"The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic."
If there were any remaining doubts as to the viability and future of the Libertarian Party, its 1973 National Convention in Strongsville, Ohio early in June must surely have eliminated them. The LP is no longer a tenuous coalition of hesitant and dubious allies but rather a united front of determined individualists committed to the common goal of freedom in our time. This Convention was the confirmation of what the delegates to the first LP Convention in Denver last year had sensed and hoped for but probably not fully convinced themselves of: A libertarian political movement can survive and grow in the United States.
About 200 libertarians of every ilk and description attended the three day Convention in warm and humid weather. The Ohio delegation, lead by Kay Harroff, deserves credit for a job well done in attending to the details of the gathering. The Constitution of the LP calls for a Convention to be held every year with official business to be conducted only on the even-numbered years. Thus, this meeting was devoted primarily to seminars and workshops.
Three major seminars took place over the weekend with the first being devoted to a discussion of appropriate issues to use in political campaigns. Panelists were Willis Stone, Gary Greenberg, Steve Brown and Karl Bray. Much of the conversation centered around the validity of attempting to use the LP as a means to amend the Constitution as opposed to simply revoking laws. Stone defended the Constitution as "a great protector of individual liberties." Greenberg urged the delegates "not to be afraid to be radical" and Bray suggested that taxation was the one issue on which the LP could expect to win the most support.
The seminar on the use of the media essentially brought home the point that the media is available to the Party if it will take the time and effort to be newsworthy. A more systematic approach to contacting the media was recommended with special emphasis being given to the opportunities editorial replies offer and the necessity of having frequent and well-written press releases.
The final seminar was on fund raising and here the strategy centered on customizing appeals for money to fit the target. It was also pointed out that donations for specific projects are often easier to obtain than contributions to the general Party funds. Direct mail followed by a telephone call was also suggested as an effective means of raising money.
Speeches were given on Friday night by libertarian dignitaries Dave Nolan, Tonie Nathan, Roger MacBride and Willis Stone. Nolan's talk was a rousing call to arms which emphasized the uniqueness of the libertarian political movement in history. This is the first time, he said, that both the will to fight for freedom and a sound understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of a free society have existed simultaneously. Nathan urged the Party to stay local in nature and not create a rigid bureaucratic structure. She also caused some controversy by suggesting to the anarchists in the Party that they use some other word to describe their political views. There is a difference, she said, between no government and the lawlessness that the word anarchy connotes.
MacBride, the gentleman from Virginia who put the LP on the map with his electoral vote last December, was given a long, standing ovation complete with banners reading "MacBride in 76". His speech ended with typically MacBrideian rhetoric: "…and when the tyranny that presently engulfs us falls, let it fall like Lucifer, never to rise again!" No less than sixteen speakers followed the major addresses in a program that lasted until 2:00 a.m.
Tape recorded messages from LP Presidential candidate John Hospers and economist Murray Rothbard were played to the delegates Saturday morning. Hospers defended his campaign strategy of emphasizing economic issues rather than social liberties. Ultimately there can be no personal freedom without a free market place, Hospers contended.
Rothbard, speaking to those libertarians who are opposed to the use of the political process, commented that "we did not seek politics, it was thrust upon us by the state. It is absurd not to make use of the political machinery to roll back the state." Rothbard also noted that the excellent growth of the LP subsequent to the Presidential election and all of its attendant publicity is a good sign that we are here to stay.
Unquestionably the most dynamic personality at the Convention was the New York State's Free Libertarian Party's candidate for the Mayor of New York City, Fran Youngstein. Displaying a distinctly libertarian flair for politics, Youngstein campaigned continuously and at one point urged the large Canadian contingent to interfere with the internal affairs of the United States for a change by supporting her candidacy. The FLP had a large and impressive group at the Convention.
The regular state party reports were eliminated this month due to the length of the Convention report.
Bruce Evoy reports that a Canadian LP Convention may be held in Ontario this October.
Considerable discussion took place concerning the libertarian-like parties in Denmark and Norway.
Contributions to Youngstein's New York City mayoral campaign should be sent to the FLP at 15 West 38th St., New York, NY.
John Goodson continues to receive wide media coverage on his New Jersey gubernatorial race.
Ohio LP is publishing a souvenir program of the '73 Convention available for $2 by writing to Glenn Schmid, 12143 Midpines Dr. #100, Cincinnati, Ohio 45241.
Texas LP (third largest in the nation) has donated $50 to the Karl Bray defense fund and urges other state parties to do the same. There are now 34 state parties…Tennessee is the latest to form one.
Winston Duke of Illinois and Bill Westmiller of Michigan were elected to the national Executive Committee.
Ads for the LP will be carried in COMMENTARY, HUMAN EVENTS, and ANALOGUE.
Please send information on state party activities along with photos 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".