The LP loses a member

Former co-blogger on another website Ian Bernard has had it with the Libertarian Party:

The Libertarian Party (LP) had, after the late, great Harry Browne’s campaigns, been falling further and further from it’s original principles. In the early portion of this decade, when the LP removed from the party platform their calls for the abolishment of the CIA and FBI, I wrote their newspaper to say I’d not send them another dime of money until they got back to their founding principle: the non-initiation of force.

As I drifted away from the LP and politics and toward market-based action, I paid less and less attention to the LP. I even said on the air recently on “Free Talk Live“, my talk show, that the only reason I was still a member is because I bought a life membership and it hadn’t been worth my while to cancel it.

Well, along comes this post on the LRC blog. I agree with the sentiments of the post, and felt this move by the LP was the last straw. I called and revoked my membership, and felt clean and fresh afterward!

108 Responses to “The LP loses a member”

  1. Susan Hogarth Says:

    While I can sympathize with Ian’s sentiments, I’m sorry to see him go and I hope he returns when some housecleaning is done and the Party once more adopts a message of less – not more – government interference in our lives.

  2. Fred Mangels Says:

    I read a similar rant about the LP on another blog. I had to ask why some people get their panties in a wad over a disagreement on an issue with a party that’s lucky if it gets half of one percent of the vote in a presidential election?

    I’m still a member, (although not a dues paying member for other reasons) and don’t plan on quitting. Besides, nobody, would notice if I did.

  3. Mike Theodore Says:

    OK, as someone new to the party, can someone explain something to me? Why not just limit the CIA down to pure intelligence gathering and FBI just for base investigations. Limit down their powers. Give it so they can’t kick in everyones door, but use them for their sole purpose. The way I’m looking at it, dedicated LP members just see it for the monstrous government organization it is, not what it could be. Libertarians goals shouldn’t be to dissolve the national government the moment we’re in power. Someone help me out here.

  4. Mark Smith Says:

    In the face of restictive ballot access, single-member electoral districts, campaign-finance limits, debate exclusions, a media establishment complicit in propping up the DR duopoly and a lethargic, easily distracted electorate, the LP will not win elections. So why pander for votes? Keep it pure. Ruwart seems like the logical choice. I think we gain nothing—and actually lose quite a bit—by trading a 300 – 500,000-vote result with a “pure” libertarian for possibly a couple million votes with a watered-down, quasi-libertarian.

    (I have voted for every LP candidate that I could, starting with Ed Clark.)

  5. Brian Holtz Says:

    Susan, as a candidate for LNC, are you going to tell us delegates precisely what you mean by “housecleaning”, and in particular whether it means you will be seeking to purge any members? Before asking us delegates to vote for you, are you willing to go on record and say that you do not currently have any evidence that any LP officer, candidate, or convention committee member is in violation of their membership Pledge? Or will you evade this question, and leave us delegates to wonder whether you have a secret list of party members who you want to “houseclean” for alleged Pledge violations?

    Mark, I’d love for the LP to espouse only pure libertarianism, but I want to be inclusive of anarchists and Rothbardians and paleolibertarians and Objectivists and constitutionalists and Cato-style minarchists—in general, all people who want both more economic and personal liberty without necessarily agreeing with pure eco/geo/green libertarianism. I’m willing to keep “watered-down” and “quasi-libertarians” like anarchists inside our big tent in order for them to work with us for more more liberty, and to give them a chance to learn more about libertarianism. After all, most “quasi-libertarians” like Ruwart have probably never even heard of Fred Foldvary let alone read his seminal works on geolibertarianism from the last couple of decades. Let’s not write these people off as unsalvageable.

  6. Susan Hogarth Says:

    The way I’m looking at it, dedicated LP members just see it for the monstrous government organization it is, not what it could be.

    This is an excellent observation. Traditionally, libertarians have believed that the idea of reforming government was a utopian notion, since the essence of government is coercive force. Therefore, we have traditionally called for a government limited to purely voluntary interactions. Any coercive aspects fo government should be limited in order to limit the scope of the damage they do.

    Undeniably, those coercion of government results in some useful tasks getting done – for instance law enforcement or mail delivery. What Libertarians beleive is that any of the desirable tasks that government accomplishes coercively can be accomplished better and without coercion via the free market.

    So ‘dedicated LP members’ do in fact just see the FBI for “the monstrous government organization it is,” because they do not beleive that it can be reformed in any meaningful way that will be non-coercive. Their (our) best political solution is then to de-empower it as much as possible rather than to tinker with it to try to make something inherently coercive ‘better’.

    This is the source of much of the anger against this particular release (aside from the Ruwart connection) – that it suggests that the FBI can be made ‘better’ without being made smaller – but instead by simply shifting (stolen) resources from one area to another.

  7. Marc Montoni Says:

    Mike T, I think a decent compromise that even consistent libertarians would accept—for the time being—is to eliminate the CIA and order the military to redirect its surveillance and intelligence activities to probing external security threats.

    We really don’t need multiple agencies doing what is supposed to be one straightforward job; and since meeting any invasion or other attack would be the job of the military, it would be appropriate for the military itself to conduct the “advance warning” apparatus.

    However…

    The problem with the CIA and, for that matter, any spy agency, is that these agencies are all eventually used by politicians for meddling in the affairs of other nations, rather than simply gathering intelligence on what our enemies may do to try to injure American lives or property.

    And it is in the meddling that more enemies are made.

    Libertarians—well, consistent libertarians, anyway—see that any power is eventually going to be abused; and therefore that power should be constantly chopped away at with a meat axe so that the bureaucrats who wield it are reminded that their power is indeed limited.

    As someone else pointed out, the federal government was given the constitutional power to prosecute only three federal crimes—treason, piracy, and counterfeiting.

    And even then, nowhere is it written that the federal government has to operate the agencies investigating those crimes; it could hire security companies to perform those functions.

  8. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Questions form Holtz:


    Susan, as a candidate for LNC,

    My LNC campaign page:

    http://www.colliething.com/lnc/

    are you going to tell us delegates precisely what you mean by “housecleaning”, and in particular whether it means you will be seeking to purge any members?

    By ‘housecleaning’ I mean primarily two things:

    1) There are a lot of un- or anti-libertarian writings floating around in LP publications and proclamations that should be changed to reflect true libertarian values, chiefly non-aggression.

    2) I beleive that the national staff is obviously out of control – as the last two (at least) releases and the Cory memo have clearly indicated. Staff should not be issuing policy statements. There is nothing so urgent that the Chair or other designated members of the elected governing body of the LP, the LNC, cannot respond to.

    No, I will not be seeking to ‘purge’ members.

    are you willing to go on record and say that you do not currently have any evidence that any LP officer, candidate, or convention committee member is in violation of their membership Pledge

    We have plenty of such evidence in the writings and comments of many LP members and candidates. When Bob Barr writes – as he recently did – that

    “While Washington’s current national security worldview remains focused like a laser beam on Iraq and Afghanistan, fires smolder and burn elsewhere. Shifting at least a portion of that concern and those resources to South America, and especially to the Andean region that currently is near the boiling point, is critical to our security.”

    I take that as a call for political interventionism, a call for my coercively-acquired tax dollars to be taken (partly) from interventionism in the middle east and reapplied to interventionism in South America. I take that as a call for continuing use of coercion to accomplish political and social goals.

    That doesn’t mean I want to ‘purge’ Barr. I want to purge those bad ideas form the Party’s public and inside presentation, and I want to ensure they are not represented as ‘libertarianism’ in the general election. But Barr himself I will be happy to see stay around. I look forward to seeing him progress and experience the excitement of learning about freedom just as I have had the pleasure of doing for the past decade or so.

    Or will you evade this question, and leave us delegates to wonder whether you have a secret list of party members who you want to “houseclean” for alleged Pledge violations?

    Paranoid much?

  9. jre Says:

    From Wikipedia:

    Geolibertarianism is a political movement that strives to reconcile libertarianism and geoism (or Georgism).[1] Geolibertarians are advocates of geoism, which is the position that all land is a common asset to which all individuals have an equal right to access, and therefore if individuals claim the land as their property they must pay rent to the community for doing so. They simulatenously agree with the libertarian position that each individual has an exclusive right to the fruits of his or her labor as their private property, as opposed to this product being owned collectively by society or the community, and that “one’s labor, wages, and the products of labor” should not be taxed. Also, with traditional libertarians they advocate “full civil liberties, with no crimes unless there are victims who have been invaded.”[2] Geolibertarians generally advocate distributing the land rent to the community via a land value tax, as proposed by Henry George and others before him. For this reason, they are often called “single taxers”. Fred E. Foldvary coined the word “geo-libertarianism” in an article so titled in Land and Liberty, May/June 1981, pp. 53-55.

    Brian,

    Under a “land value tax” community would you still advocate allowing non landholders the right to vote?

  10. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Good riddance to this guy and anyone who thinks that law enforcement of CHILD PORNOGRAPHY is a violation of the non-aggression principle.

    A political party is not the same as a political movement. They are two different things. Movements are the place for pure principles; political parties will inherently be places of compromise if they expect to have any impact on the real world. Just ask any of the Libs who have actually held office.

  11. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Anyone who thinks that government should be limited to “purely voluntary transactions” is an ANARCHIST, NOT A LIBERTARIAN.

    They are two different things. If you want to be an anarchist, don’t bother with political parties. Don’t expect to change this within the system. You can’t do it.

    Classical liberalism has always believed that coercion in government is justified—so long as government was restricted to its legitimate purposes.

  12. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Susan: I’m assuming that your commitment to pure anarchy has worked so well that you and all your fellow believers are willing to take responsibility for the great successes of the LP over the years?

    You’ve done great things with your purism. I only wish you could influence the Dems and Reps with your strategic thinking.

  13. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Classical liberalism has always believed that coercion in government is justified—so long as government was restricted to its legitimate purposes.

    I am not a classical liberal, and the LP - though it shares much in common with classical liberalism – is not a classical liberal party. It is a libertarian party, and the cornerstone of libertarianism is that coercion has no ‘legitimate purposes’.

    As to your other comments: the LP has been amazingly successful in the 3 1/2 decades it has been active. And the LP and people like me do ‘influence the Dems and Reps’. I know this, because I was a ‘Dem”. And Bob Barr was a “Rep” and obviously he, too, found something worthwhile in the LP (besides ballot access). And, yes, when I got to the LP I said things like ‘Wow, some great ideas; if only you were sensible about universal health care.” Only after some serious thought and teaching and reflection did I understand – and that understanding is still growing, of course – that the core principle of libertarianism was freedom from coercion.

    I am not afraid of freedom, and I am not afraid to promote freedom. Not when it’s convenient or I can imagine some ‘legitimate purpose’ for not allowing people to be free, but always. That is, for me, the essence of libertarianism.

  14. The Democratic Republican Says:

    1) Libertarianism is an offshoot of classical liberalism. And, no, the cornerstone of libertarianism is NOT that coercion has no legitimate purposes, but that the NON-INITIATION of force is the prevailing principle of society. If you attempt to violate my rights, I have every right to “coerce” you to stop—so long as I did not initiate the attack. Government is this means of protecting rights on a grand scale.

    Anarchism is NOT libertarianism.

    2) The LP has been amazingly successful? I think this speaks to the small-mindedness of many of the party’s insiders. Yes, libertarian ideas have been successful in the last 37 years, but that has more to do with Milton Friedman, the Cato Institute, and others who are out promoting ideas—not those who demand that a political party be pure to the point of irrelevance.

