Wake Up And Go To Sleep

Now that Brian has put the best possible face on the Badnarik candidacy (though reader Dan notes that this year's Libertarian presidential candidate arguably did worse than 2000's), and the LP has gone down to its familiar string of electoral defeats, our comments threads are humming with the usual "Wake up, my fellow libertarians" posts laying down the law about how libertarians need to do x, get rid of y, stop emphasizing z, and so on in order to fulfill their destiny to rule the national political scene. Let me take a look at a few of the more moth-eaten nostrums:

Libertarians need to stop talking about drug legalization/decriminalization. It turns off mainstream voters.
This conflates a lifestyle question with a legal question. It's true that in recent years, there has been a move away from the bluenosed I'm-opposed-to-the-drug-war-but-I-abhor-drugs pieties of the past (and not a minute too soon, if you ask me). But the core of the argument against the drug war remains that it is an essential assault on freedom, the government's primary mechanism for abridging the rights guaranteed in the First, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eight Amendments to the Constitution. If you think decriminalization is just about your right to get high, you have a feeble understanding of what your rights are.

More to the point, Badnarik did not particularly emphasize legalization on the campaign trail. As with his opposition to the Iraq war, he didn't conceal it, but his approach was always a wonkish constitutional play. Even his kooky driver's license stance was primarily derived from the Constitution.

The LP needs to stop paying attention to national elections and focus on getting candidates into smaller, nuts-and-bolts local offices.
I don't know about you, but I can't think of anything smaller or duller than the local school board. In my own town, LP candidate Starchild got slaughtered in his school board run, finishing second from last with 18,266 votes and 3.1 percent of the total. He even got walloped in this unofficial poll, despite my own effort to game the results. Starchild runs for something every year and is energetic about publishing arguments against local ballot measures, and he may be making some headway: My acquaintances, who tend to be middle-of-the-road SF lefties, no longer giggle when they see his name, and a few have noted that his arguments are pretty intelligent. But it's still pretty slim pickings, particularly in a city that treasures its phonybaloney self-image as a place where colorful, larger-than-life wacky characters can thrive.

The LP needs to stop running goofballs with names like "Starchild."
James P. Gray is a Judge of the Superior Court in Orange County. He served as a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, as a criminal defense attorney, and as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps. He was running in the most predetermined race imaginable—Barbara Boxer's Senate re-confirmation—in which no individual Republican or Democrat had anything to lose by going third party. He got creamed, with 172,190 votes and 1.7 of the total. A few weeks ago, Judge Gray assured me that his campaign had Mendocino county "locked up." As it turns out he got 1,771 votes, 5.1 percent of the total, in California's pot-growing capital, despite having won the endorsements of the local sheriff and DA.

These are piss-poor results, in a variety of races with a variety of candidates, issues, and approaches. So spare me the quack remedies for libertarianism's ills. I don't know how to fix the LP, or the movement. And I suspect anybody who does is full of baloney.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • gary||

    Gee whiz, Mr Science, do you suppose the open borders and isolationist planks had anything to do with the small showing? If you convert all the small 'l' into big 'L' Libertarians, reversing the irrelevancy of a party ready to surrender to the terrorists, things might pick up.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    A libertarian on the school board is going to make America vulnerable to terrorists?

  • ||

    I don't know a magic fix, but I suspect it will involve identifying and supporting good candidates for the right races. I'd gladly donate to a fund that identified the most winnable state legislative elections and the best candidates, and awarded campaign donations on a competitive basis.

  • The Lonewacko Blog||

    In a California race, I was given just two choices: a loony Democrat, or a Libertarian I'd never heard of. I chose the Libertarian. Now, all you need to do is get enough people to do this, and you've got it made.

    On a similar note, check out the numbers here.

    KFI's John & Ken wanted their listeners to vote against a Republican and vote for his opponent, a Democrat. That's because Dreier is very weak on illegal immigration.

    It's a lesson not only because it almost succeeded, but also note the uptick in L votes over the last two elections. Speculation: Republicans voted against Dreier, but they just couldn't bring themselves to vote for a Democrat. The fact that that Democrat might be a lesbian might have also played a part, but I'd concentrate on the "Republicans just won't go that far" part of things.

  • ||

    Californicate usually sees a handful of libertarians elected to offices on the local level. This rarely happens elsewhere and the successes in Ca are not widespread. But they are real and these people are elected public officials who are libertarians. It helps.

    There are no quick remedies for LP ills, otherwise the party would have succeded from the outset. When the culture begins to value freedom and liberty our fortunes may change. But IMO Americans by and large are pretty content with how things look politically.

    Was it Virginia Postrel who coined the term "Lethal Center"? No matter, that is more or less what we gots and people are more or less happy with it.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Agreed, TWC.

  • ||

    I just realized that my proposal is itself no better than a quack remedy. What are "good candidates"? How pure should they be? And what are winnable races? Trying to get a bunch of people to act as judges on those questions, and getting even more people to donate to a fund administered by those judges, would require some sort of consensus amongst the participants. Which brings us right back to the endless debates over what the "right" issues and messages are.

    Aw, hell, I don't know.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "But the core of the argument against the drug war remains that it is an essential assault on freedom, the government's primary mechanism for abridging the rights guaranteed in the First, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eight Amendments to the Constitution."

    No, no, no, no, no.

    The most important argument against the War on Some Drugs is the TENTH amendment.

    THAT'S how the Libertarian Party--at least Libertarian Party candidates at the federal level--should be addressing the War on Some Drugs.

    Demolish the DEA, and force the ***states*** to take up the cost of the War. They won't! Because they have better things to do with their money.

    Libertarian Party candidates for President should NOT say "I want to legalize all drugs." They should say, "I don't care whether every single state has strict laws against drugs. That's a matter for the States. What I ***do*** care about is following the Constitution. The Tenth Amendment forbids the federal government from getting involved in internal matters of the States."

  • ||

    Damnit thoreau! Come up with some nifty mathematical equation to save the LP or we're taking away your decoder ring!

  • Nathan||

    {pulling out the old drum}

    Libertarians will be more successful taking over (or at least influencing) one of the "big two." And I'm game for testing that theory. Anyone in the DC area feel like trying to take over the DC Republican party?

  • ||

    Mark-

    That 10th amendment argument might in theory work for LP candidates seeking federal office, but it would be useless for LP candidates seeking state office. Besides, despite the theory of it, in practice most people aren't interested in 10th amendment arguments. I know, they should be, but they aren't. So if you are interested in persuading people, you'll need a different approach. I'm particularly fond of the argument that the drug war fuels a violent black market and causes more problems than it solves. It's supported by abundant empirical evidence, and doesn't require the audience to share any philosophical premises with you other than a general notion that when a policy is causing lots of problems it might be good to try something different.


    Lowdog-

    Funny you should mention it, I'm actually working on a mathematical theorem about voting strategy. Of course, it won't save the LP, because the theorem addresses voting methods that we don't use right now (e.g. approval voting, instant runoff voting, Condorcet voting, etc.). But it does address the question of which voting systems are most prone to strategic manipulation (with the phrases "most prone" and "strategic manipulation" given precise mathematical meanings).

    I won't save the LP with it, but I might have an impact in the ongoing feuds of another tiny community with interests in third parties: People who study alternative voting systems.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "These are piss-poor results, in a variety of races with a variety of candidates, issues, and approaches."

    There was one candidate who was missing. Or more importantly, there was a TYPE of candidate missing. That missing candidate was a "celebrity" candidate.

    The LP at the national level absolutely MUST run someone with heavy-duty name recognition.

    This is what the LP leadership needs to do: They need to approach Drew Carey...or Clint Eastwood...or Kurt Russell. Or if they can't reach people that high in the stratosphere of name recognition, they should go for Larry Elder, or Deroy Murdock, or Neal Boortz.

    They should tell that person, "Look, you know and we know you will never be elected. We'll pay all your expenses for two months to travel around the country talking about the Libertarian Party stands for, and why a Libertarian president would be better than a Republican or Democrat. If you get even 10 percent of the vote, we will be ecstatic. And you will have changed the whole course of U.S. politics for the better."

    "So spare me the quack remedies for libertarianism's ills."

    That's not a quack remedy. It's a proven formula for success. Just look at Ross Perot. Or Jesse Ventura. Or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Or Ralph Nader.

  • ||

    I have posted before that the way to win support for libertarians is to address the fact that many, many people view libertarianism as the economic equivalent of "might makes right." When the Bill O'Reilly phone-sex thing came out, many people posted on this very blog that he had a right to harass his employee unless her employment contract specifically said otherwise. A week ago, "Highway" and I had an online debate here, in which he basically said that employees have no rights at all, only whatever privileges employers choose to give them.

    These sorts of things scare the hell out of people who depend on paychecks for a living; i.e., the overwhelming majority of Americans. This is why hardly anybody votes libertarian.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "That 10th amendment argument might in theory work for LP candidates seeking federal office, but it would be useless for LP candidates seeking state office."

    Yes, that's right. The United States is broken at the top. The Libertarian Party can do almost nothing--especially regarding drugs--at the state level, with the federal government muscling in from the top.

    That's why we (the Libertarian Party) absolutely MUST find a candidate for President that can seriously bust things open for our party. That means name recognition. People with names like Badnarik and Browne just won't cut it.

    We need someone who virtually *everyone* knows. (But not Howard Stern! :-))

  • ||

    thoreau - obviously my comment was tongue-in-cheek, since I'm aware that you're a physicist, but it's intriguing to know that your interest in alternate voting methods has you looking into a mathematical equation relating to voting.

    Jennifer, you may be right, but that's because they're all a bunch of pussies. ;)

    It's Friday, people, live a little!

  • ||

    Libertarians will be more successful taking over (or at least influencing) one of the "big two." And I'm game for testing that theory. Anyone in the DC area feel like trying to take over the DC Republican party?

    Based on a race in Illinois, I'm not so sure that the two parties are going to stand for much of it at this point of the game. That race saw a Republican allegedly run as a Democrat and win, and now the Democrats are gonna pull the fan-f'n-tastic "electoral fraud" card on her.

    Get used to those two quoted words, because you're probably going to see a whole lot more of them if one of the "big two" isn't happy with the result.

    The problem, as I see, with the LP is that they are packaging the whole damn thing in a "one-size-fits-all" mentality that's meant for everyone, rather than working demographically to achieve the highest possible interest. Kids don't relate to property rights as much as they do about other major issues such as censorship, and likewise a majority of adults aren't going to be very receptive to the WoD as presented now. Rather, touchpoints need to be parsed out amongst groups, a *professionally* done "marketing campaign" needs to be mobilized, and stop dealing with people who produce collateral that looks like crap.

    Let the spinsters work their magic instead of letting the LP look like some already-antiquated has-been of a third party in comparison. This is the problem as I see it today.

  • ||

    Lowdog-

    I knew you were tongue-in-cheek, but it was funny that you coincidentally mentioned something I'm working on. In fact, on Monday a journal club in my department (group of grad students who get together to discuss research articles) devoted the weekly meeting to the mathematics of elections, in honor of the election, and I was the speaker. I spoke about the basic issues in the study of elections, some famous theorems, my own work, and the mathematics of the electoral college. (Whatever one might think of the EC politically, mathematically it's quite an interesting subject.)

  • ||

    On the same topic, where the hell is the LP in between Presidential election years? Why not set up a systematic plan for relevancy such as a Libertarian shadow government or similar system to give the LP an outlet to air libertarian solutions to everyday problems facing Americans, rather than sit in irrelevance every year (save the boring and bothersome April 15th protests everyone's tired of)?

    Let's face it. The LP only makes pushes during Presidential elections, and during off years it sits without much of a voice, except for perhaps a few races here and there. There needs to be a sustained push for relevancy if the LP ever hopes to survive, period. Half of winning the battle is repetition, and this is something the LP lacks gravely in the public eye.

  • ||

    I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere in H&R so let me.

    http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/WA/G/00/index.html

    The LP candidate for Governor in Washington received more than twice the number of votes separating the GOP and Dem candidates.

    That was the result I was hoping for in just a single state between Bush, Kerry and Badnarik. Not this time.

  • ||

    Umm, I have a suggestion, but I'll put it in the form of a question so's Tim doesn't tell me I'm full of (what was it?).

    First, if we LP folks have the skill and the incentive we can pose as liberal types. Now,
    Badnarik could never do that. He doesn't even know the language (rhetoric). I suspect most LP folks couldn't pull it off, either.

    Anyway, does anyone know of any LP candidate who has run for office poseing exclusively as a liberal - selecting issues with no concern about alienating the right, in fact attacking the right where they are vunerable?

    Let me ask the question a different way. If
    Badnarik were a different sort and had ran on a platform of "in your face", even angry, opposition to the war, Bush & Kerry's war; if as, the second issue, he had ran in explicit opposition to right-wing theocrats (eg pro same-sex marriage, ect.), and then round-off
    his campaign with ACLU like civil-liberties issues, would anyone care to speculate on the result? What if he made every effort to stay on his topics, deflecting questions about the LP platform with, eg, my issues are consistent with the platform and I'm not even interested in the rest of the platform in this election year? I want all Americans to understand that a vote me is a vote against the Bipartisan war, a vote against theocracy,
    and a vote for civil-liberty. That is what I care about in this election year, and I believe many many Americans do to, and they have *no one* else to vote for.

    Ooops, gone on too long. ??????




    Anyway, the

  • Anthony Gregory||

    On the war issue, I'm very confident that Badnarik would have gotten fewer votes if he supported Bush's war. It would have given people less reason to jump ship and vote libertarian. With about half of Americans against the war, I don't think the issue marginalized him at all, except among conservatives who call themselves libertarians who wouldn't vote Libertarian, anyway.

    People were afraid of choosing anyone but Bush or Kerry. People don't know about the LP. And if voting Libertarian could make a difference, it would be made illegal in a heartbeat.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "That was the result I was hoping for in just a single state between Bush, Kerry and Badnarik. Not this time."

    Yes, it was actually very unfortunate for the Libertarian Party that Bush was declared the winner in 2000. If Gore had been declared the winner by the same number of votes (i.e. just over 500), the votes for Harry Browne in Florida would have made the difference in the election.

  • ||

    ""So spare me the quack remedies for libertarianism's ills.""

    Quack remedies? Local, grassroots support is a quack remedy? How much did Starchild spend in comparison to his opponents? Better yet, was there even a demographic that could have been connected with in the first place?

    Brandon is right. Better planning, analysis, spending, management, campaigning, design and organziation are needed. But that doesn't happen by throwing someone out to run for something. It only happens when there are loyal bases scattered throughout that a candidate can call on. Do we have them now? No. Will we if we continue to let bloggers sit back and criticize new ideas and efforts, defending years of failed direction? No.

    We've lost county commissioner races by less than 500 votes before. We've lost city council by less than 400. We've lost Borough Manager races by less than 500. I've never heard of an LP phone bank for a local candidate. Lit dropping is sparse at best. And Door to door meet and greets, well, with the quality of candidates (how many emails have we recieved that "We need someone to run in district so and so) is probably ill-advised. But, nah - you're right. Forget it. Lets just keep the moral highground with our position and not do anything about it.

    It's Statler and Waldorf involvement -- close enough to criticize everyone, but far enough away to not be involved. And at least they were funny.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "And if voting Libertarian could make a difference, it would be made illegal in a heartbeat."

    Wow! That sounds like great publicity!

  • fyodor||

    Jennifer,

    When the Bill O'Reilly phone-sex thing came out, many people posted on this very blog that he had a right to harass his employee unless her employment contract specifically said otherwise. A week ago, "Highway" and I had an online debate here, in which he basically said that employees have no rights at all, only whatever privileges employers choose to give them.

    Employees have no rights beyond what all other people have except for what is either stated or implied in their employment contract. Hell, the only reason they get paid is that this is part of their contractual arrangement. Now, if O'Reilly harrassed his employee by phone, that probably broke some law by itself, as well it should. But the only reason the employee was able to threaten to sue for 60 million dollars is that sexual harrassment law is out of control and not connected to the concept of infringement of rights.

    Now, if you disagree with this analysis, you have that right. We ain't gonna agree on everything. And if this POV scares the hell out the majority of Americans, well, so do most of the other stands that makes libertarians what we are. Face it, libertarianism is a radical philosophy to most Americans, and some of the issues that attract you to this forum may seem very well scare most people too. But it all just brings us back to the same old bugaboos. Do we stop being libertarians in order to win support for libertarianism? Are there issues that genuinely reflect our beliefs that may appeal to the mainstream more than others? If so, I have yet to hear what they are. Either way, I'm not going to stop saying that employment is a mutually agreed upon contractual arrangement and no one has some sort of right to it even if that does scare some people.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "When the Bill O'Reilly phone-sex thing came out, many people posted on this very blog that he had a right to harass his employee unless her employment contract specifically said otherwise."

    Sigh. We definitely lack "people skills!" :-(

  • ||

    "In my own town, LP candidate Starchild got slaughtered in his school board run"

    Obviously your local races are a perfect model with which to compare the rest of the country. Let's just use your local races, extrapolate them and decide all issues all over the country, for all races for the rest of time.

  • ||

    First, thanks TPG. As a professional in the design field, it pains me to see the commercials that the LP ran for Badnarik this year. They were simply laughable in that anyone who may have seen one would have maybe watched it for a second and confused it with a life insurance commercial.

    We need to *appeal* on the basis of not only substantial ideology, fitting in the demographics to issues like a jigsaw puzzle, but we must also as a party begin to grow up in terms of how we present ourselves by way of marketing ourselves as the alternative -- not just saying we are.

    This is a country where soundbytes and commercials are treated with more respect than the substance. We can play the same game, and still keep the underlying message intact. It's all in how you package it.

    Some people can shine a piece of shit and call it gold with people clammoring for a piece, so imagine what the LP can do if they shined the golden message of freedom and liberty, and sold it as the real deal? I cannot believe this has not occurred to either the party, nor nearly anyone I know. It boggles me, really, and it gives me little faith unless they begin to listen from this point forward.

    Relevance + substance + repetition + professionalism = a winning strategy.

  • ||

    My opinion is that the party is weak because the party is small. The evangelicals are a force in the Republican Party because they are motivated, organized, and disciplined. Libertarians are in the habit of writing a letter to the editor of the local rag and wondering why no one is paying attention.

    The Libertarians have to go into the political lions' dens and get new members. They have to take their message about racial profiling and the drug war into the black churches and neighborhood associations. They have to haunt the business associations and ask the members if the Republican Party is really delivering on their promise of less regulation. Politics is a human exercise and those are successful go out and meet people face to face, knock on doors, debate their opponents in person. Media buys are the last stage of organizing, not the first.

    I firmly believe that there are more potential Libertarians out there than anyone realizes. Recently the Left has figured out that farm subsidies hurt Third World cotton growers...the logical inference of this is that free trade must help them. This is what the Christians call a "teachable moment." Where are the Libertarians that should be there to support the Left's campaign against subsidies and put into perspective? Snickering at them from the sidelines is no way to change people's minds about the damage government does to the global economy. A temporary ally is better than none at all.

  • ||

    "I cannot believe this has not occurred to either the party, nor nearly anyone I know. It boggles me, really, and it gives me little faith unless they begin to listen from this point forward."

    Well, until a sound strategy is put forth, I have discontinued all donations to the National LP as well as donations for their "call for actions". I'm sticking to donating to the local races that seem well put together, and I'll be urging those around me to do the same.

    I've already lost faith in the National LP. To me, it's a gaggle of 'idea men' that are grasping at power because they've never had it before. Once they get it, they spend $250,000 on pure crap.

    I still have faith in the party and the principle, and that's where I'm focusing my efforts.

  • fyodor||

    Mark Bahner,

    Interesting that of the four celebrity examples you give, two accomplished nothing (IMO), one accomplished very little and the other remains to be seen. Granted, celebrities attract attention and some degree of votes, but do they do much good in the long run?

    And don't forget that the LP has already run at least one celebrity at the state level: Howard Stern!

    But even more fortuitous would be to attract a legacy candidate, ie the offspring of a previously successful politician. Worked for someone else in the news recently, who got a few more votes than Nader.

  • ||

    Precisely my point, James. Relevance. We're lacking it, at least in the public eye.

    Unless the LP starts mobilizing itself in off AND on years, it's screwed, plain and simple. This is why I wholly endorse the idea of a Shadow Government [along with your ideas] in order to vocalize on a more significant scale the *everyday* relevance of libertarian ideals, rather than shouting from the rooftops when the Presidential candidate is in town.

  • ||

    Um.. It could have something to do with the fact that strong libertarian supporters use tags like "the lone wacko" and the LP canditate for president is an unemployed drifter, who hates income taxes so much he's not even willing to get a job... Just saying...

