A Denver Accord for the Libertarian Party?

Over at LRC, Less Antman has declared the Dallas Accord dead. Here’s how he describes the informal agreement among Libertarians:

At the LP Convention in Dallas, Texas in 1974, disagreement on whether police, courts, and large-scale defense ought to remain government functions or be provided on the free market threatened to derail hopes for libertarian anarchists and minarchists to work together. Apparently at the behest of members of the platform committee representing both viewpoints, an informal agreement was made that, for the purpose of developing the platform and party activities in general, the question of the ultimate legitimacy of government need not be settled. Since then, the Dallas Accord has frequently been cited to silence discussion of these issues, even internally.

Antman doesn’t seem to think the Dallas Accord was a reasonable solution:

What has been unfair is an imbalance that treats the Dallas Accord as one-sided, obligating only anarchists not to discuss courts, police, and national defense, but leaving minarchists free to speak their mind and to openly campaign in favor of government-based services.

Here is what Antman is calling for:

1. The Libertarian Party is committed to advancing the principle of non-aggression and a society based on mutual respect for life, liberty, and property.

2. We support a comprehensive platform based on the current consensus of the party, to guide candidates, activists, and new members toward an understanding of the LP’s position and how it would apply to different areas.

3. No idea is too dangerous to be discussed. Platform debates should be open and respectful, and include proposals related to courts, police, and defense, which may succeed or fail, but will educate all who participate. These debates should not be limited to conventions or to platform committee members, but be ongoing and supported by the official party, with official web sites and blogs allowing all to participate, and with platform committee members expected to moderate online discussions as part of their service between conventions.

4. Candidates and activists speaking on behalf of the LP should select their themes from the platform, and design brochures, speeches, and press releases based on those issues where there is a party consensus. When asked questions in interviews and Q&A sessions on a matter on which the LP has no official position, or where the individual disagrees with the party position, they should respond with integrity, identifying the silence or disagreement of the party with their own position.

91 Responses to “A Denver Accord for the Libertarian Party?”

  1. Nigel Watt Says:

    Well, that would be sensible, which given the LP is a political party, makes it unlikely.

  2. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Good, I’m glad I have the chance to post here about this, since I read it this morning. Let me just say that this article, as well as most things coming from LRC, reeks of the most collectivist, hypocritical thinking imaginable. I mean, can no one else see the hypocrisy and irony of “radicals” like this guy demanding that every Libertarian campaign being told what it must campaign on?

  3. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Antman also says in this article that only an estimated 10-15% of the LP is now considered radical. So can someone explain to me why the other 85% should be bound by “consensus” with a radical minority? This is the same collectivist BS we hear in society at large about “consensus,” “democracy,” etc., when the real issue is that the weak want to bind the hands of the strong.

    Funny how those “principled” fellows at LRC use rank collectivism when it suits their purposes.

  4. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I mean, can no one else see the hypocrisy and irony of “radicals” like this guy demanding that every Libertarian campaign being told what it must campaign on?

    I don’t see any hypocrisy in the members of a private organization setting rules for the members of that organization, no.

    But more fundamentally, I don’t see that Less has done anything like “demanding that every Libertarian campaign being told what it must campaign on”. Can you be specific about what words he has used that make you think he has done that?

  5. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Oh, just stop making it about a “private organization” doing what it wants. It’s not about that. Your moral vision is so limited that you can’t see that WHAT YOU DO within an organization or with other people is still bound by your principles.

  6. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Per your requests for quotes about Antman’s hypocrisy:

    “One reason I am supporting the Restore ‘04 movement at the convention is that I want a comprehensive platform which guides whoever might be the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. I want a platform that is considered binding on the nominee. I don’t want someone campaigning either to retain government courts or to abolish government courts in the name of the LP so long as members of the LP have not decided which position to adopt. It is perfectly reasonable to expect anarchists to honor the coalition status of the LP and the fact that it ISN’T a party dominated by anarchists.”

    “Candidates and activists speaking on behalf of the LP should select their themes from the platform, and design brochures, speeches, and press releases based on those issues where there is a party consensus. When asked questions in interviews and Q&A sessions on a matter on which the LP has no official position, or where the individual disagrees with the party position, they should respond with integrity, identifying the silence or disagreement of the party with their own position.”

    Collectivism, pure and simple. Your radical ideas lost the battle for the LP, so you want to ensure control through rules and regulations. Classic statist behavior.

  7. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Now, Susan, you still haven’t explained why the 85% of the party should even give a crap about the 10-15% of radicals….

  8. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Oh, just stop making it about a “private organization” doing what it wants. It’s not about that.

    But I think it is. The LP is a voluntary association of people.

    Your moral vision is so limited that you can’t see that WHAT YOU DO within an organization or with other people is still bound by your principles.

    I can see that perfectly well. My principle is that cooperation is superior (morally and pragmatically) to coercion. That is why I do political work within the context of a political party, which is voluntary association of (fairly) like-minded individuals.

  9. Balph Eubank Says:

    The Democratic Republican talks sense. He should leave the LP at once.

    The LP Oath, which you were told meant “I am not a terrorist” really commits all members retroactively to be anarchists. It’s a stealth recruiting technique.

    This is why the 15% radicals can have standing. They OWN the party. The rest are just customers.

    Notice how Antman’s language includes Oath language.

    Untill the party drops the Oath and the stupid “Party of Principle” slogan, it will remain a cult/debating society.

    The Party’s original slogan was TANSTAAFL —Their Ain’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. The original slogan could be far more inclusive. It includes those who recognize that freedom ain’t free, and may require tax money.

