Should the LP Stay or Should It Go, Now?

Kevin Tuma wrote an interesting article suggesting what the Libertarian Party might do to implement effective change in a political direction over at The Free Liberal. Here’s a clip:

Despite the fact that libertarianism is actually becoming fashionable enough that people proclaim themeselves to be libertarian without the slightest clue to its meaning..the Libertarian Party continues to fail. It has existed in the body politic for 33 years and has accomplished nothing, because it has never won. One must win to achieve change in the political world. The pseudo-intellectual denizens of the Libertarian party are not at all unaware of this. Worse: They don’t care.

Taking a cue from Turbett’s article, I have to propose an obvious solution.

Solution: Create a new libertarian Third Party that has none of the intellectual baggage embraced by the old. A new party dedicated to getting elected, to embracing real solutions that decrease government authority, and to the goal of ruthlessly seizing power away from the hands of the federal government and turning it back to the citizenry.

Libertarian reaction: Disinterest. Because the old guard and the intellectual nucleus of the Libertarian Party would rather continue the process of being a party of principled losers.

Tuma’s solution is to create a new Libertarian Party. However, I’ve got access to a few pieces of information which give me some hope for the current party. Many of them will be exposed to the public light over the next few months. As I’ve stated before, I’ll give the LP up to November 2008. Additionally, items like today’s news from Indiana continue give me a bit of hope.

  1. ‘it has never won’


    I’ve met elected Libertarians.

    However, I can see where there are natural divisions that could cause splits in the party. I didn’t say if they were good or bad, but they are real splits. I can also see states in which there is no (functional) Libertarian Party to suffer division.

  2. radical fringe groups always become more moderate as they grow in size.

    Just take a look at the early Christians, for example.

    Starting as radical end-of-worlders & who required strict obedience to Jewish laws, St.Paul turned Christianity into the McDonald’s of religions, anybody could join bt declaring faith.

    There’s no reason the Libertarian Party can’t express more practical popular views, while at the same time, hold strongly held theoretical ideals.

    We don’t need two Libertarian Parties at the same time, anyway.

  3. How many thousands of times and thousands of ways have you heard the same thing: “You Libertarians can’t win unless you quit being principled losers and start doing __________.” (whatever they think is necessary to make us exactly like everyone else)

    They suggest we sound like Dems or Repubs until we get into office and then once we have the “power” of office we can make the changes we want.

    Sure- that’ll fix it. Just like the republicans have done- get elected on one philosophy and then blindside their constituency with something that doesn’t resemble what they said they stood for… Does anyone really think that would be a good strategy? How’s that workin’ for ya, GW?

    I for one believe we must hang on to our principles first. I think the republicrats are paving the way for a much more wide acceptance of those principles. OK maybe not as wide acceptance as we want, but lying or covering up or changing our principles won’t help in the long run either.

  4. Some of the more radical LP stances are a poison pill for the public.

    What they see:

    Elimination of all services.
    Cut off social security checks.
    Drugs everywhere.
    The end of education.
    Hospitals closing.
    Corporate control and servitude.

    Some of the details in the LP platform are difficult to stomach. They may sound good on paper, but will they produce a better system, a better life, and more freedom when applied? Is the system sustainable? What if someone wants to opt out?

    The part that bothers me the most is faith that private enterprise, the market, and contracts are the solution for every problem. I cannot accept that someone else will own all the streets and roadways around my house, and will charge a fair price and be responsive to consumer demand.

    Maybe someone else can explain these things to me in a way that makes sense, but the LP website and the ranting and ravings of the devout have have failed to do so.

  5. I just don’t see that the problem is so much the party, but rather the public. And the political system. When you have a public with no incentive and a rigged political system, you are at a significant disadvantage from the get-go.

    Well said, Cato. All the whiners and complainers have this great idea of the compromise that will make the LP win. I guaranteee you that it would fall flat and ruin the party. Because it doesn’t solve the above two problems. Worse, if we combined all these geniuses brilliant winning compromises, we’d be Demobplicans and the part would be utterly pointless.

    There is a difference between being principled and being an absolutist! Are there problems with the way that the party handles things? Of course, they wouldn’t take a free shot on FTL, for god’s sake! That’s just one example. The ideas could be presented better too. So, there is large room for improvement and we should strive to make those improvements.

  6. Both principle and PROPER incrementalism can be embraced. As long as it will consistently decrease government in a sane and responsible manner, then it should be supported. If it is a risky sidestep venture or inconsistent increase in government, then it should be rejected. Thus, anyone that wants less government here and here, but more government there should be rejected as candidates coughBillWeldcough. It seems simple enough to me. Consistently less government – good. Otherwise – bad. Doesn’t that give people plenty of room for incrementalism while upholding (and not DISCREDITING) principle?

  7. “I for one believe we must hang on to our principles first.”

    Shove your principles (in reality ANARCHISTIC PRINCIPLES) up your ass. Going from Anarchy next Wednesday, to switching to a model that more closely represents a following of the Constitution is not compromising any principles. It’s what libertarianism should have always been about, but it got sidetracked by a bunch of zealots like yourself that drove out the only hope the LP had to become a force, CATO.