  • ||

    According to Rep strategists a MUST constituency for the GOP is middle-class Hispanics; especially Mexican/Central Americans, second generation (or more).

    Maybe Lib/Rep fusion candidates could help? (at below Presidential level, and mostly in Blue and Western states).

    The High Road is Free Trade and Open Borders. Libs have great credibility on these issues, and they are not instant losers (unlike Drug legalization eg). And Bush is good on these issues.

    thoreau: Approval Voting and (more) nationwide apportionment of Electoral College votes have some potential...the rest is the stuff of seminars.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "Do we stop being libertarians in order to win support for libertarianism?"

    No, but it makes absolutely no sense to say things like, "We libertarians strongly support the Second Amendment. In fact, we support private ownership of tactical nuclear weapons. It's the only way to keep those Government &$#*^&*~ honest."

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with saying, "$60 million is a ridiculous amount of money, considering the nature of the alleged offense! But a year or two's salary to help to find job with a boss who's not a creep seems pretty reasonable."

    It's simply not going to play in Peoria to say, "So, what if O'Reilly did say and do all that? What's the problem?"

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1013043mackris1.html

  • ||

    Andrew-

    I completely agree that most alternative voting methods are the stuff of seminars. I hope that you are right and that Approval Voting has a future, indeed my theorem proves that (in a certain precisely defined sense) approval voting is actually less strategy-prone than any of the other methods being discussed out there. I fear that instant runoff voting (IRV), however, will be what people switch to if we ever do replace our current system. IRV simply has more name recognition, more endorsements, and more advocates. Anyway, I need to iron out the final wrinkles in my theorem at some point, but they're proving to be quite stubborn.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "The High Road is Free Trade and Open Borders. Libs have great credibility on these issues,..."

    Yes, that would be interesting. Find some well-spoken and reasonable-sounding Hispanic candidates to run in border states on Open Borders.

  • ||

    And how will the LP pay for these glossy commercials? Bush and Kerry probably each spent more money just producing their commercials (let alone airing them) than Badnarik had in his entire campaign fund. The "Keys to the White House" ad was quite good for the budget they had.

  • ||

    Mark-

    You hit the nail on the head about the $60 million. Whatever one might think of what O'Reilly did, whatever one might think of the proper role of the law in sexual harassment situations, and whatever one might think about the rights that employees should (or shouldn't) have, I have a tough time seeing how the alleged harm merited $60 million.

    I'd have much less objection to sexual harassment suits if the sums requested weren't so extravagant.

  • Anthony Gregory||

    "And if voting Libertarian could make a difference, it would be made illegal in a heartbeat."

    Wow! That sounds like great publicity!


    Sorry. I'm in a bad mood. I do think that the LP has its positive benefits, but mainly as an educational organization that teaches people what libertarianism is about.

    The LP should never waiver from the principles of absolute individual liberty. If it does, it loses its function.

    We have a two-party state, enforced by law. I don't think the LP will, pending a miracle, push America toward libertarianism by winning office. Power corrupts, remember. The possibility of a libertarian getting elected to the presidency and staying the course seems quite remote.

  • ||

    A couple of things: The "so what your pain and fears are your problem" attitude doesn't play anywhere. Libertarians sometimes end up sounding a little to much like anarchists. There is a purpose to our government. Sounding like "domestic tranquility" and the "general welfare" are ugly step children "to the blessing of liberty" isn't a good way to impress people that the LP can govern.

  • ||

    Fyodor-
    I'm not trying to rekindle a debate about what rights and or obligations employers have toward their employees; the question was, why don't more people support libertarianism? The answer is, people don't want to give their bosses unlimited freedom to run roughshod over them, which apparently is what libertarianism stands for.

    If people preferred a dog-eat-dog world, they never would've invented civilization in the first place.

  • The Lonewacko Blog||

    Just a sidenote based on a comment above: I'm not a libertarian. While some l ideas are interesting, I agree with Jennifer or her parents. I don't want to return to feudalism, and I don't care how much the Russkis would have paid us for the real estate, stationing Soviet rockets on U.S. soil would have been a bad idea.

  • ||

    Lonewacko-
    If you knew my parents, you'd not agree with them. Trust me on this.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "Interesting that of the four celebrity examples you give, two accomplished nothing (IMO),..."

    Clint Eastwood is an Academy Award-winning director. He's also an actor who turned his character (Dirty Harry) into a cultural icon.

    Drew Carey is a top-tier conventional comedian and a pioneer of new comedy (e.g. Green Screen).

    Kurt Russell has turned out to be a pretty good actor (excellent in "Miracle," I thought). And he was able to get and keep Goldie Hawn. That alone seems pretty good to me. ;-)

    So I disagree. In their fields, all three men are better-than-average. That's why they're well known.

    "Granted, celebrities attract attention and some degree of votes, but do they do much good in the long run?"

    They don't do any good at all in the long run, if the Party they run with is nothing but their personality. That's why Ross Perot has made no lasting impression (though he did significantly influence attempts to balance the budget in the 1990s, I think).

    But the Libertarian Party HAS something. The Libertarian Party HAS a consistent message. It just needs someone who can get people to listen to that message.

    But it has to be someone other than Howard Stern, who is simply repulsive to way too many people.

    "But even more fortuitous would be to attract a legacy candidate, ie the offspring of a previously successful politician."

    That could work. But it would have to be somebody big. And almost nobody big who is a legacy candidate would leave their father or mother's party.

    I'm not talking about running a candidate with the attempt to get elected. It's simply not going to happen. You don't go from playing Little League to pitching for the Yankees in 4 years. We need a candidate who can get libertarianism into political debate. Winning Presidential elections simply ain't gonna happen. Not in the next decade. Or two.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "I'd have much less objection to sexual harassment suits if the sums requested weren't so extravagant."

    Actually, it reminds me a bit of a medical malpractice case on which I was a member of the jury. There definitely seemed to have been some harm. But the "malpractice" (which in North Carolina is "does not meet common standards for medical care" or some such...I forget) was much more sketchy. (Let's face it, mistakes happen.)

    Anyway, at the end of the case, the Plaintiff's lawyer was asking for millions (something like $2 million or $4 million). That really turned several members of the jury off.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "The answer is, people don't want to give their bosses unlimited freedom to run roughshod over them, which apparently is what libertarianism stands for."

    Not *my* version of libertarianism! *My* version of libertarianism definitely doesn't send Bill O'Reilly to prison, if he did all the things he is alleged to have done.

    But like I said, I year or two of salary, for the woman to find an equal job with a boss who isn't a creep is completely compatible with *my* version of libertarianism.

  • ||

    You're missing the forest for the trees; $60 million is too severe a penalty but doesn't change the fact that what O'Reilly did was wrong. Hell, I think the Saudis are wrong to cut off the hands of thieves, but that doesn't mean I approve of theft. Besides, on the blog to which I referred the arguments were not that the woman was asking too much, but that she had no right to ask for anything at all.

  • ||

    Mark-
    I made my last post before I read yours.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    I read that thread and you're mischaracterizing Highway's position here just as you were there. His point was NOT some variety of "might makes right." His point was that while O'Reilly's overtures may have been boorish and unwelcome, there is no such thing as a RIGHT to a particular job. Calling something that someone else has to provide a RIGHT (e.g. a job, health care) is an inversion of the concept of rights.

    So, yes, Bill O'Reilly looks like a real bastard. Having to look for a new job sucks, particularly when you've left the old one on bad terms. If he was stalking her, he should face criminal charges. However, an obnoxious work environment, not otherwise prohibited by contract, does not trump basic freedom of association.

    Phil

  • fyodor||

    there is no such thing as a RIGHT to a particular job

    Precisely! And if we fail to convince anyone else of what's clear and self-evident to us, then we lose. That's life. But obviously we think we're right or we wouldn't think this way.

    Mark Bahner,

    I'd say a month or two's salary makes more sense than a year or two. But whatever the ultimate penalty it, the point should be to tie the penalty to the damages incurred by some actual infringement of actual rights, which don't include a right to a particular job. One has a right to be secure in one's domicile, so repeated calls of an unwelcome nature is harrassment and punishable. But staying at a job under unpleasant circumstances and then suing for having to suffer that unpleasantness should not be actionable, period. And I'm not going to stop saying that just because it costs the LP votes. OTOH, no one's going to back a legitimate right to enter into a contract and to sue for damages ensuing from a broken contract more than a libertarian. It's just that that's not what happened. And maybe that makes us unpopular. I'm not going to stop speaking what I think is the truth. The LP can adopt whatever policies they like.

  • Sam||

    Paranoid speculations:
    The libertarian movement poses an actual threat to those that benefit and manipulate the strings of political power.
    It does not seem completely implausible that some fairly significant sum could be allocated to the purpose of crippling the efforts of the LP in seemingly insignificant ways.

    How was it that some outrageous charges were made against the Harry Browne campaign, crippling its fundraising engine at a critical time?

    There were a number of other incidents along the way in past campaigns that seemed to stumble LP electoral efforts just when things started looking promising.

    If there is anything to such speculation, I don't see how the LP could ever pull together without being sabotaged by some little 'intervention' leading to things blowing up.

    That, or libertarians, with enough whatever it takes to become politically active, are just too contentious to effectively pull off a large scale coordinated electoral project.

  • ||

    fyodor-

    To relate the O'Reilly subject back to the original subject of this thread (why does the LP fare so poorly?), it's one thing to be right on principle when the rest of the world is wrong. It's quite another thing to put those differences front and center when campaigning for office. That doesn't mean one must necessarily adopt a position that is contrary to your principles, it just means that one must choose battles carefully.

    I don't know what the magic formula is. I don't think that completely abdicating all matters of principle will be part of this formula (if it's ever discovered), but I suspect that a careful choice of battles WILL be part of it.

    Then again, saying one must choose battles carefully is all well and good, but good luck getting a bunch of people to agree on which battles to fight. Two people might both agree that some issues need to be de-emphasized (at least in the rhetoric and campaign ads) but sharply disagree on which issues those might be.

    Aw, hell, I don't know.

  • ||

    Folks,

    Since there were no comments on my questions at 6:15, I'm gonna tell ya'll a story.

    I got 30% of the vote as libertarian running for state legislature in Idaho, *the* most conservative, Republican state in the "union"
    (the Democrats are almost a minor party here).

    Yup, true story. For many, many, many years I held the record for any! Libertarian running for office anywhere! in a partisan race. I fact it may still be a record (I don't remember what the circumstances were in Alaska when a couple of libs were elected there). In any case, my vote was the best, or near the best, of any, ever.

    I'll bet you can't guess what my platform was if I give you all the time you want.

    The primary, nearly only, plank in my platform was get the state and city governments the hell out of the lives of adult humans who want to spend their money at porno film theaters!!

    I could tell ya more about it, if anybody's interested, BUT THE STATISTICS ARE IN!!

    THERE'S SOMETHING THERE TO THINK ABOUT, BIGTIME SOMETHING, I CLAIM!!!

    LL

  • Sam||

    Political solutions are by nature, short cut means to various ends.
    Expecting to liberate people through political means is a short cut.
    What is needed is groundwork laying. This would take time and organization building OUTSIDE the political arena.
    No shortcuts.

  • ||

    Dammit, the reason the LP isn't a success is because we're the thinker's party, the political philosopher's party... we realize how important these matters of liberty and Consitutional law are... and most Americans would rather eat used cat litter than do something as painful as THINK about politics.

  • fyodor||

    Everyone,

    Well, after a couple of Friday eve slugs on some orange-twist vodka, I'm inclined to admit I know what you mean. A platform that advocates only violating people's rights a little bit might have a better chance than one that advocates not violating people's rights at all yet may be preferable to the wholesale violation of rights advocated and executed and crowed about by the two major parties.

    Peace, love and sobs....

  • Sam||

    LL
    Was it a 3 way (or more) race?

  • ||

    And how will the LP pay for these glossy commercials?

    Searching from within the ranks of the LP, of course. Badnarik's "new" site didn't come out of nowhere, did it? No, a few of us got together, decided the site looked like crap in our opinion, and proposed our services to "upgrade" the look and feel to something more relevant and professional. They took us up on it, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    I'm not saying money grows on trees inside the LP [far, far from it], but I'm dead certain there are more professionals than the three of us who came together initially to help redesign the site who can, in the future, be of more assistance in "professionalizing"/"modernizing" the image of the LP to appeal to a greater audience than it currently reaches. All the LP has to do is put out a call and see what develops.

  • ||

    Speedwell,

    You're sort of right & one whole helluva a lot wrong. It's true libertarians think of themselves as philosophers out to educate America. And that's fine. We have a very well developed educational infrastructure which has been very successful (eg CATO & Reason).

    The deal is though, given that this is a discussion about the LP, "education" has absolutely *no* role to play. None!! That has been the LP's mistake from day one.

    The *only* role the LP and it's candidates has is to bait the hook for liberty as attractively as possible IN RELATION TO THE EXISTING CONCERNS OF POTENTIAL VOTERS!!

    There has been *no* existing voter concern in relation to "ABOLISH THE IRS!" as long as the LP has been around, and certainly not this year.

    And yet, what does the LP lead with every frigging election year, as Badnarik did? "Abolish the IRS!". We diserve *exactly* the failure we have gotten!!

    Voters don't give a crap what our concerns are, and there is no way to educate them in sound-bites, video-clips, and press-releases.
    NO FRIGGING WAY!!

    Until we learn how to speak to voters in relation to *their* concerns, not ours, we will continue to be abject failures as both educators and politicians.

    LL

  • Sam||

    That's exactly what HB has been saying all along.

  • ||

    Sam,

    To answer you question. It was not more that a three-way race or I figure I'd still be in the Legislature with 30%.

    That time out it was a two-way race with a Democrat. Now you might want to nit-pick that, but remember two things. It was a helluva lot better than Michael Cloud, the expert, did in a two-way two-years ago. And then there was Cox in Oregon this year (LOL).

    Second thing, I was *very* high profile about defending porno theaters. The 1st Ammendment press loved that, and they loved the controversy. It was damned easy to get my picture on the front page and to get my press-releases printed. In fact, it's true, I even got my picture on the front page of the Chicago Suns Times carrying sign which read "MYOB - mind your own business".

    I fugure there were a few Republicans who voted for me 'cause I wasn't a Democrat, but that's only 'cause the hadn't read the newspaper or watched TV.

    As evidence, the next time out, in a three-way race that I hardly campaigned in, I got an *easy* 21%. Doing better than Michael Cloud did in a two-way, and a helluva a lot better than
    CoX!!

    LL

  • ||

    This is a Hit & Run flap only.
    As I had said in an earlier thread, something like, "Votes are a poor metric of the spreading of the freedom meme."
    You, my esteemed associates, are just like the rest of them. You cannot just stand there. You must do something.

    Read the Garfield strip.

    She also serves who simply stands and waits. Cats too.

  • ||

    A major factor is that people don't want liberty.

  • ||

    Tim,

    PS!! Talking about "press" that I recieved, I even got coverage from Reason Magazine.

    Before I had even decided to run for the Legislature a regular writer for Reason (blocking his name right now) had noticed my picture on the front-page of the Sun Times.

    He opined on Reason's pages that I had done more to promote liberty than all of the tax protesters put together, and that was *before* I decided to run for office and got 30%!!

    Now, I ain't tooting my horn. I don't give a shit about such. But I *do* care about liberty and the abject failure of the LP after 30+ years.

    LL

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Brendon says, "where the hell is the LP in between Presidential election years? Why not set up a systematic plan for relevancy such as a Libertarian shadow government or similar system to give the LP an outlet to air libertarian solutions to everyday problems facing Americans..."

    1. LP runs lots of candidates every two years. We pick up a great many officeholders in off-year elections.

    2. The American Liberty Foundation, now called DownsizeDC, is what came of an intention to have ongoing liberty-oriented publicity campaigns. If you haven't seen them, check 'em out at www.downsizedc.org.

    3. The shadow government idea was tried, with some small success, in the early 1990s. The problem with keeping it going seemed to be that ours is not a parliamentary government, and so it is less amenable to "shadow" groups who are primed to "step up" into government positions if their party wins, as in Britain and other parliamentary places. The Shadow Cabinet did manage to issue some interesting press releases that got quoted in the media from time to time, but it didn't seem like a winning strategy to keep in the public eye, so ultimately faded away.

    Again, as I have said elsewhere in hitandrun threads, and not to pick on Brendon in particular, as he has has some good ideas, I wish that critics of the LP would study the history of the LP and really learn about the subject. The cool thing about the party being around so long is that they have tried almost everything that you can suggest, in one form or another, in the past 30 years. If there were any silver bullets, the LP would have found them and seized on them in all that time. But the thing is, that every approach seems to be equal parts strategy, tactics, good luck, pot luck, and good timing. It is important to try to understand why previous attempts to use a particular approach succeeded or failed, and then try to keep the good and avoid the bad -- to the extent that chance and circumstances permit.

    One thing to bear in mind is that the LP continues to win local offices, and to enlarge the number of offices held across the country. More and more libertarians are re-elected with each election cycle. That establishes a defacto presence between elections, which we certainly need to promote and exploit more than we have in the past.

    The key thing about running a celebrity candidate -- which we learned to our chagrin during the Howard Stern gubernatorial run -- was to be sure that the candidate is serious and committed. Had Stern actually been running for real, instead of punking the party for the publicity, I think even HE could have done great things for third-party politics, and for the Libertarian Party. The GOP was exceptionally fortunate that, in Arnold Schwarzenegger, they had an intelligent, business-savvy celebrity who truly had political ambition. They were even more fortunate that the recall process favors celebrity candidates, especially when so many candidates choose to run, as did during the Davis recall. Where is the libertarian celebrity who truly wants to run and win? In my opinion, that is the crucial factor that has always been missing from that particular approach, for us.

  • ||

    Tim,

    What has HB been saying all along??

    Sell the public lands to the highest bidder?!,
    which was the foremost plank in his platform.

    There was *no* voter constituency for that! None!! In fact when I heard it I LOL!!, and damned near didn't vote for him. Even when I did I felt a bit dirty when I left the voting booth.

    Even from a libertarian perspective having the government sell the public lands to the highest bidder is insane crap!!

    LL

  • ||

    And how will the LP pay for these glossy commercials?

    Well, buying airtime is another story, but to get them produced? College students. TV-R majors have free, basically unlimited access to professional equipment. Offer it as a contest -- what budding director wouldn't want the chance at a portfolio that could include "A commerical for the Libertarian Party, winner of their 2007 contest, shown in 37 states, and look, there's my name at the end."

  • Sam||

    No, he said that you have to voters' self interest, you boob!

  • Sam||

    appeal to voters' self interest

  • ||

    "A major factor is that people don't want liberty."

    Jim Walsh,
    I'm sure you'd agree people wouldn't be able to identify Liberty in a line-up, if Liberty had nibbled at leisure on their honker.

  • ||

    Here we go again.

    Sure, I think that the LP should keep doing EXACTLY what it's been doing all along- and surely a different result will emerge.

    I say again, Tim... How's that workin' out for ya?

    The only thin that I agree with is the 'nuts and bolts local election' idea won't bring the lp to the forefront.

  • Mark Bahner||

    Jennifer writes, "Mark-I made my last post before I read yours."

    Yes, I figured that. No problem.

    Phil writes, "His point was that while O'Reilly's overtures may have been boorish and unwelcome, there is no such thing as a RIGHT to a particular job."

    In my opinion, it's an unwritten part of any employment contract that the 55-year-old nationwide-celebrity boss will not call the 33-year-old nobody-special employee and relay his sexual fantasies. (Allegedly.)

    In other words, if Bill O'Reilly did what he was alleged to have done, it was *his* obligation, before she came to work for him, to tell her, "I like to call my employees and talk dirty." Because absent such information, the prospective employee certainly wouldn't expect it.

    fyodor writes, "I'd say a month or two's salary makes more sense than a year or two. But whatever the ultimate penalty it, the point should be to tie the penalty..."

    What I was talking about wasn't punitive damages, so I'm not sure I would call it a "penalty." A lot depends on what this woman's job was, and how senior she was. I was thinking of myself. I'd personally need much more than one or two months to find a position closely similar to mine. Especially if I didn't want to move out of town. And especially if I put down as my "Reason for leaving previous job" as, "TV show host Bill O'Reilly harrassed me sexually." The thing is that you want the compensation to make the plaintiff completely whole.

  • ||

    Maybe the Libertarian Party should just . . . stop.

  • ||

    So spare me the quack remedies for libertarianism's ills

    No.. we'll keep our suggestions to ourselves. After all, with the rousing success of the LP, why suggest any remedies at all?

    I was a player in the more recent Hit & Run debate on the Badnarik reaction and what I presume started this long thread.

