A Public Service Reminder: The Libertarian Party Is Not The GOP

by Brian Miller

As a centrist in the Libertarian Party, I’m certainly accustomed to the barbs of radicals and their sting, when I have disagreed on a policy position. However, I’m also attuned to the exclusionary policies of some in the right wing, and the problems that Republican Party divisiveness creates within a big-tent party like the LP. That latter dynamic represents the gravest threat to a successful Libertarian Party electoral campaign in 2008—regardless of the opinions to the contrary of GOP organs such as the American Spectator.

One has to have a fundamental grasp of the difference between the LP and the Republican Party in order to understand the cultural conflicts arising within it today. The Republican Party is a centrally-managed, top-down organization with “leaders” who “set the agenda” and foot soldiers (primarily on the social-conservative right) who “spread the news.”

The Libertarian Party, in contrast, is a voluntary association of liberty lovers from various walks of life who have come together to debate the role of liberty in everyday life and in governance. Rather than serving as a top-down organization which gets its marching orders from the Leaders On High, we’re a democratic organization that debates every point and then encourages our elected leaders in the LNC to take our message out to the general public—along with, of course, Libertarian candidates for office.

Our principles are stated in our platform, voted upon by the delegates—not by the Bill Bennetts, Pat Robertsons, and George W. Bushes who set the GOP agenda. As a Libertarian, I can criticize the dismal and unbroken record of failure of both the Republican Party and the conservative movement—but I would never dream of telling the Republicans how to run their party, even as it careens to laughing-stock status in the polls and permanent minority status in Congress and the Senate.

If only Republicans had the same courtesy vis-a-vis the Libertarian Party.

The reason why Shane Cory left the executive directorship of the Libertarian Party under such a cloud is simple—his Republican-style command-and- control, centrally-managed approach emulated a GOP style in a party that is not, and never will be, the GOP. Those of us who want a Libertarian approach to the operation of our own party are not “radicals”—we are engaged party members who demand that the professional standards of conduct developed by the membership and the LNC be applied to all staffers to give us a party organization that represents the broad interests of our party—not the narrow interests of a self-styled elite.

I’m a fan of Chuck Muth, a former Republican-turned- independent who has cozied up to the conservative wing of the LP as the master of ceremonies of a recent LP outreach effort in Nevada last year.

Unfortunately, Muth’s latest blog post, entitled “Libertarian Fringe Comes Unhinged,” reads more like a press release from the Republican National Committee than an independent and informed analysis on the recent controversy. Muth complains that “unhinged” Libertarians from “the fringe” pushed out his friend Shane Cory to defend a “woman who is nuts” and a “loon” (based on a selective and out-of-context interpretation of a book published over a decade ago by Ruwart). Note that Dr. Ruwart was never asked by Muth to clarify her position (as she did on Steve Kubby’s recent radio show)—she’s instead immediately demonized.

This is a classic Republican-style smear job, and a frequent tactic by the failed Republican right wing. It has its roots in right-wing talk radio—a slew of out-of-context quotes, righteous indignation, epithets, and table-pounding, spittle-projecting, double-chin wobbling purple-faced rage which we are told is “mainstream. ” Such manufactured high-blood-pressure outrage is used in GOP campaigns against Democrats (most notably the Clintons), Libertarians (including Harry Browne and Michael Badnarik) and Greens (Cynthia McKinney) on a regular basis. “My opponent is interested in harming THE CHILDREN!” they scream. “We must stand up against them!”

I am not a Mary Ruwart supporter—my preferred choice is George Phillies. I disagree with a significant number of the opinions expressed in Dr. Ruwart’s book. I supported George Phillies’s good-faith efforts to draw policy-level contrasts between his positions on the issues and those of Dr. Ruwart. That’s a real spirit of debate, and to be applauded. I look forward to Dr. Ruwart responding and advancing the debate.

However, I also know that recent GOP efforts to smear Dr. Ruwart—a mother and grandmother—as a “supporter of child porn” from an out-of-context quote is ridiculous and slanderous blood libel. And the truth is, so do Wayne Root, Shane Cory and Chuck Muth, despite their efforts to position themselves as the brave and solitary opponents of The Well-Funded And Powerful Lobby For The Unspeakable. These Republican recent arrivals are trying to transform an exceptional activist within the Libertarian Party into something less than human, through Rush Limbaugh style insults and attacks.

It’s unfortunate that they’re grabbing onto this irrelevant and out-of-context quote to manufacture right-wing style “protect our children” outrage for their own political advantage—while simultaneously avoiding any real debates on actual policies that matter to our party and our country.

Further, they’re assuming that voters who are dim-witted enough to fall for their rhetorical tricks represent a vital mainstream voting constituency, rather than the tiny fringe found split between the Constitution Party and the hard right wing of the GOP. The penalty for not accepting the ad hominems against Dr. Ruwart, we are warned, is the derision of the “mainstream” (defined as the far-right Republican fringe who couldn’t even win their own party’s nomination battle). They would have us believe that the Libertarian Party must ignore the 85% of voters who are moderates and liberals and instead embrace those who “propelled” Tancredo, Hunter and others to sub-1% support levels in the Republican primary.

The overarching objective of this approach is to change the subject, enabling right-wing GOP-lite candidates—a prominent few of whom have participated in no debates at all—to avoid talking about real issues and instead spam the dialogue with “bold” claims that “I am against The Unspeakable” ... as though that is a highly unique position.

Talk about the politics of cynicism!

A word of advice to recent candidate arrivals to the LP (and their supporters): Libertarians don’t like GOP-style smear politics—it’s one of the reasons they’re registered with America’s third party to begin with. Continued Limbaugh-lite demagoguery will go over like the proverbial flatulence in church. The widespread calls for Cory’s departure illustrate this clearly.

At the Libertarian National Convention, those of us who are Libertarian Convention delegates will get an opportunity to compare declared candidates. There will be significant pressure for meaningful debate on real issues, and LP delegates will expect all candidates to participate in a good-faith dialogue.

If Libertarians with decade-old books are to be held accountable for their positions in those books, recent arrivals from the Republican Party with anti-liberty legislative or publishing records from the early 2000s will be equally held to account. GOP-style, right-wing-fringe attacks on candidates for office will not thrive in this environment of principled analysis—they’ll flop.

Secondly, please note that Libertarians do not have backbones of gelatin. We do not seek the approval or the enthusiasm of the Republican Party, any more than we seek the same from the Democratic Party. As Paul Jacob of the Sam Adams Alliance notes, we’ve always been “the little party that could,” and the derision of the failing and desperate right wing GOP commentariat is likely the least of the challenges we have faced—and conquered—over the years.

We as Libertarians all seek a candidate who will clearly articulate Libertarian values as a big-tent leader—someone who will be intellectually honest, who has campaigned honestly and forthrightly over the last several months, whose intentions for high office are clear, and who will make a clean break with the divisive and exclusionary dirty politics of the GOP that have so grievously harmed our party in the last several months.

We will demand that candidates debate and campaign on their records, on the candidates they have endorsed in recent elections, on their affiliations, on their longterm involvement in the fight for liberty, in their efficacy as freedom fighters, and in their policy prescriptions for America. We will honestly discuss the policies articulated in Dr. Ruwart’s book—and we will also ask candidates who are, to be charitable, recent converts to explain how they intend to undo anti-freedom policies for which they voted—policies such as the Law of the Seas, the USA PATRIOT Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, border-closing laws, federal school prayer mandates, and various Drug War statutes.

As a party, we will organize a grassroots campaign based not around old-party GOP-style politics of fear, but rather the politics of new ideas and belief in the founding principles of our Republic. We will hold the Republican and Democratic Parties, and their apologists, accountable for their dismal records. And we will succeed.

As a moderate Libertarian Party member and activist, I welcome the involvement of all people—from all political walks of life—who want to advance the cause of liberty. The cause of freedom is not advanced through Republican style epithets, nor Rush Limbaugh style table thumping, nor smearing of longtime Libertarian Party activists. Former Republicans and Democrats are welcome to become involved in our party and our movement, and should be excited to trade in their old-party dirty politics baggage for a real debate—open, engaged, honest, forthright, ethical, transparent and passionate.

Brian Miller is a delegate to the Libertarian National Convention in Denver, and a member of the executive committee of Outright Libertarians.

104 Responses to “A Public Service Reminder: The Libertarian Party Is Not The GOP”

  1. The Democratic Republican Says:

    For all the talk about non-coercion among certain groups, I love all the group speak about “this is what a libertarian is” or “this is what libertarians are” and “this is what libertarians like.” Haven’t any of you ever read Lysander Spooner? The quick summary is: none of you have a gahdamn right, at all, to speak on behalf of me. Any fundamentalist libertarian that can’t respect the rich history and width of classical liberalism is just another intolerant bigot, no matter how optimistically certain guest authors might frame their language.