    Have you taken a look at CATO Unbound lately. They have a topic titled, “The GOP and Limited Government: Do They Have a Future Together?”

    The conversation doesn’t look promising. There’s no mention of the Libertarian Party even being an option in those discussions.

    Read my UFC/LP analogy here…

    The slippery slope argument, we’ll be just as bad as the Republicans, is a joke.

  8. >

    Ah, the true colors of some of the “reformers” come out. Power at any price. To hell with principle. Doesn’t sound any different from Chimpy McPresident to me.

  9. Mike R, you lack understanding of market mechanisms. This is normal and everything you see and have learning is probably designed to condition you to reject God’s natural order. You probably already know that we don’t promise utopia. But if you want a primer, check out Mary Ruwarts “Healing Our World”. Or delve into for more information.

  10. Good point, Brian. “Reformers” want to paint principle as unnecessary and unusable absolutism. They demand exclusivity. Clearly my remarks above call for inclusivity.

    Rob D. and others would find that they would still lose anyway and when/if they did win some, it would be a pointless pyrrhic victory that would discredit liberty. The Republicans already do a lot of nasty, horrific stuff in the name of liberty. Why should we?

  11. “By 2001, when Zuffa bought in, UFC had slipped into the shadows. But Lorenzo Fertitta had served on the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and where others saw pandemonium, he and White saw opportunity in a some-holds-barred version.

    “While other groups run from regulation, we run toward it,” Fertitta said, adding that such government sanctioning bestowed legitimacy. “I want to be regulated.””

    Let’s run toward regulation, not away from it. Perfect example recently, Ian from FTL got owned in this debate with Jack Thompson…

    There is no room for common sense in your, “but we’ll lose our principles” world. Give a little, and receive alot of praise and support in return. You should try it sometime.

  12. There’s a difference between having principles, and having a foolish consistency.

    Foolish Consistency

    Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:

    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. ”” ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ ”” Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood. (“Self-Reliance”, 1841)

  13. re: “poison pills for the public”

    Might the Free State Project do this? If successful, libertarians can demonstrate to the rest of the country how principles will be implemented in policies. If the FSP can ‘take over’ New Hampshire, maybe the rest of the country won’t find it so frightening.

    The FSP is a big effort and it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Are there any examples of smaller communities that have committed to similar principle-based governance?

  14. “Good point, Brian. “Reformers” want to paint principle as unnecessary and unusable absolutism.”

    Principles are wonderful, and I applaud the LP for standing by their tagline. But be clear what those principles are. I spoke about that here…

    Let’s be honest about this, what you speak of is a foolish consistency, not principles. You think there is some exact magical and lengthy Libertarian formula used to arrive at a very narrow set of conclusions.

  15. Once again, you are wrong. It seems simple to me that the unfoolish consistency we should strive for is less government. Period. Less. Not immediately none, not more, but less. LESS. I guess you are too smart for something so simple. It would be too easy and you can’t browbeat people over it.

  16. Practically, it would be better for there to be a libertarian organization instead of a party, and it would support libertarian candidates running as D’s or R’s if at all.

  17. “Once again, you are wrong.”


    “It seems simple to me that the unfoolish consistency we should strive for is less government. Period. Less. Not immediately none, not more, but less. LESS. I guess you are too smart for something so simple. It would be too easy and you can’t browbeat people over it.”

    When did I ever favor more government?

  18. ““Reformers” want to paint principle as unnecessary and unusable absolutism. They demand exclusivity”

    Huh? I can only guess that you’re not talking to the same “Reformers” I am, or that you’re misunderstanding what they are saying. All of the reformes I know are definitevly about inclusivity, particularly when we are talking about implementing incremental reforms towards smaller government. The problem most have is with those powerful LP members who follow the philosophy of the likes of Murray Rothbard that claim only by moving to the farthest extreme (in effect Anarchy Next Wednesday) will we achieve any success.

    Reformers only suggest that ideological purity is prized goal to always keep your eye on, but that in order to convince our fellow citizens of the validity of libertarianism we need to offer it to them in incremental steps, not by offering Anarchy Next Wednesday. Sounds ideologically sound to me, so why paint reformers as something quite different?

  19. If you look at the most-trafficked political sites on the net, you will see that political party homepages don’t even factor into the top 100.

    The real issue today is whether we need the old definition of political parties in the first place when grassroots activism is at an all-time high (other than to list our principles, or manifesto, whatever).

    Frankly, I see political parties being devastated in authority as they are supplanted by their members efforts in other activities (e.g.- the LP can’t/won’t raise money to run advertising, so an independent site does, and cleans their clock in membership and fundraising).

  20. Then you should be in basic agreement with me, Lenny. We can have both without trashing principle. It couldn’t be any clearer that I am not demanding absolutist fealty.

    It does anger me that you would slam Murray Rothbard and try to paint purists with a disingenuous mantra of “Anarchy Next Wednesday”. I’m a purist, but I am practically on my knees begging you people to do the sensible, libertarian thing. Less government, not more. Consistently. I am not going to suck your dick on this, my kneepads are wearing very thin.