  10. Brian Miller Says:

    you still haven’t explained why the 85% of the party should even give a crap about the 10-15% of radicals

    As a centrist Libertarian often caught in the crossfire, I have to say that you’ve been rather inconsistent on this forum, DR.

    On one hand, you’ve accused anybody who disagrees with you as alienating people.

    On the other hand, you’re calling for a minimum of 15% of the Party to be handed their walking papers because they disagree with you.

    I haven’t seen any credible measurement suggesting that radicals are 15% or 5% or 50% of the party. I also know that I’m not part of the radical contingent, but highly value the perspective and the conscience that they bring to the LP.

    I also know that I am tired of various people in the LP demanding the excommunication of people with whom they disagree—while simultaneously claiming victimhood and “disenfranchisement.” Pick your position—you’re either the heroic majority who will drive out the heretics, or you’re an oppressed minority being excluded because of those horrible radicals.

    Your willingness to play both is rather ridiculous.

  11. The Democratic Republican Says:

    I’m starting to think Balph has the right answer. And believe me, I stand ready to give the LP the bird at any time. But the funny thing is that I think the 15% is so pissed off right now, and wants to come up with “Accords,” because they know things are going to change. Their fundamentalism has been rejected.

  12. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Collectivism, pure and simple. Your radical ideas lost the battle for the LP, so you want to ensure control through rules and regulations. Classic statist behavior.

    DR, can you tell me what your vision of the LP is? What do you want the Party, as a political party, to say? Who do you see as crafting this message, and how will he/they get that message out?

    The Party’s original slogan was TANSTAAFL —Their Ain’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. The original slogan could be far more inclusive. It includes those who recognize that freedom ain’t free, and may require tax money.

    Oh. I think I can actually hear RAH spinning in his grave. I hardly think he would consider TANSTAAFL to be a justification for taxation!!

  13. Brian Miller Says:

    Again, it appears the “no compromise” quarter seems to be DR’s faction in this debate, not Susan’s.

  14. Gordon is a Dick Says:

    Balph, stop stealing you 5 ton shit sack cocksucking retard.

  15. Susan Hogarth Says:

    And believe me, I stand ready to give the LP the bird at any time.

    Stand ready? Hardly! You’re doing it now. And, frankly, I’m a bit tired of it. Stay. Go. Whatever. But if you stay, be polite and be productive. If you go, please just go in peace and fight for freedom as well as you may wherever you go. But stop stomping around threatening to take your toys and go home to momma.

  16. Brian Miller Says:

    The diversity in the LP is one reason why the LP is not just the ARP (Angry Republican Party). The demands that we all walk away from any debates on principle and adhere to a simple majoritarian ethos with whoever might be a member at the time will result in the death of the LP as a viable political force.

    Many people have come and gone from LP in the last 30 years, but the party has remained rooted in a tradition of personal liberty and greater freedom for all Americans. Cutting the party loose from those foundations completely, to float freely wherever it might be taken—from the far right wing Republicanism of some adherents to the socialist populism of recent newcomers—would be a disaster, in my view.

  17. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Brian Miller:

    1) The 10-15% figure is from the full Antman article posted above.
    2) I am not calling, nor have I ever called for, excommunication. I have merely said that it is not the place of a fringe, fundamentalist minority to be dictating policy to more moderately minded individuals, nor to accuse them of not being “real” libertarians.
    3) My ideal solution is for the platform and policies of the LP to be as inclusive as possible, which is why I reject Antman’s idea (and the ideas of LRC in general) as a means of the radicals reasserting their beloved fundamentalism—or, as Balph said above, of using the language of inclusiveness but having an exclusivist agenda.

    I hope this shows the consistency of my arguments. Anything I’ve said that diverges from this materially was the result of emotion, not reason.

  18. Anal Libertarian Says:

    DR, get a fucking job. You live in a trailer with Timy West and his tumor and his fat girlfriend who only married him when she thought he was going buy the farm. Parasite Caucus is what the fuck you fucking shit sacks are.

  19. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Susan: YOU DON’T GET TO TELL ANYONE WHAT TO DO OR HOW TO BEHAVE. Let’s get that straight. If you don’t think I’m polite, don’t respond to me. You’re very polite but are an unflinching fundamentalist who will denounce anyone as “unpure” if they disagree with you.

  20. The Democratic Republican Says:

    My solution is very simple: adhere only to very core principles, have a limited platform, and allow individual candidates to work the details of implementation out in accordance with their local situation and constituencies.

  21. Anal Libertarian Says:

    DR, try that working for a living thing, you fat fuck.

  22. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Hey—I think Timmy’s fat girlfriend is hot. Don’t insult her.

  23. Brian Miller Says:

    I have merely said that it is not the place of a fringe, fundamentalist minority to be dictating policy to more moderately minded individuals

    I don’t view a vigorous debate as “dictation.”

    I find the threat of “if you don’t shut up, I quit” as threatening, however.

    And the 15% number remains without any sort of basis other than the author’s supposition. To few people in the LP have yet figured out that it’s worse to make strategic decisions based on bad data than to simply make no decision at all.

    The personal epithets against Susan and others of purist extraction should end as well. Please rest assured that you don’t speak for all of us in the LP who are of a more moderate persuasion, and who value the diversity and conscience that Susan and her group bring to the table.

    If you want to debate the merits of policies to sway the LP majority, by all means, do so. But an attack on Susan as a “fundamentalist” is no more meritorious than an attack on yourself as “lacking values.” Neither attack should have a place in an effort to build a big-tent LP where radicals like Susan, moderates like myself, and conservatives like yourself can reside.