    Just to clue some of you in: there is more diversity in the classical liberal tradition than “minarchist” (dumbest word ever) and “anarchist” (not part of the classical liberal family at all).

  2. The Democratic Republican Says:

    “GOP efforts to smear”: talking about fellow LP members as “GOP”—ya, you sound like a centrist to me.

    LP fundamentalists=wolves in sheeps’ clothing

  3. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Any more public service announcements for us all, Mr. Do Gooder?

  4. Roscoe Says:

    The LP candidate should be an articulate spokesman who attacks four or five of the most egregious policies of the Dems and GOP and states what the LP would have done (will do) and why if placed into office. This kind of campaign will build votes and build understanding of basic libertarian principles. We don’t need to debate age of consent for children, private toll roads, Rothbardism vs. Friedmanite economics, whether or not The David still speaks for the LP he founded, who cast a vote eight years ago for something he now regrets, etc.

  5. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Word, Roscoe

  6. Brian Holtz Says:

    “the people behind the platform nuttery are getting more deranged by
    the day.” – Brian Miller, March
    6 2008

    “Fortunately, the Republicans (including Ron Paul) are such homophobic
    bigots that [...]” – Brian Miller, Oct 31
    2007

  7. Red Phillips Says:

    I have noted a lot of sophistry and wordplay regarding Dr. Ruwart’s position on child porn. I agree that hysterical smears have no place in polite and civil conversation. I agree that smears coarsen the debate. But I have read a whole lot of words, and I still don’t know the answer to a very simple question. Does Dr. Ruwart think there shouldn’t be a law against child porn? The production, distribution, possession, etc. Something approximating a yes or no would be greatly appreciated. I have heard enough nuance. It is really a very simple question.

  8. Brian Holtz Says:

    When it’s decided whether Ruwart is 1) an author of a “decade-old book” and in the same league as “recent arrivals” from other parties, vs. 2) a consistent “plumbline” Libertarian for a quarter century, would someone please let us know?

  9. Peter Orvetti Says:

    LP members in the District of Columbia:
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=23199485139&ref=mf

  10. Free Al. Says:

    All I can say is, this article makes a lot of sense.

  11. Steve LaBianca Says:

    A lot of attempts to distract here. Ignore Holtz, Phillips, etc. This is just a more “congenial sounding” attempt to discredit Ruwart.

  12. David F. Nolan Says:

    Further worrisome evidence of the tendency, in some quarters, to “Republicanize” the LP is the decision to invite Richard Viguerie to be the Keynote Speaker at the upcoming LP convention in Denver. This decision was made after the previously scheduled keynoter, Bob Barr, had to be replaced because Barr is now a (sort-of) candidate for the Presidential nomination.

    Now Mr. Viguerie is certainly one of the world’s leading experts on political fundraising. He is also, I am told, a good speaker who has said nice things about the Libertarian Party in the past. And as far as I know, no Libertarian has any objection to having him speak at our convention in Denver. However, there is a LOT of opposition to having him as the Keynote Speaker, for one simple reason: He is not a Libertarian. He is a Conservative Republican! And as such, he should not be giving the Keynote Address at a Libertarian Convention!

    There are numerous good, qualified Libertarians available to serve as the keynoter, and it is simply absurd that a Conservative Republican has been invited to “set the tone and direction” of the LP convention. (That is the definition of what a keynote speaker does.)

    I have spoken with LP Chair Bill Redpath and the members of the Convention Oversight Committee about the inappropriateness of having a Republican as our keynoter, and so far their response has been tepid. Redpath says “Well, we can’t un-invite him,” but that’s an evasion. There’s no need to “un-invite” Viguerie. All that’s needed to re-designate his speech from “Keynote Address” to something generic like Comments or Remarks.

    I urge all Libertarians who really don’t want to see a Republican giving the Keynote Address at a Libertarian convention to contact Mr. Redpath and the three members of the Convention Oversight Committee and express their concerns. Be polite. The object is not to attack anyone (including Mr. Viguerie) but rather to remove him as Keynote Speaker (a simple relabeling of his talk will do) and insist on a real Libertarian as the sole Keynoter. (Having two keynotes, with Viguerie giving one, is not the solution!)

    Contact information is:

    William Redpath – wredpath@his.com
    Bob Sullentrup – rwsully@charter.net
    Julie Fox – jfox1214@sbcglobal.net
    Michael Colley – narwhal3@gulftel.com

  13. Committee for Clarity Says:

    to be clear
    Rosco
    Damn it we warned you about calling our leader “the David”, he’s “the Nolan”. Get it right asshole.

    the committee
    ...we told him …the Nolan will be so pissed..the Nolan is beloved…so is the high priestess.

  14. Committee for Clarity Says:

    to be clear

    Oh! this is really big. The Nolan speaks AND directs. The Nolan is right. Dirty filthy republican fund raisers shouldn’t be speaking to us like we are children. We don’t need no stinking money cause we ain’t gonna do no stinking campaigning. We have TPW and it’s free!

    the committee.
    ...the Nolan is keeping us pure from outside thoughts…yes. we don’t want to be tainted…what were those people thinking…don’t worry they’ll resign now that the Nolan has spoken. Is he ED yet?... not yet. Redpath is next he’s acting ED which has the Nolan pissed…the commies.

  15. Roscoe Says:

    Save your gratuitous insults. He’ll always be The David to me. I’ve known him longer (I bet) than you have.

  16. Reform Party Member /Don Lake Says:

    Ah, decades long reputations as closet anarchists and ‘herding cats’! But yes, it is the Republicrats and the Democans whom are literally killing us!

  17. Committee for Clarity Says:

    to be clear
    the Nolan said there is a LOT of opposition to having him as a keynote speaker.

    Sorry, we didn’t know you wanted us to oppose him great one.

    the committee
    ...where’s Shane when you need someone to kick…the Nolan got rid of him….watch out Redpath…hey weren’t most of us Republicans before we joined this cult?... shut up…yes sir…and don’t referr to the LP as a cult, it weakens the mind meld…slurp.

  18. disinter Says:

    Oh good lord. The Outright Liber-Nazi’s blog gets like 5 hits a day because of the egomaniac bullshit content that nobody wants to read. So what does TPW do? They post the same, lame opinionated bullshit.

    The ad revenue will skyrocket!

  19. Committee for Clarity Says:

    to be clear
    Rosco
    We never offer “gratuiteous” insults. However, we wish to point out that like so many purists lib’s referring to the Nolan to the David will only obscurre your message so no one will know to whom you referr. We have already imprinted on the mind meld the title “the Nolan”. Even the Nolan has given us his acknowledgement as elvating him to near mythical status.

    As to who has known the Nolan longest that is not relevant since proximity is measured strickly by devotion.

    the committee

  20. Eric Dondero Says:

    Nolan is right. Richard Vigeurie is not a libertarian. He’s more of a Ron Paul style, non-interventionist, isolationist Anti-War Conservative Populist.

    He’s also one of the Founders of the New Right/NeoCon movement from the 1970s along with other hardcore Pro-Lifers like Howard Phillips, whom we libertarians fiercely battled against.

    I join with David Nolan in opposing Viguerie as keynote speaker. Surely, the LP leadership could have found someone more suitable, more of a principled libertarian and more tolerant on social matters, like PJ O’Rourke, John Stossell, Drew Carey or Dennis Miller.

  21. disinter Says:

    He’s more of a Ron Paul style, non-interventionist, isolationist Anti-War Conservative Populist.

    Dumbdero – Ron Paul is not an isolationist as you well know and as many, many people have explained to you many, many times now. Quit being retarded, if possible.

    http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2006/tst121806.htm

  22. Justin Grover Says:

    I respect Mr. Miller very much, But I’m still not sure where the ‘smear’ is in quoting what someone wrote, especially when you quote the preface to the passage, and the entire passage, and even paraphrase the preface to the book, that says you can take the answers one paragraph at a time.

    Even more so when the person being quoted (smeared?) refuses to repudiate what was being quoted, and rather attempts to clarify or expound on what was written- which shows, in my opinion, that the person being quoted has a great deal of integrity, because they are essentially standing up for what they believe in / wrote about in spite of public critique.

    Not that I support what was done with the political hay by certain quarters- but to categorize most people that questions the position of a candidate on an issue (regardless of how it is brought up) as ‘smearing’ or ‘GOPing’ or what have you seems kind of undignified, and exactly the sort of tactic, unintentional or not, that the above author seems to abhor.

  23. Red Phillips Says:

    “Ignore Holtz, Phillips, etc. This is just a more “congenial sounding” attempt to discredit Ruwart.”

    Asking a simple question is an attempt to discredit?

