Libertarian Reform Caucus: Restore ‘84

76 Responses to “Libertarian Reform Caucus: Restore ‘84”

  1. Richie Says:

    Umm… ok… now I’m curious about something. How straight are these facts? Did the Rothbardians really leave the party to support Buchanan’s campaign? Buchanan is not even close to being a Libertarian. What’s this about electing Bush? I’m calling BS on this reformer propaganda.

  2. Thomas M. Sipos Says:

    For all their talk of a “big tent,” there are Reformers who’d love to purge the LP of Purists. Or at least hide them in the attic.

    At the 2006 convention, one Reformer helpfully suggested that I should leave the LP and join a think tank, because the LP “is a political party” and “is about winning elections.” Hence, no room for philosophy and ideology.

    Luckily, Purists don’t need to purge Reformers to win. Purists only need to be loud and visible for all the voters to see.

    Reformers can’t market the LP as Republican Lite when all the Purists are out of the closet, giving interviews, speaking their mind to the world.

  3. disinter Says:

    The retard caucus strikes again.

  4. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Reformers can’t market the LP as Republican Lite when all the Purists are out of the closet, giving interviews, speaking their mind to the world.


  5. David F. Nolan Says:

    What a load of horseshit. The “Cato moderates” were not “hounded out.” They got up and left the convention “en masse” when their candidate was not nominated—after swearing that they’d support whomever the party nominated. And the smear of Rothbard is just absurd; check the facts. This really is a retarded, lame smear job. The “reformers” must be getting desperate!

  6. Thomas L. Knapp Says:


    You write:

    “Did the Rothbardians really leave the party to support Buchanan’s campaign?”

    “The Rothbardians” is a pretty broad category. A large percentage of LP members have probably been influenced, to some degree or another, by Rothbard.

    ROTHBARD supported Buchanan in 1992. Some of Rothbard’s prominent disciples supported Buchanan (and not just in 1992—AntiWar.Com’s Justin Raimondo gave Buchanan’s Reform Party nominating speech in 2000).

    “Rothbardianism” as a phenomenon is often sort of like The Cure circa the late 1970s, which was once characterized as “Robert Smith and whoever’s in the room with him.” A lot of the people who were in the room with Rothbard in 1992 probably went out of that room with him and to wherever he was going, which was to support Buchanan. A lot of other “Rothbardians” who picked up one of the assorted ideological orientations Rothbard that seemed to randomly disperse behind him like used styrofoam cups, on the other hand, probably didn’t. As a matter of fact, some of them probably wouldn’t piss on Buchanan if they saw him on fire.

  7. Brian Holtz Says:

    Thomas, did this anonymous alleged “reformer” call you a “retard”? Was he a caucus leader and LNC candidate who inanely said “w00t” to the suggestion that your views are closer to a “lite” version of a nanny state party than to libertarianism? At my county convention, LNC radical Mark Hinkle (Restore04 signer #2) loudly and publicly proclaimed that anyone who doesn’t like the 2004 platform should find another party. I’ve had a sometime member of the LPCA Judicial Committee, Starchild, publicly all but say that I’m a violator of the LP membership Pledge because I advocate a non-zero amount—pollution taxes, and David Nolan’s land value tax) of what he calls “tax slavery”.

    I can easily match, and trump, your pressure-to-leave-the-party stories. More importantly, I can point to multiple positions in the radicals’ platform proposal that are incompatible with my small-government principles, whereas radicals cannot point to a single position in the Reform Caucus proposal that is incompatible with their zero-government principles.

    This “Republican lite” slander is just low-IQ name-calling. The reformers’ Platform plainly calls for repeal of all drug laws, repeal of all victimless crime laws, full freedom of expression; gay rights in marriage, adoption, immigration, and military service; complete freedom for consenting adults in the sexual practices; repeal of all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates; repeal of the income tax; abolition of the IRS; free-market banking; full deregulation of financial markets; abolition of all business subsidies; complete privatization/deregulation of the health care and retirement industries; opposition to any draft; zero exceptions to the Bill of Rights for “national security”; an end to foreign intervention and attempts to police the world; removal of all government impediments to free trade; opposition to all government discrimination based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation; and the right of political entities to secede.

    Calling this “Republican lite” is just illiterate.

  8. Balph Says:

    David Nolan, you horse’s ass. Have you been lying again? Why don’t you read the vitriolic drivel you and Murray (asshole) Rothbard wrote about the Crane machine before the walkout. You disgusting turdpile (apologies to turds). Yes, they were driven out—by you and your small-minded minions. Dumbass!

    If you keep telling someone they are “not a libertarian”, guess what: they stop being a Libertarian! Duh! If you villify people repeatedly, they get pissed off, you pathetic excuse for a pseudo-intellectual.

    As for Murray Rothbard, he not only left the LP to support Buchanan, he hurled reams of insults at the core membership of the LP, calling them a bunch of whack-job luftmenschen. Dig up copies of “The American Libertarian.” Rothbard’s exit was far uglier than Chris Farris’. Rothbard clearly sided with the suits.

    It would not suprise me if Murray Rothbard wrote the ugliest passages in the Ron Paul newsletters. Their style was very similar to Rothbard’s attacks on the LP.

  9. Susan Hogarth Says:

    The reformers’ Platform plainly calls for repeal of all drug laws, repeal of all victimless crime laws, full freedom of expression; gay rights in marriage, adoption, immigration, and military service; ... an end to foreign intervention and attempts to police the world; removal of all government impediments to free trade; ....

    In other words, yet another Libertarian Party platform that Mr. Barr would be unable to support as a presidential candidate.

  10. Robert Capozzi Says:


    Actually, I was close to Cato in many ways, but I didn’t leave the LP. Other Cato-associates didn’t quit the LP at that time. You probably recall that Alicia Clark did fire Eric O’Keefe and replaced him with Honey Lanham, moving the national office to Houston.

    It’s an indisputable fact that Rothbard supported Buchanan. Bill Evers IS Assistant Education Secretary in the Bush Administration. Knappster reminds us of Raimondo’s actions, too.

    If citing facts is “desperate” and “smears” in your book, so be it. Others are free to research the facts and reach their own conclusions.

  11. Brian Holtz Says:

    “Desperation” is using potty-mouth epithets. I traffic in facts. The fact is that Rothbard indeed used vicious personal attacks against the moderates, writing

    * Never again Clark. Never again Crane. Never again!
    * betrayal of principle
    * wimps and mushheads
    * not a libertarian!
    * deviations from libertarian principle
    * when such people sell out principle it becomes necessary to attack them
    * Leninist caucus discipline
    * hopefully will never be heard from again

    The facts are all available in the references at
    The first link there tells how the entire leadership of Rothbard’s Radical Caucus abandoned the LP for the GOP. One of Rothbard’s top lieutenants, Emil Franzi, went on to endorse the Iraq war. Rothbard’s right-hand-man and Platform co-author, Bill Evers, worked for Bush in the Iraqi occupation government.

    David, I just have two questions for you. Are you proud of the way the LP’s radical leaders like Rothbard and you treated LP moderates in the early 1980s? Is that the way you want to be treated by LP leaders who disagree with you?

  12. Brian Holtz Says:

    Tom, you “plumbline” radicals need to get your story straight. Did Rothbard and his hyper-detailed Platform define the “plumbline” like he claimed to, or not? Your candidate Steve Kubby calls himself a “plumbline” Libertarian and told us:

    SK) We have very clear principles, and once you master those basic principles it’s fairly easy to determine what the Libertarian position is going to be on any given issue. But it takes a while to get those principles down and to understand “oh, well that also implies such-and-such”. (SK

    To call Rothbardianism vague is laughable. The man’s literary output was simply legendary, and he rigidly enforced the Rothbard line. He force-fed the LNC a detailed strategy resolution in 1979 that the new ersatz Radical Caucus still recycles parts of. To find any space between themselves and the voluminous texts that define plumbline Rothbardianism, radicals like Walter Block and Alex Peak seem to need only one hand to count their deviations from “Mr. Libertarian”. Ms. Hogarth calls herself “Rothbard’s intellectual love child”, but she “holds low the banner” of Rothbard’s principle that parents have no binding obligation to feed their children. (It wasn’t until 2000 that the LP Platform finally disagreed with Rothbard on that one.)

  13. Liberated Woman Says:

    I am reminded of the Hatfields and McCoys or the Montegues and Capulettes. A full on, long term feud. I don’t really get exactly which family I’m in.

    Is kevlar attire advised for Denver?

  14. NewFederalist Says:

    Reminds me of that wonderful song by The Eagles… Dirty Laundry!

  15. Robert Capozzi Says:

    Liberated Woman,

    If you think that Ls can sometimes disagree, you’re likely a Reformer. If you believe that there is one “plumbline,” the Radical Caucus might be a better home for you.

    This “feud” is asymmetrical. Reformers recognize the Rothbardians as Ls. Some Radicals say that we Reformers are mere “fellow travelers.”

    The silent super-majority of non-Rothardians are quite tired of our party being dictated to by a man who left the LP for the GOP and is now dead.

    Your choice: Red Pill of liberation, or Blue Pill of Leninist Rothbardianism.

  16. Jim Lesczynski Says:

    Anyone who doesn’t buy me a beer in Denver isn’t a real Libertarian and should be purged from the party.

  17. geoliberpublican Says:

    Once our platform is in place even George Bush could run on the Libertarian ticket. Is that “Big Tent” enough for you guys?

  18. NewFederalist Says:

    Which George Bush?

  19. geoliberpublican Says:

    The one that said “Read my lips, no new taxes” or the one that said “I am a compassionate conservative”

    Take your pick, Our plan is to make the tent so big that people will think that its a circus tent.

