Open letter from Angela Keaton regarding a proposed LNC resolution

The letter is from Angela Keaton and was submitted to be published on this site:

Dear Members of the Libertarian National Committee and others to whom this may concern:

Like Mr. Benedict, I prefer to think with my mind. No, I will not support this resolution.

Your participation in a smear against a quiet gentle woman who has made her life’s work in support of this party is nothing short of evil. Your purposeful distortion and disingenuous interpretation of Mrs. Ruwart’s words is not only disgraceful but reeks of an anti-intellectualism that one normally associates with racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic movements. Further, this committee has abrogated any appearance of administrative neutrality let alone any commitment to our philosophical tradition with the shrill odious press release from which this resolution is derived.

After reading the ahistorical comments regarding the relationship between anarchism and the Libertarian Party, observing the hysterical, shrieking and insubordinate behavior of the executive director, our chair’s assertion that anarchists are an irrelevant minority and our treasurer’s willingness to squander every ounce of his integrity to gain a water board seat, I will be reevaluating whether further participation in the Libertarian Party reflects poorly on my family, my husband’s considerable reputation within the movement, and my employer.

I have warm affection and respect for so many of you, particularly Mr. Flood. Frankly, however, the events of the past few days give me pause as to whether the Libertarian Party is actually a determent to freedom.

In Liberty,

Angela Keaton Doherty
West Hollywood, CA
At Large Representative
Libertarian National Committee

Mr. Benedict’s comments forwarded with permission.

Mr. Flood will release the resolution when it is officially considered.

This letter is from Wes Benedict, and is published with his permission:

I think the most important thing to do is to panic and react immediately. That’s a sign of good leadership and usually yields optimal results. Strike while the iron is hot and panting heavily.

This will help keep the topic alive and help solidify in the minds of people the relationship between the Libertarian Party, pornography, and child sex, even though we’ll spend most of our time denying it. (Nobody believes politicians denying something.) Imagine every Libertarian Party candidate for Congress proudly displaying this message on their website ‘WE ARE NOT PERVERTS!’ That would build credibility with the public.

This will also focus the national convention and keep blog topic discussions focused on this issue: child sex and pornography.

No need to worry about throwing long-time Libertarian Party activist Mary Ruwart under the bus and slamming on the breaks while smearing her reputation and bringing as much attention to it as possible. We can do the same with Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root on so many issues.

Next thing we need is a resolution and press release claiming ‘we are not extremists.’ Perhaps mention heroin in there somewhere.

I’ll be voting against Stewart Flood’s resolution both because there are minor points in it that I disagree with and because I’d rather not have the Libertarian Party standing atop every available mountain claiming ‘WE ARE NOT PERVERTS!’

If you’re a conspiracy theorist, I think the argument could be made that my Iraq withdrawal resolution gave cover to Shane Cory, the LNC, and Bob Barr on the Iraq issue and dug their asses out of a bind. Note how that issue has disappeared from the table.

Now we get to spend the next several months talking about child sex and reading about it on blogs.

Better that we be a debate club than focus on things like voter databases and enterprise resource systems.

While I understand the wording may change, the only version of the proposed resolution in question is located here.

110 Responses to “Open letter from Angela Keaton regarding a proposed LNC resolution”

  1. paulie Says:

    I agree with Angela and Wes. The attacks on Mary Ruwart are unwarranted. Mary, along with Angela and Wes, are among the people who make the LP worth staying in to some extent. If they leave or are pushed out, I see little reason to remain. All cause for celebration by some, but be careful what you wish for, you may not like it as much once you get it.

    paul(ie)

    415-690-6352

    now unlimited minutes and texting 24-7, feel free to call.

    Ruwart on The Steve Kubby Show, 04/28
    Posted by Thomas L. Knapp—- April 26th, 2008

    Mary Ruwart, candidate for the Libertarian Party’s 2008 presidential nomination, will appear on Steve Kubby’s Blog Talk Radio program. Monday, April 28th, at 6pm Pacific.

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/stevekubbyshow

    Likely topic of discussion: Exactly what you’d expect.

  2. Peter Orvetti Says:

    This whole thing is very sad. A smear has been amplified by repeated and ever louder official recognition, and is suddenly seen as the most essential matter of the campaign. Did the war on drugs, foreign adventurism, discrimination based on sexual orientation, eminent domain abuse, asset forfeiture, government-backed censorship, and all the rest vanish during the three-hour nap I just completed? Or has the leadership of the LP swallowed some anonymous person’s unctuous bait whole?

    I’ve never met Dr. Ruwart. I’ve only read her books. As I’ve said in another somewhat heated thread on this site, I do not go as far as she would in removing the role of government. But the way she is being dragged through the mud someone has prepared for her is just nauseating. She still has my support.

  3. Ninja six Says:

    our chair’s assertion that anarchists are an irrelevant minority

    I agree, you are irrelevant. What about 10 y/o Jeffrey Curley? Was it his choice to be taken by grown men, raped and murdered?

  4. Wes Benedict Says:

    Stewart Flood was the brainchild behind the Ballot Base program. Yes, the failed Ballot Base program. I forget how many thousand the LNC paid to Stewart Flood for the failed Ballot Base program. Then we invited Ron Paul’s users to use Ballot Base. Then Stewart said it was broken.

    Now Stewart wants to focus on child molesters. Great.

    Stewart, I remember when you were trying to get the LP to abandon Raiser’s Edge and put all of its eggs in your Ballot Base program. What a big fat disaster that would have been.

  5. Carl Says:

    “We are not perverts!”

    Much better to say: “We are not terrorists!” [the David Nolan interpretation of the membership oath]

  6. Bill Woolsey Says:

    The resolution I read said nothing at all about Mary Ruwart.

    Nor does it say anything about anarchism.

    It calls for state governments to reduce resources spent on surpressing victimless crimes involving adults (a good thing.)

    It calls for instead using those resources to fight child pornography and
    child sexual exploitation. While controversial among some segments of the libertarian movement, not a problem for most American voters.

    If it passes rapidly, that part is not going to cause a problem.

    Benedict’s claim that we are shouting “We are not perverts” is foolish.

    The resolution avoids (and reverses) the ambiguous call for a fedreal role. (communications.)

    Of course, the problem is that those who have a problem with this because
    it calling for state law enforcement of anything is counter to anarchist values, because children have a right to act in pornography if they choose, or because it is necessary to tweak this to describe the ideal libertopian soltuion to age of consent issues might keep it from passing.

    If it passes… no problem. If it fails… yes.. then there are problems.

  7. Nigel Watt Says:

    I’m definitely with Wes on this one.

  8. jack booted thug Says:

    Now Stewart wants to focus on child molesters. Great.

    Wes why can’t you agree that children need to be protected from predators? All you and the others need to do is say “yes” and all of this will be over. But no, you take the “Braveheart” stance during the torture scene. A stance that almost the entire world shuns, except for the criminally insane. Good for you, you’re just confirming what a shell of a man you are.

  9. G.E. Says:

    Ms. Keaton is right on the money, but I don’t get the threats to quit from her, Paulie, or the others. Let’s just throw the fucking bums out! And if they nominate a non-libertarian (i.e. anyone other than Kubby or Ruwart—Smith can now be scratched from the list), then vocally oppose that candidate as a libertarian and Libertarian Party member. I, for one, will be supporting Chuck Baldwin, even though I’m an atheist and find his Jesus-mongering distasteful. I still prefer a consistent constitutionalist (even if he’s protectionist) preferable to a fraudulent non-libertarian Libertarian.

  10. G.E. Says:

    Children need to be protected from predators—by their parents, their communities, local authorities, and state governments. Not by the federal government! If you care so much about the non-issue of child porn, then lobby your state lawmaker to impose the death penalty on child pornographers and practicing pedophiles. I would support such a bill if it was on the ballot, even though I’m largely against the death penalty. But I will NOT support, under any circumstance, increased power to the federal government.

  11. Ayn R. Key Says:

    Finally some sanity, from Keaton and Benedict.

    I am disgusted by Root, the only libertarian that has support from Dondero.

  12. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Bill,

    Actually, I oppose the resolution for, among other reasons, the fact that if enacted as policy it would tend to artificially perpetuate the production of, and expand the supply of, child pornography.

    I’d prefer to see production of child porn reduced, and have proposed in rough outline a LIBERTARIAN policy that would accomplish exactly that—a policy implicitly supported in both the 2004 platform and the “pure principles” draft for 2008, although missing from the bowdlerized 2006 abomination.

  13. Bill Woolsey Says:

    GE writes that children need to be protected from child predators by state governments (among others.) The resolution in question calls for exactly that. Have you even read the resolution?

  14. G.E. Says:

    1. The resolution calls for strengthening the FBI. The FBI should be abolished, and anyone who thinks otherwise is not a libertarian.

    2. The LNC/LPHQ has no power to make such statements, and I would feel the same way even if I disagreed.

    3. Even if the LNC/LPHQ were empowered to make such statements, and even if they limited it strictly to advocating increased state policing of child pornography, I would still oppose the statement because (1) a national organization should not offer specific policy recommendations for state government (the state parties should do so for their own states); (2) I am skeptical that anything a state could do, other than abolishing 95% of all other laws and executing/castrating offenders (which I support), would have any impact on the very minor issue of child pornography; and (3) this was CLEARLY a direct assault on Mary Ruwart by the Barr-backing camarilla of crooks at the LNC/LPHQ, and I would oppose it if they did it to Root or any other candidate.

  15. David F. Nolan Says:

    Well, things have certainly taken a turn for the weird in the last 24 hours. As Peter Orvetti notes, the focus of the LP Presidential contest has suddenly shifted away from all the issues that are really important (the economy, the growing curtailment of civil liberties, foreign policy, bloated and corrupt government) to a third-tier fringe issue: child pornography. Why? Who does this benefit? As far as I know, nobody in the LP (including the many declared candidates for President) is in FAVOR of adult/child sex or child pornography. The question is, how does society best protect its members from these bad things? And the LIBERTARIAN answer is “rarely, if ever, by giving more power to governments, especially at the Federal level.”

    I am appalled at the national HQ staff putting out a press release that implicitly disowns one of our candidates over such a relatively minor issue. First, because that’s not a proper role for paid staffers to assume, and second because several other candidates have taken overtly anti-Libertarian stances on a number of issues, and none of them have been shot at by the national staff for doing so. This whole fiasco just reeks of cronyism and witch-hunting. Our presidential nominee will be chosen by the delegates to the national convention in Denver, and attempts by the LNC or (especially) the office staff at LPHQ to subvert that process are despicable.

  16. paulie Says:

    GE,

    I’m not gone yet. In fact I am trying to bring more people to Denver.

    I have a board set up for that, but for some reason linking to it is spam-blocked here. Will try to post it when I have that figured out.

    In the meantime, go to lastfreevoice.com

    “forums” at top of right sidebar

    Libertarian Convention

    match ppl up with rooms, rides

    Match people who need $ to go with those willing to sponsor them

    etc

  17. paulie Says:

    David Nolan is correct

  18. disinter Says:

    Leaked: Shane Corey admits smear campaign against Mary Ruwart
    http://disinter.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/leaked-shane-corey-admits-smear-campaign-against-mary-ruwart/

    LNC further marginalizes itself
    http://disinter.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/lnc-further-marginalizes-itself/

    So there you have it. The purge is underway.

    You can’t tell me members of the LNC and Shane Corey don’t talk.

