Working Together Towards Common Goals

Conventional libertarian wisdom provides that the Dallas Accord created a temporary alliance within the movement — until such time as we actually have a small and limited government once again. One look at the comments on a posting with which libertarians of all stripes and shades should agree upon clearly indicates we are spending more of out time fighting with each other than in fighting an ever expansive and tyrannical government.

I’ve got an idea. I’m going to create two posts. This one will be dedicated to commentary where we can try to find positive ways to work with one another. The one below be where y’all can fight it out to the bitter end. I’m sure I know which will have more comments.

35 Comments
  1. Considering the flame which has persisted in the anarchist v. minarchist war for some time, I’d guess the other list. However, at this moment, we’ve got a 2-0 score. Maybe the trend will keep up, I’d love to be wrong on this one.

  2. Devious David wrote in the referenced comment thread

    It’s unfortunate that “reformers” want people like us out. I am more than happy to have them contribute, so long as the “contribution” is not my ouster.

    I agree.

    If Julian was coming into the LP with a truly open mind, instead of this “reform” agenda to run people like David and myself off, I would welcome his presence.

    As I said in comment 57 in the above referenced thread

    Julian) I am open minded and can be persuaded to rething some of my positions concerning the death penalty and restoring rights to convicted felons.

    Paul) I am optimistic that some day you’ll be a real libertarian. Hopefully you won’t fuck up the LP too much before that happens.

  3. Tom Knapp would have save me a lot of typing in that flame war had he come here and put that link up.

  4. Again, excluding anarchism vs minarchism, most of my disagreements with moderates are primarily semantic. The more we get down to the nuts and bolts of it, the more similar it seems. I just don’t appreciate the knee-jerk reaction of moderate reformers to throw me from the train.

  5. Also see comment 27

    Julian, to me: I do not believe there is much hope for us to meet on neutral ground. We are way too polarized in our beliefs.

    me then: Oh? I thought you just said we agree on 75%. That should be enough basis to at least hold a conversation.

    I don’t disagree with Steve on too much, so if you can talk to him, you should be able to talk to me.

    me now: also, note in the ensuing discussion that Julian and I agreed on many points where he assumed we would disagree, and David and I agreed with Chris even more.

    See comment 47

    Julian) 7. I want drugs legalized for different reasons than you.

    paul) I don’t really care why you want them legalized, so long as you do.

    Comment 50

    David) Chris, your positions are reasonable, I won’t throw you into the fire over them. […] I don’t understand where you come up with the hostile facist references, however, when that is clearly not the case. Especially since your views are closer to mine [….]

  6. David, comment 56:

    It’s unfortunate that “reformers” want people like us out. I am more than happy to have them contribute, so long as the “contribution” is not my ouster.

  7. Some steps for the LP to be successful:

    If more people are like Alicia Mattson of Tennessee, who drove across the state two times in three days to assure Badnarik was qualified for the ballot.

    If more people are like Mark Mosley of Georgia, who spends summer after summer under the hot Georgia sun, petitioning from sun up to sun down to assure Libertarian candidates get on the ballot.

    If more people are like Michael Badnarik and Jon Airheart, driving across the county with barely money for gas doing all they can to light the fires of Liberty, one mile at a time, in 2003 and 2004.

    If more people decide to put down “flamming” other Libertarians on blogs and dedicate themselves to the cause, either financially, physically, or otherwise.

    If the popular blogs become OUTREACH blogs for the movement and not “Gee, I don’t wanna associate with these nuts who fight with each other every day” blogs that run people off.

    If we individuals put our egos aside and work for the good of Liberty.

  8. I wouldn’t say that the moderates are trying to “throw anyone from the train.” It’s just that we have a job to do-electing people-and as it’s a political job, politics requires compromise and therefore we’re the best ones suited to do it. I wouldn’t want someone like myself working at the Cato Institute, however, in a role in the libertarian movement where compromise is unacceptable.

    Also, is it something in the water or what? There’s just been an aura of division about this blog as of late.

  9. Why do we want compromise?

    One of our appeals to the American voters should be that Libertarians would not compromise.

    I mean – think about it.

    They elected Democrats to get them better jobs – and the Democrats compromised their better jobs away.

    They elected Republicans to get them less taxes – and the Republicans compromised their less taxes away.

    Libertarians should stand on a Platform that says that a Libertarian Congress would NOT compromise from what we were elected to do.

    The candidates creed should be:

    “My vote will ALWAYS be NO to any bill that grows government, increases taxes or is outside of the United States Constitution. My vote will always be NO to bigger government and YES to smaller government, every time, no exceptions, no compromises.”

  10. “The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.” – Ayn Rand

    “There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.” – Ayn Rand

  11. Since there are two, I’m going to post this twice.

    Remember the Republican “Contract with America?” How about we all (all 50 state orgs) and non-affiliated libertarians get together and agree on 10 things. Just 10 things we are all or a supermarjority are, willing to pledge our lives, freedom, fortunes and sacred honor to.