  24. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Brian Miller:

    I think it’s funny you accuse me of “no compromise” when the main point I would like to communicate is that there are many ways of being a “true” libertarian. The ideological history is rich and complex. I have no patience with those who want to reduce it to one true way. My only interest is in carving out space for myself. I will always be short-tempered with fundamentalists.

  25. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Brian: 1) You don’t get to tell me how to behave, 2) I don’t give a crap if I speak for you or not, and 3) I will talk to Susan in the same manner to which she talks to me.

    Nobody comes to this place to debate ideas. But thanks for being a little helper do-gooder that wants to tell others what to do.

  26. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I have merely said that it is not the place of a fringe, fundamentalist minority to be dictating policy to more moderately minded individuals, nor to accuse them of not being “real” libertarians.

    No one is doing that. Less called for a

    ...comprehensive platform based on the current consensus of the party…

    That hardly sounds like he wants the ‘fringe’ (as you uncharitably call it) it dictate the platform.

    My ideal solution is for the platform and policies of the LP to be as inclusive as possible…

    I suggest you think twice about this. You say later

    ...adhere only to very core principles, have a limited platform…

    How ‘core’? How ‘limited’? Do you have an example?

  27. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Susan:

    1) Less is calling for “Restore ‘04”—going back to a “comprehensive” platform. Gee, what would the purpose of that be? Well, exactly what he says: a big, detailed, binding platform that would apply to all people equally everywhere.

    2) As for a core principle, I think the non-aggression principle is a pretty good one. The problem comes in the fact that some people don’t want to recognize that there are multiple ways of interpreting this principle. I call some of these people “fundamentalists” because they exhibit classic fundamentalist behavior by adamantly arguing that their interpretation is the one, true interpretation.

    I do not fall under the fundamentalist heading. I read L. Neil Smith’s works; I think they are very inspiring, and not entirely implausible in a better world. However, while I do not think his interpretation of ZAP is correct, I see that it is one of several legitimate interpretations. And if he, for example, is willing to accept me, I am willing to accept him. However, it’s pretty clear that the fundamentalist faction is not willing to accept someone who acknowledges that the state can legitimately exist.

  28. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Susan: YOU DON’T GET TO TELL ANYONE WHAT TO DO OR HOW TO BEHAVE. Let’s get that straight.

    You really need to learn the difference between suggestion and compulsion; between persuasion and coercion. I hope to persuade you to be more polite. I have no way (nor desire) to compel you to more polite.

    If you don’t think I’m polite, don’t respond to me.

    That is probably sound advice, but I continue to have hopes for you.

    You’re very polite

    Thank you.

    but are an unflinching fundamentalist

    Thank you again :)

    who will denounce anyone as “unpure” if they disagree with you.

    Piffle. Stop being such a crybaby. How about this: you make your case; I make my case; we both go to Denver and see what the delegates decide, then we abide by it with good grace until the next convention.

    Deal?

  29. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Look, let me apologize to Brian and Susan for being a dick. I do sincerely apologize. But I promise you will get the same reaction from me every time you tell me what I should and shouldn’t do.

  30. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I will talk to Susan in the same manner to which she talks to me.

    So when does this new arrangement begin?

  31. Brian Miller Says:

    You don’t get to tell me how to behave

    I don’t, this is true. It’s also true that you also lack similar authority over others.

    It’s also fair to say, as a centrist, that you do not speak for me and for many other centrists in our party, and I’d appreciate it if you’d stop framing yourself as the Unofficial Spokesperson for all Libertarian non-radicals.

    Thanks.

  32. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Susan:

    Consider it done. Stop being such a crybaby. If you don’t like the LP, go somewhere else and fight for freedom.

    Wow…that was fun.

  33. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Brian: I don’t “frame” anything. What I do, unlike a lot of people around here, is speak for ME. I apologize if I have been considered a spokesmen for “centrists.” I recognize my inadequacy in that regard—not least because I am probably more radical than I come across.

  34. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Look, let me apologize to Brian and Susan for being a dick. I do sincerely apologize.

    Accepted.

    But I promise you will get the same reaction from me every time you tell me what I should and shouldn’t do.

    Huh. I was just going to start a sentence ‘Please try to understand…’, but then I wondered if that would be considered ‘telling you what to do’. ;-)

    Look, there’s this organization called the LP. You have an idea of how it should work; I have an idea of how it should work. In may ways the ideas overlap, in others they do not. You say “We should do A!” and I say “Let’s do B!” A bunch of us get together and vote on A vs B (with a bunch of C’s and D’s and amendments to A, etc. thrown in) and the end result is … something that might resemble A or B or a spooky hybrid of A and B or even Z! But the point is that I am simply saying what I think the organization should do. You are of course free to do whatever you like as far as I am concerned.

  35. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Susan:

    OK —telling me to try to understand is one suggestion I will listen to. :)

    I accept your concepts, with the sole exception that we must grant each other generosity in considering each other Libertarians if that is what we want to be identified as. The boundaries at which we should say “this person isn’t fit to represent the LP” should be very wide. Truth be told, hanging around here has given me some doubts about some candidates that I have supported. So I CAN listen to people.

    Like other people, I have doubts about whether or not certain elements of the LP will ever accept new people with new (or old) ideas. I don’t want us to play nicely with each other but still not feel the others truly belong.

    I am profoundly sorry for pissing off Brian Miller by virtue of being undiplomatic. I sincerely have tried NOT to speak for anyone. I do not want to damage relationships with anyone. I merely want to be accepted on equal footing.

