â€¢ FLP ON BALLOT! There are only two names on the ballot for District Attorney of New York City and (yes, Virginia, it's true) one of them is the candidate of the Free Libertarian Party! In a triumph of hard work and good luck the Free Libertarian Party (FLP) collected 20,562 names on their election petitions (only 7,500 were required) and were not challenged at all (finding grounds for invalidating each others' election petitions is a favorite sport of NYC politicians), with the result that their entire slate of eight candidates will be on the municipal election ballot November 6th:
Bill Lawry/City Council President
Lou Sicilia/Manhattan Borough President
Gary Greenberg/Manhattan District Attorney
Paul Streitz/Manhattan Councilman at Large
Spencer Pinney/City Councilman, 19th Dist.
Ray Goldfield/City Councilman, 33rd Dist.
At present Fran Youngstein is attracting the most media attention (publicity for libertarian ideals is the basic aim of the campaign)â€"quite aside from her inherent intelligence and vivacity, people seem intrigued at the novelty of a woman running for mayor, especially one whose campaign brochure leads off with "It's tough living in the City. City Hall sees to that." Gary Greenberg, however, is the candidate most likely to be faced with the dilemma of actually winning: his sole opponent is the ailing Frank Hogan, the incumbent D.A. supported by the four major parties. Greenberg's background as a staff attorney for the New York Legal Aid Society, Criminal Division, gives him a good background for promoting the F LP's call for the repeal of the City's victimless crime laws ("Is our city really any safer now that DEEP THROAT has been busted?") and a redirection of police efforts towards protecting citizens' lives and property.
Anyone wishing to help out with the campaign in New York City between now and November 6th (and the unprecedented chance to bring libertarian ideas to the attention of millions of people in New York and nationwide) is urged to contact the Free Libertarian Party, Room 201, 15 West 38th Street, New York, NY 10018, tel: (212) 354-0292. Money is needed to print campaign literature and buy media time, and people are needed to help with the campaigning!
â€¢ EQUITARIAN ASSOCIATES CONFERENCE On August 23, 24, and 25 the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee was the meeting ground for a group of people interested in exploring the implications of Ayn Rand's Objectivism for some traditional problems in philosophy. "The Metaphysics of Knowledge and Mind" was the title and general subject matter of the conference, sponsored by the Equitarian Associates, a mid-western group interested in issues of Objectivist philosophy. Those reading papers were Dr. Tibor Machan, Douglas Rasmussen, Roger Bissell, Dr. Eric Mack, Joel Mykelbust, and Dr. Betty Erwin, and the papers ranged from issues surrounding scientific knowledge and knowledge in general, through the mind/ body problem and its relation (or solution) to computers, free will and biofeedback.
In explaining why the Equitarian Associates had decided to center this conference on philosophical issues, Douglas Rasmussen, co-founder of the Equitarian Associates and conference chairman, pointed to the need for serious scholarly work following up on some of Rand's hints. Mr. Rasmussen borrowed from one of his professors in calling the two days of intensive study and discussion "a feast of reason." Then, in an interesting historical reference, he noted that the last "feast of reason" was associated with the Jacobins; the participants in that feast were ultimately subjected to the guillotine. The point intended was that at least some of what must be done in order to save ourselves from the (if only metaphorical) guillotine is just this kind of careful engaging in reason about some of the issues fundamental to a free society.
And, in spite of the mixed anticipations and interests of the participants, the conference was in that respect a success. Over 60 people attended, coming from Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, and New York. Although not even half of those who came were academically inclined, interest was maintained at a high level and provocative discussions followed presentation of the papers.
â€¢ NOTES A recent draft of the new Bill of Rights being considered at Louisiana's Constitutional Convention includes the following section: "No law shall impair freedom of commerce by arbitrarily limiting the practice of any occupation to a certain class of persons, by controlling the production or distribution of goods, by dictating the quality or price of products, or by requiring any business to open or close at a given time." Members of the Libertarian Party of Louisiana are leading a drive to support this clause.
Grant La Point, Chairman of the Alaska LP, reports that the Party had a very successful booth at the Tanana Valley Fair that was held in Fairbanks recently. Hundreds of pieces of literature were handed out and many new members were signed up, thus strengthening Alaska's number one position in per capita membership among state LP's.
Enthusiasm is building for the candidacy of New Jersey LP gubernatorial hopeful John Goodson. A major press conference is planned at which Goodson will sign a contract which will legally bind him to his campaign promises (the first of which is a ten year moratorium on legislation). Goodson surprised the political establishment in New Jersey when he turned down free television time offered to him by the NJ Public Broadcasting Authority. Said Goodson, "it is immoral to expect the taxpayers to help pick up the tab for my campaign."
Libertarians in Houston, Texas area are planning a festival week of activities to coincide with Nathaniel Branden's speaking there October 19th. For further information contact Robert Bakhaus, 5905 Glenmont #64, Houston, TX 77036. (713) 666-8706.