  19. Wes Benedict Says:

    I am not an anarchist. I support moving to a flat income tax and school vouchers. I’d like to reduce spending and reduce the flat tax rate. I often get called an anarchist, though. Seems like some people are quick to apply the “anarchist” label every time someone disagrees with them.

  20. Wes Benedict Says:

    disinter says:
    “So there you have it. The purge is underway.”

    Wes says:
    I think an attempt to purge is underway, but not really a conspiratorial type one. However, with all the talk about child sex, they’re going to scare away all of the people they’re trying to attract. I look forward to hearing Brian Holtz run around Denver proclaiming “WE ARE NOT PERVERTS AND WE ARE NOT ANARCHISTS. I WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO STOP PEOPLE FROM HAVING SEX WITH MY CHILDREN!”

  21. Catholic Trotskyist Says:

    I agree with the LNC. I am happy that the Libertarian Party is so heavily divided, and hope this will continue. The Constitution Party is the main right-wing vehicle to steal Republican votes and usher in the Obama Revolution. Then, all hopes of limited government on many issues such as this will be mercifully gone.

  22. paulie Says:

    Wes,

    You continue to make good points, despite not being an anarchist.

  23. Chuck Moulton Says:

    Ballot Base is a great program. I suspect that view will be vindicated as individual states adopt Ballot Base, even after the national office has gone another direction.

  24. Michael Seebeck Says:

    I know Angela reasonably well. If she’s saying this, she is more than just slightly pissed. Slightly, as in, “Infinity – 1”, that is.

    I don’t know Wes well (hopefully that changes in the near future), but he seems rational to me.

    The resolution is crazy. Calling for coordination between a federal agency that should not exist and the states to combat a miniscule problem that while it exists is definitely a state issue is insane. To do so while taking implict potshots at any of the candidates when the LNC is supposed to be ethically neutral is even worse.

    The better resolution is to call for better protection of children from leigitmate predators starting with the parents, and with state intervention only when necessary, and federal intervention not at all.

  25. stopdrugwar Says:

    David,

    I disagree that the press release “... implicitly disowns one of our candidates”. It is simply an attempt to diffuse what has become a very contentious issue. It in no way disowns or even repudiates what Dr. Ruwart wrote in her book.

    And I disagree that this is a”a relatively minor issue.” It’s obviously a very big issue or the blogs wouldn’t be filling up with contentious debate about it. I agree that it shouldn’t be such a big issue but it clearly has become one at least to the bloggers.

    Dr. Ruwart would still be a fine candidate and possibly as good as we’ve run. Even though I prefer Bob Barr for the positive press and attention he would bring us and I will be proud to have Dr. Ruwart as our candidate and work hard on her behalf should she win.

    I recognize that the libertarian movement is more about advancing a philosophy than electing candidates. So even if my candidate fails to get the nomination, I’m not giving up on the Libertarian Party.

    I do get a little disgusted with the whiners who threaten to quit when the party doesn’t do just what they expect it should do. No other political party is even coming close to championing the complete set of causes that my anarchist self cares so much about. The Constipation Party loves the drug war, the Repugnant Party loves all war, the Demigod Party loves the welfare state, the nanny state and the Green Party hates free markets.

    So quiters get made if you want to. But know that we fight on without you. The job will just be a tad harder.

  26. Bill Wood Says:

    I must have missed something. So far I have only seen one source for Shane Corey’s message to the LNC and Stewart Flood’s resolution and this would be from someone using a phoney name on a blog site. I have read the alledged resolution and I agree with Bill Woolsey that it doesn’t say anything about Mary or anarchism.

  27. Bill Woolsey Says:

    So, GE did not read the resoltution.

    I suspect he is confusing the press release from Shane Cory with the resolution proposed before the LNC by Flood.

    All of GE’s remarks were about this press release.

    This thread is about an “open letter” from one member of the LNC regarding a resolution put before that body.

    Anyway, the resolution says nothing about federal government action at all. Basically, it supports everything in the press release other than saying something vague about the Federal government being involved.

    My guess, is that some members of the LNC (well, Flood, anyway) generally support Corey’s release, except for the part about the Federal government.

    My view is the Corey can do what he wants, though he is responsible to the National Chair. Apparently, Corey has told members of the National Committee that he just feels very strongly about this issue and didn’t speak with Redpath. If Redpath doesn’t like it, he can fire Corey. (I think this is still the way it works.)

    I have yet to see that there has been any “smear,” of Ruwart. One of her more controversial stands from the past is being used to attack her, yes. The easy solution for her is to explain that she has changed her mind. Apparently, that is impossible, because it is still one of her positions. And so she is not being smeared, but rather attacked for a position she holds at this time.

    Apparently, there are many who believe that if we just ignore it, it will go away. Perhaps.

  28. Michael Seebeck Says:

    Bill Woolsey, the smear is in that the LNC and the LPED have no right to take any sides in this issue, because no candidate is nominated yet. It is purely unethical. Cory is reacting emotionally and letting that cloud his judgement, and as a result he’s making a fool of himself.

    The better resolution for the LNC is to acknowledge the controversy and issue a statement to the effect of,”Leave us out of it!”.

  29. disinter Says:

    I disagree that the press release “... implicitly disowns one of our candidates”.

    Really?

    http://disinter.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/leaked-shane-corey-admits-smear-campaign-against-mary-ruwart/

  30. Bill Woolsey Says:

    No offense, but “smear,” doesn’t mean, “the person who made the statement wasn’t authorized to make it.”

    Corey’s press release said nothing about Mary Ruwart.

    The proposed LNC resolution says nothing about Mary Ruwart.

    It is obvous why Corey made his remarks (and there is a leaked email that makes it explicit.)

    And I think it is obvious why the motion was put before the LNC.

    But they don’t say anything about any candidate.

    On the other hand, there are people who are attacking Ruwart for her position on child pornography. This “Ruwarchy” website is a little strange, but there are many people who understand her position, and think it is undesirable to have an LP nominee who has a written record of holding it. And they are saying this.

    They have every right to take that position. And it isn’t a smear because it is her position.

    I have tried to say this before, but anyone who believes that it is necessary to “smear” Ruwart by saying she favors legal toleration of forced sex or else that she personally likes child sex just doesn’t undersand how offensive “voluntary” sex by 8 years old is to most people. That is the issue.

    Some of her supporters are saying (correctly, in my view,) that she will be ignored in the general election pretty much, and so this won’t cause much of a problem.

    However she has opponents who are using this issue to attack her. Perhaps the purpose is to keep her from wining the nomination. But I think it is likely that it is also aimed more generally at discrediting the “purist” faction. They will be forced to defend child porn at every turn.

    It is a high risk strategy for the realist faction, because it will tie the LP to child porn if the purists win. But, I think the realists promoting this hope that it will lose. The pro-child porn (so easy to write it that way, the legal toleation of child porn) faction will be resoundingly defeated. So the story will be that the LP has put the kook wing behind us.

    As far as I know, no one will be taking names of the “kooks,” and then taking away their membership cards. There will be no purge.

    It just isn’t a purge when the party takes an official position you reject.
    In other words, those who believe that principle requires that child pornography be legally tolerated will have to decide whether an LP that favors legal suppression of child porn is worth supporting.

    The realist faction wants all libertarians to stay and support a incrementalist LP because it will be better than the alternatives.

  31. Bruce Cohen Says:

    I can’t imagine putting this better than Mister Woolsey has, but let me address this from a different point.

    Americans in general do feel that ought to be some age of consent. (AOC)
    Be it as young as it used to be in Japan, or still is in the Scandanavian
    countries, they still do feel this is an important legal standard.

    Americans feel this AOC ought to be applicable regarding contracts, important decisions and life altering events. This would apply to enlisting in the military, taking on debt, having sex, medical procedures and other similar decisions.

    This is not unreasonable.

    Argue if you like on what the AOC should be in different instances and situations, but in the formerly described situations, it’s almost universally accepted that there ought to be some dividing line, some standard.

    Libertarians do believe in some rules, some guidelines, and again, some standards. Legal standards governing some behaviors.

    Child pornography and the abuse of children is something most all Americans find repugnant, and do wish to see not only less of, but some kind of clear, black-and-white rule for when it’s illegal.

    They also want to see such a law vigorously enforced.

    We have standards against the abuse of animals, and we should.
    We also ought to have rules against the abuse of children.

    Argue about when children gain the rights of adults all you want, but that there needs to be a dividing line, I cannot imagine is debatable at all.

    I don’t understand, for example, why a 17 year old can be a US Marine, but he can’t legally have a beer or a smoke until he/she is 21.

    But I can totally understand why a parent would desire a legal barrier against an adult seducing their 10 year old.

    I could further understand why said parent might be even more vigorous in their desire for rules against, and strict enforcement against said rules, of child pornography.

    That so many Libertarians act surprised at other Libertarians who likewise want to see legal protections against the abuse of children is in and of itself, quite surprising.

    I applaud the people who have had the guts to face the shrill extremists who claim that supporting the rights of NAMBLA members and child molesters is somehow ‘libertarian’.

    No one is getting thrown under any bus here.

    People are standing up for what they believe in.

    If anyone is doing bus throwing, it’s the extremists who claim that in a libertarian world, absolutely anything goes.

  32. G.E. Says:

    Bill Woolsey – You are correct. I conflated the press release with the resolution without realizing I had made that leap. My bad.

  33. stopdrugwar Says:

    Yes, disinter, really. Your website refers to a private internal party communication with the LNC, and that does indeed indicate that Shane Corey has a definite opinion regards Dr. Ruwart and this issue. But the press release is totally different and doesn’t even reference Dr. Ruwart or the ‘offending quotes’. Nice try but sloppy logic.

  34. miche Says:

    I applaud the people who have had the guts to face the shrill extremists who claim that supporting the rights of NAMBLA members and child molesters is somehow ‘libertarian’.

    I’ve not read a single comment supporting child porn molestors or NAMBLA. What I have read is the emotional rants of people who seem to think that the law is a protector of children. The law is not a protector of children. Existing laws do not stop people prone to abusing children from doing so and at best are tools to remedy injury (more accurately, punish the offender because the injured hasn’t been made whole) after it occurs. I find it crazy that the same people who say that the government should stay out of education, personal drug use issues and marriage are now begging for government interference in the most personal act of parenting.

    And, FWIW, if we are using the legal definition of child (birth-14 years), some children can consent to sex. I did and later married the adult I had sex with. Should my former husband have been arrested and labled a sex offender?

  35. Paulie Says:

    I’ve not read a single comment supporting child porn molestors or NAMBLA. What I have read is the emotional rants of people who seem to think that the law is a protector of children. The law is not a protector of children. Existing laws do not stop people prone to abusing children from doing so and at best are tools to remedy injury (more accurately, punish the offender because the injured hasn’t been made whole) after it occurs. I find it crazy that the same people who say that the government should stay out of education, personal drug use issues and marriage are now begging for government interference in the most personal act of parenting.

    And, FWIW, if we are using the legal definition of child (birth-14 years), some children can consent to sex. I did and later married the adult I had sex with. Should my former husband have been arrested and labled a sex offender?

    Who is old enough to decide? I was sexually active at age eleven. I knew what sex was and whether I wanted to have it and with whom and when. I did have a small number of 20-something girlfriends when I was a teenager (but way, way more teenage girlfriends) and they were not molesting me except as stated by law. My main girlfriend was a teenage prostitute; she knew what she was doing and was not being abused. She chose her job, and rejected clients she did not feel safe with. Her biggest job hazard was police. Her biggest job advantage was a lot of money – $50,000 at one party once. She made a porn tape once, and there was no exploitation involved. If she had gone to Europe to make it, it would have been “legal” over there (sixteen). It’s not the same thing as a pre-pubescent six year old.

