Comments on: Barr launches “exploratory committee” http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/ Sun, 07 Sep 2008 16:41:19 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=1.5.1.3 by: frogbusygerm http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-708454 Tue, 22 Jul 2008 14:41:21 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-708454 juicy university stone tree all kitchen german juicy university stone tree all kitchen german

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by: Holtz's Liver http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-560365 Thu, 10 Apr 2008 13:16:26 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-560365 I'm turning yellow. I’m turning yellow.

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by: Brian Holtz http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-559641 Wed, 09 Apr 2008 14:51:19 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-559641 Alex, while it's true that the pre-Portland Platform didn't explicitly call for elimination of the state quasi-monopolies on justice and defense, it also didn't defend them, and the Omissions plank clearly said that silence does not mean approval. It remains the case that the 18,000-word pre-Portland Platform was asymptotically close to an anarchist's wet dream, and systematically contradicted the foundational premises of the non-anarchist schools of libertarianism. I asked you for a specific example of principles or policies that a 2/3 majority of delegates would agree aren't covered in the proposed 2008 Platform, and all you said was that it "throws the baby out with the bathwater". Can you please give it another try? Your hypothetical about rent control is quite wide of the mark, as the 2008 draft plainly says "We oppose all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates." From http://www.mises.org/quotes.aspx?action=subject&subject=Secession it appears that Mises did not support personal secession. The quotes there consistently refer to "villages" as the smallest of the sorts of things that may secede. The one outlier quote is extremely hypothetical: "If it were in any way possible to grant this right of self-determination to every individual person, it would have to be done." I would have no problem replacing the old personal secession language with this sentence from Mises. Again, I don't see how personal secession isn't the functional equivalence of anarchism. Re: "Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property." I read this line from the 2006 Platform as echoing the other lines about "the only proper role" and "the only proper purpose" of government. I hardly think that the Portland delegates were trying to vouch for the moral rectitude of governments generally or even the U.S. government in particular. Rather, I suspect that they were simply invoking the Jeffersonian justification for government in support of the LP's incrementalist agenda for rolling back the nanny state. Alex, while it’s true that the pre-Portland Platform didn’t explicitly call for elimination of the state quasi-monopolies on justice and defense, it also didn’t defend them, and the Omissions plank clearly said that silence does not mean approval. It remains the case that the 18,000-word pre-Portland Platform was asymptotically close to an anarchist’s wet dream, and systematically contradicted the foundational premises of the non-anarchist schools of libertarianism.

I asked you for a specific example of principles or policies that a 2/3 majority of delegates would agree aren’t covered in the proposed 2008 Platform, and all you said was that it “throws the baby out with the bathwater”. Can you please give it another try? Your hypothetical about rent control is quite wide of the mark, as the 2008 draft plainly says “We oppose all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates.”

From http://www.mises.org/quotes.aspx?action=subject&subject=Secession
it appears that Mises did not support personal secession. The quotes there consistently refer to “villages” as the smallest of the sorts of things that may secede. The one outlier quote is extremely hypothetical: “If it were in any way possible to grant this right of self-determination to every individual person, it would have to be done.” I would have no problem replacing the old personal secession language with this sentence from Mises. Again, I don’t see how personal secession isn’t the functional equivalence of anarchism.

Re: “Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property.” I read this line from the 2006 Platform as echoing the other lines about “the only proper role” and “the only proper purpose” of government. I hardly think that the Portland delegates were trying to vouch for the moral rectitude of governments generally or even the U.S. government in particular. Rather, I suspect that they were simply invoking the Jeffersonian justification for government in support of the LP’s incrementalist agenda for rolling back the nanny state.

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by: Alex Peak http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-559578 Wed, 09 Apr 2008 13:31:06 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-559578 My support for Restore '04 is not based on the belief that everything in the 2004 platform <i>must</i> be in our platform; I simply believe the reformers through the baby out with the bathwater. <blockquote>What role or power of the state did the DA-compliant platforms not call for eliminating?</blockquote> The 2004 platform, if I recall correctly, made no mention of eliminating the government-monopoly police, government-monopoly courts, the government's standing army, or the state itself. But with that said, the Dallas Accord does not force the platform to list everything that it listed in '04, it merely prevents the platform from saying something like, "Yeah, we want to get rid of X, Y, and Z...but rent control is okay. We should have rent control." <blockquote>How is personal secession not the functional equivalence of anarchism?</blockquote> Ludwig von Mises argues in favour of this in his book, <i>Liberalism</i>. Yet, Ludwig von Mises was not an anarchist, and rejected anarchism. He instead believed that the threat of secession could be a useful citizens check on the power of the state. <blockquote>The DA-compliant platforms essentially said we would hollow out the state, and “compromised” by not saying whether we’d throw away the empty broken shell.The 2004 platform did not take away the government's monopoly over a number of areas, e.g. monopoly police. </blockquote><blockquote>Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property.</blockquote> I'm rather sure the opposite is true. Cheers, Alex Peak My support for Restore ‘04 is not based on the belief that everything in the 2004 platform must be in our platform; I simply believe the reformers through the baby out with the bathwater.

What role or power of the state did the DA-compliant platforms not call for eliminating?

The 2004 platform, if I recall correctly, made no mention of eliminating the government-monopoly police, government-monopoly courts, the government’s standing army, or the state itself.

But with that said, the Dallas Accord does not force the platform to list everything that it listed in ‘04, it merely prevents the platform from saying something like, “Yeah, we want to get rid of X, Y, and Z…but rent control is okay. We should have rent control.”

How is personal secession not the functional equivalence of anarchism?

Ludwig von Mises argues in favour of this in his book, Liberalism. Yet, Ludwig von Mises was not an anarchist, and rejected anarchism. He instead believed that the threat of secession could be a useful citizens check on the power of the state.

The DA-compliant platforms essentially said we would hollow out the state, and “compromised” by not saying whether we’d throw away the empty broken shell.The 2004 platform did not take away the government’s monopoly over a number of areas, e.g. monopoly police.

Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property.

I’m rather sure the opposite is true.