    I have to eventually come to the conclusion that you people just like to argue for arguments sake and won’t ever be satisfied until we are the GOP and people like me are totally purged. Why don’t you go back there? You insist upon supporting ideas that will grow the government, not shrink it. Incrementally or otherwise.

  21. #7 “Shove your principles (in reality ANARCHISTIC PRINCIPLES) up your ass.”

    I think the Libertarian Party’s principles aren’t the problem as much as peoples’ inability to communicate these principles in a cogent, clear and convincing manner. If your first reaction when someone tells you something you disagree with is to tell them to shove something up their ass, you are probably not the type of person who can communicate difficult or unfamiliar concepts to a stranger well. You are probably not doing the Libertarian Party any favors.

    It is always easier to change the message to one more palatable to the recipient than to learn to communicate your arguments in a way that will win over “unbelievers.”

    As for Anarchy next Wednesday, my libertarian principles all come from the Constitution. And most people I talk with can eventually see that. From there we can have a positive and productive discussion.

  22. And I must say that we are still in the infancy of this revolution in party power-shifting. The Democrats are nearly unanimous in embracing decrentralized organization and are raising more money through sites like DailyKos and MyDD for campaigns as a result.

    Part of why LibertyMix means so much to me is that I’m expanding on this strategy the Dems are making such great strides in… stop wasting time working within the party to elect people and wring your hangs (the “party” has simply a place to debate platform issues). Supplant them where they have proven ineffective or irrelevant in politics.

    All parties could use a healthy dose of competition from those who can reach their goals more efficiently and in greater magnitude.

    So yeah, the LP should stay as long as people support their platform and wish to modify it to reflect the reality of the modern world, but they should no longer be the face of libertarianism in my opinion.

  23. “If your first reaction when someone tells you something you disagree with is to tell them to shove something up their ass, you are probably not the type of person who can communicate difficult or unfamiliar concepts to a stranger well. You are probably not doing the Libertarian Party any favors.”

    Nice ad hominem attack. You don’t know what kind of commitment I’ve given to promoting liberty throughout the past 10 years. Family, friends, everyone that I’ve been able to reach out to without coming off as preachy I’ve shared my political beliefs with. You can be clear and concise all you want, but you can’t put lipstick on a pig and expect people to bite.

  24. Rob, no, I mean independant and supporting libertarian candidates in both the Dem. and Rep. party. Not just targeting one party.

  25. Mike R: Corporations are creatures of the state. Government is what gives corporations power. Collussion between government and corporations is what causes whatever level of “corporate servitude” that exists. Scaling back government would reduce corporate power, not enhance it.

    What if someone wants to “opt out” of freedom? That’s easy. What if I want to opt out of the current system? I’m screwed.

    The market is the solution for all problems. Contracts would be enforced by courts, made up of the citizenry with the power of jury nullification. That creates far LESS opportunity for abuse, and if the citizens were so inclined, they could easily create whatever type of environment they wanted. Example: The road monopoly abuses its power, a plaintiff sues, the jury invalidates their contract. This isn’t how a lot of libertarians would see it working, but in practice, this is how it would.

  26. Rob D., you began the ad hominem attack when you directed someone to shove his principles up his ass.

    Now principles are a “pig” one must place lipstick upon? Please.

  27. SVD,

    Have you considered incorporating Skype at all into LibertyMix? Maybe some of these disagreements can be avoided if we can actually chit chat about it as opposed to the slowness of the comments from blogs. I think we we would be much more productive if we could hold a chat every so often through a Skypecast.

    100 people with the ability to talk in the same room, with a moderator who could mute and unmute mics.

  28. the problem is that he LP is claimed by each faction of the entire libertarian movement as it’s own. This cant continue to be the case.

    The only possible direction for the party to take is that it be directed by WHAT IS POLITICALLY MOST REWARDING to get libertarians elected to public office to OBTAIN POWER AND GOVERN ( yeah, you heard me right ) to move public policy in a libertarian direction.

    The LP cant continue to be everyones whore in the entire libertarian movement. It can only be effective when allowed to fully participate in american political life as it truly exists, and act as a political org first instead of all of these other roles the members constantly demand of it.

  29. Good idea, Rob D. I’ve never used Skype but it does sound interesting. The Skype phone could even enable us to piss each other off away from home. I see 100 people using it at once.

  30. “Rob D., you began the ad hominem attack when you directed someone to shove his principles up his ass.”

    Ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin, literally “argument against the person”) or attacking the messenger, involves replying to an argument or assertion by attacking the person presenting the argument or assertion rather than the argument itself.

    I didn’t attack you, the messenger, I merely made a suggestion of shoving something up your ass. That is clearly a recommendation for a call to action, not an attack on your person.

  31. There’s that so in fashion word again.

    ad hominem.

    Brian, why dont you react like a normal person would and call Rob A DICK? :D

    Jesus Christ, there’s nothing worse than a “principled libertarian” responding to anyone that calls them out.

    Thats just priceless.


  32. ROB!!!!!111111


    You obviously no longer can be for small limited government.

    I’m taking away your secret LP decoder ring.

  33. #24″Nice ad hominem attack.”