  36. disinter Says:

    But the press release is totally different and doesn’t even reference Dr. Ruwart or the ‘offending quotes’.

    Doesn’t need to. His memo specifically states he did it in response to Ruwart.

    Nice try but sloppy logic.

  37. disinter Says:

    miche – well said.

  38. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Bruce Cohen Says:
      April 27th, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    “If anyone is doing bus throwing, it’s the extremists who claim that in a libertarian world, absolutely anything goes.”

    Oh, how this so MISSES THE POINT! This ISN’T about “anything goes”. You are trying to paint hard-line Libertarians as “libertine”. It isn’t true.

    This IS about actually not disturbing or coercively interfering with the proper responsibility for children being in the proper hands; that is parents, and/or those adults who most love and care about a child or specific children. How is it that the government knows best when a child or adolescent is ready to take on responsibility? Some study told them so?
    Some bureaucrat had a hunch? The voters voted on it?

    Bruce Cohen also says, “Child pornography and the abuse of children is something most all Americans find repugnant, and do wish to see not only less of, but some kind of clear, black-and-white rule for when it’s illegal.”

    Three points on this statement –
    a-most Americans find it repugnant that the federal government ought to have one of its main funding mechanisms cut off . . . the income tax. Does this mean that the LP ought to abandon its “Abolish the IRS and the income tax” position?

    b-a clear black and white rule is a pie in the sky ideal , though maybe noble and something to support in theory, children don’t automatically have all the capacity to make all adult decisions at 18 years of age, nor at 21 , nor 16 nor ANY one age for ALL children! Children develop physically, emotionally, and mentally at different times and rates. A one size fits all “Black and White” law is ludicrous. Besides, justice is NEVER “Black and White” ADMINISTERED by the state, so IMHO, this “Black and White” ideal, though noble is simply unachievable, and any attempt to achieve such an ideal will NECESSARILY punish some children/adolescents by restricting them from what they are capable of being responsible for, and punish other children/adolescents for being responsible for themselves when they aren’t ready.

    c-people “wish to see . . . less of” – It isn’t at all clear that age of consent laws results in “less child abuse” or other “repugnant” acts. What IS clear however, is that children are routinely taken away from parents for many reasons which SHOULD be repugnant to Libertarians. When political correctness dictates how children are supposed to be care for, disciplined, rewarded, etc, THAT is repugnant!

    The only ideal relevant to this whole “controversy” is WHO DECIDES? Does the GOVERNMENT decide OR do PARENTS (or other adults who love and care most about a child) decide?

    Add in acceptance of the idea that children have the absolute right to run away from abusive parents, I believe that an arrangement that best provides for children, and minimizes “repugnant” child pornography and child abuse can be achieved WITHOUT government interference.

    Mr. Bruce Cohen, I am appalled that you suggest that hard-line fundamental libertarians like myself believe this is about “anything goes”, and I/we deserve an apology from you!

  39. Michael Seebeck Says:

    Keep in mind that if the Ruwart quote hadn’t been put out, the Flood resolution and Cory statement wouldn’t have happened either, so yes, it is in direct response.

    Bruce, you make some good points on this, and thanks for weighing in. IMHO the AOC for everything should be 18, clean and simple, and under that age they’re a ward of parents/guardians (except for the emancipateds).

    However, since government has a history of not enforcing laws, correctly or consistently, I would point out that relying on them to enforce child porn laws is at best about the same as winning the lottery.

  40. Michael Seebeck Says:

    I would also point out for Steve on the 18 idea that the parents have the responsibility to make sure their kids are ready to be responsible, and that at age 18 there is a legal and moral expecation of such, just like every other adult.

  41. SFTS Says:

    The issue is child pornography, not child rape.

    DOMESTIC CRIME is for the individual states to prosecute. NATIONAL SECURITY CRIME and POSTAL CRIME is for the Federal Government to prosecute.

    Mary Ruwart is not seeking nomination for state office, she’s seeking nomination for Federal office, so any question concerning her personal opinions on “child pornography” is irrelevant.

    Those who are making a big issue out of this might want to take the advice Ron Paul gave to Mitt Romney at the Michigan debate, “pick up the Constitution and READ IT”. Or at least come down off your soapboxes, you’re making yourselves look like idiots that don’t understand the rule of law.

  42. Michael H. Wilson Says:

    A couple of days out collecting signatures on petitions and this is what has been happening. WOW!

    But Shane Cory says…”I believe in a small, efficient government that both respects and protects our liberties.”

    If Shane is interested in an efficient government then he needs to follow Harry Truman’s advice “get a dictatorship”.

    And Shane the south had plenty of small government in the past that stepped all over the people, as well as did many other places.

    Maybe you need a course in the philosophy.

    MHW

  43. Wes Benedict Says:

    Chuck Muth has been accused:

    http://conservablogs.com/muthstruths/2007/11/03/attack-of-the-child-snatchers/

  44. Wes Benedict Says:

    Oops. Crank call.

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080425/D9095CA81.html

  45. Michael H. Wilson Says:

    Okay some people object to others having sex with their eight year old, but what if their eight year old has sex with someone younger and is resposnsible for intiating the act?

    And the last time I looked the government is under no obligation to protect you or you family. We’ve had at least one Supreme Court decision in that regard. Although many people seem to believe that the government will protect them and it might, but don’t hold your breath.

    MHW

  46. Andy Says:

    “David F. Nolan Says:

    April 27th, 2008 at 3:39 pm
    Well, things have certainly taken a turn for the weird in the last 24 hours. As Peter Orvetti notes, the focus of the LP Presidential contest has suddenly shifted away from all the issues that are really important (the economy, the growing curtailment of civil liberties, foreign policy, bloated and corrupt government) to a third-tier fringe issue: child pornography. Why?”

    Yeah, I didn’t know that child pornography was a federal issue. These people must be reading a different US Constitution than the one that I’ve read. What does this have to do with the Presidential race?

  47. Kevin Says:

    Now that the shoe is on the other foot,
    “purists” are upset that party resources
    are being used, and the LP name invoked,
    to promote positions that not all libertarians
    agree with. Where were they, when LP HQ
    and Bill Redpath were pontificating on
    foreign policy, and favoring Bob Barr
    over other candidates?

    “Reformers” likewise have the shoe on the
    other foot. Now they are the ones calling
    bloody murder for federal action, when
    before they were decrying US military
    action abroad.

    LP “reformers” are hypocrites. When
    domestic terrorists communicate with
    international terrorists, they are dead
    set against any federal eavesdropping.
    But when people want to exchange
    illegal pornography, the gloves come
    off at LP HQ.

    Virtually all illegal pornography is not
    part of an “industry”, but is freely
    given away on usenet groups.
    What is “pornographic” and what
    is “art” is often in the eye of the
    beholder. To be pornographic,
    does not require sexual acts,
    but could be mere sexual posing
    of an individual.

    As usual, LP HQ has no clue.

  48. Less Antman Says:

    This is not an issue being pushed by “purists” and “extremists”. It is an issue that wasn’t mentioned at all by either the candidate being attacked or any of her supporters, and was created entirely by someone deciding to take an out-of-context quote from an answer to a specific question from 10 years ago on child pornography that actually was derived from the LP platform at the time, leaving out both her preface that children’s rights was an issue on which libertarian theory had not yet been fully developed and required more definition, and an additional point that all societies established social norms for the age for marriage, work, etc., which ought to be flexible based on individual circumstances (that is, whose specific facts should be considered by judges and juries in making decisions rather than making an arbitrary number an absolute).

    It is especially ridiculous to try and turn this into an issue of anarchists vs minarchists, since that disagreement is merely on whether laws can best be produced and enforced by the market (as food, clothing, shelter, and health care are provided: all essentials libertarians don’t want the government to provide). Whether law is produced by the market or government is an entirely different question from the question of the content of the law. Many anarchists believe that child molesters should be punished by castration.

    The LNC should not issue a resolution on an issue that has not been addressed in the LP platform for a decade. The executive director should apologize for his serious error in judgment in issuing a press release on the issue and for disrespecting the delegates to the upcoming LP convention next month, who are fully capable of deciding how to deal with the past and present statements of all candidates on all topics.

  49. G.E. Says:

    I find both NAMBLA and the KKK disgusting and would not shed a tear if everyone associated with them died horrible deaths. But I still defend the rights of the organizations to exist and for individuals to be members of them and disseminate their perverse views. Pedophilia, in the absence of action, is no more a crime than racism is. Point is, if you don’t support the rights of individuals and groups with which you don’t agree, and if you do support or are ambivalent about the federal government cracking down on them for non-crimes, then you are a FASCIST, not a libertarian, period.

  50. Justin Grover Says:

    I disagree with the press release, with the resolution, and with the contention that by finding Dr. Ruwart’s written words inappropriate some people support big government or are part of a conspiracy against the Dr.

    I think the words, taken as they were, added a serious weapon to our foes’ already strong arsenals against any serious Libertarian candidate should Dr. Ruwart become our nominee.

    Which, I also feel, is a shame given the lady’s other strengths.

    Hopefully we won’t lose people from the party because the members think a position by a candidate makes the candidate unsuitable.

    Hopefully members of the party won’t think that they can get rid of the anarchists/idealists (purist denotes to me a too negative view of others) just by discussing one candidate’s position on an issue.

  51. Kevin Says:

    The party platform should express general and timeless libertarian principles, and should not be monopolized by one faction or another.
    “Purists” have misused libertarian ideas to push their non-interventionist agenda, and gotten away with it because popular opinion is skewed by the Bush administration incompetence and the general ugliness of war.

    Now that “purists” find themselves on the minority end of public opinion on a sexual issue, all of a sudden they are concerned that LP resources are being mis-used to favor one particular faction or candidate over another.
    Where were they when LP chairs pontificated their ignorance about the Iraqi theatre in the war on Jihadism? For that matter, where are “reformers”—who in their new-found concern over sexual exploitation of minors, seem to forget that Mohammed was a pedophile, who consummated his marriage to “Aisha” when she was nine?

    Here is a medley of passages from the platform adopted in 2004:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20040714013714/www.lp.org/issues/platform/platform_all.html

    the repeal of all laws regulating or prohibiting the possession, use, sale, production, or distribution of sexually explicit material, independent of “socially redeeming value” or compliance with “community standards”;

    the repeal of all laws regarding consensual sexual relations, including prostitution and solicitation

    the repeal of all laws regulating or prohibiting the possession, use, sale, production, or distribution of sexually explicit material,

    The Issue: We oppose any abridgment of the freedom of speech through government censorship, regulation or control of communications media, including, but not limited to, laws concerning:

    a) Obscenity, including “pornography”, as we hold this to be an abridgment of liberty of expression despite claims that it instigates rape or assault, or demeans and slanders women;

    Intelligence and law enforcement agencies like the CIA, NSA, and FBI must be prevented from abusing individual rights or else be abolished.

    The Issue: Government has presumed to decide acceptability over sexual practices in personal relationships, imposing a particular code of moral and social values and displacing personal choice in such matters.

    Transitional Action: We would repeal existing laws and policies intended to condemn, affirm, encourage or deny sexual lifestyles, or any set of attitudes about such lifestyles.

