What do Libertarian Party (L.P.) members do when they want to assemble a robust and complete history of their party? They take a voluntary approach, of course.
The L.P. Historical Preservation Committee, chaired by Libertarian National Committee member Caryn Ann Harlos, has breathed new life into LPedia, a Wikipedia-style compendium of historical documents, short biographies, and information about the party's history and present. (The site was originally launched in 2006 but had fallen into technical disrepair.)
Some of this material, such as lists of affiliate officers or unedited video of state conventions, will likely be of interest only to future scholars. But other content has more general appeal, such as the party's founding statement of principles, penned by philosopher and 1972 L.P. presidential nominee John Hospers.
It's possible to observe the L.P.'s evolution between the lines of the wiki—what some might call maturation and others would describe as selling out. The radical 1988 platform calls for the right of children to "establish their maturity by assuming administration and protection of their own rights," but by 2000 the party embraces a more conventional stance on parents' rights to "raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs." The L.P. has also dropped explicit calls to "free from U.S. dominance" the peoples of "American Samoa, Guam," and other U.S. territories. Still, the core ideas remain largely unchanged from Hospers' original statement: The party opposes government's "right to use and dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor."
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "LPedia.org".