    A lot of us had disagreements (and Mr. Cavanaugh, I assume that some of my remedies were part and parcel of the 'quackery' to which you elude), and while some people disagreed, I hardly would classify the suggestions as snake oil. No, they may not work, but we KNOW what doesn't work for sure.. that would be... wait for it... what the LP's doing right now.

    In fact, what I'd suggest is the LP QUIT taking the snake oil and 'herbal' (pun intended) remedies it's taking right now, and start using good modern alternatives, quick, fast and in a hurry.

    When your showing is so poor that you don't even register on the scale, and people start making suggestions, it's not wise to smugly wave them off.

    Paul

  • Xrlq||

    The LP should fold, or at least withdraw from national and statewide elections. Those Libertarians who are most concerned with limiting the impact on a typical law-abiding citizen's day-to-day life should join the Republican Party. Those who are more interested in promoting open borders, making America safe for criminals, and making the world safe for everything except democracy, should join the Democrats. Those who are obsessed with drug legalization should flip a coin.

    Face it, we have a winner-take-all system, which naturally favors two, and only two, parties. The only exceptions were the two occasions where a newly-formed party replaced one of the existing ones. If you think you can convince the Democratic Party to disband, more power to you. Otherwise, give it up.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "And yet, what does the LP lead with every frigging election year, as Badnarik did? "Abolish the IRS!". We deserve *exactly* the failure we have gotten!!"

    Yes, "abolish the IRS" clearly doesn't work.

  • Mrk Bahner||

    "The cool thing about the party being around so long is that they have tried almost everything that you can suggest, in one form or another, in the past 30 years."

    Name me one Libertarian presidential candidate even 10 percent of the U.S. population has ever heard of.

  • ||

    Tim: Do candidates for local school board have to declare their party affiliation? That's not the case where I live. Party is irrelevant, and usually not even known, in town council and school board elections, at least in the suburbs of the East Bay Area.

  • ||

    I think Badnarik should have pushed his "bulldoze the U.N." idea a lot more, m'self...especially in light of today's turd sandwich statement by Kofi Annan..
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29094-2004Nov5.html

  • ||

    While a "bulldoze the U.N." message plays well with hardcore conservatives, it alienates every single potential libertarian member from the left side of the equation.

    By the time you actually *get* to the reasoning, they're 10 miles over the horizon and not looking back, regardless of how justified the reasoning may be.

  • ||

    I love it when non-libertarians suggest that the LP should tone it down a bit so that they'll fit in with the mainstream.

    In other words, do like the Republicans and Democrats and go whichever way the wind blows.

    1. That won't work b/c once you start acting like R's and D's, what's the point?

    2. Because the LP has stuck to its guns on principle, it has lasted this long. Once it begins to stand for nothing or just for *fixing* things, the party will die. (See what happened to the Reform Party. Besides thinking that Perot was a swell guy, the membership had nothing in common.)

    The LP has hurdles to jump that the R's and D's have erected. That's a huge problem.

    If voters are not interested in liberty then I would be upset if the LP *did* win because it would mean that principles were abandoned.

    Oh, and you cannot take over one of the major parties. The guys who prevail and win in those parties are the ones who promise whatever the polls are asking for.

    Also, you know why the IRS is still just as big and nasty as ever? Because the Republicans are too chick-shit to say, "Abolish the IRS!"

    IDL

  • ||

    The simple fact of the matter is that even without ballot access laws, campaign finance laws, etc., our system of single-member districts and plurality voting naturally favors the formation of 2 major parties.

    Now, I won't go through the arguments for changing the system (to something like approval voting, proportional representation, or whatever) in this thread because (1) many people have raised all sorts of objections in other threads and (2) even if everybody here liked the idea of changing the system, the fact is that this is the system we'll have for the forseeable future.

    So, one needs to ask how the LP can be a small but effective player in a system that naturally marginalizes third parties. Strategically, it's quite simple: Local offices, ballot measures, targeting the handful of accessible state legislative offices, and a smart spoiler strategy.

    Tactically, however, I don't know if anybody has the answer. Even if we all agree that going after the handful of winnable state legislative races is a worthwhile endeavor, what's the platform? What sort of compromises are acceptable? Which voters are targeted?

    On those questions, everybody has his or her own favorite answers. "If we'd just do this, it would all work out!" I certainly have my own ideas. But I have no clue if I'm right on this. And since the (L/l)ibertarian movement is by definition comprised of fiercely independent types, good luck getting people to coalesce behind an approach.

    So I have no clue.

  • ||

    Here's one thing:

    Mid to late teenagers are pretty receptive to libertarian ideas. I mentioned to a young man I work with that I might vote Libertarian, which of course meant that I had to explain it. I went through a bare bones description (what is government? the only entity in society that we allow to use or threaten violence; what is it's role then? a very limited one, or else, obviously, things get fucked). He was genuinely interested.

    Kids definately want freedom (being less free than an adult) - though they don't know exactly what it means. Many also want a unique identity - and they'd feel one step ahead of their friends politically. Many kids are in danger of inheriting their parents political ideas - give them another way to rebel; with libertarianism, they can piss their parents off no matter what their politics. Give the sense of injustice they feel an outlet before it hardens into conservative or liberal dogma.

    It sounds like a pretty creepy tactic - go after the kids. But most of them get almost no exposure to liberal philosophy in school (despite its enormous benificial effect on the world at one point).

    Think long term.

  • ||

    Also, as regards sexual harassment:

    Supporters of anti-sexual harassment laws would claim (though maybe not in these terms) that there has historically been a conspiracy by men (consciously or not) to suppress women; part of that included, at the workplace, taking advantage of women sexually, degrading them using sexual comments, and limiting their advancement. Historically they have had little to no legal or social recourse.

    What are your various libertarian positions on this? How do any of you perceive the historical wrongs, and how would you have them righted? Also, do what degree is violence or its threat - hated by libertarians in civil interaction - associated with sexual harassment? Fyodor, if you read this I'd be especially interested in what you have to say.

  • fyodor||

    Sigh. You take what you can get in life. Which when you have a brain and you think you see things differently and more clearly than most people, may not be very much. Or at least you're aware of how much less it is than you'd like. But then, maybe everyone thinks like this! Need, want, it's never enough. We're like hungry beggars staring through the window of political power.

    I'd rather think of us as the mice scurrying underneath the feet of the dinosaurs. As far as instituting some sort of comprehensive philosophy to our liking in the body politic, that is. But while we wait over the aeons to take over (heh), we can in the meantime pick political fights on particular issues that are winnable while all the while telling people the basis for why it makes sense. Personally I don't see the LP as a good repository for this effort, but whatever. I may not join you directly or hold out a lot of hope, but I'll cheer you on. Well, not very seriously, I admit. I actually prefer V. Prostrel's perspective, ignore the LP, advocate for freedom within either party or on any issue whenever you get the chance. And otherwise have a good time, shrug your shoulders and know that the world is fucked up and there's only so much you can do about it.

  • fyodor||

    T Bone

    That last post was made before reading your post previous to it. Now I've read it!

    History can be a valuable teacher. We could always stand to deepen our understanding of how the world developed to where it is now as well as the nature of our being.

    But, my first problem with how your historical analysis of sexual harrassment is that I'm skeptical that your history (or at least the history you attribute to supporters of anti-sexual harassment laws) is particularly accurate. Shit happens and always has. But I'm skeptical about this conspiracy. Certainly not a conscious one. An unconcious one, where certain behaviors are self-selected by their success at gaining the actor (and in this case a group of likeminded actors) desired goods, such as sex and power? There's a hell of a lot more that I can say about this than I want to spend time and space on now, but suffice to say I think it's a lot more complicated than that at the very least, and there may even be very little to this narrative at all. But then again, I don't claim to know. I'm not aware of much evidence to work on. I suppose the reply to that is that it was kept secret as often as possible, and while that's plausible, I prefer to base my ideas on evidence rather than speculation, just my way.

    Anyway, aside from whether this theory holds water or not, the next big issue is how history should effect the present. As I implied in my little intro, I'm all for learning from history. But I'm very much not into holding current people responsible for things that have been done by others, any others, and that includes things that have been done in the past. I imagine you've heard this before. But it's not so much not wanting to right the wrongs of the past per se, it's that the facts of a case should include the actions and arrangements of the players directly involved and pretty much nothing else. If this doesn't solve "social problems" as quickly as you like, sorry but I see that as the only just way to approach...justice!

    At this point, let me make clear that I think it's downright stupid and sick to try to keep women down. Any decent entrepeneur wants to get the most out of his potential labor force. And I sure don't see my own interests as being with closing ranks with other men against female advancement. Let freedom ring, what I say. Or as the Isely Brothers once sang, it's your thing, do what you wanna do! And since I believe maximizing economic freedom maximizes economic success, I benefit from this live and live attitude as well!

    But is it still possible that other men are more threatened and thus keep women down, as irrational as that seems to me? I admit I hear anecdotal evidence for this, albeit mostly from women, so I have to admit it's at least very possible, though I sure don't understand it myself. So is it "wrong" to keep women down? I recognize the feeling that there's indeed something unfair and wrong about that. But at the same time, I look at people as individuals rather than as members of a group, so that when an individual is mistreated, it doesn't necessarily (depending on the context) matter to me if that person belongs to a group that receives more than its share of mistreatment or not. Mistreatment is just mistreatment, whoever the victim of it is. That said, I recognize that persecuting an entire group creates a compounding effect on the chances of success for members of that group. I think it's good to see such things and spread information about them. But I don't believe in altering my understanding of what constitutes criminal infringements of rights to accomodate some group or society wide adjustment toward the leveling off of good versus bad treatments between various groups of people. Such an alteration would violate principles I deeply believe in.

    Am I too doctrinaire in following my principles? While I believe in being open-minded about my understanding of the world, including my assessment of the value of these principles, I think it makes sense to be consistent on principles if one believes they are valuable principles that will ultimately yield the most just and fortuitous results. But no set of principles can yield the "best" result every time. It's all a roll of the dice. But we choose principles that give us the best odds.

    To your next question, about the threat of violence, I'm defintitely open to treating credible threats of violence as infringements on one's personal security. I admit I'm a little queasy about this position to some degree, and maybe someday someone will change my mind. But for now, I'm willing to accept that someone's words and indirect actions could deplete the average "reasonable person" of their security to such a degree that it's as if they were physically attacked. And that's why I say O'Reilly may very well have violated more mundane laws against garden variety harrassment. What makes sexual harrassment law more volatile (and profitable) is that it is an offshoot of laws governing civil rights in employment. They are therefore based on the mistaken notion of a right to a particular job, which removes responsibility of parties to their own behavior. Thus a victim can stick with a job long after experiencing the unpleasantness and cite all the time experiencing the unpleasantness as additional damages. This is how sexual harrassment law creates demands for damages way, way out of line with what genuine infringement of rights may have taken place.

    I hope that reasonably answers your questions and reasonably avoids boring everyone else! In certain respects this issue is verry straightforward, in other respects it is quite complicated and subtle. Hope I've shed some light, whether you agree or not!

  • fyodor||

    Also, sexual harrassment law can have negative unintended consequences, such as making women less desirable for employment in the first place because their presence increases the possibility of sexual harrassment lawsuits. That's why I believe in freedom, because denying it inevitably leads to problems that generally outweigh the ones supposedly being fixed. (Well, freedom is good in its own right, too!) As I alluded to in my first of three posts, a certain degree of acceptance of imperfection in the world is necessary to helping bring about the best possible outcome in a very non-Panglossian world.

  • ||

    Brendon - For a guy who was trying to play "spoiler" to Bush, alienating the left should have been the last thing to worry about.

  • ||

    1. Don't pay too much attention to people from the Bay area of California.

    Just joking, Cavanaugh has some good points, but using "Starchild" as an example of a candidate for local office is silly.

    2. Don't nominate a wingnut.

    Badnarik held a variety of crazed views that were at best loosely related to libertarianism. He was convinced to play down those views in his campaign for office. It didn't work. In one of his handful of major media opportunties, the NPR report on his arrest at the major party debates, a random supporter brought up the drivers license business along with mentioning that most Americans would think it is crazy. Great! Worse, many who are libertarians or somehow connected up with libertarian media not only knew about Badnarik's crazed views, they wrongly believed he was emphasizing them.

    From the point of view of most Americans, progessively more radical libertarian views appear progressively more crazy. That is a cross that the libertarian movement and the Libertarian Party must bear. There is no need to make things worse by choosing nominees that have trully crazed views that aren't radical libertarian views.

    3. Moderate the message.

    The LP should moderate the message presented by its candidates. That doesn't mean that the LP should have a message that is moderate by Republican or Democrat standards. It means moderate by LP standards. I believe the best approach would be a message that would be "extreme" by major party standards. In other words, a message like that of Goldwater, Reagan in 1980, or McGovern in 1972. Naturally, the point isn't to be conservative or liberal, but rather libertarian. But the distance from the center of American politicans of the proposed reforms would compare to those radical by mainstream positions.

    Look at what Cato is promoting, and tone it down a mite. Generally, the result would be counted as extreme by the mainstream, but it would be much more moderate than the traditional LP approach of rolling back government 90% over four years.

    4. Don't expect much.

    It will be a long, hard road.

    The focus on local, winnable offices is the beginning of a decades long process of buidling up a cadre of local officials who can endorse and campaign for and with candidates for higher office.

    Sure, many libertarians are like Cavanaugh. They have no interest in anything winnable. (Of course, one wonders if they would be willing to do what it takes to win a higher level office in terms of fundraising and retail campaigning. That stuff can be boring as well.)

    Strong candidates running on a message that will seem pretty ideal to moderate libertarians (a bit more centerist than the center of the libertarian quadrant?,) and radical, but not completely off the wall, to mainstream media and voters will not do too well. But they won't make libertarian public officials and serious candidates for winnable office cringe and hope that no one knows that they are libertarians.

    4. Celebrity and/or rich candidates

    Good candidates (like Judge Grey) aren't enough.
    A personally wealthy candidate, or one with substantial name recognition from other activities, or better yet, both rich and famous, can make a big difference. Unfortunatlely, such a candidate can run on what they want to run on. Still, if they are used to seeing LP campaigns that have a reasonable message, they will be inclined to do the same. And that is what they should be encouraged to do. And, of course, we don't want them having to cringe because the LP puts a wingnut on top of the ticket.

    But what do we do when we have no such candidate? Nothing? I think not. Continue on the step by step path of serious races for winnable office and the best of our local public officials up for higher office with a message that is radical, but radical by major party standards.

    5. Don't think twice about voting for a libertarian in a major party primary and if they win, get behind them 100%. But don't waste time manning "party office" in the major parties. Or worrying about which conservative Republican is least bad.

  • M. Simon||

    The cure is simple:

    find out if the Republicans will have you back and what their price is.

    Third Parties are not about winning elections. They are about changing the terms of the debate.

  • ||

    Mark Bahner and Bill Woolsey have it mostly right. *A* libertarian party could do well with a celebrity candidate. I disagree that the LP ever could. The party history would be too much of an albatross around the candidates neck.

    If a libertarian celebrity candidate (celebrity in the sense of Perot, not Britany Spears) really wanted to make a difference, be listened to and get some votes, he'd be better off founding his own party at this point.

    Now for my thoreau-like preemption of a likely counter argument - so what if he splits the libertarians into separate parties? The LP amounted to 350,000 votes.

  • ||

    You know, saying things like "People won't vote for us because we're the THINKING party" reminds me of an unpopular kid in high school saying "They don't like me because I'm so much BETTER than they are." It makes you feel better, and might even be true, but still won't get you a date Saturday night (or a position in government).

    Libertarianism is a good idea, but it goes too far. It's not that most Americans hate liberty, it's that they realize on some gut level one of the paradoxes of human nature, or nature in general: in order to have freedom for the masses, you must reduce the freedoms--or rather, the powers--of the few.

    To cite an extreme example, the only reason a little skinny woman like myself can enjoy the freedom to leave my house in the city and live my life as I please is because certain laws in the state of America have robbed men who are stronger than me (i.e., all the non-quadriplegics) of the freedom found in the state of nature to attack me as they see fit.

    Fyodor and company insist that employers can do as they please because nobody has a "right" to a particular job. And perhaps they are right, but the average person looks at it from this angle: "I should have the right to earn a living without being subject to any bullshit whim my employer has." Obviously employers have the right to make demands of their employees--dress codes, working hours, tasks to be performed--and even to include extra demands, up-front, in their employment contracts. Yet people on these threads have also said that employers have the right to also make shit up as they go along, and employees have only the right to find another job if they don't feel like catering to their employer's every whim.

    You can't have a free society, or any stable society for that matter, if you don't first take the obvious step of allowing people to support themselves and their families. If the masses of workers have to choose between losing their jobs or cowering before their employer's every demand, no matter how unrelated to the task at hand, this will NOT lead to an increase in freedom for society as a whole, only for those who have power over others.

    Perhaps the hard-core libs are right and I, along with the majority, are wrong. But in politics, it doesn't matter how right you are if you can't get enough voters to agree with you. Which is why libertarians never win enough votes to make a damned bit of difference in how this country is run.

  • ||

    Cliff's Notes version of my last post: Governments are not the only organizations, and monarchs not the only individuals, whose power over those beneath them must be kept in check to ensure a free society. If libertarianism won't admit and address this fact, it will never be a viable political entity.

  • ||

    Well, why isn't there a successful Anarchist Organization?
    Because Anarchists hate Organization!
    You're herding cats.
    If you care about all this libertarian hooey ENOUGH to do something, then you care about it WAY TOO MUCH to be successful.
    And yet...the Libertarian Party does 2 things well:
    serves as a think-tank/sounding board/point of reference which enriches the mainstream political debate,
    and serves as a halfway house for folks who want to evolve away from their youthful starry-eyed liberalism without "selling out" to the Evil Republicans.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Mrk Bahner says,



    Since you gave me such a low hurdle, I'd bet that would be Harry Browne, only because he ran twice and was so often mis-identified in the media as the LP's "perennial candidate" -- I'll leave it to you to pay for the survey to prove me wrong. Regardless, how does your question follow from what I said? What's your point? Mine was that, by trying so many things over the years, we have accumulated some knowledge about what works and what doesn't: we know things about the elections we lost, and we know things about the elections we won. And we have won hundreds of lower-level elections and a handful of mid-level ones in the past 20-30 years. These were real people who spent (hundreds currently spending) real time in government, so please don't belittle them or their efforts. We don't have to go into future elections "cold," starting from scratch. We can also avoid the false lure of the silver bullet becuase we can say, "been there, done that, what's different this time?" Of course, this is all possible only if we keep our history and learn from it. That's why I was so glad to see the Harry Browne campaign issue a report, and why I hope that the Badnarik campaign will do the same.

  • ||

    "Governments are not the only organizations, and monarchs not the only individuals, whose power over those beneath them must be kept in check to ensure a free society. If libertarianism won't admit and address this fact, it will never be a viable political entity."

    Agreed. Many Libs either pretend like those with financial power (corporations, rich people) don't abuse this power or they admit it and don't care. Plutocracy is just as antithetical to freedom as statism.

  • fyodor||

    Libertarianism is a good idea, but it goes too far.

    People used to say things like that about democracy, women's suffrage, equal rights for blacks, etc. But things change, it just takes time. The world is slowly becoming more libertarian, but it's a very slow process, and anyone expecting quick results is sure to be disappointed. Again, I don't know what tactics the LP should adopt and y'all may be right that a more moderate approach may sway more minds. But I'm not going to acknowledge rights that don't exist to appease those who disagree with me. That way lies the mess we're in now.

    Governments are not the only organizations, and monarchs not the only individuals, whose power over those beneath them must be kept in check to ensure a free society. If libertarianism won't admit and address this fact, it will never be a viable political entity.

    Libertarianism won't "admit" this because it is diametrically opposed to the libertarian philosophy. Now, it's possible that it's against human nature for a majority of a large society to ever understand or agree with this philosophy, and it's also possible that more and more people will slowly turn to our way of thinking over time. I lean toward believing the latter, and Badnarik's predictable poor showing does nothing to affect my view of that. I won't bother to argue the substance of your point right now because I think the topic here is more about tactics for change, and I fully admit my opinion does not coincide with most people's and it will be an uphill battle, to say the least, to sway people. But I'm not going to change my POV or what I say about it (here, anyway) because of that.

  • ||

    Fyodor-
    "Libertarianism won't "admit" this because it is diametrically opposed to the libertarian philosophy."

    That's fine; just understand that this, more than anything else, is the reason the philosophy of libertarianism will never find enough adherents to be codified into law.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Oh, and Mrk Bahner, how many people, off the top of their head, can name Richard Nixon's first VP? Some can. Do you think it would be 1 in 10? And the Nixon team WON! Now tell me who was Dukakis' running mate, the year the former was driving around in a tank?