Cheers,
Alex Peak

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by: Brian Holtz http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-559092 Tue, 08 Apr 2008 23:38:49 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-559092 Alex, you ask Platform reformers "what should we moderate?" It's no mystery -- our draft is at http://libertarianmajority.net/pure-principles-platform. I would reverse the question: What in your opinion is the most important libertarian principle that a 2/3 majority of NatCon delegates would agree is missing from the Platform Committee's current draft? What in your opinion are the most important specific policy questions that a 2/3 majority of NatCon delegates would agree do not have any answer in the Platform Committee's current draft but should? I keep asking these questions, and getting silence. ("Everything missing from 2004" does not count as an attempt to answer either question.) The Dallas Accord was not really the minarchists compromising with the anarchists, but rather capitulating to them. :-) What role or power of the state did the DA-compliant platforms not call for eliminating? How is personal secession not the functional equivalence of anarchism? The DA-compliant platforms essentially said we would hollow out the state, and "compromised" by not saying whether we'd throw away the empty broken shell. However, it's not like the PlatCom's proposal actually rules out anarchism. Below are the parts of the draft that are relevant to the Dallas Accord. Every sentence below was in a previous LP Platform. - [G]overnments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights - Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property. - The protection of individual rights is the only proper purpose of government. - The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. - We seek to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals. - We support the right of political entities to renounce their affiliation with any government - Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval. I agree that copyright is an example of a free variable in libertarian theory. I list 24 others at http://libertarianmajority.net/free-variables-in-libertarian-theory. Do you think any of them have a "purist" binding? I agree that enfranchisement according to sexuality definitely does not qualify for the list. Alex, you ask Platform reformers “what should we moderate?” It’s no mystery—our draft is at http://libertarianmajority.net/pure-principles-platform. I would reverse the question:
What in your opinion is the most important libertarian principle that a 2/3 majority of NatCon delegates would agree is missing from the Platform Committee’s current draft?
What in your opinion are the most important specific policy questions that a 2/3 majority of NatCon delegates would agree do not have any answer in the Platform Committee’s current draft but should?
I keep asking these questions, and getting silence. (“Everything missing from 2004” does not count as an attempt to answer either question.)
The Dallas Accord was not really the minarchists compromising with the anarchists, but rather capitulating to them. :-) What role or power of the state did the DA-compliant platforms not call for eliminating? How is personal secession not the functional equivalence of anarchism? The DA-compliant platforms essentially said we would hollow out the state, and “compromised” by not saying whether we’d throw away the empty broken shell.

However, it’s not like the PlatCom’s proposal actually rules out anarchism. Below are the parts of the draft that are relevant to the Dallas Accord. Every sentence below was in a previous LP Platform.

– [G]overnments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights
– Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property.
– The protection of individual rights is the only proper purpose of government.
– The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected.
– We seek to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals.
– We support the right of political entities to renounce their affiliation with any government
– Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval.

I agree that copyright is an example of a free variable in libertarian theory. I list 24 others at
http://libertarianmajority.net/free-variables-in-libertarian-theory. Do you think any of them have a “purist” binding? I agree that enfranchisement according to sexuality definitely does not qualify for the list.