    Yes, you’ll likely get an ad hominem attack if your first words to someone is to tell them to shove something up their ass. You will likely get a discussion about principles if you reply to people with respect. This isn’t rocket science. Trying to convince others of your point of view can be difficult if you begin by being abrasive.

    All the words that have already been wasted on this thread because of your initial reply might have been better used in pursuing your point.

  34. It seems some people feel that the best counterattack to being called out on their ad hominem is to plead that ad hominem is cliche and thus, permissible. I’m sure that’s a logical fallacy of some sort.

  35. Ummm Devious David I didn’t say I was disagreeing with you, except on one point. That you want to label all reformers are somehow wanting more government. You’ve painted the reform movement with a very wide bruse, at least as wide as labeling all LPers who are not reformes as somehow being “Anarchy Next Wednesday”-tpes. (Which I more narrowly defined as “those powerful LP members who follow the philosophy of the likes of Murray Rothbard that claim only by moving to the farthest extreme (in effect Anarchy Next Wednesday) will we achieve any success” NOT defining ALL non-reform-minded individuals with that brush.)

    What I am saying to you is that I firmly believe that you are misunderstanding the majority of reformers if you think they are calling for more government. If anything I see most calling very directly for support of all measures and candidates pushing for LESS government. If that sometimes means supporting the like of a Ron Paul Republican, so be it.

  36. Tim, I don’t understand your comment. Rob D. made a strong and offensive statement, then whined about getting called out on it. I didn’t want to descend to his level. Plus, it’s not a very strong tactic to start calling people dicks – typically it means you’re in a position of weakness and that’s all the ammo you’ve got left.

    Surely practical politics doesn’t mean telling everyone to shove principles up their ass. Although, I must admit that I have never gone around my district with a “come get your principles shoved up your ass” booth and peppered my local paper with letters imploring people to shove their principles up their ass, so I am open to the idea that such a strategy may in fact result in electoral victory.

  37. #38 Surely practical politics doesn’t mean telling everyone to shove principles up their ass. Although, I must admit that I have never gone around my district with a “come get your principles shoved up your ass” booth and peppered my local paper with letters imploring people to shove their principles up their ass, so I am open to the idea that such a strategy may in fact result in electoral victory.

    ROFLMAO…and all that other email abbreviation crap…:)

    #39 Oh lighten up already. Have a great weekend all and holiday!

    Good point. Same to you :)

  38. oh, just to be clear, I guess there are two “Brian”‘s here. I’m only post #16 and #25! =)

  39. I have been a reader of just about all the “LP Reformer” blogs I know of and I have never once seen said “reformers” advocate throwing out principle or growing govt whatsoever. The main debate seems to be whether to be a POLITICAL entity or not. And some people seem to think doing the same exact thing that has been done for 30+ years and preaching to the choir while commiting political suicide is the way to go while others strongly disagree. There may be some “reformers” and some “anarchists/purists” who want “exclusivity” but in my experience on these blogs, that is not the case. And as Stephen Gordon and others posted before being an anarchist and reformer who wants to “do politics” are not mutually exclusive. Anarchists who just want to be anarchists and not involved in politics at all should probably just stay on the sidelines or not be in a “political party.” The same should be said for any “reformers” who do not want to move in a principled libertarian direction. LP needs BOTH.

  40. Pick a popular issue consistent with libertarian principles and run with it.

    * People want lowered taxes.

    * People want health care solutions.

    * People want illegal immigration controlled.

    The opperative word is: incrementalism. Lets get the momentum moving in the right direction.

    We can debate how far to go after we’ve gotten some of our freedom back.

  41. Brian,

    you take yourself way too seriously. My point was that most poeple who got told to shove something up their ass, they wouldnt even think of reacting by way of telling them how much of a “add hominem” attack that was.

    or even think about how much of a rational superor method of “debating” Rob was.

    In other words, folks like you are very much in the minority…probably exactly to the ratio that the general public votes for the LP vs. other parties.

    Less Spocks. More calling a Dick a Dick. That’s Libertarian. :D

  42. 13/45= 28% ass-shoving.

    Worse numbers for the pushing of untested opinion. Lots of ego, less substance.

    Those are the reasons the LP slogs along: much ado about the irrelevant.

    It’s a political party, not a club. Its stated purposes are to educate and to elect. These are neither mutually exclusive nor independent.

    The LP is not an anarchists’ society, and should stop yielding its voice to that minority. We’re known not for our platform but for the allegations of our loudest noisemakers.

    How many of us here have actually read the platform since Atlanta? It’s not just a list of anarchist objectives any more. It’s a list of ultimate desires and interim steps guided by principle.

    How to save the LP?

    Knowing the platform and relating it to the understandinngs of other people. Asking questions and listening. Discovering other people’s points of view. Looking rational and reasonable. Stressing that freedom is impossible without responsibility.


  43. It does anger me that you would slam Murray Rothbard

    Um… dude, Murray Rothbard was the worst thing to happen to this party, EVER. He cost us the support of the CATO Institute and splintered the entire libertarian MOVEMENT, not just the Libertarian Party. He’s the reason that we still have trouble recruiting moderate libertarians as activists/donors/voters today.