    Anybody can ask fool questions like that, proving nothing, useful only for shutting down a timid and shallow conversational adversary. The fact is that most people don't pay much attention to politics; they barely remember the winners, much less the opponents. It's not because they are stupid: in America, politics at higher levels was DESIGNED to be less obviously relevant to people and their daily lives. People being (temporarily) obsessed with the Presidential election is an exception to the rule. Mostly, people know their local politicians, and to some extent their state officials. They're more concerned with living their lives and getting ahead than all the nuances of politics that wonks here like to discuss.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "*A* libertarian party could do well with a celebrity candidate. I disagree that the LP ever could. The party history would be too much of an albatross around the candidates neck."

    Nonsense. Ron Paul was a candidate for President for the LP.

    All the celebrity candidate has to do is say, "I agree with virtually every position that Ron Paul has."

    And, "I agree with most positions held by the Republican Liberty Caucus. The real problem is that the Republican Liberty Caucus has almost no influence inside the Republican Party. Plus, they have a harder time reaching out to Democrats than a Libertarian does. A President who belongs to neither of the major parties is actually a *better* thing to have, because he can reach out more effectively to both Democrats and Republicans."

  • Mark Bahner||

    "Since you gave me such a low hurdle, I'd bet that would be Harry Browne, only because he ran twice and was so often mis-identified in the media as the LP's "perennial candidate" -- I'll leave it to you to pay for the survey to prove me wrong."

    You can do your own survey. Go to your local mall, and ask a couple dozen people if they know who Harry Browne is. If you can find 2 people who do, I'll be shocked.

    Then, ask those same couple dozen people if they know who Drew Carey is. I'll be shocked if half of them don't know. Then ask if they know who Clint Eastwood is. I'll be shocked if 80+ percent don't know.

    "Regardless, how does your question follow from what I said? What's your point? Mine was that, by trying so many things over the years, we have accumulated some knowledge about what works and what doesn't:..."

    But we have never tried a candidate for President who is already a household name.

    "These were real people who spent (hundreds currently spending) real time in government, so please don't belittle them or their efforts."

    Omigod! There's no way in the world I would do that! I have nothing but respect for candidates who run seriously...and even more respect for candidates who are elected and actually serve.

    My only point is that the Libertarian Party has never fielded a candidate for President like Ross Perot or Jesse Ventura or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Such a candidate would be a ***huge*** boost to Libertarian Party name recognition. (Again, it can't be a candidate like Howard Stern, whose behavior is offensive to the majority of the population.)

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Andy says, "Plutocracy is just as antithetical to freedom as statism."

    I agree, but let's remember that a key instrument of plutocracy in the modern world is the corporation, the legal powers and fictional personhood of which are privileges granted and enforced by government. In other words, plutocracy uses government force to get its way.

    If corporations are "persons," then can't severe corporate crimes earn the "death penalty" (revocation of charter)? Why should corporate persons be allowed to "own" copyrights and patents and lobby Washington to extend those monopolies in perpetuity? Why should a corporation have "free speech"?

    The answer to unreasonable employer whims is to promote a general prosperity that gives people other opportunities, and to lower the barriers that keep people from investigating and exploiting those other opportunities. That won't create a utopia; employers will still sometimes hold the upper hand and use that advantage ruthlessly to exploit workers, but we can help to make such circumstances relatively mild and temporary by not adding to corporate strength with the force of government, and by using government to level playing fields and clear the way to new worker opportunity.

    One reason people feel "shackled" to corporate employers, for example, is that they need healthcare benefits. Why is it the norm for employers to provide healthcare? Because the law was written, nearly fifty years ago, to give employers a tax break for doing so, as an alternative to giving their workers inflationary raises in general compensation! Why is healthcare so expensive today? In great part, because of the interventions of the government in the healthcare industry over the past 60 years and certainly the past nearly 40 years of Medicare and Medicaid. Eliminate the tax advantages to employer-provided healthcare and HMO plans, downsize or elimiante Medicare and government interference in healthcare, and see how quickly the industry reorganizes to allow individuals to afford good healthcare independently, paying mostly reasonable out-of-pocket charges, as was the case immediately before Medicare.

    The ability to carry retirement accounts and healthcare coverage independently of employment would help to level the playing field between employers and workers, leaving the plutocrats two fewer levers to use against people.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "Libertarianism is a good idea, but it goes too far."

    That's nonsense. The United States government, as codified in the Constitution, is darn close to libertarian. (And where it isn't, like the Postal Service, is not a very big deal.)

    The problem is NOT that libertarianism, as it exists in the U.S. Constitution, doesn't work. The problem is that the federal government does not come anywhere close to following the Constitution. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Education, etc. ad nauseum...they are all clearly unconstitutional.

    "Obviously employers have the right to make demands of their employees--dress codes, working hours, tasks to be performed--and even to include extra demands, up-front, in their employment contracts. Yet people on these threads have also said that employers have the right to also make shit up as they go along,..."

    To me, this issue is exactly like the medical malpractice case on which I was a juror. The question in that case was whether "malpractice" occurred...that is, did the doctor do things that were not within the "standard of practice" for medical care in North Carolina.

    In other words, you pay a doctor, and that payment does NOT entitle you to mistake-free care. But it DOES entitle you to him not performing your operation when he's drunk...or hasn't slept in 36 hours.

    In the O'Reilly situation, IF O'Reilly did what was alleged at the website I referenced, I don't see how anyone could argue that such behavior could expected as "standard practice" when a person signed her employment contract. So if O'Reilly wanted to engage in such behavior, it should have been **written into the contract by O'Reilly** (e.g., "the employee may be called upon to listen to phone calls wherein I describe my sexual fantasies"). Absent such a clause in the employment contract, O'Reilly (IF he did what was alleged) violated the contract. And the woman is entitled to compensation for any harm caused by that violation.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Mark Bahner says,

    "You can do your own survey. Go to your local mall, and ask a couple dozen people if they know who Harry Browne is. If you can find 2 people who do, I'll be shocked."

    "Then, ask those same couple dozen people if they know who Drew Carey is. I'll be shocked if half of them don't know. Then ask if they know who Clint Eastwood is. I'll be shocked if 80+ percent don't know."

    No, I meant a scientific survey. Anecdotal evidence and unscientific surveys establish very little. You can't have it both ways, Mark. You can't chide the LP for using ineffective, ad hoc, seat of the pants approaches, and then support your own argument with similarly dubious methods. Nobody claimed that the LP or any of its candidates were household names. We understand our general place in the current scheme of things. A trip to the mall may reinforce our suspicions or not, but it won't establish anything. In any case, were I to go to the mall here in Santa Cruz, LOTS of people who never saw one of his movies would answer the question about Clint Eastwood by saying, "oh yeah, he was mayor of Carmel, wasn't he"?? ;-) Clint's a local boy, after all.

    I don't have a problem with running a celebrity candidate, as long as that candidate is A) a real libertarian, not just a poseur; and B) really wants to win and is willing to serve, i.e., that the point of the run is not just to gin up press for his or her career as a celebrity.

    By "real libertarian," I'm not saying that the candidate needs to survive a purist inquisition on all platform points. I would be satisfied if

    1) The candidate's core beliefs included the ideas that initiating force and fraud are wrong; government is force; people should be left alone to live their own lives and acquire and dispose of their own property (including their own bodies!), as long as they don't forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to do the same; and

    2) The candidate would be willing to justify all stances, especially those that seem to clash with "purist libertarian" positions, on the basis of his or her core beliefs.

    In the real world, what more can you reasonably ask of a candidate, anyway?

    My personal theory as to why more people don't take the leap of faith and vote Libertarian for high office is because they don't perceive the libertarian as a serious candidate, prepped and ready to serve (or they don't see the situation as so dire that they'll take a chance on an able, well-meaning novice -- a factor that was almost as important for Schwarzenegger as his celebrity status, I believe). I admit that my belief in my theory was shaken by Jim Gray's poor results in the California US Senate race, but I do believe that, with more money behind his campaign, Gray could have broken through the media silence, perhaps gotten into the debates, and have earned a great many more votes than it appears he did.

    At the Presidential level, however, the voters understand that it takes a village to run the White House. Staffers, advisors, cabinet officers, and so forth, are vitally important to the Executive. Even a candidate who wants to dismantle government has to initially interface with enough of it to get it under control. This takes people and connections. Schwarzenegger's celebrity candidacy was effectively pooh-poohed in serious political circles, until credible heads kept popping up, attesting to the future-Governator's business acumen and political connections (to movers-n-shakers in both the GOP and Demo camps). Credible people came forward to say that they would be proud to serve with and for Schwarzenegger. I think this sealed the deal.

    In the years between elections, I think the LP needs to establish visibility for a broad array of people who could give the next Presidential candidate -- especially a celebrity candidate -- the help that he or she needs to execute the office. This task would be made much easier if we could draw on an existing crowd of elected Libertarians in the statehouse (for a gubernatorial race) or Washington (for the Presidency). Without that boost, we can still work toward greater visibility for Libertarians who could serve with a Libertarian President. (The Shadow Government idea, mentioned earlier, didn't work all that well before, but the essence of it -- appointing specific people to represent the LP on single areas of concern and promoting their visibility, still seems sound.)

    We could also start forging alliances with various GOP and Demo politicians, working with them in areas of mutual agreement, to cultivate a crowd of established pols who could, in the event of a Libertarian victory, serve in cabinet or staff positions in a deliberately multi-partisan administration. We probably couldn't count on the overt support of such people unless and until a Libertarian win seemed possible or even likely. But it would still be good to be seen mingling and working with the other parties. A celebrity candidate could probably start doing this in "stealth mode," years before actually declaring as a candidate, which suggests that we might want to select and approach likely celebrities in the next several months, so there is plenty of time to lay the necessary groundwork for credibility as a candidate who wants to win, and is willing and ABLE to serve. Maybe we should set a goal of having scouted and recruited a celerbity candidate before the end of 2005, or be prepared to try a different approach. If we can't get a celebrity, then the same basic prep-work can help a more conventional candidate, though perhaps to a lesser degree.

  • ||

    "My only point is that the Libertarian Party has never fielded a candidate for President like Ross Perot or Jesse Ventura or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Such a candidate would be a ***huge*** boost to Libertarian Party name recognition."

    My point, nonsensicle though you think it is, is that you are looking at this from the wrong side. What does the candidate get out of the LP? Why would someone able to generate 25 million (or whatever) votes tie himself to a party that can only get 350k, and has made no headway with the same message he hopes to get traction with?

    Like it or not, justified or not, the press would have a field day with the smurfs, druids, and Starchildren of the party. The party faithful have demonstrated zero political sense, acumen, and most importantly - desire.

    Lots of negative press, and very little of value the LP, whether he agrees with their platform or not.

  • ||

    One thing that we should look to as good news is that, hopefully, in 2008 there will be no other third party or independent candidates to take away from the LP's chance to garner some serious media attention. The last FOUR elections have had either Perot, Nader, both, or some other unfortunate combination of candidates stealing the spotlight.

    Perhaps I being wrong, or overly optimistics, but maybe people are getting a bit more used to the idea of a third party candidate floating around out there. Now, if the LP could just find a way to thrust itself into the vacuum that will surely exist in 2008, it could be our chance to really get some significant attention.

  • ||

    That should read: "Perhaps I'm wrong, or being overly optimistic..."

  • Sam||

    I suspect didn't make himself clear enough to Jennifer in the last part of his post at 12:57.

    The problem Jennifer refers to exists to no small degree because government has been the agent of the 'tacit' conspiracy to keep women down. Remember that, even in the U.S., slavery was justified by the Supreme court because they were considered "chattel", like women and children.
    by regulating women's participation in the market, indeed by regulating damn near everyone's participation in the market, we have endured a hierarchical system, in government, the family, and at the work place.
    That woman should not have endured Bill O'Reilly's behavior any longer than she was willing to.

    That prople feel so dependent on their jobs that they desire to have the government 'protect' us from abuse by those above us is, again, in no small part, due to the huge amount of wealth that the political process has drained from our lives leaving many feeling they are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to putting up with abuse or quitting to find another job or start their own business.

    It's a sad state of affairs when citizens of the greatest country in the world hold themselves as sheep in need af the government 'shepherd' to protect them from wolves.

  • ||

    Sam-
    I wasn't the one talking about a conspiracy to keep women down; I was the one saying that governments are not the only powerful organizations whose power needs to be kept in check.

  • Sam||

    I used the word "tacit" for a specific reason.
    A tacit conspriacy is one that people participate in without specific or overt agreement but only to satisfy their own particular desires. Entirely distinct from the ever popular covert conspriracies that wackos keep revealing.

  • Sam||

    How about naming some organizations that have power anything like govenment.
    Can you point to any organization that can enforce membership? Require you, under penalty of fine, imprisonment, or death, to pay for their product?

  • fyodor||

    this, more than anything else, is the reason the philosophy of libertarianism will never find enough adherents to be codified into law.

    First, sez you. I have yet to see your "pulse of the people" credentials. Second, I don't expect libertarianism to ever be suddenly and wholey "codified into law." Libertarianism is a philosophy to which I largely adhere to because it makes a lot of sense to me. Its goal is liberty with respect for individual rights. As such, its implementation is a matter of shades of gray, not all or nothing. Third, one's opinion should stand on the facts, not on the possible political consequences of that opinion.

  • fyodor||

    Jennifer,

    You keep the power of business in check with your freely made choices. If you don't like the choices a business gives you, just remember that if that business didn't exist, you wouldn't have any choice.

    What makes the power of the law different is that it doesn't give you a choice. It uses coercion.

    BTW, based on what happened in the recent election, one might construe that what the masses would most object to in the libertarian POV is equal contractual rights for gays. But I'm guessing you wouldn't back off that position because of that.

  • Sam||

    Now fyodor, calm down.

  • fyodor||

    Sam,

    What did I say that was out of line??

  • Sam||

    You just seem a little peeved.

  • ||

    I'm in the "not enough exposure" camp. Most people I talk to are barely aware of the existence of the LP, much less what the name of the candidate was. (Although I was blown away the other night when I mentioned Badnarik to a woman I met - an old East coast leftie - and she knew who he was.) Even those who do know of the existence of the LP have only the very faintest of ideas about what we actually stand for (for the righties, it's usually "you guys think it's OK to sell drugs to kids" and for the lefties, it's "you guys want to abandon the poor to the mercies of giant corporations"). I hasten to say that most people, in my experience, have only the most passing acquaintance with either the Dem or Rep platforms - but they think they know what the parties are all about. That's the really important thing: they're voting more because of their own stereotypes of the parties than the parties' real actions. They think they know what the parties are about because they hear about them all the time. They're familiar with D's and R's. They never hear about L's. (I am not claiming that familiarity alone would make us popular, but I'd rather have people not vote for us because they honestly disliked our policies than because they've never heard of us.)


    So, why is that the case? I believe it's largely because the media completely ignore the LP. Just about the only time I ever see the LP mentioned in the media is either as part of the obligatory "Look at America's Kooky No-Chancers" every election cycle or as that one line way down on the election results table that says "L: Joe Schmoe: 0.01%"


    How do we fix this? One way is to start winning elections, but I think that puts us in a chicken-and-egg situation. (It might also not be all that effective unless we won a whole bunch of elections: Jim Jeffords is an independent, but his victory didn't lead to much coverage of independents.) The media's going to be a tough nut to crack, no doubt about it, but the party has to push and push to get mentioned. Every time the the D's or R's say something, the LP has to be ready with a statement. Not only that, we have to cultivate things on a more personal level. Make friends with editors. Get involved in the media yourself. Use your personal life to be an honorable ambassador for our philosophy. I realize that this is going to be tough, most of us preferring to just stay quiet and be left alone, but that's not how you win elections.

  • Sam||

    I have a theory that if I am in the right about a particular point, topic, argument, etc. and who ever I'm discussing it with persists in not getting it, then I must not have explained it well enough to cross the mental barrier they have erected to protect their own position.
    I see in Jennifer that she has run into this with other libertarians and so she has erected additional mental defenses against libertarian 'arguments' (in part because they ARE arguments) making it more likely that she will misconstrue statements by libertarians.

    There is the problem, too, of talking across paradigms. Things you say are usually interpreted into the other paradigm with, at best, irregular results.

    I've noticed this in prolonged discussions with a friend who continually attempts to fit my arguments onto her assumptions leading her to accuse libertarians of being PRO Business, even when I go to pains to explain my reasons. For I while, I had to keep asking her where I said "anything like THAT?".

    The problem with libertarians discussion their views with collectivists and the many vistims of collectivist indoctrination is that they aren't clear on a few things:
    1. They aren't clear, or aware of, their own assumptions and premises.
    2. (therefore) they aren't aware that libertarians argue from different assumtions and premises.

    And libertarians often take their assumptions as a given.

    This leads to a lot of miscommunication.

    I will make one comment, since the 9/11 attacks, it is generally easier to talk to liberals than to the pseudopatriots that abound in the U.S.

  • Ruthless||

    Jennifer said:
    "Libertarianism is a good idea, but it goes too far. It's not that most Americans hate liberty, it's that they realize on some gut level one of the paradoxes of human nature, or nature in general: in order to have freedom for the masses, you must reduce the freedoms--or rather, the powers--of the few.

    Jennifer, before I go further, let me know if you've read or skimmed this book. I've just skimmed it myself. I'm not a pedagogue.
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/086571486X/reasonmagazineA/

    Rankism is a disgusting habit of homo sapiens at this stage of our evolution, but, this too shall pass. (I think.)
    Habits of rankism are just another swarm of parasites on the freedom meme. Parasites are not organizational issues. They are just to be stepped on and killed in the course of existence. Then evolve.
    I'm not going to predict the future of the freedom meme, but I think it's most important to put the emphasis on family when it comes to setting who can pull rank on whom.
    Families should be at the top of the hierarchy of sovereignty/rank.
    The meme of the Librarian Party has been putting first things third.
    First should be the Party Party. Yee Hah.
    Second should be the Family First Party.

  • Sam||

    "you must reduce the freedoms--or rather, the powers--of the few."

    A paradox of government is that you do exactly the opposite; give extraordinary power to a relative few.

  • ||

    Drug War = Subsidized Terrorism

    People fear terrorism. And rightly so. Therefore they should reject any measures which fund terrorists.

    Ask any set of voters what they would do if there were a local funding measure on the ballot which allocated a certain number of dollars directly to terrorism. Not fighting terrorism but actually funding it.

    This is precisely what the drug war does. Make that point convincingly and you've gone a long way towards pulling back the curtain on this disastrous social program.

    Make that point convincingly, LP.

  • Mark Bahner||

    I wrote, ""You can do your own survey. Go to your local mall, and ask a couple dozen people if they know who Harry Browne is. If you can find 2 people who do, I'll be shocked."

    James Merritt responded, "No, I meant a scientific survey. Anecdotal evidence and unscientific surveys establish very little."

    Don't be a nerd, James. If I commissioned a scientific survey, and it came out with the answer that 12% of the voting population knows who Harry Browne is, would you dance a little jig that I was wrong?

    The fact is that Harry Browne is a no-name. In contrast, Clint Eastwood and Drew Carey are household names. Even Larry Elder and Deroy Murdock are far, far better known than Harry Browne. Both Larry Elder and Derpy Murdock write nationally syndicated columns, and are frequent guests on political commentary shows.

    "You can't chide the LP for using ineffective, ad hoc, seat of the pants approaches, and then support your own argument with similarly dubious methods."

    Oh, brother. I'm not "chiding" the LP. I'm a dues-paying, contributing, straight-ticket-voting member of the LP. ANYONE who objectively looks at the record of vote tallies for LP Presidential candidates should be able to see that our current approach isn't working.

    Further, I *never* called the current LP approach anything like "ad hoc" or "unscientific." It's not working. That's the only "criticism" I have of it. (I put "criticism" in quotations, because it's a simple observation of fact.)

    James writes, "I don't have a problem with running a celebrity candidate, as long as that candidate is A) a real libertarian, not just a poseur;..."

    I agree. But there are people who truly are libertarians, who don't agree with every single position that the majority of the Libertarian Party hold. For example, there are people who are legitimate libertarians (e.g. Larry Elder and Deroy Murdock) who supported the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The question is whether the purist majority can accept a Presidential candidate who has ever had such "impure" positions. My suspicion is that they can't. Unfortunately.

    "...and B) really wants to win and is willing to serve, i.e., that the point of the run is not just to gin up press for his or her career as a celebrity."

    A Libertarian Party Presidential candidate is NOT going to go from 300,000 votes in 2004 to winning the election in 2008. That's a simple fact. You're talking about the a Libertarian Party president taking gold in the Olympics, and our candidates are still crawling. They haven't even taken their first step!

    Further, worries about the star's career publicity have a "zero sum" mentality that's completely unnecessary. If the star gets even 5% of the popular vote for President, the Party membership ***should*** be turning cartwheels. If that also helped the star's career, well, it's a business venture where both parties benefit. That's good.