  15. disinter Says:

    Good job Ian. Unless the LP gets rid of diseases such as Shane Corey and Stewart Flood, I am sure there will be others following your lead.

  16. Joseph Marzullo Says:

    Classical liberalism and the modern Libertarian Party are the same things. If you want libertarianism, then you want anarcho capitalsm. It’s not a bad ideal, but I think you should stop living in lala land and you should try to begin reaching out to the American people for once.

  17. The Democratic Republican Says:

    All I can say is: God bless Shane Cory.

    Once the Ians and the Rothbardians and all the other fundamentalists realize that there are better places for their movement than the LP, we can start building a legitimate, credible party.

  18. Steve Perkins Says:

    I didn’t realize that Ian Bernard even WAS a member of the LP. I remember reading his stuff over on Hammer Of Truth (what a shame that no new libertarian site has really filled that void)... and he was SO out-there, I just assumed that even the most Rothbard-ian fringe was too moderate for his tastes.

    On one hand, I wish that extremists and pragmatists could co-exist. On the other hand, 30+ years of the extremist wing calling the shots has accomplished absolutely zero… so I won’t shed crocodile tears if the extremists fade from the limelight for awhile. As long as we’re endlessly quibbling over esoteric labels like “statist”, “anarchist”, and “minarchist” (which NOBODY outside the Party understands or ever uses!)... we’ll make zero progress toward the simple goal of shrinking government.

    This press release basically argues that we should legalize prostitution in order to free up resources for child pornography. The IDEAL would be to legalize consensual adult sex, while also leaving child abuse enforcements to the states rather than the Feds. However, given that the ideal (on this or any other issue) isn’t going to happen overnight, I’m happy to see the Party finally pushing for more incremental changes that are actually achievable (perish the thought).

  19. G.E. Says:

    I don’t understand the point of doing exactly what degenerates like Shane Corey WANT you to do in a case like this. The fewer true libertarians in the LP, the better for Corey and the Gordon-Barr coup, etc. Everyone who quits the LP right now is just participating in the virtual rape of Mary Ruwart. Ian Bernard is an absolute coward.

  20. disinter Says:

    Once the Ians and the Rothbardians and all the other fundamentalists realize that there are better places for their movement than the LP, we can start building a legitimate, credible party.

    Yes, then the LP can become just another statist Republicrat party. Yay!

  21. Joseph Marzullo Says:

    Who cares about Ian Bernard? He wants to leave? good riddance. He can rot in his useless blog. Instead of working within the Party to change things, he gets up and announces that he’s a coward with no future? That’s fine. seeya

  22. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Well said, Steve.

  23. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Once the fundamentalists stop calling the shots, we can focus on the principles that matter and still give people the flexibility they need to make a difference in local, state and federal government. We can show that Libertarians have good principles AND good governance. We can share a Libertarian perspective on the environment, terrorism, etc., speaking to the concerns of real people rather than fighting about being a “Rothbardian” versus an “Objectivist.”

    The ideal situation would be for Bob Barr to defeat Ruwart in a close vote, leaving her and all of her followers angry and convincing them to start their own party with “pure” ideals.

  24. The Democratic Republican Says:

    G.E. and disinter have all the sense of entitlement that long-time party insiders tend to carry. We’re seeing the same thing right now from Republican insiders as the young, new Ron Paul activists fight for liberty within the Republican Party.

  25. Steve Perkins Says:

    Actually, Democratic Republican, I’m friends with a number of Ron Paul supporters who have gotten involved with local Republican politics in my state. For the most part, they’re not so much “fighting” as they are “being welcomed with open arms”. A few have already been elected to offices within the party.

    Granted, the GOP turns a deaf ear (as they should) to the belligerent goofballs who just stand in your face and shout “Ron Paul! Ron Paul!” over and over again. However, people who come across as halfway-not-crazy are generally welcomed pretty warmly… even if they don’t agree on a number of things.

    Now, I still think that a libertarian-minded activist can accomplish more by putting pressure on the major party’s flanks from the outside. However, it does go to show that how belligerently you present yourself does impact your effectiveness.

  26. FTL_Ian Says:

    Here’s the full post that they did not link to:

    http://freekeene.com/2008/04/28/revoking-my-libertarian-party-life-membership-aka-politics-sucks/

  27. Joseph Marzullo Says:

    Ian,

    what have you been doing for the Party, anyway? besides trashing it everyday on your low traffic blog that no one cares about.

  28. severin Says:

    I cannot blame Ian. I have not been happy with the National LP for a long time. I was hoping that the LP would turn around at the convention, but the closer it gets the more unlikely it seems.

  29. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Steve Perkins: No, I didn’t mean anything bad about the Ron Paul people. It has been difficult here, but mostly because of what you said: young kids showing up with tattoos, etc., with a bunch of blue hairs (no disrespect intended) in the room.

    I was just using that dynamic as an example of how the Old Guard of any organization will react when new(er) people (or some of the same old people) come in and try to change things.

  30. Libertarian Joseph Says:

    severin,

    sore loser.

  31. G.E. Says:

    D.R. – I am not “old guard.” I am relatively new to the party and to libertarianism. I was a paid employee on the Ron Paul staff before formally joining the national LP. So your analogy comparing the statist deformers to Ron Paul insurgents is bass ackwards. In reality, the insiders/old guard are the LNC DUH!—and they’re treating Mary Ruwart (who has the support of Paul, by the way), the same way the GOP insiders and leadership treated Paul. In short, you are a fucking idiot.

    Joseph Marxzullo – You are entirely clueless. You remind me of myself two years ago. STFU or you’ll regret it in time.

  32. G.E. Says:

    Marxzullo – You’re kidding right? FTL, low traffic? Are you really THAT clueless?

  33. Steve LaBianca Says:

    The Democratic Republican Says:
    April 29th, 2008 at 10:31 am

    “Anarchism is NOT libertarianism.”

    Though, one has to wonder what is meant by “Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals”. (Excerpt of the LP Statement of Principles)

    Could it be that libertarianism, as expressed in the LP Statement of Principles allows for arrangements when governments are NOT instituted?

  34. G.E. Says:

    NEWSFLASH: Bob Barr farted! Stephen Gordon to report on the nose, acidity, and tannins with two full blog entries later today.

    But as for last night’s Kubby-Ruwart-Phillies interview, which was entirely inspired by what happened here at TPW and during which LP founder David Nolan called the national chairman a coward and called for the firing of the executive director, Gordon is silent.

  35. Brian Holtz Says:

    Susan, with radicals imagining me in a “cabal” with people I’ve never even spoken with, and opining that I’m the pseudonymous poster who outed Dr. Ruwart for the libertarian principles that she and Kubby and Nolan just spent a recorded hour being too embarrassed to defend, I confess that I can’t guarantee that the radical paranoia splashing all around me hasn’t touched me with a few drops. :-)

    I’m glad to hear you’re willing to reveal at least one name from your set—list?—of the “many LP members and candidates” whose “writings and comments” are Pledge-violating. Can you elaborate on your plans to use the Advertising and Publications Review Committee to effect your “housecleaning”? Are you aware that the LNC has no authority over the statements of “LP members and candidates” who are not either LP staff or on the LP presidential ticket?

    You write: “What Libertarians believe is that any of the desirable tasks that government accomplishes coercively can be accomplished better and without coercion via the free market.”

    No, what unites Libertarians is the belief that, as the Platform says, we should “divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals” and that “government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property”. David Nolan tells us that the Pledge is merely a promise not to revolt, so it’s quite odd for you to want to “houseclean” statements that you say go beyond the LP’s official policies even as you yourself are promulgating your own interpretation of the Pledge and your own vision of “what Libertarians believe” that is out-of-sync with the LP Platform.

    True LP radicals want to take the LP back to its roots. The original unanimously-adopted 1972 LP Statement of Principles said: “the sole function of government is the protection of the rights of each individual”, and “government has only one legitimate function, the protection of individual rights”. This language was removed by anarchists—some might apply Christine Smith’s term “infiltrators” to them—via a loophole in the original bylaws that allowed a one-time change in the SoP at the 1974 convention via a 2/3 vote, with any subsequent changes requiring a 7/8 vote.

    Will the real LP radicals please stand up?

  36. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Everyone who quits the LP right now is just participating in the virtual rape of Mary Ruwart.

    Wow. Take a pill, fella. This reeks of “if you’re not with us, you’re against us’‘. Not cool.

  37. Brian Holtz Says:

    Steve, you are absolutely right that anarchism is a form of libertarianism. Please don’t encourage people who post under something other than a real or well-established identity. Those who agree that pseudonymous trolling on TPW is harmful to the LP should perhaps end every post thus:

    P.S. The opinions of pseudonymous TPW trolls should be ignored, and opinions or unverifiable statements by them should be either banned or presumptively deleted.

  38. Steve Perkins Says:

    G.E., it’s a bit beyond disingenuous to throw claims out there about “Ron Paul supporting Mary Ruwart”. He’s said nice things in the past about her book… that is not within the same ballpark, or even the same SPORT, as saying that Paul endorses her for the LP nomination. I see no sign that Ron Paul wants to touch the LP race with a ten-foot pole one way or the other. Which of course illustrates the greatest irony of all in LP politics… the “patron saint” of the extreme hardliners is a guy who left and joined the Republicans to actually get something done. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

  39. Jay Says:

    I wish GE would go back to the greens…

  40. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Libertarianism is an offshoot of classical liberalism.

    There is a reasonable argument to support that. Certainly classical liberalism is one of the foundational doctrines of modern libertarianism. But that doesn’t mean they are the same thing.

    And, no, the cornerstone of libertarianism is NOT that coercion has no legitimate purposes, but that the NON-INITIATION of force is the prevailing principle of society.

    By ‘coercion’ I mean ‘non-initiation of force’, so we are in agreement. it gets confusing because often the word ‘coercion’ is used to simply mean ‘force’ itself, which I do not object to (that is, I am not a pacifist).

    If you attempt to violate my rights, I have every right to “coerce” you to stop—so long as I did not initiate the attack.

    I can agree with that.

    Government is this means of protecting rights on a grand scale.

    I think that a careful study of history will show this statement is not true, but I have no problem with it in principle. As long as protecting rights on a grand scale can be done without violating rights on any scale, I have no quarrel with this. It is only when people assert that in order to protect the rights of some, the rights of others must be violated that I have a problem.

  41. Trent Hill Says:

    GE,

    Please point meto the interview you talked about—i’d be happy to post it.

  42. Libertarian Joseph Says:

    G.E.,

    I’m clueless? haha. I said HIS blog has low traffic, I’m not talking about FTL. If I were to say, “your blog at blogger has little to no traffic.” Does that insinuate that I think blogger in general has little or no traffic? uh, no. common sense, man!

  43. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Holtz:

    Can you elaborate on your plans to use the Advertising and Publications Review Committee to effect your “housecleaning”?

    I have offered some elaboration on my blog recently (it refers to the last two LP releases):

    http://www.colliething.com/2008/04/latest-lp-release-on-food-rationing.html

    “This committee can help ensure that the staff members are not left without the benefit of simple editing to avoid such embarrassing factual mistakes as the one above. It will also be able to provide more substantive review to avoid such a bizarre suggestion as that in the previous release from HQ that the resources freed up by making one part of government smaller should be funneled to another part of government to increase its power.”

    Are you aware that the LNC has no authority over the statements of “LP members and candidates” who are not either LP staff or on the LP presidential ticket?

    Of course. What the LNC can do is offer leadership in crafting messages that do not conflict with the essential libertarian premise or the LP’s platform. What the LNC can do is work to ensure that what the Libertarian Party says is actually… well, libertarian.