  20. Robert Capozzi Says:


    Too big for me, way too big. Of course, forgiveness is divine, but W has been an absolute disaster, IMO. Still, it’s often darkest before the dawn, so perhaps W’s statist failures will open people up to the possibility of a 3rd way, the L way. And, thank God for the 22nd Amendment!

    2008 could be the start of something BIG! The LP is poised to take the leap from Double A to Triple A. The Rs and Ds are their own worst enemies. The message of liberty is a powerful one, but we need to shed some of the more speculative, theoretical baggage if we really want to compete, IMO.

  21. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Your choice: Red Pill of liberation, or Blue Pill of Leninist Rothbardianism.

    Yet more love for radicals from the ‘big tent’ caucus.

  22. Robert Capozzi Says:


    I love you! And the memory of Dr. Rothbard, too. ;-)

    Is Leninist Rothbardianism inaccurate? Surely you’ve read Rothbard’s strategy memo, replete as it is with positive references to Leninism, yes?

    One can love a colleague and yet disagree, yes?

  23. DrGonzo Says:

    At the 2006 convention, one Reformer helpfully suggested that I should leave the LP and join a think tank, because the LP “is a political party” and “is about winning elections.” Hence, no room for philosophy and ideology.

    I don’t think they need to leave the party, but it is about winning. Radical hardcore Libertarians are not going to appeal to the majority of Americans. Do you think it is just coincidence that we are receiving so much press with two major moderate candidates?

    Americans are turned off to the radical leftists and righties. Why would it be any different for our party?

    I still think they are useful in the party. It stops the moderates from becoming to moderate.

  24. Brian Holtz Says:

    Susan, I can quote ten sentences from the platform draft you want restored that violate my small-government principles. Can you quote anything from the PlatCom’s unity draft that violates your no-government principles?

    Disagreeing with your principles is not the same thing as attacking you, and asking to sit at the grownups table with you is not the same thing as trying to purge you.

  25. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I don’t think they need to leave the party, but it is about winning.

    Well, yes. But please define ‘winning’. I define winning as changing enough hearts and minds to create a tipping point to a society whose highest political value (not VALUE, but political value) is freedom. How we do that is the strategic question we all disagree on so much. Campaigns – both of the winning and the also-ran variety – are one tool in this arduous process.

  26. Balph Says:

    The LP should purge the purists or it should let the purists purge everyone else.

    The LP is an apartment with two slobs and to anal retentive chefs. Reconciliation without separation is impossible.

    Take the purple pill. It’ll ease the indigestion the LP causes.

  27. DrGonzo Says:

    Well, yes. But please define ‘winning’. I define winning as changing enough hearts and minds to create a tipping point to a society whose highest political value (not VALUE, but political value) is freedom. How we do that is the strategic question we all disagree on so much. Campaigns – both of the winning and the also-ran variety – are one tool in this arduous process.

    I agree that is what winning is about. A radical hardline platform will not be able to do that though. The goal is to get people on board with Libertarian ideals. I don’t think the purists can do that.

    Was my analogy not valid? Americans reject hardcore leftists and righties. Why would they not do the same to Libertarian purists? We have ran purists many times in the past with no success.

  28. Kenny Says:

    Kochtopus bullshit!

  29. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I agree that is what winning is about. A radical hardline platform will not be able to do that though.

    Obviously, we disagree. I know that it worked for me.

    We have ran purists many times in the past with no success.

    We disagree there, too. It’s a long war, but I do think we’ve won many battles. And frankly I don’t think we’ve run many ‘purists’. Ghandi was purely Libertarian, I suspect. Badnarik, less so. Great guy, though.

    Was my analogy not valid? Americans reject hardcore leftists and righties. Why would they not do the same to Libertarian purists?

    Not all Americans reject. We don’t need to be the majority party in order to change American society to a more Libertarian society.

  30. Balph Says:

    Susan writes:

    “I know that it worked for me.”

    Which is why Susan is now governor of North Carolina.

  31. Robert Capozzi Says:


    Changing hearts and minds is a valiant desie. You articulate Rothbard’s strategy well…create a cadre of committed Rothbardians.

    Anything’s possible, but what worked in Russia in the early 20th century seems like poor strategy for 21st century America.

    Personally, I don’t want to wait for your “tipping point,” which in Russia was desperate people starving in the streets.

    The relatively affluent American populace seems to want to see tangible results to sign onto a new direction. We’re all (mostly) Missourians…show me. Teach by doing seems a far more plausible, workable approach.

    Rothbard never addressed this in the 70s when he came up with his Leninist strategy. It didn’t make sense then, and it still doesn’t, IMO.



  32. johncjackson Says:

    I consider myself a “radical reformer” and I ( I assume/hope) am not alone.

  33. DrGonzo Says:

    Not all Americans reject. We don’t need to be the majority party in order to change American society to a more Libertarian society.

    No, but we need more than one million people which is our current goal. I would hope the party would be aiming to start getting 20 and 25% of the vote. A purist strategy will not do that.

    The large majority of Americans reject radicals from both sides. So it will apply in this situation.

  34. timothy west Says:

    1981. As you can see nothng has changed, and nothing will ever change.


    by David Boaz

    Adolf Hitler said that if you make a lie big enough and repeat it often enough, many people will believe it. Two interrelated Big Lies are being regularly propounded in libertarian circles these days, and it’s time to examine them in light of the facts.

    The two Big Lies I am referring to are:
    (1) that the Libertarian Party, or at least the Clark campaign, has not been successful recently, and,

    (2) [b]that “Libertarian principle was betrayed” by the Clark campaign.[/b] Those who advance these arguments blame both problems on the recent leadership of the party, particularly Ed Crane, Chris Hocker, and the other members of the Clark for President staff. So, they say, Crane and “the people around him” must be removed from positions of leadership in the party.

    This whole argument is a tissue of lies, and it is time someone said so.

    Let’s look first at the success of the party. Did anyone meeting in Denver in 1972 really believe that the Libertarian Party would be as successful as it has been by 1981? Look at the history of the party. Some 85 ideologues met in June 1972 to found a new political party based on an ideology never before consistently expressed in America and not even approached in generations. The party offered a point of view that, being neither right nor left, confused the media.

    Reporters found it difficult to explain to their audiences, so they fell back on the standard “laundry list” article listing any number of libertarian positions—preferably the most radical or frightening—without any coherent explanation of the underlying philosophy. [b]Early party leaders like David Nolan encouraged this tendency by telling the media that “we combine the John Birch Society and SDS,” thus managing -at one fell swoop to alienate 99% of the American people.[/b]

    In 1974 Ed Crane was elected National Chair. The two previous chairs, David and Sue Nolan, turned the party’s membership file over to him—several hundred names kept in a shoebox. The party in 1974 was a small group of people occupied mainly by infighting, bickering, and name-calling.

    (Strangely, seven years later some of those early party leaders are at it again.) The newsletter was a stapled 8xll sheet sent to a few hundred people. Crane turned it into a professional tabloid and sent it to every libertarian name he could find – Reason subscribers, bookbuyers, and so on. State organizations qenerally consisted of one name on a file card. Crane set about building real, functioning party organizations. Libertarians both within and outside of the party soon came to believe that libertarian political activity might actually be viable.

    The next important task was to find a credible presidential candidate for 1976. The obvious choice was Roger MacBride, a highly intelligent, well-read man with radical principles and sufficient wealth to fund a campaign, a lawyer, author, and television producer who would be regarded by the media and the voters as a man of substance, not the usual third-party candidate. There were only two problems—MacBride didn’t want to run for President, and some libertarians objected to a wealthy lawyer who presented radical ideas in a reasonable way. But Crane managed to convince MacBride that only he could give the party -and the cause of liberty—the boost it needed, and at the 1975 nominating convention those who wanted a principled, effective Libertarian Party carried the day, nominating MacBride by a comfortable though not overwhelming majority.

    Crane gave up a successful investment career and took a substantial pay cut to become a full-time National Chair for the duration of the campaign, and moved to Washington to run both the party and the campaign. The Libertarian Party managed to get its candidates on 32 ballots that year, more than any other third party, stunning political observers who understood the intricacies of ballot laws. And in November, after a campaign virtually ignored by the major media, MacBride received 177,000 votes—not a landslide by any means but enough to finish ahead of all other third parties, even the American Independent Party headed by Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox, who had received many times the press coverage.

    After 1976 the Libertarian Party was recognized by aware members of the media, if not the public, as the third largest party in America, though admittedly still in the minor-party league. The 1978 elections, however, substantially improved on that image. As 1978 approached, it was clear that there would be two major focuses of attention for the party—Alaska, where a Libertarian might actually win a legislative seat, and California, where a significant gubernatorial campaign could really put the party on the map. Again, there was an obvious choice for Governor of California—Ed Clark, a longtime party activist. Again, the obvious candidate didn’t want to run. Crane, who had stepped down as national chair in 1977 and turned a well-organized party over to David Bergland, and California activist Ray Cunningham persuaded Clark that he was essential to the party’s growth in 1978. Crane set the basic strategy for the Clark campaign,and Chris Hocker, Bob Costello, and I managed it.

    The campaign was remarkably successful. How did it happen? [b]Murray Rothbard, in describing Clark’s “phenomenal performance” in Libertarian Forum, said Clark did it by “captivating the media,” explaining that “Clark had the rare ability to cleave to radical and principled positions, while coming forth with transition programs consistent with principle that sounded cogent and reasonable to the media.”[/b]

    Libertarian successes in the 1978 campaigns brought the party to the attention of the major media. Perhaps just as important, they convinced a number of libertarians that political activism was effective—David Walter of Pennsylvania and Eric O’Keefe of Michigan, to name just two, first became active in the Libertarian Party after the 1978 elections.