  36. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    DR,

    While I’m not a Restore ‘04 supporter, Restore ‘04 if successful is by definition probably much closer to a “current consensus of the party” than to a “fringe, fundamentalist minority … dictating policy.”

    In order for Restore ‘04 to be successful, 2/3 of the delegates will have to vote to suspend the rules and re-adopt the 2004 platform in toto and as the basis for any further changes.

    If 2/3 of the delegates support that so much that they’re willing to cast their votes for it, it’s a good bet that many of the 1/3 remaining either supported it but not as much as one of the alternative proposals, or perhaps opposed it, but not so bitterly that they want to leave the party due to its passage.

    So, your problem solves itself. If Restore ‘04 fails, the “fringe, fundamentalist minority” isn’t dictating policy to the party because it lost. If if passes, then it will be far more than a “fringe, fundamentalist minority” that puts it over the top.

  37. Susan Hogarth Says:

    OK —telling me to try to understand is one suggestion I will listen to.

    It’s a start, at any rate ;-)

    I accept your concepts, with the sole exception that we must grant each other generosity in considering each other Libertarians if that is what we want to be identified as.

    That’s hardly an exception, because I agree with that. That’s why I wonder if you haven’t let the idea that Less identifies as a radical prejudice your thinking, because that is exactly how I read his suggestion of “a comprehensive platform based on the current consensus of the party”.

  38. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Tom Knapp: Fair enough. But if Restore 04 loses by a sound margin we will then have a consensus in the other direction.

    Susan: I think T.K’s comments on this are relevant to what you said. The current consensus of the party will be revealed by the vote on Restore 04 (although I find it odd that “radicals,” who must surely be aware of the writings of Lysander Spooner, would say that a vote would represent the consensus of “the party” rather than just the consensus of the delegates present to vote).

    My objection to the article was in two respects:
    1) the use of the word “comprehensive,” to indicate that we should bind candidates’ hands with the platform. I disagree with this approach to campaigning regardless of the platform.
    2) Antman’s main argument is that we should dictate direction based on “consensus.” But what does “consensus” really mean, in his thinking, if he really believes that only 15% of the party are “radicals”? Based on the tone of the article, my belief is that “consensus” to him means that the ideas are put before others equally without regard to how many people actually adhere to them within the organization. While this has value to the extent of protecting the minority, the balance of opinion is relevant.

    This is probably a better explanation of my thought than the screeds posted above.

  39. Jose C. Says:

    Can you imagine Ed Clark running on an anarchist platform . . . to eliminate Congress, the office of Presidency, the courts, the government of the United States, the military, law enforcement, fire departments, age of consent laws, sell the White House, the national parks, state parks, city parks, monuments, . . .?

    Can you imagine Ed Clark running on a platform to abolish the US Constitution, state constitutions, county and city constitutions, . . ?

    Can you imagine Ed Clark running on a platform saying we have the right to own any weapon no mater the destructive power of that weapon, . . ?

    Can you imagine Ed Clark running on a platform saying we individually, or we as a group have the right of succession no mater the reason, . . ?

    No, I can’t. If he had his campaign would have been dead on arrival and the Libertarian Party would not know exist.

  40. David F. Nolan Says:

    The percentage of”radicals” within the LP depends largely on how you define that term. If you define “radical” as equivalent to “anarchist,” then the percentage is probably in the 10% range. If you define it as “wanting to cut the size, cost and power of government by at least half,” then it’s probably closer to 50%.

    In any case, the delegates in Denver will be offered (at least) two clearly differing visions of what the party’s national platform should be, and they will decide between those differing visions. That’s one of the reasons we have conventions, after all. As to who will or won’t “walk out” if their side does not prevail, we won’t know until the votes on platform and the national ticket have been taken.

  41. Brian Miller Says:

    But if Restore 04 loses by a sound margin we will then have a consensus in the other direction.

    Not necessarily.

    I’m not intimately involved in the platform debate, but I do know that the amendments proposed by members of the existing committee delete a great deal of language that is crucial to growing the LP’s presence in some American communities and maintaining its electoral positioning advantage on key issues.

    I think that efforts to characterize individuals, and platforms, as “radical” (or otherwise) is a bit of a simplification.

    Most Libertarians want a comprehensive approach to develop a platform that is principled enough to serve as a broad guideline of our party’s philosophy, while still leaving individual candidates the leeway to suggest their own approaches to meeting those philosophical goals—either “radically” or “incrementally.”

    At the same time, most Libertarians want a platform that we can be proud of, that establishes us as unquestioned champions of liberty, individual rights, and the elimination of inconsistent treatment by government of different groups (favoring one group over another).

    These goals are NOT incompatible, despite insistence by people on both “sides” to the contrary.

  42. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Susan: I think T.K’s comments on this are relevant to what you said. The current consensus of the party will be revealed by the vote on Restore 04 (although I find it odd that “radicals,” who must surely be aware of the writings of Lysander Spooner, would say that a vote would represent the consensus of “the party” rather than just the consensus of the delegates present to vote).

    This is where the part about ‘voluntary association’ comes in. Members of the Libertarian Party willingly enter and remain in the organization with the understanding that the convention delegates make platform choices. This is completely different from the presumption of territorial monopolist governments that refusing to ‘leave it’ signifies that you ‘love it’ (or otherwise willingly consent to its rules). The reason it is completely different despite the superficial similarity is that the LP makes no claim to own me or any of my possessions, while governments do in fact make such claims. In other words, I can leave the LP without giving up my house or my land, but I cannot leave the jurisdiction of the U.S. without walking away from my own justly acquired property.

    the use of the word “comprehensive,” to indicate that we should bind candidates’ hands with the platform. I disagree with this approach to campaigning regardless of the platform.