    You quote: “government has only one legitimate function, the protection of individual rights”.

    I agree with that (though I would change ‘has’ to ‘can have’) – in fact I often use that line myself when campaigning.

  44. Peter Orvetti Says:

    A sincere question, not intending to be rhetorical:

    Do you believe there is room in the LP for those who join because the party’s principles are closer to their own than to those of any other party (i.e. those who support gay rights/marriage, some drug legalization, a reduction in the size of government, and civil liberties)? Or should the party only consist of those who see all issues through a lens of libertarian ideology?

  45. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Do you believe there is room in the LP for those who join because the party’s principles are closer to their own than to those of any other party (i.e. those who support gay rights/marriage, some drug legalization, a reduction in the size of government, and civil liberties)?

    Absolutely.

    Or should the party only consist of those who see all issues through a lens of libertarian ideology?

    The LP Radical Caucus, of which I am a member, has four “key strategic principles”.

    http://www.lpradicals.org/

    Number three should, I hope, address your question:

    Principled Populism
    The Libertarian Party should be a mass-participation party operating in the electoral arena and elsewhere, devoted to consistent libertarian principle, and committed to liberty and justice for all. The Libertarian Party should trust in and rely on individuals to welcome a program of liberty and justice and should always aim to convince people of the soundness of libertarian principles. Simply repeating our basic principles and not proposing transition measures is ineffective in the short run because only a small part of the populace is interested in liberty in the abstract, and hiding or abandoning our principled positions is ineffective in the long run because it fails to sustain us as a movement and attract and retain new Libertarians.

  46. Libertarian Joseph Says:

    The radicals will never get anywhere without the moderates.

    IMO

    1. we need hardliners leading the party

    but 2. we need moderates to build the party

    and that’s how I feel.

  47. G.E. Says:

    Susan – “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” is not at all what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that there is clearly a faction out to destroy the formerly presumptive nominee, Mary Ruwart, and replace her with Barr. People who realize this and, in response, quit the LP, are just doing exactly what that faction wants them to do.

    Steve Perkins – I did not say that Ron Paul supported Mary’s candidacy. I said he supported her in general. The ass-backwards analogy comparing the LP insiders to Ron Paul insurgents, and the principled-populist resisters to GOP insiders is absurd, and the Ruwart-Paul connection underscores this fact.

    Trent – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/SteveKubbyShow/2008/04/29/Ruwart-Challenges-Root-Phillies-and-Cory

    David Nolan called in and said “if Bill Redpath had an ounce of courage, he would have fired Shane Corey”—I THINK THAT’S NEWS

  48. G.E. Says:

    Jay – Yeah, I know you wish I would. Which is exactly why I won’t.

  49. Eric Sundwall Says:

    I stopped listening to Bernard about a year ago as he persisted in trashing the LP on a regular basis. That was my choice. While I respect anyone’s choice in association, it is a shame that another voice for liberty would further splinter themselves based on what seems to be simple lyricism.

    I have thought about calling his show and expressing this to him, but fear his control of the mike would be an unfair advantage. So if you do engage in a little narcissism Mr. Bernard and read posts about yourself, perhaps I could persuade you to hop out of Keene over to Schenectady one evening and appear on Capital Outsider. Two mikes, three cameras.

    I see the Hogarth-Holtz hoedown hasn’t stopped playing.

  50. Guy Fawkes Says:

    Amazing. In an election year when the fate of a republic lies on those who are morally inclined to save it through the only means necessary, the anarchists defend child pornography and call for the resignation of a good man who was doing his best to defend his party.

    How childish, and selfish these anarchists are. Their “principles” are more important to them than the fate of a nation. All or nothing, down with the ship? It smacks to me of exactly what the republicans are doing.

    Begone you anarchists. We have no place for those who believe that there is no proper role of government. Those who defend the constitution and the laws it creates defending those who cannot defend themselves, namely children, may stay.

    Sickening.

  51. Clark Says:

    ...you know folks, it seems you can proclaim yourself “Anarcho-Capitalist,” “Libertarian,” “Radical,” ‘classical liberal,’ ‘Rothbardian,’ “Objectivist,” “Old Guard,” “New Guard,” ‘Barnyard,’ etceterot ad nauseam..

    ..but if you can’t even honestly explain the origin, nature, reality, etc. of your ‘unit of account’ (hint: in the US it’s ‘federal reserve tokens’..or ‘dollars’ to most/all you poor goddamned, ooga-booga republicrats!) maybe it’s time to STFU about your hallucinations as to all the ‘isms’.. and maybe get a dose of monetary reality!.. ;o)

  52. G.E. Says:

    “Child pornographers should be castrated and/or executed.”—Me.

    How is that “defending child pornography”?

    The principles are constitutionalism and decentralism. Anyone who turns their backs on these, no matter what the issue, is a FASCIST, period.

    The castrator/executor should be someone other than the federal government.

    And just as importantly, a one-man dictatorship (Shane Corey) should not be issuing policy statements that contradict the LP platform.

    Guy Fawkes – Why don’t you blow up parliament with you in it?

  53. Nigel Watt Says:

    I’m also sending in my membership card.

  54. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Theodore asks, “OK, as someone new to the party, can someone explain something to me? Why not just limit the CIA down to pure intelligence gathering and FBI just for base investigations.”

    Neither are permitted by the Constitution.

    Mr. Holtz writes, “Mark, I’d love for the LP to espouse only pure libertarianism, but I want to be inclusive of anarchists and Rothbardians and paleolibertarians and Objectivists and constitutionalists and Cato-style minarchists—in general, all people who want both more economic and personal liberty without necessarily agreeing with pure eco/geo/green libertarianism. I’m willing to keep “watered-down” and “quasi-libertarians” like anarchists inside our big tent in order for them to work with us for more more liberty, and to give them a chance to learn more about libertarianism. After all, most “quasi-libertarians” like Ruwart have probably never even heard of Fred Foldvary let alone read his seminal works on geolibertarianism from the last couple of decades. Let’s not write these people off as unsalvageable.”

    Mr. Holtz, geolibertarianism is an anarchist philosophy. One geolibertarian that pops into my head is Albert Jay Nock.

    One of my personal friends is a geolibertarian. He is a mamber of the Green Party, advocates anarchism, and finds issue with my Lockean/Rothbardian take on homesteading (although not as much as he used to, I think).

    Given that you do not view anarchism as a pure variant of libertarianism, you therefore have no justification for judging geolibertarianism to be a pure variant of libertarianism, either. I have no objection to including geolibertarians under my understanding of pure libertarianism. I also have no objection to including radical minarchists like Dr. Tibor R. Machan in my pantheon of pure libertarianism. Brad Spangler is a left-Rothbardian, and has even described by proxy as a socialist, but even he, I would contend, falls within the scope of pure libertarianism.

    What I can’t consider to be purely libertarian are the ideas of government-mandated minimum wage, government-mandated rent control, government-regulated immigration, government regulation over heroin, censorship, and so on. This does not mean to say that holding one or more of these positions necessarily prevents one from being a libertarian, it simply means that one is not purely libertarian.

    One can be a pure libertarian and still disagree on any number of things, including intellectual property, the question of whether or not land can be owned, the question of whether or not just profits can be incurred in an environment where massive aggression by others inadvertantly leads toward your profits, and so on.

    One cannot be a libertarian at all if one believes in slavery or world government, or believes that it’s okay to kill or oppress people for being of a different gender, race, or ethnicity. (This is why I do not consider self-described anarcho-capitalist Dr. Walter Block a libertarian, since he believes that voluntary slave contracts would be enforceable in a free society.)

    The Democratic Republican writes, “Anyone who thinks that government should be limited to ‘purely voluntary transactions’ is an ANARCHIST, NOT A LIBERTARIAN.”

    A) Sir, to claim that anarchists are not libertarians is as ludicrous as claiming that minarchists are not libertarians. Libertarianism is a big tent philosophy. You would be more accurate to say that anarchists are not minarchists, and vice versa.

    B) Ayn Rand, who completely rejected anarchism, believed that all government action should be limited to purely voluntary actions, that is to say government should never initiate force, and should only ever use force defensively. Under your definition, not only would Rand be an anarchist (which she definitely was not), she would also not be a libertarian (even though she definitely was).

    Democratic Republican goes on to write, “They are two different things. If you want to be an anarchist, don’t bother with political parties. Don’t expect to change this within the system. You can’t do it.”

    Minarchists aren’t going to change anything, either. Should we just kick 100% of the LP members out of the LP, in your opinion?

    Listen, we’re all working toward the same immediate goals: to limit the size, scope, and cost of government as much as we can. We’re nowhere near limited government currently, and as long as our immediate goals are the same, we ought to work together in our effort to achieve them, rather than try to purge one another from the movement. As Harry Browne once commented,

    Right now, we’re $2.3 trillion away from no government, and about $2.2 trillion away from limited government.

    That means that until we trim $2.2 trillion from the federal budget, the issue of limited government vs. anarchy is moot. I can only presume that both sides would be pleased as punch (and then some) to reduce the federal government by $2.2 trillion. So that’s what we all should be working toward as the first goal.

    Democratic Republican also states, “Classical liberalism has always believed that coercion in government is justified—so long as government was restricted to its legitimate purposes.”

    So now Rand wasn’t even a classical liberal? Sheesh.

    Respectfully yours,
    Alex Peak

  55. The Democratic Republican Says:

    1) G.E.: Oh, I’m glad to hear you were paid staff for Ron Paul, and that you are bringing your renowned strategic skills to the LP. Tell me, how many of those millions of dollars were you personally responsible for spending unwisely?

    2) Brian Holtz: So we should just ignore people who don’t have a “well-established identity?” In that case, it wouldn’t matter to me if your name is Brian Holtz or Joe Schmo. Even if there is a person named Brian Holtz, I can’t verify that you are him. I don’t know you from Adam, and I don’t give a rat’s ass what you have to say. In reference to your concern about harm for the LP, I doubt anyone else was aware that TPW is property of the LP, or that you were its designated defender. How very sweet of you to volunteer to serve as Big Brother, though.

    I am not inclined to be this rude to you, as I very much enjoyed your first post on this thread, but it’s not really your place to tell me or anyone else what they can say under what name.

    For the record, I post here and on other blogs under this name quite regularly.

    As for the topic at hand: I would like some proof that anarchism is libertarianism. The bright line between the two is that libertarianism accepts that some forms of coercion, particularly in defense of individual rights, is legitimate. This was the whole point of Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia, in which he outlined libertarianism and denounced anarchism.

  56. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Alex Peak:

    A very interesting critique. Most of the miscommunication between us has to do with different understandings of what the labels mean. As has been said here on this thread, only a handful of people in the world know what “minarchist” means.

    But to keep things simple, I’ll just say: you say “libertarianism” is a big tent, and I say “classical liberalism” is a big tent. So we agree that the belief in individual rights and limited government encompasses a lot of people. As I posted in my last post, my study leads me to believe that there is a bright line between those who believe that coercion by government can be justified, and those who don’t.

    G.E.’s philosophy is a good case study. He believes that child pornographers should be castrated, but not by the federal government. Presumably, the pornographer does not want to be castrated. But yet SOMEONE will force him to be castrated. It may not be “the federal government under the United States of America,” but it is still coercion and NOT a voluntary arrangement, anymore than the Constitution is a “voluntary” contract.