    The 1980 campaigns built on this success. For the first time ever, a third-party candidate got on every state ballot even George Wallace had not accomplished that. Sure, John Anderson did it, too, with four times the money, a thousand times the media coverage, and a series of court and FEC rulings as amazing as a July blizzard in South Texas. Nevertheless, 50state ballot status was a stunning achievement for a third party. Not only did it give the party needed credibility, the process of achieving ballot status strengthened existing state parties and developed organizations where none had existed before.

    Some 5 million pieces of literature were distributed. American television viewers saw 250 minutes of Libertarian advertising. Ed Clark spoke to tens of thousands of people in person and to millions by radio and television interviews. And in the end, almost a million people voted Libertarian in a presidential race-that was tightly contested and offered them three well-publicized choices. Two and a half million Americans voted Libertarian in at least one race.

    But success isn’t measured in vote totals alone. The 1980 camapign produced real, working party organizations in virtually every state. The party’s contributor rolls were tripled. Membership increased 67% in the first four months after the election.

    Is this just hype? Is it just another party activist assuring other activists that our work is not in vain? Well, perhaps � but three of the leading political analysts in America agree. Jack Germond and Jules Witcover, writing in the Washington Star, said, “In terms of what they set out to do, they have to be considered one of the modest political success stories of 1980. The goal was, and is, no less than to establish a real third party movement in the country, and his (Clark’s) success in winning more than 900,000 votes was the best of a no-name candidate in this century.” Germond and Witcover’s chief rival, David Broder of the Washington Post, wrote, “Ed Clark and the Libertarians have had a great Success in terms of their own objectives. Clark has emerged as a man of charm and conviction. With the extensive advertising his contributors have purchased, the Libertarian message has reached a far wider audience than ever before. It has an internal logic that challenges conventional thinking and stimulates debate.”

    At this writing, eight months after the 1980 election, it is clear that the gains we made last year were lasting ones. Despite the usual post-election letdown, state parties in most states are more active than ever. A Libertarian has been elected to a city council in the Deep South. Dick Randolph has a real chance of winning the governorship of Alaska. Already, plans are being made for ballot status in 1982, serious major campaigns in several states, an attempt to win some legislative races in the lower 48.

    I should address one significant criticism of the 1980 campaign here. Some campaign critics have pointed out that Clark and campaign staffers had predicted “several million” votes. Thus, they say, when the campaign finished just under a million, either it was a failure on the campaign’s own terms, or the campaign had made a serious mistake in deluding libertarians into unrealistic expectations. There are basically two answers to this. The first is that, without John Anderson, Clark might very well have gotten several million votes. The campaign’s most vocal critics won’t acknowledge that Anderson was a real problem, or they say that Anderson took votes from Clark only if we were seeking liberal votes. Such a refusal to acknowledge Anderson’s impact can only stem from either a malicious desire to criticize the campaign regardless of the facts or from a political naivet� so hopeless as certainly to disqualify them from any significant political role. It’s not just that Anderson took voters who might otherwise have voted for Clark, though he did in fact get the votes of many independent-minded voters who wanted to vote against Carter and Reagan, and from voters who perceived him as fiscally responsible, socially liberal, and somewhat dovish—just the voters who should have been attracted to a candidate who was really anti-tax, socially liberal, and pro-peace. But the problem is also that Anderson took the media attention that might otherwise have been Clark’s. The media knew that voters were dissatisfied with the two major-party nominees.

    When Anderson, a non-threatening “alternative,” came along, they were able to satisfy their audiences and their consciences by covering him. That way they could avoid covering Clark, who would otherwise have been the third candidate. Any realistic analysis of the 1980 election must point to this conclusion.

    The second answer to the criticism of the “several million” hype is that campaign staffers dropped the point when it became clear that Anderson was in the race to stay. They told Clark orally and in written memos that he should avoid any specific vote prediction. But reporters always want one, and Clark mistakenly gave it to them.

    But this is a minor caveat. Can anybody seriously look at the LP’s record and call it anything other than success? Who among the small group of people that gathered in Denver in 1972 could have expected the results we have achieved in barely eight years? Anybody who had even an inkling of the obstacles legal, institutional, and traditional—placed in the way of new parties in America should have regarded the task as almost hopeless. And anybody who hoped for a quick victory was dreadfully naive; the libertarian revolution is progressing, but it will not be won in a day, or a decade. The struggle is a long one, as is usually the case when the goal is so important. But we are well ahead of schedule. To say otherwise is to advance a Big Lie.

    Let us turn, then, to the other Big Lie: that the party, I or particularly the Clark campaign, has achieved its success by selling out libertarian principles. This is a serious charge. Clearly, none of the accomplishments cited above would constitute success if they had been achieved at such a price.

    Success for the Libertarian Party must mean progress toward liberty; anything else may be vote totals, or organization, or public recognition, but it is not libertarian success.

    The truth is that the Libertarian Party has become progressively more principled (more “hard-core,” in the vernacular) in the last nine years. At its founding, the LP was virtually an extreme right-wing organization. It endorsed civil liberties, but its emphasis was on economics, and its foreign policy was vague at best. [b]The Party’s first platform, drafted by David Nolan (who is now referred to in his own publications as “the conscience of the Libertarian Party”) , was a right-wing document � quite often Randian in its defense of individualism and free-market economics, but hardly radical in its presentation of foreign policy, which was after all the greatest issue of 1972.[/b]

    In 1974, after two years Of David and Sue Nolan’s leadership,—such as it was then- the Party/still had not clearly chosen a radical course. The leading contender for National Chair was Eric Scott Royce of Virginia, who urged support for such “libertarian” Republicans as Steve Symms , then a newly elected Congressman from Idaho.

    The Party’s radicals chose Ed Crane, who had been outspoken in his criticisms of so-called “libertarians” in the major parties and who argued that the Libertarian Party must clearly set itself apart from the older parties, as their candidate. The convention delegates, offered a clear choice of strategies, chose radicalism. Crane was elected National Chair, and the platform became much more hard-core. (Ed Clark served as Platform Committee Chair.)

    Over the next three years Crane and other radicals kept the party on an increasingly hard-core course. The 1975 convention approved a yet more radical platform and chose the most consistently radical candidate for the presidential nomination.

    Let’s skip a few years and move to an examination of the main point in the second Big Lie: that/the Clark for President campaign, “Libertarian principle was betrayed, the LP platform traduced and ignored, our message diluted beyond recognition… They sold their souls—ours, unfortunately, along with it—for a mess of pottage.” (Libertarian Forum, September-December 1980)

    Quite simply, that is untrue. What the Clark for President campaign largely did, in point of fact, was what LF praised the Clark for Governor campaign for: “cleave to radical and principled positions, while coming forth with transition programs consistent with principle that sounded cogent and reasonable to the media.” The major proposals of the Clark campaign were presented in four White Papers. These White Papers represented the most extensive body of public policy proposals yet produced by libertarians. They were also widely cited by journalists as the best material produced by any campaign. And what did the White Papers say?

    The White Paper on Taxing and Spending Reduction called for a $200 billion one-year budget cut and a $180 billion one-year tax cut, thus producing a balanced budget in Clark’s first year (assuming Jimmy Carter’s budget figures had been correct). The proposals included abolishing three major taxes—estate and gift taxes, customs duties, and the windfall profits taxes cutting every American’s income taxes by at least 50% with greater reductions for lowerincome taxpayers whose standard deductions had been eaten away by inflation, a major business tax cut, and an education tax credit. Now of course this is not the only one-year tax proposal that would be consistent with libertarian principles. One could easily argue that we should have called for a 75% income tax cut, or for abolition of the corporate income tax along with a 25% personal tax cut, or for any other such proposal. But we believed that this was the best proposal we could devise for cutting taxes quickly. It iz a reasonable, radical, libertarian tax-cutting proposal, and no libertarian should have been ashamed of it.

    In that same White Paper, we offered a line-by-line description of $201.4 billion of budget cuts. This detailed budget analysis was tremendously impressive to journalists, who despair of ever understanding the federal budget. Of course, libertarians believe that everything or virtually everything in the federal budget should be abolished. But we can’t achieve our goals instantly, and it is important to convey to the public the knowledge that we have practical proposals that could be implemented right now if libertarians were elected to office.

    Finally, of course, the White Paper pointed out that libertarians didn’t intend to stop with this $200 billion cut in government but would go on cutting more and more as long as we were in office.

    The white Paper on Foreign and Military Policy , largely written by Earl Ravenal, offered the same sort of radical yet practical proposals, based on the principle of non-intervention. In it Clark pledged to withdraw all U. S. troops from overseas, to dismantle all our land-based missiles, to cut back from 19 land divisions to 8F from 44 tactical air wings to 19, from 12 naval carrier task forces to 6, and to cut the defense budget immediately by $50 billion. The White Paper pledged to seek corresponding troop withdrawals and force reductions from the Soviet Union, but made the important point that the U. S. should—and President Clark would—make them unilaterally if need be. The Paper also, of course, called for an end to draft registration and foreign aid and listed a number of weapons systems that could be terminated.

    The White Paper on Social Security Reform offered the only practical proposal yet advanced for actually getting out of the social security system. Of course, libertarians favor the flat statement abolition of social security; but the flat statement “abolish social security” will not be taken seriously. You’ve got to show how it can be done. We did, in a proposal that would start by an immediate end to social security taxes.

    Finally, the White Paper on Education offered a proposal for major education tax credits. It went on to describe tax credits as merely a first step to the abolition of public schools.