  24. Chuck Muth Says:

    I find a significant difference between child pornography and under-aged sex. I believe child pornography should be illegal. If that means I’m not “libertarian” enough, so be it.

    I’m sorry, call it a GOP smear if you want, but if someone thinks a child is capable of making an adult decision and giving proper consent to engage in child pornography, and that those luring them into it and taking advantage of their circumstances and immaturity shouldn’t be held criminally liable, I personally think that person is a loon. But that’s just my opinion.

    If you all think this is the person you want represting your party as your presidential candidate in November…fine. Just don’t expect much support or many votes.

  25. disinter Says:

    Muth – the real question is why did you and your ilk bring this issue up?

  26. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Red Phillips Says:
      May 6th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    “Ignore Holtz, Phillips, etc. This is just a more “congenial sounding” attempt to discredit Ruwart.”

    Asking a simple question is an attempt to discredit?

    Keep asking it again and again. Just like asking, “Do you still beat your wife”, or one that “LifeMember kept asking over and over. The desired effect is obvious, but they fail here. Libertarians are generally too observant to take this bait.

  27. Brian Miller Says:

    I think many of the responses from both the “radicals” and the “conservatives” in the comments are underscoring my point! ;)

    I did not write this piece to attack Dr. Ruwart, but rather to provide some perspective from the center about this entire sorry affair. Libertarians should select a presidential candidate based on our own criteria—we should not be relying on the “advice” of Republicans who don’t have our best interests at heart.

  28. johncjackson Says:

    well, I oppose federal laws against rape and murder. I must be a murdering rapist!

    The big government “conservative” Republicans continue to distort this.

  29. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Chuck Muth Says:
    May 6th, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    I find a significant difference between child pornography and under-aged sex. I believe child pornography should be illegal. If that means I’m not “libertarian” enough, so be it.

    I’m sorry, call it a GOP smear if you want, but if someone thinks a child is capable of making an adult decision and giving proper consent to engage in child pornography, and that those luring them into it and taking advantage of their circumstances and immaturity shouldn’t be held criminally liable, I personally think that person is a loon. But that’s just my opinion.

    That’s right, classify all young people under 18 or 21, as “children”, and
    that makes all of them the same. Ageism is a problem, but with this guy Muth, all “children” are to be the same, especially UNDER THE LAW! Ageism to an extreme! And let’s face it, THE LAW is what we need to accept that the government is to take responsibility for everything, if necessary, dammit!

  30. Carl Says:

    It is not a smear to point out another candidate’s position. The quotation in question indicates that Ruwart thinks there should be no age of consent laws. None. She would have all decisions made by ad hoc judicial whim.

    Her Randsberger Pivot does not undo the position. She may well honestly believe that all age of consent laws and child porn laws do more harm than good. And Hillary Clinton believes that socialized medicine does more good than harm.

    Intent doesn’t make either candidate right.

    I have seen no defender of Ruwart give any evidence that the quote was taken out of context. Indeed, her press release confirmed the interpretation that many of us find so troubling. It is not that we think she actively believes in child sex; it’s that she states that the State has no interest in the matter.
    ——
    All this points to the fundamental blindness of the radicals who stay in the party. The Zero Aggression Principle hits some serious diminishing—negative—returns when applied to its logical conclusion. The ogres at lewrockwell.com understand this and simply don’t care; principle is more important than reality. A large fraction of those who show up at LP conventions live in deep denial. They want to believe that cutting government works everywhere.

    It may make sense at times to cut government even when it hurts. Freedom is valuable in and of itself. But when the benefit of a government action is far greater than the freedom lost thereby, this is generally a bad tradeoff.

    The only situation where it might make sense to go for the deep hurt is cutting the last bits of government in order to keep it from growing in the future. But applying this criterion today is incredibly stupid. Today government is HUGE. Today, there are no “last bits.” We don’t live anywhere close to anarchotopia.

    If anarchotopia does indeed exist and is more stable than limited-government democracy, then ditching age of consent laws in favor of lynchings may be worth it to get rid of the last head of the hydra. But to take such a position today when anarchotopia is nowhere in sight is politically insane. The LP is insane.

    LPers play end game chess on move 1 and then wonder why they keep getting clobbered.

  31. Brian Miller Says:

    For all the talk about non-coercion among certain groups, I love all the group speak about “this is what a libertarian is” or “this is what libertarians are”

    It’s a bit bizarre to be suggesting that this is what I am doing when it was others—primarily recent Republicans—who were smearing Dr. Ruwart and demanding that she drop out from the race.

    It wasn’t the center or the radicals who attempted to use the Executive Director to apply pressure on a candidate to leave the race, either.

    Both of those moves strike me as far more exclusionary than efforts by the Libertarian mainstream to restore civility and transparency in our party’s process and call for open debate on real issues—rather than trap the LP in a ridiculous debate on an emotional non-issue.

  32. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Chuck Muth writes:

    I find a significant difference between child pornography and under-aged sex. I believe child pornography should be illegal. If that means I’m not “libertarian” enough, so be it.

    When you write ‘child pornography’, do you mean the production of such materials, or their possession?

    Frankly, I think underage sex is a bigger problem than the mere presence of child porn in society – no one ever got a transmissible disease or pregnant from looking at porn (as far as I know).

    The production of such materials is, of course, another matter. But the acts of production are, in the case of a child too young to consent (and we can argue about that age later) crimes. They are rape, assault, etc.

    It’s a bit analogous to the silly idea of ‘hate crimes’. Burning someone’s church down is a crime. Burning the church down because you hate them doesn’t make it any less, or any more, of a crime. Similarly, raping a child is a crime; raping a child to sell pictures doesn’t make it any less, or any more, of a crime.

  33. Brian Miller Says:

    It is not a smear to point out another candidate’s position.

    It is a smear, however, to distort it and then suggest that the candidate in question is in favor of the sexual exploitation of children.

    This was, plain and simple, a page out of the GOP playbook. Find an emotionally charged issue, transform your opponent into a supposed advocate of the worst sort of Unspeakable Thing, and then force her from the race—all without a real debate on the issue.

    A large number of the people who were attempting to do this—and their preferred candidates—have never even debated Dr. Ruwart. That’s very telling.

  34. Brian Miller Says:

    I oppose federal laws against rape and murder. I must be a murdering rapist!

    Precisely. Or so they’d have us believe. :)

  35. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Carl says, I have seen no defender of Ruwart give any evidence that the quote was taken out of context. Indeed, her press release confirmed the interpretation that many of us find so troubling. It is not that we think she actively believes in child sex; it’s that she states that the State has no interest in the matter.

    The context, and the connotation are two different things. The connotation is that if someone opposes the state in (put your pet issue here), then that person must support (put your pet issue here).

    I guess for Carl the “troubling” thing is that Libertarians oppose the state as the proper vehicle for using one size fits all “children” laws, as well as being the responsible party for the well being of children. For your information Carl, the track record of government in the area of “children” ain’t too good. If Carl, you want to just simply say “I disagree”, fine, then you are a statist, and you should admit it. However by using such phrases as “the interpretation that many of us find so troubling.”, the CONNOTATION is that the issue is settled and Carl and his hordes of sympathizers have decreed that Mary Ruwart is wrong, just like Hillary is.

    The problem with statists like Carl is that the knee-jerk reaction is of “OH MY GOD, WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS?” Instead, libertarians question the efficacy of government to achieve the “good” it sets out to (allegedly) do. Libertarians rightfully distrust the state, and though there are bad people who disrespect the rights of all sorts of people (children of all ages included) question that the state is the answer to the problem. THIS, I have not heard from Carl or his ilk, make any attempt to answer.

  36. Westmiller Says:

    “I am against The Unspeakable”

    The basic problem is that Mary offered a “short answer” to a rather complex question ten years ago and hasn’t clearly addressed the critical issue of informed consent by minors.

    She made a start at doing that in her blogtalkradio interview, but was cut off in favor of discussing generic libertarian courtesy (v. GOP bluster).

    She seems to favor an “at puberty” criteria for the presumption of legitimately informed consent to sexual intercourse. Phillies properly points out that some normative age and legal presumption is required for any objective law. Puberty is not exactly a legally demonstrable condition, nor one that is evident in casual social interaction.

    Ruwart’s short answer focused on the production of an image (apparent “child” pornography), which cannot be presumed to be the result of coercion against anyone. It may be crass and perverse, but that’s no business of government.

    However, her failing to articulate a clear position on consent does not warrant the leap of logic from her actual words, nor the slanderous accusation that she supports coercion or the abuse of minors.

  37. Steve LaBianca Says:

    So Carl, how is it that the state is the answer to the “problem” of “Age of consent” and “unwilling child pornography”?

    Seriously, I would like to know.

