Badnarik on NPR


Some decent coverage of the Libertarian candidate on Morning Edition today, though why one of his supporters thought it wise to bring up Badnarik's opposition to driver's licenses instead of talking about, say, Iraq or the drug war or, well, just about anything else is mysterious.

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  1. because many LP folk seem to have brain parts missing?

  2. That's the only thing I can come up with.

  3. Or they could have asked a few people and decided to go with the one who sounded like the biggest idiot...I remember that article about the Manhattan LP gathering or whatever it was in which the quote from a member was something like 'Oh yeah, we think it should be just as easy to get heroin in the store as it is to get cigarettes' or something like that

  4. Nobody ever went broke.........

  5. As I recall a drivers license is a State function, not a Federal function.

  6. Are we sure this was a supporter of Badnarik? I can see somebody who doesn't like him calling in and mentioning the driver's license to make Badnarik look bad.

    Then again, it could be that the caller was in fact a libertarian and that he disliked Badnarik. God knows that we're prone to infighting.

  7. As I recall a drivers license is a State function, not a Federal function.

    Indeed it is, unless you're a member of the Armed Forces. However, I predict it will become a Federal function rather quickly if the Nov. election doesn't go well (by that I mean is rife with litigation, extremely close, and confused--wait, never mind--I mean like usual, only more so.

    Anyway, a bad election full of fraud and multiple votings by many people may well lead to renewed calls for a national gov't-issued I.D. card.

  8. db,
    What do you mean "unless you're a member of the Armed Forces". When I was in the Navy in the 80's you got your drivers license in your own state or whatever state or country you found yourself in. There was no federal involvement. Did this change? If so, when and how?

  9. I don't want to derail the conversation from bashing LP members (which includes me), but how are fed. id's supposed to help with fraud? I note that 'db' is most likely NOT a supporter of these id's, I'm just curious what the given rational is.

  10. Damn...MB is gettin' killed in the electoral college..

  11. NOT A LIBERTARIAN BY ANY MEANS, but BLG your question, "...but how are fed. id's supposed to help with fraud?" Can best be summed up by the mantra,"If you want to PROFESIONALIZE, FEDERALIZE." It's worked WONDERS for baggage screeners and other airport security, so I'm sure a Federal license will be MUCH better. There have I explained that, well enough?

    Now please return to your regularly scheduled LP-bashing session...

  12. Warren,

    I was under the (possibly mistaken) assumption that the U.S. military issued driver's licenses that were considered valid in all U.S. States. I guess not all members of the forces get them, but I thought it was that way to make it easier on military personnel who have to move from state to state...again, I could be wrong about that part.


    As Joe L. notes above, it's entirely consistent with the notion that gathering more and more power and oversight under the Federal umbrella is both a good thing and will work. Consolidation of personal information in a national I.D. has been presented as a panacaea for many problems, from welfare fraud to medical-records access, to tracking of deadbeat dads, etc. Why not add one more (dubious) benefit to the score?

    As to how a national I.D. would reduce voter fraud, I think the main argument could be that if prefect authentication could be achieved through the I.D.s, voter fraud would, de facto be defeated. I don't necessarily believe this.

  13. Great, another self-hating clueless aspergers patient mistakenly let out of the bong-room at LPHQ spouts off and makes us look like bunch of looneys!

    Oh, wait...

    Never mind.

  14. Gentlemen,

    You get a military driver's license to drive a military vehicle (say a tank, a brad, a dozer, etc.). You cannot drive a civilian vehicle with this license and you can't drive your military vehicle off post without a state license (not including deployed service).

    In Germany, you have to pass a test to get a license that allows you to drive in Europe. This can be amusing, as tank drivers and such are not allowed to leave the caserne to go to the railhead without one. Soldiers who have trouble passing the test can be restricted to post until they do. One weekend restricted to post is usually enough to motivate a trooper to remember what all the funny signs mean.

    Once a soldier has a state driver's license, most states let you renew by mail. Some soldiers just renew whenever they're in their home state.

    If there is or was (before 1985) a federal military driver's license valid in all 50 states it's a fairly well kept secret.