    The other major campaign document, Ed Clark’s book A New Beginning, had chapters on each of these subjects as well and as on inflation, energy, poverty and welfare, and civil liberties.

    As LP activists across the country have stated it is the best introduction to libertarianism available anywhere. The distribution of 100,000 copies of it today is yet another major achievement of the Clark campaign.

    These five documents formed the substance of the Clark campaign. Every one of them presents a radical libertarian program in reasonable, practical terms. The television ads, too, offered a principled argument in a reasonable manner. These were the major means of communication by the Clark campaign to the outside world, and they were in virtually every detail thoroughly principled and reflective of libertarian values.

    [b]Of course, most of the criticisms that campaign critics like David Nolan and Murray Rothbard are directed at things Ed Clark said in off-the-cuff remarks. Interestingly enough, however, both Nolan and Rothbard condemn the nefarious Ed Crane, who moves like a sinister force through all their writings, for being “really” responsible for everything Clark said. Perhaps they have been afraid for political reasons to attack Clark directly, or perhaps they genuinely feel a reluctance to insult so severely a man who deserves such gratitude from libertarians.[/b]

    But consider: When they portray Clark as an unthinking puppet of Crane, they insult him far more than if they criticize the things he said. Ed Clark is a highly intelligent, well-educated man with an independent life and career. He is fully capable of formulating on his own answers to questions about libertarianism. If he made mistakes, let us at least concede that they were his mistakes. If there are criticisms of the campaign’s printed materials, Clark, Crane, Hocker, and myself as Research Director must share whatever blame is dished out. But Ed Clark’s speeches and interviews were his own.

    Before I offer my own criticisms of some of Clark’s statements, let me point out something that the campaign’s critics rarely do. Ed Clark deserves an enormous amount of gratitude from libertarians. He was the candidate that we needed in 1980. Had he not run, we would have suffered a major setback. Anyone who was not on the campaign trail with Clark, as I was, can simply not imagine the mental and physical exhaustion, the indignities, the strain that a presidential campaign involves. For sixteen hours a day, six or seven days a week, for four months Ed Clark traveled from city to city, answering the same questions over and over, rarely seeing his family, occasionally getting a good meal, once in a rare while getting a full night’s sleep.

    For his time, his money, and his effort, we can never repay him. Beyond that, Clark has a unique ability to understand issues from a libertarian perspective and to explain libertarian positions in a way that sounds reasonable to non-libertarians. Anyone who heard him talking to a group of non-libertarians must acknowledge that he was ~persuasive—he was able to convince people that libertarian ideas made sense—and in the final analysis, isn’t that the most important thing to ask of any presidential candidate? It is the failure of campaign critics to make even these basic points that has deterred many of the campaign’s critical supporters from offering their own perspectives. One hardly wants to be grouped with the people who have let personal vendettas, political ambition, or whatever lead them to a blind condemnation of everything about the campaign.

    Nevertheless, perhaps it is time for a more balanced appraisal. As Research Director and then as Clark’s traveling political aide, I saw both Clark’s work and the staff’s from up close. As my comments to this point indicate, I believe the campaign was both principled and effective. And having seen the incredibly long hours of hard work put in by a group of dedicated libertarians, I regret the level of the attacks on the campaign. But few things in life are perfect, so let’s look at some of the mistakes.

    Clark waffled on immigration, the critics charge. That’s true. (The White Paper on Spending doesn’t.) He stopped this waffling, however, after pressure from the campaign staff. But it did happen, and it shouldn’t have.

    Clark’s appearance on ABC Nightline five days before the election was quite bad. In his last three minutes with the American people, he talked about President Kennedy instead of the positive programs of his campaign. As anyone who was around the campaign office the next day knows, Crane and other senior staffers were livid about the performance. Clark had been in four different cities that day before his late-night appearance. That’s not an excuse, but it may be an explanation. At any rate, it certainly wasn’t any grand plot by Clark, Crane, or anyone else—it was just a mistake.

    Clark originally used the term “low-tax liberals” to describe a group of people he expected to be attracted to his campaign—primarily the kind of people his campaign for Governor 8 and 9% in the suburbs of San Francisco. It was a valid term in that context to explain what kind of people would vote for a candidate who was neither right nor left. But he occasionally used it to describe himself or libertarians, and it was not valid in that context. Staff members argued against it, and I never heard the term in the fall.

    There were other mistakes during the campaign. I have yet to see a perfect candidate (but T also have yet to see a better one than Ed Clark). But they were not part of any self-defeating strategy to “sell out libertarian principle for a mess of votes.” They were mistakes, made in an honest attempt to present libertarianism as a radical yet practical and appealing idea. And in keeping with the libertarian principle of being responsible for one’s own actions, let’s blame the individual responsible for each mistake, not blindly select some devil-figure and make him responsible for everything bad (though nothing good) about the campaign.

    To continue my promise to acknowledge some real mistakes of the campaign, let me point out that I even have some disagreements with things the staff did. Like many of the campaign critics, for instance, I oppose the Equal Rights Amendment (for reasons that have generally been well-presented by Messrs. Rothbard and Evers). But Clark made it clear from 1978 on through the 1979 convention that he supported ERA. The convention delegates either agreed or didn’t find that a major problem. So I can’t say I was deceived or “sold out” on that issue by Ed Clark. I supported him even though I disagreed with him and other campaign staffers on that issue. Also, like every other campaign staffer, I think the use of Chris Hocker as an “Anderson supporter” in a campaign commercial was risky and highly improper. Finally, I think the nuclear power flyer was a mistake. Even here, though, I must object to the hysterical charges of the campaign critics. The flyer did not involve, as Rothbard charges, Clark “endorsing” Gofman. What does such a statement mean? The fact is that Gofman endorsed Clark, and we should accept that endorsement just as we accepted Nicholas von Hoffman’s endorsement and sought Howard Jarvis’s, even though none of those people is a libertarian. But the flyer did imply that libertarians oppose nuclear Dower per se (though it did not state that), and I object to that misrepresentation. I argued against its text in the office; I was overruled. So what should I have done? Worked for Reagan, who according to Rothbard was “substantially more libertarian than Clark on several significant issues”? Spent the campaign sulking? Denounced Clark publicly? I hardly think libertarianism would have benefited by any of those courses. Instead, I chose to work very hard for a campaign that was bringing a reasonable, radical, libertarian viewpoint to the American people even though I disagreed with some parts of it.

    So I have agreed that some of the specific criticisms of the campaign, or of Clark’s statements, were valid. Now let’s look at a few of the charges that are not valid—the charges that constitute the Big Lie. Most of these are to be found in the September-December issue of Libertarian Forum. There’s not space here to refute every incorrect point made, but I think a few obvious misstatements should be pointed out.

    Rothbard, for instance, demands to know why the Clark education tax credit is limited to $1200 per student, which he says is “substantially below most private school annual tuition.” That is not true; the average private school tuition is about $1100, and the credit was designed to be larger than that. Also, the credit is $400 more than the one Clark endorsed in his campaign for Governor, the campaign Rothbard describes as “cleaving to radical and principled positions.”

    Rothbard goes on to say that there is no clear-cut statement by Clark that tax credits are only a transition program. Balderdash. The White Paper says, “It is fundamentally contrary to the principles of a free society for government to involve itself in education….It is time that we establish freedom of education,...and remove government from this area altogether.” The same statements are made in A New Beginning-

    Rothbard thoroughly distorts the campaign’s treatment of money and inflation. He states, “(In the White Paper on Taxingv and Spending Reduction) there was not a mention of Fed responsibility. Quite the contrary. The public was assured that if the Clark 30% budget and revenue cut were put into effect, this would end inflation.” (Rothbard’s emphasis.) Not true. The closest thing to such a statement is “The federal budget must be balanced as part of a realistic, hard-nosed program to stop inflation.” In the real world, it is necessary to stop deficit spending to stop inflation. Of course, that’s not all it takes, and that’s why the White Paper refers to a balanced budget as “part” of an anti-inflation program. it is true that there is no mention of Fed responsibility. That’s because it is a White Paper on Taxing and Spending Reduction, not on inflation.

    Rothbard goes on to say, “Later in the campaign, under severe pressure by outraged libertarian economists, Clark did, at various points, endorse the gold standard, as well as issue a paper by myself on the causes and remedies for inflation. But all this was grudging and low-key. The real, upfront discussion was balanced budget all the way.” Poppycock. To answer just a few of the misstatements in this brief paragraph: To my knowledge, no libertarian economist other than Rothbard ever brought “severe pressure” or “outrage” on the campaign over this issue. The paper by Rothbard on inflation was requested in January 1980 (hardly “later in the campaign It was not published until late in the campaign because we did not receive it until late in the campaign. “Grudging and low-key” are rather subjective charges. All I can do is point to the position paper and A New Beginning as examples of what Clark said about inflation. The discussion in A New Beginning is, I believe, one of the best popular explanations of a complicated subject (inflation) available.

    It is also more hard-core than Rothbard’s call for “the gold standard,” which is normally understood to mean a government established standard. Clark called for abolishing the Fed and urged consideration of F. A. Hayek’s proposal for private, competing currencies—the real libertarian position on money.

    In the area of foreign policy, Rothbard writes, “Clark’s policy pronouncements, supported by his White Paper on Foreign and Military Policy, abandoned a principled policy of non-intervention.” (Emphasis his.) Hogwash. The White Paper states, “The case for non-intervention is based on the moral principles of peace and respect for other peoples.” Both the White Paper and A New Beginning set our foreign policy in the tradition of the Founders: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations—entangling alliances with none.” Both then go on to present a realistic picture of the world that demonstrates low the practicality of libertarian foreign policy. Now, if one’s goal as a libertarian is to engage in intellectual masturbation, to sit around in a living room with other libertarians telling each other how principled we are, then one doesn’t need such a practica analysis of foreign policy. But if our goal is to change the world by persuading people of our position, then it seems obvious to me that we have to demonstrate that our ideas will work.