    We simply disagree here. I like a comprehensive platform because it leads to a coherence and similarity of message across different campaigns. As a state party outreach director, I find it invaluable to be able to point to “Plank X” and say “This is our general position on X” - though naturally I do indicate if there is significant dissension within the Party, as for abortion or the death penalty. From years working at fairs, etc., it’s been my experience that voters appreciate a straightforward statement rather than a vaguely-worded catchphrase that could mean anything, and often means nothing.

    Antman’s main argument is that we should dictate direction based on “consensus.” But what does “consensus” really mean, in his thinking, if he really believes that only 15% of the party are “radicals”? Based on the tone of the article, my belief is that “consensus” to him means that the ideas are put before others equally without regard to how many people actually adhere to them within the organization. While this has value to the extent of protecting the minority, the balance of opinion is relevant.

    Obviously, Less must address what he means, but I’d like to caution you against reading too much into the ‘tone of the article’. It’s clear that I find the tone inclusive, whereas you find it exclusive - so that doesn’t give much actual clue, does it?

    I have found the word ‘consensus’ to be a problem, but have pretty recently become reconciled to it. The key to the idea of ‘consensus’ is that it has to exist in the context of a voluntary organization. Therefore to speak of the vote for president as a ‘consensus’ is nonsense, but to speak of the platform vote as consensus is not. I think the most common working definition of consensus is an agreement that no one rejects utterly and that all can agree to abide by, even if they are not 100% happy with it. A voluntary organization can achieve that by definition, as anyone who cannot live with the decisions is free to leave without penalty.

  43. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I think that efforts to characterize individuals, and platforms, as “radical” (or otherwise) is a bit of a simplification.

    Absolutely. Simplification is the point of labeling, after all. Sometimes it’s useful, and at other times it’s a hindrance to clear thinking. The trick is to know when you need simplification and when you need complexity :)

  44. Susan Hogarth Says:

    As to who will or won’t “walk out” if their side does not prevail, we won’t know until the votes on platform and the national ticket have been taken.As to who will or won’t “walk out” if their side does not prevail, we won’t know until the votes on platform and the national ticket have been taken.

    I won’t walk in nay case. I urge others to make this pledge as well. The LP is far form perfect, but it’s over three decades of treasure and toil and love and struggle, and I feel lucky to have been here for even the short time I have been. I’m not about to walk now.

  45. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I won’t walk in nay case.

    sigh

    Another fine sentiment wrecked by poor typing.

    Let me try again.

    I will not walk.

  46. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Too much to respond to now—must get back to work.

    Just one thing for now: I am actually shocked that Nolan thinks the percentage wanting to cut gov’t by 50% or more is only at around 50%. I wouldn’t have thought it would be below 80-90% (me included).

  47. Bill Woolsey Says:

    I don’t like the “Dallas Accord” because, contrary to Antman, it led to awkward language in party documents in an effort to pacify anarchists.

    The fundamental problem is libertopianism. That is, that an important
    role of the libertarian party is to settle upon an ideal libertarian society.

    The Dallas Accord was based upon a disagreement about the nature of
    the ideal libertarian society. For the most part, this was a diffrerence between Rothbardian anarcho-capitalists and neo-objectivist no-tax
    minarchists. As the LP developed documents that were aimed at describing libertopia, the Dallas Accord suggested that none of
    the documents should specify whether government would exist in
    the ideal libertarian society. (The actual Dallas accord was nothing more
    than compromise language for modifications of LP documents, including
    the SOP, that year.)

    I believe that the LP should be directional. Expanding liberty and reducing the size and scope of government relative to the status quo.

    There should be no assumption that any change proposed by the LP implies that no further changes might be desired by some libertarian or
    other. Or that other libertarians may believe the change goes to far,
    etc.

  48. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Just one thing for now: I am actually shocked that Nolan thinks the percentage wanting to cut gov’t by 50% or more is only at around 50%. I wouldn’t have thought it would be below 80-90% (me included).

    An interesting question:

    Half or more of EVERY program in government, or half or more OF government programs?

  49. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I believe that the LP should be directional. Expanding liberty and reducing the size and scope of government relative to the status quo.

    Let me ask you the same question Ia asked DR: do you want to reduce government at every level or just an overall reduction?

  50. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Bill Woolsey Says:
    May 12th, 2008 at 11:43 am

    I believe that the LP should be directional. Expanding liberty and reducing the size and scope of government relative to the status quo.

    This is precisely why the Democrats and Republicans are such statists! Being “relative” to some moving target called the Status quo” rejects liberty altogether and embraces “democracy”. Stautus quo is just another word for democracy . . . what the majority wants at any given time.

    And this is what Libertarians are striving for? If so, I can only say I called it . . the Reform Caucus and other like sympathizers are trying to move the LP into a statist party, because the Dems and Reps are becoming more so every year. Great idea.

  51. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Susan:

    Aren’t both legitimate interpretations of the question?

    Many government programs must be eliminated entirely. Following a path of non-intervention would lead us to drastic cuts in the military. So I suppose I would say: government at all levels should shrink by at least 50%. This will mean some programs will be eliminated entirely and, heaven forbid, a few may grow.

  52. The Democratic Republican Says:

    But I will defend Bill Woolsey a little and say that 50% seems a little arbitrary. The necessary amount could be 80% or it could be 20%. The number is decided by principle, not by the sacredness of a number. I would imagine Nolan started using the number around the time of Reagan, just as a general rule of thumb for which side of the divide someone fell on.

  53. disinter Says:

    Meanwhile:

    “WebsiteOutlook.com rates websites on their economic worth and daily pageviews.