  15. Probably a Republican, not a Libertarian.

    Funny to see conservatives embrace big brother when a libertarian shows up.

  16. Thanks to 'Joe L' and 'db' for the lessons. I had a feeling that 'centralizing power for the sake of power centralization' would have something to do with the answer, but one can hope ...

  17. Maybe it's because his position on drivers' licenses is Badnarik's most coherent and sane?

  18. I just listened to the story via the internet and did not hear a caller.

    Was there more than one story?

  19. This post interestingly came on the heels of an email from a friend who moved to Argentina crowing about how much more "free" she feels there. She rambled off a litany of things she could do there that you can't here in the US, and it occurred to me that a lot of these freedoms are things most of us don't care that much about not having, as if they're frivolous: "you can smoke where you want, drink where you want, walk your dog without a leash, (assuming it isn't vicious) play music or hawk things on the street without a permit, ride your bike on the pedestrian mall, have a damn couch on your porch (or balcony as the case may be), park your unregistered car on the street, basically do things at your own risk and take responsibility for it." She also indicated that cops seemed less hard core about enforcing what victimless crimes are on the books. But then she went on to say how much she admires their law requiring people to vote! I told her that the freedom not to vote is as precious to others as the freedom to drink anywhere is to her. I bring this up because it occurs to me that the freedom to drive without a license may seem frivolous to we high-minded, serious folks, but someone else may have a damn good reason for considering it a big deal. That said, of course I agree it was silly and weird to bring that up in the context of the radio show, for various reasons...

  20. Oh, and she also said she was happy to see a lot less surveilance cameras there. Made me realize that though I think of surveillance cameras as a bad thing, I rarely think of them or care about them. But then maybe I should.

  21. Argentina, bastion of freedom? No shit?

  22. Why else do you think Hitler went there after WWII?

  23. Warren,

    Well, sounds like it's a bastion of freedom in some ways, especially for fun stuff. Like virtually all my friends, this Argentinian expat is a lefty, and a partying one at that, so she focuses on certain things above others. Sure sounds like it's party central there, and that's perfect for her. She loves it because everyone's dancing at BBQ's or clubs till the sun comes up! But as I mentioned, voting is legally required, and though she implied that it's not seriously enforced, that's still kinda fucked. She also mentioned that there was a Columbine type incident there recently and that the supposedly really weird thing about it was that the kid was able to get a hold of a gun because they're so hard to get a hold of there. Heh. And the one exception she copped to was abortion. So overall, it's a mixed bag, like most everwhere I'd say. But I think it's interesting that for certain interests and tastes, there are vital freedoms there whose denial here we take for granted! When's the last time you heard anyone complain that they can't take their beer out of the bar? I haven't even heard of Boris Badnarik complaining about that! I do vaguely remember thinking that was a weird rule when I was first becoming acclimated to the adult drinking regimen, but guess I got the idea so fully ingrained in me that I stopped caring about it, and now we'd all probably think that was as frivolous an issue as opposition to driver's licenses. But to my friend, it's a big deal, and I can see why. Anyway, that was my point, FWIW.

  24. If you heard the remark, it really
    sounded like it was a Badnarik

    Badnarik isn't opposing drivers licenses
    in his Presidential campaign. It was
    rather a longstanding position that he
    is downplaying and instead focusing on
    other things.

    This supporter wasn't pointing out
    how great it is that Badnarik is opposing
    drivers licenses. He rather noted that
    Badnarik had been arrested multiple times
    for not having a drivers license.

    The story on NPR was about Badnarik being
    arrested as a civil disobedience tactic
    at the second Presidential debate.

    The supporter was explaining that Badnarik
    isn't afraid to be arrested for his

    Rather troubling, the supporter noted that
    many people would think that Badnarik
    is crazy. Juxtaposing that notion with
    the statement that Badnarik has a deep
    conviction that drivers licenses are bad,
    was very unfortunate.