    Moving now to a specific foreign policy point that has been made more than once, it is charged that the White Paper described the Iranian rescue mission as within the “outer limits” of permissible intervention. Once again, not true. The campaign put out a press release denouncing the raid as soon as it happened. And the “outer limits” phrase appeared in the rough draft of the White Paper, which had been sent to Rothbard and other members of the Review Committee before the campaign staff had made its own revisions (thus refuting another standard argument of the campaign critics, that the Review Committee never saw material in advance; Rothbard could only have found that phrase in the rough draft). The phrase was removed from the published version of the White Paper, which said instead, “No military actions -like the April rescue mission—can be considered acceptable.” Any complaints about that?

    Another charge Rothbard makes is that the White Paper on spending promises to keep OSHA. When one is faced with such a blatant misstatement of fact, one is hard-pressed to maintain the opinion that the author is merely mistaken on many points.

    I refer the reader to pages 46 and 47 of the White Paper, where the discussion of OSHA concludes with “It should be abolished.” Clear enough?

    I could go on. A complete list of the misstatements of fact in “The Clark Campaign: Never Again” and other critiques of the campaign, however, would fill Caliber and then some. So I must conclude with an examination of one of Rothbard’s most absurd sections, “Where Reagan Was Better.” First, Rothbard states that Clark’s tax cut was not “perceivably” (his emphasis) more radical than Reagan’s. Well, an immediate 50% cut in everyone’s taxes is more radical—by far—than Reagan’s reduced tax increase (a hoax that Rothbard has commendably finally gotten around to discovering this spring). Unfortunately, the media portrayed Reagan as a radical tax-cutter, and we weren’t able to destroy that image. That’s the breaks—but I don’t think we should have changed our whole approach just to 11prove” we more radical than Reagan. Then Rothbard offers five “significant areas where Reagan was more libertarian than Clark”: (a) Clark was for the ERA; Reagan was against it. Well, as I said above, I also oppose the ERA, but I can’t say I think the libertarian position is clear on it, and anyone who thinks Reagan is more libertarian than Clark on women’s rights obviously has a bizarre notion of both libertarianism and women’s rights. (b) “Clark was in favor of outlawing nuclear energy per se. Reagan was not.” Clark never made any such statement, though in my opinion the nuclear power flyer supplied such a position. It did not, however, state that, and no other Clark statement even suggested it. As for Reagan, to say he was “not in favor of outlawing nuclear energy” is the height of disingenuousness. Reagan, of course, is ‘in favor of massive subsidies to nuclear energy. I have never accepted the dark mutterings of anti-nuclear libertarians that Rothbard, Evers, and so on are actually pEo-nuclear, but it this statement is any evidence, I may be wrong. (c) Clark was in favor of restricting Mexican immigration; Reagan “presumptively” seems to call for unrestricted immigration. Clark did waffle on this issue, but the campaign statements did not, and Clark stopped waffling in the fall. As for Reagan, he never made any such suggestion, and it appears now that all he wants is to re-institute the bracero program, described accurately by Rothbard as government-sanctioned-and-enforced exploitation on a massive scale.” (d) Clark was against welfare cuts until we have achieved full employment. He did imply that in some off-the-cuff statements, but the White Paper did propose major welfare cuts in the first year—something, again, that Rothbard has finally realized Reagan is not doing. (e) Clark favored “enterprise zones” for Miami only. In a pig’s eye he did. Campaigning in Miami, he proposed making Miami an enterprise zone. Campaigning in other cities, he urged the same thing there. This is a good example of the kind of distortion found in the Rothbard and Nolan epics. Take a statement issued in one city, designed to show the residents of that city how libertarian ideas could have an immediate beneficial effect an them, and then pretend that Clark opposed the same idea elsewhere. During the campaign, Clark frequently talked about unemployment when he went in to Midwestern states in particular. His statements usually began, “Too many people are out of work here in Ohio.” Why doesn’t Rothbard charge that Clark therefore did not think that too many people were out of work in the other 49 states?

    Well, this listing of misstatements must draw to a close somewhere. With even this many identified untruths in the major critique of the Clark campaign, one must wonder: how much of. the rest can be true? And could so many untruths be published in honest error? Some of the statements cited above are so obviously untrue and so easily checked that one must conclude that their author either intentionally misrepresented the truth or engaged in a willful and reckless disregard for the truth. In either case, it is hardly the appropriate form of libertarian debate.

    Let me pose a question here. It is true that Clark waffled on some issues. It is also true that the campaign chose to put major emphasis on the immediate programs that a libertarian administration could implement, and I will agree that there is room for debate as to whether each transition of program was/the appropriate magnitude. The attempt to present libertarian ideas in such a way as to make them appealing to the American people certainly carries with it a risk that we may not present a sufficiently principled argument in some cases. On the other hand, one could go before every audience and say, “I own my own life and the fruits of my labor.

    Therefore, taxation is theft and the state is evil. We must abolish the state, and if some people get hurt, that’s their problem.” That would be a morally correct approach, and in that case one would never run the risk of failing to present libertarian principles. One would also never convince anyone.

    So let me ask this: Which is the greater betrayal of the noble cause of freedom in our time—to attempt to present a reasonable, radical, libertarian program that appeals to people and occasionally to err on the side of caution; or to self-righteously throw libertarian principles in people’s faces, thus ensuring that we will remain pure and unfree?

    It is easy to sell out, to join the Reagan administration or the Jerry Brown administration, or to hail the Reagan victory and urge it to cut domestic spending (though not military spending) as Rothbard’s new-found allies at Reason magazine have done. It is also easy to become sectarian, to withdraw into one’s living room and insist that only we are pure. The difficult task is to make the decision to try to achieve freedom. That requires avoiding the traps of both opportunism and sectarianism. It requires sticking to one’s principles and building an independent movement, and it also requires living in the real world, [b]learning to present principled positions in a practical, appealing form, learning to deal with the needs and fears of real people, and being willing to take the responsibility for making difficult decisions that cannot always be answered by repeating the non-aggression principle at the top of one’s lungs. It is regrettable that those libertarians who have made the difficult decision to try to roll back the state and achieve freedom have been subjected to such hysterical and unprincipled attacks.[/b]

    I have been encouraged recently, in talking to a number of libertarians, to find that so many of them are dismayed by the pettiness, the backbiting, the hysteria being displayed by some prominent libertarians. To quote just one example, I received a letter recently from a Clark state coordinator, who said, “I am really distressed with the seeming split in the Party, but I am enraged with the immature and obvious smear tactics being conducted by some of our so-called ‘pure’ libertarians

    If (my state) libertarians are representative of libertarians all over the nation, then in my experience, I find that the people who have the biggest mouths are also the ones with the biggest fannies—because that’s all they do—sit and mouth off.

    It makes our job more difficult, but it also makes me more determined to work harder.”

    We’ve talked about the Libertarian Party “coming of age.” Perhaps this controversy will be the real test of whether we have come of age as a serious movement for change. Will libertarians have the maturity to step back from the mud-slinging and analyze our success in real-world terms? Or will they fall for the petty jealousies, personal vendettas, and sectarianism that have destroyed so many other political movements?

    Let me conclude by re-emphasizing the point I made at the beginning of this article. Some prominent libertarians are engaging in a form of Orwellian Newspeak.

    The White Papers, the best collection of libertarian public policy material ever produced, are “infamous.” The presentation of reasonable, radical, libertarian proposals for change is “betrayal of principle.” The most professional libertarian television ads ever are dismissed as “tacky and sleazy.” Some of the hardest-working, most competent, most dedicated, most radical people in the libertarian movement are derided as “liars, cheap Opportunists, toadies, hirelings, and unethical individuals.” Distributing 100,000 copies of the best popular book on libertarianism available is described as “mis-educating.”

    A tripling of LP membership and contributor rolls is described as “minuscule.” And the achievements of the Clark campaign -organizations in every state, ballot status, 5 million pieces of literature, 2h million Libertarian votes—are dismissed as “an abysmal failure.”

    Well, it’s time to call this attack what it is. It’s the Big Lie.

  35. timothy west Says:

    maybe now some of you will understand how long this “pure principled” bullshit has been crippling the LP. This was written 27 years ago!!

  36. David F. Nolan Says:

    Having dealt with both Murray Rothbard and Ed Crane personally, and watching events unfold over three and a half decades, I can make the following observations with some certainty.

    Neither Rothbard nor Crane (with their respective followers) was “hounded out” of the Libertarian Party. Both left of their own volition after failing to get their way in various battles.

    While I considered Rothbard a friend, he was undeniably contentious, often intemperate, and notoriously fickle. Over the years, he allied himself with groups from the Black Panthers to the Buchanan wing of the Reform Party. However, to my knowledge he never supported any war waged by the U. S. government.

    Ed Crane’s autocratic tendencies are legendary. The critiques that Murray and I made of the “Crane Machine” were done AFTER the Clark campaign.

    All of this is mostly irrelevant a far as I am concerned. I have stated repeatedly that I will support (to some degree) whomever the LP nominates in Denver. I will be more enthusiastic if we choose Kubby or Ruwart than if we select Barr or Root, but I won’t “walk out” in any case.

    Likewise, while I would prefer to see the 2004 Platform restored, I won’t leave if the vaguer, softer Holtz platform is adopted.

    And to “Balph,” whomever you may be, right back at ya!

