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New LP Platform Available Online

Yesterday, the newly revised and condensed Libertarian Party platform became available on the party’s website:
http://www.lp.org/issues/platform_all.shtml

Here’s the party’s spin on it from the official press release:

By the close of the 2006 Libertarian National Convention that took place in Portland, Ore. on July 1 and 2, it was clear that history had been made. While delegates conducted their standard business of electing new Libertarian National Party leadership and modifying the party bylaws, a significant statement was made by the delegates when it came to changing the Libertarian Party platform. There are now 15 planks to the new Libertarian Party platform, as compared to the 61 planks it used to have.

The Libertarian Party Statement of Principles is the guiding philosophy behind the platform. While the platform has been trimmed, the guiding principles behind it remain unmodified. What hasn’t changed is that the Libertarian Party still favors smaller government, fewer taxes and more freedom.

“To understand this move by the delegates, you have to have a clear understanding of what the platform is and what impact it has on our candidates, elected officials and the party as a whole,” said Shane Cory, the Libertarian Party’s executive director. “What has changed is the level of detail we provide in our policy statements as described within the body of the platform.”

To some degree, platform changes were a matter of housekeeping. For three decades, platform planks had been piling on top of one another, making it difficult for the casual observer to navigate though the various policy positions of the Libertarian Party. Some of these planks were eliminated while others were consolidated. Additionally, modifications were made to update the language used in certain planks.

“Consider it a move that we would love the federal government to make. We’ve reduced our own party bureaucracy to allow our candidates to express their own viewpoints while holding true to our statement of principles,” said Cory. “Our candidates will no longer be governed by a slate of restrictions and guidelines jumbled together over a few decades. They will be given the freedom to address each issue on its own merit without restriction by some supposed higher authority.

“The delegates of the 2006 Libertarian National Convention freed candidates for office to address issues with reason and in real time. For that, they should be applauded. Now we can get down to the business of ‘moving public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office.’

“If there was any mandate from this convention, it’s that an overwhelming majority of the delegates wished to engage in the activities which help us conduct and win elections. Our theme of ‘Uniting Voters’ was persistent throughout the convention.”

29 Responses to “New LP Platform Available Online”

  1. R. Paul Says:

    Yeah. I read the new, improved, revised LP Platform. Nice job. The LP didn’t need all that well thought-out, authoritative, defensible, principled-based plank stuff, anyway. Murray who? Ludwig who? Friedrich who?

    Now tell me again . . . what does the LP stand for? What are the principles of the Libertarian Party?

  2. Joe Magyer Says:

    Well, there is still, of course, a Statement of Principles. You could always check that out. http://www.lp.org/issues/platform_all.shtml#sop

  3. R. Paul Says:

    Right. The Statement of Principles. I understand that used to mean something, and that something was set forth with more particularity in the many planks of LP Platform, most of which have now been deleted. This process of deconstruction and default is now called “reform”.

    And garbage collectors are now called “sanitation engineers”, too.

  4. Murray Says:

    Well. The deletion of 46 planks creates a scenario, where a Libertarian candidate can oppose any or all of the deleted planks, and have the defense of “it is not in the platform”.

    Also, take a look at the Democratic Party platform: http://www.democrats.org/pdfs/2004platform.pdf

    Or the Republican Party platform:
    http://www.gop.com/media/2004platform.pdf

    The 2004 Libertarian platform was shorter than either the GOP or the Democratic Party platform.

    It is interesting, that the 2006 platform goes into the detailed “The Issue”, “The Principle”, “Solutions” and sometimes “Transitional Action” explanations of each plank, except for… Foreign affairs. The platform mentions nothing about US troops leaving Iraq. Why? Because of the many Libertarians who support the war. So, the foreign policy receives a brief mention.

    Down below is the position on immigration that states that “illegal immigrants “are a fiscal burden on the American taxpayers (it is interesting that nothing is mentioned about natural-born American who use the services), and states that their work is “unproductive”. “Pandering politicians guarantee access to public services for undocumented aliens, to the detriment of those who would enter to work productively, and increasing the burden on taxpayers. “

    The conservatives have taken over the LP.