  38. Brian Miller Says:

    Phillies properly points out that some normative age and legal presumption is required for any objective law.

    This is true—and is the basis for an open, honest debate on this issue.

    “Mary Ruwart is a child pornographer who should resign from the Libertarian Party!” is not—yet that was the basis of the entire nefarious and shameful smear campaign against her.

  39. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Werstmiller says Phillies properly points out that some normative age and legal presumption is required for any objective law.

    Why couldn’t the presumption be that under some (admittedly arbitrary) age of say 12 or 13, the presumption is on the alleged “coercer” that her or she did nothing wrong, and the presumption if the age is over 12 or 13, that the presumption that the alleged “victim” prove they were coerced?

  40. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Sorry, poor sentence, but hopefully the point is made successfully.

  41. A_S Says:

    @Committee for Clarity

    Your attacks on Mr. Nolan are duly noted, and tagged as dilettantish vacuity. His description of Viguerie was far too kind. Viguerie in many ways represents, and is directly responsible for, the current foul state of the RNC. He is the grandfather of all spammers, who decries governmental invasions of privacy, yet admits that his own road to wealth began with his copying addresses from the then government mandated published records of Goldwater contributors in the 1964 election.

    Viguerie is an odious renunciate dancing a hot to Trotskyist jig with his Bush repudiations, that did not even begin until the 2006 midterm election outcome was self-evidently clear. How can it be that one who claims to be such a pure conservative as Viguerie hides under a rock denying his responsibility for the election and reelection of Mr. Bush? He is a new-right poseur in conservatism’s mantle, who does not truthfully believe in accepting personal responsibility. That’s just an tactic of deceit he uses, so he can feel like a real man, after hurling despicable derogations at single moms.

    His motivation for the 2007 creation of the farcical front, American Freedom Agenda, with David Keene and Bob Barr, where he and Keene first started fretting about presidential overreaches, is easily exposed by his own words given for a June 12, 2007 Boston Gobe article about the organization:

    And the group’s founders argued that the 2008 election presents a good opportunity for a bipartisan debate about what they see as unchecked executive power. Democrats will view the issue through the prism of the Bush administration, while Republicans will be forced to think about a Democratic presidency, they said.

    “As it becomes more and more clear that Hillary Clinton could be the president of the United States, this is going to get a lot of conservatives’ attention in a way it hasn’t done before in recent years,” Viguerie said.

    Charlie Savage, “Disaffected conservatives set a litmus test for ‘08 – Want vow to curb presidential power“, Boston Globe, June 12, 2007

    Viguerie defended and supported the vast unconstitutional overreaches of Mr. Bush until he saw the writing of impending GOP doom upon the wall, and then with exigent cowardice began quivering uncontrollably; for naught but a Fear of Hillary.

  42. Committee for Clarity Says:

    to be clear
    The committee wants to point out that there is only one real reason anyone is overtly objecting to Ruwart’s end the prohibition on child porn position.

    We just want to prepare you for the media shit storm that will come. If you think these people on TPW are uncivil, unkind, or smearing you ain’t seen nothen yet. Do you not realize that pro life American’s have killed abortion doctors? Do you not realize that this is a major issue already picked up by media outlets that will just inflame the American people. Even the pro choice people will want to hunt us down and destroy everything we hold dear like a woman and a snake. We are the snake folks. The media is waiting to see how we deal with this.

    The reward for all your cult like mindset is George Bush and that’s enough for me to say you must be criminally insane to want to self destruct over this stupid woman and her insane hatred towards parents and their children.

    If we are wrong why hasn’t the short answers to this question worked?

    the committee needs a hug.

  43. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Carl says,

    LPers play end game chess on move 1 and then wonder why they keep getting clobbered.

    and

    The only situation where it might make sense to go for the deep hurt is cutting the last bits of government in order to keep it from growing in the future. But applying this criterion today is incredibly stupid.

    Someone please explain how this applies to Mary Ruwart’s campaign, where her three campaign issues are deregulating health care, ending foreign interventionism, and the economic problems, caused by government (virtually all of them)?

    Sure, she would cut government as quickly and as deeply as can logistically be possible. Sure, she would then go further than the Constitution goes. Sure, she would go further even that the Articles of Confederation allowed the federal government to be involved in. AND, I believe it is important for the LP to continue to fight for liberty at all levels in which some government infringes upon it.

    Yes, Mary is fundamentally a libertarian, and abhors aggression wherever and whenever it occurs. However, her campaign is not about all these unfounded connotation of her beliefs which were written in a shot answer style book. Nor has she even made young people’s “issues” and rights a campaign theme. The trolls right here on TPW tried to!

  44. JT Says:

    Look, here’s the first sentence of Dr. Ruwart’s “short answer” to the question:

    “Children who willingly participate in sexual acts have the right to make that decision as well, even if it’s distasteful to us personally.”

    So, according to Dr. Ruwart, any child who can signal “willingness” has the “right” to “make a decision” to engage in sexual activity with anyone else. Privately or publicly. Even if you think it’s “distasteful.” That’s what she wrote.

    I think anyone who agrees with this statement has taken a very wrong turn in his or her application of libertarianism. And anyone who runs for president while holding it will be instantly dismissed (and probably reviled) by the vast majority of the voters who hear it.

  45. Steve LaBianca Says:

    I said “AND, I believe”, where I should have said “AND, I believe she believes

  46. Carl Says:

    Steve:

    I have stated in a previous thread: there is no bright line, but there is a gradient. The law should apply a gradient as well. The age of consent should be the start of a gradient, not the edge of a step function. The difference between 18 and 17.99 years is small (or 16 and 15.99). The legal penalty should be likewise small. The penalty should ramp up the further you get below the threshold age. The difference between 16 and 13 is huge. The difference between 16 and 8 is gigantic.

    In general, our laws are overly complicated because we have way too many categories and too few statements of proportionality.

    Many categories issues could be made better by having fuzzy between categories—such as a fuzzy boundary between “child” and “adult.”

    Likewise, a sense of proportion could ameliorate many absurd sentences. A teenage boyfriend receiving a nude picture of his girlfriend is doing far less porn distribution than someone who posts such an image on the Internet or in a magazine.

    I leave it to the electorate to haggle out the exact shapes of the fuzzy boundaries and penalty functions. No perfect function exists, but we can readily do better than today’s step functions.
    —-

    This recommendation is hard to compress into a sound bite. Therefore, the correct response to this issue is to say nothing unless time permits a full explanation. The preferred sound bite is: “This is a complicated issue. See my position paper.”

  47. Brian Holtz Says:

    Nobody here made Ruwart an anarchist, or a radical on children’s rights. She either defends her positions, or she doesn’t. If politicians got to cherry-pick the issues for their campaigns, we’d already live in Libertopia, right?

    Remember, what Ruwart never repudiated was this: “Children who willingly participate in sexual acts have the right to make that decision as well, even if it’s distasteful to us personally. Some children will make poor choices just as some adults do in smoking and drinking to excess; this is part of life.”

    Yes, boorish people both inside and outside the LP are viciously making unfair inferences from her statement, and it’s lucky for us we have such paragons of charitable-reading virtue as Brian Miller to help set them straight.

    However, Ruwart is in fact being given a free pass on a crucial piece of context in her book. In the “short answer” immediately after talking about “the incentives for parents to use children against their will”, the only limit she identified to any child’s rights is this:

    “In practice, children’s rights are limited by their inability to take responsibility for their actions. For example, a child who wishes to work, but can’t convince his or her parents to provide the necessary transportation, will be unable to exercise that right.”

    One wonders what recourse Ruwart would give to a parent if a pimp for 12-year-old prostitutes offered a ride-sharing service. The very next “tough question” indeed asks generally “Would parents decide?” The answer:

    “In practice, you would decide if a child is old enough to enter into a contract with you. Is the child willing and able to provide the contracted service to you? If so, what kind of recourse would you expect from the courts if the child if the child refuses to provide the contracted service. The age of majority for marriage, work, etc. is most often established by custom of the society and will vary with the individual’s circumstances rather than being dictated by law.”

    So if you’re a parent with a 12-year-old, you better hope you are more persuasive than the local pimps and pornographers and pedophiles—or that none of them have cars. If Ruwart does in fact say that parents and guardians have more legal standing than the neighborhood pimps and pornographers to guide their 12-year-old’s choice about whether to engage in the sex trade, then I’d love for any of her supporters to quote her saying so. I’ve looked for it, and haven’t found it. Now, watch me get criticized without such a quote being offered.