  37. jre Says:


    J.R. here and I would like to interject an opinion if I may. First, I would like to say that is always nice to have a discussion with you. Although we are usually in different camps on the platform issues, I will say that you always conduct yourself as a perfect gentleman and I respect that. On the platform….If I were a reformer my strategy would have been to obey the bylaws and start with the 06’ platform….try to tone down some of the existing plank language that appeared to me, remember I am playing the part of the reformer here, to be too radical and then submit my new planks that follow the existing format and try to build from there. Instead what has happened is that the platform committee has determined that they can use the inertia from the Portland purge in order to seek a total rewrite of the platform and if anyone is paying attention make major changes in the by-laws. I would personally consider the directional principle platform an overeach of epic proportions, so I would hope that you guys are not too disappointed if ,and I do say if, the reformer plan gets handed to you all in a handbasket in Denver. I look forward to Denver….it should be alot of fun and win or lose at least I will have participated and voted for the things that I think will make the LP a stronger organization for the future.

  38. Bill Woolsey Says:

    I liked the advertisement.

    I am sure that Nolan doesn’t remember, but he asked me
    to leave the Libertarian Party. It was in 1996.

    I teach economics at The Citadel, a military school in
    Charleston South Carolina. Believe it or not, he thought
    that was reason enough. What libertarian could teach at
    a military college? (Ron Paul had a different attitude.
    He came and visited our student libertarian group, all
    cadets, about 3 years ago. Paul seemed to be a bit of a
    fan of The Citadel.)

    But, really, that was just a gratuitous insult. Our “problem”
    developed because Nolan defended Browne’s poor result in
    1996 compared to Ed Clark in 1980. Maybe Browne didn’t
    get as many votes, but he had run on immediately abolishing
    the income tax. Clark, according to Nolan, had run on replacing
    the income tax with a flat tax. So, while Clark received more
    votes, he didn’t run on a sufficiently hardcore program.

    Well, in fact, Clark had run on cutting income tax rates by 50%.
    Of course, that means that the progressive rate structure would
    still exist, though all the rates would be lower. I am pretty sure
    there was nothing about a flat tax in the 1980 campaign. I am sure
    that I mentioned that I thought Clark’s incremental proposal was
    was better than Browne’s much larger increment. (Naturally,
    I was saying nothing about what taxes, if any, I thought should
    exist in an ideal society.)

    Nolan apparently saw red (as he appears to do often,) and as
    an apparent supporter of the progressive income tax, I was
    beyond the pale. (In fact, I don’t like a progressive tax rate
    structure, and would prefer two rates, a much lower one, and
    zero. I think any such fundamental tax reform must come in
    the context of a significant cut in the expense, and so, the size
    of government.)

    I have no problem with radicals being in the LP. However, if
    they insist on pontificating on what is the real libertarian position,
    who are real libertarians, claiming various libertarians aren’t real
    libertarians, then they should be kept out of positions of authority.

    I prefer none of the above to a candidate for public office that runs
    on an excessively radical campaign program. I prefer none of
    the above to a candidate who uses a campaign to preach about
    the nature of libertopia or even about abstract political philosophy.

    Nearly all of our Presidential candidates have run on what I consider
    excessively radical programs. Just about none of them have
    used their campaigns to discuss libertopia or talk about abstract
    political philosophy. (Hospers did discuss philosophy and
    minarchist libertopia. Bergland spoke about philsophy but not
    anarchist libertopia, and maybe Badnarik spoke about Constitionalism,
    I don’t know.)

    I consider the Clark campaign to have been our best. I am reasonably
    certain that he didn’t believe that the implementation of his campaign
    program would have created an ideal society. I know that I didn’t and
    don’t. But it was a very good program for 1980.

    And I still haven’t forgotten how Rothbard (and, yes, Nolan) attacked
    the Clark campaign for being a sell-out.

    Were those who liked the Clark approach “hounded out” of the LP?
    I know I didn’t leave.

    Anyway, I think Barr is the right candidate for 2008. And the program
    he is running upon—out of iraq, cuts if federal spending, and protecting
    constitutional rights, is the right program for 2008.

  39. jre Says:

    For Christ’s sake Mr. West…how about a link to all of that…I think that my scroll wheel has just ran out of grease.

  40. Robert Capozzi Says:

    Tim: 1981. As you can see nothng has changed, and nothing will ever change.

    Bob: Agreed that the dysfunction is pretty similar to 27 years ago. However, 2 former MCs, former Rs and Ds, are vying for the top of the LP ticket. And a draft platform that most Ls can agree to is wending its way to the convention floor. Something seems to be happening here.

  41. Fred Church Ortiz Says:

    Timothy: Thanks, I guess. I’m sure once the massive wave of depression that article induced subsides, I’ll feel better informed for having read it.

  42. Robert Capozzi Says:


    Thanks, and back at you.

    The 06 platform was woefully incomplete, IMO. Indeed, the few planks in it were mostly kept due to a parliamentary error, as I understand it.

    Platcomm has a draft that REALLY goes back to our roots. It’s designed to unify most of the L schools of thought. With luck and effort in Denver, it will pass, and we can bring the LP’s message of maximizing liberty to the voters.

  43. timothy west Says:

    I got a lot more history than that. It’s all locally stored on my system here. Sorry about your scroll wheel. Think of it as a exercise program for your middle finger so you can flip assholes the bird faster. :D

    Robert: I don’t believe anything will happen but stalemate. The so called “Dallas Accord” of which there is no record and no one that can come up with a copy is the historical problem.

    I bet ‘Libertarian Larry’ Fulmer would have had a paper copy in his affairs. I would just love to see a actual copy of this ‘agreement’. Nolan, publish one if you have one. The historical record demands it.

  44. jre Says:


    You say…Indeed, the few planks in it were mostly kept due to a parliamentary error, as I understand it.

    I was in Portland and I disagree with that statement. The planks that are left are the ones that did not get the votes to eliminate them. And take that with the consideration that Portland was a really small convention with a well organized reformer caucas. If it could not happen in Portland…then I give the idea that the rest of the platform can be deleted about a snowballs chance in hell of coming to fruition in Denver. But everyone has dreams I suppose….BTW, nice video Brian…It reminds me of the stuff that was being used by the Bush administration to get us into the Iraq war. All you guys need is Condaleeza Rice and some video footage of an atomic bomb mushroom cloud and your point will be made.

  45. Brian Holtz Says:

    JRE, you’re the first to accuse us reformers on PlatCom of not following rules to the letter. In fact, we do so because it’s the only way to minimize the amount of fiction that will inevitably be concocted about our process—fiction that is a weak substitute for substantively criticizing our product.

    I disagree on the chances for PlatCom’s unity platform-repair plan. Most of our planks get 85+% approval from likely delegates surveyed. Even before seeing our February report, 59% of likely delegates surveyed in January said we should start with a clean slate, 71% favored a shorter platform covering fewer issues, and 77% favored little to no implementation detail. Unless the delegates have changed their minds or lied on the survey, they seem very likely to take “yes” for an answer from the PlatCom.

    The Portland plank deletions were an unplanned delegate revolt that deleted more than twice as many planks as the Reform Caucus had voted to delete. The Platform Committee is proposing that in Denver we work with a safety net. Our Report calls for our new planks to be pushed onto the front of the Platform, and only toward the end of the floor debate when we see which of our planks have been adopted will the delegates vote on our recommendations to delete the redundant 2006 legacy planks.

    Thus we are following to the letter the rule that the previous Platform is the basis for the next. There is no rule about the format of the planks, and the Atlanta format was widely considered a failure. It had “transition” actions like 1) immediately remove all immigration restrictions and 2) be sure not to re-instantiate some obscure New Deal agency that hasn’t existed since the 1940’s. Quite the “transition” plan, that.

  46. Brian Miller Says:

    This whole advertisement is very disappointing.

    Libertarian centrists are supposed to unite the party, not divide it.

    And surely the LRC can do better than lift Apple’s intellectual property. Libertarians are creative and innovative—a copy of a copy of the oldest, most imitated and most cliched product advertisement brought to the LP for the upteenth time is just a failure of imagination.

    We need more imagination in the LP, not less, and I’m getting pretty friggin’ tired of advocating the expulsion of groups who aren’t liked by various constituencies. We can and will build a big-tent party that will run a candidate who we can all get behind, and we can and will focus on growing the LP through outreach and effective local action.

    This sort of PR stunt really doesn’t accomplish anything to take us in either of those two directions, and many LRC supporters I know are disappointed by it.

  47. David F. Nolan Says:

    timothy west wrote: ” I don’t believe anything will happen but stalemate. The so called “Dallas Accord” of which there is no record and no one that can come up with a copy is the historical problem.

    I bet ‘Libertarian Larry’ Fulmer would have had a paper copy in his affairs. I would just love to see a actual copy of this ‘agreement’. Nolan, publish one if you have one. The historical record demands it.”

    The Dallas Accord was an informal agreement between the anarchist wing of the party and the minarchist wing. As far as I know, it was never put on paper and signed by representatives of the opposing groups.

  48. Robert Capozzi Says:

    JRE: I was in Portland and I disagree with that statement [ME: Indeed, the few planks in it were mostly kept due to a parliamentary error, as I understand it.] The planks that are left are the ones that did not get the votes to eliminate them. And take that with the consideration that Portland was a really small convention with a well organized reformer caucas.

    BOB: I’d need to research it, but the 06 platform has 2 types:

    1) What you say – they were retained.
    2) The new planks that were voted on before the retention vote. Some say this latter category was improperly handled from a parliamentary perspective. I have not researched this, so I have no opinion.