  5. R. Paul Says:

    More like neocons.

  6. Stephen Gordon Says:

    While the platform may have been altered, the foreign affairs section clearly reads:

    The principle of non-intervention should guide relationships between governments. The United States government should return to the historic libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, abstaining totally from foreign quarrels and imperialist adventures, and recognizing the right to unrestricted trade, travel, and immigration.

    I’d strongly suggest that this release and this blog entry are neither pro-war nor neo-conservative.

  7. R. Paul Says:

    The word “should” is merely advisory and precatory in this context. Only the words “will” “must” or “shall” (coupled with the word “not” where appropriate) would, of course, obtain the desired result and the correct application of the libertarian principle of non-aggression to the United States government.

    The reformers have won. Using traditional democratic tools and organized disinformation, they destroyed what they set out to destroy. The least they could do is to be good winners and not try to argue the point any further.

    Let’s be frank . . . the whole purpose of the reform movement is to allow LP candidates to depart from the strict application of the principle of non-aggression, a very difficult standard, to be sure.

  8. Carl Milsted Says:

    Bingo!

    Since the principle mandates anarchy, and anarchy is still greatly unpopular, deviation from this absolutist principle is required for political success.

    To be an effective political party (vs. protest organization/educational organization) the LP needs to represent a broader spectrum of freedom lovers beyond the Rothbardians.

    A protest/educational organization need not be a political party. However, to get ideas implemented after education has been successful, we need freedom oriented politicians holding office. Ergo, the LRC’s call to convert the LP from protest organization to real political party.

  9. Jim Lesczynski Says:

    A protest/educational organization need not be a political party. However, to get ideas implemented after education has been successful, we need freedom oriented politicians holding office.

    Once “education has been successful,” freedom oriented politicians holding office will be inevitable, whether they where the LP brand or not.

    Of course, once we start hiding our principles, successful education becomes much less likely.

  10. Jim Lesczynski Says:

    whether they where

    Should be “whether they wear”.

  11. George Phillies Says:

    The platform is only significant to the extent that we have candidates who use its themes in their campaigns. For an example using the Libertarian Party 2006 Political Platform, whose stand on the National Debt is “Eliminate the national debt using an incremental approach, being careful to avoid social disruption” see http://phillies2008.com/end_the_grandchild_tax .

    The debate between advocates of doing successful politics, which requires local organization and a role for all party levels, of membership recruitment, and of political education has an extremely long history, summarized in my book Stand Up For Liberty http://3mpub.com/phillies . The most important feature of the debate, now well into its fourth decade, is that it does not appear to have changed public policy, moved America in a Libertarian direction, elected public officials, or made the Libertarian Party an effective party organization.

    With respect to the pledge, I have over the years listened to large numbers of Libertarians explain why they think it means something entirely different from what the Pledge’s author David Nolan says he had in mind when he wrote it, often giving entirely contradictory interpretations. In my opinion it is inapparent that it remains effective in whatever it was originally supposed to do.

  12. R. Paul Says:

    Bingo? Bingo what? My own observation after 33 years in the libertarian movement (some within the LP and some without) that with the exceptions of a few folks, libertarians stink at presenting the libertarian idea.

    I was a convinced, card-carrying big-government leftist as a young man until I met Roy Childs, Ralph Fucetola, Murray Rothbard and a few others. They presented the principled libertarian idea to me both in conversation and in writing. They did it well. Up till that time I wouldn’t have given you two cents for the idea of individual liberty and limited government, especially the way conservatives presented these ideas. I hated conservatives. They even looked and smelled funny to me.

    It strains credulity for anyone to assert that people don’t like libertarian ideas. I think most people haven’t heard libertarian ideas presented in the proper, consistent form. And they haven’t heard the libertarian message delivered professionally through LP campaigns yet, either. Now that the Reformers have done their damage, we’re guaranteed they won’t . . . ever.

    If I had heard the “reformers” message before I heard the actual libertarian message, I’d probably still be a leftist.