    So G.E. believes in a “government”, but not in “the federal government.” The practical problem is that the LP is a party that is trying to work within the government organized under the Constitution. So for an anarchist to be engaged in the political system as it exists is contradictory. It is more purely principled for an anarchist to withdraw from the system entirely than to vote candidates into office who will dissolve it.

    In this respect, Rand was a libertarian, and a classical liberal only in the sense that libertarianism arose out of it.

  57. Alex Peak Says:

    Democratic Republican writes, “1) Libertarianism is an offshoot of classical liberalism. And, no, the cornerstone of libertarianism is NOT that coercion has no legitimate purposes, but that the NON-INITIATION of force is the prevailing principle of society. If you attempt to violate my rights, I have every right to “coerce” you to stop—...”

    Mr. Democratic Republican, you are mis-using the word “coerce.”

    “Coercion” and “aggression” are synonymous with “the initiation of force.”

    “Coercion” never refers to the defensive use of force. Neither does “aggression.” Both terms imply that you are using unjust force.

    I agree with Ms. Hogarth that the initiation of force has no legitimate purpose. Only defensive force can be legitimate.

    If I violate your rights, you have every right to use force to stop me. This is not “coercion.”

    You write, “Anarchism is NOT libertarianism.”

    Correct, anarchism is but one approach to libertarianism. Minarchism is the other.

    “The ideal situation would be for Bob Barr to defeat Ruwart in a close vote, leaving her and all of her followers angry and convincing them to start their own party with ‘pure’ ideals.”

    The ideal situation would be for Barr to become a libertarian and then run.

    Respectfully,
    Alex Peak

  58. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Alex Peak:

    No, I disagree with your definition of coercion. Coercion is neither aggressive nor defensive; it simply, literally means making someone do something they don’t want to do.

    An example: I am coerced into paying taxes for a police force even though I have not committed a crime. The reason is that I benefit (in theory) from this protection even if I do not personally use it. In this example, I am neither an aggressor nor a defender, but I am coerced into supporting a system that protects my rights.

    And for the record, Barr is a classical liberal, which my all means entitles him to a place of leadership in the LP as much as being a minarchist qualifies someone else.

  59. Stephen Gordon Says:

    Ian,

    Sorry about missing the link. I was in a hurry this morning trying to get to an event.

  60. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Alex: I also take issue with “anarchism” is one way and “minarchism” is the other. If those are the only two ways, libertarianism is not a big tent at all.

    There are many ways to argue for individual rights and limited government. Friedrich Hayek, friend of Friedman and von Mises, argued that a government could respect individual liberty and still maintain a minimal social safety net.

    He was neither a minarchist nor a libertarian. He was a classical liberal, and libertarianism and minarchism sits under its tent. Anarchism sits outside. (although I am HAPPY, as a classical liberal, to be a member of an LP that welcomes anarchists. I just don’t think it’s a good idea for anarchists to be calling the shots about how to run a political party.)

  61. FTL_Ian Says:

    Thanks, Stephen.

    To Eric S.:

    You’re welcome to come here. I’d rather not leave NH for NY if I can avoid it.

  62. Susan Hogarth Says:

    And for the record, Barr is a classical liberal…

    Then why does he most often refer to himself a conservative?

    The ‘record’ for Barr is his CIA record and his congressional record, and that is neither libertarian nor classical liberal.

  63. Susan Hogarth Says:

    The ideal situation would be for Barr to become a libertarian and then run.

    :)

  64. jre Says:

    Brian >>P.S. The opinions of pseudonymous TPW trolls should be ignored, and opinions or unverifiable statements by them should be either banned or presumptively deleted.>>

    Please relate this to your friends on the reformer side of the aisle. If they do not have the cajones that Mr. Knapp does and sign their real name to controversial subjects then they should just STFU. Some trolls are funny and lend a sense of humor to the conversation while others who are willing to discredit the entire libertarian movement, in order to score political points, are not so funny. How would Wayne like it if anon. posters started coming out and saying things like…...Mr. Root, in the past you have had a hawkish foreign policy stand. So does that mean that you are for blowing up innocent iraqi babies and women. From reading some of your earlier policy statements we are able to conclude that if Isreal is attacked then America will come to your country and kill every man, woman, and child. As a representative of the libertarian party does this mean that the “party” supports mass genocide in order to protect its allies? I am just saying that if some want to play that game then it is going to get really ugly between now and Denver. After this last fiasco, hopefully everyone can learn to play a little more nicely.

  65. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Susan—Any libertarian who is ever elected will get their hands dirty. It’s a dirty system. You will end up rejecting every elected Libertarian because of this or that decision.

    Barr’s record is also one of fiscal conservatism, gun rights advocacy, and atoning for his sins long before he joined the LP. And let me give you another reason to not like me: I’m glad we have a CIA. I don’t think it’s an inherently unconstitutional institution. Now, sure, I’d like to slash the budget 80%, but I doubt that that will be enough to convince you I’m not a neocon in sheep’s clothing.

    He calls himself a “conservative” because no one knows what the hell a classical liberal is. :)

  66. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Holtz writes, “This language was removed by anarchists—some might apply Christine Smith’s term “infiltrators” to them—...”

    Wasn’t Murray Rothbard one of the co-founders of the party? I can’t really see how that would make anarchism an infiltration, if at least one person was an anarchist since day one of the party?

    Ms. Hogarth writes, “I think that a careful study of history will show this statement is not true, but I have no problem with it in principle. As long as protecting rights on a grand scale can be done without violating rights on any scale, I have no quarrel with this. It is only when people assert that in order to protect the rights of some, the rights of others must be violated that I have a problem.”

    I concur.

    Mr. Orvetti asks, “Do you believe there is room in the LP for those who join because the party’s principles are closer to their own than to those of any other party (i.e. those who support gay rights/marriage, some drug legalization, a reduction in the size of government, and civil liberties)? Or should the party only consist of those who see all issues through a lens of libertarian ideology?”

    An important question. The party should be open to all who fall within the libertarian quadrant, that is to say, who advocate the libertarian position on most issues.

    The platform, conversely, should take a relatively hardcore position, because, well, if we moderate the drug position, we alienate the people who joined because of our desire to decriminalise drugs; if we moderate the minimum wage position, we alienate those who joined because they understand the economic harm of regulating wages; etc. It’s precisely because each person is going to disagree with a different part of the platform than the person next to him that the only way to please everyone.

    It’s perfectly acceptable to be a Libertarian while not agreeing with every aspect of the platform, and I’ll admit that when I found the Libertarian Party, I didn’t agree with everything, either. Back then, I supported minimum wage, and a few other things I’m embarassed to mention now. But I realised, even back then, that if I were to get the party to take a different stance on minimum wage, everyone else would be able to claim it’s unfair that their difference with the platform wasn’t also changed. And if we were to change the platform for everyone, we’d find a platform that doesn’t advocate anything even remotely libertarian, and I’d have no reason to join in the first place. So I put up with my minor differences for “the greater good,” in other words to make sure that I’d have a party that I could say I agree mostly with.

    And a strange thing eventually happened. Over time, talking with all these crazy, wonderful people, I came to realise that my position on minimum wage (and other things) was wrong, and I became a pure libertarian.

    That won’t happen for everyone, of course, and it doesn’t have to. We as libertarians disagree on so very much with one another, but we all agree that we want to limit the size, scope, and cost of government dramatically. As long as you agree with that, you’re most likely a libertarian. And although people may argue with you about your positions, it’s important to remember not to take their disagreements personally. We’re all friends (or, at least I’d like all libertarians to become friends—perhaps that is a bit utopian), and most of us have mutual respect for one another, even if we disagree with some of the finer details.

    :)

    Sincerely yours,
    Alex Peak

  67. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Alex Peak: I do agree with you on this; I don’t think the platform has to change to suit everyone. The platform should be a statement of principle that can adapt over time, much like the Constitution.

    The abortion “plank” is a good example. We say, law of non-intiation of force and government protects individual rights. The problem is so difficult because reasonable people apply those principles in different ways (and think the person that disagrees with them is being unreasonable).

    The real problem is that many of the purists are OK with having a big tent for membership but still feel like they own the party when it comes to who serves as candidates. Now tell me, why should I pay dues for a party where someone is telling me I’m a second-class member? Why should the “purists” act the same way that the leaders of other parties act?

  68. The Democratic Republican Says:

    I find it funny to read a post criticizing trolls from somebody who posts under “jre.”

    Newsflash, “jre”: anonymous speech has ALWAYS been part of American politics. Don’t pout about it. If Stephen Gordon wants to moderate or not moderate this blog, it’s his business and no one else’s.

  69. jre Says:

    Newsflash to you Mr. “The democratic Republican” My name is J.R. Enfield most folks on here know who I am sir. Now if you would be so kind to introduce yourself.

  70. jre Says:

    Sorry for a second post so quickly….BTW I am not criticizing the use of trolls at all and I am not at all pouting about it. I am just saying that if you are going to post stuff under a fake name that is going to start a flame war at least have the balls to do it as yourself.

  71. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Nope, I feel no need to introduce myself. But I do apologize for being snippy with you.

    I just read something else that reminds me that we are all a family of those who believe in the power of the individual. All of these fights pale in comparison to that truth.

  72. Brian Holtz Says:

    Yes, JRE, geolibertarians say the right to vote is independent of whether one is a land monopolist and must therefore compensate community members for excluding them from the land one monopolizes. Read on to see how geolibertarianism solves two problems that no other school of libertarianism claims to solve.

    The Wikipedia article gets one nuance slightly wrong. Geolibertarians don’t necessarily believe that all land is an unownable commons. Rather, some of us simply take very literally the Lockean proviso that homesteading an unowned resource (e.g. virgin land) must leave “as much and as good” for others. So we say there would be zero land value tax on you if there is available to others “as much and as good” land as that which you monopolize—or if you allow the community to use the land you squat on in the same way that you use it. The land value tax only kicks in when monopoly rents are earned due to the Lockean proviso being violated. Such rents are a violation of individual rights under the Lockean analysis, and are thus aggression. The geolibertarian land value “tax” is not really a “tax”, but rather is reparations for this aggression. (A LVT does not tax site improvements like buildings etc.)

    Geolibertarianism thus solves the central conundrum of minarchism: how to finance the protection of life, liberty, and property without initiating force. Its solution even offers an unanticipated bonus: a non-force-initiating libertarian safety net for the poor. Geolibertarianism points out that in the state of nature there is always marginal but productive land available for use by the destitute, and that faithful historical observation of the Lockean proviso (leaving “as much and as good”) should have always ensured that this remained the case even to this day. To the extent that it is no longer the case, excluding people from access to the natural productive opportunities on what used to be the commons is unjust—i.e. is aggression. Therefore, where land is scarce its “ground rent” should be considered part of the commons, with each individual having an equal claim on it.

    Technically, “ground rent” is is the excess production obtained by using a site in its most productive use, compared to the production obtained by applying equivalent inputs of labor and capital at the most productive site where the application doesn’t require (additional) payments for use of the site. In other words, ground rent is the advantage you get from exclusive use of a site compared to the most productive available site that is not in use.

    For more information, see my site http://ecolibertarian.org/.

  73. jre Says:

    No need to introduce yourself at all. Mabey one day we will be having a beer at some libertarian event and you will know who I am. You can come up to me and say hey I’m “The democrat Republican” and we will have a big laugh and we will have one on me. BTW, I consider Stevie G. a friend of mine and would never ask him to censor ANYONE or divulge their identity even if he knows it. That’s how the Libertarian world should work.

