A proposed motion on Libertarian values

The following is a motion to be presented at the Libertarian National Convention:

NOTICE OF MOTION
from the Libertarian Party of Colorado

WHEREAS, the current Libertarian Party Statement of Principles fails to describe or explain libertarian philosophy as being consistent with the vision of those patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence,

WHEREAS, the current Libertarian Party Statement of Principles fails to adequately describe or explain that freedom is rooted in individual rights, and only people who enjoy their full human and civil rights are truly free and able to enjoy the full benefits of their liberty,

WHEREAS, the current Libertarian Party Statement of Principles fails to describe or explain the relationship between rights and privileges,

WHEREAS, the current Libertarian Party Statement of Principles fails to adequately describe or explain that the exercise of every right imposes an appropriate level of responsibility upon that person,

WHEREAS, the current Libertarian Party Statement of Principles fails to adequately describe or explain that all legitimate power stems from the people - and that the people do not possess the authority to empower government to infringe upon human or civil rights for any reason,

WHEREAS, the current Libertarian Party Statement of Principles fails to adequately describe the role of government in a free society,

WHEREAS, the fourth paragraph, item (1), of the current Libertarian Party Statement of Principles has been interpreted by some to mean that the Libertarian Party is pro-life (regarding abortion), rather than neutral on this issue,

WHEREAS, the current Libertarian Party Statement of Principles generally appears to state policy rather than describe key principles,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Libertarian Party of Colorado, represented by our State Chair, submits this NOTICE OF MOTION to the Libertarian Party calling for the “Values” stated in the Libertarian Party of Colorado Platform replace the current Libertarian Party Statement of Principles,

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if the Motion calling for the “Values” stated in the Libertarian Party of Colorado Platform replace the current Libertarian Party Statement of Principles fails, then a MOTION be made calling for the “Values” stated in the Libertarian Party of Colorado Platform be appended to the Libertarian Party Statement of Principles.


From the Libertarian Party of Colorado Platform
Adopted in Convention May 19th, 2007

Values

In the same spirit possessed by the abolitionists who fought to free the slaves, Libertarians believe that freedom is a fundamental human right. With the same conviction as the women’s suffrage movement, which secured for women the right to vote, Libertarians believe that all citizens should enjoy equal civil rights. Sharing the vision of those patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence, Libertarians believe that the role of government is to protect these rights.

As freedom is rooted in individual rights, only people who enjoy their full human and civil rights are truly free and able to enjoy the full benefits of their liberty. When liberty flourishes, people are free to build lives in which opportunities for personal, economic and social advancement abound. Individuals living free lives will create a society that accepts a diversity of beliefs, values, and ideas while fostering a free marketplace in which voluntary, mutually beneficial interactions improve the quality of life for all.

Liberty is founded upon the recognition and mutual respect of human and civil rights. A right is the ultimate personal authority to perform some act. A right can never obligate others to perform an act, as this would force others into servitude. A free people have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not commit fraud or forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose. In a free society, no one is forced to sacrifice their values for the benefit of others.

While human rights are enjoyed by all people through virtue of our humanity, civil rights are enjoyed only by citizens. All types of rights are equal, meaning that the rights of no individual or group can be greater than those of any single individual. And the exercise of every right imposes an appropriate level of responsibility upon that person. Because the exercise of some rights requires the ability to understand the possible consequences from our actions, some rights may not be realized until an appropriate level of comprehension and responsibility is reached.

In contrast to rights, a privilege is permission from an authority to perform some act. While all types of rights are equal, privileges are not equal and give some individuals advantage over others. Because all legitimate power stems from the people, governments may only grant such privileges, typically in the form of licenses or permits, as the people have authorized. The people do not possess the authority to empower government to infringe upon human or civil rights for any reason. However, when people violate the rights of others, those individuals forfeit their rights to the extent necessary for justice to be restored.

To respect human rights is to acknowledge self-ownership of the individual. To violate human rights, by requiring licenses or permits to exercise those rights, is to disregard self-ownership of the individual, and is a form of subjugation.

To respect civil rights is to acknowledge that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. To deny people their civil rights, such as voting, is to govern without the consent of the people.

In a free society, government is established of, by, and for the people. The purpose of government is to protect our human and civil rights, establish a judicial system, provide for the common defense, and serve as steward of our public resources.

90 Responses to “A proposed motion on Libertarian values”

  1. disinter Says:

    Good values statement.

  2. Anthony Gregory Says:

    I don’t like the idea that people have a “right” to vote. They don’t. All individuals, whether teenagers of foreigners, have a human right to life, liberty and property—but not to vote. Conflating civil or citizenship rights with actual rights is most dangerous.

    Also, the idea that government should be “steward of our public resources” goes beyond even minarchism in its concessions to the state. If one reason the LP should amend or ornament the Statement of Principles is to make neutrality clearer on the abortion issue, it would seem to make sense not to do so in a way that alienates not just anarchists, or those opposed to the concept of civil rights, but also those who don’t believe the state should carry out this, arguably unlibertarian, function.

  3. Travis Nicks Says:

    Mr. Gregory,

    Thank you for your comment. It seems, however, that you might have misread the resolution and the Values Statement.

    The resolution clearly states, in the seventh clause, that one of the reasons for this proposal is to suggest neutrality regarding abortion as opposed to what currently exists. The Statement of Principles has been interpreted to be biased in that regard in the past. The Values Statement would remove bias from the abortion discussion regarding the Statement of Principles and leave only the merits of the debate itself.

    To your first point about voting not being a right, I believe you may wish to reread the fourth paragraph of the Values Statement. The definition of a right (provided in the third paragraph, second sentence) obviously indicates that only you have the authority to cast your vote. By virtue of being human you poses inherent human rights and by virtue of being a citizen you poses inherent civil rights (i.e. the right to vote and, obviously, non citizens do not poses the right to vote). If voting were not a right then you would be living in a despotism (the purpose of the seventh paragraph is to demonstrate this point).

    And finally, I shall address your concern about the last sentence. As the Libertarian Party believes government has a legitimate purpose then the government must carry out its business at some physical location. This location, being paid for by every taxpayer, requires stewardship. To deny this is to deny that government has a legitimate function and thus no longer representing Libertarianism. The House of Representatives and the Senate do require a place to meet and that place is a public resource. The definition of “public resource” can most certainly be debated but, none the less, the government is the steward of all public resources.

    I hope that I have cleared up some of your concerns regarding the nature of the Values Statement. Everyone is welcome to e-mail me any questions they may have about the Values Statement ([email protected]).

    Also, I would like to welcome everyone who is coming to Denver. We are going to have a great convention and I hope that you enjoy your stay in our beautiful mile high city.

    Yours in liberty,

    Travis Nicks

  4. Susan Hogarth Says:

    The purpose of government is to protect our human and civil rights, establish a judicial system, provide for the common defense, and serve as steward of our public resources.

    Sorry, I disagree. The only legitimate purpose government can have is to protect the rights of humans (whether or not it can do that without concurrently violating those rights is a question for another day). This business of “establish a judicial system, provide for the common defense, and serve as steward of our public resources” is not particularly libertarian in my view. Government is no more necessary for ‘common defense’ or even ‘a judicial system’ than it is for ‘common education’ or ‘common food production and distribution’ or ‘common healthcare provision’.

    As this statement itself declares: “To respect human rights is to acknowledge self-ownership of the individual.” If Bob decides not to give a damn about the ‘common defense’, surely that is his right, don’t you agree? Or if you mean to say that government will do all those things with voluntary contributions and not exercise monopoly power over courts or defense, please be more clear about it, because that’s not what it sounds like to me.

    We are not the Constitution Party. I think even most anarchists can agree that we’d be better off than we are now were the constitution actually the law of the land, but all anarchists (joined by more than a few minarchists) think that the constitution is not a particularly praiseworthy endpoint for the freedom train.

  5. NewFederalist Says:

    Let’s really dig deep into this. Let’s intellectualize this until our brains bleed. Let’s spend lots of time on this and the platform and the pledge. What else do we have to do anyway? 99.9% of the voting public will never know about this nor care.

  6. Red Phillips Says:

    Yeah, better make it clear that the LP is neutral on baby killing. Wouldn’t want anyone to mistakenly believe you are anti-baby killing. That would be tragic. Human rights indeed.