    I strongly suggest a move towards the middle, moderation in order to win. No need to sacrifice our basic belief of self ownership to do so, but create a message that broadens the appeals of the party and the ideal to a greater audience.

    And…LETS WIN SOME DAMN ELECTIONS! (National ones that is)

    Frank

  12. Well, here’s something we can all agree on – let’s try to set up a rally in Texas somewhere – maybe in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio – to protest TABC.

  13. Quoting Ayn Rand and arguing libertarian semantics is cool for dealing with other libertarians, but the point of a political party is doing politics and getting elected. I am both an anarchist and a “reformer” and my point of view is this: “Reformers DO want to work with “anarchists/purists/”. It seems to be the opposite to me: “purists” who want a “purity purge.” I think “reformers” are the inclusive ones- they don’t want to kick people out and purposely sabatoge any hopes of elective success. I’ve taken my fair share of Rand-ish uncompromising stances- and suffered the consequences. I even got an F in a philosophy class,lost my college scholarships, and the instructor devoted large chunks of classtime to publicly criticizing me and saying I needed psychiatric help because I refused to agree that socialism and selflessness were the highest virtue. BTW,You should also read more on how Rand defines “compromise.” I don’t think anyone is advocating compromising principles.

  14. I’m in college now. I have a professor who if he could fail me because I happen to be the only Libertarian in his class. In fact, he treats the Republicans better and praises the Democrats. I too refuse to be silent. However, the LP is not going anywhere when both sides try to purge each other. Please purge me-I’ll achieve freedom and liberty through other avenues. Technically I don’t need the LP to advance my agenda.

  15. Trevor your said “The candidates creed should be:

    “My vote will ALWAYS be NO to any bill that grows government, increases taxes or is outside of the United States Constitution. My vote will always be NO to bigger government and YES to smaller government, every time, no exceptions, no compromises.”

    I think that is right on but for the purists you just compromised the platform. You called for no increase in taxes, but the platform calls for “no” income taxes. This is the whole point of the reformers, I beleive. They feel that the only way libertarians can get elected is calling for lower taxes, etc., but not for no taxes. Most reformers would love to have no income taxes but feel that it is unrealistic to think that they will be voted into office calling for that. They would rather call for less gov’t and lower taxes and get voted into office then call for no gov’t and no taxes and never even come close to being elected. This would be moving in the right direction.

  16. Personally I think we need to stay in the national light with issues and even candidates but I feel we will make more headway by concentrating on electing a governor. A governor could make significant reforms if elected. One congressman will barely make a dent. If the governor can work with others well, show progress toward liberty, and have integrity and personality they could become a player on the national scene as well. It would also give the larger libertarian movement a tremendous boost by showing the american people that libertarian ideas can work and we can get elected. Just by getting one governor with the above qualties elected, our national numbers would increase substantially. Electing a governor will be hard work but we can focus to only a few states where we have a chance and focus our money and time to those elections. Once elected we can broaden our push to other states and other elections. It will take the right person in the right place but it can be done IMO.

  17. I remember reading Tom Knapp’s train analogy once before and it’s probably the best explanation I’ve come across for why it’s reasonable for liberty-minded folks of varying degrees can and should work together. Debating over the details and the ultimate objectives is fine as long as it doesn’t get in the way of our moving in the right direction.

  18. You called for no increase in taxes, but the platform calls for “no” income taxes.

    That is a half-truth. If the platform only called “no income taxes” there would be much more respect and cooperation from true conservatives and assorted constitutionalists. But the current platform calls for “the repeal of all taxation, a situation in which government is impossible. Hence, we are all thought of as anarchists by those outside the party.

  19. I could not agree more. Far too many Libertarians want to fight about the minute details of The National Libertarian Party Platform and fight with each other.

    We should ABOLISH The entire national Platform and replace is with a one page easily readable document.

    Our platform shoud be:
    In favor of SMALLER government
    In favor of fiscal resposibility
    In favor of limiting the power of the Federal government
    In favor of State’s rights

    Mike Sylvester

  20. Very good point Mike. I think our platform is way to long and we should have something very short, concise and to the point of the direction we want to head.

  21. “Yes on freedom.” “No on interference.” Thems the votes that make you libertarian? That’s a kind of platform all to itself.

    It also gives people the freedom to create whatever bills they see fit, so long as it doesn’t interfere with the two voting standards alltogether. Taxation is interference. So if it is a bill that involves the introduction of a tax, the answer is obvious. For *all* parties.

    The only way we’re ever going to individually arrive at the same direction is if we can get on the same page as to what that direction is and find it agreeable. This might seem simplistic, but it’s not exactly like it’s an unfundable platform.

    That’s just my 2 cents, though.

  22. Mike’s got a good point; we need a smaller, simpler document that won’t disenfranchise the moderates. Like it or not, most of our electoral power will come from moderate libertarians, or people who just “lean” towards freedom.

    Libertarians should stand on a Platform that says that a Libertarian Congress would NOT compromise from what we were elected to do.

