It is one thing to learn and understand a philosophy. It is another thing to put it into practice as the members of the Libertarian party are finding out.
We find that in media coverage we are bypassing a lot of opportunities (mostly because of inexperience) and intra-party communication leaves much to be desired. Organizational abilities at the grass roots level is conspicuously lacking except in a few isolated instances. Many libertarians simply do not know what to do and lack desire to learn what to do.
In many cases perspective is totally absent. Anarchists argue with limited government advocates rather than with those not familiar with libertarianism. The advocates of Rothbardian foreign policy dicker with the advocates of Randian foreign policy but refuse to engage in activities of presenting a libertarian view to the public.
A tremendous effort is needed to identify to the voters the principles and standards needed to make a rational judgment. Now is not the time to argue amongst ourselves. Energies can best be directed outward during this crucial election year.
Nevertheless, progress has been substantial in establishing a firm base for a political party and using this base to reach people with libertarian ideas.
Some notes on progress and future plans:
California: Dr. Hospers has made several radio and television appearances and as a result requests for information have come in from all over the state. Many libertarians are finding that they are not alone.
The state organization is building up nicely in the Los Angeles area, but in Northern California there is a lot of inertia to overcome. Mrs. Nathan completed a campaign tour through California and generated a lot of publicity for the Libertarian Party by making several radio and television appearances and addressing several meetings. Highlighting the tour was a banquet in Los Angeles held at the Ambassador Hotel where she, Dr. Hospers and Manuel Klausner (Libertarian Party Congressional candidate, 27th District) addressed a crowd of about 80 people.
Colorado: National headquarters in Westminster is placing ads in magazines and newspapers and is planning a national campaign trip for Dr. Hospers and Mrs. Nathan, the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates during September 5-12. Tentative states participating are Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma. Pip Boyle is actively campaigning as a congressional candidate in Colorado.
Idaho: Steve Syms, a libertarian, won the Republican Congressional Primary (1st Dist.) on August 8 campaigning on the Libertarian Party platform. His literature conspicuously displayed the TANSTAAFL libersign.
New Jersey: Robert A. Steiner, a CPA and long time advocate of laissez-faire, has been appointed campaign vice-chairman (New Jersey) and is forming a John Hospers for President Club.
New Mexico: A state convention was held in Albuquerque (July 22-23) that received wide press coverage.
New York: The Free Libertarian Party is out pounding the beat to get signatures on petitions to get three candidates on the ballot. The candidates are Gary Greenberg for Congress (18th Dist.), Walter Block for Assembly and Gerry Riggs for Assembly. New York is using the "club organization" concept in forming a state party.
Oregon: Mrs. Tonie Nathan has been doing a fantastic job and Dr. Hospers and Mrs. Nathan may get on the Oregon ballot. The news media has been very responsive and support is growing at a rapid rate. Mrs. Nathan resides in Oregon, and her organizational ability and public relations experience has given libertarian ideas a good hearing in the northwest.
Texas: A state convention was held in Waco on July 1 and a new state chairman, Guy Brown, was selected. Texas has their own newsletter.
National: Professor Hospers is making a cross-country tour during September 5-16. He is stopping in Illinois, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, and other states, and will appear on Channel 28 in Washington, D.C. on September 6.
Talk to people. We need to get the word out. Let's aim to defeat the ideas of Nixon and McGovern and influence Washington heavily with our ideas. Time is growing short.
Report any Libertarian Party news to Bill Susel, California Libertarian Party, P.O. Box 91460, Los Angeles, California 90009 for inclusion in future issues of REASON.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Libertarian Party Correspondent".