  13. Austin Cassidy Says:

    The average voter is not at all interested in the various flavors of a theory… this is a whole lot of mental masturbation.

    If you want to prove your point, run as a Libertarian on a platform that reflects your values. If that’s eliminating the post office and fire department, then so be it. If that’s cutting taxes… then run on that.

    No one, and I mean NO ONE, in the real world cares the slightest bit about these very fine little details. Murray Rothbard’s name means absolutely nothing to 99.5% of the population.

  14. Chris Moore Says:

    “Grandchild Tax”

    I love it! :)

  15. R. Paul Says:

    You don’t know 99.5% of the population.

    I didn’t care about that so-called “mental masturbation” stuff until I heard and read about principled libertarianism. Once I became informed that politics and political action can be justified on a principle other than statism (the at least tacit principle undergirding the Dems, Reps, Greens, Socialists, and now the LP) I joined the old LP and ran for office . . . a few times.

    Actually, I found most people I spoke with in my campaigns understood principles as I explained them and cared very deeply about them. Many asked very good, probing questions, so I knew they were listening and understood. The real difficulties I ran into as a candidate were that my district was full of postal workers, policeman, firemen and school teachers. A vote for me was a vote for the eventual elimination of their jobs. Real pocketbook difficulties. My district was a big-time, net tax consumer district. Republicans hardly ever ran candidates at all there and they ran the traditional “smaller than the Soviets’ government” campaigns when they did. They got creamed . . . regularly. And they got creamed because they presented their program as a mere PUBLIC POLICY PREFERENCE untethered to any principle.

    I do know that Rothbard wrote the best book (pretty much by acclamation) on libertarianism. The public doesn’t have to know Rothbard or read his books. But the LP needs to run campaigns based upon the ideas set forth in those books.

  16. Austin Cassidy Says:

    What’s your name and can you show us some results from your campaigns? What offices did you seek? Did you have the partisan libertarian label? How many actual real votes did you win?

    I still maintain that the average voter would be asleep after reading the first paragraph of your last post. Or at least distracted and off watching the American Idol results show or text messaging their friends.

    ALL districts across this country and filled to the brim with postal workers, policemen, firemen, and school teachers. It’s not a flaw of your area, it’s a problem with the electability of your platform if you can’t win their votes.

    Running campaigns on these egghead Rothbardian textbooks has worked really, really well so far… hasn’t it? A full third of a century and absolutely zero accomplishments to show for it.

    How long does it take to build a political party? 100 years?

  17. George Whitfield Says:

    R. Paul can run election campaigns using the positions on issues from his perspective and Carl Milstead can run using transitional positions and both can be effective. If one approach is better than the other then election success will come to them. We certainly have alot of races uncontested by Libertarians. So both types of candidates have plenty of opportunities to choose from. Lets do it.

  18. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Amen to that!

  19. R. Paul Says:

    Mr. Cassidy apparently thinks that all legislative districts have the same socio-economic makeup. This is demonstrably untrue. In the early-mid 1970s, most large east-coast cities had laws requiring city workers (particularly police and firemen) to live within the confines of the city in order to keep their city government jobs. On my street/block at one time, my family was the ONLY family out of 75 + families who didn’t work for the government in some capacity. Try selling the idea of limited government to these people. All they hear is that they will be unable to pay their mortgage if you get in office.

    Oddly enough, a substantial number of these blue-collar, lower middle class folks all had a sense of self-reliance and person liberty . . . but that did not extend to their own livelihood. I had many people tell me that they agreed with libertarian ideas as presented, but they couldn’t vote for me because of the possible, immediate negative impact it had on their families.

    I never mentioned Rothbard or any other political philosopher in my public presentations or private conversations. I’m pretty sure I didn’t bore anyone . . . but maybe the locals were just being polite (lots of Irish Catholics who trust me, used to be excruciatingly considerate and polite). But by and large, the people I interfaced with appeared to LIKE AND UNDERSTAND PRINCIPLED LIBERTARIAN POLITICAL IDEAS. That they couldn’t vote for me under the circumstances was perfectly understandable. And they told me why they couldn’t. I don’t think I had a cross word with one of them. Ever.