    Oh yeah, and Tim West, you are once again awesome.

  44. “Example: The road monopoly abuses its power, a plaintiff sues, the jury invalidates their contract.”

    How? By taking the road away?

    The current LP position is for all public property- including every street in the United States- to be privatized, that is sold to the highest bidder. The road company will have no contract that can be revoked, other than this: “This road is private property. If you want to leave or enter your home, you will pay us all the market will bear, and NOTHING LESS. And since there’s no other road network leading to your front door, you don’t have any choice in the matter.”

    This is one of MANY LP positions which, in the interests of pure anarchy, is a loser.

    Is the party about more freedom for everyone… or more money for the most wealthy, at the expense of the least wealthy?

  45. Boo hoo. The Cato Institute. I don’t know what happened there, but I don’t care about Cato. They mostly suck and are Republican sycophants. Their social security side step is a perfect example of the types of “reform” we need to be avoiding. Nothing but wasted time, energy & money. And it didn’t even come to fruition. AND on top of all that, it would have been a boondoggle that didn’t solve the problem, just made new ones and further entrenched the old one. Vouchers and the “FairTax” are others.

    I am all for incrementalism, so long as we make it clear what the goals are and the incremental solutions really are incremental and not risky side steps that will absorb all our time and energy for nothing. Consistency in actually making the government smaller is what is necessary.

  46. I agree with Mike R and Kris Overstreet. While I agree 100% with the LP position on such things as legalizing drugs and open borders, I have a major problem with their environmental stance. Not everything should be private. Not everything should be available to the highest bidder. Certain things, like prestine old growth forests, should not be available for sale at any price. If all land was private, we would see more and more land in the hands of fewer and fewer people (more accurately: coorporations).

    In addition, as a vegan, it bothers me that I never hear libertarians complain about the way businesses maximize their profits at the expense of other animals. For example, over 13 billion chickens die annually on factory farms in some of the most horrific conditions imaginable. Businesses don’t care about the welfare of these innocent animals – to them they’re simply resources to be exploited. IMO, anyone who denies this is a major problem lacks compassion.

  47. Politics reminds me of the drinking game asshole I am sure most of it have played the game before.
    The one thing that stands out to me is you must win to be president and get to make the rules. and if you don’t you are stuck having to drink when someone tells you to.

    Wether we like it or not we are all playing the game.

    When it comes to it pricipals are great and I believe everyone who has commented so far has their principals they stand by. The thing is, to be able to make the rules we must play the game and win. Till then no one gives a shit about our principals

  48. The time is right for a huge upheaval in politics from the ground up. We have been incrementally losing our personal and collective freedoms for the past 40+ years beginning with Lyndon Johnson’s panacea for all our woes, his “great society” answer which was the true beginning of federal socialism.

    James Madison said, during the 1787 Virginia Constitutional debates

    “Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

    which has come true in our time. We must come up with a solution to take back our government, as Lincoln said;

    “…of the people, for the people, by the people.”


  49. Kris Overstreet writes: “The current LP position is for all public property- including every street in the United States- to be privatized, that is sold to the highest bidder.”
    Kris may I suggest a book from the Independent Inst. titled “Street Smart”. It shows how to reduce gov. role in street management. I’ll let you Google them for more info.
    And while I disagree with your reading of the LP position I do think you are right in one way. The LP and many of the other groups are wrong with their choice of words.
    A government that turns things over to a private monopoly is not much of a change. What needs to be the focus, in my opinion, is that markets need to be opened.
    Whatever. It is Friday night time to put the Kool-Aid down and back away from the computer.

  50. This crappy debate gets so tedious and tiresome year after year. The LP has a lot of problems: libertarians that point the finger at each other with accusations of causing the LP to lose elections, libertarians that proclaim (with no supporting evidence) that they alone know how to achieve electoral success, libertarians that think either Rothbard or CATO are the greatest things since sliced bread, libertarians that don’t know the difference between a conservative and a libertarian, libertarians that think the LP should be a single issue (their issue) party, libertarians that demonize the LP worse than the Republicans and Democrats combined, libertarians that don’t even understand what libertarian principles are and therefore can’t advocate for the LP, libertarians with inflated egos that call each other names and use hyperbole to make their points, libertarians that are uninformed about current issues, and libertarians who insist the LP change to suit the views of their friends.

  51. It’s true. National libertarian movements like DownsizeDC, Fair Tax, CATO, and the LP have done very little to inprove our lives. It is not their fault as there is nothing they can do. It may work if freedom lovers work together to free one low population state that already leans pro-freedom when compared to other states. However, the vast majority of LP members refuse to do more than talk about freedom and lose elections. They refuse to actually work towards something that has a good chance of happening. The refuse to stop talking about it and move to New Hamphire…

  52. What is ‘interesting’ about an article that does nothing but reiterate that the LP should become less libertarian?

  53. It’s interesting becuase if the LP splits, the existing LP will be the big loser, not the people that go.

    Clean out all the minarchists, constitutionalists, plain smaller government supporters, and the existing NLP will be reduced to nothing, quite literally. Those are the stakes.