    Mr. Westmiller, Ruwart’s “pubescence” standard is not just vague—I’m OK with vague—it’s theoretically incoherent. When she wrote last week that “courts were likely to consider that pre-pubescent children had been coerced, since desire would be absent”, she blatantly assumed that the only reason children might legitimately want to engage in a sexual act is out of sexual desire. But even a mild-mannered grandmother like Dr. Ruwart must know that prostitutes and porn stars don’t always act out of sexual desire—I suspect they very rarely do. A near-pubescent 10-year-old might desperately but sincerely want to earn some money or to earn approval from an authority figure or just satisfy curiosity. What libertarian theorist would claim that the only “gains from trade” (to use the technical economic term) in a sex act must be satisfaction of sexual desire?

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

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

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

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

  48. Brian Miller Says:

    I’m sure that Libertarians (and indeed Americans everywhere) are eternally grateful to Brian Holtz for his brave efforts to protect their children from rapacious predation as directly facilitated by Dr. Ruwart.

    Mr. Holtz often speaks in endless prose about the most important priorities for voters, and how Libertarians should abandon or de-emphasize issues that he deems less important to the voters in order to appeal to the electorate.

    Thus, it’s good to see him taking such an aggressive stand on child pornography. The issue, front and center in the general election at large, is possibly the most important issue in this election. Expenditures of massive effort and energy on it are thus of the utmost importance, and Libertarians should not allow our attention to be diverted by minor issues like the economy, the deficit, civil rights, international relations, etc.

    Bravo, Mr. Holtz!

  49. Eric Dondero Says:

    Muth is exactly right. It’s the LP’s choice to make. If the LP wants someone as their Presidential candidate who is soft on child porn, that’s their choice. They are free to make it.

    Just don’t expect much support from outside of the Party regulars, and the Anarchist wing.

  50. Susan Hogarth Says:

    So if you’re a parent with a 12-year-old, you better hope you are more persuasive than the local pimps and pornographers and pedophiles—or that none of them have cars.

    Well, yes. Regardless of law, this is always the case.

  51. Brian Holtz Says:

    Thanks, Susan, for that report from Pleasantville.

    And thank you, Mr. Miller, for successfully confusing 1) the extremist vulnerabilities that our prospective presidential candidates might bring to the LP with 2) the mainstream issues (like gay rights) that I say the LP should emphasize whenever possible due to successful amelioration of such extremist vulnerabilities.

  52. David F. Nolan Says:

    Committee for Clarity writes: “Even the pro choice people will want to hunt us down and destroy everything we hold dear like a woman and a snake.”

    Which woman, and which snake, do you hold dear?

    I’m just curious.

  53. Red Phillips Says:

    “Keep asking it again and again.”

    Steve, I have not been following these tedious and quickly expanding threads. If someone asked my straightforward question before and someone answered it in a straightforward way, then perhaps you can direct me there. Or perhaps you could just ask it.

  54. Red Phillips Says:

    “Or perhaps you could just ask it.”

    Oops. I meant perhaps you could just answer it.

  55. Brian Holtz Says:

    Red, production of child porn is a separate question from possession/distribution. Ruwart clearly believes that the state should outlaw neither, but that private markets will find a way to prosecute people who produce child pornography against the will of the children involved. I don’t think she’s taken a position on how markets would react to possession/distribution, but as an emphasizer of restitution she might like the idea of the children being given copyright interest in the porn.

  56. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Quoth Eric Dondero:

    “It’s the LP’s choice to make. If the LP wants someone as their Presidential candidate who is soft on child porn, that’s their choice. They are free to make it.

    “Just don’t expect much support from outside of the Party regulars, and the Anarchist wing.”

    Of all the candidates or prospective for the LP’s 2008 presidential nomination, I am aware of only one who has actively defended the notion that child porn should be legally distributed.

    That (prospective) candidate is Bob Barr.

  57. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Brian Holtz Says:
      May 6th, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    (Ruwart has)taken a position on how markets would react to possession/distribution, but as an emphasizer of restitution she might like the idea of the children being given copyright interest in the porn.

    Well, Holtz, why not “Ask Dr Ruwart”? BUT No ” . . .She might like . . .” Mary ask that W.A.R ask her, to give her the benefit of any doubt by going straight to the source. W.A.R’s campaign calls for her to remove herself from the campaign. Mary believes in trusting people first. Don’t people deserve to be asked first, before bring judged and condemned? Wouldn’t you want people to treat you this way? That’s all Ms. Ruwart asks. But Holtz makes innuendos about “might like the idea of the children being given copyright interest in the porn”. This is absolutely laughable, and completely uncivil, and uncalled for.

    Some people who post here have called int your question your supposed “drinking problem” Mr. Holtz. I’ve even heard of such thing from people who know you. However, I would not judge or attempt to judge without asking you first. You owe Mary Ruwart the same courtesy.

    I will say this Holtz . . . you are shameless, and aren’t deserving of any respect for that low remark. I’ve also heard that you were pretty intelligent. Judging from this, I’d say you were just a low-life, for such connotations and unfounded conclusions you draw.

  58. Flyer Says:

    All this blather over what Dr. Mary said. Or didn’t say. Or what she meant to say. Blah…Blah…Blah. It makes no difference.
    In the end the majority of the voting public will pay NO attention to the Libertarians. Or any third party for that matter.
    A sad but true fact.
    Most Americans are stuck in the two party system. They refuse to leave the circus as it is now run.
    Talk the talk, scream and shout, and jump up and down.
    In the end it doesn’t matter.

  59. Red Phillips Says:

    Then Steve, why don’t you answer the question for me? I promise I am not baiting. I don’t understand why there have been SO MANY words and so little clarity.

  60. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Red Phillips Says:
      May 6th, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    “Or perhaps you could just ask it.”

    Oops. I meant perhaps you could just answer it.

    Or perhaps you will just ask over and over until you can say “see, they don’‘t want to answer . . . so he MUST still beat his wife”.

  61. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Red Phillips Says:
      May 6th, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Then Steve, why don’t you answer the question for me? I promise I am not baiting. I don’t understand why there have been SO MANY words and so little clarity.

    There is one thing clear here at TPW regarding this . . . you and others will never be satisfied that the answer is that the state is no better at protecting kids than it is at solving the drug problem with the war on drugs. So, big deal. There is an agenda to discredit Ms. Ruwart at all costs, simply because she distrusts the state and believes that parents have the right and responsibility to protect their children. The state is not, nor should ever be, a surrogate parent. The trolls here are not libertarians, and that’s obvious. Period.

  62. Brian Holtz Says:

    Steve LaBianca, you just broke my irony meter. Instead of assuming I haven’t asked Dr. Ruwart any questions, you call me a “low-life” for not doing so. In fact, I sent my “5 questions for Dr. Ruwart” (http://libertarianintelligence.com/2008/04/5-questions-for-dr-ruwart.html) to Steve Kubby eight days ago, five hours before her appearance on Steve’s show. I cc’d her prominent supporter Less Antman and several other prominent LPers, asking them to forward the questions to Dr. Ruwart (whose email address I couldn’t find on her sites). Steve promptly did so and cc’d me. I also posted the link to those questions in several threads here, and got a spike in traffic to my little blog. I’m not saying Dr. Ruwart owes me answers any more than she does any other delegate, but she hasn’t answered me yet. (Her statement at the end of that week answered one of my five questions, however. One down, four to go.)

    My last comment was just straightforward reporting on what Ruwart has publicly said. The speculation about her position on restitution-via-copyright is just an echo of a proposal by my radical friend Tom Knapp, who has vigorously defended Ruwart. In fact, if you’ve “heard I’m pretty intelligent”, a lot of it is surely because I repeat the best ideas I hear from smart libertarians like Tom.

    I kind of like the rumor that I have a “drinking problem”. Let’s keep that one going. In high school my contact lenses often made my eyes red, and my friends kidded me that I probably smoked pot. Alas, I’m too much of a “straight white guy in suburbia” (as Brian Miller oh-so-non-smearingly dismis—I mean, describes me) to have such a cool problem as these.

    Oh, and thanks for declaring that people who disagree with Ruwart on the state’s role in protecting children “are not libertarians. Period.” You forgot to add your customary disclaimer that you don’t want to “purge” anybody. Pop quiz: how is anybody who disagrees with you on the need for the state not in violation of their membership Pledge?

  63. Brian Miller Says:

    If the LP wants someone as their Presidential candidate who is soft on child porn

    Presumably, what the LP really needs is someone who is “hard” on child porn, such as Mr. Dondero-Rittberg.

    Good lord. This is becoming farce.

  64. Brian Miller Says:

    I’m too much of a “straight white guy in suburbia” (as Brian Miller oh-so-non-smearingly dismis—I mean, describes me) to have such a cool problem as these.

    Brian, you spend an awful lot of time “explaining” the “real world” to others. I’ve seen you debate the black urban condition with black men from Oakland. I’ve seen you debate the state of women with women.