  74. G.E. Says:

    D.R. – Idiot. Castrating a practicing pedophile is NOT the “initiation of force”—it is retaliatory and defensive force, which is absolutely permissible. You are a moron who cannot understand the difference between pacifism and non-initiation. I do not necessarily agree with Mary Ruwart or Susan Hogarth or Murray Rothbard—but the main idea here is that Cory had no business issuing a press releasing calling for expansion of government.

  75. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Geolibertarianism thus solves the central conundrum of minarchism: how to finance the protection of life, liberty, and property without initiating force.

    Apparently by the very convenient process of redefinition:

    The geolibertarian land value “tax” is not really a “tax”, but rather is reparations for this aggression.

    The GeoLibertarian Party: We don’t propose new taxes; we just propose ‘reparations for aggression’. Apparently in the GeoLibertarian world, simply living and occupying land is an act of aggression against your fellow man.

  76. Libertarian Joseph Says:

    I’d like to see a form of geolibertarianism when we begin to repeal some property laws.

  77. Alex Peak Says:

    Democratic Republican writes, “As for the topic at hand: I would like some proof that anarchism is libertarianism. The bright line between the two is that libertarianism accepts that some forms of coercion, particularly in defense of individual rights, is legitimate. This was the whole point of Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia, in which he outlined libertarianism and denounced anarchism.”

    I started reading that a couple years ago, but didn’t get very far before deciding I wanted to read some fiction book that was burning a hole on my shelf. I forget which one now, but never got back to Nozick’s work.

    I did read Rothbard’s response in The Ethics of Liberty. I find Rothbard’s arguments rather convincing, but still want to read Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia anyway. It never hurts to read up on more theory. :)

    What I know of Nozick is that he advocated a night-watchman state, a radically minarchist position. He held that government had no legitimate purpose other than policing. I have no clue what Nozick’s stance would be on child pornography, and can’t even be sure Nozick would support a legislature. But then, maybe I will learn his position on both of these topics upon reading Anarchy.

    In either event, I would not say that Nozick is not a libertarian. He certainly was one. But his brand of libertarianism, advocating the night-watchman state, is not the only brand. Ron Paul advocates far more government than Nozick did, and I would say Ron Paul is definitely a libertarian, as he advocates a democratic republic with very strict limits on government power. Conversely, Murray Rothbard advocated less government than Nozick, but I would say that he, too, was a libertarian. (Rothbard was also a huge advocate of Ron Paul getting the Libertarian nomination in 1988. Further, according to Ron Paul, the first person he called when he was re-elected to Congress was Murray Rothbard, who was delighted to hear the news. Some fun facts. :) )

    Nozick’s conception of a limited government reminds me to some degree of Auberon Herbert’s voluntaryism. Herbert advocated what he called a voluntaryist state, a government that never aggresses, not even to collect taxes. His tax policy, therefore, was exactly the same as Rand’s. But whereas Rand believed that the state should have a monopoly on defence, I think Herbert’s position was that it should have no such monopoly, and should allow for competition.

    Herbert rejected the anarchist label, claiming that anarchists did not understand themselves, and that government would continue to exist under anarchism. I wouldn’t mind at all living under Herbert’s voluntaryist state—perhaps that makes me a minarchist? However, many today would consider Herbert and his voluntaryism to be anarchist.

    It’s an interesting history. In any event, I would disagree with Nozick if he claims one has to advocate the existence of a state to be a libertarian. :)

    “G.E.’s philosophy is a good case study. He believes that child pornographers should be castrated, but not by the federal government. Presumably, the pornographer does not want to be castrated. But yet SOMEONE will force him to be castrated. It may not be ‘the federal government under the United States of America,’ but it is still coercion and NOT a voluntary arrangement, anymore than the Constitution is a ‘voluntary’ contract.”

    Let’s use a straight-foreward example: murder and execution. It is my opinion that if you murder someone, you sacrifice your own life. I don’t personally view that as being un-voluntary, for the only people committing murder are those who do not believe a [negative] right to life exists. If you murder me, can you claim to have a right to something that you clearly didn’t think I had a right to?

    Even with something as simple as theft, we can say that retribution is voluntary. Keeping with Dr. Block’s two-teeth-for-a-tooth principle, I’d say that if you steal ten dollars from me, I have the right to take twenty dollars from you—the original ten dollars that I own, and ten dollars that you yourself previously owned. I do not think that my taking $20 from you is unjust.

    If I were to take $200 from you in response to your taking $1 from me, however, then I am clearly acting in an unjust manner, and you would have the right to take $396 from me.

    I’m not sure if I’m making my case as strongly as I like, so I’ll simply ask if that makes sense to you?

    You write, “So G.E. believes in a ‘government,’ but not in ‘the federal government.’”

    In the Herbertian sense of the word “government,” all libertarians believe in government. G.E. does not advocate having a state, however. He would prefer to see private companies handle everything the state currently handles.

    “So for an anarchist to be engaged in the political system as it exists is contradictory.”

    I do not agree. Let’s take a look at the many anarchists who supported Ron Paul, for example. Now, was Ron Paul an anarchist? Definitely not—he even said he wasn’t during an interview. But, many anarchists were happy to support him because he was not going to increase government control, just decrease it.

    Rothbard once wrote, in response to Samuel Edward Konkin, in defence of voting, saying that if you are a slave being forced on a plantation, and you are given a choice every four years on which person will be your slave-master, why wouldn’t you vote for the person who would be least oppressive?

    I was happy to support Ron Paul, and hope he is successful in his strive to get a large number of delegates at the GOP convention. There are, however, some who would agree with you that people should not vote, primarily the modern-day voluntaryists, as well as many agorists. They believe it is unethical to vote, because voting perpetuates a system in which one person rules over others. I respect their decision, but do not come to the same conclusion as them.

    “No, I disagree with your definition of coercion. Coercion is neither aggressive nor defensive; it simply, literally means making someone do something they don’t want to do.”

    Based on that definition, nagging is coercive. I don’t have a ethical problem with nagging.

    So to be clear, I reject aggression, but not force. :)

    “An example: I am coerced into paying taxes for a police force even though I have not committed a crime. The reason is that I benefit (in theory) from this protection even if I do not personally use it. In this example, I am neither an aggressor nor a defender, but I am coerced into supporting a system that protects my rights.”

    In that example, the government is an aggressor, and you are the aggressed. You are right that you are not a defender, assuming you are not actively defending yourself from the government.

    “And for the record, Barr is a classical liberal, which my all means entitles him to a place of leadership in the LP as much as being a minarchist qualifies someone else.”

    I don’t know if he’s a classical liberal or not. He’s certainly more classically liberal/libertarian than the average Republican politician, I’ll definitely conceed that. But quite frankly, I don’t necessarily think Thomas Jefferson would support him, and I typically use Jefferson as my standard for classical liberalism.

    Democratic Republican writes,

    Alex: I also take issue with “anarchism” is one way and “minarchism” is the other. If those are the only two ways, libertarianism is not a big tent at all.

    There are many ways to argue for individual rights and limited government. Friedrich Hayek, friend of Friedman and von Mises, argued that a government could respect individual liberty and still maintain a minimal social safety net.

    He was neither a minarchist nor a libertarian. He was a classical liberal, and libertarianism and minarchism sits under its tent. Anarchism sits outside. (although I am HAPPY, as a classical liberal, to be a member of an LP that welcomes anarchists. I just don’t think it’s a good idea for anarchists to be calling the shots about how to run a political party.)

    I was including Hayek, Mises, and Ron Paul in my definition on minarchism. I consider all three to into the same three, overlapping categories, viz. classical liberalism, libertarianism, and minarchism.

    If you wish to make the case that classical liberalism, the part that doesn’t overlap with minarchism, can still overlap with libertarianism, I think I could accept that. Just as long as we agree that the part of classical liberalism that overlaps with support for slavery (e.g. John C. Calhoun) does not itself overlap with libertarianism, than we have no meaningful disagreement there.

    I agree with you that anarchism sits outside of classical liberalism (although individualist anarchism is certainly influenced by classical liberalism), but do not agree about it sitting outside of libertarianism. :)

    (To the other posters, I want you to notice that although Democratic Republican and I are disagreeing with one another, we are showing each other mutual respect. This is the sort of mature attitude I like to see from libertarians. :) )

    Democratic Republican writes, “Susan—Any libertarian who is ever elected will get their hands dirty. It’s a dirty system. You will end up rejecting every elected Libertarian because of this or that decision.”

    If I ever run for office, I will make this my number one promise to constituents: I will not accept tax dollars as pay. I will find another job, or accept donations from people, but do not wish to get paid with tax dollars.

    Cheers,
    Alex Peak

  78. swift kick in the nuts Says:
    1. G.E. Says:
      April 29th, 2008 at 10:56 am

    I don’t understand the point of doing exactly what degenerates like Shane Corey WANT you to do in a case like this. The fewer true libertarians in the LP, the better for Corey and the Gordon-Barr coup, etc. Everyone who quits the LP right now is just participating in the virtual rape of Mary Ruwart. Ian Bernard is an absolute coward.

    you kiddie porn gang members are all cowards, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars, go directly to jail ian.

  79. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Am I the only one who sees a double entendre (unintentional or not) in the title of this thread?

  80. Brian Holtz Says:

    No, Alex, Rothbard wasn’t a founder of the LP, but in fact criticized the formation of the LP and endorsed Nixon over McGovern (and thus over the LP candidate) in 1972. Later he hijacked the LP, radicalized it by rewriting its Platform with Bill Evers, hollowed it out by pushing away the Cato Institute people (shouting “Never Again!” about a 1980 Clark campaign that to me sounds more radical than Ruwart’s “healing” rhetoric), and once he started to lose his control over it, discarded the broken LP and returned to the GOP to endorse Pat Buchanan. Good job, Murray.

    And Bill Evers? He left the LP to become an advisor to George W. Bush, and worked in Iraq in the occupation government before taking his current position in—wait for it—the federal Department of Education. In fact, the entire leadership of the Rothbard-era Radical Caucus—Rothbard, Evers, Garris, Raimondo, Costello, Hunter, Rockwell—abandoned the LP for the GOP and its candidates. And yet their dead hand still steers the ideology of the LP. No wonder Lew Rockwell says there has been “a brain drain from the LP”; our ideology is controlled now mostly by spinal reflexes and nerve signals from phantom limbs.

  81. swift kick in the nuts Says:
    1. Nigel Watt Says:
      April 29th, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    I’m also sending in my membership card.

    uh uh uh uhwhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  82. Brian Holtz Says:

    Susan Hogarth writes:

    SH) Apparently in the GeoLibertarian world, simply living and occupying land is an act of aggression against your fellow man (SH

    Which I can refute simply by cutting and pasting some of the text that contained the word “tax” and thus elicited her spinal reflex:

    BH) There would be zero land value tax on you if there is available to others “as much and as good” land as that which you monopolize—or if you allow the community to use the land you squat on in the same way that you use it. The land value tax only kicks in when monopoly rents are earned due to the Lockean proviso being violated. Such rents are a violation of individual rights under the Lockean analysis, and are thus aggression. (BH

    So no, Susan, “simply living and occupying land” isn’t an act of aggression, as long as you comply with the Lockean proviso. If you want to argue with Locke, be my guest.

  83. Alex Peak Says:

    Democratic Republican writes, “The real problem is that many of the purists are OK with having a big tent for membership but still feel like they own the party when it comes to who serves as candidates. Now tell me, why should I pay dues for a party where someone is telling me I’m a second-class member? Why should the ‘purists’ act the same way that the leaders of other parties act?”