  7. Nexus Says:

    At some point during the 9-month gestation period of a human, the fetus has to be considered a person. I don’t see alot of difference between a baby the day before it’s born and a baby the day after it’s born. If, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, the purpose of government is to protect the rights of the individual and if living is prime among those rights, doesn’t the government have an obligation to protect the rights of that unborn person?

  8. Inquisitive Says:

    Travis Nicks says, “By virtue of being human you poses inherent human rights and by virtue of being a citizen you poses inherent civil rights (i.e. the right to vote and, obviously, non citizens do not poses the right to vote).”

    Help me out here. Where exactly do you folks believe human beings derive those inherent human rights??? Just because a person is born?? That’s your opinion. Just because one is a lawful citizen that person has inherent civil rights??? Even if they are felons?? Or wards of the state??

  9. 4Liberty Says:

    Very well done Travis. You will have my vote on this.

    I agree with Red Phillips that infanticide should be abolished. But must concede that until consensus is reached as to when life begins we will not have agreement as a political party on when to begin protecting that life.

  10. Andy Says:

    Even if the abortion is done early in the pregnancy you are still killing a human. That fetus may not be a baby yet, but it will become one. So I don’t see why a party that wants to protect the rights of individuals would allow the life of a human to be taken by another only because its a burden.

    Also, why would we are what the anarchists think? Wouldn’t an anarchist participating in a political group go against anarchism anyways? Lets focus on what Libertarians think, because I don’t care about the people who live in a fantasy land where they think we can live without government.

  11. Tom Bryant Says:

    Shall we start singing “Every sperm is sacred?”

  12. Brad Says:

    On the abortion issue, I believe we need to defer to scientific evidence (I believe the latest evidence indicates that a fetus becomes a person at around mid-pregnancy) instead of stating dogmatically that life either begins at conception (the extremist pro-life position) or at birth (the extremist pro-choice) position. I also don’t really have a problem with recognizing civil rights and voting rights, nor do I see where the problem is with Anarchists (other than those ultra-Anarchists who claim that it is wrong to vote, even if by voting you will prevent Hitler from being elected, but they won’t vote to begin with).

    I think it is a great statement of values. Obviously, there is no consensus in the Libertarian Party on abortion at the moment (although I don’t think any libertarian supports the current government abortion subsidies).

    I’m a minarchist and I don’t regard the Constitution as a good document. I personally support reinstating the Articles of Confederation, but modified to be solely an alliance between minarchist states to defend themselves against statist regimes (this is the reason why I’m not an Anarchist, as I’m not certain that an Anarchist society would last in a world where statism still exists, but as soon as statism is dead, the minarchist governments can reorganize themselves into private defense firms that compete freely with one another).

    The primary goal of the LP at the convention is to nominate a candidate who is actually a libertarian. Even if somebody who is not a libertarian might draw more votes this year, the LP doesn’t need to allow itself to be wrecked long-term like the Reform Party was in 2000.

  13. Denver Delegate Says:

    This STATEment is statist claptrap.

    I’ll be voting against it and urging others to do the same.

  14. Nexus Says:

    “Shall we start singing “Every sperm is sacred?”

    You can if you want. It’s a catchy tune. It’s not relevent to abortion in my view. A sperm(and the egg for that matter) are DNA. Destroying the blueprints of a house isn’t the same as blowing it up after it’s built.

  15. Steve LaBianca Says:

    I agree that this proposed motion is way too comprehensive of “things” government is entrusted to do.

    In my view, a libertarian statement of values would include only this: “Every person by nature is free to live their life as they choose, without interference from others. This right, by extension imposed this duty on everyone . . . to respect this right by refraining from aggressing, that is initializing force on every other person.”

    To the extent that a government can adhere to these duties just like any individual must (afterall, any organization is simply a cooperation of individuals for a predetermined goal), it may exist and function without compromising this value.

  16. DrGonzo Says:

    Brad’s statement about the Articles of Confederation shows why I don’t care about what anarchists or minarchists really think about the LP statement of principles.

    I don’t think saying we believe the government has certain reponsibilities makes us statists in any way. Reality shows we need government for what is in the statement of principles.

  17. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. DrGonzo Says:
      May 14th, 2008 at 9:36 am

    I don’t think saying we believe the government has certain reponsibilities makes us statists in any way. Reality shows we need government for what is in the statement of principles.

    Please explain what these “certain responsibilities” are, which you believe that government has.

  18. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Reality shows we need government for what is in the statement of principles.

    Yeah, because governments have done and continue to do such a good job at … what was it? oh, yes, “protect[ing] our human and civil rights, establish[ing] a judicial system, provid[ing] for the common defense, and serv[ing] as steward of our public resources”.

    How’s that workin’ out? I’d say not-so-well, myself.

    The last thing the LP should do is to make a laundry list of things government ought to be doing. Next thing you know, we’ll have candidates for the presidential nomination proposing new taxes and running Republican fundraising PACs.

    Oh, wait. We have that.

    sigh.

  19. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Let me just say that although I oppose this motion, I do applaud its authors for getting it into circulation and arguing politely and coherently about it before the convention.

    NF writes:

    Let’s really dig deep into this. Let’s intellectualize this until our brains bleed. Let’s spend lots of time on this and the platform and the pledge. What else do we have to do anyway? 99.9% of the voting public will never know about this nor care.

    But there are people who do care, and it’s to them we are speaking. And it behooves us to not only have a clear presentation of what we’re about, but to actually understand ourselves what we’re about.

    I applaud the spirit of the motion, but I think it is too alienating to those of us who truly do view government - any government - as the problem, not the solution. We don’t want better government (though of course we prefer it to worse government); we want less government.

  20. disinter Says:

    If voting were not a right then you would be living in a despotism

    Democracy Is Not Freedom
    http://www.democracyisnotfreedom.com/

  21. Michael Seebeck Says:

    Travis, slightly off-subject:

    That plane that went down in the foothills last week and had a person killed, that person was the Garfield County LP chair.

    A resolution for a moment of salute and respect for him and all other Libertarians who have lost their lives in the past two years is a way cool idea.

  22. Richard Randall Says:

    With respect to Ms. Hogarth’s comments, while she agrees that a legitimate purpose government is to protect the rights of humans, she offers no explanation of HOW government would do that! This is done through government establishing “a judicial system” (i.e., police, courts, judges, jails / prisons). Otherwise, only those able to financially afford entering into a court system would find justice. That would create a class system where the wealthy could violate the rights of the poor without consequence. Without jails / prisons, how would society be protected from violent criminals? Victim restitution alone is not an adequate solution to serial rapists or murderers. Clearly, in order to protect the rights of the people, establishing a judicial system is a legitimate role of government.

    With respect to government providing “for the common defense”, there are very few private entities with the resources capable of providing equipment for a modern military. Come’on! Who is going to provide the guns, artillery, jets, ships and tanks? A government / national military served us well in WW II (the last time Congress declared war). Without it, we would all be speaking German and every Jew would be dead! The problem since WW II has been an unconstitutional abuse of power (i.e., the military) by the President. Let’s not confuse the issues. Freedom is not free. But this country had a national military without an income tax for from 1776 until 1913 (137 years). And even with the current military budget (the largest legitimate expense of government), it could be funded without an income tax (current federal excise tax revenues exceed 1 trillion dollars annually. More than enough to cover the excessive 600 billion military budget - which currently funds 2 wars and the presence of U.S. troops in over 120 countries).

    With respect to government serving as “steward of our public resources”, who else is going to be caretaker of those resources (e.g., the capitol buildings, court houses, jails / prisons, our military equipment)?

    Ms. Hogarth’s considers providing a ‘common defense’ and a ‘judicial system’ as being equivalent to government providing for ‘common education’ or ‘common food production and distribution’ or ‘common healthcare provision’. Nonsense. These are completely different concepts! Read the values statement again.

  23. DrGonzo Says:

    Susan,

    Our government has done better than most in doing those things. Anybody who expect government to be perfect, or even close to perfect is living in the same fantasy land with anarchists and socialists. I’m not arguing there aren’t many changes that need to be made becaues there are.

    I wouldn’t argue three things are a laundry list of responsibilities for the government. Sticking by these three principles still means they will drastically reduce the size of government. None of us want a big government, but recognizing the basic need for government is essential.

  24. Anthony Gregory Says:

    Mr. Nicks, thanks for your response, but I believe you misread me.

    I think if the LP is going to make efforts to seem officially neutral on abortion, it should also do so on the issue of the state. If we can include both people who think abortion is murder and people who think abortion laws are slavery, surely we can include both people who think the state is a necessary evil and those who think it is necessarily an intolerable one.