  52. Brian Holtz Says:

    Wes, I would be ecstatic if nobody in Denver breathed a word about “anarchism” or “sex with children”. Unfortunately, there will be people in Denver proposing to restore the 2004 platform language advocating “individual secession” (i.e. anarchism), and in the last two days multiple Ruwart supporters have proposed restoring the 2004 platform language advocating the right of children to “engage in voluntary exchanges of goods, services or information regarding human sexuality”. Many of us delegates will not sit silently by and let these positions be re-introduced into the LP Platform. You can claim all you want that reformers are manufacturing these issues of “anarchism” and “sex with children”, but my quotes here are straight out of the 2004 platform. That’s the same platform that the LNC member named in this thread’s title petitioned us on the Platform Committee to restore. Maybe she’s never read it; I suspect most of the petitioners haven’t.

    I again agree with nearly everything Woolsey says above, except for the idea that this issue of legalized sex and sexual commerce among “consenting” children is going to marginalize the LP any more than our quasi-anarchism has already done. Child sex is just the tip of the iceberg. The Ruwarchist positions on personal secession and private WMD are technically even more extremist. Indeed, personal secession includes the idea of pedophiles exempting themselves from state protections for minors, and (as far as I can tell) condemns every 5-year-old to use only their market savvy to rally defense against any predatory whims of their guardians.

    This is not just a hypothetical issue. Here in my county we have a perennial LP candidate who served time after pleading no contest in 1990 to two charges of attempted child pandering—i.e. “offer[ing] to give, transport, provide, or make available to another person, a child under the age of 16 for the purpose of any lewd or lascivious act as defined in Section 288”. To defend himself from what he calls “entrapment” for talking about organizing a sexual encounters between an undercover female cop and his 14-year-old son (and allegedly the 10-year-old boy living with him), he explains:

    JW) Why I am a Politically Incorrect Parent: I had my first pleasant sexual experience at the age of five—a kind of group orgy/sexual-discovery/fondle get together of about four or five kids of various ages and both sexes. I had long since decided that if at all possible that I would like to arrange a similar pleasant sexual experience for my own children. [...]

    The details of three incidents where some could claim that I had been inappropriately affectionate with a child: a minor incident in 1969 (it was inappropriate since the child was not my own and I didn’t have the parents okay), and two in 1982 with my own daughter. All incidents were intended by me as affection, and most importantly were received as affection by the child. (JW

    In 2004 we had to run a normaltarian against this guy in a state senate primary and we kept him off the general ballot only by two votes. Unlike this guy’s conviction, I don’t think Ruwart’s position on sexual commerce by children disqualifies her from being an LP candidate. I just don’t think that such extremist positions of Ruwart should be in the Platform.

    If Ruwart’s supporters are correct in saying that she merely opposes bright lines in rules about the age-related ability to give various kinds of consent, then she might be able to put this whole issue to bed by endorsing language like this:

    Communities may choose the age, between 14 and 18 years, at which a person is no longer rebuttably presumed to be a child, and instead is rebuttably presumed to be an adult, with any such determination being ultimately the judgment of a jury in any particular case.

  53. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Ninja Six writes, “I agree, you are irrelevant. What about 10 y/o Jeffrey Curley? Was it his choice to be taken by grown men, raped and murdered?”

    Sir, you clearly know nothing about anarcho-libertarians.

    All libertarians, including both the minarchists and the anarchists, believe that certain activities are naturally, innately criminal. These include theft, fraud, rape, murder, battery, enslavement, and property damage.

    The only difference between minarchists and anarchists is that minarchists believe a government monopoly would be more efficient at catching and prosecuting these criminals, while anarchists believe that competing defence agencies motivated by the profit incentive would be more efficient at catching and prosecuting these criminals. That is the only manifest difference. (Some minarchists also support government-monopoly roads, and other government-monopoly “public goods,” although not all minarchists do.)

    Mr. jack booted thug writes, “Wes why can’t you agree that children need to be protected from predators?”

    I don’t think any of us, whether minarchist or anarchist, want to see children protected. However, given the government’s track record, if the government were to decide to start a War on Child Predators, there’s little doubt that the more money it funnels toward that purpose, the worse the problem will get. So, I implore you all, think about the children!

    I really don’t want the same people who were in charge of fixing the Katrina, the same people who handle Social Security or the IRS, the same people who constantly save us from “lack of inflation,” the same people who make the cost of healthcare skyrocket when all they’re trying to do is lower the cost, the same people who can’t even deliver an effin’ letter from one place to another without losing it, in charge of protecting my kids. (Not that I have any yet, but if I did. If I did, I’d buy a gun, and wouldn’t hesitate to kill anyone who tried to rape them.)

    Yes, children need to be protected. But do you trust the government to do that? I don’t trust the government with a truck, I sure wouldn’t trust it with a small human life.

    Paulie writes, “I’m not gone yet. In fact I am trying to bring more people to Denver.”

    If someone can pay my way, I’d love to go. But, I bet it would be a pretty penny, coming all the way from Baltimore, and make no expectations of anyone to be that generous. :)

    disinter writes, “You can’t tell me members of the LNC and Shane Corey don’t talk.”

    ‘The LNC’ and ‘members of the LNC’ are very different concepts. The fact is that Ms. Keaton is not behind this, right? Therefore, it was Shane Cory and whomever he was involved with, perhaps Mr. Flood.

    Cheers,
    Alex Peak

  54. Kevin Says:

    Brian’s suggestion:
    “Communities may choose the age, between 14 and 18 years, at which a person is no longer rebuttably presumed to be a child, and instead is rebuttably presumed to be an adult, with any such determination being ultimately the judgment of a jury in any particular case.”

    (Kevin) This is saying more than need be said. We should have a
    general statement of philosophy, and a few planks on hot topics
    like drug prohibition, war on Jihadism, taxes and national debt.
    The more that is said, the more ammunition is given.

    Brian’s suggestion is too simplistic to work, and too complicated
    to be easily communicated. Holland’s laws recognize different
    rules at different ages, starting at 12. What constitutes “sex”
    can can have various definitions. “pornography” doesn’t have
    to include sex acts or even real persons (as opposed to
    computer-generated or age-regressed).

    This is a complex issue, and as Mary noted in context,
    not easy to resolve by a simple application of libertarian
    axioms. I wish “reformers” would realize this about their
    still-misguised foreign policy.

  55. Less Antman Says:

    Non-intervention has been in the party platform since the early 70’s, and there is no reason for anyone in the party to have objected to press releases and resolutions calling for non-intervention.

    I’d consider it entirely appropriate for the delegates to be offered a proposed platform plank on children that addressed their capacity to consent, trying to establish guidelines. That is different from having the LNC decide what the delegates ought to advocate. If we wanted the LNC to determine the platform, the bylaws would have done so. Even the platform committee doesn’t have the power to determine the platform.

    The use of the term “purist” can be very misleading. I consider anyone to be a purist if they sincerely attempt to apply the non-aggression axiom to each issue, even if they draw different conclusions on some issues. There are plenty of pro-life minarchists in the party that I consider to be libertarian purists, even though I’m an anti-life chaosist.

  56. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Holtz writes, “Unfortunately, there will be people in Denver proposing to restore the 2004 platform language advocating “individual secession” (i.e. anarchism),...”

    I really don’t think it’s fair to call Dr. Lugwig von Mises an “anarchist” simply because he supported radical secessionism in his minarchist manifesto, Liberalism: In the Classical Tradition.

    Also, I think you misrepresent the intent of Restore ‘04 (which was started by a minarchist, David Nolan). Restore ‘04 does not propose simply that we keep everything in the 2004 platform verbatim, but rather that we use that as a jumping board, rather than the 2006 platform, for whatever furure changes we may want for the platform. If you don’t want the secession plank in the platform, Restore ‘04 does not prevent you from advocating that we remove that plank immediately after the restoration. The restoration is simply the first step in the process of platform reform.

    I support Restore ‘04, and I urge you to do so as well.

    “...and in the last two days multiple [Libertarians] have proposed restoring the 2004 platform language advocating the right of children to ‘engage in voluntary exchanges of goods, services or information regarding human sexuality’.”

    Restore ‘04 does not prevent you from advocating that that plank be removed, either.

    “The Ruwarchist positions on personal secession and private WMD are technically even more extremist.”

    Again, there is no such thing as Ruwarchism. The term literally means “Leadership by Ruw.”

    The term you mean to use is “Ruwartian.”

    I do not support private ownership of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and for the same reason Murray Rothbard opposed it in his The Ethics of Liberty. I do not know Dr. Ruwart’s position on the matter, but will support her candidacy either way.

    Sincerely yours,
    Alex Peak

  57. Less Antman Says:

    The petition at www.restore04.com was started by LP Founder David Nolan, who has NEVER been an anarchist and hasn’t declared support for any candidate yet, although I’d like to think these recent events will cause him to do so soon.

  58. Ninja Six Says:

    I don’t think any of us, whether minarchist or anarchist, want to see children protected.

    wtf???????? you people need some serious mental help

  59. Ninja Six Says:

    I do not know Dr. Ruwart’s position on the matter, but will support her candidacy either way.

    idiot

  60. Ninja Six Says:

    even though I’m an anti-life chaosist

    yep, some serious mental help. and you are all the same aholes that are making fun of or in some cases even hanging out with milnes. yep, serious mental help.

  61. Less Antman Says:

    Sigh … some people have no sense of humor.

  62. Alex Peak Says:

    Ninja Six, when I wrote “I don’t think any of us, whether minarchist or anarchist, want to see children protected,” that was a misstatement. I meant to say that I don’t think any of us “doesn’t want to see children protected.”

    If you had read the rest of my paragraph, you would have figured out that I obviously accidentally left out a word.

    You call me an idiot for saying that I would support Dr. Ruwart’s candidacy regardless of her position on individual ownership of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Why? Do you seriously think I should vote against her if she agrees with me and Murray Rothbard that private ownership of WMD is illegitimate? Or is it that you think I should vote against her if she disagrees with Harry Browne who thought it was legitimate, and who received more votes than any other Libertarian presidential candidate in history (with the exception of Clark in 1980)?

    Well, since I would not object to voting for Harry Browne, and since I would not object to voting for Murray Rothbard, it seems that whatever her position on WMD might me, I’d be an “idiot” to base my vote on that issue.

    Respectfully yours,
    Alex Peak

  63. Ninja Six Says:

    Ninja Six, when I wrote “I don’t think any of us, whether minarchist or anarchist, want to see children protected,” that was a misstatement. I meant to say that I don’t think any of us “doesn’t want to see children protected.”

    yes yes my son a simple freudian slip. we know your true colors.

  64. Robert Capozzi Says:

    This thread and issue are a monumental distraction.

  65. miche Says:

    Mr. Capozzi, I’m in total agreement with your last comment yet I wish to make one more comment on the matter. Obviously I am one that supports Dr. Ruwart in this matter but it is not because I think young children should be in porn or dating adults. Since I have permission to use the situation as an example in this matter, let me tell you how the state “protects” children from being sexually abused.

    I have two daughters. Long before I read a word about libertarian philosophy, one of my daughters was inappropriately touched by a family member. I called the authorities for assistance and learned that there was NOTHING they could do besides take the report. I was warned that because there was no physical evidence of the abuse, if we chose to pursue the matter, it would be her word against the offender’s. Because the offender had moved out of the area, we’d have to try to get the support of several agencies and it was unlikely we could.