    My description of your straight-whiteness-in-suburbia isn’t “dismissal” or “smearing.” It’s simply a suggestion that perhaps you don’t have the universal knowledge of every human condition that you seem to assign yourself. As I noted in the same comment that you’re selectively quoting, I also noted that I wouldn’t lecture you on how to raise your children, since I’m not a parent, and that perhaps you should accept that your perspective is sufficiently limited that you shouldn’t be lecturing the religious, or black Americans, or women, or gay urban residents on “reality.”

    Humility and listening are both skills that benefit individuals seeking to build a lasting political movement. They’re skills that you would do well to develop.

  65. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Brian Holtz Says:
    May 6th, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Steve LaBianca, you just broke my irony meter. Instead of assuming I haven’t asked Dr. Ruwart any questions, you call me a “low-life” for not doing so. In fact, I sent my “5 questions for Dr. Ruwart”

    Did you get an answer? Do you know if she actually heard the question? I’m working on her campaign, and I certainly know that she has other things to do other than answer my questions. But I certainly then don’t make blatant assumption like you just did. Why don’t I make these assumptions? Because I’m not guided by an agenda to discredit a candidate without specific answers from them, and then substitute my best “polite” slander.

  66. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Holtz also says“Oh, and thanks for declaring that people who disagree with Ruwart on the state’s role in protecting children “are not libertarians. Period.” You forgot to add your customary disclaimer that you don’t want to “purge” anybody. Pop quiz: how is anybody who disagrees with you on the need for the state not in violation of their membership Pledge?”

    Since you want to redefine that libertarianism as “opposing and minimizing aggression” that must make it so. I guess that since the mighty Brian Holtz says it is so, then this must be what “libertarianism” is. Oh, and what is the other one, oh sorry that was Alicia Mattson who says that the recommendation of the Reform Caucus, oops sorry the impartial platform committee for the platform is a platform which is still boldly “libertarian”? She must mean the NEW and IMPROVED meaning of “libertarianism” as according to the decree of Brian Holtz.

  67. Steve LaBianca Says:

    I guess also, in my desire for people who still have the ability to learn, that they may understand upon reading, reflection, etc that the minimizing aggression, or initiation of force is a blank check for whenever It is deemed, for what ever reason, that aggression is OK. Maybe the mighty Brian can make that determination when it suits his fancy.

    I am not interested in purging people from the party. I do find it necessary to emphasize that non initiation of force is fundamental to libertarianism. Even Rand understood this, so it isn’t just Rothbard who said this. However, I guess I ought to defer to the Holtzian doctrine, as Rand and Rothbard and many others are just blowhards, right Brian?

  68. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Holtz is now a mind reader and desire know it all with she blatantly assumed that the only reason children might legitimately want to engage in a sexual act is out of sexual desire. But even a mild-mannered grandmother like Dr. Ruwart must know that prostitutes and porn stars don’t always act out of sexual desire—I suspect they very rarely do.

    Yeah that’s right Brian, any woman with an attractive body just decides to become a porn actress or prostitute because it is a simply good living. Though Holtz uses the “I suspect” attitude in his writings, because he is such an authority in his own mind, it is the truth as well.

    It is becoming clearer every time Holtz writes, it seems that he holds his own view as doctrine and everybody else’s is just uninformed opinion.

  69. Red Phillips Says:

    “The trolls here are not libertarians, and that’s obvious. Period.”

    I have never once said I am a libertarian. I am a proud paleoconservative. I just wanted some clarity on what was being debated instead of more words. Thanks, you have provided that.

  70. Big Bad Bill Says:
    1. Red Phillips Says:
      May 6th, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    “Keep asking it again and again.”

    “Steve, I have not been following these tedious and quickly expanding threads. If someone asked my straightforward question before and someone answered it in a straightforward way, then perhaps you can direct me there. Or perhaps you could just ask it.”

    Red,
    The kiddie porn gang has dodged this very question from the start. Steve LaBianca is one of them. What a bunch of scumbags.

  71. Foolish Consistency ... Little Minds Says:

    And Ruwart’s biggest supporter is … Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party nominee, because if Ruwart is the Libertarian nominee, he will have the Ron Paul vote all to himself.

    De-criminalize child porn? That is a morally reprobate position, and anyone who supports it is a moral reprobate.

  72. Stefan Says:

    Judge Andrew P. Napolitano could be an ideal keynote speaker IMHO. He describes himself as a pro-life libertarian and is a high profile person with wide influence and could help a lot to unify the LP, regardless of which candidate is chosen. David Nolan, at the LP founder, what do you think of this idea?

  73. American Freedom Party Says:

    Libertarian Party has nothing but shitheads. Muth was investigated by Child Protective Services. Milsted hates faggots. Holtz is a drunk.

  74. Legalize Snuff Porn Says:

    Why are pedophiles looking for a legal outlet the only pervs getting any love around here? Why no love for aficionados of snuff films? Snuff film watchers have rights too. Of coarse the actual act portrayed on the snuff film might be illegal, assuming the snuffee was an unwilling participant, but what business is it of the state to ban the distribution and possession of snuff porn? It just creates an underground black market for the stuff and we all know the state is inefficient when it tries to prohibit stuff anyway.

  75. Mitch Miller Says:

    “Haven’t any of you ever read Lysander Spooner?. . . Just to clue some of you in: there is more diversity in the classical liberal tradition than “minarchist” (dumbest word ever) and “anarchist” (not part of the classical liberal family at all).”

    Wow. Quoting Lysander Spooner and dissing anarchists in the same comment! You don’t consider Spooner “part of the classical liberal family,” I suppose?

    The fact is, anarchism and radicalism have for more than a century been a very important, even central, part of classical liberalism.

  76. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Actually, Ron Paul voted in Congress AGAINST exactly the kind of federalization of child porn enforcement that Shane Corey was drummed out of LPHQ for proposing as an “antidote to Ruwartism.”

    I’m no Ron Paul supporter, but on this issue he almost certainly has both feet planted firmly in the Ruwart camp.

  77. Ross Says:

    Yes! We must unite, regardless of our petty differences. Otherwise, we will be driven apart by them and surely fail.

  78. Steve Newton Says:

    Real life did not allow time to read Brian’s well-considered essay until there were almost 70 comments attached. Most of them either proved his point, wandered off into the irrelevant, and proceeded to re-argue the Mary Ruwart age-of-consent brou-haha.

    There is an important dynamic at work here that nobody really seems to be discussing, but everybody is reacting to. It is the dynamic that results in Bob Barr and Mike Gravel gravitating to the LP. It is the dynamic that causes an obscure answer Mary Ruwart gave a decade ago to become the object of both vile self-interested smear and legitimate concern.

    The dynamic is this: if the Libertarian voting population is something less than half a million people, then the core of people who self-identify as LP members is in the low tens of thousands at the very most. Possibly ten thousand would really encompass it all.

    But if the reformers carry the day and the LP becomes an actual political party that garners even 2-3% of the popular vote, this would mean capturing the (at least temporary) allegiance of several million people. In the terms upon which the debate has been heretofore conducted, these would be (at best) libertarian-leaning folks who are much less radical than even the current reform and/or centrist Libertarians.

    The influence of the grognards in either camp—radical or reform—is going to be decreased by political success. The ideology is going to be diluted by an onset of pragmatists, fellow travelers, single-issue zealots, and all the rest will grab bits and pieces of the idea of liberty and apply it, mangle it, and misinterpret it with such happy abandon that it will totally screw up the existing two-party political system.

    We will achieve the chaos necessary to transform the American political system only by releasing control, and accepting the reality that to have change is to give up control.

    This means to Brian that we have to find some way to co-exist with the former GOPers and pull in the social liberals who have come to see that their cultural values can best be pursued in an atmosphere of economic freedom and smaller government. We have to take in the newcomers as invited guests and not intruders. Otherwise we remain an impotent minority.

  79. Justin Grover Says:

    Mr. Newton:

    Well said.

  80. Bob Sullentrup Says:

    Mr. Nolan,

    The Convention Oversight Committee consisting of Admiral Colley, Julie Fox and me along with the Chair Bill Redpath and convention organizer BetteRose Ryan met tonight to discuss the issue of the Convention keynoter. You may recall we had Bob Barr slated to be the keynoter until he announced his presidential exploratory committee. That left us scurrying to find a replacement with a short time left before the Convention.

    We agreed tonight we would ask Mr. Munger to share speaking duties during the keynote slot on Friday, May 23. Both Mr. Munger and Mr. Viguerie will be keynoters.

    Mr. Vigurie is an excellent choice for the Convention. Mr. Viguerie was widely acclaimed after speaking at the 2007 Libertarian State Leadership Alliance Conference in Orlando, and he was a featured speaker at the recent Constitution Party Convention in Kansas City. His book, Conservatives Betrayed—How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause. underscores his dissatisfaction with the R’s. Beyond that, he’s very personable and just a decent guy.

