"Under the American system of government it is very hard to get rid of an incompetent or dishonest man in a high place."
As the Watergate scandal continues to undermine public confidence in the two party system, we can't help but be encouraged by Mencken's commentary. Clearly there exist sufficient skeletons in the Watergate closet to provide the media with undermining material for months to come. Equally clear is the fact that the President will maintain his high place to the bitter end. With enemies like this Administration, the Libertarian Party doesn't need any friends.
But one friend we do have is Roger Lea MacBride, the gentleman from Virginia who cast his vote in the 1972 Electoral College for LP candidates John Hospers and Tonie Nathan. MacBride was recently invited to deliver a keynote address to the state convention of the Washington Libertarian Party via tape recording. The text of that speech, which was given on May 25, has been included in this month's column because we believe it provides an eloquent statement of the purposes of the Libertarian Party:
"You are in the forefront of that branch of the Libertarian movement destined to make the greatest impact upon the history of this country and doubtless of the world. You will recall that in 1917 modern Communism was confined to a rented room in Switzerland where Lenin was prudently hiding, biding his time. Only thirty-five years later his Marxist doctrine held sway over half the world. That collectivist and reactionary revolution was achieved by force, exchanging with no one's consent except those who used the force, that brand of statism for what existed before.
"I mention that bit of modern history because I believe Libertarian Party members are, so to speak, the 'rented room' of Libertarianism. And particularly, you here in Washington State, who, with Colorado, were instrumental in achieving a historic 1972 first ballot position for the Libertarian Party. In thirty-five years how far shall we have advanced?
"We cannot impose our principles by the use of force; those same principles forbid it. And if by some sophistry we convince ourselves otherwise the effort would be self-defeating. Hence, the use of the political process, which in this country involves the consent of individuals, is our essential method. It is indissolubly united with the vital need to educate our fellows, but it remains the essential route of our ultimate goal of the destruction of the engines of power over our personal lives.
"You are pioneers of our cause. After a century and a half, you are connected up with a thirst for freedom of those remarkable persons who founded this still, but barely, viable republic: Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, amongst others, theoreticians who knew the utility of the political process. You do too. You have counted the cost of the contest in which you are engaged. Your cause is just. Your resources are great. Your energy and dedication will overcome the engines of despotism and all those who work them.
"The victory shall be yours."
STATE PARTY REPORTS
CALIFORNIA. Thirty people were in attendance at a LPC Ex Com meeting held at state Chairman Ed Clark's home. Well over half of the LPC's 20 regions have functioning organizations. The Party will sponsor an initiative petition for the 1974 ballot as part of its campaign to gain exposure and members. The LPC continues to have excellent success having its editorial responses carried on radio and T.V. stations.
COLORADO. LP members Reba Cross, Ann Wiley, Erick Westling and Bob Wason ran for the Colorado Springs City Council and each made an impressive showing. Cross received 40% of the vote in her race and Wiley came in 4th in a 10-way contest.
ILLINOIS. Over 200 people attended a recent gold investment seminar (at $10 a head) sponsored by the Illinois LP. The financial success of this project has encouraged other state LP organizations to follow suit.
LOUISIANA. Among the numerous local organizations of the LPL the most active has been the Baton Rouge Citizens for Libertarianism. Michele Fry and Roger Adcock have helped that organization conduct projects on the LSU campus as well as one for the National Tax Protest Day. State Chairman Dr. Jerry Millett (318-984-6012) was one of the featured speakers at the ILS Seminar in Texas.
MASSACHUSETTS. The state LP has close to 100 members and has recently had good radio and television coverage.
NEVADA. State Chairman Dave Lizzio is in charge of organizing southern Nevada support for the Liberty Amendment which was endorsed by the national LP. A state convention is being planned for later this summer.
NEW JERSEY. Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate John Goodson has received considerable support and good media coverage. His program includes a 10-year moratorium on legislation. An interesting sidelight to this campaign is the $200,000 contribution that Atlantic City Mayor Brodway has promised to any candidate for Governor who supports legalization of gambling. Candidate Goodson, of course, has obliged the Mayor who at last report was suffering from a sudden attack of amnesia.
NEW YORK. Newly elected State Chairperson Andrea Millen (who probably is the first LP member to be the object of an old fashioned political demonstration) plans to emphasize publicity and membership drives during the current year. Jack Brookner has been active in giving editorial replies. Spencer Pinney wants to counter the NYC Charter Revision Committee with a movement to abolish New York City. About 30 FLPers are planning to attend the national convention.
OHIO. State Chairperson Kay Harroff reports that LP activity in Ohio is accelerating. She has had very good success with the media and in particular with respect to the Tax Protest held in Cleveland. Ross Black, Cuyahoga County Chairman, has the most active regional organization.
UTAH. Karl Bray, state Chairman, was arrested by IRS agents last April for no apparent reason. As usual no warrant or court order was used by the IRS in making the arrest. Bray claims $30,000 was stolen by the agents from his office during the 14 hours he was in jail.
WASHINGTON. Results of the May 25-27 convention were not in at press time but it was anticipated that over 100 people would be in attendance. LP Presidential candidate, Dr. John Hospers, was scheduled to speak.
Murray Rothbard, Tonie Nathan and Roger MacBride are scheduled to speak on June 8 at the national convention in Cleveland…Over 200 LP members are expected to attend this "off year" convention primarily for workshop and discussion purposes as no official business will take place…It appears that state LP organizations got considerable mileage out of the SIL sponsored National Tax Protest Day…Rothbard's new support of the LP has encouraged many previously noncommitted libertarians to join the LP…State party news should be sent to Reason Reports c/o LPC, P.O. Box 71383, Los Angeles, CA 90071.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Libertarian Party Correspondent".