    LRC’s net worth is $286,780, and daily pageviews are 130,069. The New Republic’s figures are $185,106 and 83,580. The Weekly Standard’s are $112,967 and 50,776. Reason’s are $96,579 and 43,218. CATO’s are $61,466 and 27,186. And AEI’s are $20,819 and 9,507.”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/020956.html

  54. paulie Says:

    Now, Susan, you still haven’t explained why the 85% of the party should even give a crap about the 10-15% of radicals….

    Now, D-R, you still haven’t explained why the 85% of the country should even give a crap about the 10-15% of blacks….

  55. paulie Says:

    Untill the party drops the Oath and the stupid “Party of Principle” slogan, it will remain a cult/debating society.

    Whereas it should really be a real (big government) party like the other two. Oh wait…

  56. paulie Says:

    stupid “Party of Principle” slogan

    People who think principles are stupid believe this. To them, all that matters is power at any cost.

  57. paulie Says:

    The Party’s original slogan was TANSTAAFL —Their Ain’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. The original slogan could be far more inclusive. It includes those who recognize that freedom ain’t free, and may require tax money.

    LOL - quite the opposite. TANSTAAFL is a reminder to those who think they are getting something for “free” from the government.

  58. The Democratic Republican Says:

    paulie: actually, I did address this issue—first, by apologizing for the tone of my early posts, and second, by saying that consensus is necessary in order to protect the interests of minorities. In the wider world, we would say these minorities have “rights” that should be protected, even if everyone doesn’t like them or disagrees with them.

  59. The Democratic Republican Says:

    disinter:

    pretty interesting dick measuring you have going on there. Cato is a think tank; all of the others are popular press publications. A think tank circulation is never going to match the popular press.

    And if LRC wants to brag about all its racist and neo-confederate dollars, I suppose that’s its perogative.

  60. paulie Says:

    # Brian Miller Says:
    May 12th, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Again, it appears the “no compromise” quarter seems to be DR’s faction in this debate, not Susan’s.

    Exactly.

  61. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Aren’t both legitimate interpretations of the question?

    Of course they are both ‘legitimate interpretations’. That’s why I asked which one you were working under.

    Of course, I don’t think they are equally good interpretations. I personally feel that any idea that any particular government function or agency should grow at all leads inescapably to the conclusion that government grows. This happens through the negotiating process known as the ‘ratchet mechanism’ - you think government needs to be cut ‘overall’, but that Program A is worth increasing a bit. Not a problem, since you’re willing to take cuts in X and Z which are in toto much larger than the increase in A. But, the guy who likes X demands that for your increase in A, he wants an increase in X, although he, too, wants government to shrink ‘overall’. So you negotiate, and each person gets his increase. So government grows!

    I think this is the pragmatic reason libertarians should always press for reductions of some magnitude in every government program. If we do not, we are merely shifting the burden around and participating in the “My program is more important than your program” game. In that way, we become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

    I also think (of course I am an anarchist, remember) that since government is altogether bad, the more important a function is the LESS one would want government involved in it, so I don’t buy the idea that there are some things imply ‘too important’ to be left to the market.

  62. paulie Says:

    paulie: actually, I did address this issue—first, by apologizing for the tone of my early posts, and second, by saying that consensus is necessary in order to protect the interests of minorities. In the wider world, we would say these minorities have “rights” that should be protected, even if everyone doesn’t like them or disagrees with them.

    Sorry, haven’t read that far yet.

  63. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Government cannot grow unjustly under my perspective, for several reasons:

    1) Government should grow or shrink based on principle, not on a fundamental hatred of government. You will not be able to accept this because your fundamental principle IS the belief that government has no inherently good purpose. But for the rest of us, following in the steps of John Locke, government has good and legitimate purposes. If a program accomplishes these purposes (i.e., protecting individual rights), then the growth of that program is legitimate.

    2) I said government at all levels should shrink by at least 50%. Your logrolling/rational choice scenario that you laid out is fundamentally incompatible with this belief. As I said before, any growth or shrinkage is done on the basis of principle, not arbitrary numbers.

    3) Your blind hatred of all government makes you unable to ask the logical question: WHAT programs do I think should grow? I think, so long as we have government, that offices of privacy oversight, courts, the Government Accountability Office, and Inspector General offices are all good and just.

  64. paulie Says:

    # Brian Miller Says:
    May 12th, 2008 at 9:51 am

    The diversity in the LP is one reason why the LP is not just the ARP (Angry Republican Party). The demands that we all walk away from any debates on principle and adhere to a simple majoritarian ethos with whoever might be a member at the time will result in the death of the LP as a viable political force.

    Many people have come and gone from LP in the last 30 years, but the party has remained rooted in a tradition of personal liberty and greater freedom for all Americans. Cutting the party loose from those foundations completely, to float freely wherever it might be taken—from the far right wing Republicanism of some adherents to the socialist populism of recent newcomers—would be a disaster, in my view.

    I agree.

  65. The Democratic Republican Says:

    paulie: There can be no compromise as long as one side or the other believes it holds the “true” libertarian interpretation. To compromise, as equals, means that the accept the others as equal, and create a party platform that will reflect the diversity of the libertarian movement. While I may have a “no compromise” attitude in the way I right, it is in fact the fundamentalists who will not rest until they have convinced everyone that there is only one true way to be a Libertarian.

  66. paulie Says:

    I find the threat of “if you don’t shut up, I quit” as threatening, however.

    Not really - anyone is free to leave whenever they feel like it.