    You say that without the right to vote, we have despotism. Well, many libertarians argue that the US federal government has overall become more despotic since its founding, even as enfranchisement has been expanded a number of times. You think the right to vote has stemmed tyranny? I don’t see the proof of it. But if you think non-citizens don’t have a right to vote, yet all rights are inherent, then what it is that’s inherent about someone being a citizen? Why should citizens have any rights that non-citizens don’t? I think that voting is a privilege, not a right. It is not grounded in property rights. It is not grounded in natural law. It is not grounded in the non-aggression principle. Voting is a civic institution, not an individual right.

  25. Susan Hogarth Says:

    With respect to Ms. Hogarth’s comments, while she agrees that a legitimate purpose government is to protect the rights of humans, she offers no explanation of HOW government would do that!

    Yes, that’s true. Well, nearly true. Not ‘a legitimate purpose’, but ‘the only possibly legitimate purpose’. The way I usually say it is that government’s only legitimate purpose can be the protection of rights.

    So here’s the thing: if you present me with a government that only protects rights and never encroaches upon them, I will applaud it. I expect to see a unicorn well before I see that, though.

    This is done through government establishing “a judicial system” (i.e., police, courts, judges, jails / prisons).

    Again, if your government can do those things with voluntary contributions and none of them violate my rights or anyone else’s rights, I’m cool with that.

    But do I have a plan as to how your government could do those things? Heck, no. I doubt you do, either.

    Otherwise, only those able to financially afford entering into a court system would find justice. That would create a class system where the wealthy could violate the rights of the poor without consequence.

    How fortunate we are that government is able to prevent that from happening. Without jails / prisons, how would society be protected from violent criminals?

    Where did I suggest not having jails? If I said I don’t want the government to run schools or farms, would you assume I didn’t schools or farms?

    Incidentally, until you get that mind-reading machine perfected, your government jails won’t ‘protect society’ any more than private jails would. Being alive is a risky business.

    Victim restitution alone is not an adequate solution to serial rapists or murderers.

    It sure beats hell out of the present system, where the victims pay for the criminals’ defense and then pay again for his incarceration. So much for government-supplied ‘justice’!

    Clearly, in order to protect the rights of the people, establishing a judicial system is a legitimate role of government.

    It’s kinda cute how you think you’ve made such an unassailable case for the state.

    With respect to government providing “for the common defense”, there are very few private entities with the resources capable of providing equipment for a modern military.

    Right. The senators make all that stuff in their basements.

    Oh, maybe you mean the money? Well, it comes from somewhere, doesn’t it? If the government can get it form people, and the people want what the government is getting with that money, surely the market can provide the same goods?

    A government / national military served us well in WW II (the last time Congress declared war). Without it, we would all be speaking German and every Jew would be dead!

    This is plain silly.

    The problem since WW II has been an unconstitutional abuse of power (i.e., the military) by the President.

    Just since WWII, eh? Suggest you do some reading; start with “Whiskey Rebellion”. Or maybe you thought that was a constitutional exercise of power.

    Freedom is not free.

    I am really coming to loathe that cliche. What utter vapidity.

    Ms. Hogarth’s considers providing a ‘common defense’ and a ‘judicial system’ as being equivalent to government providing for ‘common education’ or ‘common food production and distribution’ or ‘common healthcare provision’. Nonsense. These are completely different concepts!

    HOW are they utterly different?

  26. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Our government has done better than most in doing those things.

    Bullshit. Our government runs a worldwide empire. It’s true that we here in America are doing fairly OK, but that just masks the hideous crap that is being done worldwide in our name.

  27. Susan Hogarth Says:

    None of us want a big government, but recognizing the basic need for government is essential.

    Why is it essential? Not government; but the need to recognize this so-called basic need?

  28. DrGonzo Says:

    “Bullshit. Our government runs a worldwide empire. It’s true that we here in America are doing fairly OK, but that just masks the hideous crap that is being done worldwide in our name.”

    That was my point. We in America are doing faily well. I’m not happy with my governments foreign involvements, but that still does not mean government is not needed.

    The statements set forth by the LP will drastically reduce the size of government and end many of them.

  29. Preston Says:

    Susan—Are you suggesting privately run prisons? How would Joe locking up Jack in the prison he built not violate Jack’s rights?

  30. Jose C. Says:

    “Help me out here. Where exactly do you folks believe human beings derive those inherent human rights???”

    From our creator. She gives us these rights. This was stated eloquently many years ago . . . “We are endowed by our ‘Creator’ with certain unalienable rights among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . . .

  31. Ghoststrider Says:

    I thought it was a statement of values, not a textbook on ethics.

  32. Richard Randall Says:

    Mr. Gregory,

    Allow me to weigh in on this (as I was the Chair of the committee that crafted the “Values” statement). The reason that libertarians should be neutral on the abortion question is because there are legitimate libertarian arguments on both sides of the question - hinging on the point at which a fetus is recognized as a human (with rights) vs. being the property of its mother (on par with her other internal organs). I, and many others, could argue either side of this question all day without reaching a conclusion. But it boils down to a question of rights (which is what makes the argument libertarian) rather than theology.

    On the question of the state, anarchists (by definition) believe that there should be NO government. Minarchists believe that there is a limited role for government. Libertarians have always believed in limited (or “less”) government. Therefore, there is a clear distinction that Libertarians can not be (by definition) anarchists. The “Values” statement clearly defines a very limited role for government - that was overwhelmingly approved by Colorado Libertarians in convention.

    On the question of the right to vote. By definition, a civil right is only enjoyed by citizens (i.e., the governed) and Human rights are enjoyed by every human. In a free society, government exists with the consent of the governed. We (the governed) grant that consent through voting. Non-citizens don’t have the right to vote because they are not “governed” under the same laws as citizens (non-citizens are governed under the laws of THEIR government). In order to gain civil rights under a particular government, one merely needs to become a citizen of that nation. While a totalitarian government may refuse to recognize (or infringe upon) the civil rights of its citizens, these rights exist none-the-less. One way in which governments subjugate their citizens is through declaring that voting is a privilege, not a right. However, this is inconsistent with a free (libertarian) society because it allows governments to exist WITHOUT the consent of the governed.

    Travis was absolutely correct in stating that without the right to vote, we have despotism. And you are correct in stating that many libertarians would argue that the US federal government has overall become more despotic since its founding, even as enfranchisement has been expanded a number of times. Allow me to point out that the U.S. government is NOT a libertarian government. If it were, then a majority of people would not be able to vote away the rights of the minority. This is clearly addressed in the “Values” statement (5th para., 4th sentence) which declares: “The people do not possess the authority to empower government to infringe upon human or civil rights for any reason.” A tyranny of a majority (i.e., a democracy) is still a tyranny. As Mel Gibson’s character (Benjamin Martin) said in “The Patriot”: “Why should I agree to trade one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away?”

  33. DrGonzo Says:

    Why is it essential? Not government; but the need to recognize this so-called basic need?

    Because if you don’t recognize government is needed, then you will never be able to create one that functions like it should.

    Are you an anarchist? I’m just wondering so I know what perspective you are arguing from.

  34. DrGonzo Says:

    “hinging on the point at which a fetus is recognized as a human (with rights) vs. being the property of its mother (on par with her other internal organs). I, and many others, could argue either side of this question all day without reaching a conclusion. But it boils down to a question of rights (which is what makes the argument libertarian) rather than theology.”

    Mr. Randall,

    This is called flawed logic. Whether or not the fetus is recognized as a human at a certain stage does not matter. That fetus WILL become a human so you are essentially taking the right to live away from a human. There are no questions on whether or not that fetus will become a living creature. And I don’t think a fetus (which is a human) can be the property of another human. That sounds like slavery to me.

    Other than that, I do like the statements.

    But I do have one more question that I can’t answer myself…

    “The people do not possess the authority to empower government to infringe upon human or civil rights for any reason.”

    I believe this to be partly untrue. There are instances in which the people can and should empower the government to take away rights from another. For example, needing to have a background check before owning a gun. That is a loss of rights, but is it something that is needed? I don’t see why not.

    You have essentially created an oligarchy or dictatorship if the government who was voted in by the majority of people do not listen to those people.

  35. Roscoe Says:

    I like the line acknowledging that exercise of a right requires a level of responsibility. Too many negative judgements of libertarianism come from what the listener believes is a call of libertinism.