    So, you see, the already existing laws designed to protect children did not stop my 8 year old from having her innocence ripped away from her. The government agents in charge of handling such situations were ineffective because she wasn’t assaulted “badly enough” and the offender has never been brought to justice in a court of law.

    I could have pushed the matter in the halls of government but it would have hurt my daughter more than helped. I could have shot the bastard dead but then I would have had to depend on another branch of the state to mete out justice and there’s no way to effectively parent from jail.

    What did I do at the time? Well, I parented. My daughter received some counseling and learned that what happened wasn’t any fault of her own. She learned that she is a strong young woman and today has a lovely family of her own. The offender was ostracized by the family but guess what?

    That particular offender could be your neighbor, kid’s soccer coach or even attend weekly church service with you and there are laws that prohibit me from openly sharing his name with you on this message board. How’s that for protection?

    The idea of young children and sexual abuse should bring a visceral argument out of the most “rational” of us. It’s a fucking horrible thing to use young children in a sexual manner but libertarians shouldn’t be making an argument for more state involvement in any situation.

  66. Marc Montoni Says:

    I agree; this thread is a diversion. It was initiated by an anonymous poster who deliberately took her comments out of context.

    Unfortunately, the national LP fell into his trap; and now this thread has been fed fuel by the media release from national headquarters, with full acquiescence of the LNC. As long as national headquarters & the LNC continue to fan the flames against Ms. Ruwart, the flames of this thread will continue.

    At the Virginia state convention on March 29, I sat at a table that included Wayne Root. While discussing things, he trotted out one of the usual attacks you have all heard—that the Party’s biggest problem is people (which usually means radicals like you and me) “who want the Party to be a small pond so they can be big fish.” In response, I said That’s not the Party’s problem”.

    Root said “What is it, then?” To which I said “it’s people who complain about others in the Party—but who haven’t done the first thing to organize even their own precinct, much less their own county. Wes Benedict, the Exec Director of Texas, said it well: the party fails because we don’t answer our telephones.” Root said he couldn’t argue with that.

    Ruwart’s comments do NOT indicate she is in any way in favor of kiddie porn. They were indeed taken out of context.

    This is indeed nothing more than a diversion.

    Now that the national leadership has walked onto the glue, here we will stay until the convention and probably afterwards.

  67. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I look forward to hearing Brian Holtz run around Denver proclaiming “WE ARE NOT PERVERTS AND WE ARE NOT ANARCHISTS. I WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO STOP PEOPLE FROM HAVING SEX WITH MY CHILDREN!”

    That might indeed make this whole attack of stupidity tolerably amusing.

  68. Geofrey the Liberator Says:

    Bill Woolsey well said but give up old chap give up—these people are not going to listen to reason, after all, they still think 9/11 was a Bush/Cheney/Jewish/Israeli conspiracy.

    Thus, if you don’t believe in the abolishment of all Federal Government, that little children don’t need to be protected from perverts (like 1/2 of the above posters), and in 9/11 conspiracy theories, then you are NOT welcomed in their little tiny club (otherwise known as NAMBLA).

  69. Paulie Says:

    these people are not going to listen to reason, after all, they still think 9/11 was a Bush/Cheney/Jewish/Israeli conspiracy.

    Au contraire. We aren’t the ones unwilling to engage in reasoned debate on that subject.

    Thus, if you don’t believe in the abolishment of all Federal Government, that little children don’t need to be protected from perverts (like 1/2 of the above posters), and in 9/11 conspiracy theories, then you are NOT welcomed in their little tiny club (otherwise known as NAMBLA).

    Or, perhaps, if you don’t believe in expanding FBI-state agency joint task forces, don’t think government (especially FBI-state agency joint task forces) is the best way to protect children from perverts (like which half of the above posters?), and you don’t either think that each of the planes was taken independently by people not acting in concert together (the literal meaning of not believing in 9/11 conspiracy theories) or, at least, accept the regime’s official version unquestioningly (after all,they would never lie to us), then you are not welcomed in their tiny little club, otherwise known as the FBI Athletic Supporters.

    What “libertarian” jumps to conclusions like these? If we oppose drug laws, we must be drug smugglers? If we believe in gun owners rights, we must be arms dealers? If we dislike coercive taxation, could we be anything besides tax evasion scheme peddlers?

  70. disinter Says:

    I agree; this thread is a diversion. It was initiated by an anonymous poster who deliberately took her comments out of context.

    Conveniently, yes. Then perpetuated by people with conflicting interests.

  71. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Communities may choose the age, between 14 and 18 years, at which a person is no longer rebuttably presumed to be a child,...

    Well, that’s mighty generous of you, Mr. H., to allow communities that privilege. Out of curiosity, where do you come up with the number 14?

  72. disinter Says:

    LP Abandons Libertarianism, Constitution
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/020742.html

  73. Brian Holtz Says:

    Marc, it is of course scurrilously slanderous for anyone to suggest that Ruwart is a fan of child pornography—or child prostitution or whatever. That’s not the question. The question is: how can I and my neighbors get enthusiastic about “organizing my precinct” for a party whose Platform and presidential nominee say pedophiles have the right to personally secede from the laws against sex with children too young to consent?

    Susan, what a trenchant criticism of my hypothetical platform language. How dare I suggest that a libertarian platform declare to a community that crossing certain lines constitutes a violation of individual rights. Whatever was I thinking? Well, with any luck you’ll get elected to LNC and put a stop to this sort of thing. :-)

    There’s nothing magical about the numbers 14 and 18. I could live with 13-17, or 15-18, or anything in that neighborhood. I’m not talking about a bright line. I’m talking about a rebuttable presumption, that would be applied by juries to fit the evidence of each case. This idea is old and rather obvious, but I’ll credit Tom Knapp for making it more prominent last fall:
    http://knappster.blogspot.com/2007/10/blast-from-past-age-of-reason.html . He writes “Somewhere around the age of twelve, my personal arbitrary presumption begins to shift [...]” and proposes to embed that rebuttable presumption into law. Will he be the next target of your sarcasm, or am I as special as my mother always told me? :-)

  74. Agorist1 Says:

    Anarchists don’t believe that anybody can secede from the law, and that law is not a product of the state. Children would still be protected from aggression under anarchism.

  75. Brian Holtz Says:

    Alex, no form of the word “secede”/”secession” appears in the text you cite:
    http://mises.org/pdf/liberal/liberalism-portrait.pdf
    What is your evidence that Mises supported personal secession? I already told you:

    ) 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. (

    I didn’t “misrepresent Restore04”, because I have never ever said they “propose simply that we keep everything in the 2004 platform verbatim”. If you want to disagree with me, please quote what you’re disagreeing with. The fact of the matter here is that Restore04 has submitted a draft to the Platform Committee, and that draft actually makes the 2004 personal secession language more extreme, by making it the only kind of secession it mentions. Before you suggest I “misrepresent” anybody, please get your facts straight.

  76. Michael H. Wilson Says:

    Okay Brian where was this said: “pedophiles have the right to personally secede from the laws against sex with children too young to consent[?]” ?

  77. Brian Holtz Says:

    Michael, the 2004 platform said: “We support the right of political entities, private groups and individuals to renounce their affiliation with any government, and to be exempt from the obligations imposed by those governments, while in turn accepting no support from the government from which they seceded.”

    I’m pretty sure that Dr. Ruwart would consider those who seek the consent of children for sex(ual commerce) to nevertheless qualify as “individuals”, however much she finds them despicable. I’d be stunned—but elated—to hear that the self-described anarchist Ruwart doesn’t agree with the 2004 platform that all individuals have the right to secede from all the laws of all states.

    Agorist1, perhaps you could give us a preview of how you think Dr. Ruwart will answer this question that Steve forwarded to her for his show tonight: “In your ideal anarcholibertarian legal system, who would prosecute parents/guardians for aggression against their children?”

    As for the platonic concept of natural law, I for now can only refer you (and Alex) to this:
    http://knowinghumans.net/2008/04/rand-did-not-solve-is-ought-problem.html
    With four weeks until Denver, I have no time to discourse on Euthyphro’s Dilemma or the Naturalistic Fallacy and how they have different significance at the various semantic levels of: law enforcement, legislation, jurisprudence, common law, constitution-writing, “natural law”, and core axiology. Suffice it to say that: if “natural law” were as simple as you perhaps are suggesting, then we’d all be Randroids by now.

  78. Michael H. Wilson Says:

    Okay I’ll bite. If someone seceded from a particular government they no longer would have the protection of that government as mentioned in the piece that you quote and if they were a pedophile they could be punished on the spot. And if they were not a pedophile they could be prepunished in a preventive action so they never would become one.

    Got the point?? Someone could most likely gun them down without worry.

  79. Brian Holtz Says:

    Michael, I wrote above:

    BH) personal secession includes the idea of pedophiles exempting themselves from state protections for minors, and (as far as I can tell) condemns every 5-year-old to use only their market savvy to rally defense against any predatory whims of their guardians. (BH

    You responded that if someone seceded from the laws against child abuse then “if they were a pedophile they could be punished on the spot. [...] Someone could most likely gun them down without worry.”

    This is clearly non-responsive. What 5-year-old has access to guns to protect herself from her parent or guardian?

  80. Michael H. Wilson Says:

    Wait a minute Brian. Do you need to put your thinking cap on?

    I really doubt that any 5 year old would do such, but I imagine daddy would do so easily. Hell you might be able to shoot someone even if they weren’t a pedophile without any worry since they had seceded from the state and thus are not protected by the laws of said state.

  81. Brian Holtz Says:

    Michael, I don’t understand what you’re attempting to say. Are you trying to say that everybody who exercised personal secession would be so harried or so dead that that wouldn’t be able to abuse their dependent children? If so, then what’s the point of the LP advocating personal secession?

    I’ll say it for the third time now: “predatory whims of their guardians”.

  82. Brian Holtz Says:

    Less, I’m aware that David Nolan says he’s not an anarchist. Can you quote him ever saying that something requires an irreducible non-zero amount of monopoly state power? Today on the Kubby show he said: “’Let’s pass a law.’ That’s the cry of the feeble-minded. That’s what the Democrats and Republicans say.” So he perhaps agrees with Ruwart that protecting children from parental aggression is not a proper role for government power. If so, it’s hard to imagine what he thinks government’s role should be.

  83. Brian Holtz Says:

    Alex, it’s all well and good for you to declare that you, a hypothetically good parent, don’t want the government in charge of protecting your hypothetical children. Meanwhile, here in the real world, actual parents and guardians sadistically abuse their actual children every day. What are those kids supposed to do in Ruwarchotopia—drop a dime to ask the Gotti Defense Agency if they do pro bono work?

  84. Ninja Six Says:
    1. Brian Holtz Says:
      April 29th, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Alex, it’s all well and good for you to declare that you, a hypothetically good parent, don’t want the government in charge of protecting your hypothetical children. Meanwhile, here in the real world, actual parents and guardians sadistically abuse their actual children every day. What are those kids supposed to do in Ruwarchotopia—drop a dime to ask the Gotti Defense Agency if they do pro bono work?

    Well said Brian. But you are wasting your time trying to educate obvious pedos on the need for anything. Some of these idiots are probably sitting in some prison right now, blogging away, having been incarcerated for the very crimes of which we currently discuss.