    If we’re talking about local candidates, I will accept a relatively high amount of deviation from the pure position. For state level candidates, a little less; for federal, even less than that. When it comes to the presidential candidate, I support only a very limited amount of deviation.

    This is just my personal opinion. I do not think it’s pragmatic for the party to accept very high levels of deviation from our presidential candidate, and I hope my explanation for why will demonstrate why I consider my position pragmatic.

    When Mike Gravel was running as a Democrat, I supported his candidacy, making it clear that I thought the only candidate in the whole two-party race that was better was Ron Paul. I supported Gravel because his participation acted to influence his party in a more libertarian direction; and even though I had a number of disagreements with him, I absolutely would have voted Democratic had he gotten the nomination (unless Ron Paul were also to get the nomination, in which case I’d have voted Republican).

    Now, Mike Gravel is running as a Libertarian, and although I’m happy he joined the party, and believe he sincerely wants to grow the party, I will not support his nomination. If he becomes our nominee, I will write-in “Ron Paul” during the general.

    Why?

    It’s because Mike Gravel, in my opinion, is not going to promote a message that attracts people to libertarianism. I make the same objection to Bob Barr and Daniel Imperato.

    If our candidate sounds too much like the two Establishment candidates, no one is going to vote for us. They will see it as wasting their vote. After all, there’s no point in voting for another guy who believes the same thing as the first two if only the first two have a shot at winning. It’s only worth voting for a third party if they present a different message.

    Secondly, the primary reason we run presidential candidates is to help our local and state candidates. We know our presidential candidate is not going to get elected—but because few Libertarians are able to get a lot of media attention unless they’re running for president, we make sure to run one as well. This way the libertarian message can get out to voters, thus helping our local and state candidates get a shot. If our presidential candidate is not actually spreading a libertarian message, then we don’t get anything.

    Thirdly, let’s say we could ensure ourselves three million votes by running a Stalinist. Would it be worth it? Absolutely not, as even Mr. Holtz will tell you. It’s not worth it because the message is not libertarian, and thus confuses people into thinking libertarianism is something that it’s not, which scares away potential members. Those who are attracted quickly find out that the party does not actually support what they thought it supported, and they leave. We end up with no real progress.

    I would say that when running a candidate for president, we should make sure to run candidates no less principled than Ron Paul. Ron Paul deviates from the purist view, but his message is pure enough to A) educate people as to what libertarianism is, B) encourage people to give voting for a third party a shot, and C) help out our local and state candidates.

    I don’t mean to imply, by my advocacy of this strategy, that those who are not as libertarian as Ron Paul are “second-class members,” just that it is very poor strategy to run someone who is as off on his/her message as Mike Gravel, Bob Barr, or Daniel Imperato.

    Mr. G.E. writes, “D.R. – Idiot. Castrating a practicing pedophile is NOT the ‘initiation of force’—it is retaliatory and defensive force, which is absolutely permissible.”

    Instead of writing “practicing paedophile,” which might confuse people, I’d recommend “molestor.”

    Ms. Hogarth writes, “Apparently in the GeoLibertarian world, simply living and occupying land is an act of aggression against your fellow man.”

    That’s pretty much the cruz of why I personally reject geolibertarianism.

    Yours,
    Alex Peak

  84. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Holtz writes, “No, Alex, Rothbard wasn’t a founder of the LP, but in fact criticized the formation of the LP and endorsed Nixon over McGovern (and thus over the LP candidate) in 1972. Later he hijacked the LP, radicalized it by rewriting its Platform with Bill Evers, hollowed it out by pushing away the Cato Institute people (shouting ‘Never Again!’ about a 1980 Clark campaign that to me sounds more radical than Ruwart’s ‘healing’ rhetoric), and once he started to lose his control over it, discarded the broken LP and returned to the GOP to endorse Pat Buchanan. Good job, Murray.”

    I know he opposed the formation of the LP because he originally thought America wasn’t yet interested in libertarian ideas. But wasn’t he still one of the founding members? Wasn’t he there when the party was founded?

    “If you want to argue with Locke, be my guest.”

    I have. Unfortunately, I got no response. :(

    Respectfully,
    Alex Peak

  85. Peter Orvetti Says:

    Susan Hogarth: “Am I the only one who sees a double entendre (unintentional or not) in the title of this thread?”

    Owie owie owie owie.

    Not coincidentally, the lead on “The Daily Show” last night was penis theft in the Congo.

  86. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Wow…good stuff going on here.

    1) Susan Hogarth—about the double entendre: get your mind out of the gutter :) (I’m just kidding…I see it now too)

    2) Brian Holtz—thank you for the history of the LP (seriously). Even though I first joined the party 10 years ago, I never paid attention how deep some of the conflicts ran. Powerful last line on the “phantom limbs” thing.

    3) To the geolibertarians: I’m sorry for not reading all of the long posts, but can someone explain in a nutshell how geolibertarianism squares with the traditional belief that the property right in material possessions is an extension of our property right in ourselves?

  87. Peter Orvetti Says:

    Maybe it’s odd that as a “moderate” non-ideological LP member, I’m supporting Dr. Ruwart, but that just shows how good a job she can do at making the libertarian message appealing. I hope others will see that as well.

  88. The Democratic Republican Says:

    To Alex Peak and G.E. on coercion:

    The fact that you see tax dollars for a police force as coercion is the crux of our disagreement. Normally this would be an abstract issue, but in light of the presidential campaign it is very important. The police example, by the way, is one of Nozick’s key examples.

    The reason for coercion in taxation is free riders. If the three of us agree to pay voluntarily for police, but the other commenters here don’t, we have a problem because they are enjoying the benefits of our contribution without paying the cost. We have to have coercion to make sure everyone contributes.

    Consequently, the standard of justice becomes not the presence or absence of coercion but rather whether or not government is acting to fulfill its primary obligation: the protection of individual rights. This is Locke’s basic argument, Nozick’s (to an extent), and especially Randy Barnett in Restoring the Lost Constitution.

    To use G.E.’s castration issue: yes, I understand that it is defensive action, but think about the implications. If there is no government, who judges guilt or innocence? The person wronged? The person who committed the crime? A mutually agreed upon arbiter? Let’s say the two parties agree to arbitration. NO ONE will voluntarily accept the punishment of castration. So then you get to the crux: who will MAKE the offender accept castration? Whoever it is is the “government,” and the government is coercing someone into receiving a punishment they did not want. It is the very definition of coercion.

  89. The Democratic Republican Says:

    The practical implications of all of this is in how wide the principles and platform of the LP will be.

    The old platform (I remember it like yesterday) went on for pages and pages and said, basically, this and that are exactly what the LP believes about every issue. Well, let’s say I want to make my campaign platform that we get rid of the federal drug schedule, and I said leave everything else to the states.

    Well, I would essentially be ending the War on Drugs, but many libertarians etc. wouldn’t be happy because I wasn’t taking a strong stand that states should legalize. First of all, maybe as a federalist I don’t believe that a federal candidate should tell the states what to do. Second of all, I think it is clearly right for the states to have the power to regulate drugs, even if they don’t completely legalize. As a classical liberal, I think the states SHOULD legalize, but I don’t fault a federal candidate for not wearing that sentiment on his or her sleeve.

    No one is asking for a compromise in libertarian/classical liberal principles. All anyone is advocating is flexibility in relation to the realities of politics. Even as dogmatic as G.E. is, he still worked for Ron Paul—the same Ron Paul who gets paid in tax dollars.

  90. Brian Holtz Says:

    Alex, no matter how many times you ask, Rothbard was not among the LP’s 1971 founders. Rothbard in March 1972: “any talk of a libertarian party is grossly premature, and will be for many years to come.” By June of 1973, he was changing his tune, and by Nov 1973 he was an advocate of the LP (and particularly the FLP of New York).

    You can read all the gory details in his Libertarian Review newsletter, linked from the web’s most comprehensive LP history resource: http://marketliberal.org/LP/history.html. The venom and personal bitterness of Rothbard c. 1980-1983 toward the Cato moderates is truly mind-boggling. Our TPW antics are child’s play compared to the knife-fighting that Rothbard indulged in. Don’t believe it for a minute when Less tells you that radicals have never pushed anybody out of the LP. Rothbard’s newsletter screamed “Never again Clark! Never again Crane!”

    Democratic Republican: geolibertarianism is in fact the school that most rigorously applies the self-ownership justification for property rights in material possessions. We say that you can own anything material, but you can’t stake out a set of spatial coordinates and say you own that chunk of spacetime in quite the same way as you own the matter and energy in it. Your labor can create and transform material resources, but your labor cannot create a site. Sites were always there and will always be there. The most you can do is drain, fill, excavate, or otherwise improve a site but you can’t create a new square mile that wasn’t already one of the Earth’s square miles. If somebody comes up to you and offers to sell you a piece of spacetime that he claims didn’t exist before he recently created it, be very suspicious—unless he has a wormhole or an inter-dimensional portal or some other fancy technology.

    I’m glad you mentioned free riders; our radical friends don’t like to discuss them. For me, I lost my youthful ability to seriously entertain the notion of anarchism the first time I saw the class four-goods table in an economics textbook: http://libertarianmajority.net/public-and-private-goods.

    Our eager young anarchists will come around, but it will take time. The cumulative revolution in the theory of political economy that took place in the 1950s and 1960s is very recent by historical standards. Students of biology and anatomy long ago stopped reading Aristotle’s 2300-year-old treatises, with his theories that head-first birth in animals is caused by weight asymmetry around the umbilical cord, and that the brain’s function is just to cool the blood. But progress in the theory of political economy has been so slow that after two millennia, Aristotle’s political theories are still required reading. It was only 50 years ago that economists formulated the theoretical foundations of what is now the textbook four-goods analysis of the optimal scope of government. That analysis is profoundly libertarian, and it’s just bizarre that a party calling itself “Libertarian” hasn’t embraced it. The reason for this is a historical accident, in that the ideology of the LP was dictated in the 1970s by someone (Murray Rothbard) who froze his own anarcholibertarian dogma a decade or so before the cumulative revolution in the 1950s and 1960s in the areas of modern welfare economics, public choice theory, behavioral economics, and information economics.

    A pioneer of string theory said in the 1970s that it is “a part of twenty-first-century physics that fell by chance into the twentieth century”. Unlike physics, economics has not often had to wait on (or invent) new mathematics in order to make progress. I sometimes get the feeling that much of twentieth-century economics was in retrospect somewhat obvious and should have been already been developed before 1900. It would have been nice if the insights of modern economics had been available as the libertarian movement became self-conscious in the early decades of this century, but it was not to be. Oh well, at least we’ll have front-row seats as the insights of modern economics continue to seep into our culture’s political consciousness. The question of why the LP disputed those insights instead of championed them will make for an interesting footnote in future history books.

  91. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Orvetti writes, “Maybe it’s odd that as a ‘moderate’ non-ideological LP member, I’m supporting Dr. Ruwart, but that just shows how good a job she can do at making the libertarian message appealing. I hope others will see that as well.”

    And that’s the primary reason I’m supporting her, too. Ability to communicate libertarian values is more important to me when it comes to our candidates than whether or not the person is a purist. To me, minarchist Harry Browne was the perfect candidate, because he could communicate our principles well-enough to turn me into a libertarian. Dr. Ruwart has a lot of experience with communication, and I hope we can use that to our benefit. :)

    Democratic Republican writes, “The reason for coercion in taxation is free riders. If the three of us agree to pay voluntarily for police, but the other commenters here don’t, we have a problem because they are enjoying the benefits of our contribution without paying the cost.”