    2006 and 2008 will be the time for choosing. Choose well. None of us will get a second chance.

  54. I like the principals of the LP but lets face it principals do not win elections. I’m relatively young, 23, and have fallowed politics for about 10 years. It terrifies me that, I have seen liberates slipping away one by one. We don’t have time to wait until the public comes around; we need to stop this runaway train NOW before it’s to late. The only way I see this happening is by becoming more moderate and steeling votes away from the other parties. With some luck one of them will end up dieing out and there will be a new two party system consisting of us and them. We are not going to fix 50+ years of lost liberty over night so why are we even discussing it! Once we have some power we need the principled ones to come back and keep this party moving in the right direction.

    At the current momentum my kids will live in a country that look a lot like the suburbs of France, and I refuse to let that happen, if I have to agree to incrementalism that if fine.

  55. Now that it is Saturday morning may we continue?
    IMHO the LP needs to find half a dozen to ten issues to emphasize. Like a grocery store we have 30,000 items to improve people lives, but a grocery store only advertises 10 to 20 items regularly. We don’t do much if anything in the way of public relations, (read advertising).
    Inflation is running at 4% or more and we don’t even have a flier on it.
    The party has done excellent work on ballot access and those who worked onit need to be honored and it is a big issue. But we also need to work on other issues.
    The last big PR push we had was with Ron Crickenberger’s work on the drug issue and the ad he developed for USA Today did wonders for the party from what I was told.
    We need to find a way to do that same thing with other issue. It would help if our Congressional candidates had a list of ten issue to emphasize and a short paper on each
    along with the training to make themselves presentable.

  56. I agree with Michael. Top issues should be displayed prominently on the LP’s site. I think the Political Removal Service cartoon should be made into something similar to how HoT currently links to the Top Libertarian Songs thread (clickable image). Alot of space is being used on the LP’s main page for recruitment etc., and not enough to tell people what the party stands for. I spoke to Corey Stern about this (He was going to help me with my ecommerce site but that fell through).

    Highlight the issues and offer up what would be the LP’s solutions.

    BTW, does anyone here know of a web designer that knows the ins and out of Storefront (shopping cart software)? I’m looking to fix my site (some things are broken), and get cracking with this business of mine. I’m willing to pay good money to get my site fully functional.

    The URL is:

    I need an experienced web designer who knows ecommerce. Storefront, ASP, Access to SQL conversion a plus.

  57. I agree with #61 if we concentrate on some winnable issues first it will be easier to make a difference and win some elections. the current parties already do it but they do it with the emotional ones not the important ones. If you where going to run a marathon you wouldn’t start out trying to run the whole distance you would work up to it.
    2 things we all know is that people fear change and the other is so many have lived without freedoms their whole life that they don’t even realise they aren’ T west said in #59 time is of the essence right now the political climate is ready for someone to step up and wether or not the LP is ready to do or not we the people need to. And the LP should do what goverment should do follow the lead of its members . so it is up to them to decide if they want to stick to there principals or do they want to make a difference right now.
    But what are the winable issues. I think the drug war, the illegal search and siezures and taxes could be a good start

  58. I also agree with #61 – but how can libertarians agree on which issues should be focused on?

    Maybe it would be a good thing if the conservative/moderate wing of the LP quit the party and formed their own, leaving the anarcho-libertarians to carry out a more radical agenda.

    Maybe the conservative/moderate wing could then live up to their claims and “do real politics” while the more radical LP could energize the youth and those who no longer participate in the political process. As they say, its all good.

    The bottom line is all about ideas and moving society in a more libertarian direction. Perhaps having two parties out there advancing these ideas would be better than having one that is so divided. While the moderate/conservative libertarians and reformers may disagree, it is my observation that the LP loses more members as it becomes more and more moderate. Something to think about.

  59. I think MHW is right each candidate needs from six to 12 items that they are running on and concentrating on. National needs to do the same. Our platform has right around 60 items in it. That is ridiculous. You should have a preamble, a few issues explaining the problems and a general direction of what we would do, and an item saying that in all areas included in the platform and not specified, Libertarians will use the principal of less gov’t and more individual freedom…

    By doing this we are not getting away from our principles at all, but are eliminating the platform as an issue for most candidates. They can run on their issues that they feel are winnable and not have to overcome the Platform. Each individual candidate will determine what course of action they feel works best, not some one-size fits all platform edict.

  60. Tom,

    You may be right in a certain sense that the two factions may have to part ways. The thing is the reformers need a political party since they want to engage in politics. The anarcho-libertarians do not need a political party. They don’t want anything to do with politics. If this groups stayed together as an organization it would do just fine without being a politcal party, in fact it may do better since it won’t be constrained by the current rules for a political party.

    The reformers need a political party because they want to make changes politically. The libertarian party is the most logical place because the principles are the same they just feel that it will take time to get to the ultimate goals and we need to make incremental progress just as the socialists have done for the last 75 years. Socialism has slowly taken over but it has been little by little, one step at a time, with a few major steps along the way. We can go back to freedom the same way.