    As Convention Oversight Committee Chair, I recommended Bob Barr as keynoter because he seemed to be the person in America best qualified to tell Republicans and Democrats why they should do as he has done and abandon their parties in favor of the individual liberty and personal responsibility offered by the Libertarians. Imagine the outreach potential of a Richard Viguerie by his presence at our convention, his words detailing the failings of the major parties, inviting Americans to join us.

    By the way, not one person followed up on your plea to e-mail me to lobby against Richard Viguerie.

    Please give Mr. Viguerie a listen at the Convention. You won’t be disappointed.

    Bob Sullentrup
    LP Convention Oversight Committee Chair

  81. Red Phillips Says:

    Thomas, as best as I can tell the issue with Ruwart is not federalization, is it? (That may have been the issue with the press release, but it is not the issue with Ruwart’s answer.) She is against laws against child porn, not just against their federalization.

  82. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Big Bad Bill Says:
      May 6th, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Red,
    The kiddie porn gang has dodged this very question from the start. Steve LaBianca is one of them. What a bunch of scumbags.

    I most certainly am not in any “kiddie porn” gang. Neither is Mary Ruwart or her supporters. By BBB’s logic, anyone who supports ending the war on drugs is in a “drug cult” gang. A totally ridiculous assertion, as this BBB is just another troll, or just one of the same trolls under another alias.

  83. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Red Phillips Says:
    May 6th, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Thomas, as best as I can tell the issue with Ruwart is not federalization,

    This is a TROLL issue, and not a Ruwart issue at all. However, in the unlikely event that Mary Ruwart is elected, she most certainly would not allow the federal government to delve into this area for legislation . . . it simply would be unconstitutional.

  84. Steve LaBianca Says:

    I correct one word, I should have said “not support the federal government to delve”

  85. Brian Holtz Says:

    Brian Miller, I’m quite sure you’ve never “seen [me] debate the black urban condition with black men from Oakland”, because as far as I can tell I’ve never “debated the black urban condition” with ANYbody—especially not since you arrived in California last year and pronounced in one of your first messages to me that “hopefully, this spanking will prevent you from indulging in such childishness in the future”. Your claim that I “debate the state of women with women” seems equally fabricated—to the extent that I can even tell what “debating the state of women” would mean. I’d ask you to have the decency to substantiate these claims about me, but I’ve long since learned how pointless such a request to you is.

    I’d also love you to try to actually quote me “lecturing black Americans, or women, or gay urban residents on ‘reality’”. You’re probably confused because I’ve had occasion to lecture you on the Outright forum for your decidedly real lies about me, e.g. message 3120.

    Yes, I dare to have opinions about gay rights, even though I’m not gay. I’m here, I’m pro-queer, get used to it. True libertarians recognize that liberty is universal and indivisible. Right before I was conveniently banned from the Outright forum, you attempted there to shout down those opinions by calling me a “heterosexual middle-aged white man” and a “straight white guy in suburbia”. That’s not going to work here on TPW. (Meanwhile, with me banned from your forum, nobody there has told your membership about the gay rights language that PlatCom adopted ten weeks ago after incorporating changes recommended by your Chair.)

    Your fantasy that I claim “universal knowledge of every human condition” is simply fascinating. It’s right up there with LaBianca’s description of a “mighty Holtz” who issues “decrees” and “holds his own view as doctrine and everybody else’s is just uninformed opinion”. Ironically, I’m at a loss to understand this brand of attempted sarcasm.

    Last fall after I corrected your factual mistakes about 10 U.S.C. § 654 (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell), you said that “Brian Holtz’s perspectives on gay issues are as enlightening (and relevant) as my perspectives on how to pleasure a woman”. Perhaps you’ve engaged in some personal growth since then, because now you confine your analogy to my parenting skills. That’s hilarious, since this thread was ultimately sparked by a controversy over balancing the rights of children against the demands of parents that children have legal protection from predatory adults. If I’m the one of us with three young daughters and you’re a confirmed bachelor, how is it that you’re opining at such extraordinary length on TPW’s favorite current controversy?

    But the ultimate irony is you lecturing me on “humility and listening”. True hubris is deliberately stating falsehoods secure in the knowledge that you won’t suffer any consequences. As for “listening”, one of us hears and answers every criticism of his character that the other offers, while the other engages in baseless and undefended character assassination—and then lectures the TPW audience about “ethical debate”.

    OK, this is the part where Miller says he won’t be responding to my lengthy post—which is long because it takes me more space to respond to his attacks than his attacks themselves require. Instead, expect more attacks like the following before we all get back from Denver:

    “the people behind the platform nuttery are getting more deranged by the day.” – Brian Miller, March 6 2008

    “Fortunately, the Republicans (including Ron Paul) are such homophobic bigots that [...]” – Brian Miller, Oct 31 2007

  86. George Dance Says:

    With Muth it’s all about friendship – diss one of his friends, and he’ll come after you. He’s also currently got a hard-on for Jeff Greenspan of the Paul campaign, for saying some nasty things about his friends running the Nevada Republicans. He also dissociated from Paul because Paul called that guy whose name I forget, who won the Maryland primary, a “neo-con.”

  87. Michael Seebeck Says:

    Carl Millstone said:

    “I have seen no defender of Ruwart give any evidence that the quote was taken out of context. ”

    Funny, I did EXACTLY THAT over on the thread over the huballoo several days ago. You must have not been paying attention. I not only explained why it was taken out of context but I also pointed out the transgression of the LPED for sticking his now-terminated nose into where it didn’t ethically belong.

  88. Brian Miller Says:

    I’m quite sure you’ve never “seen [me] debate the black urban condition with black men from Oakland”, because as far as I can tell I’ve never “debated the black urban condition” with ANYbody

    You’re illustrating part of the problem that Steve Newton highlighted perfectly, Brian.

    You did indeed argue it with that individual—who came to me to complain about it. You just didn’t realize it, since you were so busy trying to prove yourself correct, rather than sit and listen for a little while.

    Take a look at the length of your numerous e-mails and posts sometime. They’re not the considered posts of someone who is listening and working to build a big-tent Libertarian Party. Rather, they’re the posts of someone who views his role as a command-and-control sort of fellow, ready to explain to all who disagree on every point about how wrong they are.

    I’ve never argued that I—or anyone else—is perfectly right 100% of the time. However, I do deal regularly with people who have been alienated out of supporting the Libertarian Party—directly or indirectly—because of the activities of Libertarians including yourself.

    You speak a lot of growing the LP, but a great deal of it is done through parliamentary tricks and shoving stuff down our collective throats. You speak of dialogue, but your voluminous posts of (dare I say) endless bullshit do nothing but wear down those who have a different point of view from yourself—and I believe that’s your consent.

    Hell, you even archive every statement that anyone has ever made, to salt-and-pepper your righteously indignant essays with out-of-context quotes to underscore how you are Right About Everything.

    You have cost the Libertarian Party material support in communities where you have little to no knowledge. This is fact. Other activists can back me up on that point as well.

    Our party will not be successful if everyone with an independent point of view, or a story that differs from your life experience, is drowned in Holtzscreeds™. At some point, you’re going to have to let the people who have real knowledge and experience in the communities where you don’t live or interact have their say and advocate their positions, without your self-righteous condemnations from on high.

  89. Brian Miller Says:

    Fortunately, the Republicans (including Ron Paul) are such homophobic bigots

    This is a perfect example of the dynamic I last posted about, Brian.

    If the Brian Holtz Plan To Grow The Party™ is to argue that the Republican Party’s positions aren’t homophobic—including the pro-DOMA and anti-UAFA positions of Ron Paul—then the Libertarian Party can kiss the advantage it has in the queer community goodbye.

    Who really has more experience in campaigning in the gay community? Brian Holtz, the guy from the SF burbs who didn’t show up at even the most rudimentary outreach efforts such as SF Pride, or the unpaid hardworking volunteers from Outright Libertarians—party leaders like Ruth Bennett (a successful candidate for governor who won strong support for the LP amongst the gay community in Washington state), Rob Power (half of one of the first married gay couples in the country and profiled by major national publications), and Allan Wallace (founder of the organization and a major force for LGBT rights in Appalachia)?

    You’ve managed to alienate every single one of them, along with me, and a significant contingent of LGBT Libertarians. Just think of what you’re doing to the queer folks who are less willing to turn a tolerant eye to the eccentricities of the LP. Virtually every comment you’ve made about Outright has been a negative attack, and you’ve shown utterly no ability to reach out to—let alone retain—any sort of sustained support or credibility in the LGBT community.

    You did this to a Libertarian activist in Oakland too, right when I moved to California. He ended up losing interest in the LP because he decided that it was too much trouble.