    "At the Presidential level, however, the voters understand that it takes a village to run the White House. Staffers, advisors, cabinet officers, and so forth, are vitally important to the Executive. Even a candidate who wants to dismantle government has to initially interface with enough of it to get it under control. This takes people and connections."

    James, James.! The Libertarian Party has never polled even **2 percent** in any Presidential election. You're thinking way, way too far in advance. After a Libertarian Party candidate polls 10+ percent of the popular vote, then we can even ***think*** about such things.

    I'm not even sure: 1) we can get a celebrity who wants to run, and 2) that the Party leadership would ever OK it.

    The first thing we need to start with is near-universal acknowledgement that NOT running a celebrity hasn't worked, and agreement that running a celebrity is worth a try.

  • ||

    As I come back in here to cuddle and re-embrace my drunken post, I notice you, RandyAyn are off the mark.

    We here understand what you're saying, but the hoi polloi never will.

    And this is the key difference between the Librarian Party and Hit and Run: We here realize we are not compelled by Zen to knock the scales off the eyes of the hoi polloi.

    We here are the keepers of the flame. We are not the scale-knockers.
    We leave that to those more in touch with their masculine sides.

  • ||

    One point we should hammering home to the left is the extent to which the corporations colonize government and turn it to their own ends. Every government in history has been at the disposal of the existing elites. Revolutions are nothing more than a transfer of wealth and power, stripping it from one group and handing it to another.

    There's nothing more common than the sight of businessmen insinuating themselves in the regulations process, ostensibly to make the new rules "fair" and limit their impact, but just as often to write them in such a way as to give them an advantage over their competitors. The new anti-smoking bill approved this year was steered in just this way by Phillip-Morris.

    To argue that we need government to protect from the rich and the corporations is a sad misreading of the history of government. I'm always trying to stock up on anecdotes that I can use with my lefty friends and family as evidence that if power is given to the government, it might as well be handed directly to the rich. Even slavery could not have survived without the help of hundreds of government officials who could be counted on to hunt runaway slaves and put down any potential rebellion. The idea that government "liberated" the slaves from the tyranny of private slaveholders is the most successful propaganda line in history.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "I will make one comment, since the 9/11 attacks, it is generally easier to talk to liberals than to the pseudopatriots that abound in the U.S."

    Well, when you think of them as "pseudopatriots," it's not surprising that you have trouble talking with them.

    I don't always practice this preaching, but it's generally better to start with the assumption that people you disagree with are simply wrong, rather than bad (i.e., "pseudopatriots").

  • ||

    James,
    Even dictatorships have an element of democracy about them, as those with feet have always been able to vote with them.
    The rich under any form of government have always been able to align themselves with demagogues.
    Would it be fair to say we Hit&Runners suffer from being altruistic compared to those obsessed with lining their pockets (being normal)?
    Typical H&R's are like the two nutcases in that old Saturday Nite Live skit:
    "Have you ever put toothpicks into your eyelids?"
    "Yes, I hate it when I do that."

    Entrepreneurial/engineer types don't do that. They just put shekels into their pockets then kick back by Simonizing their BMW Z-4's.

  • ||

    Cliff's Notes version of my last post: Governments are not the only organizations, and monarchs not the only individuals, whose power over those beneath them must be kept in check to ensure a free society. If libertarianism won't admit and address this fact, it will never be a viable political entity.

    I agree in principle, although in practice one must be very careful in codifying how those other groups will be kept in check. Before you write the rules that will keep GiantCorp from hurting employees and consumers, it might not hurt to find out if the main sponsors of the anti-GiantCorp campaign are other big companies that couldn't produce a product as efficiently as GiantCorp. Otherwise the Anti-GiantCorp Act might turn into the "MegaCorp Empowerment Act."


    There's nothing more common than the sight of businessmen insinuating themselves in the regulations process, ostensibly to make the new rules "fair" and limit their impact, but just as often to write them in such a way as to give them an advantage over their competitors.

    There is good reason to believe that various drug cartels do the exact same thing. Which is one of the many reasons why I support drug legalization. I realize that drug legalizers like me are frequently touted on this forum as one of the reasons why Libertarians are perceived as loony. Well, I have zero interest in the drugs themselves, and zero sympathy for drug dealers. A relative of mine has worked in the drug trade, and he and his friends are among the most corrupt and reprehensible people around. I support drug legalization for the exact same reason that most people support drug prohibition. My perspective is actually 100% mainstream, even if my proposed solution is out of the mainstream.

  • Sam||

    I call certain types pseudopatriots because their formula is as simple as the enemy's; US vs THEM. They say things like "our boys are over there to defend your freedom of speech" then they tell you to shut up.
    They don't understand the constitution well enough to question where Bush got any authority to wage war. Hell you better not dare question Bush within earshot of them.
    They are pseudopatriots because their definition of patriotism is "obedience to authority". That may be a valid definition in other countries, but not in the country founded with the Declaraton of Independence and a government limited by the constitution.

  • Sam||

    And I didn't start out with that assumption, it came to me after I experienced how little interest they have in any discussion that might challenge their assumptions.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "My point, nonsensicle though you think it is, is that you are looking at this from the wrong side. What does the candidate get out of the LP?"

    What would Clint Eastwood, Drew Carey, Kurt Russell, Larry Elder, Deroy Murdock, etc. get out of the Libertarian Party?

    Well, they'd get a chance to go straight from Mayor of Carmel...or no political experience at all...to running for President of the United States. That's just not possible within the Republican Party.

    "Why would someone able to generate 25 million (or whatever) votes tie himself to a party that can only get 350k, and has made no headway with the same message he hopes to get traction with?"

    Well, Clint Eastwood is different from all the others. He's getting up there in age (I think he'll be 75 or more in 2008). Why he'd do it is that it would be an interesting thing to do for ~3-4 months (i.e. between nomination by the LP and the election). All the other guys might do it if they wanted to build credibility as candidates in the Republican Party. Or if they simply thought it would be interesting. There's a pretty big thrill with being able to say, "I got 10 million votes (or whatever) for President, once."

    How many men in history have ever even been on the ballot in enough states to be elected President? Probably less than 200, I'd guess. It's sort of like winning a bronze metal in the Olympics. Why do people spend the prime years of their lives just trying to win a little metal in the Olympics?

  • Sam||

    endorsement contracts?

  • ||

    So, ASSHOLES!!

    I've near 1/2 zimers and I hear old farts get excused for being blunt!!

    In the nearly 40-years of it's history I'm the all time record holder for any Libertarian running for office anywhere, anytime in a partisan race (or damned close to it, if not)!!!!

    Did a gawded damned one of you read and respond!!! Hell no!!! "Cept for Tim who wanted to know if it was 2 or 3 way.

    This thread has been mostly about B. O'Reily,
    the sick phque!! Or getting Arnold to run on the LP ticket!!! Puke on those shoes!!!!

    GO BACK AND READ ME AND GIVE ME A RESPONSE, OR WASTE 40 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE FROM A LIBERTY LOVER CLOSE TO DEATH!!!!

    AND THAT MEANS YOU, TOO, CAUVANAUGH!!!!!

    I'M A FRIGGING ALL TIME RECORD HOLDER TO THE LP, AND I DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THAT!!! BUT I DO CARE ABOUT LIBERTY, AND IF YOU YOU BUCKS AND DOES AIN'T GOT SHIT TO LEARN FROM YOU ELDERS,
    REINVENT THE WHEEL, EH, IF YOU CAN FIGURE IT!!!!!!!!

    PHQUE!!!!!!!!!

    30% IN A TWO-WAY, 21% IN A THREE-WAY!!

    WHO THE HELL HAS DONE BETTER THAN THAT??!! THINK ABOUT IT, BUTTHOLES WHILE YOU ARGUE ABOUT THE SICK PHQUE ORIELLLY, AND ARNOLD SWARTZINIGGER.

    LARRY FULLMER

    I STARED OUT ASKING QUESTIONS. I GOT NO REPLYS. WELL, CAUVANAUGH, WITH YOUR CLAIMING "NOBODY KNOWS", AND ANY BODY WHO CLAIMS THEY DO ARE FULL OF SHIT, YOUR ARE AS FULL-OF-SHIT AS THE COME!

    LL







    .

  • ||

    oh, yeah. hammer me for my spelling and grammer. why the hell not!!

    us old fart libertarians are that way.

    there are no answers and anybody whot claims there are "are full-of-shit".

    GOOD GAWD, IS THAT THE BEST YOU CAN DO SICK PHQUER, CAVANAUGH??!!

    NIHILISTS, SWARTZENIGGER SUPPORTERS AND A FIGHT ABOUT THE SICK PHQUE O'REILEY???

    PUKE!!!!

    LL

  • fyodor||

    And Sam told me to calm down! :-)

  • ||

    Libertarian Larry:

    You do realize that there were a number of Libertarians that were actually elected to the New Hampshire state house of representatives, right? There were four at the same time about ten years ago. Also, in Texas, where I live, a candidate received approximately 860,000 votes for a statewide offfice. So, not to knock your accomplishments, but you're not an entirely isolated case.

  • ||

    Joe,

    I ain't kept up on the stats. Thanks for putting me in my place.

    The Alaska thing was some kind of a very wierd election law. And in NH some were elected as Republicans and switched.

    So, with the nit-picking, I see you didn't have a gawd-damned thing to say about strategy and tactics from maybe not a record holder (as I noted) but a very near one.

    Thanks for the REASON buddy!! Like I said, I don't give a shit about the record, but I think I do have something to say to kids as an old fart with the near record.

    PHQUE YOU FOR NOT RECOGNIZING THAT!!!

    "THANKS" BUDDY FOR TELLING ME TO PHQUE OFF!!!

    PHQUE YOU, TOO!!!

    LL

  • ||

    Joe,

    You frigging brought it up.

    What's the deal with the LP person in Texas who got 860K votes?! What percent was that?

    Has anybody picked his/her brain? I figure not!!

    Fill me in, asshole, since you brought it up!!

    LL

  • ||

    Seems a bit of arrogance in these postings here. "Why isn't libertarianism getting more votes? Lessee--it must be because the candidates are goofy! No, no, it's because we don't have a big enough advertising budget! No, it's celebrities! We need more celebrities! When I tell people why I'm a Lib, if they don't agree with me it MUST be because they've set up all sorts of mental barriers blinding them from the truth! Aw, fuck, I dunno what the problem is, and anyone who says he does is full of baloney!"

    Yet no one seems willing to consider that maybe it's the message, not the medium, that turns people off. Maybe people just plain don't like all that Libertarianism stands for. If I ever ran for office against a Lib, all I'd have to do is cut'n'paste some postings on these threads to turn the majority of voters against my opponent.

    "You folks struggling to earn a living on minimum wage? The Libs want to abolish it, so you can earn even less!"

    "Your boss sexually harassing you at work? The Libs say he has a right to do so!"

    Granted, these would not be entirely honest assessments, but they'd be well within the realm of political discourse.

  • ||

    Jennifer,
    Two responses: What the Librarian Party does is their problem. Here on H&R, we're the keepers of the flame.
    Which approach is more effective at changing minds? I think just keeping the flame.
    Also good to remember that there are not that many minds, as a percent of the population, that need changing. We needn't concern ourselves with followers, who don't have minds to start with.
    (By the way, I'm not advocating "leaders." I'm just saying nobody should be a follower.)

    LIBERTARIAN LARRY,
    When you aren't posting here, do you have a very early morn talk radio show called, "The Truckin' Bozo"?

  • ||

    Ruthless and others-
    Something occurred to me as I took my shower just now--even assuming that Libertarianism would indeed cure all the world's economic ills, another problem with the philosophy is that not ALL problems are economic in nature.

    A few months ago there was a thread concerning some perfidies of the FDA, and someone suggested abolishing the department and letting people "take responsibility" for their own food safety. I posted the obvious question: How? How can we make sure our food is not poisonous--become chemical engineers and set up food-testing labs in our homes? Hire desperate Third Worlders to be our food tasters?

    That killed the thread--it remained up for two more days, but nobody even TRIED to answer the question.

    Another post concerned abuses by child-protection agencies. Somebody, I think Gadfly, posted the question: Since there will be no government child-protection agencies in the Libertarian Utopia, what is the Libertarian answer to the problem of child abuse? Another thread-killer; nobody posted after that question.

    You've heard the saying "When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail?" Seems that the Libertarian's only tool is deregulation of EVERYTHING, and if a problem can't be solved thusly they don't even see it.

  • ||

    Jennifer-

    Not all of us who identify ourselves as libertarians want to completely abolish all gov't regulation. My main interest is in

    1) Identifying the places where regulation causes more problems than it solves and getting rid of said regulations
    2) Although I recognize a place for regulation, when a problem is publicly debated I believe it's important to at least examine the non-regulatory remedies first.

    Now, some would say that my wishy-washy stances mean I'm not a real libertarian. That's like saying that any non-Hassidic Jew isn't a real Jew, or that any scientist who isn't an atheist (or at least an agnostic) isn't a real scientist. I support significant measures that would move public policy in a libertarian direction, even if I disagree over just how far we should go in that direction. If that isn't good enough for some people, well, maybe they'd be happier if I voted for Democrats ;->

  • Sam||

    Damn, I wrote a long post and something happened on the server to lose it.

  • ||

    Thoreau-
    I also consider myself a "Lite Libertarian," as I suppose you do too. But YOUR beliefs are not the ones the LP presents to the world. I agree with the Libs more often than the Dems or Repubs, but the instances where I DO disagree are doozies. I think a modified Libertarianism would be very popular, but I don't think it will ever be presented as an option.

  • ||

    Sam-
    That also happened to me. Maybe we need to start regulating these servers. (Joke, people! Joke!)

  • Sam||

    Jennifer,
    Are there any signs that the current system is taking us where you want to go. Where is it that you want to go?

    Libertarian don't and shouldn't try to indicate that liberty is the solution to all possible problems. Don't expect that every possible question that you can come up with has an easy solution.

    Liberty isn't a solution, it's a proposed environment for people to find solutions that work without creating the problems that political solutions create.

    Do you think politics is the ideal appraoch to ordering the world? Are you willing to acknowledge that wars, corruption, and oppression are necessary feature of the political approach to ordering human affairs? Do you think these features are an acceptable tradeoff for having political muscle to deal with your concerns?

    If you were the dictator of the world, do you think you could get it to work out the way you envision?

  • ||

    Jennifer-

    I think that a modified form of libertarianism could emerge in the form of a party that's economically conservative, socially liberal, and above all else mainstream and sane. The problem is that a large party will only emerge if we use another voting system, be it instant runoff voting, approval voting, proportional representation in some form, or something else.

    I won't go through the arguments in favor of those systems because (1) I've gone through it before without much reception, (2) some people here are convinced that those systems would ruin our country (never mind that the Swiss use a system that I like and maintain a very robust form of federalism), and (3) such voting reforms are unlikely to happen soon, so we might as well ask how the LP can make an impact under the current circumstances.

    In some sense the answer is trivial: Concentrate limited resources on the right races and articulate the message in a form that will appeal to more people. But what are the "right races"? More importantly, what would actually make the message more acceptable to more people? And would the change in message be acceptable to the LP?

    I agree with Tim that nobody has a magic answer as to the right message.

  • Sam||

    Libertarian Larry
    That wasn't Tim who asked you the question, it was me, Sam. Here are some more questons for you.
    Did your campaign produce a report?
    Is it available?

  • Sam||

    Way back in the '80s, I put up Nick Yougers at my house while he managed a ballot access campaign for my run for congress.
    He told how he ran for office in his home state and he came in second in a three way race.
    The local newspaper, in reported the results, actually excised his image from a debate picture and left out his results entirely from the reporting.

  • fyodor||

    Jennifer,

    I'm not entirely certain I would kill the FDA myself, but the way safety can be ensured without it is you only buy from companies with good reputations. Companies interested in long-term success have an interest in pleasing their customers. A business may make a killing (ha-ha) in the short run by ignoring safety, especially if consumers ignore this issue of reputation, but in the long run, which is much more important to any good businessperson, companies poisoning their customers won't do very well. Plus, private associations have been known to come up wth their own means of disseminating information to assist consumers, and these would likely proliferate in the absence of an FDA subsuming that role. Sure, such associations can be bought off by businesses (as if a government agency can't be?), but then if they have their own customer base to please, they too have an incentive to be honest and fair. And then the last resort is always to sue or prosecute a business that has screwed someone. In sum, this is what is meant by taking responsibility: when government leaves buyers to be responsible for making good decisions but holds companies who do sell fraudelently harmful products to task. It wouldn't work perfectly (what would?), but there's good reason to think it would work better than the FDA.

    Anyway, as you can see, there clearly is a libertarian answer to your question. There must have been other reason why no one answered your question on that previous thread. Sometimes people lose interest. As for myself, as I say I'm not certain I would abolish the FDA, butt I recognize it's a pro and con give and take at best (cons being that it's preemptively coercive and bureaucrats make lots of bad, arbitrary decisions because they're not directly invlolved and their "customers" lie outside the market in the political realm; call it a top-down process, if you will), and I would tend to prefer that the FDA take an advisory rather than directly regulatory (ie coercive) role.

    BTW, Jennifer, speaking of unanswered questions, I still don't know if you would have the libertarians abandon their view that either gays should be allowed to marry or else the government should get out of the matter altogether in light of the fact that the electorate has just shown a powerful enthusiasm for making the government's role in marriage more specific and entrenched, and for punishing candidates who disagree?

    Oh and also, it's not true that nobody wants sexual harrassment laws brought under control or the minimum wage abolished. Many people agree with those positions. It's true that the extent to which libertarians might go on these matters might be a little extreme for some who agree in a general sense, but an even bigger problem is that many of those people agree with us on those issues don't believe in extending their laissez-faire principles to social issues, such as ending the drug war or allowing gays to be themselves. Or having a genuinely humble foreign policy. So while I realize that many people simply disagree with us on one issue or another, and that our exteme POV doesn't help in that regard, I think the larger problem is one of building a coalition that in today's world simply has little to no chance to exist. Maybe down the line it will.

  • ||

    Jennifer,
    As an anarchist, I'm sure it doesn't surprise you to know I'm not concerned with problems that exist now. I'm curious to see how problems could be solved once everything was deregulated and anarchy prevailed.
    To re-start the thread about abolishing the FDA and child protection agencies.
    Why should I concern myself with your obsession to ingest poison? Why should I care about your children?
    My assumption is that, under anarchy, families would be sovereign, so my family would rule, and the hell with yours.
    This doesn't imply that my family would start shooting at your family, like the Hatfields and McCoys, but there would probably be a lot of that before a natural, peaceful order emerges for free. This would be a much more stable order.
    See the Santa Fe Institute.

  • ||

    "Do you think politics is the ideal appraoch to ordering the world? Are you willing to acknowledge that wars, corruption, and oppression are necessary feature of the political approach to ordering human affairs? Do you think these features are an acceptable tradeoff for having political muscle to deal with your concerns?"___Short answer, Sam... Yes I do. BTW, you create a straw man there in the use of "ideal." My ideal world has Christ Arisen and Returned in it. Since that isn't a viable plan for future action, we are forced into the SUB-OPTIMAL world. And politics IS an approach in the sub-optimal world, in some cases the ONLY viable approach. We simply hope to hold the wars and oppression to a minimum, and the corruption, too. Part of that is to be achieved by limiting government's scope and powers, but part of the reverse of what you want, Peace, Liberty, and Equality WILL be achieved thru the action of government. This may be anathema to you, IF you're an Anarcho-Capitalist, but I'm not and most folks aren't. And I can tell you the Anarcho-Capitlaist School of thought is going to get about .5% of the vote, EVER. Jennifer is dead on right there.

    Tim C. ain't one of my fave's on this board... this idea that "simple isn't the answer" is WRONG. Jesus said, "Love your God with all your heart, mind and soul. Love yourself as you love others" Those are the keys to Salvation, see SIMPLE, AHHHH but DOING them, that's hard. Or if you prefer, Clausewitz said, "In war everything is simple, but even the SIMPLE is difficult." So there IS a simple answer, it's just hard. And people have talked about it a lot here.

    Go LOCAL. Run Drew Carey or Neal Boortz or Kurt Russel for President, if they'll do it. That job is a "place holder" job any way. Schartzennegger (sp.) or Eastwood aren't going to run, Ah-Nuld isn't going to give up his paying gig as a Republican to become an obscure third party LOSER and as someone pointed out, why would a big name like Eastwood, who could get 1-2 million votes himself, run with the LP just to pick up another 3ooK votes? Your Presidential candidate is just there to show you to the nation AND NOT EMBARASS YOU.