  36. Gene Trosper Says:

    I would like to encourage all delegates to Denver reject this resolution. Delegates have way more important things to consider, such as restoring the currently gutted platform and choosing a viable presidential candidate.

    Being a veteran of past state and national conventions, I guarantee that this will accomplish a whole lot of nothing. It’s too long and has too many sticking points, such as “civil rights”.

    I like Mike Seebeck’s call for a recognition of the fallen LP chair however.

  37. Denver Delegate Says:

    Richard Randall Says:

    On the question of the state, anarchists (by definition) believe that there should be NO government.

    As one with an anarchist/voluntarist policy preference, I disagree with Mr. Randall’s definition of anarchism.

    I favor governments (although I prefer the term “dispute resolution organization” or “DRO” better because the word “government” seems to get conflated with “state” too often by statists … just as “assault weapon” gets conflated with “machine gun” by victim disarmament advocates).

    I disfavor the use of aggression to establish and maintain a monopoly government (the State).

    Follow the link for further discussion on the distinction.

  38. David K. Williams, Jr. Says:

    I sincerely appreciate Ms. Hogarth’s ability to express her thoughts and I’m glad this forum exists so that we can read them.

    After reading them, I realize I will never agree with her. Government is necessary. Travis Nicks and Richard Randall’s posts above explain why.

    Anarchy is based on a fantasy. Sure, I would love to live in a society that did not need a government. More power to Ms. Hogarth in her pursuit of such a world.

    Unfortunately, I don’t live in that world, and neither do the rest of us.

  39. Anthony Gregory Says:

    Mr. Randall, there have been long anarchists in the libertarian movement and Libertarian Party. Lysander Spooner, Henry David Thoreau, Albert J. Nock, Murray Rothbard - these are all important libertarian thinkers of an ararchist persuasion.

    “Minarchism” is one brand of libertarianism. Anarchism is another. “Minarchism” was a term coined by a libertarian anarchist to make this distinction. Rothbard’s For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, which praises the LP, might not set forth the only legitimate form of libertarianism, but that it sets forth a legitimate form shouldn’t be too controversial.

    I think we should follow the lead of Harry Browne, who was always ecumenical in this regard. He would say such tings as,

    “Until we find a way to finance government without taxes or a way to assure our safety without any government, some form of taxation will be necessary. . . . ”

    and

    “[N]o matter which side of the limited government vs. anarchy you’re on, when someone asks you what size libertarians think the government should be, you can answer:

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

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

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

  40. Richard Randall Says:

    Denver Delegate,

    With respect to the definition of the word “anarchy”, it’s not MY definition. Please consult any English language dictionary.

    Merriam-Webster

    ANARCHY
    1 a: absence of government b: a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority c: a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government
    2 a: absence or denial of any authority or established order b: absence of order : disorder
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anarchy

    Dictionary.com

    ANARCHY
    1. a state of society without government or law.
    2. political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control: The death of the king was followed by a year of anarchy.
    3. a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society.
    4. confusion; chaos; disorder: Intellectual and moral anarchy followed his loss of faith.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/anarchy

  41. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Susan—Are you suggesting privately run prisons? How would Joe locking up Jack in the prison he built not violate Jack’s rights?

    What often amazes me is how much faith people (even Libertarians!) put in governmental versus private enterprises. Why should businessman Joe have any more incentive to unjustly lock up Jack than Judge Joe would?

    But there is much thought about how prisons would work in an non-government society; the most intriguing idea I have seen is that prisons would in essence be a place of refuge for criminals fleeing from those seeking retribution. The criminal would flee to the place of refuge, and the prison would negotiate with his pursuers to pay restitution, in exchange for which the prisoner would work off his debt to the prison while staying safe within its walls. A much more humane system all around than at present, I think. None of that ‘debt to society’ nonsense - if someone steals from me he doesn’t have a ‘debt to society’, he has a debt to me.

    This is a fairly involved discussion - I hope we can have it over beers in Denver.

  42. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Are you an anarchist?

    I suppose that fits as well as any term. I don’t care to use it because of the baggage it carries. I prefer to say that I favor self-government.

  43. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Libertarians have always believed in limited (or “less”) government. Therefore, there is a clear distinction that Libertarians can not be (by definition) anarchists.

    Well, thanks for clearing that up. Guess I’m in the wrong place.

    Haha. Nice try, young pup.

  44. Richard Randall Says:

    Mr. Gregory,

    As the definitions that I have cited clearly indicate, an anarchist is not, by definition, a libertarian. Anarchists, (by definition) want NO government. Libertarians have always wanted “limited” (“less”) government. That having been said, I have met many individuals who claim to be anarchists - who are really minarchists. I typically chalk that up to them not understanding the definition. Some actually choose to ignore the definition - which is virtually the same in ever dictionary (you can lead a horse to water…).

    So let us not be divided by a common language.

    When individuals claiming to be anarchists speak as Libertarians, the general public (who own dictionaries) views Libertarians as wanting NO government. It is time for libertarians to address our vision of what a limited government should be. I think that the “Values” statement does this in a very concise manner; one that should please a majority of minarchists (as minarchists could still argue for these absolute minimums).

  45. DrGonzo Says:

    I suppose that fits as well as any term. I don’t care to use it because of the baggage it carries. I prefer to say that I favor self-government.

    I was just wondering what perspective you were arguing from.

    I’m not necessarily against anarchism in theory. There is no chance it will work in reality. It doesn’t take into account basic human nature.

    History tells us humans always form groups with people of similiar interests. Basic human natures tell us there will always be a group of people who seek to maximize power and wealth at the expense of others. When this group condenses power and wealth, who is going to stop them from taking everyone else over? If there is nobody then that group will become the government anyways. So no matter where you start, we always end up in the same place.

    What often amazes me is how much faith people (even Libertarians!) put in governmental versus private enterprises. Why should businessman Joe have any more incentive to unjustly lock up Jack than Judge Joe would?

    This argument is sort of the same as my previous one.

    Lets say there are multiple competing security companies. People will hire the strongest one that can give them the best protection. What is to stop that powerful private company from taking over all the others? Who will then protect you from that one company that has become to powerful for anyone else to stop?

    I got into

  46. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Please consult any English language dictionary.

    God, this is always the death-knell to any sort of reasonable discussion among libertarians.

    “My dictionary is bigger than yours”

    ;-)

  47. David K. Williams, Jr. Says:

    It depends on what “is” is.

  48. Susan Hogarth Says:

    History tells us humans always form groups with people of similiar interests. Basic human natures tell us there will always be a group of people who seek to maximize power and wealth at the expense of others. When this group condenses power and wealth, who is going to stop them from taking everyone else over? If there is nobody then that group will become the government anyways. So no matter where you start, we always end up in the same place.

    There are two basic ways people can get what they want from others:

    (1) force

    (2) trade

    (there is also gifting, but I consider this as a subset of trade)

    (1) force includes obvious things like theft and rape, but it also includes less obvious things such as democracy and other forms of monopoly government.

    I think that what ought to unite all libertarians is the rejection of (1, force) and the embrace of (2, trade).

    The nature of humans seems to be that some humans will at some times choose (1, force), or (if you’re the pessimist sort) that all humans will sometimes choose (1, force) to get what they want.

    The idea of anarchy (or, as I prefer, self-government) is to not participate in the institutionalization of (1, force), but to try to deal with it as it comes along.

    So I will agree with you that some humans will always work together to try to use force against other humans. I will remind you that neither you nor I can control what others choose to do. All I can control is what I choose to do. Just as I beleive it is never right to choose to rob someone by grabbing their purse, I beleive it is never right to choose to rob someone by voting for, say, higher taxes. Even if I beleive I am robbing them to pay for police to discourage muggers. Because in the end, either way they will be robbed, and the question I have to ask myself is “Did I participate in the robbery of that person?”

    There is nothing wrong with voluntary associations of people to help ward off robbery. But if you ever find yourself proposing to rob people to prevent them from being robbed (and this is what every government in history has in essence done, and done badly at that), then you should ask yourself whether you are adding to or subtracting from the net amount of robbery in the world (again, keep in mind that government is always inefficient).

  49. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Lets say there are multiple competing security companies. People will hire the strongest one that can give them the best protection. What is to stop that powerful private company from taking over all the others? Who will then protect you from that one company that has become to powerful for anyone else to stop?

    So with anarchy, you think things would be just about like they are now?

  50. Michael Seebeck Says:

    Thanks, Gene. We should honor our own.

    As to the resolution itself, with the exception of the seventh whereas, it’s very good. The seventh whereas should be removed, not to avoid the abortion issue, but because it is specific in broad motion and therefore in the wrong level of scope.

    More on that seventh whereas in a minute.

  51. Red Phillips Says:

    “There are two basic ways people can get what they want from others:

    (1) force

    (2) trade”

    So Susan, how does a baby get what it “wants” from its mother? Perhaps there is also this little thing some of us who reside in the real world like to call obligation or duty.

  52. severin Says:

    Travis, Richard,

    I am not sure what you are trying to accomplish, but the end result will be to water down the definition of libertarianism.

    This line:
    :”The purpose of government is to protect our human and civil rights, establish a judicial system, provide for the common defense, and serve as steward of our public resources.”
    is particularly onerous.

    Here you have accepted that public resources should exist and that the government should be the “stewards” of those resources. Without a clear definition of what those resources should be then currently all of the tyranny associated everything from “public lands” to “public schools” could be justified, because as the stewards to those public resources the government will need to do what is necessary to maintain them. As for the common defense, well this is the justification for most wars we have been involved in, as well as the “war on terror”. The establishment of a judicial system by the government indicates that you desire to have a monopoly on the court system, offering citizens little to no recourse in the event of an unjust judgment. Also how are these things going to be paid for without taxation or some other initiated force? It is not like, defense, courts, and maintaining “public resources” are free.

    Maybe I am an old fashoined Libertarian, but I took the oath to NEVER advocate the initation of force seriously. Maybe you don’t remeber this old relic, “I certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.”.

  53. DrGonzo Says:

    So with anarchy, you think things would be just about like they are now?

    Yeah, I think things will always end the same.

    Humans will always form groups, and one of those groups will always seek to maximize power. That is why we need someone to protect us.

    So I will agree with you that some humans will always work together to try to use force against other humans. I will remind you that neither you nor I can control what others choose to do. All I can control is what I choose to do.

    Agreed, but who will be there to protect you when that group chooses to use force against you instead of trade?

    I’m not arguing government is great either. I’m only saying it is probably the best option considering the alternative.

  54. Richard Randall Says:

    DrGonzo,

    I understand that you consider a fetus to have human rights because it will eventually become a human. However, many legitimate libertarians do not view an embryo or a fetus as possessing human rights merely because they “could” one day become a human capable of living outside of the mother’s body. As I mentioned, I can argue either side of that issue without conclusion. But I feel that both sides can make a legitimate claim as being libertarians.

    But to address your question / opinion that you believe that: “There are instances in which the people can and should empower the government to take away rights from another.”

    The “Values” addresses your question in the 5th paragraph - which states: “The people do not possess the authority to empower government to infringe upon human or civil rights for any reason. However, when people violate the rights of others, those individuals forfeit their rights to the extent necessary for justice to be restored.”

    This paragraph makes it clear that while government can not infringe upon peoples rights for ANY reason, an individual who violates the rights of others FORFEITS their rights to the extent necessary for justice (balance) to be restored.

    For example, when a thief is convicted, that individual FORFEITS his property rights to the extent necessary to make restitution to the victim (in other words he has to pay the victim for what was stolen plus any additional losses the victim suffered from not having the property that was stolen). Similarly, a murderer can not make restitution - and may be a danger to society. So by committing the crime of murder, the murderer has FORFEITED his right to freedom. Government did not infringe upon the rights of these individuals. They FORFEITED their rights through their actions (i.e., personal responsibility and accountability)

    This paragraph of the “Values” opens the door for dialog among libertarians to debate crime and punishment AND makes it clear that there can not be “victim-less”crimes in a libertarian (free) society.

  55. Red Phillips Says:

    “So Susan, how does a baby get what it “wants” from its mother?”

    That is, of course, assuming the mother didn’t chose to kill the little kid before he had a chance to inconvenience her with his pesky demands and needs.

  56. Denver Delegate Says:

    Mr. Randall,

    Your citation to the dictionary proves to me why dictionaries can be problematic on this issue, and why many of us are trying to reclaim and make primary the “having no ruler” definition of “anarchy.”

    But conceding the connotational baggage of the term “anarchism,” as Lew Rockwell has done recently …

    Johnsson: Some say you’re an anarchist; is that true?

    Rockwell: The term anarchist is mostly used to mean someone who believes that if the state and law are gotten rid of, all property would become collectively owned. It was the great insight of Murray Rothbard that this is not the case: private ownership and the law that support it are natural, while the state is artificial. So he was an anarchist in this sense but to avoid confusion he used the term anarcho-capitalist. This doesn’t mean that he favored somehow establishing a capitalist system in place of the state. What he said is that capitalism is the de facto result in a civilized society without a state. Has this position made advances? Yes, but not so many that we can use the term anarchism without causing confusion. If the purpose of words is to communicate, I’m not sure that the term does that well.

    As to my own views, I do believe that society thrives best without a state. But I’m with Rothbard, Nock, Molinari, Chodorov, and others who believe in law and private government, such as we find in corporations, housing subdivisions, and church hierarchies. So if by anarchism we mean a society without law, I’m completely against that idea.

    Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/liberal-post-interview.html

    ... what would be your preferred term for someone who favors voluntary governments and opposes monopoly governments?

    Are you at least clear that someone who advocates for voluntary governments (FOCJs, DROs, etc.), which may be over-lapping and competing, is NOT advocating NO government?

    The term “voluntaryist” has been used before.

    http://www.voluntaryist.com/

    That all said, I’m comfortable defining my policy preferences as anarchist, anarcho-capitalist, voluntaryist, and libertarian.

  57. Michael Seebeck Says:

    As to that seventh whereas:

    Anybody who knows anything about human biology (Lidia, that’s your cue!) will be able to explain the biological differences between a zygote, fetus, and baby. When those scientific terms get blurred, distorted, and falsely rewritten is usually when emotional and theological responses and reactions get involved. Hence the abortion debate and all of its connotations and emotional high-stress. That’s not denigrating anyone, folks, just telling it like it is.

    Me, personally, as a father of two kids, and having had to go through the personal hell and grief of burying one of them, I can appreciate the emotion on both sides, which boils down to whether one thinks personally a zygote/fetus/baby is wanted or desired, or in some cases, can survive.

    The ultimate question of when does a group of cells become that which we call a human life, with the human, constitutional, and civil rights that come with that life? Answers will vary, and it boils down to when we think it happens, since we really don’t know.

    Some say when all the building blocks are present, some say when “it” (for lack of any better term) exhibits human physical characteristics, some say when “it” exhibits human behaviors, some say at the point of survivability outside the mother. Others say (and I agree) that it’s when the spirit or soul enters the body, in the same way that death is when it leaves. When that happens is anybody’s guess. I’ll guess the quickening.

    The government has no real idea. So it chose a temporal point, birth, as an arbitrary answer for its one-size-fits-all legal purposes of protecting rights and regulating behaviors (not commenting on the legitimacy of that, just that it is done). The whole political debate is over that arbitrary answer and whether it should be changed to earlier than the birth point.

    Governments, for better or worse, use temporal points like birth and other ages. That’s not going to change anytime soon, at least not until Doc Brown shows up in his steam engine.

    Personally, to answer the question I asked three paragraphs above, I think it’s some combination of the exhibiting of human characteristics, human behaviors, and survivability. And that varies from case to case. One size doesn’t fit all (which is where government generally fails!).

    In my (and Lidia’s) case, we lost a son at 38 weeks in utero. Two weeks from delivery. Kicking up a storm and then just stopped. Heart stopped beating, nobody knows why, but it did. Did he have all of the building blocks? Yes. Did he exhibit human physical characteristics? Since I held his body after the induced labor (and bawled my eyes out, I’m not ashamed to admit), I can say emphatically “Hell, yeah!” Did he exhibit human behaviors? Ask my wife about her sore ribs from the soccer games he was playing in there. To me, when I placed my hand on her belly and felt that kicking, it was utterly mind-blowing. At that point in the pregnancy, it was real to me, not just my wife getting big in the belly. So, yeah, he did AFAIC. Was he survivable outside the mother? At that point I would say yes, and had the OB not blown off an ultrasound (which might have caught something) he very well could have. We’ll never know, but considering that he was two weeks to term, and our second son was born nine days from term, and he’s just fine (you’ll see him in Denver), most likely the answer is yes.

    Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, the point is that to us, Will was biologically and legally a fetus, but emotionally to his parents a baby and our child. We wanted him, we were ready for him (sort of , but at the time we were just naïve enough to think that), and his loss broke our hearts. Others may not feel that way when they lose theirs, either by choice or not. But with abortion, it all comes back to it being a personal choice and dealing with the consequences and aftereffects of that choice. As Libertarians, we cannot deny the parent the right to deal with that if they so choose. We agree that government should stay out of the abortion action, either by regulation or payment.

    So, yes, the LP should stay neutral on abortion while acknowledging that government should not be involved in an oh-so personal and emotional decision. That puts the emphasis back on individual rights and responsibilities, while respecting the law as it now stands. Should the law change, then that can be dealt with, but for now, neutrality is the best answer, since the LP focus deals with government policy and law, and while the emotion behind it is there, it should not be the driving force in the issue.

    The issue of when a human life begins will not be resolved here or anytime soon, and neutrality on the issue acknowledges that as well. Frankly, until a human spirit or soul, or whatever one wants to call that essence that makes the sum of the parts a whole, however it happens, that thing that makes us what we call “human” instead of a mass of cells working in unison by biological accident, until that can be empirically detected and measured, we will never know.

  58. Richard Randall Says:

    Severin,

    Don’t read more into it than is there: ”The purpose of government is to protect our human and civil rights, establish a judicial system, provide for the common defense, and serve as steward of our public resources.”

    The ONLY legitimate public resources are those necessary for accomplishing the protection of our human and civil rights, establishing a judicial system, and providing for the common defense. Period.

    Public resources DO exist. The Capitol building (where our legislators meet), Court houses, jails / prisons, military equipment, etc. that are owned by the people are “public resources”.

    Mandating that government “serve as steward of our public resources” in no way expands the role of government from what was listed. There is nothing in the values that would empower government to operate public parks (lands), public schools or anything else not specifically enumerated.

    As to your reference to “the common defense”, I would point out (as I did in an earlier posting), Congress has not declared war since WW II. Every use of military force since that time as been unconstitutional (and NOT defensive in nature). We do not currently live under a libertarian government. But we should be able to describe a vision of what that looks like. And a libertarian government would be expected to protect our nation from conquest. If we didn’t have a military in WW II we would all be speaking German and every Jew would be dead.

    You mention that you view the establishment of a judicial system by the government as creating a monopoly on the court system, offering citizens little to no recourse in the event of an unjust judgment. However, having a privatized judicial system would limit justice to only those who could afford it. Allowing the wealthy to trample the rights of the poor. The role of government is to protect the rights of the people - rich and poor. So yes. A judicial system is a legitimate role of government in a free society.

    You then question how these functions would be funded. The short answer is excise taxes (which are voluntary) - NOT income taxes. As I stated in an earlier post, this country had a national military without a personal income tax from 1776 until 1913 (137 years). And even with the current military budget (the largest legitimate expense of government), it could be funded without a personal income tax (current federal excise tax revenues exceed 1 trillion dollars annually. More than enough to cover the excessive 600 billion military budget - which currently funds 2 wars and the presence of U.S. troops in over 120 countries).

  59. Susan Hogarth Says:

    So Susan, how does a baby get what it “wants” from its mother? Perhaps there is also this little thing some of us who reside in the real world like to call obligation or duty.

    A baby gets what it wants from its mother by that bizarre combination of begging and demanding that infants and dogs have mastered.

    Duty and obligation are important, but they are on the other side of the ‘how do we get what we want’ equation. We cannot make another person feel a duty or obligation toward us.

    If you want something from another person, you have three choices:

    1) hope they give it to you by their own free will
    2) trade something for it
    3) take it by force or fraud

  60. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Agreed, but who will be there to protect you when that group chooses to use force against you instead of trade?

    Well, at that point I can join my own protection group. As it stands now, ‘that group’ has already chosen to use force instead of trade, and that group is the government. So how exactly can the government be said to be protecting me?

    Worst-case scenario: I’m free for a while and then not. Right now it’s starting with ‘not’, so I fail to see the downside.

  61. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I’m not arguing government is great either. I’m only saying it is probably the best option considering the alternative.

    Too bad your choice has to affect me so negatively. My desire to not have government doesn’t take any skin off your hide, but yours to have it does most definitely take from me.

  62. David K. Williams, Jr. Says:

    Severin said:

    “The establishment of a judicial system by the government indicates that you desire to have a monopoly on the court system, offering citizens little to no recourse in the event of an unjust judgment.”

    As a lawyer, I can tell you that every person that has ever lost a court case believes the judgment was unjust. Sometimes, it is. Most of the time, it is not.

    There has to be an arbiter of “justness.” Otherwise, we have anarchy. Oh yeah, that’s what some of you want.

    And that’s fine. But I don’t want anarchy. As a practical matter, anarchy would like more like “The Road Warrior” than utopia.

  63. Lidia Seebeck Says:

    Mike, and you complain that us ladies get excessively chatty? Yeesh.

    Zygotes are the very newest conceived, generally haven’t implated themselves into the womb as I recall. Then they are fetuses until the birth.

    About Will, heck yeah I wanted him. That I wanted him is why my heart broke into shards when he died inside me. It took several years before I could bear to try again. Pregnancy, wanted or not, is a highly emotional thing—I think the hormones emphasize that. So it’s super difficult to look at it rationally even if that’s what we have to do as political types.

    Just a thought.

    BTW I agree with Mike, neutrality and lack of government intervention is the wisest course.

  64. Richard Randall Says:

    Denver Delegate,

    As it is beyond the scope of this fantastically long thread to begin debating the validity of dictionaries and their definition of “anarchy”. We may remain divided by a common language! I will maintain that claiming to be a “libertarian anarchist” is an oxymoron. :-)

    As to what MY preferred term would be for someone who favors voluntary governments and opposes monopoly governments (as you defined them)... I find no word in the English dictionary for such a person. However, based upon the “Statement of Purpose” on the “voluntaryist” web site (e.g., rejecting electoral politics, advocating withdrawal of the cooperation and tacit consent on which State power ultimately depends) I would consider such a person to be an anarchist.

    I find anarchists to be in the same camp as the prohibition supporters. Anarchists believe that all government is bad and should be abolished - just like the anti-gun camp believe that all guns are bad and should be seized / banned. Personally, I kinda like having guns… and I would like to have a (limited) government protecting my rights AND the rights of others.

  65. Susan Hogarth Says:

    There has to be an arbiter of “justness.” Otherwise, we have anarchy. Oh yeah, that’s what some of you want.

    Just because some disagreements require arbitration does not mean that they require government to provide the arbitration, any more than the fact that people need food means that we need government to run farms.

    Justice is a good like other goods. Like healthcare. Like education. Like food. We all want to imagine that there is some system that will make justice universally available and perfectly unbiased. But there is not - because in the end humans always are judging other humans.

    In my mind it’s way more utopian to think that government - a system of institutionalized coercive force - can provide better justice than that individuals working together through a voluntary market system could.

    And that’s fine. But I don’t want anarchy. As a practical matter, anarchy would like more like “The Road Warrior” than utopia.

    And you know this how, exactly?

  66. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Personally, I kinda like having guns… and I would like to have a (limited) government protecting my rights AND the rights of others.

    Your having guns doesn’t cost me money or other freedoms.

    Your having government does.

    That’s the essential difference.

  67. David K. Williams, Jr. Says:

    Susan Hogarth quoted me:

    “And that’s fine. But I don’t want anarchy. As a practical matter, anarchy would like more like “The Road Warrior” than utopia.”

    Then she asked:

    “And you know this how, exactly?”

    I don’t. It’s called an opinion.

    P.S. Can’t wait to get drunk with you, Susan.

  68. Richard Randall Says:

    Susan,

    What you appear to not realize (or accept) is that the perfect anarchy would only last until the biggest brute amassed enough power to impose his own tyranny. To promote anarchy is like promoting a war on drugs. You can’t win. Just like people will always want the freedom to consume whatever substances they want, people will always want the safety and security that only a government can provide.

    As to government costing you money, the U.S. existed on only excise (voluntary) taxes for 137 years (until 1913). Today there are several countries that have NO personal income tax. Here they are: Andorra, Anguilla, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bermuda, Brunei, British Virgin Islands, Burundi, Cayman Islands, Kuwait, Monaco, Oman, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu. It can be done! And it can be done in the U.S.

    As to government costing you your freedoms, that’s why we need to clearly define the role of government in a free (libertarian) society.

  69. Susan Hogarth Says:

    don’t. It’s called an opinion.

    Fair enough.

    P.S. Can’t wait to get drunk with you, Susan.

    OK, a ‘beer’ has morphed into ‘get drunk with’. I’m not objecting, mind you, but I sure hope you’re paying!

  70. Susan Hogarth Says:

    What you appear to not realize (or accept) is that the perfect anarchy would only last until the biggest brute amassed enough power to impose his own tyranny.

    I have no evidence this is so, and my own reason tells me it’s not.

    Just like people will always want the freedom to consume whatever substances they want, people will always want the safety and security that only a government can provide.

    I think I am about to be physically ill.

    As to government costing you money, the U.S. existed on only excise (voluntary) taxes for 137 years (until 1913).

    Hahah. Voluntary taxes.

    Oops. Now I’m getting more queasy.

    As to government costing you your freedoms, that’s why we need to clearly define the role of government in a free (libertarian) society.

    So you lecture me on the realities of human nature, and how the biggest gang will inevitably take over, and then you proceed with an (apparently) straight face to tell me that ‘clearly defining the role of government’ will somehow prevent that?

    Whatever!

  71. libertyaction Says:

    With respect to government serving as “steward of our public resources”, who else is going to be caretaker of those resources (e.g., the capitol buildings, court houses, jails / prisons, our military equipment)?

    As Ayn Rand wrote, public property is an oxymoron. This stolen property should be sold and the proceeds returned to the people.

    Also, I wish you guys would make it clear which you are talking about from time to time. I know this is a politics site but I think libertarianism is unique in that the party is infinitesimal compared to the movement and more and more I see the tail wagging the dog.

    In re: practical anarchy, I recommend the book, THE VOLUNTARY CITY, Choice, Community and Civil Society available from the Independent Institute.

    Or if you just like to look up old stuff on the internet, Terry Liberty Parker’s account of the founding of his libertarian apartment community here in Austin. The 78 unit property had been taken over by thugs and most of the legitimate tenants run off. Those that stayed were terrorized and enslaved. The police refused to make calls there. Terry and his libertarian posse contracted with the absentee owners to clean up, rehabilitate and run the property. Which they did. Yes, some people got shot at. Maybe, even hit. But it was private law enforcement. Anarchy triumphed over chaos.

  72. Denver Delegate Says:

    Richard Randall says:

    I will maintain that claiming to be a “libertarian anarchist” is an oxymoron. :-)

    As to what MY preferred term would be for someone who favors voluntary governments and opposes monopoly governments (as you defined them)... I find no word in the English dictionary for such a person. However, based upon the “Statement of Purpose” on the “voluntaryist” web site (e.g., rejecting electoral politics, advocating withdrawal of the cooperation and tacit consent on which State power ultimately depends) I would consider such a person to be an anarchist.

    Richard, kudos for what I perceive to be your intellectual integrity.

    I, and many other anarchists, think that the way you and others use the word “anarchist” assumes too much, such as opposing all government. But again I recognize that anarchists are up against popular perceptions of what the word “anarchist” means.

    But perhaps you are doing a favor for anarchists who prefer voluntary governments over monopoly government by describing what we favor as not anarchism, but something else.

    Yet, until a better term is found, we’ll probably be using the terms I mentioned earlier and others (anarchist, anarcho-capitalist, classical liberal, libertarian, market anarchist, self-governor, voluntaryist, etc.). I think “libertarian” is probably the least precise yet most inclusive of the foregoing terms.

    And I don’t get the political logic of trying to make the Libertarian Party smaller by trying to define anarchists out of the liberty movement … unless one anticipates adding more statists by excluding anarchists.

  73. Brian Holtz Says:

    Given the procedural hurdles involved in changing the SoP, there is no chance of effecting the above change, regardless of its merits.

    For the SoP change that delegates will actually be voting on in Denver, see
    http://lpbylaws.blogspot.com/2007/12/draft-proposal-statement-of-principles.html

    For an archive of other SoP proposals, see
    http://libertarianmajority.net/statement-of-principles-proposals

    For an annotated bibliography of libertarian-related human rights manifestos, from Codex Hammurabi to the present day, see
    http://libertarianmajority.net/bills-of-rights-archive

  74. Richard Randall Says:

    Denver Delegate,

    Yes. Changing the definition of “anarchist” in all in the dictionaries to something different than what it has generally been considered to mean would be a daunting task. And I’m uncertain as to why you would want to. But I digress. With respect to “trying to make the Libertarian Party smaller by trying to define anarchists out of the liberty movement”, again - I didn’t write the definition and send it to all of the dictionaries. Nor did I instruct the teachers of the world to instruct their students as to the meaning of the word. I do not consider “anarchists” to be libertarians because “anarchists” (by definition) want NO government vs. libertarians who have ALWAYS preached that they want limited (“less”) government. I find it interesting that in your statement “…unless one anticipates adding more statists by excluding anarchists” you apparently consider anyone who is not an anarchist to be a statist (am I reading you correctly?)

    By definition (Yes. I look to that darned dictionary again), a “statist” is someone who promotes or endorses statism - which is the practice or doctrine of giving a centralized government control over economic planning and policy - often extending to government ownership of industry. Are you suggesting that there is either one extreme or the other? Where there is either anarchy or totalitarianism - with no possibility of a limited government?

    Allow me to turn your question around: Are you trying to make the Libertarian Party smaller by limiting it to anarchists? Which would in effect be hijacking the Libertarian Party - as anarchists are (by definition) not libertarians.

  75. Brian Holtz Says:

    Market anarchists are libertarians. Period.

    Minarchists who say otherwise actually undermine the efforts of us moderate libertarians to reform the LP, because they offer anarchists an everybody-does-it defense against the charge that minarchists are just as guilty as anarchists of trying to pressure their opponents out of the LP.

    However, the textual fact remains that anarchists have held an effective veto over Platform content ever since Dallas, whereas the pre-Portland platform had about a dozen quasi-anarchist government-abolitionist positions that small-government libertarians disagree with on principle.

    Just try getting radical libertarians to defend—or even acknowledge—that asymmetry. Good luck.

  76. Michael Seebeck Says:

    Let’s just rename ourselves the Libertanarchy Party and be done with it, OK?

    All this arguing about the final destination when the train is still in the station and the tracks go to both stops is just pointless.

  77. The Laws of Nature-AND-The Laws of Nature's God Says:

    “...many legitimate libertarians do not view an embryo or a fetus as possessing human rights merely because they “could” one day become a human capable of living outside of the mother’s body.”

    What if the majority of legitimate libertarians someday did not view a child under the age of 5 as possessing human rights merely because it could one day become a human adult capable of living outside the parent’s control? Hhhhhhhmmmmm. Slippery slope when humans attempt to define life—their reasoning is so flawed.

  78. Denver Delegate Says:

    Richard Randall asks:

    Are you suggesting that there is either one extreme or the other? Where there is either anarchy or totalitarianism - with no possibility of a limited government?

    No. I accept that individuals can hold a range of policy preferences from, say, no-government anarchists to no-monopoly-government anarchists to libertarians to constitutionalists to democrats to monarchists to totalitarians. I also accept that governments can also operate within this range (excluding the one contemplated by no-government anarchists, although I wonder what that would look like and why any kind of organization that came about voluntarily wouldn’t be considered some kind of government and why and how no-government anarchists would combat that).

    Richard Randall asks:

    Are you trying to make the Libertarian Party smaller by limiting it to anarchists?

    No. I think the Libertarian Party and the libertarian movement is broad enough to include anarchists, minarchists, limited government advocates, constitutionalists … basically anyone that wants to reduce the power of any government.

    (By the way, although I think that anarchism and statism are mostly mutually exclusive, I think an anarchist would have a hard time opposing a state government that was formed by unanimous consent.)

    To quote upcoming convention speaker Anthony Gregory, “If anarchism means anything, it is a rejection of the state, meaning, a rejection of an institution claiming and maintaining a monopoly on violence.”

    Source: http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/gregory/gregory13.html

    From Bryan Caplan’s “Anarchist Theory FAQ”:

    Is anarchism the same thing as libertarianism?
    This is actually a complicated question, because the term “libertarianism” itself has two very different meanings. In Europe in the 19th-century, libertarianism was a popular euphemism for left-anarchism. However, the term did not really catch on in the United States.

    After World War II, many American-based pro-free-market intellectuals opposed to traditional conservatism were seeking for a label to describe their position, and eventually picked “libertarianism.” (“Classical liberalism” and “market liberalism” are alternative labels for the same essential position.) The result was that in two different political cultures which rarely communicated with one another, the term “libertarian” was used in two very different ways. At the current time, the American use has basically taken over completely in academic political theory (probably owing to Nozick’s influence), but the European use is still popular among many left-anarchist activists in both Europe and the U.S.

    The semantic confusion was complicated further when some of the early post-war American libertarians determined that the logical implication of their view was, in fact, a variant of anarchism. They adopted the term “anarcho-capitalism” to differentiate themselves from more moderate libertarianism, but were still generally happy to identify themselves with the broader free-market libertarian movement.

    Source: http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/bcaplan/anarfaq.htm

    The libertarian Cato Institute also spent some time hosting a quality discussion of anarchism last year.

    Source: http://www.cato-unbound.org/archives/august-2007/

    The dictionary is a good authority to have, but sometimes one can do better (or worse) than the dictionary. In the case of anarchism, I think the term has become something of a term of art in libertarian policy scholarship, so it shouldn’t be abandoned because of how it is popularly perceived.

    Other anarchists and I claim the term anarchy is because at least 1) its Greek origin “anarchos,” meaning “without a ruler” (which does NOT mean “without rules”) is an accurate description of a concept the anarchist is trying to describe and communicate, and 2) to do otherwise allows our detractors to define us out of existence (“As to what MY preferred term would be for someone who favors voluntary governments and opposes monopoly governments (as you defined them)... I find no word in the English dictionary for such a person. “) .

    George Orwell wrote about those who would attempt to control thought by attempting to control language.

    “Seek first to understand. Then to be understood.”—Stephen Covey

    By denying that one who opposes monopoly government but supports voluntary governments, I’m concerned that those who claim that anarchists are not libertarians may not understand the vision that market anarchists who consider themselves members of the libertarian movement are trying to communicate.

    And in light of Brian Holtz’s statement that “Market anarchists are libertarians,” I want to say “Thanks, Brian!” As an anarchist I have been impressed with the work of the Platform Committee. Although I don’t favor a few of the proposed planks, I have been pleasantly surprised with inclusive language contained in most of the proposed planks that I read and voted in favor of in the survery distributed earlier this year.

  79. Denver Delegate Says:

    Oops. I meant to write:

    “By denying that one who opposes monopoly government but supports voluntary governments are neither anarchists or libertarians, ...”

  80. David K. Williams, Jr. Says:

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.”

    Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.

  81. Denver Delegate Says:

    OK, I had an earlier, longer reply, but it looks like it didn’t get approved by the moderator (perhaps because of length?).

    I’ll try to break it up.

    Part One:

    Richard Randall asks:

    Are you suggesting that there is either one extreme or the other? Where there is either anarchy or totalitarianism - with no possibility of a limited government?

    No. I accept that individuals can hold a range of policy preferences from, say, no-government anarchists to no-monopoly-government anarchists to libertarians to constitutionalists to democrats to monarchists to totalitarians. I also accept that governments can also operate within this range (excluding the one contemplated by no-government anarchists, although I wonder what that would look like and why any kind of organization that came about voluntarily wouldn’t be considered some kind of government and why and how no-government anarchists would combat that).

  82. Denver Delegate Says:

    Sheesh … now I see the longer, moderated comment.

    Why was it not there before?

    Apologize for the clutter.

  83. Denver Delegate Says:

    Looks like the longer comment is still awaiting approval by the moderator.

    Part Two

    Richard Randall asks:

    Are you trying to make the Libertarian Party smaller by limiting it to anarchists?

    No. I think the Libertarian Party and the libertarian movement is broad
    enough to include anarchists, minarchists, limited government advocates,
    constitutionalists, and basically anyone that wants to reduce the power of any government.

    (By the way, although I think that anarchism and statism are mostly
    mutually exclusive, I think an anarchist would have a hard time opposing a state government that was formed by unanimous consent.)

    To quote upcoming convention speaker Anthony Gregory, “If anarchism means anything, it is a rejection of the state, meaning, a rejection of an
    institution claiming and maintaining a monopoly on violence.

    Source: http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/gregory/gregory13.html

  84. Denver Delegate Says:

    Part Three

    From Bryan Caplan’s “Anarchist Theory FAQ”:

    Is anarchism the same thing as libertarianism?

    This is actually a complicated question, because the term
    “libertarianism” itself has two very different meanings. In Europe in the 19th-century, libertarianism was a popular euphemism for left-anarchism.

    However, the term did not really catch on in the United States.

    After World War II, many American-based pro-free-market intellectuals opposed to traditional conservatism were seeking for a label to describe
    their position, and eventually picked “libertarianism.”

    “Classical liberalism” and “market liberalism”; are alternative labels for the same essential position.) The result was that in two different
    political cultures which rarely communicated with one another, the term
    “libertarian” was used in two very different ways. At the current time,
    the American use has basically taken over completely in academic political theory (probably owing to Nozick’s influence), but the European use is still popular among many left-anarchist activists in both Europe and the U.S.

    The semantic confusion was complicated further when some of the early
    post-war American libertarians determined that the logical implication of their view was, in fact, a variant of anarchism. They adopted the term
    “anarcho-capitalism” to differentiate themselves from more moderate
    libertarianism, but were still generally happy to identify themselves with the broader free-market libertarian movement.

    Source: http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/bcaplan/anarfaq.htm

    The libertarian Cato Institute also spent some time hosting a respectful
    discussion of anarchism last year.

    Source: http://www.cato-unbound.org/archives/august-2007/

  85. Denver Delegate Says:

    Part Four

    The dictionary is a good authority to have, but sometimes one can do
    better (or worse) than the dictionary. In the case of anarchism, I think the term has become something of a term of art in libertarian policy scholarship, so it shouldn’t be abandoned because of how it is popularly perceived.

    Other anarchists and I claim the term anarchy is because at least 1) its
    Greek origin “anarchos” meaning “without a ruler” (which
    does NOT mean “without rules”) is an accurate description of a concept the anarchist is trying to describe and communicate, and 2) to do otherwise allows our detractors to define us out of existence (Mr. Randall wrote: “As to what MY preferred term would be for someone who favors
    voluntary governments and opposes monopoly governments (as you defined them)... I find no word in the English dictionary for such a person.”) .

    George Orwell wrote about those who would attempt to control thought
    by attempting to control language.

    “Seek first to understand. Then to be understood.”—Stephen Covey

    By denying that one who opposes monopoly government but supports voluntary governments is neither anarchist nor libertarian, I’m concerned that those who claim that anarchists are not libertarians may not understand the vision that market anarchists who consider themselves members of the libertarian movement are trying to communicate.

    And in light of Brian Holtz’s statement that “Market anarchists are libertarians,” I want to say “Thanks, Brian!” As an anarchist I have been impressed with the work of the Platform Committee. Although I don’t favor a few of the proposed planks, I have been pleasantly surprised with inclusive language contained in most of the proposed planks that I read and voted in favor of in the survery distributed earlier this year.

    Fini.

  86. Joe Says:

    Look forward to having a beer with several of you (guess that means I will be having several beers). As witnessed by this thread the motion elicits very strong response. This, I fear, will be the same thing at the Convention. I ask that the motion not be submitted and rather held over for the 2010 convention. We have a lot to address already with Bylaws concerns, Platform concerns, and not least selection of our Presidential candidate.

  87. Richard Randall Says:

    Joe,
    I would suggest that if the Party of Principle does not have the time to clearly define its principles, then perhaps it should nominate NOTA as its Presidential candidate. This is a critical time for the Libertarian Party. The direction that the delegates choose for the Party in Denver could propel the word Libertarian to be known in every household - or condemn the it to forever be a footnote in American politics.

  88. Joe Says:

    Richard

    I guess I would go along with you if I were to see support from other states’ LP’s. However, I have only witnessed a debating society bogging down to who’s dictionary says what. This went on for 36 hours. I can only imagine what it will be like with 900 delegates shouting for time to be heard.

    So to end where I began. If the LP principles are not clearly defined, where is the massive outcry. I would have expected thousands of postings, not 87.

  89. Joe Says:

    That is 87 total postings. Not 87 different people. Probably more like 15. No I did not count them so