Phillies on Debate and Civility

Libertarian Presidential Candidate George Phillies issued a statement today regarding civility in debate in the Presidential race, taking candidates to task for mudslinging while encouraging his fellow Libertarian candidates not to shy away from asking and answering hard questions.

“Each Party’s Presidential campaign has given us spectacular exchanges: Giuliani vs Paul in their first debate. Clinton vs Obama, debate after debate after debate. The Libertarian spat between Ruwart and Root,” said Phillies. “When exchanges degenerate to the level of a Jerry Springer episode, the issues are lost in the shouting.

“On one hand, many Americans wish that candidates would always be nice to each other. They’re right. It’s bad for America when arguments about flag pins drown out questions on the Federal debt and the trade deficit.

“On the other hand, and I say this to my fellow candidates of all parties, if you can’t face down critics in your own party, how will you face down your real opponents this Fall? To their credit, Senators Clinton, McCain, and Obama took the worst their fellow Democrats and Republicans threw at them. It was trial by fire, and they emerged as better candidates and better people. At the very least, they demonstrated their ability to hold their ground and defend their viewpoints.

“Libertarians should take that lesson to heart. The Libertarian Party is a political party, not an academic pontificating society. Americans expect candidates to differ with their opponents when there are differences, not to pretend those differences aren’t there. They want to see and explore those differences, and we need to let them.

“At the same time, debate can get carried away. Attacks that should be leveled at issues are instead leveled at candidates themselves. The objective, after all, is to move toward victory in November.

Libertarians expect that Libertarian candidates will campaign for fellow Libertarians, not for our Democratic opponents. Libertarians expect that Libertarian candidates will take libertarian stands, not embrace positions of the remote religious right. Libertarians expect that Libertarian candidates will self-identify as Libertarian, not as Republican. Readers in other parties justly have exactly the same expectations about their own candidates.”

11 Responses to “Phillies on Debate and Civility”

  1. Jose C. Says:

    The more we hear, the better he sounds.

  2. Steve Perkins Says:

    Yeah, Phillies is positioning himself to be the backup “default” if things blow up between the front-runners at the convention… hardline enough to win purists, while coherent enough to not turn his skin blue or endorse child pornography. However, given that Massachusetts Libertarians frequently lambaste him for dragging down that state’s party, I’d view a Phillies nomination as Badnarik Vol. II.

  3. Brian Holtz Says:

    An excellent statement from Phillies. If George continues to apply these guidelines to his own disagreements with people on LNC and in the national office, then there will be no good reason why the delegates shouldn’t turn to him in Denver as a unity candidate. George seems to be consistently gaining ground, while every other candidate is slipping backward or running in place.

    When I predicted Ruwart’s candidacy on March 16, I gave the odds as: Root 30% Ruwart 30% Kubby 20% Phillies 10% Smith 5% others 5%. I would now rate them as:

    Root or Barr: 40%
    Ruwart or Kubby: 30%
    Phillies: 20%
    Gravel: 5%
    others: 5%

    Between Root and Barr, I hesitate to underestimate the advantage Root has of already having taken his opponents’ best shots for months. If I had to bet my house on only one candidate, I’d predict that forthcoming attacks on Barr will give the nomination to Root.

    Between Ruwart and Kubby, I don’t see that Ruwart’s unwillingness to clarify her positions on children’s legal protections will put much of a dent in her appeal to Kubby’s base. I admire Kubby for coming to Ruwart’s aid by trying to change the subject from Ruwart’s enduring principles to Cory’s hasty press release, as he surely knows that doing so solidifies her advantage over him in preference voting by their supporters.

  4. C. Al Currier Says:

    I appreciate Mr. Phillies request for civility. As libertarians, we have no inherent obligation to emulate potty-mouth Navy men like McCain & Co., nor should we obfiscate the issues with absurd character attacks.

    I take one exception to the ‘civility’ request, however.
    Some of the roots of libertarianism is traced to the Christian Reformation in Europe, with radicals such as Martin Luther, the ‘protestants’ and ‘anabaptists’. Mr. Phillies refers to the ‘remote religious right’, apparently indicating that they have no place in ‘Libertarianism’. From the ‘religious right’ have come such basic principles (from Europe) as ‘Seperation of Church and State’, and ‘Freedom of the Press’. I continue to embrace those principles and am happy to give credit to the ones (in Europe) who brought these things to us. The ‘remote religious right’ not only has a place in libertarianism, but could be looked at as our beginnings.

  5. John Shuey Says:

    “From the ‘religious right’ have come such basic principles (from Europe) as ‘Seperation of Church and State’, and ‘Freedom of the Press’.”

    They gave those issues lip service when they were a small minority and enjoyed little to no power. As their power grew they were just as willing to burn heretics as was Rome.

    Today both polls and statements from the religious right’s leaders indicate an eagerness to abrogate most of the first amendment along with a number of others.

  6. matt Says:

    “From the ‘religious right’ have come such basic principles (from Europe) as ‘Seperation of Church and State’, and ‘Freedom of the Press’.”

    They gave those issues lip service when they were a small minority and enjoyed little to no power. As their power grew they were just as willing to burn heretics as was Rome.

    According to this simplistic analysis of history, we should be judging all atheists by the (constantly bloody) behavior of the officially atheist states.

  7. things that make ya go hmmmm Says:

    hardline enough to win purists, while coherent enough to not turn his skin blue or endorse child pornography.

    hmmmm child pornography = motive. george was on that ruwart story almost instantaneously, denouncing and directing traffic to his “books for sale”. george has something to gain for dissing mary, don’t you george?

  8. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Holtz, I don’t believe there was anything left unclarified by Ruwart in her interview. About what are you still unclear? She said that young children cannot consent, but that any law that says “consensual sex between a sixteen-year-old and a seventeen-year-old is rape” is crazy. I think that position is rational.

    Respectfully,
    Alex Peak

  9. C. Al Currier Says:

    Today both polls and statements from the religious right’s leaders indicate an eagerness to abrogate most of the first amendment along with a number of others. ....John Shuey Says

    Many of the current religious right seem to be eager to replace the church with the state. It bothers me when they also call themselves ‘protestants’.
    I believe that liberarianism has a place for protestants who oppose ‘church-and-state-as-one’. I also believe that libertarianism might have a place for Catholics if they happen to oppose ‘church-and-state-as-one’.

    Benjamin Franklin was opposed to allowing Catholics to emigrate into the US because of this basic problem.

  10. Brian Holtz Says:

    Alex, I already told you last night on another thread that the unanswered elephant-in-the-room question on Monday evening was: Should there be no binding laws/rules that consider age to be any kind of rebuttable factor in sexual consent, or are you only opposed to “bright-line” age discrimination that creates crimes because of rigid calendar calculations?

    Indeed, I don’t know Ruwart’s answers to my other four questions:
    http://libertarianintelligence.com/2008/04/5-questions-for-dr-ruwart.html

    If you can quote answers from her to any of them I would appreciate it, as with all due respect I’m more interested in her answers than in yours.

  11. Yank Says:

    What is Philies’s stance on ass? Is there any good ass in this campaign? Where’s the ass?

Leave a Reply