    The Reform Caucus was reasonably well organized going into Portland. However, there was never a plan to delete planks as was done. I know this because I was advocating platform rewrite at the time. I was unable to persuade my Reformer colleagues.

    More here:

  49. jre Says:

    1. The current Platform shall serve as the basis of all future platforms. At Regular Conventions, the existing Platform may be amended. Additional planks, or additions to planks, must be approved by 2/3 vote. A platform plank may be deleted by majority vote.

    From Websters:

    1. the bottom or base of anything; the part on which something stands or rests.
    2. anything upon which something is based; fundamental principle; groundwork.
    3. the principal constituent; fundamental ingredient.

    Brian says…Thus we are following to the letter the rule that the previous Platform is the basis for the next. There is no rule about the format of the planks….

    I would argue that the present platform structure including….The Issue, The Principle, Solutions, and Transitional Action “IS” the basis and that all future platform work should be derived from this basis. IMO the format is part of the basis and are fundamental ingredients of our platform, but I am sure that you guys can dig up something from Robert’s Rules to uphold your view. Mabey the delegates will get a chance to decide who is right.

  50. Thomas L. Knapp Says:


    You write:

    “Tom, you ‘plumbline’ radicals need to get your story straight. Did Rothbard and his hyper-detailed Platform define the ‘plumbline’ like he claimed to, or not? Your candidate Steve Kubby calls himself a ‘plumbline’ Libertarian …”

    Well, I guess the best place to start discussing “plumbline” radicalism, as defined by Rothbard, is to state the plumbline:

    The fundamental axiom of libertarian theory is that no one may threaten or commit violence (‘aggress’) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another. In short, no violence may be employed against a non-aggressor. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.

    The problem with the “plumbline,” of course, is that even libertarians who consider it the standard often get very different answers when “deducing the corpus.” For example, it is my understanding that Mary Ruwart considers herself a “plumbline” libertarian (even though I’ve never heard her use that particular term) and is an anarchist; while Kubby has in fact specifically referred to himself as a “plumbline” libertarian, yet argues that the existence of the state is not just desirable but necessary.

    Furthermore, when Rothbard referred to the “entire corpus of libertarian theory,” I suspect that he was speaking ideologically, not strategically (although he likely asserted that strategy must follow ideology to at least some extent, as form follows function).

    Finally, while the plumbline I’ve chosen happens to be the same one that Rothbard propounded, I didn’t get mine from Rothbard. I got it from one of his fiercest opponents for the allegiance of the intellectual freedom movement, Ayn Rand (although a Rothbardian, Roy Childs, wrote a letter that modified my understanding of that plumbline’s implications). I had never heard of Rothbard until after I had read all of Rand’s major works and most of her minor ones (excepting the marginalia and other weird shit that ARI keeps pumping out these days). And Rand and Rothbard certainly disagreed on strategic issues (except on Tuesdays when it was raining and Rothbard happened to agree with Rand; but by the following dry Wednesday, it was virtually certain that he would have moved on).

    “To call Rothbardianism vague is laughable. The man’s literary output was simply legendary, and he rigidly enforced the Rothbard line.”

    I didn’t call Rothbardianism vague, did I? Rather I implied that there are a number of different “Rothbardianisms.” Strategically he went from left-right fusionism in the 60s to Leninist-style cadre organizing in the 70s, to the populist race-baiting strategy that Paul eventually foundered on, which he test-marketed with Buchanan the late 80s / early 90s. He rejected incrementalism, except when he accepted it. He rejected left sectarianism and right opportunism except when he was being a left sectarian or a right opportunist.

    If you’re suggesting that the LP’s platform, through 2004, was largely a “Rothbardian” product, I won’t contest that assertion. But that’s like saying it’s a “Christian” product—Holy Roman Catholic? Freewill Baptist? LDS?

    Obviously in the late 70s and early 80s, Rothbard himself had an exceptional personal impact, but since then, saying “the Rothbardians” were responsible for something is like saying “the people who happen to be wearing yellow shirts today” were responsible for it. His influence in the LP is both pervasive and variable in content … sort of like he himself was.

    As others point out, “Rothbardian” Bill Evers is now a mid-level Bushevik bureaucrat, “Rothbardian” Justin Raimondo has gone from Buchanan to Nader to Paul to Obama (and now maybe to Barr), “Rothbardian” Susan Hogarth is swinging her plumbline around the LP such that you’re starting to worry the china will get broken … so do you want to try to tell me what in blue hell IS a “Rothbardian?”

  51. Susan Hogarth Says:

    “Rothbardian” Susan Hogarth is swinging her plumbline around the LP such that you’re starting to worry the china will get broken …

    You have a rare gift for metaphor Tom.

    That’s the nicest thing anyones said about me all week.

    Yes, it has been a bad week. But still.

  52. Steve Perkins Says:

    Anyone who doesn’t buy me a beer in Denver isn’t a real Libertarian and should be purged from the party.

    Jim… I hope you don’t have a problem with me printing this on a t-shirt before I arrive at the convention? Hilarious!

  53. Thomas M. Sipos Says:

    Brian Holtz: “Thomas, did this anonymous alleged “reformer” call you a “retard”?

    Alleged? Are you calling me mistaken or dishonest?

    I know he was a reformer because he was one of two guys behind a table, handing out those stickers.

    You remember those biased, push-poll stickers? You were supposed to pick and wear a sticker, depending on whether you wanted a growing, big tent party, or a radical, failure of a party.

    I got into a conversation with him, and he explained his stickers, saying that we can either grow and succeed, or remain small and irrelevant. He said it was our choice, he only wished to clarify the choice with his stickers.

    Success or failure? Hmmm, that’s an unbiased explanation of the platform issues before us.

    I picked and wore the radical sticker. Although I disagreed with its characterization of the ‘04 platform, it was my way of demonstrating that I would not be fooled or intimidated by their biased stickers.

  54. Eric Garris Says:

    At the 1983 convention in question, we of the LP Radical Caucus majority sided with the Cato candidate against the sectarian mush (the Berglandistas). You can read about it in Radicals for Capitalism.

  55. Brian Holtz Says:

    Rothbard’s contemporaneous newsletter says that your “gang of four” of the 7 Radical Caucus Central Committee members made a last-minute “stab in the back” (allegedly in exchange for promises of campaign jobs), and took at most only 30 radical votes over to the Cato candidate you guys had been heartily attacking up until then. It seems misleading to suggest that a majority of radicals backed the Cato candidate at the 1983 convention.

    The Boaz essay above gives a taste for the unfairness of the radical criticism of the moderates, but to appreciate the outright viciousness, you have to read Rothbard’s newsletters themselves. They’re simply chilling.

  56. Eric Garris Says:

    30 radical votes were not insignificant considering that Bergland won by a single vote on the fourth ballot.

    Justin and I never attacked Ravenal, he was always one of our heroes. I started working with Ravenal in 1977. We were allied with Rothbard until the Ravenal candidacy. Murray had a way with words. For us, it was a disagreement, to him, it was more severe.

    The LP national platform of 1975-1983 was a radical document written by Rothbard, Evers, and other leaders of the Koch/RC faction. While I had problems with the party strategy of the Koch/Crane faction in the early 80s, it was not over the platform. They supported keeping it radical up until the time they left the party.

    By the way, I don’t recall seeing you in New York in 1983.

  57. Angela Keaton Says:


    You were asking in another thread: One of the advantages of having a movement job and being a movement wife is that you can get fact checks from people who know of what they are speaking.

    Both Garris and Doherty said “ahh….No.” The video is well, whatever.*

    Anyway, meet you at the bar Wednesday night. I’m suffering from a vodka and club deficiency.


    *Much like when Aaron Starr’s valet/wacky side kick M Carling insists that Rothbard was an agent of the Republican Party sent in to destroy the LP. I throw in the gratuitous mention of Carling because Balph likes to slum. That’s very upper middle. I respect that.

    **Itch, “Honey, I’m more man than you’ll ever be and more woman than you’ll ever get.”

  58. Eric Sundwall Says:

    Other than a retread appeal to emotionalism, what is this ad hoping to accomplish ? . . . . Look America, a third party can be fractured (because their so puritan!) and will not win without our idea of success for it ?

    Say or believe anything you like within, it changes nothing in a system which has always favored/rewarded, either/or voting. The historical role of the third party in America has been to drive issues. Perhaps it is not the hope of the participants, but it is the reality. Pick three issues and run for office for Lysander Spooner’s sake. Only the self-involved eggheads make any cash off this Liberty gig.

    Live and let live folks. Have a safe trip to Denver all.

    “Being for or against the two-party system is like being for or against gravity.” – Richard Winger

  59. Susan Hogarth Says:

    OK, I finally got a chance to view this.


    We don’t have enough enmity between us at present? We have to dig back to 1984 for more? We have to drag in dead people, who can’t defend themselves?

    Grudge much?

  60. Susan Hogarth Says:

    No Wednesday night for me, alas. The time-difference works better for a Thursday morning flight for me. Unless I suddenly get…sick.. next week and have to take off work early. But that’s too obvious even for me.

  61. Susan Hogarth Says:

    The Boaz essay above gives a taste for the unfairness of the radical criticism of the moderates, but to appreciate the outright viciousness, you have to read Rothbard’s newsletters themselves. They’re simply chilling.

    WTF, Brian? Even for you, this is low. Let’s follow your apparent ‘thinking’ here:

    (1) Boaz was unfair.

    (2) Rothbard was vicious.

    (3) Boaz and Rothbard were radicals.

    (4) Therefore radicals are ‘unfair’ and ‘vicious’.

    Jeezus. I just lost most of what respect for you I still had.