    Right… but a Libertarian candidate should be free to tailor his own platform to his own community instead of being hobbled by the national platform, which is invariably thrown in the face of any serious Libertarian candidate because it has so much stuff in there that nobody would ever vote for in our current political situation.

    Also, each candidate typically should only run on about three primary issues… and insofar as they run on an issue, they should keep their promise. However, they should run on REALISTIC issues to begin with. No “Repeal all taxes!” but “cut taxes 10%” instead.

  23. No “Repeal all taxes!” but “cut taxes 10%”

    May we safely assume you mean slash taxes, but do so in 10% increments until at least a 90% total has been reduced?

  24. Artus — How’s this? Each time he’s elected he promises (and keeps the promise) of cutting taxes 10% of what they were when he comes into his new term?

    And the name of this candidate? Xeno (L), NH of course!

  25. Sounds great in theory, Ian. But we’d certainly need a pile of honest candidates to facilitate such a reduction.

    A candidate could say (and mean), “A legitimate government, that is, a dwarfish one, can sufficiently operate at 10% of the current Federal expenditure. I will work tirelessly to slash spending in every possible area until we have a lean, efficient government that realizes Mencken’s vision of one ‘that barely escapes being no government at all.'”

  26. So Artus are you saying we shouldn’t vote for someone because he is only willing to commit to “slashing” taxes by 10% not 90%. In the meantime the people getting elected are increasing spending which will invariably lead to higher taxes. We have to start somewhere. Starting at 90% will get us nowhere. We move 10% and then we try and move another 10%, and then another 10%. We may never get to 90%, but we can sure get closer. We need to have someone that will actually move the first 10% before we can get to 90%.

    I have no problem voting for someone that is only willing to commit to reducing gov’t by 10% if the competition is only going to increase gov’t. Once we have reduced gov’t by that 10% we look for someone else that will reduce it even further if that person is not willing to reduce gov’t anymore. It is irrational to think we will get everything we want all at once, or for someone to get elected by running a campaign on decreasing gov’t by 90%.

  27. ON the elect a governor comment, YES, but just like a lone congressman, he or she will not be succesful if not assisted by others.

    My 10 suggestions
    -End the Federal War on Drugs, let states decide.
    -Cut spending
    -Balance the federal budget and pay down the national debt.
    -Reform the IRS, to include a flat tax or sales tax instead of the current system.
    -MAINTAIN A STRONG DEFENSE. (I know this one irks some people, but it really is a matter of credibility)
    -Mission Accomplished in Iraq,BRING OUR TROOPS Home
    -Secure the boarders and the ports with our military.
    -offer conditional amnesty to all illegal imigrants who have not committed any other crimes and agree to certain conditions. (learn English, not use welfare, get jobs, maybe pay a fine for being here illegally) Increase the number of people allowed to immigrate legally.
    -Create an alternative to Social Security that in the long run eliminates the need for Social Security, doesn’t leave seniors high and Dry.

  28. and number 10
    -Come up with some kind of way of eliminating the need for welfare, to make it easier to eliminate.

    I don’t think we can successfuly, just pull the plug on these socialist programs. We have to answer the real questions of what do you do with those who can’t support theselves.

    Just some very ROUGH thoughts.

    Your turn.

    Frank

  29. Frank

    It is true that a governor will need help to accomplish his goals but if he was voted into office enough people in his state like what they hear from this person. If the state legislators don’t see that then they will likley be voted out. It may be an opportunity for libertarians to make a move in the state legislature as well. Just by becoming governor and if he can push through legislation that is liberty leaning it will be a huge victory for the libertarian movement as a whole. It can be used as an example. On a national scale one lone representative cannot push through liberty leaning legislation without getting a lot of other legislators behind him. I certainly don’t think we shold abandon national elections or national issues. We need these but I think we need to prioritize our time and efforts to get someone elected that can make a difference and be used as an example for the libertarian movement as a whole.

  30. Terry,

    I don’t disagree with you. My point was that a lone anyone, will have difficulty. Popular governor or no, Look at the Governator, and politics is a messy business. The more the merrier.

    Frank

  31. No, Terry, I wan’t saying that at all. I was just saying that someone promising to reduce the cellulite of tyranny from this pig of a government by 10% isn’t much of a goal.

    I agree it is a good starting point and I would certainly welcome and support such a thing if it were just a beginning. But as a final goal it is hardly worth the effort.

  32. That’s where you get the limited goals and intents. If we are all so conspiratorial about the subject, here’s a thought: Let each candidate pick his or her pet issue. We’ve got all the time in the world here folks. It took what, sixty or eighty years to get this way? All that momentum won’t reverse itself overnight.

    Artus — if ten different candidates swear — and effect of course — to reduce taxes by 10% — and each chooses a different 10%… where does that leave us?

    Of course, the only way we could fully eliminate taxation would be if governmental agencies could run at a profit. (Like city/municipal water agencies… road maintenance; if you want to drive pay the Road Maintenance Agency for the privelege of using roads they built, etc).

    Mechanically this all works otu to be taxation. But the difference is, if you drop off the grid, you can live free of it all.

    Again, this all is me merely ranting and rambling.