    Anyway, the "drivers license" issue has a
    long history in the Patriot movement.
    Having states require drivers licenses
    supposedly violates the Constitutional
    right of travel. Also, getting a drivers
    license means that you have agreed to
    accept the Federal government's other
    unconstitutional activities. You are
    somehow contractually bound to pay
    income tax, participate in social secuity
    and so on. If you don't get a drivers
    license, social security card, etc., then
    you have no legal obligation to pay
    income tax, etc. That is the "state
    citizen" or "sovereign citizen" approach.
    The approach is crazed, in that the U.S.
    legal system doesn't work that way at

    Badnarik has made statements that suggest
    that he is opposed to drivers licenses for
    other reasons, but looking at the constellation
    of his views on a variety of issues, he appears
    to be deeply involved in the patriot movement--
    favoring a good number of crazed theories.

    It isn't that these theories involve supporing
    radical public policy positions that might not
    have good consequences, it is rather they
    are based on very false views about the
    U.S. legal system. For example, the theory
    that no one is obligated to pay income tax and
    since the IRS knows this they trick people into
    paying it.

    There has always been overlap between the
    patriot movement and the libertarian
    movement. However, this is the first time
    the LP Presidential candidate leans so strongly
    that way.

    Most delegates at the LP convention that
    nominated Badnarik didn't know about his
    views along those lines. He snuck in because
    the two front runners made each other look

    Badnarik's odd notions do have adherents in
    the LP and it is hard to say what fraction
    of the rank-and-file believes that sort of

    Still, the traditional debates within the LP
    about degree of radicalness as an ideal and,
    further, degree of radicalness to promote
    at this time, don't really fit with his views.

    For example, should the LP call for the abolition
    of all taxes, abolition of the income tax
    immediately, or substantially deeper cuts than
    the Republican opposition--say 50% cuts in
    rates or a 10% flat tax (would would require
    substantially smaller government.)

    Debates on what the LP should propose are
    separate from what various Liberarians would
    ideally like to see. That is, some of those
    who ideally want no taxes are all for having
    the LP promote substantial tax cuts rather
    than massive tax cuts. Paradoxically, some
    of those with the more modest ideals (the income
    tax is evil, but other taxes are OK,) will
    sometimes demand immediacy in acheiving those
    modest ideals (we must call for the immediate abolition of the income tax.)

    During the late seventies, through the early
    eighties, the people now associated with Cato
    had an important role in the LP (
    In 1984, they were defeated by the Berglandistas,
    who became the dominant faction in the LP from
    1984 to 2004. Keeping the LP radical in his
    official policy positions was one of their goals.

    There have been occassional "rebellions." After
    the 1992 election, the Committee for a Libertarian Majority sought to moderate the
    message. They were defeated.

    In 2000, the effort to nominate former state
    legislator Don Gorman for President, included
    a moderated program. He lost to Browne's
    second effort.

    In 2004, the Bergland forces were deeply divided
    because Browne, Bergland and company were caught
    in scandals. To some degree, Gary Nolan was
    their candidate. His program was much the same
    as Browne's.

    Russo was hard to peg. He held a variety of
    patriot theories and promoted them a bit. On
    the other hand, his main message was more moderate. Sure, he promoted it in a passionate
    way, and the basic patriot theory that dictatorship is imminent came through.

    As explained above, Nolan and Russo threw
    mud (especially Nolan against Russo) and
    Badnarik snuck in, promoting both a radical
    message and having various crazed patriot
    notions. He gave a good speech at the

    It is disappointing.

  25. Bill Woolsey,

    Big thanks for the contextual explanation of the driver's license thing as well as for the LP history lesson. The former was especially valuable for understanding what was really going on in that radio interview.

  26. Fyodor,
    Does Argentina have a "none of the above" option on their ballots? Or at least allow write-ins? I honestly wouldn't have much of a problem with mandatory voting, so long as I wasn't forced to pick from a list of candidates and could vote for no one, or for myself, or for my girlfriend's cat if I wanted to. It certainly wouldn't be any more onerous a burden than, say, jury duty.

    Of course, there's the argument to be made that registration is a good way to weed out people too lazy to learn anything about elections, and thus keeps out people whose votes wouldn't be based on facts or ideals or anything other than ignorant whim. But I still wouldn't consider it a significant impingement on freedom, and certainly not bigger than the victimless crimes on the books in this country.

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