  67. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Government should grow or shrink based on principle, not on a fundamental hatred of government. You will not be able to accept this because your fundamental principle IS the belief that government has no inherently good purpose.

    Thanks for clearing that up for me. I wasn’t sure what I believed until you told me. :-/

    The problem with making these sorts of projections about what the other person believes is that they tend to cloud your mind to what they are actually saying. Please consider that.

    I don’t deny that government can have a legitimate purpose - only that it can accomplish that purpose. I think that if your purpose is to protect rights, you cannot allow any deliberate encroachment of rights in the service of that goal. In other words, I do not think good ends justify bad means.

    But for the rest of us, following in the steps of John Locke, government has good and legitimate purposes. If a program accomplishes these purposes (i.e., protecting individual rights), then the growth of that program is legitimate.

    This is good as far as it goes. But. If you believe that taking something from someone against his will is theft and that is a violation of his rights, I’m not sure how you can call for an an increase in anything but a purely voluntary government. Otherwise you have a paradox - you’re robbing a man to ‘protect’ him. Well, thanks-but-not-thanks!

    I will say it’s MUCH more pleasant speaking with you now that we’ve set aside the snarks. Thanks!

  68. paulie Says:

    But what does “consensus” really mean, in his thinking, if he really believes that only 15% of the party are “radicals”?

    Actually, I believe Less estimated that 10-15% of the party are anarchists.

    Not all anarchists are radicals - some believe in a less extreme program for the LP for what they consider pragmatic reasons.

    Also, not all radicals are anarchists - many radicals are minarchists.

    I would guess that more than 15% but less than 50% are currently radicals, although it’s an imprecise term.

  69. Susan Hogarth Says:

    There can be no compromise as long as one side or the other believes it holds the “true” libertarian interpretation.

    I disagree. Inf act, I’d go so far as to say that real compromise can only come form conviction. Compromise means you are accepting less than you want - temporarily at least. If you’re in agreement about what you accept, it’s not compromise, it’s getting a bargain!

  70. paulie Says:

    One proposed description:


    The mission of the Radical Caucus is to ensure that the Libertarian
    Party continues to stand for libertarianism, namely the legal right
    of individuals to make their own choices in life so long as those
    choices do not involve initiating force or fraud against others, and
    to help carry out our party’s mission to spread this idea across the
    world. Those who would jettison ideology in the name of political
    expediency, we remind that “success” at the cost of our principles is
    failure, and that the time is always right to do the right thing. We
    further assert that standing up for liberty is a more effective
    strategy than compromising or concealing our ideas.

    I understand that there are varying interpretations of what constitutes initiation of force, but if you reject the principle completely, you are essentially saying that you DO have the right to initiate coercion against me. That’s an idea that I do not want to compromise with, any more than I would want to compromise with a robber or rapist on the street.

  71. paulie Says:

    Can you imagine Ed Clark running on an anarchist platform

    Strawman. Who has suggested that candidates need to run on an anarchist platform?

  72. paulie Says:

    It’s worth pointing out, however, that Ed Clark did not reject anarchists in the LP. When asked about it, he said Libertarians don’t believe in the immediate abolition of government.

  73. Jose C. Says:

    “Who has suggested that candidates need to run on an anarchist platform?”

    So, candidates run on what they do not believe. Why run away from what you believe in. If you want to abolish the government of the United States why not say it? If you want to sell the Grand Canyon why hide it? If you believe we have the right to own any weapon no mater the destructive power of that weapon why hide that fact.

  74. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Not all anarchists are radicals - some believe in a less extreme program for the LP for what they consider pragmatic reasons.

    Also, not all radicals are anarchists - many radicals are minarchists.

    Paulie, I think you are using the understanding of ‘radical’ meaning ‘extreme’. As used by the radical caucus, this is not at all the meaning. The ‘radical’ in radical caucus means ‘fundamentalist’ or ‘going to the root’. In a society that is as unlibertarian as ours, that is often viewed as ‘extreme’, but that’s simply incidental correlation, not a real connection.

    All (libertarian) anarchists are radicals in that sense, whether they favor what might be called an ‘abolitionist’ strategy or an ‘gradualist’ strategy.

    But I will agree that not all radicals are anarchists. This is the relative effect - because our society is so unlibertarian in many ways, even a minarchist can seem like a fundamentalist libertarian.

  75. paulie Says:

    “Who has suggested that candidates need to run on an anarchist platform?”

    So, candidates run on what they do not believe. Why run away from what you believe in. If you want to abolish the government of the United States why not say it? If you want to sell the Grand Canyon why hide it? If you believe we have the right to own any weapon no mater the destructive power of that weapon why hide that fact.

    Why run on something that is not relevant to what you can realistically hope to accomplish if elected?

    Maybe for educational or party building purposes, but even there you have to measure what can be counter-productive.

  76. mdh Says:

    And not all anarchists seek immediate anarchy. Many are more “academic anarchists” who demand minarchy as soon as possibly simply to end the current (wholly unacceptable) tyrannical state, while advocating anarchism as a long-term solution to the problem that is the very existence of fiat authority.

  77. The Democratic Republican Says:

    Susan Hogarth Says:

    May 12th, 2008 at 1:34 pm
    There can be no compromise as long as one side or the other believes it holds the “true” libertarian interpretation.

    I disagree. Inf act, I’d go so far as to say that real compromise can only come form conviction. Compromise means you are accepting less than you want - temporarily at least. If you’re in agreement about what you accept, it’s not compromise, it’s getting a bargain!

    Then we have nothing more to say to each other. We’re not fighting for the same goals—only for control of the same organization. Best of luck in the struggle.