    I came away with the understanding that accumulation of votes in any discrete area was no necessary indicia of the effectiveness of your delivery or the content of your ideas. And to this day, I still insist that virtually any political idea can be effectively communicated if the communicator truly understands her subject matter and accepts, respects and understands the people he/she is speaking with.

    Vote totals in any particular can have very little ultimately to do with the content of the message. Lots of other significant and determining factors come into play. I know one thing for sure: in my old district, a politically sophisticated, polite, consistent Libertarian running a reasonably professional campaign would open far more doors than a politically savvy, traditional conservative GOPer. And this with far less money and almost no organization.

    The LP goofed in adopting these “reforms”. Politics is more an art than a science, and Libertarians have not tuned into the art yet. So instead of going to art school, they threw out their paint and brushes and took up selling/selling/trading in horse manure.

    Oops.

  20. R. Paul Says:

    Just a relevant and timely report:

    Some statist named McPeek apparently is running for Congress in Maryland. According to his website, and good conservative that he is, McPeek-a-boo supports a national sales tax and a military draft.

    According to reports, the Maryland LP has endorsed the McPeek candidacy.

    If McPeek is a libertarian, then I and all other libertarians I have known for my whole life . . . well . . . aren’t.

    Yes, it really is that simple.

  21. khatores Says:

    “Mr. Cassidy apparently thinks that all legislative districts have the same socio-economic makeup. This is demonstrably untrue. In the early-mid 1970s, most large east-coast cities had laws requiring city workers (particularly police and firemen) to live within the confines of the city in order to keep their city government jobs. On my street/block at one time, my family was the ONLY family out of 75 + families who didn’t work for the government in some capacity. ”

    Well, I myself live in Jacksonville, FL. The major employers here are:

    1. The military; we have three Navy bases in the area and a small National Guard presence.

    2. Florida Community College at Jacksonville, one of the largest and most wealthy state-run colleges in the nation.

    3. The City of Jacksonville, which, as it covers a large area, has a relatively large everything (police force, park system, fire department).

    4. Shands, a large research hospital from University of Florida.

    The list goes on…and on…it’s hard to find someone around here who does not now, or has not in the past, worked for the government. I might personally know about two people who haven’t yet held a government job.

    Almost every area of the nation has some huge government-run facility that eats a lot of money and is terribly inefficient. Guess what? You’re not unique. I’m from a small town north of Jacksonville, and it has an FAA center which employs at least 10% of the entire population. Everyone “works at the FAA center”. It rolls right off your tongue after a while.

    So, yeah…because the government employs a lot of people everywhere, you’re going to have problems if you attack people’s jobs head-on. Big surprise. There are other ways to accomplish this though.

  22. khatores Says:

    Epilogue: I also work at FCCJ, along with half of Jacksonville. Yeah, it’s like one of those crazy Soviet things where they try to take care of everything for you and waste 3000% times the necessary amount of money to do it. But, it pays well.

  23. Otto Kerner Says:

    Insofar as working for the government influences the political views of government employees, libertarians shouldn’t be competing for their votes. It’s best to ignore them.

  24. R. Paul Says:

    No claim of uniqueness. My point, as always is simple: that vote totals are no necessary indicia of the effectiveness or legitimacy of a political message or even the political beliefs of local voters.

    I made this point because the late Portand LP Convention, taken over by a storm of disinforming neocon/conservative “reformers”, claimed that the traditional, principled, LP Platform and its message of radical political change needed to be discarded because it was somehow “ineffective” or “unusable” to serve the goal of putting LPers into office. In other words, there is an inherent contradiction/incompatibility between practical, successful political action and the use of principled, ideological messages within that context.

    The “reformers” apparently were successful in swaying some weak-minded, less-than-convinced armchair politician-delegates that the reason the LP has not been successful in building its base and winning elections was its radical, unacceptable message.