    I’ll analyse this problem from two perspectives, the anarchist perspective and then the Randian perspective.

    Anarchists would simply point out that if you do not pay private protection agency X, you do not get the services of private protection agency X. So, there is no inherent free-rider effect in this transaction. One could say, however, that there is a coincidental free-rider effect. If company X captures murderer A and executes him for his crime, nobody else ever has to deal with murderer A. He’s gone. Everyone benefits, even if not everyone pays. Rothbard’s reply is, so what? Do I not benefit from the sight of my neighbour’s tree? Why should I be forced to give money to my neighbour because I benefit in this manner? In fact, do we not all benefit in some way or another from the intellectual and artistic contributions from the past? Should we wear sack-clothes and hit ourselves to punish ourselves for all this benefit?

    So there’s two points there. The first is that the free-rider effect is extremely minimal, because those not willing to pay the company don’t directly benefit, and may indeed get robbed or whatnot if they do not wish to purchase the services available. The second point is that the free-rider problem is not a problem because we all free-ride to some degree. In a free market, we all benefit from the mutual trade of others because their mutual trades allow the system to work, thus allowing us all to get wealthier than we would be under a command economy. This benefit is no sin on our part.

    Then there’s the Randian approach. Randians reject taxation, but not government. How, then, would the government function without taxation?

    There are two options. First, the state could simply not act to protect those who do not voluntarily give X number of dollars to the state—basically, a similar approach to the anarchists. But, let’s say that the state aims to give protection to all, and not just to those who voluntarily give. Anti-tax minarchists would say that people will still donate to the government if they believe in the cause. For comparison, let’s look at the ACLU, which gets its money completely voluntarily. Why do people donate? They do so because they truly believe in what’s being offered.

    A state that doesn’t tax wouldn’t get nearly as much money as ours does now, but this should be no problem to those who want limited government. Indeed, under this approach, we would have only as much government as people are willing to pay for. If I believe that we need a police force but don’t need government education, then I’ll direct my donations specifically to policing. Let’s say those in New York really want government schools—then people will donate to that cause. Each state would differ in what services it offers, because the people in those states differ on what they believe are necessary government functions.

    Further, if you believe the government isn’t getting enough money, you can always start campaigns to get people to donate more. The ACLU sends out emails about the issues it campaign on. Likewise, if you believe the government schools need more money, you would start a campaign to get people to donate to that cause. If no one decides to donate to government education in Georgia, then Georgia gets no government education, and the function gets handled entirely privately.

    Now, how does the free rider effect affect this? Well, if I’m a New Yorker and I think the quality of the education is declining, I will cease donating. Therefore, there would be an incentive amongst those who truly want me to donate to get bad teachers to stop teaching, thereby improving the quality of education and encouraging me to re-continue my donation.

    And people will naturally differ on what specifically constitutes good education, but that’s fine, because there’s nothing wrong with tolerating differences of opinion like this.

    Government policing would be much more common than government education, and government education would be much more common than government-sponsored censorship boards like the FCC. That’s because people know that their priority is safety.

    “Consequently, the standard of justice becomes not the presence or absence of coercion but rather whether or not government is acting to fulfill its primary obligation: the protection of individual rights. This is Locke’s basic argument, Nozick’s (to an extent), and especially Randy Barnett in Restoring the Lost Constitution.”

    Locke says there are two justifications for altering or abolishing one’s bonds with one’s sovereign. A) If the sovereign is not defending your rights, then it’s as though you don’t even have a sovereign—so why ought one remain bonded? B) If the sovereign is actively violating your rights, then he puts you in a worse off place than you were in the state of nature, where at least you had the possibility of defending yourself.

    I personally see taxation as theft by the hands of government, and thus a violation of my basic right to justly-acquired property. I don’t demand that you accept my view, or that you adopt my more-radical stance, of course; just pointing out why I believe the “primary obligation,” as you put it, of government is violated when government begins taxing.

    I haven’t read Barnett’s work yet, although I want to. All I know about Barnett is that he’s an anarchist and a huge fan of Lysander Spooner.

    “If there is no government, who judges guilt or innocence?”

    That’s a good question. The first anarchist to really tackle this question was Gustave de Molinari. I think it was around 1850 is wrote about this.

    He basically said that if there is a demand for something, someone will supply it. If there is a demand for arbitration, therefore, people competing on the free market will provide this service, and those arbitors deemed most just by the market will be the ones who attract the most patrons.

    Rothbard, in his For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto (1973) states that in an [anarcho-]libertarian legal system, arbitors would have to make some sort of pledge to defend the non-aggression principle in all of their decisions. (One could look at this as a form of positive law and, thus, decide that Rothbard was not actually an anarchist, just a radical minarchist. I would still classify him as an anarchist, however.)

    Linda & Morris Tannehill, who wrote The Market for Liberty (an anarcho-Objectivist book) three years earlier, did not make any claim about there needing to be any sort of pledge, and seem to assume private arbitration firms will naturally rule in accordance with the non-aggression axiom because it would be detrimental to their profits not to. (Although the Tannehills do not make this specific argument, it would nonetheless seem like a very Tannehillian argument to say that any private arbitor who rules in favour of an aggressor inevitably opens him- or herself to attacks of that very same form of aggression.)

    Anarchists also like to point out that common law arose anarchistically. People did not like that there were no laws covering the issues plaguing them, and thus common law arose out of tradition. Anarchists also like to point out that some of our best laws arose from the common law courts.

    “The person wronged? The person who committed the crime? A mutually agreed upon arbiter? Let’s say the two parties agree to arbitration. NO ONE will voluntarily accept the punishment of castration.”

    They accepted it by accepting the arbitration. No doubt they would sign some sort of contract with the arbitor in advance. If the convicted does not like his/her punishment, he/she can always appeal.

    Well, I should probably discuss appeals a little. Rothbard says that a[n anarcho-]libertarian society would probably have a norm that limits appeals in most cases to two appeals.

    The Tannehills say that there might be a contractual limit to the number of appeals one may seek. But, even in those instances where there is no contractual limit to the number of appeals, there will likely be a market-based limit, because who wants to keep paying courts to retry the case if all that happens is he/she loses over and over again.

    I don’t know what other anarchists have to say on appeals. I don’t know if Molinari ever commented on them, not yet having read his work.

    “Whoever it is is the ‘government,’ and the government is coercing someone into receiving a punishment they did not want. It is the very definition of coercion.”

    Okay, let us assume that there is a contractual limit to the number of appeals, and each judge has agreed that it’s castration. Who enforces this?

    The private protection agencies enforce it.

    Does that mean the private protection agencies are de facto the government? Only under the Herbertian use of the term.

    I would say that the castation is not aggressive in this scenario.

    You asked a bunch of questions. I hope I’ve been able to give you good answers. Since I’ve been both a minarchist and an anarchist, and have read works from each, I hope I’ve been able to make my answers interesting.

    I’ve got to go right now, but I hope I have time to come back to this thread and answer whatever else you may have. :)

    Cheers,
    Alex Peak

  92. G.E. Says:

    D.R. – I have not identified myself as an anarchist. I am mostly concerned with the federal government and that it be bound by the actual Constitution. Thus, while I might prefer the Articles of Confederation (and no government at all to that), I am in no way hypocritical in working for Ron Paul, who feels largely (perhaps entirely) the same way I do. I believe the federal government, so long as it exists, should be funded by an apportioned head tax assessed to its member states (as under the AOI, and suggested under the Constitution), and that those member states should assess taxes in whatever manner they choose. Ideally, I would like to live in a state with no taxation whatsoever, which met its obligations to the federal government through voluntary donations from those who saw a benefit in remaining a member of the union. I do not accept the “free rider” argument—where there is a need for a service, individuals and groups will pay for it. If some attempt to free ride, then the market will provide a solution. Coercion is never the solution to a problem!

    Perhaps Alex Peak and I would disagree who should do the castrating, but we DO agree that it should NOT be the federal government. That is my strictly legal perspective. My philosophical perspective is that justice should be administered as locally as possible.

  93. swift kick in the ass Says:

    “and felt clean and fresh afterward!”

    just what the lp needs, a clean “lemony fresh” anarchist enema.

  94. swift kick in the ass Says:

    you kiddie porn gang members are all jews, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars, go directly to jail, jews are are pedophiles.

  95. Mike Theodore Says:

    copy and paste? What is this?

  96. Brian Holtz Says:

    Alex, you’re confusing free-riding with consumer surplus; they’re different concepts.

    You also seem to be confusing non-production of public goods with under-production; only the latter is what we (and every economics textbook) says will occur.

    See: http://libertarianmajority.net/do-markets-under-produce-public-goods

    Also:

    It would be untenable to deny that history provides many examples of situations in which there was no functioning monopoly on force-initiation over a significant region for a significant period of time, for any non-embarrassing standard of significance. I’ve never heard of a single case in the entire history of organized crime across hundreds of cities in scores of nations over multiple decades in which the unregulated market for protection behaved remotely like what is predicted by anarcholibertarian theory. This track record becomes even more dismal if you include all the cases in history in which there have been regions lacking effective sovereignty by a central authority. This amounts to an empirical falsification of the anarcholibertarian theory of protection markets that by the standards of social science is spectacularly conclusive.

    Every single episode in which there wasn’t a monopoly on force-initiation over a region becomes a test case for anarcholibertarianism. Despite the literally hundreds of such test cases, the only purported successes advanced for the theory involve a few thousand pre-industrial farmers sprinkled sparsely across medieval Iceland and the frontier of colonial Pennsylvania. In contrast to how even bastard forms of minarchism have been so spectacularly successful compared to all other significant social experiments, the track record of anarcholibertarianism is simply embarrassing.

  97. swift kick in the nuts Says:
    1. swift kick in the ass Says:
      April 29th, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    you kiddie porn gang members are all jews, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars, go directly to jail, jews are are pedophiles.

    1. Mike Theodore Says:
      April 29th, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    copy and paste? What is this?

    ah, some ahole with more time than me.

  98. Brian Holtz Says:

    “JRE”, any reformer spreading these despicable Ruwart smears is no “friend” of mine. All they’re accomplishing is giving Ruwart an excuse not to address the substance of the embarrassing principles involved here. Kubby forwarded my 5 tough questions to Ruwart several hours before their show, but they conspicuously spent an hour on easy questions about anonymous smears and a poorly-thought-out press release. Ruwart and Cowan even emphasized that it’s been about ten years since she wrote the comments in question, but I thought the reason radicals liked Ruwart is that she’s been consistently “plumbline” for over a quarter century. I’ve now listened to several hours of Ruwart campaign appearances, and I don’t think I’ve once heard her advocate or defend any of the radical principles that distinguish her from reformers/minarchists. So far, she’s saying many of the the vague and happy things that Rothbard viciously attacked Clark about in 1980. Why nominate a zero-state abolitionist if she’s not going to promote and defend that position? If we want a middle-of-the-libertarian-road campaign, why not nominate a middle-of-the-libertarian-road candidate, like Phillies? Radicals criticize reformers for allegedly advocating a stealth campaign strategy of disguising their libertarian principles, but Ruwart’s anarchism is so stealth it’s simply invisible—at least to anybody who can’t do a web search.

  99. Brian Holtz Says:

    That link is: http://libertarianintelligence.com/2008/04/5-questions-for-dr-ruwart.html

  100. Ninja Six Says:

    “Why nominate a zero-state abolitionist if she’s not going to promote and defend that position? If we want a middle-of-the-libertarian-road campaign, why not nominate a middle-of-the-libertarian-road candidate, like Phillies? Radicals criticize reformers for allegedly advocating a stealth campaign strategy of disguising their libertarian principles, but Ruwart’s anarchism is so stealth it’s simply invisible—at least to anybody who can’t do a web search.”