  62. Brian Holtz Says:

    Eric, I wasn’t in New York, but I wasn’t born yesterday either. I know how the LP presidential balloting rules work, and I know that Rothbard wrote this:

    MR) On the climactic fourth ballot, with 270 needed to nominate, Bergland picked up ten votes for 270, while Ravenal lost 13 to 230, with 24 sticking stubbornly to NOTA. We started screaming and shouting in triumph; Bergland was over the top, by one vote, although the flow of the voting made it certain that we would win handily on the next ballot. (Fortunately NOTA cannot hold up things forever; after the fifth ballot the low man-Ravenal-would have had to drop out and all would have been over.) (MR

    30 votes—presumably radical, but Rothbard doesn’t say—may have swung with you to Ravenal, but the 270 votes for Bergland surely included the vast majority of radicals, and it seems just as intentionally misleading for you to say that “the LP Radical Caucus majority sided with the Cato candidate” as it is to say that “Bergland won by a single vote”. Yes, 4 of the 7-man RC Central Committee took part in what Rothbard called a shocking “stab in the back” —that’s the language he used for his radical comrades, so readers can guess how he described his moderate enemies—but I still don’t hear you daring to claim that anything remotely like a “majority” of LP radicals voted for Ravenal over Bergland. I didn’t say 30 votes was “insignificant”; I just said “it seems misleading to suggest that a majority of radicals backed the Cato candidate”.

    Rothbard seems to dispute your claim that you and Raimondo “never attacked Ravenal”. He says: “My first, instinctive
    reaction when I heard the news that the Machine had entered Ravenal as candidate was the same as that of a number of my friends, all of whom liked and admired the man whom Ed Crane affectionately refers to as “Earl the Pearl.” That first instinctive reaction of each of us was: “But he’s not a libertarian!” [...] Under hard-hitting questioning at a Radical Caucus (RC) candidates’
    meeting Wednesday night, Ravenal insisted that he now admired the consistency of the LP platform [...] The Radical Caucus
    Central Committee [of which you and Raimondo were members], then still pro-Bergland, issued a blue sheet of facts on Ravenal [...]”

    Yes, Rothbard and Evers radicalized the Platform in the 1970s, and were allied with the Cato faction at the time. But you still seem to have your facts wrong when you claim (as you did today on my blog) that the pre-1984 platform was “far more radical than any subsequent version”. For example, the 1986 platform included both personal secession (i.e. anarchism) and an apparent endorsement of Rothbard’s insistence that parents can allow their children to starve (“Whenever parents or other guardians are unable or unwilling to care for their children, those guardians have the right to seek other persons who are willing to assume guardianship, and children have the right to seek other guardians who place a higher value on their lives.”) Neither position was in the 1980 or 1976 platforms. (I don’t have copies of the 1978 or 1982 platforms.)

    If you’re going to mislead us on facts I can check, then why should we trust you on the alleged facts that I can’t check?

    The bottom line is that you have yet to dispute the core contention of my video: vicious personal attacks by Rothbard and his radical allies were crucial in helping to induce the Cato moderates to quit the LP, to which Rothbard said they “hopefully will never be heard from again”. He got his wish.

    Maybe things have changed, but when Angela Keaton interviewed you in December you seem conflicted about all this. You told her “I would criticize some of the things that the Radical Caucus did when I was involved in it.” You told her that the purpose of the Radical Caucus was “to keep the Party on course ideologically, to make sure that they stayed—I don’t like to use the word ‘pure’, but that they stayed firm to libertarian principles, and that internal education was as important as any other thing in terms of outreach in the Party.” But in the same interview you said that “I left the LP because I didn’t see it accomplishing very much any more. It had turned inward on itself and wasn’t reaching out to the masses.” Gee, I wonder why the LP had turned inward on itself? David Boaz’s essay above suggests an answer: because the Cato moderates who tried to make Libertarian ideas popular were savaged for their efforts.

    Just as is happening in 2008.

  63. steve Kubby Says:

    The Libertarian Party and the Dallas Accord will be the subject of the next Steve Kubby Show, this coming Monday.

    Less Antman joins us on discussing the fight between radicals and reformers. Susan Hogarth, David Nolan, Brian Holtz and anyone else who wants, can join us for a debate on this key issue.

    BlogTalk Radio, Monday, 6 PM Pacific
    Call in number: (646) 378-1107

  64. Brian Holtz Says:

    Susan, you’re apparently confused about the Boaz essay, which you may not have read. Boaz was on the Cato team, whose management of the moderate Clark campaign was viciously criticized by long Rothbard and Nolan essays (which you perhaps haven’t read either). We can either learn from LP history, or repeat it. Your call. But hey, I’m not in the caucus that is recycling 30-year-old Rothbardian strategy texts about building cadre… :-)

    Angela, if a single one of my facts don’t “check”, then here’s what I ask you to do. Type an opening quotation mark. Paste a statement of mine. Type a closing quotation mark. Then give evidence that my statement is false. That’s all I ask. I’m not inerrant, and if my research includes errors, I want to learn about them.

    Yep, M is quite out there to claim that Rothbard was a GOP plant for undermining the LP. We reformers generally prefer to leave such infiltration conspiracy theories to folks like Christine Smith and Tom Knapp, but you know that the far-flying M marches to the beat of a very distant and fascinating drum. (That reminds me, after Portland at least one prominent California radical, the owner of the ca-liberty list, speculated that the “funding” of the Reform Caucus should be investigated for nefarious connections.)

    Eric, you can either believe good principled moderate libertarians when we complain that too many radicals use the Party’s foundational texts as bludgeons against us—or not. While you make up your mind, I propose a simple deal: I’ll stop protesting the bludgeoning of moderates with the Party’s texts when either the bludgeoning stops, or the texts are no longer bludgeon-shaped. Fair enough? That’s the deal we’ll effectively be voting on in Denver. If you hadn’t quit the PlatCom, you’d have gotten to enjoy me being called an “eco-fascist” and having my policies said to be on a slippery slope leading to those of Pol Pot. I guess I should just sit at the kids’ table and take it for the team, but sorry, no.

    Don’t confuse me with the reformers who say winning is all that matters. I say what matters is uniting at the ballot box all those who want more liberty. That is how we can “drive issues”—not by calling for personal secession, or immediate non-enforcement of all tax laws, or the restoration of the 2004 language legalizing child prostitution, etc. Those issues won’t “drive”; they’re stuck in a ditch. I don’t begrudge our radical candidates trying to get them unstuck, but I just don’t agree that all our candidates have to be in the ditch with them.

  65. Brian Holtz Says:

    JRE, the Bylaws and Convention Rules about the Platform are full of references to planks as the unit of change and retention for that document. There is just no way you can claim that the word “basis” means that the Party is forced to indefinitely follow a formatting convention that was only put to use at one convention and then led promptly to the mass rejection of the reformatted platform at the very next convention.

    Tim, if the Dallas Accord had been a text, we’d all have seen a copy long ago. At the 1974 Dallas convention, anarchists apparently agreed that the LP would not explicitly call for abolition of the state as long as the originally minarchist Platform/SoP no longer said that “protection of individual rights” is a “legitimate function of government” in a libertarian society. However, the Dallas Accord became an effective veto power for anarchists over any Platform statement that didn’t uphold anarchist abolitionist principles. By contrast, minarchists had no equivalent veto power over the many abolitionist Platform statements that conflicted with their own small-government principles. When compared to 2004, the Platform Committee’s purely-recycled 2008 proposal does not include any new assertions about the role of government. Instead, it removes the 13 most extreme abolitionist statements that were in 2004, and leaves related statements that are consistent with both incremental reform and an anarchist destination.

    I wish that just one radical—any radical—would explain why it’s “divisive” to complain about this asymmetry in the Platform. I’d even accept an explanation from a “centrist” like Brian Miller, but getting him to answer questions is a skill that I decidedly lack. Otherwise, I’d ask him what he means when he says he’s “getting pretty friggin’ tired of advocating the expulsion of groups who aren’t liked by various constituencies.” I’ve never heard him advocate any “expulsion”, and he’s simply addled if he thinks my video advocates it.

    No, Mr. Sipos, my “alleged” doesn’t mean you’re either “mistaken or dishonest”, but rather coy. I challenged you to name a reform leader of similar stature to the three radical leaders I identified in my response as clearly suggesting the LP is not the right party for me. If you don’t have any such facts at hand, it’s not my fault. If you want to play the game of arguing which side’s leaders are trying harder to make it uncomfortable for the other side to remain in the party, that’s a game I will win every time—even without invoking my trump of the asymmetry in the party’s foundational texts. You of course ignored that asymmetry even after I called it out to you, nor did you answer my response to your drive-by epithet of “Republican lite”.

    Tim, that was the first I’d seen of that Boaz piece. From my copy of Clark’s campaign book I had known that the Rothbard and Nolan critiques of the Clark campaign were unfair, but I had no idea they were that unfair and unfounded. If you really do have more material like that on your hard drive, then you need to share. Now.

  66. Charles Foster Says:

    Geez Louise…. I should have made some popcorn before starting this thread. I’m real pleased to be on the outside looking in for this discussion.

    Just one thing, here: Though this controversy is at full throttle and will play out on its own terms unabated, I’d like to ask a favor of you Lib folks – regardless of stripe. When this all spills out into the street come convention time, and you are covered up in reporters and packs of broadcast-news hyenas (and you will be), could you please make certain that they understand that the “reform” you speak of has nothing to do with the Reform Party?

    We’re having enough trouble of our own over here without our good name being confused with your internal fights.

    BTW - There is no longer a Buchanan Wing of the RP. Those lying, lowlife SOB’s folded their tents and fled under cover of darkness in mid-2001. Good riddance.