    In support of this notion, the “reformers” continually cite the “fact” that the LP has been running Platform based, ideological campaigns since its inception, without electoral success. Of, course this is not true, even as some small number of LP candidates actually have done run fairly libertarian, consistent, ideological, Platform-based campaigns. Most campaign messages I saw/read about/heard were actually based upon a strange amalgam of the idiosyncratic, personal beliefs of the candidate, some mixed-up populism, some old-fashioned jingoism/nationalism, and a recently a heavy dose of the National Review/Weekly Standard line.

    But even assuming arguendo that all of the LP campaigns were, in fact, paragons of consistent, principled, libertarian exposition, the mere fact that such campaigns were unsuccessful in terms of vote totals tells us nothing necessarily about the nature of the ideological message itself.

    The “reformers” case was based entirely upon a very tenuous, weak argument . . . a really obvious case example of the operation of the logical fallacy: “”post hoc, ergo propter hoc”. As far as I can tell, the “failure” of the LP to grow and prosper and to elect candidates to office is almost entirely related to other factors that are largely beyond the immediate control of the party, no matter what its ideology. These “other factors” as so varied as to be almost unlistable, and have been documented elsewhere.

    By their own admission, the reformers are not strictly ideological libertarians and do not accept or believe in the traditional libertarian ideology. But rather than leave the Party THEY VOLUNTARILY JOINED, they decided to remake it according to their own image and likeness. They remade it into the Unlibertarian Party.

    In my Congressional District this year, a former LP activist and former LP member is running for Congress as an Independent. This former LPer is a traditional, consistent, ideological libertarian. The LP is also running its nominal LP candidate who looks and sounds like one of those ersatz “reformers”. When the Independent outpolls the LP candidate, will the “reformers” then admit they were wrong? Will they admit that running consistent libertarian campaigns on the old Platform is superior to that of the new one?

  25. Austin Cassidy Says:

    What state and Congressional district is the happening in?

  26. R. Paul Says:

    Nah. Not going for that bait. When the elections are over in November, I’ll post the result.

  27. Austin Cassidy Says:

    You’re pretty big on nonspecific examples. Well, I know a race where a purist got 1% and a reformer got 5% of the vote… but I won’t share any details about that either, so I guess our equally valid, made up examples will cancel each other out.

  28. Mr. X Says:

    FYI, R. Paul = Carol Moore

    Hope that helps,
    Mr. X

    ...happy fun times…

  29. R. Paul Says:

    I going to assume that you’re really not serious, but allow me a short comment. Try hard to understand the simple point being made here.

    MY POINT IS THAT IDEOLOGY DOES NOT NECESSARILY AND ULTIMATELY MATTER IN DETERMINING RESULTS AND VOTE TOTALS . . . THAT IT IS NOT THE DISPOSITIVE, DETERMINATIVE FACTOR. THUS, ONE EXAMPLE OF VOTE TOTALS SHOWING THE PURIST WITH HIGHER TOTALS FOLLOWED BY A COUNTER-EXAMPLE OF VOTE TOTALS SHOWING A “REFORMIST” DOING BETTER IS PERHAPS COINCIDENCE OR AT LEAST HAS NOTHING NECESSARILY TO DO WITH THE IDEOLOGY OF THE BETTER VOTE-GETTER OR THE LACK THEREOF.

    Again, my point is simple: it’s not the ideology that has prevented the LP from advancing, winning elections, building its organization or credibility . . . THAT’S THE ERRONEOUS AND BASELESS RATIONALE OF THE REFORMERS FOR CANNING THE PRINCIPLED LP PLATFORM. My point is simply: THEY ARE DEMONSTRABLY WRONG.

    I am not in the position to accuse the reformers of pretense . . . and I am not a conspiritorialist . . . but I am suspicious of their use of baseless claims of poor “unworkable” ideology as possibly pretense for undermining the principles animating the LP as set forth in the former LP Platform.

    Oh, and I don’t know Carol Moore other than what I’ve read about her in the LP News from time to time. And i remember not liking what I read, so . . .

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