  85. Less Antman Says:

    Brian, your last response to Alex makes a strong case for the lowest possible age of consent. As you say, “here in the real world, actual parents and guardians sadistically abuse their actual children every day.” Indeed, so it is clear the present system places children in great danger. So long as a child is denied the power to ask for a change in guardian without the permission of their current guardian, their ability to escape abuse is seriously diminished. Children are endangered by an age of majority that is too high.

    Of course, the capacity of a child to understand what it means to live with different adults taking care of them comes much earlier than the capacity to understand what it means to have sexual intercourse, and this is why a single age of majority rule is not the best answer. Also, we really do have to be flexible based on individual circumstances, including intelligence of the child and evidence of abuse. Personally, I think the libertarian judge or jury should consider the circumstances in each case and not rely on a birth certificate, but in choosing a legal system, I would find a rebuttable presumption plausible.

    There would be far more potential guardians in a society which didn’t give parents essentially total control of their children until age 18 without overwhelming evidence to override that control I think a libertarian government would recognize that denying recognition of a child’s capacity to consent also makes that child more dependent on their guardian, and if we’re in the real world, the number of children physically abused by their parents/guardians is so much greater than the number of children physically abused by non-guardian adults that it is incredible to see how much attention is given to child pornography in comparison to domestic child abuse, and how much attention is given to the dangers of an age of consent being too low vs the dangers of one being too high. I don’t have the answers, but more than that I don’t think we’re asking all the right questions.

    By the way, I think a person who claims guardianship of a child (starting with the individual or couple who takes the child home from the hospital) has voluntarily chosen a fiduciary obligation to care for the child and take reasonable precautions to protect it from harm, and may be held liable for damages if failing to do so. I also believe they have the right to end the guardianship, but must use an approach that a reasonable person would consider adequate to find a reliable substitute guardian (naturally, market institutions would develop more fully if adoption were made less expensive, time-consuming, and uncertain of success).

    I think libertarians have been negligent in not developing a theory of children’s rights more fully, as it is clear that we are leaving children vulnerable to the abuse so many endure in the present society. Once this is no longer seen as a campaign issue of someone who is not campaigning on the issue, it should be taken seriously so that we can better protect children from harm.

    Your suggestion that David Nolan is actually an anarchist conforms with my view that much of the supposed division between anarchists and minarchists is arbitrary and a difference in definitions. Your comment on monopoly suggests that you believe libertarianism mandates a coercive government to protect life, liberty, and property: is that correct, or am I misunderstanding your point on this?

  86. Michael H. Wilson Says:

    Les writes: “I think libertarians have been negligent in not developing a theory of children’s rights more fully, as it is clear that we are leaving children vulnerable to the abuse so many endure in the present society. Once this is no longer seen as a campaign issue of someone who is not campaigning on the issue, it should be taken seriously so that we can better protect children from harm.”

    Very well written. Excellent Point!

  87. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Holtz asks, “What is your evidence that Mises supported personal secession?”

    I had thought some publication or speech available on Mises.org claimed that Dr. Mises supported secession. Perhaps I’m wrong, or misheard/misread.

    Mr. Wilson writes, “Someone could most likely gun them down without worry.”

    That would probably constitute war with a foreign nation, though. The state would probably arrest him but use his status as a foreign nation as a way of denying him a fair trial and whatnot.

    Mr. Holtz writes, “Meanwhile, here in the real world, actual parents and guardians sadistically abuse their actual children every day.”

    You seem to imply that only the victim can take legal action. I think this fails in two ways.

    First, as long as the child has not seceded from guardianship, guardianship is a valuable relationship. On the free market, if I wished to sell guardianship of my child to you, and you wished to purchase guardianship, the trade would be just. If the child decided to run away from you, to “secede” from you, the child would not be criminal to do so. The child, then, having no guardian, can adopt anyone he/she wants as his/her guardian, assuming the would-be guardian accepts the status. Let’s say the child runs back to me, and I accept guardianship of him/her. I can now sell that guardianship to you again, let’s say for $1,000. The child runs away from you and back to me, and I keep selling guardianship to you for $1,000 each time. At the end of all of this, I’m $20,000 richer, and the child comes back under my guardianship. None of this would be illegal under anarchism, because I have not stolen your $20,000, but rather sold you something each time that I had just possession of. But let’s say I’m a bad parent who beats his child for no reason. What then? Well, even without the child having seceded from my guardianship, I have de facto nullified my guardianship. Yet, as the child has not seceded, and thus has a guardianship over his/her head which is not attended by any adult, anybody can come by and homestead that guardianship, thereby taking the child under his/her de facto wing. In other words, if I beat an innocent child, I give up any guardianship of him/her, and am nothing more than “some” scum-bag beating up “some” child. There is no logical reason why someone who comes by can’t enact justice upon me in defence of the child, thereby gaining guardianship of the child. And, in this scenario, I would deserve what I get.

    But let’s say a child has seceded, and thus has no guardianship above his/her head. Thus, there is no guardianship to homestead. Is the child, if he/she is getting beat up by you, without hope? Of course not, because a child that has seceded and maintains no guardianship above his/her head is no different than any other adult legally speaking. And there’s nothing wrong with me coming to a neighbour’s defence against aggressors, and that applies just as much to the child you’re beating up as it would to anyone else.

    This is why I prefer to say “defence” rather than “self-defence,” since defence needs not be limited to one’s self, but can be extended to one’s family, one’s friends, and anyone else in society.

    Mr. Holtz writes, “What are those kids supposed to do in Ruwarchotopia—drop a dime to ask the Gotti Defense Agency if they do pro bono work?”

    I doubt a defence agency would hesitate to provide free defence of children. Doing so would incur a great deal of sympathy from consumers.

    Ninja Six writes, “Well said Brian. But you are wasting your time trying to educate obvious pedos on the need for anything.”

    Dude, I’ve said over and over again that those who rape children should be EXECUTED. What more must I say to prove to you that you’re libeling me? Do I have to advocate that we discover some way to bring the dead back to life, thereby allowing me to kill the rapists two, three, ten times? Tell me, what would you do to those that rape children, if you don’t think execution goes far enough?

    Sincerely,
    Alex Peak

  88. Brian Holtz Says:

    Alex, let’s put to the test your theory of fairy-Godfather defense agencies proactively homesteading the guardianship of abused children just to get good PR. Thousands of extra-legal protection rackets have operated in hundreds of markets over the course of multiple centuries. How many have ever made free protection/retribution systematically and proactively available to children being abused by their parent(s) or guardian(s)?

    Actually, I retract the question; feel no obligation to answer it. I’ll be happy to continue this discussion after Denver, but I just don’t have time before then to try to dissuade you from a type of magical thinking that no candidate or Platform Committee member will be defending in Denver. Unless you can get Dr. Ruwart on record on this topic, I need to put it on the back burner.

    “Ninja Six”, when you feel the urge to post a pseudonymous insult against an earnest and fair-minded anarchist like Alex, just email it to me privately, and I promise I’ll send a private reply pretending to laugh and agree. And if you are a radical troll trying to discredit reformers, then congratulations sir, you are far more competent at your craft than the amateur reformer trolls like “Ruwarchy” clumsily pretending to be radicals. Alex, when you indulge Ninja Six’s softballs by knocking them out of the park instead of ignoring them, you create suspicion that this is a plot by Ruwarchists to distract attention from the views that she seems not very interested in clarifying. (I’m not paranoid, but when radicals reveal that they think reformers might be conspiring to use pseudonymous comments for tactical reasons, I start to suspect they might be engaging in a little projection.)

  89. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Holtz:

    First, I thank you and respect you for coming to my defence.

    Secondly, I wished to respond to such ad hominem arguments only because I want to make it clear to readers, some who may be just browsing, that I do not in any way, shape, or form advocate the rape of children, and that molestors genuinely sicken me. There are child rapists out there, and no doubt some do have computers. I hope readers are wise enough to know an obviously libelous comment when they see one, but having been on the Internet long enough to know that there naïveté out there, I try to make my position as clear as day.

    Thirdly, I often find the paranoia on “my side” annoying. This is another reason I like Dr. Ruwart so much: she seems genuinely concerned with keeping the movement together, and keeping war from dividing us. She’s spoken of unity campaigns and such, and given that I think libertarianism is much more important than the question of minarchism v. anarchism, I definitely see some need for unity right now.

    Fourthly, I believe Dr. Ruwart clarified her views on The Steve Kubby Show.

    Thanks again,
    Alex Peak

  90. Less Antman Says:

    Dear Brian:

    There are plenty of examples of extra-legal protection agencies that have systematically aided children. Why do you think Hamas and Hezbollah became so popular in the Middle East among the general public? The Mafia’s support is in no small part the result of the services of godfathers to vulnerable people in need in their areas of influence. I assume these are the “extra-legal” protection rackets to which you are referring, so I thought I’d start with organizations we all despise for their aggressive violence. Even they seek legitimacy through services.

    Governments, by which we both mean legal protection rackets, provide such services both to strengthen their legitimacy in the eyes of the public and because of the genuine compassion of government employees. Protection agencies without a monopoly on coercion would have MORE incentives than current governments to do so because they would be in greater need of legitimacy and would be the direct result of a public commitment to non-aggression.

    Finally, there are literally THOUSANDS of child protection agencies operating in the US as private charities, and if they didn’t have to fight governments that protect the legal claims of parents to ownership of their children until age 18, they’d be in a better position to offer services that would enable abused children to find new guardians. And the society you disparage as Ruwarchotopia (btw, thanks for the plug) would be one in which the mass of people accepted the idea that aggression was always wrong (how else do you think we’d arrive at that situation but by persuading enough people to this view?). In addition to the greater wealth of such a society, its rejection of coercion as an organizing principle would undoubtedly affect both parental attitudes about the need to use coercion against their children and public tolerance of parents who abused children.

    I have repeatedly seen anonymous posters offer the hypothetical nightmare scenario of a 5-year-old child dating a 50-year-old, as if the only reason this doesn’t happen is the legal system (hint: it is the parents and not the cops who keep such a predator from having access to the child). But the nightmare that I have is not absurd, and occurs with sickening regularity: the 5-year-old girl pleading “Daddy, Please Stop, Please Daddy, No!” And the present government pretty much lets daddy do as he pleases for another 13 years in most cases. Protection is usually only hypothetical when parents are involved.

    And THAT is why the establishment of a strong LEGAL bond between parent and child is such a lousy idea: it is in practice bondage for the child (marital bonds used to be the same for wives, and still are in some countries). The age of consent, at least to change guardians, ought to be as low as possible. A 5-year-old child who loves and trusts her parents isn’t going to ask to live with a stranger: she’d be scared shitless at the idea. And the age of consent more broadly prevents a child from escaping abusive or neglectful parents because it limits employment opportunities (minimum wage laws are another obstacle). Most children prefer to have the support of parents in exchange for having to obey the rules of the house, but they should have alternatives available as early as possible.

    Seriously, folks, if you heard that a child had just been killed or physically or sexually abused, who would instantly come to mind as the two people most likely to have been the perpetrator? How about the only ones who were likely to have been the ones who emotionally abused or neglected a child? And this happens to millions of children. MILLIONS.

    If we’re going to get real, let’s look at what is overwhelmingly the greatest danger to children in the real world. It isn’t non-guardians, and it sure as heck isn’t child pornography. It is the power of parents over children made dependent by statutory law. And anyone who addresses the issue ought to be praised for their great courage rather than attacked and misrepresented.