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by: Alex Peak http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-559034 Tue, 08 Apr 2008 22:29:19 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-559034 Mr. Murphy writes, <blockquote>Susan, with all due respect, how do you live your life then. According to anarcho-capitalism, all govt is evil. So do you not drive a car on govt created highways? Do you not use the US post office for first class mail? Is your electricity and water from a public utility company? Do you pay your income taxes(“taxation is theft” is the great Rothbard password) If you do pay taxes, YOUR money is being used to fund a whole litney of govt programs and the war in Iraq. I could go on and on but, yes, you do choose “evil” everyday because you could choose never to drive a car, pay taxes, have heat and water etc-</blockquote> Anarchocapitalism does not say you may not use unowned roads, it merely says that the government, being a criminal organisation, has no right to own them. Indeed, the only people who will have the right to homestead roads are those who use them. There is also nothing wrong with purchasing services from a business; what is wrong, according to anarchocapitalism, is for the government to grant monopoly status to that business. If I get my gas from the BG&#38;E monopoly here in Maryland, I'm not the criminal, I'm the victim. The government, in granting its monopoly to BG&#38;E, is the criminal, as is BG&#38;E if it petitions for or wishes to maintain its government-sponsored monopoly. And what about taxes? Again, we tax-payers are the victims according to anarchocapitalism. We're not giving money to this criminal organisation because we want to, but because we are being compelled to do so by said criminal organisation. You claim that anarchocapitalists can choose. What happens if I "choose" not to surrender my money for road repair under our statism system? I go to jail. What happens if I "choose" not to surrender my money to the criminal organisation giving BG&#38;E its monopoly status? I go to jail. What happens if I "choose" not to surrender my money to the IRS? I go to jail. Your claim that we can simply "choose" is no different than telling a slave in the antebellum South that he can choose not to be a slave, and thus shouldn't complain about his station in life. But what happens if he "chooses" to run away? Often, his punishment was even <i>worse</i> than jail. In short, Mr. Murphy, your argument fails fully. Anarchocapitalists are not participating in the evil unless they accept welfare, or accept money working from the government working as a bureaucrat or a politician. (When I run for office, if I ever do, one of my first promises will be to not accept any money from the government as "pay.") Mr. Seebeck writes, <blockquote>Yup, and it’s the wrong answer. Free markets are not an excuse to put people’s health at risk, and the rights of the people always take a backseat to the privileges of businesses (which have no rights as BUSINESSES ARE NOT PEOPLE!).</blockquote> Voluntary organisations have the same rights as the members that comprise them. (And no one, not even fascists, would claim that the state is a voluntary organisation.) Businesses, operating on the free market, are clearly voluntary organisations. I agree with you that businesses are not people, but I find that rather irrelevant. If everyone working for organisation A has the right to free speech, then why would they lose this right when speaking together <i>as</i> organisation A? If everyone working for organisation A has the right to self-defence against physical aggression, why would they lose this right when acting together <i>as</i> organisation A to repel physical aggression? If everyone working for organisation A has a right to be assumed innocent until proven guilty, then why would they lose this right when standing together <i>as</i> organisation A? As a person, if I wish to sell you a can without a label upon it, and you wish to buy said can, no third party should enter the equation and prevent us from making this trade. If, on the other hand, I sell you a blank can and tell you that there is mustard inside it, and you later open it to discover that ketchup was actually inside it, then I have committed fraud against you, which I have no right to do, and you have the right to seek redress for my crime. So why would I lose this right to sell you an unlabeled can simply because I have two buddies with me and am calling this trio of mine The Super Duper Corp? Nay, I must logically retain this right, as must my two buddies. As long as we do not commit fraud our my customers, we are within our natural rights. One doesn't have to be an anarchocapitalist to see that this is the only rational position to hold. Mr. Seebeck continues, "One’s health is a part of one’s life and liberty by definiton." One has a negative right to life, but no positive right to life. In other words, you have a right to not be murdered, and to not be a victim of manslaughter. No one may take your life without your consent, for doing so violates your rights. But you do not have a positive right to life, or to anything else: in other words, you do not have the right to enslave someone else even if doing so is the only way to keep yourself alive. You have no right to make people give you food. You have no right to make people give you shelter. You have no right to make people perform surgery upon you. Positive rights cannot logically exist, for their existence necessarily negates the existence of negative rights, and thus, any rights at all. Do you have a right to your health? In the negative sense, most definitely. No one has the right to make you sick without your consent. If I tell you that I have put mustard in a can and sell it to you, and it is not actually mustard but instead ketchup, and you are allergic to mustard, then I have violated your natural right. (Even if you are not allergic, I have violated your natural right.) Likewise, if I inject you with AIDS while you are walking down the street, I have violated your natural right. But you have no positive right to your health, for the same reason you can have no positive right to your life, to food, to a house, to a television, or to anything at all. Mr. LaBianca: I agree that the platform must be purist. It doesn't have to state that we want anarchy, but at the same time should not say that we want the state to do X, Y, and Z. In other words, I very much support bringing back the Dallas Accord, which I hope will once again serve to appease both the purist and moderate factions. As for candidates, I don't mind if they deviate from the purist position; after all, it's rare for candidates to agree fully with their platforms, no matter what party we're talking about. But I'm much less lenient with deviation when it comes to the presidential candidate. I'm much more lenient with deviation when it comes to local candidates. I don't believe the platform should be moderated because...well, what part should we moderate? All the minarchists disagree about what parts they don't like. Some don't like this passage, while other minarchists love that passage. Some don't like this other passage over here, while other minarchists joined the party <i>because</i> of that passage. It wouldn't make sense for our platform to say, "A, B, and C are bad; but we support rent control." It wouldn't make sense at all. Thus, we need the Dallas Accord, to once again bring some sort of "peace" (relatively speaking) between the factions. :) Mr. Holtz writes, <blockquote>Also, we geolibertarians note that this particular way to cleave the space of libertarians tends to smuggle in an assumption about about the nature of property.</blockquote> I would argue that geolibertarianism is flawed, but do not believe they are necessarily not purist. Another example, other than land ownership, would be copyrights. There are anarchist libertarian on both sides of the copyright debate, and I wouldn't say that either side lacks purity because of its position. I <i>would</i> say that someone who advocates that the government ban gay marriage is <i>not</i> a purist, even if he/she agrees with the anarchist faction on every other issue. (Not that I demand purism from our candidates. It's just good to know what is and is not "purist." (And the main reason I want the presidential candidate to be more purist than other candidates is purely strategic--the presidential candidate represents all libertarians every four years, and it's not good to be having the guy representing these smaller candidates calling for federal rent control when we're trying to show voters that we're different--different enough that we're not a wasted vote.)) I need to go again. Cheers, Alex Peak Mr. Murphy writes,

Susan, with all due respect, how do you live your life then. According to anarcho-capitalism, all govt is evil. So do you not drive a car on govt created highways? Do you not use the US post office for first class mail? Is your electricity and water from a public utility company? Do you pay your income taxes(“taxation is theft” is the great Rothbard password) If you do pay taxes, YOUR money is being used to fund a whole litney of govt programs and the war in Iraq. I could go on and on but, yes, you do choose “evil” everyday because you could choose never to drive a car, pay taxes, have heat and water etc-

Anarchocapitalism does not say you may not use unowned roads, it merely says that the government, being a criminal organisation, has no right to own them. Indeed, the only people who will have the right to homestead roads are those who use them.

There is also nothing wrong with purchasing services from a business; what is wrong, according to anarchocapitalism, is for the government to grant monopoly status to that business. If I get my gas from the BG&E monopoly here in Maryland, I’m not the criminal, I’m the victim. The government, in granting its monopoly to BG&E, is the criminal, as is BG&E if it petitions for or wishes to maintain its government-sponsored monopoly.

And what about taxes? Again, we tax-payers are the victims according to anarchocapitalism. We’re not giving money to this criminal organisation because we want to, but because we are being compelled to do so by said criminal organisation.

You claim that anarchocapitalists can choose. What happens if I “choose” not to surrender my money for road repair under our statism system? I go to jail. What happens if I “choose” not to surrender my money to the criminal organisation giving BG&E its monopoly status? I go to jail. What happens if I “choose” not to surrender my money to the IRS? I go to jail.

Your claim that we can simply “choose” is no different than telling a slave in the antebellum South that he can choose not to be a slave, and thus shouldn’t complain about his station in life. But what happens if he “chooses” to run away? Often, his punishment was even worse than jail.

In short, Mr. Murphy, your argument fails fully. Anarchocapitalists are not participating in the evil unless they accept welfare, or accept money working from the government working as a bureaucrat or a politician. (When I run for office, if I ever do, one of my first promises will be to not accept any money from the government as “pay.”)

Mr. Seebeck writes,

Yup, and it’s the wrong answer. Free markets are not an excuse to put people’s health at risk, and the rights of the people always take a backseat to the privileges of businesses (which have no rights as BUSINESSES ARE NOT PEOPLE!).

Voluntary organisations have the same rights as the members that comprise them. (And no one, not even fascists, would claim that the state is a voluntary organisation.) Businesses, operating on the free market, are clearly voluntary organisations.

I agree with you that businesses are not people, but I find that rather irrelevant. If everyone working for organisation A has the right to free speech, then why would they lose this right when speaking together as organisation A? If everyone working for organisation A has the right to self-defence against physical aggression, why would they lose this right when acting together as organisation A to repel physical aggression? If everyone working for organisation A has a right to be assumed innocent until proven guilty, then why would they lose this right when standing together as organisation A?