  61. Interesting discussion. My 2 cents worth: It’s possible, if one is only open-minded, to hold on to deep seeded principles personally while at the same time restructuring the party agenda so as to make its candidates more electable. It’s only a matter of deciding whether to have no influence on the political process by staying on the fringe from which come no winners, or gaining influence and power by donning a new wardrobe.

  62. A more politically successful Libertarian party needs to be more concerned with direction than destination (of where the role of government is going, since peaceful change happens incrementally).

    It would be a waste of resources to start up another party. The existing LP already has ballot access in most states, and a new party would have to gain ballot access all over again.

    Unfortunately, minarchists think limited government advocates are unprincipled.

    I like the train analogy of the Dallas Accord (I’m still looking for actual text of it, as I’ve only been Libertarian since 1976, of constitutional “limited government” persuasion for now).

    What we need is a new “Portland Accord” or an update to the Dallas Accord addressing incrementalism (I’ll be a first time delegate, against the current pledge).

  63. “Elimination of all services.
    Cut off social security checks.
    Drugs everywhere.
    The end of education.
    Hospitals closing.
    Corporate control and servitude.”

    Eliminating government-provided services financed by mandatory taxation would not eliminate the need, or the financial incentive for entrepreneurs to satisfy those needs.

    People need Social Security checks mostly because government has taken money they could have invested and saved on their own, squandered it, then taxed the daylights out of what little money people can save.

    Making drugs legal again might increase first-time drug use slightly (most people who want to try them already do), but it would also end the drug-Prohibition crime wave, just as ending alcohol Prohibition did.

    Ending government provided education wouldn’t eliminate the need for education or the financial incentives for entrepreneurs to provide it. Lots of people want to educate the poor, or they wouldn’t put up with govt schools in the first place.

  64. “Hospitals closing.
    Corporate control and servitude.”

    Before the government got involved in health care, charity hospitals took care of the poor, and doctors made house calls. Now we have HMOs.

    Corporations may throw their economic power around, but individuals can diminish that by refusing to patronize them. We don’t have the same option with government. Large corporations like a powerful government, because it can thwart upstart competitors with layers of regulation, while “grandfathering in” the established players.

  65. Which does the LP divert more of:
    1.wealth that would otherwise end up in the hands of the
    Demopublicans and their mercantilist, rent seeking
    2.wealth that would otherwise be available for corrective
    action when the Tiny Tasty Savory Tuna Bits arrive
    If 1, it can stay. If 2, it must go. Why that simple? Because it’s impossible for it to be effective in terms of electing candidates without selling out its principles, and without electing candidates it communicates those principles to few. So it’s a monkeywrench question: whose gears does it gum up most?


  66. Winner takes all = lesser of two evil voting and a two party system.

    Two parties = ideological hegemony and muting.

    Americans identify with ‘winners’ and won’t take the chance to vote third party. No amount of money will help.

    This is the basis of failure in the US poltical system. Simply include the Greens, etc. Don’t beat the LP up. It’s not a matter of ‘tweaking’ the platform to engage the polity.

    Changing the electoral mechanisms will allow democracy to function in a more diverse fashion. You may not like the results, however.

  67. Tom Blanton writes “…how can libertarians agree on which issues should be focused on?”
    Mr. Blanton I generally think we need to have some simple criteria.
    1.Does it involve a lot of tax dollars?
    2. Does it violate individuals civil liberties, or have the potential to do so?
    3. Is anyone else dealing with this issue, or are we going to get lost in the noise?
    4. Does it have the potential to signifcantly improve people lives?

    A couple of quik examples: the so-called “Death tax”.
    Far too many conservative groups have been working on this.
    It is doubtful that anyone will give us much credit if it is repealed. So why are we even bothering?
    Tissue research. This is a big issue in medicine. Does the person who contributes cancerous, or other tissue get to enjoy the financial benefits if her tissue is used to develop a cure for a disease? There are a couple of court case working thru the system now on this, but I don’t see it high on the criteria list.

  68. from above.
    Should we concern ourselves with foreign aid?
    Maybe, but it is only about $18 billion of the present budget. The presence of our military abroad cost about $100 billion excluding Iraq and Afganistan. To my way of thinking bringing the troops home will save more dollars and make it more difficult for the U.S. to get involved in foreign wars.
    An issue that is little talked about is opening the urban transit market, but doing so might improve the lives of many low income people, save a lot of tax dollars and cost virtually nothing. I want to emphasize it will help many low income urban poor, especially minorities. Chris are you reading this? This is an important tool in outreach to members of minority groups, elderly, and especially women.
    Hope that is not too muddy. Just a couple of examples for a delicate issue. BTW we should always “Support the Bill of Rights”. I’d like to see a big banner behind the speakers platform at the Portland convention saying this.

  69. I feel it is time to for LP to adapt. We praise a free market to answer societies ills, then lets use it to start fixing them.

    I would like to try and start a discussion about ways to get our message across using what we preach. please check it out and add any suggetions or ideas you have.

    I am not asking people to violate there pricipals I am asking people to use them instead. Because if we don’t stand behind what we say what is the point?

  70. Mr. Wilson: I agree there should be a simple criteria. I also agree that tissue research and death taxes shouldn’t be top priorities.