    On a side note, keep in mind that those who support laws that make it a crime to possess child pornography must be awfully confident that their computer will never be infected without their knowledge. Do you even know the content of all the files on the computer when you first bought it, and before you first used it to access the Internet, let alone after that? Do you know the contents of all the cookie files placed on your computer by sites you’ve visited? Seriously, if anyone wants to give an excuse to unlimited power of investigation by governments, join the witch hunt against the possession of “child pornography.” But don’t ever get on the bad side of the party in power.

  91. Brian Holtz Says:

    Alex, I’m pretty confident that you’re as mistaken about Ruwart defending or clarifying her crucial position on Kubby’s show as you were that Mises supported personal secession or that Rothbard was an LP founder. :-) The position I refer to, of course, is not whether she thinks kiddie porn “is OK”. That’s a red herring conveniently created by allegedly-anti-Ruwart flamers and foolishly echoed by others. No, the question I still haven’t seen her answer is #5 in my list at
    http://libertarianintelligence.com/2008/04/5-questions-for-dr-ruwart.html :

    “Should there be no binding laws/rules that consider age to be any kind of rebuttable factor in sexual consent, or are you only opposed to “bright-line” age discrimination that creates crimes because of rigid calendar calculations?”

    Less, I’ll address the question of whether Fairy Godfathers would adequately protect the rights of children when Ruwart (or a PlatCom member) publicly agrees with you on the answer to question #3: “In your ideal anarcholibertarian legal system, who would prosecute parents/guardians for aggression against their children?”

    In the meantime, I’m curious to see how far down the rabbit hole you’re willing to follow Rothbard. Do you have answer for question #4? It is: “Do you agree with Rothbard that it should not be a crime for parents to starve their children, or do you hold that the legal system should require a positive obligation of parents not to starve their children?”

  92. Less Antman Says:

    I’m not a Rothbardian. If you must pigeonhole me, I’m a David Friedman consequentialist anarcho-capitalist with a Ruwartian bias toward the consequences to the most vulnerable members of society. Of course, I’m really just an Antarchist, and like you have some disagreements with every other libertarian.

    I consider someone a plumbline libertarian if they use plausible arguments based on the non-aggression principle to support all their positions. They don’t have to draw the same conclusions I do. I’ve changed positions on some issues while still having the same philosophical framework for making my selection for the past 30 years.

    Okay, my answer to #4: I believe that a guardian who has accepted custody of a child has voluntarily assumed the obligation to care for the child until taking an action that would allow a reasonable person to know of the guardian’s relinquishment of that obligation in a manner that provides reasonable time for another guardian to be found. I also believe that a guy who takes a girl out on a date can’t drive her 50 miles from civilization and then give her the choice of sex or being left in the desert. I think they follow from the same legal principle of bailment. If the natural mother leaves the hospital without her child, she has not accepted guardianship and has no obligation.

    I vaguely remember reading a piece by Rothbard a long, long time ago entitled “Kid Lib” and I remember not finding it particularly persuasive. I don’t know if that is the article to which you are referring, and I don’t specifically recall your characterization of his view, but if that was his position, I don’t agree with it.

    I have other heresies. I think aiming a gun at someone is already an act of aggression, and permits a defensive response, and I believe that the acquisition of a weapon that cannot possibly be used in a manner that doesn’t kill innocent people is an aggressive act, so I consider the mere ownership of a nuclear weapon to be a threat of force permitting a defensive reaction (Ruwart also offered this is as one possible answer to the question on page 55 of her Short Answers book). I think patents and non-contractual copyrights are artificial monopoly privileges and not valid property. I think it is clear that a fetus is not an individual with rights prior to evidence of brainwave activity, but remain uncertain as to the proper libertarian position for abortion after 20 weeks or so unless the mother’s health is in danger (I’m not yet a heretic but am an unreliable ally at the moment). I think animals have the right not to be tortured, unless it can be proven that they have information about a ticking time bomb that will destroy a city. I don’t think the details on homesteading of land are as crystal clear as most Rothbardians believe, and I’d be inclined to accept the many Coasian solutions that David Friedman has suggested to deal with various externalities (placing the right where it will minimize transaction costs). I believe in the legitimacy of fractional reserve banking. I haven’t the slightest idea what, beyond restitution, is the correct theory of retaliation for rights violations, but think a history of violence against persons justifies defensive confinement. At the same time, I have a pacifist bias and believe that the benefits of trade and exchange have become so massive in prosperous societies that boycott, ostracism, and reputation effects might well be sufficient deterrents to most rights violations without the need for forceful enforcement (I think it may be possible in the future for all laws to be enforced as the Law Merchant was enforced).

    And I am still formulating my views on children’s rights (I also believe Ruwart is in that stage, because she said so in the Short Answers book in a preface that the smearers failed to quote, and hasn’t written anything more substantive on the topic in the past 10 years, nor does she did she show the slightest intention of campaigning for the presidency on such an issue).

    I’m a pure non-interventionist, but base it on the consequentialist observation that creating a military capable of intervening has an overwhelming probability of misuse, rather than any natural rights theory (as I fail to see how the character of coercion changes just because the government has done so inside or outside an imaginary line). Friedman made the argument in The Machinery of Freedom that a badly-done interventionist policy had far more horrible consequences than a badly-done non-interventionist policy, and that one can presume from the overwhelming evidence of history that any foreign policy will be badly-done (if only because of the Hayekian problem of dispersal of information that affects any attempt to centrally manage a foreign policy). Most arguments for military intervention assume a good execution, which is not a reasonable assumption.

    My argument for competitive institutions to provide security and dispute resolution is similar: it is pointless to talk about how a benevolent and omniscient coercive monopoly might provide more consistent protection of life and property than competing institutions, as we will get real world, not ideal, implementations of whatever we choose, and a group of people with a monopoly on coercion is far more likely to lead to horrible consequences (just compare the 9 million private homicides in the 20th century with the 262 million civilian deaths inflicted by governments to identify the greater threat to lives and property).

    Anyway, that was fun. I’ve got a ton of work to catch up on over the next several days, and much travel, so I cannot promise further responses on this issue. I look forward to seeing you in Denver, doing battle, and shaking hands at the end.

  93. Alex Peak Says:

    Rothbard’s position on the injustice of forcing humans to feed other humans, even children, can be found in his The Ethics of Liberty. I think the book has a few flaws, but undoubtedly not as many as Mr. Holtz believes it has.

    “I think aiming a gun at someone is already an act of aggression, and permits a defensive response, and I believe that the acquisition of a weapon that cannot possibly be used in a manner that doesn’t kill innocent people is an aggressive act, so I consider the mere ownership of a nuclear weapon to be a threat of force permitting a defensive reaction (Ruwart also offered this is as one possible answer to the question on page 55 of her Short Answers book).”

    I’m glad to hear that she agrees with me on this, then. :)

    Cheers,
    Alex Peak

  94. Less Antman Says:

    I figured it was likely to have been an uncharitable reading and extrapolation of Rothbard, but Brian undoubtedly believes that was what Rothbard meant.

    Since I believe a parent can refuse to accept guardianship, I guess I don’t disagree with Rothbard. Clearly, it isn’t forcing humans feed others to expect someone who has voluntarily assumed that obligation to honor it. The obligation of the guy to drive his date home certainly doesn’t follow from a generalized principle forcing humans to give other people rides in their car.

    I just emailed Murray for confirmation that he agrees, but still haven’t received a reply.

  95. Brian Holtz Says:

    Less, I don’t traffic in uncharitable readings, because I don’t like getting corrected. Ever. :-)

    Here’s Rothbard in “Children and Rights” at http://www.mises.org/story/2568:

    Applying our theory to parents and children, this means that a parent does not have the right to aggress against his children, but also that the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights. The parent therefore may not murder or mutilate his child, and the law properly outlaws a parent from doing so. But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die.[2] The law, therefore, may not properly compel the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive.[3] (Again, whether or not a parent has a moral rather than a legally enforceable obligation to keep his child alive is a completely separate question.) This rule allows us to solve such vexing questions as: should a parent have the right to allow a deformed baby to die (e.g., by not feeding it)?[4] The answer is of course yes, following a fortiori from the larger right to allow any baby, whether deformed or not, to die.

    [None of the three footnotes distance Rothbard from these statements by one iota; they’re just references to the supporting or contrasting views of others.]

  96. Less Antman Says:

    Brian Holtz says:

    Less, I don’t traffic in uncharitable readings, because I don’t like getting corrected. Ever. :-)
    ——-

    Just the quality we need to encourage in order to build a society based on cooperation, compassion, and mutual respect. ;)

    I’ve never read the Ethics of Liberty. I read For A New Liberty and found his discussion of national defense completely unconvincing and borderline frivolous at times (as I mentioned, David Friedman was more persuasive, and I benefited from extensive personal discussions with both David himself when he lived in LA and with Jeffrey Rogers Hummel when he was my roommate). I was very fond of Murray, and he wrote many nice things about me during my first turn of activism in the early 1980s, but I think the best libertarian primers were written by Ruwart and Friedman, and neither used rights-based arguments in their books. Once again, I think it important to acknowledge that radicals come in many flavors, just as do reformers (and that the two categories can and should overlap). It is the sincere attempt to apply the NAP to each situation that earns my respect, and not agreement on all conclusions.

    In any event, I think Rothbard is sidestepping some of the key issues, and having read his chapter now, I’d say your reading was not uncharitable in this circumstance. I hope you’re happy.

    Rothbard does, of course, offer solid arguments about the state’s interference in adoption and the great danger of a monopoly state using the parental neglect argument to seize control of children (again, we must consider who are the dominant real world rights violators in making a consequentialist choice among alternatives to minimize aggression), which are among the reasons you and I disagree on that other matter.

    By the way, I’m trying to figure you out from your writing, and at this stage it appears that you have as much trouble acknowledging the strong arguments of others as you do being corrected. So I shall assume that all uncontradicted statements of mine represent ringing endorsement on your part, and that you think I’m basically a pretty sensible guy. Thanks, I appreciate the compliment. :)

  97. Brian Holtz Says:

    Less, I seek out and try to answer the strongest arguments I can find against my positions, but sometimes my silence means neither agreement nor a judgment that an argument isn’t worth answering, but rather just that as a full-time engineer and father of three young kids I have finite time. :-) However, your arguments are indeed some of the best I’ve seen, and I’m going to enjoy debating with you.

    For example, your answer to my Fairy Godfather argument is good enough to warrant a response. :-) To wit:

    1) I’m very skeptical that Hamas is not state-like in having effective monopolies on the semi-formal use of retaliatory force in the relevant “market”. What other defense agency can plausibly be said to be competing for its customers? My impression is that Hamas is effectively a state, and that Hezbollah’s Lebanon is a poster child for my arguments, not yours.

    2) You’ll have to give me evidence of systematic pro bono “services of godfathers to vulnerable people in need in their areas of influence”. I too have seen the Godfather trilogy, but I’m not going to take your word for it that the median gang in the history of organized crime has provided guarantees of rights enforcement that are in any way comparable to what we enjoy here in what is, despite all its flaws, the most wildly successful minarchist experiment in human history. Your burden of proof is as a result incredibly high, and that’s why I advise anarchists to make radical decentralism be their common strategic ground with us minarchists. There is simply no way that you’re ever going to convince this entire nation to push a big anarchism button in our nation’s capital.. In Somalia or Lebanon maybe, but not here.