    Why was it too much trouble?

    Because you spent a great deal of time in a few posts telling him how wrong he was.

    I’m not surprised you don’t recall. You probably didn’t realize his ethnicity, and because he dared to take issue with you, he got the Holtzscreed™ treatment.

    As a result, the LP lost a valuable toehold in a demographic—urban black voters—who are a natural constituency and who have demonstrated incredible political power over on the Democratic Party side right now.

    All because you had to be “right,” and because you seek to protect your own political authority in the various county, state, and national committees you sit on.

    It’s good for you, but it’s not good for the party. And that’s a problem.

  90. A_S Says:

    The individuals complaining the loudest about what they perceive as Ruwart’s lack of clarity seem to be largely the same individuals who prefer the LP Platform Lite, over the previous one that had been worked out over many years. Those who are confused libertarian “pragmatists” should study and reconsider the unabridged platform. Two former platform planks went much farther towards answers than any of the current arguments. Isn’t it ironic that a faction that championed gutting the Party Platform in 2006, and leaving its hide on the convention floor, are also the ones most likely dazed and confused?

    Here’s 2 planks from the LP Party Platform as Adopted in Convention, May 2004, Atlanta Georgia. It was acquired from the Internet Archives (IA). For data assurance two separate date records were checked for differences and returned nil: June 22, 2006, and November 22, 2005.

    The Platform Adopted in Convention, July 2, 2006, Portland Oregon, first appears in an accessible IA record dated November 04, 2006, although the change seems to have been flagged in the database on October 22, 2006, but that record has not been accessible. This is not unusual for the IA, and the time frame seems logical, because the organization attempts to keep their accessible archival records less than 6 months behind the present.
    ——-————-———
    I. Individual Rights and Civil Order

    21. Families and Children

    The Issue: Government involvement in traditional parenting responsibilities has weakened families and replaced family-taught morals with government-taught morals.

    The Principle: Families and households are private institutions, which should be free from government intrusion and interference. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs, without interference by government—unless they are abusing the children. Because parents have these rights, a child may not be able to fully exercise his or her rights in the context of family life. However, children always have the right to establish their maturity by assuming administration and protection of their own rights, ending dependency upon their parents or other guardians, and assuming all responsibilities of adulthood. A child is a human being and, as such, deserves to be treated justly.

    Parents have no right to abandon or recklessly endanger their children. Whenever they are unable or unwilling to raise their children, they have the obligation to find other person(s) willing to assume guardianship.

    Solutions: We recognize that the determination of child abuse can be very difficult. Only local courts should be empowered to remove a child from his or her home, with the consent of the community. This is not meant to preclude appropriate action when a child is in immediate physical danger.

    Transitional Action: We would repeal all laws that impede these processes, notably those restricting private adoption services. In particular, we call for the repeal of all laws restricting transracial adoption. We oppose laws infringing on children’s rights to work or learn, such as child labor laws and compulsory education laws. We also oppose the use of curfews based on age.

    We call for an end to the practice in many states of jailing children not accused of any crime. We call for repeal of all “children’s codes” or statutes which abridge due process protections for young people.

    22. Sexual Rights

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

    The Principle: Adults have the right to private choice in consensual sexual activity.

    Solutions: We advocate an end to all government attempts to dictate, prohibit, control or encourage any private lifestyle, living arrangement or contractual relationship.

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

  91. Brian Holtz Says:

    Brian Miller, I dispute this legend of me “debat[ing] the black urban condition” with ANYbody. If you’re not making this up, then either give us enough facts for me to find it in my archives, or admit that you don’t care whether what you were told was remotely true. All my public debates of 2004-2006 are archived and searchable on my MarketLiberal Yahoo group. Go ahead, look for this “debate on the black urban condition”. I bet you won’t find it.

    You complain of “parliamentary tricks and shoving stuff down our collective throats. You speak of dialogue, but your voluminous posts of (dare I say) endless bullshit do nothing but wear down those who have a different point of view from yourself”. Substance-free, content-free whining. Find the quotation-mark key on your keyboard, press it, then copy and paste something I’ve written or done, and press it again. If you can’t do that, you’re just a would-be character assassin whose every shot backfires.

    Oh wait—you define quoting somebody as unfair. Wow! George Orwell called. He wants his eponym back.

    The question of whether “the Republican Party’s positions are homophobic” is a textbook red herring. What I quoted you saying was “the Republicans (including Ron Paul) are such homophobic bigots”. I’m not going to insult the intelligence of the audience by explaining the difference. If you don’t mean what you say and say what you mean, then spare me your lectures about “ethical debates”.

    “Who really has more experience in campaigning in the gay community?” Strawman. I’ve never made any claims about “campaigning in the gay community”. What I claimed was e.g. that gay rights are human rights, and that you misread the plain text of 10 U.S.C. § 654 (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell). That has nothing to do with “campaigning in the gay community”.

    I’ll tell you what I DO have experience doing: defending the idea of gay rights as a top priority for the LP. I’ve been the one educating PlatCom that our gay rights positions “resonate with a minimum of 35% of voters (gay marriage) up through 53% (civil unions) to a whopping 78% (open gay service in the military).” I’m the one on PlatCom who got all the principles from the current gay rights plank put into the majority report. I’m the one who broke our rule about novel language to add gay-rights specificity about “current marriage, adoption, immigration, or military service laws”. I’m the one who left the room to go find Rob and Ruth and ask them to review that plank and then moved adoption of their tweaks. Nobody has worked harder to improve the gay rights language in the majority report. Nobody.

    I don’t doubt that I’ve “alienated” you and Rob due to my documenting your lies about what my Platform proposals plainly say. (Anyone masochistic enough to still be reading this can ask me for details.) I don’t doubt that I’ve “alienated” Allan Wallace for embarrassing him over his unfair banning of me from the Outright forum for daring to defend myself from your character assassination. If I’ve “alienated” Ruth, she hasn’t said a word to me about it—though I don’t doubt that her opinion of me has suffered from listening to you and Rob lie about me.

    For example, you just added another lie to the list: “Virtually every comment you’ve made about Outright has been a negative attack”. Absolutely false; you once again seem to think that you and Rob personify the Outright Libertarians, and that to defend myself from your character assassination is to somehow “attack” Outright as an organization.

    What I have in fact posted about Outright has been uniformly glowing. For example:

    “The Outrights is one of the best LP organizations, and the ranks of the best LPCA activists are overflowing with Outright members. Brian Miller’s serial mendacity is only a tiny smudge on the reputation of this shining organization. The only real question here is why the Outrights are apparently unwilling or unable to convince him to cease and desist. The answer apparently lies in the above spinal reflex to label as “social conservatives” anyone who dares speak truth to Outright power.” 2007-11-02

    “If I thought group quotas were how the Outrights measure the commitment of fellow Libertarians to individual liberty, then I’d simply be embarrassed for the Outrights, and hope they grow to find a deeper understanding of libertarianism. However, my extensive interactions with gay Libertarians in California in the years before you showed up here a few months ago leaves me convinced that you are an outlier.” 2007-10-03

    “Sorry, but calmly and systematically rebutting the disinformation you choose to disseminate about me—like your false claim that the entire LPCA ExCom had ignored a complaint that I as an ExCom member had never even heard of—does not constitute an “attack” on all Outrights. My vast respect for the Outrights comes from my years of association with California Outrights like Rich Newell and Beau Cain and Mark Johnson and Starchild. Each of them over the years has set a standard for integrity and dedication and intelligence and fairness that your first few rabid months on the LPCA scene don’t even begin to put a dent in. You can pretend all you want that you personify the Outrights, but I’ve worked for years with Outrights in California, Outrights are friends of mine, and from what I can tell, you’re no Outright.” 2007-10-03

    I DEFY you to quote me EVER saying anything bad about Outright as an organization. You can’t, and so you won’t even try. Instead, you’ll just keep lying, and say that I “attack” Outright. Stop lying, Brian. Just stop it.

  92. Brian Holtz Says:

    Brian Miller accuses me of debating so well in an online forum that I allegedly caused one person who tried to argue with me to “lose interest in the LP”. Meanwhile, the Ron Paul phenomenon was clearly biggest tsunami to hit the freedom movement in many decades. So how did the two Brians react to it?

    One Brian participated in Ron Paul discussion forums, attended Ron Paul meetups, helped publicize Ron Paul rallies, gathered scores of email addresses of Ron Paul supporters by joining the top 20 California Paul meetups, and worked with the LPCA leadership on a systematic effort to reach out to the R3VOLution.

    The other Brian spent months posting scores of messages to major California liberty-oriented forums attacking Ron Paul, saying

    • Ron Paul is “a homophobic bigot”;
    • Ron Paul “decl