    None of this addresses my question: how can libertarians agree on which issues should be focused on?

    There are libertarians who think that the bogus war on terror trumps the principle of nonintervention. They think that an anti-war stance turns off people – even though a clear majority is now leaning that way.

    There are some libertarians that think the LP should deal only with gun rights and tax cuts. Some libertarians think that the Fair Tax will reduce the size of government at some future time. Some believe that the war on victimless crimes should never be discussed, despite the fact that America has the largest incarceration rate in the world.

    Free market issues are ignored by many libertarians that think there already is a free market.

  71. It seems as if the LP has no real leadership and that libertarians shun leadership. Rather than articulate the positive benefits of libertarian ideas, many shy away and merely seek to not offend or alienate voters.

    Can the LP afford to sit back and let the GOP and Dems propagandize the public and then advance issues based on the perceptions created by the major political players?

    Many say it is not the job of the LP to educate people or even convert people to libertarian thought. Assuming this is true, shouldn’t the LP embrace strong libertarian positions on issues regardless. Many libertarian organizations and individuals do a good job of educating people and winning hearts and minds. But where do these new libertarians go? I think the LP needs to play to hard core libertarians to grow the party rather than play to the mushy middle moderates that the major parties go after.

  72. As far as which issues to concentrate on everyone one of us has one or two issues that they feel most strongly about. How about we task these indiviuals to help promote that issue. Allow them to spread the message through grassroots ways. As T.B. said in 77. if we use people who are willing to organise on certian issues to allow them to spread the message to those outside the party lines we can most certainly grow the party.
    How many people are single or two issue voters when it comes election time.

    Lets use that by allowing party members to grow support for their individual issues, which will allow them to bring more people to the LP. By doing that we can allow people to be more decentralized in their activities therefore covering more ground.

    And that way the issues that are most important to indivuals will show up as more important to the whole as more get behind it. Once that issue is resolved it will allow greater resources to go to the next.

  73. Mr. Blanton writes: “None of this addresses my question: how can libertarians agree on which issues should be focused on?”

    I would think that it is the responsibility of the LNC to decide which issues to focus on. I am quite sure that I would be disappointed. I doubt that they would choose my favorite issues and they probably would not use the criteria I have suggested, but they have been chosen to set the direction and they need to do so in my opinion.

  74. Thanks for replies to my comment.

    In response to the replies: #9 Devious David.

    I do read articles on , , , and here. I have a decent understanding of markets. They don’t seem to work well when there is a natural monopoly. Technology has opened up past monopolies, but some still exist.

    # 13 Wolske.

    The FST is a great experiment. I hope it is successful in making changes that can be followed. Still, NH does not fit in with the LP platform, if followed too strictly.

    #26 undercover_anarchist.

    I agree that corporations get their power from government, and decreasing the power and influence of government will also put corporations on a more level playing field.

  75. #26 undercover_anarchist.

    “The road monopoly abuses its power, a plaintiff sues, the jury invalidates their contract.”

    I currently have access to public roads. I don’t currently have a road contract. I am not a lawyer, and do not want to hire one to protect a right I currently have. While not perfect, at least I can get from point A to B. I wouldn’t mind having a system that directs part of the taxes I already pay (gas, property) to the roads I use, with maintenance contracts, but ownership would not be acceptable.

    One thing to think about – when it costs a victim more to defend themself (legal fees) than the amount they are robbed, and the robber knows it, there will be victims that the courts will provide no justice for.

    I don’t assume that a fair contract will be written, that I will save anything in taxes over what I pay now, and that I will be able to not sign (opt out) of the new market system. From a bullying government to ??? There are just too many questions.

  76. #49 Kris Overstreet.

    “This road is private property. If you want to leave or enter your home, you will pay us all the market will bear, and NOTHING LESS. And since there’s no other road network leading to your front door, you don’t have any choice in the matter.” Right on.

    Herein lies the problem, or the concern with the LP plan. What is the LP solution? Are we to trust in having the right people in government transition us into private ownership?

    #52 Leroy

    Another great point. Not all external (societal) costs can be efficiently measured and assessed. I don’t know the solution, but I do know that companies will pass on any costs they can get away with, or which have fines/public perception repercussions less than the costs they avoid.

    #55 MHW

    Thanks for the info. I will check it out. The LP needs to provide easy to understand solutions, with details available, or they will turn to the parties which don’t make them work so hard.

  77. # 69 Lex

    “Eliminating government-provided services financed by mandatory taxation would not eliminate the need, or the financial incentive for entrepreneurs to satisfy those needs.”

    Some services are paid for collectively. As much as I hate it, it does take care of the free rider problem.

    “People need Social Security checks mostly because government has taken money they could have invested and saved on their own, squandered it, then taxed the daylights out of what little money people can save.” And the LP solution is?

    I won’t requote the drug argument. I am in 100% agreement. The problem is communicating the message in a way that does not freak the public out, and makes sense – keeps their kids safe.

    I also agree with ending public education. Education gets more money every time it does worse.

    We have become a society that lives to serve the government (employees, contractors, businesses). Government growth is guaranteed with our current system.