  78. Libertarian Joseph Says:

    Just because it says Libertarian it doesn’t mean it’s the Party for anarchist-libertarians. It’s the Party for minarchists that want to see common sense in government.

  79. Shawn Levasseur Says:

    I’ve been in the LP since 1992. I’ve never heard of this “Dallas Accord.”

    More importantly, I’ve never seen ever hold their tongue in the LP, so this accord must have been dead a long time ago.

  80. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    DR,

    You write:

    “Fair enough. But if Restore 04 loses by a sound margin we will then have a consensus in the other direction.”

    Not that I can tell.

    The only “moderate” platform I’ve seen put forth is my own suggested “World’s Smallest Political Platform,” and it seems to have very little support. So little, in fact, that I don’t anticipate even trying to bring it to the floor for consideration.

    The 2004 platform was pretty radical. The purported follow-on Restoration Caucus drafts are pretty radical. The “Pure Principles” draft under consideration by the platform committee was reasonably radical. I haven’t kept up with where that has gone on to at the latest, though.

    There are things I didn’t like in all of those platforms. There are things I do like in all of those platforms. Hell, I like the marriage plank in the 2006 platform.

    I suspect that the 2008 platform will be reasonably radical. I don’t expect there to be anything in the 2008 platform that would make me run screaming away from the LP.

  81. Libertarian Joseph Says:

    Why don’t the anarchists in the LP just join the radical caucus in the LP and just shut the hell up.

  82. disinter Says:

    Ernie Hancock for LNC chair!
    http://www.ernesthancock.org/

  83. disinter Says:

    Why don’t the anarchists in the LP just join the radical caucus in the LP and just shut the hell up.

    Why don’t the reformists in the LP just join the retard caucus in the LP and just shut the hell up.

  84. Libertarian Joseph Says:

    If you want to be anarchists, why not start an anarchist organization? Why hold back a political party? A political party is an organization that is bent on winning elections, not on “educating people.” Start a think-tank.

  85. disinter Says:

    A political party is an organization that is bent on winning elections

    So are the Repugs and Dems… why don’t you go join them if you strive to be just like them?

  86. Susan Hogarth Says:

    A political party is an organization that is bent on winning elections, not on “educating people.”

    The point of a political party isn’t simply to ‘win elections’. It is to place representatives of that party in office (which little fact someone needs to tell LNC representative and Republican fundraiser Bob Barr, by the way).

    In order to win elections, we Libertarians must have the support of people for the things we represent. In order to have their support, we have to educate them about what we in fact do represent.

    There are no shortcuts. This is a war of ideas, not a series of silly battles.

  87. Alex Peak Says:

    mdh writes, “And not all anarchists seek immediate anarchy. Many are more ‘academic anarchists’ who demand minarchy as soon as possibly simply to end the current (wholly unacceptable) tyrannical state, while advocating anarchism as a long-term solution to the problem that is the very existence of fiat authority.”

    Certainly. Certainly.

    I don’t expect that we will achieve anarchism in my life-time, so the whole question of anarchism is a moot one for me—at least politically. Philosophically, I very much enjoy discussing the topic.

    Quite honestly, I don’t even think we’ll achieve minarchism in my life-time. But I do think we can make progress, can move ourselves in the right direction, and that’s my only political goal.

    I haven’t read this whole thread, and don’t have time to right now, but this one looks interesting. I hope I remember to come back to it.

    Cheers,
    Alex Peak

  88. disinter Says:

    Quite honestly, I don’t even think we’ll achieve minarchism in my life-time.

    We won’t. We had the closest thing to minarchism 200 years ago but have digressed into a full-blown fascist police state ever since…

  89. George Phillies Says:

    Someone quoted by Susan: A political party is an organization that is bent on winning elections, not on “educating people.”

    My good friend Susan Hogarth: The point of a political party isn’t simply to ‘win elections’. It is to place representatives of that party in office (which little fact someone needs to tell LNC representative and Republican fundraiser Bob Barr, by the way).

    George: We need to do both. And you somewhat need to do them at the same time. See my book “Stand Up for Liberty!” available for free on the http://www.cmlc.org web site.

  90. Old Whig Says:

    You know, the way things are, I don’t think we have much time left to educate the masses.

    We need someone in the cab to take off the throttle and begin putting the brakes on the ‘tyranny train’ now. Once we get it stopped we can begin arguing about how far to back it up.

    O.W.

  91. Susan Hogarth Says:

    You know, the way things are, I don’t think we have much time left to educate the masses.

    We need someone in the cab to take off the throttle and begin putting the brakes on the ‘tyranny train’ now. Once we get it stopped we can begin arguing about how far to back it up.

    This itself strikes me as a call to tyranny. Talk of ‘the masses’ and ‘someone in the cab’ seem fairly straightforward admissions that we do, in fact, think we can govern ‘the masses’ better than others.

    Well, we cannot. The ONLY way to stop tyranny is with the willing and conscious participation of people who are prepared to take charge of their own governance in a meaningful way. anything else is just a change of masters.

    It’s precisely this air of “This is a CRISI! No time for things like education and willing participation!! We need to TAKE OVER! And Then we’ll make everyone free!” that represents the greatest danger to revolution. Letting ourselves be stampeded by this sort of argument falls right inot the hands of tyrants and want-to-be tyrants.

    The closer to real tyranny we are the more pressing the need for education is. An uneducated people WILL be tyrannized; people who have understanding will not let themselves be. We need to educate - ourselves and others - while we are still free to do so.

    Changing hearts and minds with real education (primarily the education in how to think critically) is the only real revolutionary force that cannot be corrupted.

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