    Focus on local/state races. You need to run a town or county, someone talked about school boards and dismissed that as dull. HEY FOLKS, GOVERNMENT IS DULL!!! Writing is dull, NASCAR is dull, wars are dull (mostly just standing around in miserable conditions). BUT it's at the detail level that things happen and count. Run a school board, focus on accountibility, and overhead reduction... can't you run an INTERNAL voucher system for the school system? Do you have to have a TENURE SYSTEM for teachers? Do you? You start small and move up. From school boards, city commissions and county fiscal courts you get experience, showing voters that being Libertarian isn't all about the Gold Standard and opposing the War on Drugs. Plus, you begin to get candidates for the NEXT level of operations and if you're successful you get money and walk-in candidates who decide they, too want to run on the LP ticket.

    From there you can move to state and regional power. You may be able to leverage yourself into national politics by being regionally strong. In the Southwest you get the attention of Republicans. In the Norteast the Democrats. But first you have to get your party active and alive at the local level. At this point, who cares who you run for President? S/he isn't going to win. You just don't want some raving loon to make the party look bad.

    See Tim C. it's SIMPLE. It's just hard. You confuse simple with easy. Simple isn't easy it's just not complex.

    Oh and if you've tried this approach before, try it again. And if it doesn't work, try something else. Now if that don't work, well... Then guys just admit it, you're nothing more than the SDS or the DSA. A fringe group that is NEVER going to be nationally powerful. There it is, if you won't do the hard work OR you've tried and you've failed, well the answer just might be, that you're not going to succeed. But try the local approach first.

  • fyodor||

    Jennifer,

    Reading your subsequent posts since the one I replied to, I'm now no longer sure if your beef is with libertarianism or the LP. Or just with H&R commentators! For myself, I have little faith in the LP as a means for social change. If the electorate changed its views enough to even consider the views of even a less extreme LP, one of the major parties would likely glom onto those positions before the LP could take advantage. Changing people's minds is more important I think than changing the LP. I still recognize that it's an uphill battle to show people that minimum wage laws and the special status given to sexual harrassment both are unfair and usually do more harm than good, but once again, that doesn't mean I'm going to stop saying so.

  • Larry||

    I remember in high school, we learned about the history of third parties. Bottom line: Successful third parties have their ideas co-opted by one of the big two. Remember Perot and the deficit?

    Some real advice: Read the piece in the NYTimes today about a new third parties: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/07/nyregion/07working.html
    Come to New York, endorse a candidate on your own line, and you'll be on the ballot. It's doable.

    But in the long run, the power of ideas is greater than the power of a political party.

  • Sam||

    "Peace, Liberty, and Equality WILL be achieved thru the action of government."

    When and where has THAT ever happened?
    And what do YOU mean by equality?

    The purpose of the strawman of the "ideal" is that critics of libertarian thought usually seem to think that there are no problems with political control.

    "We simply hope to hold the wars and oppression to a minimum, and the corruption, too."

    There ain't no hope. Corruption is an unavoidable byproduct of political systems. In fact, from the get-go political action entails the abandonment of moral principle. Thou shalt coerce thy neighbor.

    And it strikes me odd to hear Christians endorsing political solutions when political action is actually anethema to true morality.
    Yeah, I'm familiar with "render unto Ceasar", but that begs the question: What is Ceasars? (according to Ceasar, anything he claims as his)

    "Part of that is to be achieved by limiting government's scope and powers,"
    And how to you propose to do that? The tendency of things is for liberty to yield whle tyranny gains.
    The incentives built into authoritarian/heirarchical/political systems combined with human nature make it so.

  • ||

    For what it's worth, apparently the Constitution Party has a candidate for Montana State House of Representatives winning by 1 vote, although there are some provisional ballots to count.

    http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2004/11/07/news/mtregional/news06.txt

    http://ballot-access.org/index.php?p=39

    Whatever one thinks of the Constitution Party (I imagine that some here think they are hopelessly theocratic while others think they are pretty decent), if I were thinking of running for office on the LP ticket my first phone call would be to this guy, seeking advice on how to run a third party campaign and win. My next phone calls for advice would be to the various LP members who have been elected to state legislatures, the Green elected to state legislative office in Maine in 2002 (anybody know if he or she was re-elected?), and the Green who was elected to State Assembly in California a few years ago.

    Whatever one might think of these candidates and their various parties, they clearly know how to win, and so there must be something to learn from them.

  • clarityiniowa||

    A little late to be jumping on this thread, but...

    It is human nature to either lead or follow. The "moral values" crowd, for example, isn't about *being* moral, or even *having* moral values, it is about coercing others into exhibiting a certain set of moral values through their behavior, whether they actually agree with that set of values or not. It is about dominance and submission, if you want to be sexy about it.

    I suspect that the species itself will have to mature greatly before it is prepared to accept the proposition "live and let live." Until that time comes, keeping the feeble flame alive is about all the LP is going to accomplish, in and of itself.

    Now, if the LP is willing to accept the proposition that the two party system is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future, then it has some decisions to make. Which camp most closely resembles its ultimate aims, and in which camp can it gain the most political sway.

    This election has made a liberal Democrat of me. Ordinarily, they wouldn't have me because I support abolishing social welfare programs, SS and Medicare. But liberal and conservative are adjectives only relevent in context. But I tend to support the party I see as less of a threat to my own civil liberties. In the current context, I am hugely liberal, and will turn my attention toward helping the Democrats improve their fortunes while trying to influence them in a more economically libertarian direction.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "You folks struggling to earn a living on minimum wage? The Libs want to abolish it, so you can earn even less!"

    You high school and college students can't find a job during the summer? Jennifer's Party of Government Interference want that to continue!

    You Latin American and Asian immigrants can't find a job? The Party of Government Interference loves that, too!

    You working moms and dads can't find someone at a reasonable price to look after your kids between the end of school and when you get home from work? Jennifer's Party of Government Interference loves that!

    You worried about your company not being able to compete with lower-paid foreign workers? Jennifer's Party of Government Interference prefers that you lose you job!

    "Your boss sexually harassing you at work? The Libs say he has a right to do so!"

    BS! Some Libertarians might say that. In any political party, people say lots of things. Unless it is written into an employment contract that the boss will be sexually harrassing the workers, such behavior is a violation of the contract.

  • Sam||

    "it is about coercing others into exhibiting a certain set of moral values through their behavior"

    I think the term 'mor�s' is more suitable when talking about behavoral values that vary from one group to another.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Mark Bahner says, "Don't be a nerd, James. If I commissioned a scientific survey, and it came out with the answer that 12% of the voting population knows who Harry Browne is, would you dance a little jig that I was wrong?"

    Man, is that the best you can do, call names?

    Mark Bahner says, "Further, I *never* called the current LP approach anything like 'ad hoc' or 'unscientific.'"

    OK, I'll cop to putting labels on what I honestly believed was the sense and substance of your posts, but the labels I chose were not your exact words. It is possible, also, that in the stream of posts here I could have confused similar posts from someone else with yours, and attributed their calls for more rigor with your criticisms. The damned thread is too long, in great part because we get bogged down trying to prove what we or someone else here did or did not say. So, for my part, I'll try to avoid further digression in those unproductive directions.

    "there are people who are legitimate libertarians (e.g. Larry Elder and Deroy Murdock) who supported the overthrow of Saddam Hussein"

    I believe that anyone who supported the Iraq adventure based on their honest belief that Iraq was a sword at our throat, could have supported that invasion for libertarian self-defense reasons. But I also believe that anyone of that frame of mind who was willing to trust politicians when they said they had solid proof that they couldn't share for "national security" reasons, was a weak-minded, weak-willed libertarian at best -- certainly not what I would call Presidential timber. Anyone who still supports the invasion and occupation, knowing what we know now, justifying it with our alleged national responsibility to spread freedom throughout the world, is no libertarian at all, in my opinion, at least in this matter.

    And speaking of alleged household names, I certainly know Russell and Eastwood, and have passing familiarity with Elder, but who the hell is Murdock?

    Mark Bahner says, "James, James.! The Libertarian Party has never polled even **2 percent** in any Presidential election. You're thinking way, way too far in advance."

    Well, you should have been here 20 years ago, when I was saying the same thing. What would that make me, a prophet? Certainly without honor in his own country! LOL!

    Here's the thing, Mark. Back when I made this case in the 1980s and early 1990s, we barely had any elected officials at all. There was, realistically, no way for the LP to present a "shadow government" or a candidate with connections and pull to the American people. Even Ron Paul was still a fairly new legislator, as they go. In the ensuing years, we picked up legislators in the Alaska and NH statehouses, and were hopeful for more victories, from which I specifically hoped we would cultivate candidates for higher office, future cabinet members, etc. But the follow-on victories didn't come, though we continued to rack up a steady stream of lower-level wins. So we come to the present day without having loaded the bases for a Presidential grand slam. I get that. But I also think that, unless we run a celebrity candidate who, like Arnold, is ambitious, willing to serve, and connected, we won't get Perot-like vote totals, either, much less win, however popular the celebrity.

    IF we are willing to be satisfied with a maximum of a million or two votes, even with a "hot" celebrity candidate, then I think the best thing such a candidacy could do for us would be to give us a tool for focusing attention on serious, downticket candidates. Let's use the Presidential run to cement ballot access and draw crowds to our convention, and most importantly, to rallies for local and statewide candidates, with the goal of electing as many higher-office downticket candidates as possible.

    This would reqiuire, I think, a truly libertarian celebrity of national renown and popularity to devote a year or so to active, public party building. But when it was over, we might have a decent "Libertarian Farm Team" in place.

    I don't think we could just go out and recruit/hire a celebrity to do this. To execute this "coattail with no coat" strategy (meaning that the downticket would get the votes, even if the top of the ticket registered the usual half-a-million LP showing) would have to be as much a labor of love as a quid pro quo situation. Does such a celebrity exist?

    Of all the celebrities who have been mentioned in the past fifteen or twenty years, I think that Russell is probably closest to the mark of being able to execute the "coatless coattail" strategy to mutual benefit. What do we know about him, though? How Libertrian is he, really? Does he have any political ambition and/or would he be willing to put in the kind of campaign effort and hours that Badnarik and Browne did, if not more?

    I'm certainly willing to entertain a serious celebrity-oriented strategy, but unless we can find someone who understands libertarianism, who has the celebrity chops to do the job, and the willingness to do it right, we have nothing, we're just talking idle talk. So where's the short list, and have the people on it been approached or could they be approached, seriously, in the next six months or so?

  • ||

    Mark-

    I'm not sure if Jennifer was even saying that she supports the minimum wage. (Maybe she does, I honestly don't know.) What she seemed to be saying is that rather than making the arguments you make (minimum wages destroy jobs and hurt consumers), too many libertarians make arguments about the economic rights of employers. And while those arguments may be 100% correct in terms of libertarian philosophy, the reality is that most voters don't accept the terms of libertarian philosophy. We can say what we want about the economic rights of employers and how they follow from the basic principle of non-coercion, but most voters (however rightly or wrongly) won't be interested. It's much better to talk about creating jobs. I don't know if Jennifer would be sold by that argument or not, but I suspect she'd find it more appealing than "Companies have a right to pay shitty wages!"

  • Mark Bahner||

    "Run Drew Carey or Neal Boortz or Kurt Russel for President, if they'll do it. That job is a "place holder" job any way."

    That's complete nonsense. There is more attention paid to the Presidential race than any other race in the country.

    "Schartzenegger or Eastwood aren't going to run, Ah-Nuld isn't going to give up his paying gig as a Republican to become an obscure third party LOSER..."

    Ah-Nuld isn't a libertarian. So no one that I know of has suggested he run as a Libertarian.

    "...and as someone pointed out, why would a big name like Eastwood, who could get 1-2 million votes himself, run with the LP just to pick up another 3ooK votes?"

    It's simple. Clint Eastwood working alone could ***never*** get on the ballot in enough states to make a credible run.

    Running as a Libertarian, Clint Eastwood would be on the ballot in close to 50 states (the Libertarian Party has been on the Presidential ballot in 48 or more states in virtually every election since the Party was formed) without doing any work at all.

    "Your Presidential candidate is just there to show you to the nation AND NOT EMBARASS YOU."

    No, that's simply wrong. Ross Perot came close to forming a completely new party, just by running on the Reform ticket. The Presidential candidate of any party can have huge coat-tails, if the candidate is visible enough and persuasive enough.

    It's not a good situation, but it's a simple fact that the President of the United States is damn close to being a King. That generates a tremendous amount of attention.

  • clarityiniowa||

    Sam -

    "I think the term 'mor�s' is more suitable when talking about behavoral values that vary from one group to another."

    Personally, I would agree with that nuance. I don't think the Fundies would. They see a very black and white world, where a certain behavior is either "moral" or it is not, even absent any victim, or context in which to make the judgement.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "What she seemed to be saying is that rather than making the arguments you make (minimum wages destroy jobs and hurt consumers), too many libertarians make arguments about the economic rights of employers."

    Yes, absolutely. We have very bad "people" skills. I put it down to the fact that most of us were basically the high school geeks. ;-)

    And the fact that the LP is 75% male doesn't help either. ;-)

  • clarityiniowa||

    There is irony if not contradiction in the concept of a political party made up of self-described individualists. This inherent structural problem - the organizational equivalent of trying to push dental floss uphill - makes it more logical to me to try to work within the prevaling political structure. It is harder, I don't have many cheerleaders around me, but I do feel it is more effective than beating my head against a third party wall.

  • Sam||

    "Your boss sexually harassing you at work? The Libs say he has a right to do so!"

    Libs also say you have a right tonot put up with it. And we don't say your boss has a "right" to harass you. We say he has a right to be a jerk and everyone else has a right to disassociate with him. Nobody has to put up with harassment.

  • ||

    Well, I vanished for a few hours, so let me try to address some questions that were raised, in no particular order:

    I feel about minimum wage the same way I feel about gun control--I think the moderates on both sides have equally valid arguments, and since I can see both sides' points I can't quite determine which side I most agree with. In both cases, we seem to have painted ourselves into a corner, and I can't see a way out. Hell, you can't even support yourself on the minimum wage now; I can't even begin to imagine what would happen if wages dropped even further.

    Sam, your comment about politics being the cause of wars and oppression is true to an extent, but if you study human history you'll see that wars and oppression predated civilization by a long shot--these are by-products of human nature, which no political system can ever change; the best we can hope from politics OR civilization is to provide acceptable outlets for these, and reduce the harm thus caused.


    The thing about sexual harassment and employment contracts seems to be similar to the Constitutional strict constructionist/loose constructionist debate: I favor a system where employers must spell out every task you are expected to do (i.e., do your job, show up on time, follow a certain dress code, etc.), whereas a lot of folks on these threads seem to take the opposite viewpoint: an employer can do ANYTHING which isn't strictly forbidden in the contract. This can only lead to problems.

    Sam and others--saying that if my boss harasses me I can just go find another job seems to ignore the very real fact that changing jobs is not something you can do with the ease with which you change your socks. It also ignores the fact that the employer won't suffer at all in such cases; if I quit my job tomorrow my direct supervisor would have an increased workload for a week or two, but the company executives would scarcely notice. Meanwhile, I have financial obligations, such as a long-term lease on my apartment, that would strictly limit where exactly I could search for a new job. Even if I found one, it would take a couple of months, with a resulting loss of income. Et cetera.

    My opinion of marriage is that it should only be a symbolic thing, done through churches or other organizations; any legal sides to such unions should be done on a contractual basis.

    Fyodor, my beef isn't with the LP, the philosophy OR the posters so much as it is with this rigid unwillingness to compromise. Libertarianism could accomplish a LOT of good if it would.

    On a drug war post, I once gave the following scenario: suppose the government offered to decriminalize all drugs, but they would be heavily regulated and taxed, and sold only through government-owned stores? I would vote in favor of such a system; it wouldn't be perfect but it would be a damned sight better than what we have now. A compromise, in other words. Yet I suspect a lot of folks on this thread would vote against it, out of a sulky "all or nothing" mentality.

    Whoops--my boyfriend just got home; I suppose I should help him unload his car. Christ, do I hate moving.

  • ||

    Cool--everything in his car is too heavy for lil' ol' me to carry. So let me ask a question, concerning the sexual harassment debate:

    Do you guys think employment contracts should spell out what the worker is expected to do, and if the employer tries to demand anything more (be it of a sexual nature or otherwise) HE is guilty of breach-of-contract, or do you think that the contracts shold spell out what rights the worker enjoys, and anything not expressly forbidden is allowed to the employer? As I said in another thread, my contract doesn't specifically give me the right to walk through my office, rather than do cartwheels for my boss' amusement; however, if he demands that I either start doing cartwheels or be fired I think (and most other workers would agree) that I should have the right to demand compensation.

  • Mark Bahner||

    James asks, "Man, is that the best you can do, call names?"

    No, I can do FAR better than you. I can conduct my own poll of a couple dozen randomly chosen people. This is what I'll do:

    1) I'll write the name "Harry Browne" on piece of paper, and ask people if they recognize the name. When they say they don't (which 90+% of them will)...

    2) I'll give them the hint, "He's a politician..." When ~90% of them STILL don't know who Harry Browne is, I'll say you're wrong.

    You won't do the same thing (conduct your own poll, such as at a shopping mall), because you know you're wrong. You'll just complain that my poll wasn't scientific.

    It's a simple fact. Harry Browne is a complete unknown. He certainly wasn't famous before he ran for President...and his results certainly didn't add to his fame.

    In contrast, people like Clint Eastwood and Drew Carey are *extremely* well known. And even people like Larry Elder and Deroy Murdock are certainly more well known than Harry Browne.

    "I believe that anyone who supported the Iraq adventure based on their honest belief that Iraq was a sword at our throat, could have supported that invasion for libertarian self-defense reasons."

    Unfortunately, I think the majority of members of the Libertarian Party would not accept that someone who supported the war in Iraq could be a libertarian. Even more importantly, I don't think a majority of members of the Libertarian Party will ever nominate a candidate for President who supported the war in Iraq.

    "But I also think that, unless we run a celebrity candidate who, like Arnold, is ambitious, willing to serve, and connected, we won't get Perot-like vote totals, either, much less win, however popular the celebrity."

    In 1992, Ross Perot got almost exactly 20% of the popular vote. If the Libertarian candidate for President in 2008 or 2012 get even *half* that percentage, it will be the biggest event in the history of the Libertarian Party. To talk about assembling a credible political team is just way, way premature.

    "This would reqiuire, I think, a truly libertarian celebrity of national renown and popularity to devote a year or so to active, public party building."

    I don't think you can find any celebrity willing to do that. I'm not even very confident we could get someone of the stature of Clint Eastwood, Drew Carey, Kurt Russell, Tom Selleck (etc.) to spend the 4-5 months between nomination and the election.

    That's why I'm more hopeful about people like Larry Elder or Deroy Murdock. Those guys aren't nearly as well known as the actors, but Elder and Murdock are much more obviously interested in politics.

    "Does such a celebrity exist?"

    I'm not sure the actors would be willing. I think Larry Elder or Deroy Murdock might be. I think whoever it was, the LP leadership would have to go to that person. If any celebrity was interested in persuing the matter himself, he (or she) would have already stepped forward.

    "Of all the celebrities who have been mentioned in the past fifteen or twenty years, I think that Russell is probably closest to the mark of being able to execute the "coatless coattail" strategy to mutual benefit. What do we know about him, though? How Libertrian is he, really? Does he have any political ambition and/or would he be willing to put in the kind of campaign effort and hours that Badnarik and Browne did, if not more?"

    I definitely would doubt the "if not more" part. And like I said, it's pretty clear that NO celebrity is interested in actually "campaigning" for the LP nomination. It would have to be offered.

    As far as whether he's a "real" libertarian, I really don't know. He's not like Elder and Murdock, who write political columns stating their libertarian views.

    This sort of thing is about all I know about Kurt Russell:

    http://www.self-gov.org/russell.html

    "At the Cato Institute 20th Anniversary Banquet in 1997, Russell said he's been a libertarian for more than two decades."

    "I'm a libertarian. I think a lot of people are libertarians and are afraid to admit it -- or don't know." -- Washington Post, May 2, 1997.

  • Sam||

    "Sam, your comment about politics being the cause of wars and oppression is true to an extent, but if you study human history you'll see that wars and oppression predated civilization by a long shot--these are by-products of human nature"

    This supposes that government is a product or producer of civilization rather than a descendant of conquest. If the origins af government lie in conquest (as it seems to me to be the case) then civilization is a product of something else, for instance, trade.

  • ||

    Sam-
    Saying that wars predate civilization assumes that government is a product of civilization? I don't follow your logic, here.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "In both cases, we seem to have painted ourselves into a corner, and I can't see a way out."

    There is a way out. Completely drop the *federal* minimum wage, and let the States experiment with their own levels (including the possibility of none at all).

