to marijuana-related issues.
Lunch was great. I had the stuffed grouper. The crab and shrimp stuffing combined with the creamy sauce was superior to the fish. But the meal isn’t the point. We all seemed to enjoy the trivial chit-chat that accompanies such a meal (and glass of wine — which I rarely drink before evening). This isn’t the point, either.
The point is that all of us were there because we supported a political candidate. While I’m very used to sitting with supporters for Libertarian candidates, I’m not used to (Russo campaign notwithstanding) them all being non-libertarian. I should be.
When I’m sitting in a similar setting with a Republican or Democratic client, there is always a diversity of political opinion. While libertarians may debate comparatively trivial issues infinitum, we pretty much (from the outside of the movement perspective) march in lockstep.
There’s something about Loretta Nall about which we all should learn: Appealing to normal people. She tends to upset the status quo in the MSM, political circles and even within the Libertarian Party. Like Ed Thompson and Aaron Russo, she says what she thinks as opposed to what she’s “supposed to say”. And people respond to it.
To be quite honest, I don’t think Loretta will win. She’s got to face perhaps the toughest ballot access barrier in the county and has little time remaining to get on the ballot. The Alabama Secretary of State just rejected 3/4 of the petitions we just turned in for help her right now is a lot of money coming in really quickly.— something which has never happened before locally. As we all know, Loretta’s getting DPed (against her will) by Democrats and Republicans with laws which are intended to keep her off the ballot. The only thing that can
Back to my point, though. Libertarians are great on philosophy, but often suck at developing a coalition of supporters who may not share all of the same philosophical convictions. It’s my view that we need more populist Libertarians if we ever hope for any electoral success. To borrow from our masthead — common sense shove up your elipsis.
While my libertarian/political rant is concluded, if you’e interested in the well-written view of a peaceful person who was busted on a weed charge, check BOP out. Here’s the teaser:
Part of my sentence was to undergo counseling and drug testing. I was also mandated to attend 36 AA/NA meetings. “Counseling” consists of sitting around in an uncomfortable circle with a group of men and women whose lives have fallen into various states of disrepair. Each session is an exercise in futility, as we try and repeatedly fail to convince the group moderator that we’re all better now, having found Jeebus and admitted we were powerless over [insert something fun here].
Being neither powerless, nor addicted, nor enamored of Jeebus, I am not proving to be the most compliant group member. From what I’ve gathered so far, the line for expressing one’s feelings honestly and openly (which we are repeatedly encouraged to do by our Care Bear Inquisitors) ends well before “this is Kafkaesque bullshit” and “how can the state legally make me attend quasi-Christian cult meetings?
If you prefer extreme (somewhat libertarian, but mostly progressive) rants filled with panty pics, here’s your site.
As I’m traveling this weekend, I’ve pre-posted this. Hopefully, I’ve already checked out of my Baltimore (Inner Harbor) hotel and have arrived in DC. If the gods have favored my journey (and I correctly figgered the nuances of Day Light Savings Time combined with swapping time zones), I’m checking into a hotel in Old Town, Alexandria about right now.
Rock on and peace-out.