    Yep.

  101. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Holtz writes, “Ruwart and Cowan even emphasized that it’s been about ten years since she wrote the comments in question, but I thought the reason radicals liked Ruwart is that she’s been consistently ‘plumbline’ for over a quarter century.”

    Then you may have been misinformed. I think we have at least six candidates who are libertarian-enough to run.

    My support for Dr. Ruwart can best be summed up by the recent LP poll.

    The question was, “What type of LP presidential candidate do you want?” The answer I provided was “Someone who can communicate our basic message to voters outside our party.”

    That is why Dr. Ruwart is my favourite candidate. Kubby is second, Smith is third, Dr. Philies is fourth, Root is fifth, and Jingozian is sixth. (I’d factor Hess somewhere in there if he’d just get himself a website.)

    Why is a good communicator a good thing? Because a good communicator, like Harry Browne, has the power to turn a liberal into a libertarian, like he did to me.

    God bless Harry Browne.

    None of our candidates is as good as Browne was, but then, Browne is nearly impossible to beat. He’s like that ex-girlfriend that you find yourself inadvertantly judging all your subsequent girlfriends against. There will probably never be a libertarian candidate that clear and persuasive again, but let’s hope I’m wrong.

    “So far, she’s saying many of the the vague and happy things that Rothbard viciously attacked Clark about in 1980.”

    From everything I’ve read, Rothbard had a nasty habit of bridge-burning. Good on philosophy and ethics, bad on bridges. (But, I also heard he had a phobia on bridges, so no wonder he’d want to burn them. :) )

    “Why nominate a zero-state abolitionist if she’s not going to promote and defend that position?”

    Answer

    I’m not voting for anarchism, I’m voting for good communication.

    I’ve often said there are two things in this world that, combined, cause 99% of the world’s problems. One is, of course, government; but the other, even worse, is poor communication.

    “If we want a middle-of-the-libertarian-road campaign, why not nominate a middle-of-the-libertarian-road candidate, like Phillies?”

    Answer

    Although I will say this, Dr. Phillies’s speaking ability has definitely improved some since I first heard him. I think all six candidates I mentioned can speak well enough to defend and promote libertarian values to the American people, but I believe Dr. Ruwart is the best at this.

    Cheers,
    Alex Peak

  102. Brian Holtz Says:

    Well, Alex, then I guess I may in the end be the more radical of the two of us, because I want a Libertarian candidate who is not embarrassed to openly and clearly advocate the same destination to both Libertarian audiences and non-Libertarian audiences. I don’t want any of us to have to always fear that the next question for our candidate will be one that boxes her out from offering the sugar-coated feel-good directional answer over her embarrassing honest destinational answer (e.g. zero government, legalized child prostitution). I favor the Platform being directional to the extent that our candidates can’t all agree on destination, but I think that each of our candidates should forthrightly and honestly explain her own preferred destination to every audience. Isn’t that supposed to be the point of an ideological party of principle?

    Maybe that will get me booted from the Reform Caucus, but I have a theory that goes like this: you can lead an anarchist to a general audience, but you can’t make them preach anarchism to it. I offer a challenge to every radical Libertarian reading this: nominate for us a YouTube video of an anarchist/radical LP candidate giving the most radical pitch you’ve ever seen offered to a general-voter audience. It’s easy to be an anarchist in the cozy little confines of Third Party Watch, but I advocate exactly the same sized government in PlatCom debates as I do in local League of Women Voters debates. How many anarchist Libertarian candidates can offer video evidence that they do too?

    I agree with you that each of Phillies, Root, Kubby, and Ruwart have proven that they are very good at communicating our shared Libertarian values to general audiences. But I give Phillies and Root extra credit for having more of a full-disclosure pitch, with less detective work required of voters who want know how little government the candidate actually wants us to end up with. I would love it if the LP Platform were just a transcript of the standard stump speech of a “plumbline” candidate like Kubby or Ruwart, because I can never detect any zero-state abolitionism in what they say to general audiences.

  103. Alex Peak Says:

    Quoth Harry Browne:

    It seems to me that a lot of time is wasted by libertarians who argue whether it’s possible to have a society without any government at all.What’s the point?Right now, we’re $2.3 trillion away from no government, and about $2.2 trillion away from limited government.That means that until we trim $2.2 trillion from the federal budget, the issue of limited government vs. anarchy is moot.  I can only presume that both sides would be pleased as punch (and then some) to reduce the federal government by $2.2 trillion.  So that’s what we all should be working toward as the first goal.If we can get the federal government down to $100 billion, I’ll lead a drive to raise the money necessary to rent the New Orleans SuperDome for three months — so we can all get together and argue over how much further the federal government should be reduced.Those who want no government at all can continue working to reduce the size of government.  Those who want limited government can fight to keep the federal government at $100 billion — or work to reduce it slightly more — or even work to increase it slightly.But none of it is relevant until we reduce the government dramatically from where it is now.As to the question of whether a society without government is possible, today we try to answer it with limited knowledge.  If we can ever make government very small, we will undoubtedly find that plenty of people — people with more creativity and imagination than we have — will find it profitable to devise ways to do things privately and voluntarily that today seem possible only through government.  Until those creative people have an incentive to put their minds to the question, we’re contemplating the issue without knowing all the possibilities.But so what?  The question is moot.In the meantime, there are two things we know for sure:• Government is force, and we want to reduce the use of force to the absolute minimum.• Government doesn’t work, and so we want to remove as many activities as possible from government.And no matter which side of the limited government vs. anarchy you’re on, when someone asks you what size libertarians think the government should be, you can answer:“Libertarians want to reduce government to the absolute minimum possible, and we can’t really know what size that is until we get there.“In the meantime, don’t you agree that government is way too big, way too powerful, way too intrusive, and way too expensive?“If so, please help us reduce it to the absolute minimum possible.”

    I am a libertarian first, Mr. Holtz, and anything else second. Quite frankly, if we were to sucessfully get the government down to $100,000 dollars, I might very well retire from ever speaking about politics again. The question of anarchism v. minarchism really is much, much less important to me than the question of status quo statism v. extremely limited government.

    Moreover, what is the point of an anarchist campaigning on anarchism when he or she knows very well that all he or she will actually be able to achieve, if elected, is, at most, limiting the power, scope, and size of government? If that’s all you can achieve as an elected official, and if it’s generally agreed that it’s bad policy to make promises one can’t keep, then why should anyone ever even think of promising anarchism? The whole notion seems ridiculous.

    Here’s what I would promise voters if I were running for an office: I will not accept as pay even a cent of your tax dollars. There’s a principled position and a promise one can keep.

    Sincerely yours,
    Alex Peak

  104. Alex Peak Says:

    Drat. The quote didn’t come out as I had HTMLed it.

    It seems to me that a lot of time is wasted by libertarians who argue whether it’s possible to have a society without any government at all.

    What’s the point?

    Right now, we’re $2.3 trillion away from no government, and about $2.2 trillion away from limited government.

    That means that until we trim $2.2 trillion from the federal budget, the issue of limited government vs. anarchy is moot.  I can only presume that both sides would be pleased as punch (and then some) to reduce the federal government by $2.2 trillion.  So that’s what we all should be working toward as the first goal.

    If we can get the federal government down to $100 billion, I’ll lead a drive to raise the money necessary to rent the New Orleans SuperDome for three months — so we can all get together and argue over how much further the federal government should be reduced.

    Those who want no government at all can continue working to reduce the size of government.  Those who want limited government can fight to keep the federal government at $100 billion — or work to reduce it slightly more — or even work to increase it slightly.

    But none of it is relevant until we reduce the government dramatically from where it is now.

    As to the question of whether a society without government is possible, today we try to answer it with limited knowledge.  If we can ever make government very small, we will undoubtedly find that plenty of people — people with more creativity and imagination than we have — will find it profitable to devise ways to do things privately and voluntarily that today seem possible only through government.  Until those creative people have an incentive to put their minds to the question, we’re contemplating the issue without knowing all the possibilities.

    But so what?  The question is moot.

    In the meantime, there are two things we know for sure:

    • Government is force, and we want to reduce the use of force to the absolute minimum.
    • Government doesn’t work, and so we want to remove as many activities as possible from government.

    And no matter which side of the limited government vs. anarchy you’re on, when someone asks you what size libertarians think the government should be, you can answer:

    “Libertarians want to reduce government to the absolute minimum possible, and we can’t really know what size that is until we get there.

    “In the meantime, don’t you agree that government is way too big, way too powerful, way too intrusive, and way too expensive?

    “If so, please help us reduce it to the absolute minimum possible.”

  105. jack booted thug Says:

    Alex,

    How are you this morning? I’m fine. My SATCOM was down the last few days and I haven’t been able to surf the net. Did you have an opportunity to visit our site and look through the careers? You can click on my alias for the link.

    As I said the other day, we are actively recruiting new talent to our “private army” and you are a bright young man. It would be my honor to serve with such a patriot as you.

    I’ll disclose some non-sensitive information to you; currently our employees earn upwards of $250,000 U.S. per year. That is a base pay in hazardous areas. In addition our benefits package, well, quite frankly is second to none.

    Here’s one of my favorite quotes:
    “Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    Until next time.
    JBT

  106. Clark Says:

    ...(holy shit, kemo sabe, white man politician blow like wind!) ;o)

    “..............................Geolibertarianism thus solves the central conundrum of minarchism: how to finance the protection of life, liberty, and property without initiating force. Its solution even offers an unanticipated bonus: a non-force-initiating libertarian safety net for the poor….....................” (END)

    ...volumes of hallucination!

    ..look, when you Republicrats finally get your spiel down pat, just a few questions..

    ...and SOMEWHAT MORE PRECISELY, 1st cousins of Republicrats,...

    ...what about INEVITABLE disputes? (dispute$?) ;o)
    ...with what, if any’thing,’ does ‘the judge’ ‘get paid?’
    ...how does that ‘thing’....with which ‘the judge’ ‘gets paid’ originate/’get issued,’ etc.? (hint: here’s where the old, ‘the market’ (a mere man-made concept/label) ‘will decide’-card is sometimes played by the fraudster$).. (btw, i certainly don’t expect you Republicrats to understand the FUTURE of ‘the money thing’..after all, and admit it, you Republicrat money dummies don’t even have an honest clue as to the PRE$ENT or PA$T!) ;o)

    (i have a LOT more ‘to the root’ question$, but these three ought to deflate the voluminous ‘anarchist,’ ‘geolibertarian,’ etcetercrats ad nauseam, windbaggery..) ;o) (btw, geo’l’ism smells somewhat decent/interesting to me..something new to me)

    “They work their holes about ‘illion$’ worse than ignorant as to even one!” (Unknown sage)

  107. Old Whig Says:

    This nation is a runaway train to tyranny and ruin. We need to elect people who will stop it. To meet that goal, I’ll support Constitutionalists, Libertarians, Ron Paul Republicans, or anyone who has even a modicum of a chance to succeed. Purity be damned! After we stop the train we can argue as to how far to back it up.

    O.W.

    We miss you Harry Browne.

  108. Brian Holtz Says:

    Alex, TPW keeps rejecting all versions of my latest response to you, so you can read it at
    http://more.libertarianintelligence.com/2008/04/alex-peak-scores-1-out-of-30.html

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