    "Hell, you can't even support yourself on the minimum wage now; I can't even begin to imagine what would happen if wages dropped even further."

    Prices would go down. Employers would spend less time looking for ways to cut employees. In fact, they'd likely pick up new employees. It wouldn't be heaven...but for every bad aspect you can name, I could name a good aspect of roughly equal or greater value.

    Again, the best thing is to get rid of the *federal* miniumum wage, and let the states experiment (including having no minimum wage at all). That's the way the Constitution was set up.

    "Do you guys think employment contracts should spell out what the worker is expected to do, and if the employer tries to demand anything more (be it of a sexual nature or otherwise) HE is guilty of breach-of-contract, or do you think that the contracts shold spell out what rights the worker enjoys, and anything not expressly forbidden is allowed to the employer?"

    I don't think it's necessary to spell out every single thing. Like I've written, it's just like the medical malpractice case on which I sat as a juror. Phone calls relating sexual fantasies are so clearly out of the realm of what could be considered "standard practice" that they clearly violate any contract that does NOT explicitly say that the boss will be calling employees to relate sexual fantasies. It's a slam dunk. It's clearly a violation of any employment contract, and the employee is entitled to legitimate damages. (Which definitely is NOT millions, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars.)

  • Mark Bahner||

    "(Which definitely is NOT millions, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars.)"

    Oh, one additional thing: The loser (the boss) pays all the employee's court costs, in addition to the damages.

  • ||

    Mark-
    The employment contract thing started on another thread when I posted a link about a woman who worked for a pro-Bush employer, and was fired for having a pro-Kerry bumper sticker on her car. My attitude was, unless her contract SPECIFICALLY forbade bumper stickers she should have been allowed to do it; others said that unless her contract SPECIFICALLY gave her the right to have bumper stickers, the boss was in the right. If so, then workers will all be subject to the whims of their employers, and I see no reason to believe that modern laissez-faire capitalism would be any better than the 19th century version.

    I believe that if my boss makes extracontractual demands of me, be they phone sex, cartwheeling through the office or dyeing my hair purple, HE is in the wrong and I should have the right to sue for damages, rather than just be told to quit and find another job. Whereas a lot of folks on these threads would say that unless my contract SPECIFICALLY says I don't have to do phone sex, cartwheels or bad dye jobs, my only choices should be to either do it or quit. THAT is the sort of thing that turns a lot of folks off of libertarianism.

    SO what is your opinion--should workers only be required to follow the rules in the contract, and anything else is their business; or should employers be required ONLY to respect the rights in the contract, and anything else is their privilege?

  • Sam||

    "Sam and others--saying that if my boss harasses me I can just go find another job seems to ignore the very real fact that changing jobs is not something you can do with the ease with which you change your socks."

    This situation is a problem with the current system where government consumes, and wastes, so much of the wealth we produce that many of us have difficulty saving enough money to see us through the between jobs interval, not to mention that various interests pressure politicians to produce policies (quite aside from the effects of taxation) that reduce the number of jobs that might otherwise exist.

    As for minimum wage. Very few jobs actually pay at the minimum wage level. Historically, minimum wage laws were passed at the behest of labor interests to keep blacks from taking white jobs. Right after minimum wage laws were enacted, black umemployment figures rose.

    You have to comprehend the big picture to see how the parts fit. You can't fit the parts into the picture you are familiar with and expect coherent results. The underlying principles of liberty paint a different picture than that painted by political systems.

    When you inspect various parts of the libertarian framework, you need to refer to the underlying principle to understand the why of it.

    The underlying principle is: no one, either singly or collectively, may commit extorton to achieve goals.

    Libertarians hold that there is no magic number (of proponenets) where a behavior that is judged wrong becomes acceptable.
    If there is such a number, I would like to know what it is and how it has been arrived at.

    What this means to libertarians is that if an action is wrong, then its wrongness cannot be altered merely by having some number of people voting to alter it. That we live in a system that regularly behaves otherwise does not alter the principle. A consistent libertarian is one who adheres to the principle consistently. Libertarians do not permit two sets of standards for evaluating human behavior.

  • ||

    Sam-
    So what's your opinion on strict vs. loose constructionalism in employment contracts? In other words, am I only required to do what my contract says, and any other demands from my boss are breach-of-contract, of am I only ALLOWED to do what my contract says, and my boss has free reign over everything else?

    Here's a concrete example: suppose my boss demands that I babysit his kids every Saturday night, or be fired. My contract says nothing about that one way or the other. Do you think I have the right to sue for damages (since he's making extracontractual demands), or only to find another place to work (since he never specifically promised me the right to do as I please on Saturdays)?

  • ||

    Sam,
    I'm afraid you show why Anarcho-Capitalism is a flawed system politically. It's all very good and well to talk about my family supreme and sovereign and MOST folks (90%) understand you aren't going to start shooting at my family. BUT, when we see a "sovereign" family that mistreats it's children, beats them, abuses them, neglects them-thru substance abuse let's say, THEN "soveriegnty" looks mighty thin and most of us find outselves saying, "Well if that's the cost of anarchy, it's too high." Sexual harassment, well, that too comes up short. I find myself saying, "I like my job. I don't want to look for another job. I'm not doing anything wrong at my job, my BOSS is acting a jerk.. SO, why should I LEAVE, go to the bother of finding another job, when it's MY BOSS' problem?" On Child Protective Services and sexual harassment we, Jennifer, you and I MIGHT find some commnon procedural and substantive agreement, e.g., in flaws in the current system and short-term fixes, but if your argument is that I should find another job or overlook the mistreatment of children or other human beings, as a MATTER OF PRINCIPLE, well I'm afraid anarchy is going to leave me pretty cold, and I'd venture to say leave a VAST majority of citizens cold, too.

    As to the philosophical/substantive/definitional problems between us there is no answer. You see, I'm not a Liberal (Cobden School-Locke-Smith) like you. I am a Conservative. I believe in Original Sin and the flawed nature of humans. YOU see war, oppression and corruption as a result of the SYSTEM/State, I see them as a result of human nature. In short, in your world if we smash the state we'll see peace, in MY world when we smash the state we'll see chaos and street gangs. In your world the state oppresses, in MY world the powerful oppress, with or without the state. Now you and I can argue, but on this front it's pointless. You simply, and wrongly I believe, ascribe the evils you see to a different set of actors.

    On topic, someone mentioned Ross Perot and his "almost new party." Note that, ALMOST, look where the Reform Party is, it's NOWHERE. It's moribund. It was the personal vehicle of Ross Perot. PEROT got 19% of the vote in '92, 13% in '96 and nothing in 2000, he didn't run. The Reform Party wasn't a party, it was a vehicle of personal ambition, Perot's and then Buchanan's.

    And Eastwood would have ballot access with his name and money, guys... just like Perot in 1992. So again, why would Eastwood or someone as famous as him run as the LP candidate? do you think access and 300k votes is worth that much? I think not.

    And it almost smacks of "The Man on the White Horse" in here with this "celebrity Candidate" Thing here. Clint Eastwood isn't going to get elected! IF he were elected he'd be ineffective, because he has no base of support in Congress. You guys think being President means something, aside from the collective power of party politics! An LP President would be the biggest boondaggle/laughingstock/disaster since Jimmuh Carter! Would be without strong Congressional support...And without a strong National Party, it's foolish to worry about LP Presidential candidates.

    Again, go local. Build a base(s) of power. Become strong in several states, get some voters, get some money, get some Congressional seats, THEN worry about LP Presidents. Until, I repeat, they are merely placeholders. Walking, talking adverts for the LP, nationally. So run Drew Carey or Russell, or Boortz, they won't win, BUT they won't make you look bad, like Badnarik, or people named "Starchild", and they will get you some publicity and campaign contributions.

  • ||

    Joe-
    I just wanted to say that I am an atheist, not a Christian, but I agree with you 100% about human nature being essentially flawed. My main argument with the LP philosophy could be boiled down to "It gives human nature free reign; if you are CAPABLE of doing it, then you have the RIGHT to do it!"

    Sam-
    I'd still like to know how the statement "Wars predated human civilization" equals "Government is an invention of civilization." I'd also like to know your answer to my hypothetical example about having to babysit my boss's kids.

  • Sam||

    Joe L, that wasn't me that said that stuff about family.

    Also, I say also that the state, and its nature, IS a manifestation of human nature and human beliefs. And we already have chaos and street gangs. One of the reason gangs exist as they do is because the state has made the drug trade prifitable for those who are willing to take the chance that they won't get caught. The law does not produce the desired results. And I didn't say anything about smashing the state. Chaos seems to always result when the political process destroys its host. Much like the withdrawal symptoms of a chemical addict.

    And we don't ascribe the evils to different sets of actors. There is only one actor of note in the world, man. The state is merely the institutionalization of mans expediant nature.

    Jennifer
    Of course you have the right to sue. I would have no object to the court finding in your favor either.
    My question for you: How long are you going to help that jerk make his fortune?

  • ||

    Sam-
    As long as it takes me to find another means of support, I suppose.

    By the way, all of my examples are hypothetical. My boss is actually pretty cool. But I know that in this regard I'm luckier than most.

  • ||

    No Sam, we've had street gangs for thousands of years. NOW they deal drugs, they roamed New York, Romulus' Rome, Theodora's Constantinopol (sp) -And Dr. Holle is going to be SO pissed I can't spell it after his Byzantine Histiry class!

    If you're an anrchist you don't believe man is the problem, you believe the STATE is the problem... it's almost definitional.

    And I'll help make that jerk rich as long as he has a no compete clause in my conbtract, I have a mortgage, and I like living in my town... Now per se I have no problems with no compete's BUT in the hands of a DICK suddenly I am forced to make the painful choice or relocation and/or loss of income... because of my EMPLOYER. Sure, sure I can sue and win... SOMEDAY. Why should I have to?

  • Sam||

    I assumed it was hypothetical, but no doubt you are able to imagine different employment circumstances.

    Libertarians do believe that the economic dynamism in a system based on libertarian principles would put you in a much better standing with regard to that hypothetical boss.
    You would be keeping all the money that you make and finding another job, or creating your own would be much easier, and your costs of living would be reduced as well.

    "I'd still like to know how the statement "Wars predated human civilization" equals "Government is an invention of civilization."

    I don't think I even meant to imply that.
    I was asserting that your statement implied that government either produced or is a product of civilization. I think of government more of as a parasite along for the ride. I think civilization is a product of trade which enables people to get what they want without having to conquer others.

    I think history shows that the purpose of conquest was to extract wealth from the conquered.
    Those that couldn't produce, took. Eventually it became optimum to rule a people rather than reconquer them every time the horde/army got hungry.

  • ||

    And Sam, the Yanomami and others demonstrate that tribal warfare is a part of the human state of nature. Raiding and pillaging occur with or without the State.

  • ||

    Sam-
    As for Joe L.'s last suggestion, if you don't want to check out the Yamomamo yourself (and I'd advise you not to), just check out some National Geographic articles about old human fossil digs. Either woolly mammoths and saber-tooth tigers knew how to crush human skulls with clubs and pierce human ribs with stone weapons, or else there was ALWAYS war.

    Considering how many arguments Joe L. and I have had about various topics in the past, the fact that we actually AGREE on something should make folks consider the possibility that maybe, just MAYBE, the two of us are on to something here.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Mark Bahner says, "You won't do the same thing (conduct your own poll, such as at a shopping mall), because you know you're wrong. You'll just complain that my poll wasn't scientific." As mine would be, if I went to a shopping mall and wasted my time as you asked. I won't "do the same thing" because I know it would be a waste of my time WHATEVER the results.

    I don't know how well known Mr. Browne is, these days. I don't particularly care. On the other hand, the Badnarik campaign commissioned a survey -- allegedly national and allegedly scientific -- to determine if anyone had heard of Badnarik (outside the survey). Thirty-two percent said they had. That's not the same as being a household name, but it's not the same as being completely unknown, either. For now, that appears to be the best scientific evidence I've seen. If you have better, produce it. Otherwise, quit trying to waste people's time with silly hypotheticals and useless challenges.

    As far as Russell, you know as much as I do about his politics, apparently from the same sources. That wasn't a lot to go on originally, and the sources are fairly dated; he could have changed his mind or even moved past politics altogether by now. Who can find out for us? Aren't the Reasonoids in LA?

    As far as whether we can interest a celebrity in doing what has to be done, I have to tell you that if our pickings come down to Elder, Murdock, or other third and fourth-tier celebrities, I'd rather try a different approach, altogether. For a "coatless coattail" strategy to work, the top of the ticket has to be a guaranteed draw of both crowds and media, and has to be able to imbue downticket candidates with a bit of star power. I don't think Elder can really do that, but I am willing to be convinced. Having never heard of Murdock, I have no idea about his ability, but I doubt it.

    Mark also says, "Even more importantly, I don't think a majority of members of the Libertarian Party will ever nominate a candidate for President who supported the war in Iraq."

    Well, I suppose it depends on how they judge his or her rationale for supporting the war. But I tend to agree with you, since, in my view, anyone who supported Bush's war in Iraq was either not thinking as a libertarian, or was profoundly trusting and stupid (or hungry for revenge and blood) to believe the administration. Why is it that we talk about what rouges politicians are on September 10, and on September 12, we are rallying around them as our leaders and taking whatever they feed us as gospel? I would hope that the LP would nominate someone who would think independently enough not to be fooled by the bogus evidence that led us to war, and who believed in libertarianism enough not to want to prosecute a war, especially a first-strike war, without ironclad proof and after having gone through enough due deliberative process as possible with the Congress, before the decision had to be made. (Who in Congress thinks that the President took enough time or expended enough effort to actually make the case of war before Congress? And how many of them voted for it anyway? Disgraceful.)

    You have to admit, "I was fooled along with the rest of you" is a poor qualification for securing a Presidential nomination. But what else can a real libertarian say in support of the Iraq adventure (as opposed to, for instance, the Afghanistan retaliation)?

  • Sam||

    So what? I already stated that the state is a manifestation of human expedient nature, but it is not compare the sensibilities of primitive humans with those of the modern world. Various religions have exposited on values that, when adopted by people, result in more harmonious relations.
    Humans have a nature. One of our qualities is that we act out of our beliefs as well as instinct.
    The state acts is a repository of ancient beliefs of conquest and rule and is also a manifestation of our instinct for survival.
    What libertarians propose is no less than a new belief system (relatively speaking) that recognizes that market based economies empowered by technology have pretty much solved the problem of survival and that a consistant system of morality based on the principle of non-aggression requires that we minimize the interventions of state into human affairs to those activities that have been elucidated in the founding documents, that is to secure the blessing of liberty and that any activity beyond that is destructive of liberty.

    The primitive humans you refer to may be useful as illustration of human/animal nature but does not inform us as to human/intellectual nature.

    The state does not modify human nature and its (the states) basic essence is primitive brute force. If we wish to evolve and if we wish humanity to evolve to a higher sensibility, then we have to give up the brute force route and focus on the moral principles that promote prosperity and harmony.

  • ||

    Ok time to break out PS 240, Sam-Intro to Political Ideology. Now you can be a libertarian, BUT are you and ANarchist or a MINIarchist? Probably misspelled that last bit.

    You know Jennifer, that thought occurred to me as well...IF those two agree,there just MIGHT be something to it.

  • ||

    Sam-
    "Various religions have exposited on values that, when adopted by people, result in more harmonious relations."

    Those same religions have been used often enough for evil purposes, as well. The whole war-in-Iraq debate wouldn't even EXIST if not for the tendency of religions to turn bad. Therefore, for all the good that is done by religion, it is a mistake to assume that religion alone is enough to make people behave decently toward each other. If religion were the deciding factor, we'd've found peace ten thousand years ago.

    Technology and even the free market have helped solve the problem of producing enough stuff to keep everybody alive, but that isn't enough to ensure peace among people, nor enough to stop people with power from using it to abuse others.

    Libertarianism, in its pure, unalloyed form, is similar to Communism in that both are philosophies that can't possibly work with human nature being what it is. Technology and the free market won't make spite disappear, nor the tendency toward bullying, nor the fact that a certain percentage of people are going to be just plain sadistic, and these and other qualities guarantee that the idea "Do as Thou Wilt" will fail in practice, no matter how reasonale it may sound in theory.

  • Sam||

    We may wish that the state were a civilizing force, but it is obvious to me that it is not. Nor, I think, can it ever be as long as it is 'the state'.
    Its tool is the power to extort though the use of deadly force on the one hand, and to use the funds obtained through that means to buy our complaisance on the other hand.
    The ability to obtain huge amounts of resources is a powerful attractant to those who believe that can't make it on their own, or those who simply want more (as in the case of business subisdies).

  • ||

    Sam, you sound like a Cobden/Manchester School Liberal, got news for you Capitalism deals with my wallet not my heart... Look at So. Central L.A. and the riots. The rioters burned their own neighborhoods, to include the disliked Korean stores and then the cheque-cashing services. Next day, they discovered a dearth of places to buy milk or places to procure cash to buy milk. Who I shop from says nothing about whether I like that person or not.

    My father served in the Philipines 1944-46 and noted that the Filipinos DESPISED the Chinese merchants, but wouldn't trade with one of their own. In Malasia the Malay Party discriminates against the ehtnic Chinese, though they are the economic drivers of the society...

    You have way too much faith in the belief that if I buy my milk from you I will let my daughter date your son or that one day I wouldn't stick a shiv in you and burn your store down with your family in it.

    Fact is, that purchasing milk and burning you alive are not mutually contradictory acts, in humankind.

  • Sam||

    I love it when people use examples of chaos in the existing system to criticize an alternate system.
    So what so what. You keep citing axamples of how rotten the world is, I keep trying to explain whyit is so.
    The problem with religion is that those values I cited are usually not the main concern of the heirarchical priesthoods that use those religions for the purpose of manipulating others. Most often this occurs when the state and the church are as one. The reason for the seperation of church and state is to prevent the political corrupton of the church.

  • Sam||

    I love it when people use examples of chaos in the existing system to criticize an alternate system.
    So what so what. You keep citing axamples of how rotten the world is, I keep trying to explain why it is so.

    The problem with religion is that those values I cited are usually not the main concern of the heirarchical priesthoods that use those religions for the purpose of manipulating others. Most often this occurs when the state and the church are as one. One reason for the seperation of church and state is to prevent the political corrupton of the church.

    Lord Acton: Power corrupts.

  • ||

    And the point you won't see is that POWER exists irrespective of the existence or non-existence of the State, Sam. People will use power for good or ill within or outside of a state system. The fact that evil exists within a state system does NOT mean ipso facto (Ihope I used that correctly) that evil would NOT exist in a system without the state, or even that the level of evil would be less in a non-state system.

    I don't simply point to chaos... I point out that your philosophy INCREASES the chances of chaos.

  • ||

    To link the on-going 3-way debate to the TOPIC....
    1) LP go local
    2) you'll do better with people like Jennifer and Thoreau speaking for you than Sam and to a lesser extent Fyodor... Trust me on this, I may not be a libertarian, BUT I am a part of the 97% of the world that isn't and I have a little better perspective on it....

  • Sam||

    Most certainly the state will not "make spite disappear, nor the tendency toward bullying, nor the fact that a certain percentage of people are going to be just plain sadistic".

    What might attenuate those qualities is the promotion of consistant, rational, moral principles. Notice, I said attenuate, not eliminate.

    From watching movies, amny people have the idea the the wild west was, uh, wild. But the crime statistics reveal that Dodge City in the era of the "wild west" was less crime ridden that modern Detroit (for example).

    No I don't know what people believe in the Phillipines, Malaysia, and S LA, but obviously they don't have a set of moral principles incorporated into their world view. And if you want to talk about bad people, what do you do when they get a hold of political power? hmmm?

    Many times these terrible crowd incidents have been fomented by politicians, as in the case of the NAZIS blaming the jews for the plight of the Germans as a result of the Treaty of Versaille.

    I'm not making any claim of some utopia down the libertarian road, but it is my comprehension that all through history, the greatest crimes against humanity were the result of humans acting through political sytems. When people believe in the collective sanctioning of violence, they will commit it unrelentingly.

  • ||

    Sam-
    What civilizing forces have existed throughout history have mostly existed as a result of states. Of course, governments have also acted as a force for evil, too, because government is a tool, and like any necessary tool it can be used for evil purposes if one so desires. The tools that I use for the peaceful, domestic purpose of preparing meals can also be used to commit all sorts of gory evils, but that doesn't mean that kitchen tools are evil themselves, and must be abolished to make the world a better place. Better, instead, to set up a system where I CAN'T use those tools for murder without getting into SERIOUS trouble.

    Joe L. is right in that there will ALWAYS be power, and people with power over others, because they are stronger or faster or wealthier or whatever. The system of libertarianism as you espouse it would only work if human nature didn't give those with power a tendency to want to use it; something must prevent them from using it to harm others.