    3) Charitable agencies don’t count as defense agencies. If you call a tail a leg, that doesn’t mean you have a five-legged dog. Anarcholibertarian theory needs to correctly predict that defense agencies will reliably act charitably, and it’s pretty much hand-waving to say that all these charitable agencies are just itching to compete with the Gottis and Gambinos if only the State would let them. These agencies are already just as free as the Gottis and Gambinos to ignore the State’s monopoly on the semi-formal use of retaliatory force, and yet as far as I know none of them ever do.

    Still, very good stuff—a better argument than I was expecting. It’s rare that I encounter an argument whose rebuttal I can’t just cut and paste from my oeuvre, but you made me write three brand-new paragraphs here. That was fun! :-)

    I have vastly more respect for David Friedman than I do for Murray Rothbard—not only for his worldview, but also for his intellectual honesty and his personal character and even for the quality of the people who agree with him. Aside from young Mr. Peak, I’ve found that the average quality of debate offered by the LP’s self-described Rothbardians to be conveniently poor—especially compared to the quality of thinking by academic Rothbardians and Austrians outside the LP.

    I’ll go way out on an indefensible limb and predict right now that I think the future of intellectual libertarianism lies not with the dogmatic Austrians at the Mises Institute, or with the venerable Chicago School and their CosmoLibertarian nephews at Cato and Reason, but rather with the dynamic and open-minded EconLibertarians of the “Virginia School” at George Mason University. Friedman is sort of a prototype of their style, but I’m thinking specifically of Bryan Caplan, Dan Klein, Alex Tabarrok, Robin Hanson, Arnold Kling, and—my favorite of them all, but also by far the most deontological—the geolibertarian Fred Foldvary. Every LP intellectual should be reading the best GMU blogs (originally Marginal Revolution, now Overcoming Bias and EconLog), but it’s apparent that few if any are. The Virginia School has quite simply evolved and transcended beyond the deontologies of Rothbardianism and Austrian Economics, and the only real question (for one as optimistic as I about the long-term power of correct ideas) is how long it will take the LP to catch up. I’m guessing two to three decades, as this is very nearly a Kuhnian paradigm shift that, alas, might have to wait until the Rockbardian generation is retired or dead. I predict that the Rockbardian/Austrian influence on the LP will attenuate as drastically over the next quarter century as the Objectivist influence has done over the previous. Any set of ideas that rigid and dogmatic either has to thoroughly conquer the relevant community during the first intellectual generation, or else it’s never going to.

    Two canaries in our mineshaft to watch are the newly-minted Rothbardian Alex Peak, and anarchist LP Vice Chair Chuck Moulton, who is beginning the PhD program at George Mason. I hope that I’m not hereby causing an Uncertainty Principle effect, but I predict that within 5-10 years neither will be as radical as they are now—or at least will be geoanarchists.

    As for acknowledging strong arguments, I have no problem admitting that I’ve faced a lot of them from a few radicals like Tom Knapp and Starchild and Daniel Grow, and I’m happy to add you and Alex to that stable. :-) Give me Jon Roland and Bob Capozzi and we’ll take on all five of you in the next PlatCom—deal? :-) In general, you can assume that if somebody can engage in a reasonably detailed running debate with me without getting indignant or dismissive, that’s a strong clue that I would credit them with having reasonably defensible arguments—and the inverse inference can be taken to the bank. :-)

    OK, cue a puerile innuendo from the troll gallery, which will at least reassure us we still have an audience…

  98. Less Antman Says:

    Well, if you’re going to deny that Hamas and Hezbollah were good examples of extra-legal protection rackets that had extensive humanitarian operations in areas with formal governments that represented the “legal” authority, I don’t think I can make much headway with you. If you think Hezbollah has been a clear example of a typical legitimate government throughout its humanitarian history, so be it.

    My other examples were on the broader point that there are plenty of organizations that provide child protection services without charging the child, and that we (neither being Objectivists) know that compassion is widely present in society and that the desire for legitimacy is a motivating force for many activities of non-profit organizations (both governmental and non-governmental).

    I would love to add to your excellent list of economists: I’d add Ben Powell, Ed Stringham, and Peter Leeson without a second thought, and others (anarchists and minarchists) with more time, but both of us need to end this discussion for the time being as we both work for a living. I read all the sites you mentioned,and Cafe Hayek and Liberty & Power, for intelligent discussions based on consequential arguments.

    As my life energy is limited, I plan to devote it to writing and speaking on behalf of libertarianism with the idea of using my persuasive skills with people less committed to libertarianism than you, and I was warned by former members that anyone who joins the Platform Committee ought to have his head examined, as it is a thankless and frustrating job. Care to disagree?

    I don’t know Alex Peak well enough, but I’m willing to offer a bet of $5,000 that Chuck Moulton will consider himself an anarchist in May 2013 (not a geolibertarian or minarchist), and a separate bet of $10,000 that he will so consider himself in May 2018. You win if he claims to be either a minarchist or a Georgist. Loser is given the choice of making payment to either the LP or to a tax-deductible libertarian organization selected by the winner. If Chuck says he can’t choose from the three options, we each contribute half the bet amount as designated by the other. Chuck is a pragmatic radical, and I believe his further training and self-education will make him more comfortable with market anarchism rather than less as time progresses.

    As an aside, he is also one of the most decent and honorable people I know in the party, committed to working with everyone, and if he is the chair in 5 or 10 years, I think it will be a great boon to the LP. Now it’s your turn to suck up to him to win the bet.

    Thanks for the conversation. My flight leaves in the morning, so you’ll get the last word (I’ll check later on whether you accepted the bet, sometime after my attendance at the dinner to honor Marshall Fritz on Saturday night in Atlanta: info at http://www.theadvocates.org/marshall-celebration.html about one of the most important activists in the modern history of the movement).

    So, do we have a bet, Mr. Ehrlich?

    Best wishes,

    Julian

  99. Brian Holtz Says:

    Less, it seems you are conflating protection-via-alms and protection-via-defensive-force. Until the Red Cross starts kicking in doors and punishing aggressors, I’m not buying that set of alleged counter-examples.

    You didn’t tell me what other defense agency is competing for Hamas’ customers, so it still doesn’t yet count as a counter-example. And instead of saying Hezbollah is “a clear example of a typical legitimate government”, I in fact said the opposite: I said that Lebanon has been a poster child for why anarchy doesn’t work. If your argument for anarchism in America is that it works in Lebanon, well, we’re done here. :-) My point remains that the median gang in the history of organized crime has not provided guarantees of rights enforcement that are in any way comparable to what we enjoy here in what is, despite all its flaws, the most wildly successful minarchist experiment in human history.

    Canaries can live or die for reasons other than what you bring them into the mine shaft to check, and unlike the Ehrlich/Simon basket of commodities, the canaries in question here have ears. I don’t know how to make a bet out of it, but let’s meet at the LP convention of 2030 and debate whether the influence of Rothbard and Austrianism has increased or decreased between now and then.

    Good news: one of the GMU economists I named dropped a “thanks for the compliment” comment under my cross-posting of my above analysis at my more.libertarianintelligence.com archive. Now that I know he gets a feed of his mentions in the blogosphere, I’ll try to judiciously drop his name some more to encourage interest in the LP.

    As a long-time member, can you speculate as honestly as possible on why you think self-identified libertarians in academia and the biggest mainstream libertarian institutions (Cato, Reason) so assiduously ignore the LP? My default theory is because of 1) what you guys in the previous Radical Caucus did to such folks in the early 1980s and 2) the extremism that has ever since echoed in the LP Platform and membership. In an interview this winter with Angela Keaton, it was pretty clear that Eric Garris is now somewhat contrite over the schism. It just boggles my mind that radicals don’t consider it a top priority to unite the freedom movement under the LP umbrella, but instead all I see from LP/LvMI radicals are vicious attacks on the Cato Institute and “cosmopolitan” libertarians. Dogmatists tend to prefer fighting heretics over fighting infidels, apparently because 99% agreement is the worst possible crime, as a 1% heretic is more likely to defile the vestal virgins than any infidel. :-)

  100. Less Antman Says:

    Planes leaves in a few minutes. I guess you’re turning down my bet. I think the Rothbardian/Austrian influence will decline as well, and totally agree about the ascendancy of GMU-trained radicals. I think we will see consequentialist market anarchism based more on neo-classical economics become the dominant force in the movement (I think Hanson’s work on the use of futures for terrorism, obviously modifiable for climate change, needs to be brought into LP discussions, but so far I’ve found that I can’t mention either global warming or heat pollution without LP members starting their “hoax” speech without listening to my point about futures contracts being a way to keep both sides happy with a market solution).

    I think you’re parsing inappropriately on Hamas, Hezbollah, charity, but no time to argue the point. Boarding.

  101. Brian Holtz Says:

    Heat pollution? Applying Hansonian futarchy to negative externalities? OK, now this is getting spooky. This thread needs to stop now, before some kind of irreversible Vulcan mind meld occurs.

  102. Yank Says:

    Brian, if I sign one of your things, can I touch your ass?

  103. Jim Davidson Says:

    The FBI should be abolished, and the tank drivers from 1993 should be indicted (convicted, and publicly executed by burning, in my opinion).

    I spoke with that @sshat Andrew Davis today to compose an essay for the Libertarian Enterprise on this matter. Apparently, he cites the commerce clause of the USA constitution to justify any government action in any area. What a jerk. I join Neil Smith’s call for this scum to be removed from the LP headquarters staff. I suggest a permanent statement be added to Shane Cory and Andrew Davis’s files indicating that they are not libertarians, to be forwarded when prospective employers seek references.

  104. Jim Davidson Says:

    I apologize for the digression in the Antman/Peak/Holtz controversy about whether Rothbard was okay.

    I do agree with Rothbard that legal compulsion is not libertarian. Why doesn’t Holtz? Parents should feed their children, and, in my experience, do. But why should they be legally compelled to do so? How does pointing a gun at someone’s head help? I’m mystified.

  105. Andrew Says:

    I don’t know Flood, I haven’t been active for a couple years, but I believe he managed to fail upwards between the time I laid off and now that I’ve started paying attention again (partly due to Ron Paul thank you very much).

    I have a lot of respect for Dr. Woolsey, and even more now.

    However, if throwing out divisive press releases and inconsequential issues just to divide the party is the “incrementalists” idea of incrementalism. Well, count me as a vote for Ruwart, as in a vote against the “national shoot our selves in the feet, but we are running out of feet to shoot committee.”

  106. Andrew Says:

    Oh, and I know of Andrew Davis from down here as well.

    How is it that these people have a couple flashes in the pan and end up at HQ?

    Don’t we usually require national folks to have a solid record before we send them to HQ to destroy the party?

  107. Andrew Says:

    Just goes to show how important it is to strangle these babes in the cradle, figuratively speaking of course.

    I sometimes think we’d make more progress dismantling national and focusing on unelecting opposition party candidates rather than wasting our time promoting these hacks.

    Okay, I’m done venting.

  108. Jim Davidson Says:

    I think it is called “the Peter principle.” A person rises to the level of his own incompetence.

    Dismantling the national LP structure would be a mistake, in my opinion. We have now a lovely tar baby where all those who crave power within a national political party go and seek influence. If we destroyed it, we’d have a much harder time keeping track of the @sshats.

    You might make an analogy with a double agent. Once you find a mole within your group, you don’t want to kill him, as much as he might deserve death. You want to surround him with sources of information and feed him carefully programmed falsehoods.

    Besides, if dedicated private property enthusiasts destroyed the LP national, the anti-freedom types would simply create it again.

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