As a person, if I wish to sell you a can without a label upon it, and you wish to buy said can, no third party should enter the equation and prevent us from making this trade. If, on the other hand, I sell you a blank can and tell you that there is mustard inside it, and you later open it to discover that ketchup was actually inside it, then I have committed fraud against you, which I have no right to do, and you have the right to seek redress for my crime.

So why would I lose this right to sell you an unlabeled can simply because I have two buddies with me and am calling this trio of mine The Super Duper Corp? Nay, I must logically retain this right, as must my two buddies. As long as we do not commit fraud our my customers, we are within our natural rights.

One doesn’t have to be an anarchocapitalist to see that this is the only rational position to hold.

Mr. Seebeck continues, “One’s health is a part of one’s life and liberty by definiton.”

One has a negative right to life, but no positive right to life. In other words, you have a right to not be murdered, and to not be a victim of manslaughter. No one may take your life without your consent, for doing so violates your rights.

But you do not have a positive right to life, or to anything else: in other words, you do not have the right to enslave someone else even if doing so is the only way to keep yourself alive. You have no right to make people give you food. You have no right to make people give you shelter. You have no right to make people perform surgery upon you.

Positive rights cannot logically exist, for their existence necessarily negates the existence of negative rights, and thus, any rights at all.

Do you have a right to your health? In the negative sense, most definitely. No one has the right to make you sick without your consent. If I tell you that I have put mustard in a can and sell it to you, and it is not actually mustard but instead ketchup, and you are allergic to mustard, then I have violated your natural right. (Even if you are not allergic, I have violated your natural right.) Likewise, if I inject you with AIDS while you are walking down the street, I have violated your natural right. But you have no positive right to your health, for the same reason you can have no positive right to your life, to food, to a house, to a television, or to anything at all.

Mr. LaBianca:

I agree that the platform must be purist. It doesn’t have to state that we want anarchy, but at the same time should not say that we want the state to do X, Y, and Z. In other words, I very much support bringing back the Dallas Accord, which I hope will once again serve to appease both the purist and moderate factions.

As for candidates, I don’t mind if they deviate from the purist position; after all, it’s rare for candidates to agree fully with their platforms, no matter what party we’re talking about. But I’m much less lenient with deviation when it comes to the presidential candidate. I’m much more lenient with deviation when it comes to local candidates.

I don’t believe the platform should be moderated because…well, what part should we moderate? All the minarchists disagree about what parts they don’t like. Some don’t like this passage, while other minarchists love that passage. Some don’t like this other passage over here, while other minarchists joined the party because of that passage. It wouldn’t make sense for our platform to say, “A, B, and C are bad; but we support rent control.” It wouldn’t make sense at all. Thus, we need the Dallas Accord, to once again bring some sort of “peace” (relatively speaking) between the factions. :)

Mr. Holtz writes,

Also, we geolibertarians note that this particular way to cleave the space of libertarians tends to smuggle in an assumption about about the nature of property.

I would argue that geolibertarianism is flawed, but do not believe they are necessarily not purist. Another example, other than land ownership, would be copyrights. There are anarchist libertarian on both sides of the copyright debate, and I wouldn’t say that either side lacks purity because of its position. I would say that someone who advocates that the government ban gay marriage is not a purist, even if he/she agrees with the anarchist faction on every other issue. (Not that I demand purism from our candidates. It’s just good to know what is and is not “purist.” (And the main reason I want the presidential candidate to be more purist than other candidates is purely strategic—the presidential candidate represents all libertarians every four years, and it’s not good to be having the guy representing these smaller candidates calling for federal rent control when we’re trying to show voters that we’re different—different enough that we’re not a wasted vote.))

I need to go again.

Cheers,
Alex Peak

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by: Steve LaBianca http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-558397 Tue, 08 Apr 2008 05:00:36 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-558397 I suppose these comment sections can get off in many directions, but I would like to thank David Nolan for his thoughtful post. His statement "Let’s work to get each candidate to build on their strengths and improve in areas where they are weak." is likely the most productive statement under this heading. Though I will have to swallow my pride, I will hope for W.A.R. to truly say what he believes, and believe and embrace the libertarian positions of peace, free markets and free choice, and prosperity that comes from it. I think all of our candidates bring something of value to the Libertarian Party's nominating. W.A.R. brings a good speaking ability . . . now he ought to embrace libertarianism and let that Republicanism go. I will support that, and hope he gets there. Oh, and stop twisting the truth Mr. Root. That will also go a long way. I suppose these comment sections can get off in many directions, but I would like to thank David Nolan for his thoughtful post. His statement “Let’s work to get each candidate to build on their strengths and improve in areas where they are weak.” is likely the most productive statement under this heading. Though I will have to swallow my pride, I will hope for W.A.R. to truly say what he believes, and believe and embrace the libertarian positions of peace, free markets and free choice, and prosperity that comes from it. I think all of our candidates bring something of value to the Libertarian Party’s nominating. W.A.R. brings a good speaking ability . . . now he ought to embrace libertarianism and let that Republicanism go. I will support that, and hope he gets there. Oh, and stop twisting the truth Mr. Root. That will also go a long way.

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by: AA http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-558251 Tue, 08 Apr 2008 01:29:38 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-558251 Terry, if you care about your brother, get his drinking under control. He lashes out at people on line when he drinks too much. Brian does many good things for the party. People should be nice to him. Alcoholism is a disease. Terry, if you care about your brother, get his drinking under control. He lashes out at people on line when he drinks too much. Brian does many good things for the party. People should be nice to him. Alcoholism is a disease.

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by: Brian Miller http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-558235 Tue, 08 Apr 2008 00:55:31 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-558235 Oh man. I tried to read the entire conversation but my eyes started crossing, and my head started hurting, about halfway through. Here's the reality -- there needs to be a vigorous debate amongst the leading candidates. Coy "exploration" needs to give way to serious candidacies soon -- and those candidacies will require a campaign organization, money and well-thought-out positions on the issues. One of the problems that I have with last-minute candidacies ala Barr, Gravel and Ruwart -- despite my great affection for Dr. Mary -- is that it doesn't bode well for long-term strategy. Dr. Phillies (my preferred choice) and the others who have been in for a while have done the hard work -- the ground work and position papers and debates and rubber chicken dinners. The Johnny-Come-Latelys haven't done those things... especially the folks who are new to the LP. Ultimately, this race is critical to our country's future. It cannot be a celebrity face-off -- many Americans are counting on the Libertarian Party to call out Obama/Clinton and McCain on a number of issues that they're ignoring or wavering on. Oh man.

I tried to read the entire conversation but my eyes started crossing, and my head started hurting, about halfway through.

Here’s the reality—there needs to be a vigorous debate amongst the leading candidates. Coy “exploration” needs to give way to serious candidacies soon—and those candidacies will require a campaign organization, money and well-thought-out positions on the issues.

One of the problems that I have with last-minute candidacies ala Barr, Gravel and Ruwart—despite my great affection for Dr. Mary—is that it doesn’t bode well for long-term strategy.

Dr. Phillies (my preferred choice) and the others who have been in for a while have done the hard work—the ground work and position papers and debates and rubber chicken dinners. The Johnny-Come-Latelys haven’t done those things… especially the folks who are new to the LP.

Ultimately, this race is critical to our country’s future. It cannot be a celebrity face-off—many Americans are counting on the Libertarian Party to call out Obama/Clinton and McCain on a number of issues that they’re ignoring or wavering on.

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by: TERRY HOLTZ http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-558159 Mon, 07 Apr 2008 22:32:36 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-558159 Dear Eric Dondero's Guts. Here's the link to Devry University so that you can pursue that oh so coveted career security: http://www.choosedevry.com/landing27/anthem2.aspx?vc=163695 See you in Denver. Dear Eric Dondero’s Guts.

Here’s the link to Devry University so that you can pursue that oh so coveted career security:

http://www.choosedevry.com/landing27/anthem2.aspx?vc=163695

See you in Denver.

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by: Brian Holtz http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-558158 Mon, 07 Apr 2008 22:27:23 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-558158 Your charge that I lack "introspection" is astonishing, since I'm all about questioning assumptions -- mine and everybody else's -- all the way down to fundamental epistemology and metaphysics. I even posted a list of my life's biggest intellectual mistakes on my blog. I have no idea what incident in connection with Aaron Starr you could possibly be referring to. I wasn't in the LPCA leadership until he was out of it, and he assiduously stays out of the public debates about ideology in which I defend the idea of a more ecumenical LP. I can't think of any time in which I've ever initiated contact with Aaron, except one time to to ask him questions about LPCA financial history in connection with the work of our audit committee. Nearly all of our few contacts have involved Aaron trying to get me to be more likable/popular when I defend myself and my ideas from criticism -- or better yet to ignore such criticism (as he rigorously does). I'm sure I've disappointed him on this score, but I'm trying to do better. :-) I know that one of my failings is that I often read people's words more carefully than they wrote them, but I only do so in hopes that they might return the courtesy. I also would like to know what concrete evidence your informant might have that I'm a "braggart". I'll admit I'm not shy about pointing it out when an argument of mine hasn't been answered. Perhaps your informants don't appreciate the double entendre of my domain name LibertarianIntelligence? I offer no pretenses about my "value" to the LP or LPCA, and am painfully aware that my fellow LPCA leaders aren't much interested in the practical ideas I campaigned on: http://knowinghumans.net/2007/04/lpca-strategy-tactics.html I have never once expressed "hatred" toward evangelical Christians, even though I get regular hate email from some of them. On the contrary, I've spent way too much of my time in the past taking evangelical Christianity very seriously as an intellectual enterprise. Regarding Christians in the LP, I'm helping lead the effort to make the LP Platform be, for the first time since 1974, no longer absolutist in its "pro-choice" opposition to fetal rights, but rather to be neutral in this intra-party franchise dispute. I barely know who Michael Shermer is, and I'm sure he has no idea who I am, so I don't see why you would call him my "friend" (aside from the fact that I appreciate his work and personal sacrifice for separation of church and state). The notion that I have "hostility to gays" is simply libelous. On the Platform Committee I have consistently and loudly defended 1) the inclusion of gay rights in our Platform and 2) the centrality of gay rights in LP political strategy as a mainstream and winning position. I led the effort to break PlatCom's self-imposed only-recycled-language guideline to include specifics in our draft platform about equality for gays regarding marriage, immigration, adoption, and military service. When the time came in Vegas for this plank to be considered, I went out of the room and brought back the leaders of the Outright Libertarians so they could take my novel language and improve it for us. We accepted every change to it that they suggested. Three of my closest friends on the LPCA ExCom have been its openly gay members. I've crashed overnight in a (big) bed with a gay friend, and have had gay housemates and gay officemates and gay dormmates. I'm living proof that gay is not contagious and gays are not predatory. You should seriously question the personal integrity of anybody who would try to play a homophobia card against me. I agree that a disproportionate number of the LP's deepest thinkers are anarchists/radicals. However, I would suggest that the best way to measure an LP member's intellectual tolerance is the degree to which he 1) treats opponents and their actual arguments fairly, and 2) is willing for the LP's foundational texts to tolerate (or be interpreted as tolerating) the major schools of libertarianism. On that standard, I invite you to compare my level of substance and tolerance with anybody's. I'm surprised at your claim that you're not really sure who is real here, since you seem to think you know exactly who I am. If many of the anonymous comments here would embarrass the author if his identity were known, that pretty much underlines my point. TPW readers don't need to be told what kind of comments the anonymous posting policy tends to encourage. I don't understand the need for all the vicious personal attacks that Libertarians routinely make on each other. They particularly mystify my wife. She always asks why Libertarians don't spend more time criticizing the ideology of nanny state incumbents, and less time policing each other's ideology through our official texts. I'm not sure of the answer. I just hope we can end the Platform Purity wars in Denver, and then start taking a torch to the nanny state, instead of protecting our flickering candle from the impure. Your charge that I lack “introspection” is astonishing, since I’m all about questioning assumptions—mine and everybody else’s—all the way down to fundamental epistemology and metaphysics. I even posted a list of my life’s biggest intellectual mistakes on my blog.

I have no idea what incident in connection with Aaron Starr you could possibly be referring to. I wasn’t in the LPCA leadership until he was out of it, and he assiduously stays out of the public debates about ideology in which I defend the idea of a more ecumenical LP. I can’t think of any time in which I’ve ever initiated contact with Aaron, except one time to to ask him questions about LPCA financial history in connection with the work of our audit committee. Nearly all of our few contacts have involved Aaron trying to get me to be more likable/popular when I defend myself and my ideas from criticism—or better yet to ignore such criticism (as he rigorously does). I’m sure I’ve disappointed him on this score, but I’m trying to do better. :-) I know that one of my failings is that I often read people’s words more carefully than they wrote them, but I only do so in hopes that they might return the courtesy.

I also would like to know what concrete evidence your informant might have that I’m a “braggart”. I’ll admit I’m not shy about pointing it out when an argument of mine hasn’t been answered. Perhaps your informants don’t appreciate the double entendre of my domain name LibertarianIntelligence? I offer no pretenses about my “value” to the LP or LPCA, and am painfully aware that my fellow LPCA leaders aren’t much interested in the practical ideas I campaigned on:
http://knowinghumans.net/2007/04/lpca-strategy-tactics.html

I have never once expressed “hatred” toward evangelical Christians, even though I get regular hate email from some of them. On the contrary, I’ve spent way too much of my time in the past taking evangelical Christianity very seriously as an intellectual enterprise. Regarding Christians in the LP, I’m helping lead the effort to make the LP Platform be, for the first time since 1974, no longer absolutist in its “pro-choice” opposition to fetal rights, but rather to be neutral in this intra-party franchise dispute. I barely know who Michael Shermer is, and I’m sure he has no idea who I am, so I don’t see why you would call him my “friend” (aside from the fact that I appreciate his work and personal sacrifice for separation of church and state).

The notion that I have “hostility to gays” is simply libelous. On the Platform Committee I have consistently and loudly defended 1) the inclusion of gay rights in our Platform and 2) the centrality of gay rights in LP political strategy as a mainstream and winning position. I led the effort to break PlatCom’s self-imposed only-recycled-language guideline to include specifics in our draft platform about equality for gays regarding marriage, immigration, adoption, and military service. When the time came in Vegas for this plank to be considered, I went out of the room and brought back the leaders of the Outright Libertarians so they could take my novel language and improve it for us. We accepted every change to it that they suggested. Three of my closest friends on the LPCA ExCom have been its openly gay members. I’ve crashed overnight in a (big) bed with a gay friend, and have had gay housemates and gay officemates and gay dormmates. I’m living proof that gay is not contagious and gays are not predatory. You should seriously question the personal integrity of anybody who would try to play a homophobia card against me.

I agree that a disproportionate number of the LP’s deepest thinkers are anarchists/radicals. However, I would suggest that the best way to measure an LP member’s intellectual tolerance is the degree to which he 1) treats opponents and their actual arguments fairly, and 2) is willing for the LP’s foundational texts to tolerate (or be interpreted as tolerating) the major schools of libertarianism. On that standard, I invite you to compare my level of substance and tolerance with anybody’s.

I’m surprised at your claim that you’re not really sure who is real here, since you seem to think you know exactly who I am. If many of the anonymous comments here would embarrass the author if his identity were known, that pretty much underlines my point. TPW readers don’t need to be told what kind of comments the anonymous posting policy tends to encourage.

I don’t understand the need for all the vicious personal attacks that Libertarians routinely make on each other. They particularly mystify my wife. She always asks why Libertarians don’t spend more time criticizing the ideology of nanny state incumbents, and less time policing each other’s ideology through our official texts. I’m not sure of the answer. I just hope we can end the Platform Purity wars in Denver, and then start taking a torch to the nanny state, instead of protecting our flickering candle from the impure.

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by: Eric Dondero's Guts http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-557947 Mon, 07 Apr 2008 18:16:15 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-557947 No Starr, I don't know you well enough to speculate on your musical tastes well enough. I know you other than your work and your reputation. What I gather is that you are standoffish. The consensus that you are a thug with little commitment to the ideology. Not the brightest but a hard worker. Holtz, It does take courage to parade yourself with your attitudes and lack of introspection. That's cruel but you generally taunt and mock others then cried to Starr when you felt threatened. This is what I know from your fellow state party members. They think that you are a loudmouth, a braggart, with an inflated sense of value to your political party. From what I read is that you are not an embarrassment but you are the average American Joe computer guy. You seem to have a hatred toward Evangelical Christians. My wife is a Christian. I'm Catholic. We home school. She doesn't feel welcome in the Libertarian Party. We like Ron Paul but we aren't going spray paint buildings with his name. Reading TWP for months and seriously looking into joining the Libertarian Party, I get a general sense of there are those who really believe in a big tent and those who pay lip service. I don't want to be relegated to the CP. When I first starting reading the this blog, I was under the impression that anarchists were bombthrowing kooks who hurt the party's image. You seem to have a very narrow view of the libertarian movement which you impute to everyone else who might disagree with you. You also have hostility to gays in your party judging from what one member told me. I have my personal religious beliefs about homosexuality but I don't push that on people who don't share them. My wife and I attended Freedom Fest last year. That was an inclusive event with full representation of the movement. There were many religious people but there was also your friend Michael Shermer who sat a row in front of us during Brian Doherty's presentation. You keep referring to Radicals for Capitalism Someone in the audience loudly demanded that Doherty was an anarchist. Doherty said, "yes" and continued his presentation. That impressed me. He was also very polite while signing books with his family. Apart from Hogarth who mostly seems put upon more than anything, I find many of those who identify as anarchists to people of substance and very tolerant. As for Eric Dondero, it takes a great deal of courage for him to come here where he is always shouted down and treated rudely by everyone. I don't agree with him on much but he has courage. As for posting under "real names," I don't know who is real and who isn't. I doubt you do either but you don't have a career where posting on political blogs might cost us contracts or other opportunities. I do. I am glad that you have that career security. Now, people could have not told me the truth about you but from what I have seen of your comments, I tend to agree. If this is what the Libertarian Party is about, maybe I should reconsider the CP. I will never go back to the Republican Party. No Starr, I don’t know you well enough to speculate on your musical tastes well enough. I know you other than your work and your reputation. What I gather is that you are standoffish. The consensus that you are a thug with little commitment to the ideology. Not the brightest but a hard worker.

Holtz, It does take courage to parade yourself with your attitudes and lack of introspection.

That’s cruel but you generally taunt and mock others then cried to Starr when you felt threatened. This is what I know from your fellow state party members. They think that you are a loudmouth, a braggart, with an inflated sense of value to your political party. From what I read is that you are not an embarrassment but you are the average American Joe computer guy. You seem to have a hatred toward Evangelical Christians. My wife is a Christian. I’m Catholic. We home school. She doesn’t feel welcome in the Libertarian Party. We like Ron Paul but we aren’t going spray paint buildings with his name.

Reading TWP for months and seriously looking into joining the Libertarian Party, I get a general sense of there are those who really believe in a big tent and those who pay lip service. I don’t want to be relegated to the CP. When I first starting reading the this blog, I was under the impression that anarchists were bombthrowing kooks who hurt the party’s image.

You seem to have a very narrow view of the libertarian movement which you impute to everyone else who might disagree with you. You also have hostility to gays in your party judging from what one member told me. I have my personal religious beliefs about homosexuality but I don’t push that on people who don’t share them.

My wife and I attended Freedom Fest last year. That was an inclusive event with full representation of the movement. There were many religious people but there was also your friend Michael Shermer who sat a row in front of us during Brian Doherty’s presentation. You keep referring to Radicals for Capitalism Someone in the audience loudly demanded that Doherty was an anarchist. Doherty said, “yes” and continued his presentation. That impressed me. He was also very polite while signing books with his family.

Apart from Hogarth who mostly seems put upon more than anything, I find many of those who identify as anarchists to people of substance and very tolerant. As for Eric Dondero, it takes a great deal of courage for him to come here where he is always shouted down and treated rudely by everyone. I don’t agree with him on much but he has courage.

As for posting under “real names,” I don’t know who is real and who isn’t. I doubt you do either but you don’t have a career where posting on political blogs might cost us contracts or other opportunities. I do. I am glad that you have that career security.

Now, people could have not told me the truth about you but from what I have seen of your comments, I tend to agree. If this is what the Libertarian Party is about, maybe I should reconsider the CP. I will never go back to the Republican Party.

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by: Thomas L. Knapp http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-557927 Mon, 07 Apr 2008 17:50:00 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-557927 Brian, You write: "I’m not at all disingenuous about how I think the LP should oppose aggression. I don’t think political libertarianism is exclusively about reducing the power of the state. I think it should instead be about using political mechanisms—elections, etc.—to reduce the aggregate amount of aggression, the majority of which is indeed currently committed or enabled by the state. If you disagree, I’d like you to seriously explain why you don’t think our party should be called the Anarchist Party, and why calling it Libertarian isn’t 'disingenuous' bait-and-switch." I don't think our party should be called the Anarchist Party because anarchists comprise only one segment of it -- and an either irrelevant or counter-productive (depending on the particular anarchist) segment of it as far as anarchism <em>per se</em> is concerned. Anarchism is a variety of libertarianism. It is not the <em>only</em> variety of libertarianism. I support the Libertarian Party being open to many varieties, not just one, of libertarianism. Here's the problem with an "Anarchist Party:" A political party exists within a particular system, and by taking part in that system it is inherently bound by the broadest constraints that that system imposes. The broadest constraint of the system the LP participates in is the Constitution, which explicitly not only allows for, but requires, a federal government and governments specific to the several states. An organization (in the US) which rejects the Constitution is not a political party, any more than five guys wandering around on a court randomly throwing a ball and ignoring the referee are a basketball team. The LP either accepts the Constitution as the framework within which it will operate, or the LP is not a political party. Of course, anarchists in a political party could propose <em>amending</em> the Constitution for the purpose of getting rid of constraints which prevent anarchist goals from being achieved ... but the more obvious reasonable goal is to first work to reduce the size and power of the state <em>within</em> those constraints, such that anarchy can eventually be seen on the horizon ... and that's an activity anarchists can productively work with other kinds of libertarians on. Brian,

You write:

“I’m not at all disingenuous about how I think the LP should oppose aggression. I don’t think political libertarianism is exclusively about reducing the power of the state. I think it should instead be about using political mechanisms—elections, etc.—to reduce the aggregate amount of aggression, the majority of which is indeed currently committed or enabled by the state. If you disagree, I’d like you to seriously explain why you don’t think our party should be called the Anarchist Party, and why calling it Libertarian isn’t ‘disingenuous’ bait-and-switch.”

I don’t think our party should be called the Anarchist Party because anarchists comprise only one segment of it—and an either irrelevant or counter-productive (depending on the particular anarchist) segment of it as far as anarchism per se is concerned.

Anarchism is a variety of libertarianism. It is not the only variety of libertarianism. I support the Libertarian Party being open to many varieties, not just one, of libertarianism.

Here’s the problem with an “Anarchist Party:”

A political party exists within a particular system, and by taking part in that system it is inherently bound by the broadest constraints that that system imposes. The broadest constraint of the system the LP participates in is the Constitution, which explicitly not only allows for, but requires, a federal government and governments specific to the several states.

An organization (in the US) which rejects the Constitution is not a political party, any more than five guys wandering around on a court randomly throwing a ball and ignoring the referee are a basketball team. The LP either accepts the Constitution as the framework within which it will operate, or the LP is not a political party.

Of course, anarchists in a political party could propose amending the Constitution for the purpose of getting rid of constraints which prevent anarchist goals from being achieved … but the more obvious reasonable goal is to first work to reduce the size and power of the state within those constraints, such that anarchy can eventually be seen on the horizon … and that’s an activity anarchists can productively work with other kinds of libertarians on.

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by: David F. Nolan http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-557918 Mon, 07 Apr 2008 17:29:55 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-557918 I consider myself a “centrist” libertarian. In days long gone, I used to say I represented the midpoint between Murray Rothbard and John Hospers, both of whom I had cordial relations with. Today, I have friends in both the Radical Caucus and the “reform” crowd (even though I disagree with their strategic/tactical vision). I could support any of the leading prospective candidates for our presidential nomination, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. I have not endorsed any of them, although I have conferred with several of them privately. This is not to say that any of them are perfect. Barr and Root sound too much like Republicans. (Wayne, PLEASE drop the neocon phrase “Islamo-Fascist.” Use “Islamic Jihadist,” or some other phrase.) Ruwart is a really nice person and a consistent libertarian, but not well-known or forceful. Kubby is as libertarian as anyone you’ll find, but is perceived (wrongly) as a one-issue candidate. Gravel, coming up fast on the outside, is an interesting guy and brings a breath of fresh air to the debate. Maybe it’s premature for him to run for President as a Libertarian, but his presence makes the race more interesting and has certainly gotten us some media. Let's work to get each candidate to build on their strengths and improve in areas where they are weak. I’m pretty sure the final choice in Denver will come down to Barr or Root vs. Ruwart or Gravel. And any of them will be WAY better than McCain or Hillobama. Let's keep that in mind. I consider myself a “centrist” libertarian. In days long gone, I used to say I represented the midpoint between Murray Rothbard and John Hospers, both of whom I had cordial relations with. Today, I have friends in both the Radical Caucus and the “reform” crowd (even though I disagree with their strategic/tactical vision). I could support any of the leading prospective candidates for our presidential nomination, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. I have not endorsed any of them, although I have conferred with several of them privately.

This is not to say that any of them are perfect. Barr and Root sound too much like Republicans. (Wayne, PLEASE drop the neocon phrase “Islamo-Fascist.” Use “Islamic Jihadist,” or some other phrase.) Ruwart is a really nice person and a consistent libertarian, but not well-known or forceful. Kubby is as libertarian as anyone you’ll find, but is perceived (wrongly) as a one-issue candidate. Gravel, coming up fast on the outside, is an interesting guy and brings a breath of fresh air to the debate. Maybe it’s premature for him to run for President as a Libertarian, but his presence makes the race more interesting and has certainly gotten us some media. Let’s work to get each candidate to build on their strengths and improve in areas where they are weak.

I’m pretty sure the final choice in Denver will come down to Barr or Root vs. Ruwart or Gravel. And any of them will be WAY better than McCain or Hillobama. Let’s keep that in mind.

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by: Thomas L. Knapp http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-557914 Mon, 07 Apr 2008 17:24:58 +0000 http://thirdpartywatch.com/2008/04/05/barr-launches-exploratory-committee/#comment-557914 Brian, You write: "Foldvary points out that various kinds of markets—insurance, mortgage, condominiums, real estate—routinely assess the unimproved value of land, and that this is a quite workable proxy for geo-rent. The practical question for this policy is: would it be more fair to value every acre in jurisdictions equally, or to value them according to the sort of valuations that local governments in America already compute?" Use of the term "compute" in the above implies that land value assessments by local governments are objective calculations of real value. They aren't. They are "Scientific Wild-Ass Guesses" based on various criteria. If there's going to be a land tax, my strong preference would be for "an acre is an acre is an acre," with the rate low enough that the tax would not constitute a major burden to the person possessing even land that produces little profit. Given a federal budget of $3 trillion, and 2.3 billion acres of land in the US, that would amount to an annual tax of about $1,300 per acre. Of course, much of that land is not in private hands (only about 60%) -- government would have a strong incentive to <em>get</em> it into private hands if its tax revenues were based on it being in private hands. Taxing only private land to meet the current budget (which is not met by tax revenues currently -- the government runs a deficit) would increase the per-acre tax to about $2175. As we all know, the budget is unreasonably huge. Since the amount of acreage isn't going to drastically change from year to year, setting the budget in accordance with the known taxable acreage would be very transparent. The government would know exactly how much revenue to expect, and the land owners would know exactly what tax burden to expect. Using the above numbers, the federal government could run a $1 trillion budget with no deficit on a flat land tax of about $725 per acre. High-rise apartment on a one-acre footprint with 100 units renting at $1,000 a month? Tax -- $725. Ranch home on a one-acre lot? Tax -- $725. One acre in soybeans? Tax -- $725. Can't make a living if you're paying a tax of $725 per acre of land you use? Find a way to use less land to do what you're doing, or to do more with what land you're doing it on, or sell it to someone who can make it profitable enough to pay the tax ... or tell government to tighten its belt and get that damn tax down. Brian,

You write:

“Foldvary points out that various kinds of markets—insurance, mortgage, condominiums, real estate—routinely assess the unimproved value of land, and that this is a quite workable proxy for geo-rent. The practical question for this policy is: would it be more fair to value every acre in jurisdictions equally, or to value them according to the sort of valuations that local governments in America already compute?”

Use of the term “compute” in the above implies that land value assessments by local governments are objective calculations of real value. They aren’t. They are “Scientific Wild-Ass Guesses” based on various criteria. If there’s going to be a land tax, my strong preference would be for “an acre is an acre is an acre,” with the rate low enough that the tax would not constitute a major burden to the person possessing even land that produces little profit.

Given a federal budget of $3 trillion, and 2.3 billion acres of land in the US, that would amount to an annual tax of about $1,300 per acre.

Of course, much of that land is not in private hands (only about 60%)—government would have a strong incentive to get it into private hands if its tax revenues were based on it being in private hands. Taxing only private land to meet the current budget (which is not met by tax revenues currently—the government runs a deficit) would increase the per-acre tax to about $2175.

As we all know, the budget is unreasonably huge. Since the amount of acreage isn’t going to drastically change from year to year, setting the budget in accordance with the known taxable acreage would be very transparent. The government would know exactly how much revenue to expect, and the land owners would know exactly what tax burden to expect.

Using the above numbers, the federal government could run a $1 trillion budget with no deficit on a flat land tax of about $725 per acre.

High-rise apartment on a one-acre footprint with 100 units renting at $1,000 a month? Tax—$725. Ranch home on a one-acre lot? Tax—$725. One acre in soybeans? Tax—$725.

Can’t make a living if you’re paying a tax of $725 per acre of land you use? Find a way to use less land to do what you’re doing, or to do more with what land you’re doing it on, or sell it to someone who can make it profitable enough to pay the tax … or tell government to tighten its belt and get that damn tax down.

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