    (I almost feel like I'm arguing with Communists who keeps saying, "But once the system is in place everything will work out! You are WRONG to say that human nature guarantees that my system will result in human misery! We need more celebrities.")

  • Sam||

    "What civilizing forces have existed throughout history have mostly existed as a result of states."
    Show me. I disagree. What would you call civilizing forces anyhow.

    The existing system WILL always guarantee human misery.

    You are unable to see your own corruption so lets try a little exercise.
    If General Motors executives said "Let's round up a bunch of foreigners and put them in a concentration camp and keep them there." would you not call that criminal behavior among the worst kind?
    So what do you call it when the U.S. government decided to round up a bunch of Japanese, many of whom were native born. A policy error? A mistake?

  • Sam||

    By definition, political power IS the exclusive domain of the state.
    Now when you use the word power byitself and say it will always exist, you could mean several different things.

    The problem of the state is that the power to extort is sanctioned by its adherents. When such power is engaged in by any other person or agency, we rightly condemn it as criminal and not to be tolerated.

    As long as sufficient numbers believe in it, it will persist, and humanity will not have attained a true civilized state (of being).

    Well Joe, that response is really pertinant, NOT.

  • ||

    Sam I'm not and I don't think Jennifer is arguing that government's don't do bad things. I think we are arguing that you say GOVERNMENTS do bad things and we are saing PEOPLE thru Governments do bad things. And the elimination of the government will not prevent bad things from happening and MIGHT allow many other bad things to happen, I'd posit Somalia and Lebanon prior to the Syrian takeover as examples.

    I believe that there are forms of government that minimize the risks of the State. I would agree that the Federal State is too powerful and intrusive today, but the answer is not NO Federal government, but a DIFFERENT one.

    But his is pointless, you are an anarchist, and it's what you BELIEVE. As my friends say, "Drive on troop."

    I say again, LP go LOCAL, let Jennifer and Thoreau do your talkin'....

  • Sam||

    You guys keep trying to squeeze things into your box.
    Liberty is not "a system" such as 'communism' (which I understand why could never work, can you tell me?).

    And I'm not really worried about changing your minds because I see that you are here to tell us that you would agree with us if only, and only if, we agree with you. In other words let go of the anchor of the non-aggression principle, thus destroying its value as a principle and not longer be libertarian.

    Then we would have to give up hope of altering
    the course to destruction that we appear to be on.

    I can't make you understand anything. You think there's a way to make this system work right. My news for you is that trying to MAKE it work right is part of what screws things up.

    I have lived in the world for a while. I've run for office and seen how successful politicians practice a sublte art of deception. I've been in prison and known all manner of criminals, from youthful murderers to the mentally affected.
    I've heard all the stories of familial disfunction. I've observed organizational politics. I take as a given that people are motivated by self interest (survival instinct).
    I'm sure I haven't seen everything, but I doubt that there is anything in this world that could surprise me.

    Face it, we live in a disfunctional world and there is no political cure. You can make all the laws you want, elect whoever you want to office, and the bus will keep plunging downhill.

    Nobody wants to use the brakes.

    Let's keep riding the US & THEM bus.

    It's been good exercise, but one thing I don't know is why you stay here.
    If you think you can formulate a better way to run things, then you should go to the most appropriate forum and do your best. If you think this is the place, then try to understand that we libertarians can not give up the principle that ties all our position together into a comprehensive and coherent whole.

  • Sam||

    I don't hold that GOVERNMENTS do bad things, what I hold is that GOVERNMENTS enable people to do horrendous things. Governments are used by people to sheild themselves from the consequences of immoral behavior. Most individuals aren't interested in robbing their neighbors, but if they can accomplish that same result by voting for it, why there's nothing wrong with THAT, is there?

    Well, I've grown weary of this, so I'll save the text, delete the link, and bid you all adieu.

  • ||

    So, Folks,

    With the stats and history I thought I might have a little sumtin' to contribute to this thread.
    Nope, it turns out.

    I'll leave with a parting shot to Jennifer. She wrote:
    "Libertarianism, in its pure, unalloyed form, is similar to Communism in that both are philosophies that can't possibly work with human nature being what it is".

    What crap!! Libertarianism is about preventing initiated agression, both by the state and by individuals. Nowhere in the practice or the theory does libertariansim assume the the lion will lie down with the lamb, not even in the most radical form of libertarianism, market-anarchy.

    Not relevant, given the above, your concern about the "evil" of human nature tells me far more about you, Jennifer, than it does about human nature or libertarianism. We all look at the world through our own eyes, eh? I'm glad I'm not behind your eyes.

    Libertarianism, in all of its forms, is aimed at minimizeing the effects of evil humans who choose to initiate force. In none of its forms does it assume that evil will cease to exists, as Marxism does. Your claim is a strawman constructed by your very own self. It doesn't have squat to do with libertarianism.

    As David Friedman wrote, "Utopia is not an option".

    You are sooo full-of-shit, Jennifer, although I agree with you about what a sick phquer Bill O'Reilly is.

    libertarian larry

  • ||

    Joe,

    You owe it to me to fill me in on the Lib. who got 860K votes in Texas!!!!!!

    YOUR FRIGGING OWE ME JOE. PAY-UP, EH??!!

    libertarian larry

  • ||

    Well, if saying I'm full of shit doesn't convince people, what will, eh, Larry?

    Joe L.-
    No, no, it wasn't Stalin; it was the fact that they didn't have celebrities.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "On the other hand, the Badnarik campaign commissioned a survey -- allegedly national and allegedly scientific -- to determine if anyone had heard of Badnarik (outside the survey). Thirty-two percent said they had."

    One in three people had heard of a man who never spent a single minute on prime-time TV? A man who was the *surprise* winner of the nomination for a party that has never even had 1 in 50 people vote for its candidate for President? At a nominating convention that was covered only by C-Span?

    Doesn't that seem just a tad suspicious to you?

    I have been a straight-ticket-voting Libertarian Party member for the last 3 elections, and I can't even tell you who the Presidential nominee for the Constitution Party was this year. (If I saw his name, I'd recognize it. But I don't know it.)

    I'm sorry, but I have a really, really hard time believing the results of that poll. Can you point me to anywhere that presents those results?

    I'll switch away from Harry Browne to Michael Badnarik then. I'll be absolutely shocked if one in three people knows who Michael Badnarik is.

    "Having never heard of Murdock, I have no idea about his ability, but I doubt it."

    Ay, carrumba! You've never heard of Deroy Murdock, but you believe a poll that says that **1 in 3** people has heard of Michael Badnarik?!

    I've seen Deroy Murdock on prime-time political talk shows a handful of times just in this campaign. He's a *nationally syndicated* columnist (Scripps-Howard News Service)...

    http://www.theihs.org/people.php/75945.html?menuid=6

    http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=MURDOCK-08-05-04

    ...and a regular writer for the National Review:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/murdock/murdock200410200855.asp

    http://www.nationalreview.com/weekend/television/television-murdock012701.shtml

    "You have to admit, "I was fooled along with the rest of you" is a poor qualification for securing a Presidential nomination. But what else can a real libertarian say in support of the Iraq adventure (as opposed to, for instance, the Afghanistan retaliation)?"

    Well, there is the well-established fact that Saddam Hussein supported Islamic terrorists. For example, there is Abdul Rahman Yasin, who ***admitted on 60 Minutes*** that he was involved in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. (The goal of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center was to topple one tower into the other, bringing them both down.)

    Or how about Abu Abbas, the hijacker of the Achille Lauro, and the cold-blooded murderer of wheel-chair-bound Leon Klinghoffer?

    Or how about Abu Nidal, whose group was responsible for over 400 deaths, including the deaths from the simultaneous mass murders at the Rome and Vienna airports?

    http://husseinandterror.com/

  • Mark Bahner||

    "Note that, ALMOST, look where the Reform Party is, it's NOWHERE. It's moribund. It was the personal vehicle of Ross Perot. PEROT got 19% of the vote in '92, 13% in '96..."

    Yes, the Reform Party went nowhere because they didn't have any coherent set of principles. They had a bunch of people who didn't share any political philosophy.

    That is NOT a problem in the Libertarian Party. The Libertarian Party has a membership that is more closely tied to a single philosophy than any other party. The Libertarian Party philosophy is on the back of every membership card. You won't find any other party in the U.S. with the party philosophy written on the membership card (e.g., the Democrats and Republicans basically don't have any coherent philosophy, other than to get and keep power).

  • ||

    Joe L.-

    Thank-you for the compliment! Some day I intend to put my ideas into action and get involved in a local LP chapter. I don't think I'd make a very good candidate (having some ideas that don't scare people is hardly the only criterion for a good candidate) but I could probably find a niche in a campaign.

  • Mark Bahner||

    Jennifer asks me, "SO what is your opinion--should workers only be required to follow the rules in the contract, and anything else is their business; or should employers be required ONLY to respect the rights in the contract, and anything else is their privilege?"

    This seems wayyyy off-topic about how the Libertarian Party can do better with its Presidential candidates, but...

    I don't think a general question like that can be answered with a black-and-white answer. I don't think either "a" or "b" is the case. Employees can be made to do things that are somewhat outside of what was written in their contract, but employers aren't free to demand that their employees do anything at all.

    In my opinion, the particular case of what O'Reilly is ***alleged*** to have done is so clearly outside of the scope of any standard employment contract, that ***if he wanted to do it*** he should have included that specific thing in the contract.

    Whereas, if he'd called her occasionally or even frequently late at night to talk about upcoming shows, that's just an unfortunate aspect of her job.

    Again, in the medical malpractice case I sat in the jury on, the question was whether the physician's work met the "standard of care in North Carolina." The judge gave advice on what that meant.

    The particular question came down to whether the physician used towels as padding under the retractors (that keep the incision open, so the surgeon can do his work), or whether the retractors where simply allowed to rest on the patient's body. If he used the towels as padding, it wouldn't be malpractice, even if the patient was harmed during the surgery. If he didn't use the towels, it *would* have been "malpractice." (It wouldn't have met the "standard of care in North Carolina.")

    I don't think you can criticize libertarianism on matter like this (the O'Reilly case, for example). Libertarians certainly support people who have been harmed by breach of contract getting restitution in civil courts to "make them whole." It's just a question of the particulars of any case.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "Libertarianism, in its pure, unalloyed form, is similar to Communism in that both are philosophies that can't possibly work with human nature being what it is".

    As previously pointed out, this is road of clap.

    In fact, if one objectively rates countries of the world on the basis of their degree of libertarianism, one will find that the degree of success of countries is almost directly related to their degree of libertarianism.

    The most libertarian countries in the world are (in no particular order) the U.S., Ireland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The least libertarian countries are North Korea, Iraq before the removal of Saddam Hussein, Cuba, and others.

    How can anyone OBJECTIVELY rate the "degree of libertarianism" of a country? It's easy. The Heritage Foundation provides an Index of Economic Freedom that ranks economic freedom of all the countries of the world. Freedom House maintains a rating system for political and civil liberties freedoms for all the countries of the world.

    See which countries have consistently been at the top of both rankings, and those are the most libertarian. Those that have consistently been at the bottom of both rankings are the least libertarian.

    Libertarianism works. The historical evidence of that fact is irrefutable.

  • Sam||

    BTW, as I am not running for office here, I see not reason to mollify the message for yall.

    What the LP shuold do:
    Build the party.
    Make a list of achievable (politically feasible) public policy goals and make them campaign planks.
    Buld the party some more.

    IF youse had read more carefully, you might have discerned that among my posts I acknowledged the need for courts to arbitrate disputes, and some minimal state to defend individual rights, as referred to in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

    Fundamental societal change will take time and work. Whatever is said here will have little impact upon the world. Having said that, principles are important.

  • ||

    Herding cats.
    The Libertarian Party is a support group for cranks.

  • ||

    I'm loving this little debate where certain people are being slagged for the radical idea that people have certain inalienable rights and that it is wrong for them to be violated by a government or by anybody else! I wonder where they got that idea. Must be some Statist propaganda.

    Anyway, I think I understand. Suppose a good Libertarian Guy gets a harassing phone call, it might go like this:

    LG: Hello?
    Boss: This is your boss.
    LG: Oh, hi boss!
    Boss: I'd like you to s*** my d***, then lick my b****, then let me s*** in your mouth, then keep the s*** in your mouth while you s*** my d*** again and rub that s*** all over my d***. Then lick it clean.
    LG: Golly jeepers, boss! I suppose it is your right to make this sort of phone call, being as I am your employee. By continuing to work for you, I implicitly assent! See you Monday morning!

    This is totally Liberatarian. As is this:

    LG: Hello?
    GG: Government guy.
    LG: Are you calling to discuss voluntarily limiting your own powers to conform with Libertarianism? That would be great.
    GG: Actually, I'd like you to s*** my d***, then lick my b****, then let me s*** in your mouth, then keep the s*** in your mouth while you s*** my d*** again and rub that s*** all over my d***. Then lick it clean.
    LG: OMG WTF! Your State power to harass has gone too far! I'm suing you, and when the revolution comes you'll be the first against the wall!

    As you see, Libertarianism treats these two situations entirely differently, and it is a grave logical - not to mention moral - error to treat them identically.

    So let nobody else fall into error.

  • ||

    Troll'-
    Of COURSE people have inalienable rights; I'm just saying they don't vanish when you take a job.

  • fyodor||

    Jennifer,

    OF COURSE your rights don't vanish when you take a job. I'm just saying you don't have rights over your employer that you don't have over anyone else, and that any damages sued for over breaking one's employment contract should be limited to those incurred by having to quit, not for the suffering incurred for having voluntarily stayed.

    And actually, though it's hard to say, I think the Troll is taking your side! :-)

  • fyodor||

    Y'know Jennifer, somewhere in this thread I believe you questioned whether a boss should be allowed to demand an employee babysit his children or be fired. But look at it like this: if sexual harrassment were treated in the same manner as other unreasonable and obnoxious demands made by a boss such as that one, I doubt anyone here would raise a flutter over it! Combine that with laws against anyone harrassing you in a more general sense, and you have the libertarian view on the matter. But when someone sues for 60 mil and is taken seriously, there's obviously something else going on.

    BTW, is this the most comments to a H&R post ever?

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Mark Bahner says, "One in three people had heard of a man who never spent a single minute on prime-time TV? A man who was the *surprise* winner of the nomination for a party that has never even had 1 in 50 people vote for its candidate for President? At a nominating convention that was covered only by C-Span?

    "Doesn't that seem just a tad suspicious to you?"

    Everything seems a tad suspicious to me, pal. That's why people call me "skeptical." Given all the hits that the Badnarik website was getting, and the amount of talk this activity could have potentially generated, it's as plausible a result as many others I saw during this election. Still, the thing to do is to examine and question the methods, and then perhaps re-run the poll under more rigorously controlled conditions, not go out mallwalking to get potentially skewed anecdotal evidence. I said that the scientific poll commissioned by the LP appears to be the best evidence we have, and invited you to produce better (more accurate or reliable) information. I didn't say that I thought the poll was unassailable. But you have to go with the best info you have.

    I'll make a point of getting you a link to the poll results announcement. I'd do it now, but on my lunch hour at work and don't have access to the collection of links I have at home.

    As far as Hussein being a bad guy, nobody is arguing against that. Yet, there are a lot of bad guys out there. The point of a first-strike war to a libertarian is to disable an imminent threat, colorfully referred to as "a sword at our throat." Or, in the the Wild West vernacular, "a gun pointed right at us." And the libertarian who supports war on that basis had better be right, or disappear in shame and guilt when it is later shown that errors in judgment got innocents killed. Yet the Libertarian hawks are still there, beating their chests. Mr. Bush is still in the White House! Have they no shame? I suppose not, but such shameless people have no credible claim to moral leadership, in my opinion.

    Intelligence since the invasion seems to show that there was no gun pointed right at us, no sword at our throat: more, that the government did little to actually prove and verify that such allegations were true before going to war. For all his consorting with other unsavory types in the past, I have seen no evidence that Hussein was actually a threat to this country during the period that the invasion was contemplated and executed. So I don't think there is a proper libertarian justification for the war. I had my suspicions that the stated causus belli was bogus at the time, and subsequent events have only served to solidify my suspicions into conviction.

    Re Murdock: Hey, maybe he's a good guy. But someone who can carry a "coatless coattails" strategy? I dunno. Tell you what: while I'm mallwalking to check the renown of Browne and Badnarik, I'll ask about Murdock, too. Perhaps my local paper ran his syndicated column a time or two; either I missed it, or I was unimpressed by it and so didn't remember his name.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Mark Bahner-

    Actually, finding the link was easier and quicker than I had thought. It was a Rasmussen poll, taken in mid-October. The badnarik site discusses it here: http://badnarik.org/supporters/blog/2004/10/16/new-national-polling-results/

    The specific questions were:

    7* Other than in this survey, have you ever heard of the Libertarian Party?

    76%-Yes
    20%-No
    4%-Not sure

    8* Other than in this survey, have you ever heard of Libertarian candidate for president Michael Badnarik?

    32%-Yes
    63%-No
    4%-Not sure

  • Larry||

    One more point: A third party candidate is not going to get any votes in this polarized a campaign.

  • ||

    Well, that's fer gawd damned sure if he a guy who claims driver's liscenses are unconstutional, has announed that he will *never* pay income tax, and has announced that he will blow up the UN building in his first day in office.

    He ain't even gonna get Jennifer's vote. He sounds too much like Bill O'reilly!!

    Let me suck ya, huh? Cheeese Chriz, and Cauvanaugh ain't got any idea and claims any one with one with one is full of shit.

    Phque you, Cavanaugh, and the rest of you argueing for celebrities and school-board slots, and Jeniffer, too, whose obivious mission is to fight with dumbshits. When are you gonna sue, Jennifer?!

    Phque,

    LL

  • ||

    Get it straight, folks. We LP folks elected a candidate who had't filed his taxes for years,
    refused to get a driver's license, promised to blow-up the U.N. building in his first day in office; led with "Abolish the IRS", and then the FRB, the FDA and all of the rest of the acronymns AND YOU, ESPECIALLY YOU, CAUVANAUGHA CAN'T THINK OF *ANYTHING* THAT WAS DONE WRONG, & YOU CLAIM FOLKS WHO DO ARE FULL OF BULLSHIT!!

    WELL, BUDDY, NIHILST YOU, YOU ARE AS FULLY AS FULL OF BS AS BADNARIK IS.

    YOU DON'T KNOW, EH? WELL, THAT'S PRETTY GAWD-DAMED CLEAR, AS HAVE BEEN MOST OF THE REST OF THE COMMUNICATIONS ON THIS THREAD.

    LL

  • ||

    WRITING IN ALL CAPS DOES NOT GIVE YOUR WORDS EXTRA WEIGHT.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Larry-

    Badnarik has himself said that the UN remark was tongue-in-cheek hyperbole; as a Libertarian, he would be more likely to try to sell and make some money off the UN property, rather than blow it up! But you and others keep talking about it. Remember Reagan's inadvertent goof at a microphone he thought was off at an event in the 80s? He "announced" that bombers or missiles were on their way to Moscow or something similar (I can't remember the exact words). Of course, that's merely an amusing anecdote now, becuase Reagan was a "winner."

    As far as the taxes and driver license issues, 1) Badnarik had to straighten himself up on those at the behest of his campaign staff so ongoing protest wouldn't be a problem for the campaign; 2) Do you really have a problem with someone who engages in harmless civil disobedience in support of his own clearly articulated principles, as long as he is willing to take the consequences for his actions? It's not as if his actions harmed or even endangered anyone. The follies of Bush and Kerry were far more harmful to real people in real ways, yet somehow we were conditioned to view those candidates as "serious." Seriously dangerous, I'll agree.

    Finally, I have a question about the driver license issue. Why is it that one never needed a license to drive a horse and buggy into town on the public road, but almost as soon as automobiles existed you had to have a license to drive one, and the state now talks of driving as a "privilege," whereas riding a horse or driving a buggy had always been considered a right of longstanding tradition? Frankly, I don't see the difference. Do you? Do you appreciate the irony that there are "freeways," where bicycling and pedestrian activity (both unlicensed) are PROHIBITED, yet in order to drive an approved vehicle on them, you have to have a government license? That sounds to me like a clear infringement of the right to travel freely on public roadways. How can the government DO that? More importantly, how can we LET them do that? And you bust Badnarik's chops for acting on his beliefs and pursuing the point?

    Better hope you never run for high office, Larry, because some "Libertarian Leonard" will come back to these threads and find material to quote that will make you look pretty bad. They won't let you live it down, even if you say, "hey, I was just joshin on a blog thread, give it a rest." Live by the sword, die by the sword, buddy. I'm just sayin...

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement