Restore74 With a Denver Accord

The original Libertarian Party Statement of Principles was adopted unanimously at the original 1972 LP convention in Denver. It said “the sole function of government is the protection of the rights of each individual” and “government has only one legitimate function, the protection of individual rights”. To safeguard the LP from ideological drift, the SoP was protected in the original LP Constitution (now called the Bylaws) by requiring a 7/8 vote to change it. However, the rule provided a one-time exception, allowing a 2/3 vote to change the SoP at the 1974 convention.

At the 1974 convention in Dallas, anarchists agreed that the LP would not explicitly call for abolition of the state as long as the originally minarchist Platform/SoP no longer said that “protection of individual rights” is a “legitimate function of government” in a libertarian society. However, the Dallas Accord evolved into an effective veto power for anarchists over any Platform statement that didn’t uphold anarchist abolitionist principles. By contrast, minarchists had no equivalent veto power over the subsequent accretion of abolitionist Platform statements that conflicted with their own small-government principles. What the Dallas Accord became was a deal in which anarchists get to veto all Platform content they disagree with, while minarchists get to veto only the one statement that the empty shell of the state will be discarded once we’re done hollowing it out. The Dallas Accord was struck when the LP had a 2500-word platform, but in the subsequent decades it bloated into a 14,000-word monument to zero-government abolitionism.

That is not big-tent.

The Reform Caucus is trying to restore the symmetry of the Dallas Accord, so that the Platform is as respectful of small-government minarchist principles as it is of zero-government anarchist principles. We seek a Platform that includes all and only the principles that unite the major schools of libertarianism. Such a Platform will necessarily be shorter than the bloated abolitionist manifesto that the Portland delegates revolted against.

The Platform Committee has thus proposed a short platform text, which is coincidentally nearly identical in length to the 1972 Platform. 99% of its text is recycled from previous platforms (and about 2/3 of it was in the 2004 Platform), while the 1% that is new is not about any “legitimate function” of government. And yet, defenders of this unity platform are accused of “petty bickering” for daring to politely ask that the Platform not contradict their small-government minarchist principles—while somehow it’s not “petty bickering” for radicals to insist that the Platform restore the most extreme details of their zero-government abolitionist principles.

I first called this a “Denver Accord” on April 29, and gave detailed examples of issues on which good Libertarians disagree how to apply the principle of opposition to force initiation. (For a comprehensive list, see Free Variables in Libertarian Theory). The Platform Committee is not seeking to impose on anarchists a non-anarchist answer to a single one of these issues. We’re simply trying to get back to the general core principles that unite all of us who have boarded the Freedom Train. PlatCom’s proposed recycled 2008 Platform does not include any novel language about the role or legitimacy of government. Instead, it softens the 13 most explicitly abolitionist positions of the old 2004 platform, and leaves statements of Libertarian principle that are consistent both with incremental reform and an anarchist destination. If we adopt this platform, our most radical candidates will still be free to campaign for zero-government abolitionism. Similarly, small-government libertarians will be equally free to campaign for a limited constitutional Ron-Paul-style government, without having the Platform used as a bludgeon against their “deviations”.

It’s time for a Denver Accord that restores the symmetry of the Dallas Accord adopted when the Platform was short and sweet. Support the Platform Committee’s all-principles unity Platform, and let’s end the Platform purity wars this week, in this city.

57 Responses to “Restore74 With a Denver Accord”

  1. disinter Says:

    World’s Smallest Political Platform

    http://www.petitiononline.com/wspp2008/petition.html

  2. Craig Says:

    I think Brian has it backwards—the Dallas Accord is more often used to ask those pesky anarchists to “simmer down”, and stop bringing up the obvious contradiction of justifying an organization that by its very nature inherently violates individual rights, and in practice is the single biggest violator of individual rights on a massive scale, to be the guarantor of those rights.

    I understand that many libertarians are not anarchists, and accept that contradiction, but the hand-wringing over the original statement of principle raises one very interesting question:

    What parts of the current government do they NOT want to abolish, and which would they cling to, even if totally voluntary arrangements could supplant them?

  3. Brad Says:

    Your link mistakenly refers to “Neolibertarianism,” which is another name for the oxymoronic “pro-war libertarianism.” The definition of libertarian is “an ideology opposed to the initiation of force” and certainly being in favor of mass murder by government is the worst possible initiation of force.

    If the “Reform” Caucus’s goal is to build a “Libertarian” Party where advocates of mass murder are welcome, then the “Reform” Caucus should be condemned. I’m not opposed to welcoming other libertarians who have been excluded (such as Georgists), but to welcome right-wing warmongers who pretend to be libertarian (such as Bob Barr or Neal Boortz) into the Libertarian Party should be absolutely unacceptable to any libertarian.

    I’m for a big tent, but any compromise with warmongers is absolutely unacceptable. I also am not very keen on welcoming bigots (including anti-immigration nativists, advocates of age discrimination, advocates of marriage discrimination etc.) into the Libertarian Party. The Libertarian Party should uphold a higher standard than the lowest common denominator standard of the Democrats and the Republicans.

    I believe the platform should include planks in favor of working toward the abolition of the government school system (it should be neutral on gradual aboliton VS immediate abolition) and in favor of equal rights for all (including so-called ‘children,’ especially so-called ‘teenagers’). It should also include a strong anti-war plank (condemning advocates of pro-war ideologies as advocates of murder). The Platform should also call for abolition of the IRS (though abolition of all taxes would not be possible with minarchism) and for the end of drug prohibition. The platform should also be clear that libertarians are in favor of kicking the government out of the bedroom and eliminating all anti-free speech laws.

    I think these planks would be sufficient to be acceptable to all libertarians (but not to right-wingers pretending to be libertarians).

  4. Kenny Says:

    Who wants a big tent that includes warmongers, drug warriors and welfarists? If you want to work with these clowns, join the GOP fascists and work for McCain!

  5. Balph Says:

    Indeed, REAL libertarians favored letting the Soviets have the the rest of Europe. Today, they stand four square in favor of the Taliban and genocide in Darfur. REAL libertarians look forward to the day when Russian and Chinese naval power controls the high seas, when Iran becomes a nuclear power, and when those pesky Jews in Israel are exterminated.

  6. g brian Says:

    And you aren’t libertarian Brian Holtz!

  7. Rolf Lindgren Says:

    There should be a plank calling for a new investigation of 9/11.

  8. disinter Says:

    and when those pesky Jews in Israel are exterminated.

    It’s not the jews that are the problem, it is the Zionists. Their equivalent here, the Neocons, should be exterminated as well.

  9. disinter Says:

    There should be a plank calling for a new investigation of 9/11.

    Or just one, simple plank:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/wspp2008/petition.html

  10. Balph Says:

    disinter writes:

    It’s not the jews that are the problem, it is the Zionists. Their equivalent here, the Neocons, should be exterminated as well.

    Ah, reminds me of my college days. The only other Libertarians in the school tended to oscillate between Libertarian and Nazi.

  11. Robert Capozzi Says:

    Brad,

    Your choice for a definiton of libertarian excludes Mises, Hayek, Nozick, and Ron Paul. Your opinion, yes? I respect your opinion, but that’s clearly not what most self-identified libertarians would say.

    Not all Reformers are neolibertarian. I’m not, for ex.

  12. DrGonzo Says:

    Indeed, REAL libertarians favored letting the Soviets have the the rest of Europe. Today, they stand four square in favor of the Taliban and genocide in Darfur. REAL libertarians look forward to the day when Russian and Chinese naval power controls the high seas, when Iran becomes a nuclear power, and when those pesky Jews in Israel are exterminated.

    Hence the problem with purists and the fantasy world many of them live in.

  13. Greg Says:

    Wow this place has certainly gone to sh*t fast with the “reformers” (Republicans) taking over. Good thing there’s the Independent Political Report for actual Libertarians to get their news.

  14. DrGonzo Says:

    Wow this place has certainly gone to sh*t fast with the “reformers” (Republicans) taking over. Good thing there’s the Independent Political Report for actual Libertarians to get their news.

    So anyone who isn’t a purist is a Republican?

    Makes complete sense.

  15. Greg Says:

    Nope. Anyone who is a Republican is a Republican… including Viguerie and Barr. It doesn’t matter that they may have temporarily changed their affiliation because they think it will benefit them in some way.

  16. DrGonzo Says:

    Nope. Anyone who is a Republican is a Republican… including Viguerie and Barr. It doesn’t matter that they may have temporarily changed their affiliation because they think it will benefit them in some way.

    I’m not really a big fan of Barr, but lets be honest. The man is attracting tons of national attention that the LP has never before received. I will take a less than ideal candidate to finally get this much national exposure for hte party. Our goal is to win, and exposure is helping that cause. More than anything, it is attracting new members.

  17. disinter Says:

    Our goal is to win, and exposure is helping that cause.

    I guarantee you that if Barris the nominee and gets all this exposure you think he is going to get, not one single person will win any office of any significance running as a Libertarian anytime soon. Especially if the exposure portrays us as mini-repugs.

  18. disinter Says:

    Barris = Barr wins

  19. disinter Says:

    And no, we wouldn’t win if Barr doesn’t win either. But as least we would still be an alternative to the Republicrats.

  20. Steven R Linnabary Says:

    I’m not really a big fan of Barr, but lets be honest. The man is attracting tons of national attention that the LP has never before received. I will take a less than ideal candidate to finally get this much national exposure for hte party. Our goal is to win, and exposure is helping that cause. More than anything, it is attracting new members.

    Yup, we will get all kinds of MSM attention. For being anti gay bigots, opposed to alternative religions (such as Wicca), and pro drug war. These are not Libertarian positions!

    How is this a benefit? Besides the “MSM attention” and possible infusion of new members?

    Next election cycle we might even become pro war. Heck, some of our current POTUS candidates are already pro war! Some are even proposing new taxes in the so called “fairy tax”.

    I am all for a “big tent”. I am all for winning elections. But not at the expense of our principles!

    PEACE
    Steve

  21. Hugh Jass Says:

    “Indeed, REAL libertarians favored letting the Soviets have the the rest of Europe. Today, they stand four square in favor of the Taliban and genocide in Darfur. REAL libertarians look forward to the day when Russian and Chinese naval power controls the high seas, when Iran becomes a nuclear power, and when those pesky Jews in Israel are exterminated.”

    No, real libertarians wouldn’t have sided with the Soviets and allowed them to have the rest of Europe. Real libertarians don’t approve of the Taliban and Sudanese goverment, but they also believe it is not within our power to tell other countries what to do. Real libertarians don’t believe in world governance. Real libertarians don’t look forward to imaginary scare-mongering such as the idea that the Russians and Chinese could overtake the freest nation on Earth, or that the citizens of a nuclear power will be victim of a second holocaust.

  22. Balph Says:

    Hugh Jass says:

    “but they also believe it is not within our power to tell other countries what to do. ”


    As Robert Heinlein would say: tell that to the mayor of Hiroshima.

    Perhaps you meant “within our rights.”

    Real libertarians hate our government—but recognize all other governments.

  23. Bill Woolsey Says:

    Linnabary…

    I have followed the media coverage of Barr.

    Perhaps you should check it out.

    It is almost entirely about how Barr might spoil the election
    for McCain. The brief description of his positions on the
    issues is that he favors getting out of Iraq and wants to
    cut government spending.

    I have heard nothing about Wicca at all.

    Barr isn’t running against Wicca, drugs, or homosexuality.

    When the press brings up his past social conservative stances,
    he explains in general terms that after 911 he has decided that
    government should do less.

    It is always like… libertarians have the opposite view on these
    issues from what Bob Barr had. And then Barr says that he
    has moved to the libertarian way of thinking.

    How can anyone get the impression from this that libertarians
    are for these things?

    They won’t.

    Unless, of course, Barr changes his campaign message.

  24. Steven R Linnabary Says:

    Mr. Woolsey-

    You are correct. Congressman Barr does not mention these things. But they are a part of his recent past.

    And, when is asked about these positions he has not repudiated his former stands, except in the most wishy-washy terminology.

    True enough, he claims to have had an epiphany since 9/11. That’s great. I wish more folks in Washington would. I wish more Americans would.

    But people do remember him, and his former ideas. The MSM will make sure that America hears about them, all over again. And this will be the face and message of the LP for the next few years.

    The LP needs a candidate that can articulate libertarian ideas to the public. The LP does not need to change it’s message, but rather it needs to hone it’s marketing skills.

    PEACE
    Steve

  25. DrGonzo Says:

    No, real libertarians wouldn’t have sided with the Soviets and allowed them to have the rest of Europe. Real libertarians don’t approve of the Taliban and Sudanese goverment, but they also believe it is not within our power to tell other countries what to do. Real libertarians don’t believe in world governance. Real libertarians don’t look forward to imaginary scare-mongering such as the idea that the Russians and Chinese could overtake the freest nation on Earth, or that the citizens of a nuclear power will be victim of a second holocaust.

    No offense to you, but this is exactly why many think the LP is a joke.

    Not only is it within our powers, but it is our duty to tell a country to stop mass murdering their own people. To say we shouldn’t get involved is one of the most asinine ideas I’ve ever heard.

    It isn’t world governance by being a human.

  26. DrGonzo Says:

    Yup, we will get all kinds of MSM attention. For being anti gay bigots, opposed to alternative religions (such as Wicca), and pro drug war. These are not Libertarian positions!

    How is this a benefit? Besides the “MSM attention” and possible infusion of new members?

    I think you may be dramatizing his positions. Yes Barr has flipped on many issues, but he is following a Libertarian line on many of them. This attention with someone like Barr will get people to check out the LP. They will read what it is about.

    Why do we want our politicians to be mindless robots and tow a party line? That is exactly what we criticize the Republicrats for.

  27. Steven R Linnabary Says:

    Not only is it within our powers, but it is our duty to tell a country to stop mass murdering their own people. To say we shouldn’t get involved is one of the most asinine ideas I’ve ever heard.

    DrGonzo-

    Well, that would be different. Sometimes, a democrat will give Joe Stalin all the help he needs killing his own people. The next democrat and the next republican helped the South Korean regime to mass murder it’s own people. Then two democrats and a republican gave the South Viet Nam regime all the help they needed to kill their own people, in carload lots. Skip Ford & Carter. Then a republican started helping numerous Central American countries to murder their own people. That same republican gave Saddam the gas he needed to mass murder a major ethnic minority in his country. All the republican and democrat regimes going back to Truman have assisted the Israeli’s in their mass murder (yes, it is documented) and ethnic cleansing of areas they cherished.

    To any Libertarian, all the above is inhuman. If that is what you want, vote for John “one hundred years war” McCain.

    Me, I don’t want it on my conscience.

    PEACE
    Steve

  28. DrGonzo Says:

    Steven,

    There is a huge difference between the scenario I described, and the one you posted about. You are describing intervention for a political purpose. I support intervention for a humanist purpose. I support wars to stop genocide and systematic killing of the civilian population. I support intervention to help rebel groups stop fighting one another and inflicting millions of deaths on the civilian population. I do not support propping up one government because it is beneficial to us politically.

    I am a Libertarian, but I am a human first.

    In no way is what I want described by your above examples.

  29. Steven R Linnabary Says:

    Why do we want our politicians to be mindless robots and tow a party line? That is exactly what we criticize the Republicrats for.

    Huh?? I thought republicrats just said whatever was convenient to the group spoken to. I wasn’t even aware that republicrats even had a party line. They certainly don’t have principles. :-)

    Seriously, I don’t want the LP candidate to sound like a robot. I do expect the POTUS candidate to know and understand libertarian philosophy. Hopefully, he or she will be able to sell it.

    But even Hillary or David Duke would get the LP a lot of MSM attention. And maybe even more votes. But they wouldn’t be libertarian. The LP has principles.

    PEACE
    Steve

  30. Darren Says:

    As an LP supporter since 1992, I still do not understand the “true” libertarian mindset. Okay - so you won’t compromise your principles. But why is zero progress toward your principles better than some progress? Why sabotage efforts to connect with voters, elect officials, and move policy toward limited government and greater freedom? Do you expect Americans will one day wake up and leap across the statist chasm to embrace your principles without any intermediate steps? Have you never heard of marketing? Did Coke get its market share because it had the best product?

    These histrionics over platform and principles smack of egotism and self-satisfaction. Please grow up and help us change the real world.

  31. Steven R Linnabary Says:

    Mr Gonzo-

    Quite a few years ago, I was in my hometowns’ Jewish Center. There was a banner on the wall selling Israeli War Bonds. A couple years later, on St. Patricks Day, I was in a Catholic Church where the Priest took up a collection for the “widows and orphans” of Northern Ireland. Some of that money might have found it’s way to the IRA. ;-)

    Those were voluntary contributions. Very Libertarian.

    If you want to save the people of Darfur or Tibet, be my guest and take up a collection and send some money to them. I’ll probably even help you.

    But it is offensive to demand that armed thugs be sent to collect money from people that find this immoral. You can be sure that the republicrat in charge will rap his demands for more money in humanitarian grounds.

    Isn’t that why we are currently in Iraq? Nevermind that the killing of Kurds continues unabated. Turkey has gladly taken up the slack for Saddam and the Shah before him. And we are paying for it. Ultimately at gunpoint.

    We need a Libertarian POTUS candidate that understands this, now more than ever.

    PEACE
    Steve

  32. Steven R Linnabary Says:

    But why is zero progress toward your principles better than some progress? Why sabotage efforts to connect with voters, elect officials, and move policy toward limited government and greater freedom? Do you expect Americans will one day wake up and leap across the statist chasm to embrace your principles without any intermediate steps? Have you never heard of marketing?

    Ron Paul seemed to do OK without selling out his principles.

    PEACE
    Steve

  33. DrGonzo Says:

    Seriously, I don’t want the LP candidate to sound like a robot. I do expect the POTUS candidate to know and understand libertarian philosophy. Hopefully, he or she will be able to sell it.

    But even Hillary or David Duke would get the LP a lot of MSM attention. And maybe even more votes. But they wouldn’t be libertarian. The LP has principles.

    As much as it disgusts me, we need mainstream media attention. We need to reach the masses. We are doing good on the internet, but that is not where the majority of Americans will hear about us. They will hear about the LP from nationally televised shows.

    And even though Barr used to be a conservative, many of his views are in line with the LP right now. That is the most important thing

  34. DrGonzo Says:

    But it is offensive to demand that armed thugs be sent to collect money from people that find this immoral. You can be sure that the republicrat in charge will rap his demands for more money in humanitarian grounds.

    Again, you are citing examples of political missions rather than humanitarian ones. While sending money may make you feel good inside, it won’t stop the government from killing thousands of people. Meanwhile you can sit at home and say “well I sent money, I did all I could.”

    I am 100% behidn the government stepping in to tell another government to stop murdering its people. Bosnia and Somalia were examples of this. Even though Somalia didn’t turn out real well, it was a humanitarian mission. Say we stepped into Rwanda and stopped 800,000 people from dying. Would that have been wrong on our part? Or should I feel better because my government did nothing while 1,000,000 innocent men, women, and children were slaughtered? There are good cases of intervention.

    And no, Iraq definitely wasn’t a humanitarian mission.

  35. disinter Says:

    It is almost entirely about how Barr might spoil the election
    for McCain.

    “I doubt the LP will spoil the election. Very, very few people who are, at this point, going to vote for McCain are going to vote for a Libertarian. If it’s close, the only Libertarian votes will be true believers and general protesters, like in 2000. And now the über nativists don’t like Barr because he’s supposedly for open borders. I don’t see him outflanking McCain on the right in any meaningful sense. He’s running as a tamed down hawk and slightly less spendthrift Republican. I like him, but his platform is modalism without the charm.”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/021115.html

  36. Daniel Grow Says:

    October 1974 Libertarian Review by Murray Rothbard

    The official platform of the national Libertarian Party, as adopted in its June convention this year in Dallas, is an enormous improvement over the first, 1972 platform. The basic problem with the old platform is that it was neo-Randian, and therefore studded with such phrases as “the proper function of government is . . .” For those of us who believe that the only proper function of government is to disappear, such phrases were like red flags to a bull. They were a standing affront to the substantial bodyof anarchists in the Party.

    The new platform has happily expunged these provocative phrases and reworded its principles and planks to say: “the government may not do” X, Y, and Z. In that way, without explicitly
    calling for anarchism, the new platform provides a commodious home which both anarcho-capitalists and laissez-faire limited statists can live with. For the new platform neither calls for abolition of the State nor does it explicitly endorse government; by confining itself to the negative function of attacking the depredations of government, it can be endorsed by all anarchists and laissez-faire liberals who do not wish to drive the members of the other camp out of the party.

    As an example, instead of the old formulation: “We . . . hold that the sole function of government is the protection of the rights of each individual”, the new platform says, “We . . . hold that where
    governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual”. The anarchist insight that all governments necessarily violate the rights of the individual is left in abeyance, neither affirmed nor denied.

    In addition to this heartening and basic change, the first section, on Individual Rights and Civil Order, has been greatly strengthened. Added is a clause stressing that the major purpose of criminal punishment is to force the criminal to make restitution to his victim.

    Furthermore, an excellent section has been added opposing any form of involuntary mental commitment.

    Added, too, is a clause attacking any discrimination violating equality of rights by the government, while also opposing any governmental attempts to regulate private discrimination.

    The “protection of privacy” clause has been notably strengthened as well. The old platform unaccountably waffled by saying that “electronic and other covert government surveillance of citizens should be restricted to activity which can be shown beforehand, under high, clearly defined standards of probable cause, to be criminal . . .” Shown to whom? And what “showing” can justify such clear invasion of the rights of person and property? The new platform clearly states that “the government should not use electronic or other covert surveillance of an
    individual’s actions on private property without the consent of that property owner.”

    Also, the previous very weak clause on the right of secession, which limited that right to one “supported by a majority within the political unit” (what “unit”?) and other qualifications, has been replaced by a clear “We support recognition of the right to political secession. Exercise of this right, like the exercise of all other rights, does not remove legal and moral obligations not to violate the rights of others.”

    The only weak clause remaining in this section is the one on the “Volunteer Army”, which unfortunately goes beyond a simple call for abolition of the draft to positively hailing ‘’a well paid volunteer army” as a “more effective means of national defense”. “Well paid”, of course,
    means at the expense of the taxpayers, especially since the clause does not call for a voluntarily financed army. Furthermore, there is still no recognition of the serfdom involved even in a “voluntary” army structure that does not allow voluntary resignation which all other jobs,
    including police, do allow. Furthermore, the call for unconditional amnesty is still limited to draftees and does not yet include non-draftee deserters.

    The “Trade and the Economy” section is also strengthened by calling, as “immediate reforms”, for “drastic reduction” of taxes and government spending instead of the old, weak “reduction”.

    Furthermore, the old, weak-kneed “Those who have entered into . . . activities with promises of government subsidy will be forewarned by being given a cutoff date . . .” has fortunately been excised. The party of principle must stick to principle and not concede the immorality of “cutoff dates” for theft.

    The clause calling for “eventual repeal of all taxation” has been strengthened by support for constitutional challenges to taxation, and by opposition to the withholding and other compulsory tax collections as involuntary servitude.

    A timely clause has also been added opposing all government control of energy pricing and subsidies to energy research, as well immediate repeal of the egregious 55 m.p.h. speed limit.

    The major weakness here is still the failure to call for return to the gold standard, I e. for return of the people’s gold confiscated by the federal government in 1933.

    The “Domestic Ills” section has also been greatly strengthened. Naderite regulations are now specifically opposed, as well as compulsory “self-protection laws”, and drug regulations or prohibitions.

    There is a clear-cut call for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.

    The “Population” clause has been strengthened by attacking special tax burdens on single people or on the childless.

    Also, welcome clauses have been added: opposing all compulsory or tax-supported health insurance, attacking medical licencing and other interference with free medical choice, opposing all government control of land use, and demanding the repeal of the crippling OSHA.

    The “Foreign Policy” section has also been greatly improved by eliminating the Wilsonian call for diplomatic recognition of only “legitimate” governments in the old platform, and substituting the genuine isolationist policy of non-intervention and de facto recognition to all other governments.

    However, the “currency exchange rates” clause is still unfortunately Friedmanite, in calling for freely floating exchange rates rather than currencies tied to a non-governmental, market
    commodity such as gold.

    But another excellent change is the elimination of the old platform’s call for U.S. military alliances with non-”despotic governments”, including even a “nuclear umbrella”. Instead, the new platform clearly states that “American foreign military policy must be directed toward avoiding involvement of the United States in war.” It also includes an eloquent attack on the horrors of aggressive war, with the mass murder and economic statism that such wars inevitably breed. Also, the previous call for “sufficient nuclear capacity” as a deterrent is eliminated, and replaced by a simple “we shall support the maintenance of a sufficient military force to defend the United States against aggression.” More needs to be done in calling for disarmament of
    nuclear and other weapons of mass slaughter, as well as a questioning of whether such threats of aggression against the United States actually exist.

    However, the condemnation of war and the call for its avoidance is a giant step forward in the new platform. Unfortunately, specific isolationist and anti-war clauses passed by the Platform Committee, including: withdrawal of foreign-based U. S. troops, the ending of U.S. alliances and foreign military aid, and strict neutrality in the Middle East, were stricken by the Hospers-Nathan neo-Randian forces on the floor of the convention.

    All in all. however, the national LP platform, despite room for improvements, is now one which both anarchists and laissez-faire liberals should be able to accept and work with.

  37. D. Frank Robinson Says:

    No apologies in advance to anyone.

    The political context in which the LP has functioned since 1972 makes winning elections to major state office or the U.S. Congress as a Libertarian Party legally a virtual impossibility. As one who has been a Libertarian candidate for the Congress and a litigant against elections laws and a follower of Richard Winger’s excellent documentation of election discrimination in his Ballot Access News for many years, I acknowledge that winning election as a Libertarian is defacto illegal. Face up to it. Individuals who want to vote for dissident parties in America are politically equivalent to Jews in Nazi Germany - we have no effective political rights beyond dissident speech which is being sliced away.

    I once thought—at the 1972 convention in Denver—that the LP could grow to supplant a major party and bring about a political realignment in the U.S. That will not happen so long as the present election system remains in place.

    Appeals to make the LP Platform a vote-getting magic MacGuffin is fantasy. No amount cosmetic surgery and lipstick will enable LP candidates to win because the parties in power have rigged the system over a period of a century and suppressed every single dissident party that has risen from the people in the last century.

    Appeals to the rights and liberties enshrined in the original constitution before the courts are futile as well. The courts are tools of the entrenched parties.

    Therefore, we must conclude that the old constitution is a dead letter. Conservatives who cling to illusion that the corpse of the constitution can be revivified are not advancing the restoration of constituionalism. Americans need a New constitution.

    Presently, the LP platform does not advocate the initiation of procedures toward a new constitution beyond the general principle of self-determination. The LP presents no candidate agenda for leading the public to a full realization that their votes don’t really matter in this political system.

    The failure, thus far, to face the futility of “working within the system” means capitulation to that system and dissolution of organized dissent.

    The LP, in my view, needs to get below “grass roots” local partisanism. The system is rigged right down to the so-called grass roots. The LP should bring forth an new appeal to the Declaration of Indepedence and activate advocacy for constitutional conventions outside of the existing regime with a the goal of legitimizing to the people their right to alter or abolish means do it yourself government.

    How much government? Reasonable people can differ. I suggest that a maxium after Thomas Jeferson and/or Thomas Paine is a big enough “tent” to shelter all in this quest: That government which least governs the ferwest people in the smallest territory governs best - if at all.

    All notions that all we need is slicker PR is fatuous. I grant that such a strategy might win elections for a few people in a few places. But what could such people do in office? Be noble examples like Ron Paul, who must run as Republican. Ron Paul could switch party in Congress. But why should he? The election of tokens to public office is not necessary or sufficient to justify the goals of the Libertarian Party. Let some hybrid coalition do it.

    The Libertarian Party has value only so-long as it remains “pure” and aloof from this corrupt system. But that alone is has not been enough to tap the people’s understanding that they are not in charge. Libertarians need to show them how thay can be in charge. A libertarian populism as a revolt against creditor slavery with a new consitutional confederation which acknowledges our cultural heritage without the burdens of finance capital imperialism with war, war, war, war, debt, debt. debt, and loss of civil liberty and non-conformity.

    Radicalism is the only realistic strategy.

  38. Steven R Linnabary Says:

    I am 100% behidn the government stepping in to tell another government to stop murdering its people. Bosnia and Somalia were examples of this. Even though Somalia didn’t turn out real well, it was a humanitarian mission. Say we stepped into Rwanda and stopped 800,000 people from dying. Would that have been wrong on our part? Or should I feel better because my government did nothing while 1,000,000 innocent men, women, and children were slaughtered? There are good cases of intervention.

    Somalia was not that long ago. Somalia was strictly a political move made to look like a humanitarian one. Rwanda was still fresh in peoples minds. If you recall, black members of Congress were miffed at the Clinton administration because we seem to “only go to the aid of white countries”, as Clinton was ready to send troops to some parts of the former Yugoslavia and planning to further escalate the problems there. Clinton sent troops to Somalia strictly to appease the black members of Congress. Clinton was also more interested in distracting attention away from “Paulagate” which was brewing at the time.

    Sure, it gave interventionists their warm and fuzzy feeling (yeah, see, you can force humanitarianism on people), until “Blackhawk Down”. For some reason, most people don’t appreciate having a puppet government forced on them, particularly from outside. So much for humanitarianism.

    I understand the wretched feeling of watching nightly news reports from every corner of the world. Yes it is terrible. But government is least able to help most of these people. Oxfam or Doctors Without Borders, perhaps. Voluntarily. But government is only good at two things, breaking things and killing people.

    And killing people and breaking things is hardly humanitarian.

    PEACE
    Steve

  39. DrGonzo Says:

    We really had nothing to gain from Somalia. All factions in the government had agreed to peace besides Aidid’s. Then when UN Peacekeepers were killed the UN called for forces to arrest Aidid. I see it as a humanitarian mission.

    You aren’t an invertentionist if you support a humanitarian mission. Government is able to do good when used corectly. Sending money and saying “I did all I could” is least able to help the people. I know I feel good that my government didn’t intervene in Rwanda and a million people died.

    No human (government or individual) has the right to take life from another human. Are those not Libertarian ideals? I extend those ideals beyond our border. Saying a country can murder its people because we don’t want to mess with our sovereignty is lunacy.

  40. D. Frank Robinson Says:

    When do the humanitarian invasions of Myanmar (Burma) and China begin? Where were the humanitarian invasions needed in the US after Katrina? The next natural disaster in the US surely justifies other governments intervention to help us. Just like the humanitarian raid on the FLDS in Texas. No lunacy under the pretense of humanitarianism is possible. Just steal more to do good. No lunacy in that. Take it all and spread it over all six billion people on the planet. WE all have infinite humanitarian needs. No lunacy in that. If any locals object to out humanitarian imperialism just send them to Guantanamo as anti-humanitarian terrorists. No lunacy in that. I have a humanitarian need to be left the hell alone.
    What kind of lunatic fringe help do you have for that?

  41. DrGonzo Says:

    When do the humanitarian invasions of Myanmar (Burma) and China begin? Where were the humanitarian invasions needed in the US after Katrina? The next natural disaster in the US surely justifies other governments intervention to help us. Just like the humanitarian raid on the FLDS in Texas. No lunacy under the pretense of humanitarianism is possible. Just steal more to do good. No lunacy in that. Take it all and spread it over all six billion people on the planet. WE all have infinite humanitarian needs. No lunacy in that. If any locals object to out humanitarian imperialism just send them to Guantanamo as anti-humanitarian terrorists. No lunacy in that. I have a humanitarian need to be left the hell alone.
    What kind of lunatic fringe help do you have for that?

    Again, people aren’t even using humanitarian examples. Nobody said anything about stealing more to do good. Nobody said anything about humanitarian imperialism or nation building. It would be easier if people stop engaging in hyperbole and creating straw men.

    And yes, I support the raid on the FLDS compound. Although I guess there shouldn’t be anything wrong with men enslaving women and having sex with them when they are 13. Our ‘04 platform says so.

    And humanitarian missions do not always have to come in the form of invasion. I was arguing against the people who said we should a state has the right to kill its people because of sovereignty. I’m arguing they do not.

  42. D. Frank Robinson Says:

    I see. From each according to his misanthropic ability to produce to each according to his humanitarian ability to consume - minus shipping, handling, administrative salaries, commissions, fees, and kick backs for rent-seeking efforts.

    Who pays? If it is all voluntary aid - voluntarily offered and voluntarily received. Then where is the need for the military? Who elected the US military humanitarian godfather of the planet?

    BTW, the appellate court has overturn the legal basis for the raid instigated by a bogus phone call. The humanitarian claims of the State of Texas in this case appear to have been grossly fabricated. What are the facts? WE don’t know yet. But let our indulge our humanitarian fantasies first and get the facts later.

  43. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Holtz,

    “By contrast, minarchists had no equivalent veto power over the subsequent accretion of abolitionist Platform statements that conflicted with their own small-government principles.”

    I fail to see how this could possibly be true. Are you telling me that the 17/20ths of the party that are not anarchists could not muster a vote of 50% needed to remove planks not to their liking?

    It seems more likely that the limited-government libertarians had no problem with the platform, lest they would have removed the planks to which they objected.

    The veto power has always been fully within the minarchist court. Anarchists comprise less than 50% of the party.

    “And yet, defenders of this unity platform are accused of ‘petty bickering’ for daring to politely ask that the Platform not contradict their small-government minarchist principles—while somehow it’s not ‘petty bickering’ for radicals to insist that the Platform restore the most extreme details of their zero-government abolitionist principles.”

    Is it not possible, in your mind, for someone to think that both the 2004 platform and the Pure Principles platform are good?

    Is it not possible, in your mind, for someone to prefer Restore ‘04 because he/she believes it’s very important for the platform to state why Libertarians believe this or that, rather than simply and solely to state what it is that Libertarians believe, so that the proposals thus appear less extremist to the average American?

    Is it not possibly, in your mind, for someone to prefer Restore ‘04 over the other proposals for purely pragmatic reasons?

    One last thing. Conservatives often say that neoconservatism is not a school of conservatism. Ought libertarians not say the same of neolibertarianism?

    Sincerely yours,
    Alex Peak

    P.S. For clarity, I wish all to know that I hold very few objections to the Pure Principles platform that Mr. Holtz advocates.

  44. DrGonzo Says:

    Who pays? If it is all voluntary aid - voluntarily offered and voluntarily received. Then where is the need for the military? Who elected the US military humanitarian godfather of the planet?

    BTW, the appellate court has overturn the legal basis for the raid instigated by a bogus phone call. The humanitarian claims of the State of Texas in this case appear to have been grossly fabricated. What are the facts? WE don’t know yet. But let our indulge our humanitarian fantasies first and get the facts later

    Nobody made the US military the humanitarian godfather of the planet. Unfortunately, nobody else will stand up for what is right. Our government has done a lot of wrong, but it has also done good. Just the humanitarian aspects don’t get put on the news.

    Again, you prefer that our government did nothing while 1 million people died? Instead maybe we could have stepped in, or forced the UN to step in and saved 800k lives? Would that have been wrong?

    If it is found Texas illegally raided the compound then they should be held liable. I’m only stating there are 13 year old wives and underage girls who are coming out pregnant.

  45. D. Frank Robinson Says:

    First Texas: Who are these girls and how many are there?

    The humanitarian adventures of the U.S. military lack humanitarian credibility. Yes, I would prefer that the American people not be robbed blind to feed the poor so the the US political elite can claim credit as humanitarians. There are many private alternatives to socialized humanitarianism. Smaller government and lower taxes increases the ability of Americans to fund effective humanitarian projects more effectively than the FEMA model of incompetent humanitarian/graft.

    Do it yourself first. Never ask government to steal to indulge your impulses - even if those impulses are worthy. Taxation is still theft and using it refutes humanitarianism.

  46. Steven R Linnabary Says:

    Gonzo-

    You have really got to stop believing everything your government masters are telling you.

    Suggested reading from the Salt Lake Trib:

    http://blogs.sltrib.com/plurallife/

    Just an ongoing report/blog of the ongoing FLDS travesty by CPS officials and if it does not get you mad as hell, you don’t have feelings.

    CPS officials will never be held accountable. Some dumbshit Nuremburg defense “they’re just doing their jobs”.

    PEACE
    Steve

  47. Clark Says:

    “I see. From each according to his misanthropic ability to produce to each according to his humanitarian ability to consume - minus shipping, handling, administrative salaries, commissions, fees, and kick backs for rent-seeking efforts.” (DFR)

    ...great stuff!..and frank and brooks robinson were my all-time favorite orioles..

    ...no sense arguing with the likes of the republicrat GONZO..GONZO’s obviously been thoroughly brain-laundered and fluff-dried!.. ;o)

    GONZO and other republicreeps here apparently get their stinking talking points from faux news, etcetercrap galore!. ;o)

  48. DrGonzo Says:

    Frank,

    You still haven’t answered the question. Would it have been wrong if the government would have stepped into the conflict in Rwanda to stop a million people from dying?

    There are humanitarian missions. I’ve never said the government is good and only does thing for humanitarian purposes. Taxation is necessarly and anyone living in reality will realize that. There will always need to be small taxation in some form.

    Steven,

    Like I said, if wrongdoing isn’t found then people need to held liable. I’m sorry that I am not a Texas cop who raided the place, so I rely on the news to get my updates on the story.

    Clark,

    Thanks for providing another example of idiots this site appears to be filled with. Thanks for making me realize why pro-choice is a good idea.

  49. D. Frank Robinson Says:

    Gonzo, you seem to be particularly agitated about Ruwanda. Just what kind of humanitarian intervention do you think should have been taken and how soon and what costs to American taxpayers? What is the exit strategy when humanitarian mission involves killing some to protect others. Is occupation of a foreign state justified by humanitarian motives? How do you keep other motives from influencing your humanitarian missions - like bribing political officials to get economic cartel privileges for American companies?

    These large scale humanitarian missions actually entail setting up a new government on foreign soil to carry them out - colonialism. Then we people who are recipients of your humanitarian aid come to resent foreign occupation and domination of their lives. A humanitarian quagmire is still a quagmire of imperialism when a foreign government runs it.

    Now in the 1860s there was ample humanitarian justification for European nations to intervene in the American war of Secession. There was enormous suffering on both sides. How might the warring sides have attempted to manipulate the humanitarian intervention to their own advantage?

    What possible private voluntarily funded humanitarian aid do oppose? Why do think government humanitarian aid will do better without blowback on the American people?

    What opportunities for private humanitarian relief in this nation would you place as a higher priority than foreign aid? If all domestic humanitarian needs have not been met by private funding, then why would want to sacrifice those private efforts to help Americans in order to siphon off by taxation money to help foreign humanitarian adventures.?

    It’s as simply as charity begins at home first. But even if some Americans prefer to help foreigners rather than Americans that is their right to do with their own funds. Who deserves to be taxed to fund whose humanitarian preferences?

    Just a few thoughts.

  50. DrGonzo Says:

    D. Frank,

    I’m going to keep my responses short because this site is not designed for long discussions. To hard to quote and keep track of what is being said.

    I’m only using Rwanda as an example because we (including the UN) did absolutely nothing while 1 million people died. Intervention does not need to be setting up a government or taking one side. It can come in the form of peacekeepers which we did not even force the UN to do. Rarely would I advocate setting up the government because it never ends well. Although doing nothing came back to haunt us in Afghanistan.

    I do not oppose private humanitarian aid. I’m only saying throwing money at things do not solve problems. As the almost no improvements in Africa has shown. I believe as a rich and powerful country, we can use our wealth to help others. We do a great job of doing so, but spend it in the wrong ways and places.

  51. D. Frank Robinson Says:

    I do not criticize your humanitarian values nor your commitment to aid others. However, as your private values they are best pursued in voluntary alliances with others - not though government edicts and taxation. In fact, many such voluntary alliances exist and as such they do not arouse many of the suspicions which aid administered by a government arouses.

    But you insist on “peacekeepers” as justified on humanitarian grounds. “Peacekeepers” look like occupiers when seen from the wrong end of a gun barrel. This idea was well understood when the Peace Corp was founded. They were not armed, but unfortunately they were an arm of the U.S. government and that did undercut their effectiveness. My point is simple: No taxation for foreign welfare. No gunboat humanitarianism.

  52. DrGonzo Says:

    I do support aid on a voluntary humanitarian basis. Most of our aid from the government does not even go to countries who need it anyways. The aid that does ends up in the hands of despot rulers.

    What I am talking about is intervention in a civil war or genocide. While peacekeepers may look like occupiers, it is preferrable to a million people dying. If a leader is systematically wiping out his people someone needs to go in and remove him from power. Let the people sort out the type of government that he will be replaced with.

    My main point was we can give all the money and aid we want. Millions have been given to help aid the people of Darfur. Has it stopped the conflict? Al-Bashir will never stop without the UN or someone telling him to.

  53. D. Frank Robinson Says:

    DrGonzo: What I am talking about is intervention in a civil war or genocide. While peacekeepers may look like occupiers, it is preferrable to a million people dying. If a leader is systematically wiping out his people someone needs to go in and remove him from power.

    DFR: “...someone needs to go in and remove him from power.” So, what you are seeking to justify is the assassination of tyrant by the U.S. government even if many, some or most American taxpayers do not agree with your moral exceptionalism.

    If the tyrant is so evil in your morality, then you kill him, or hire someone to kill him. It’s your war, you pay for it and take the blow back when someone comes looking for revenge on you.

    By collectivizing your moral exception upon all the American people you are making them targets of revenge. The course of action you seek to justify is called “terrorism” by its victims. Those victims in turn will collectivize their revenge upon the collective of the of the aggressor - you, your government, the population of that government. What you are advocating is the doctrine that motivated the centuries of religious warfare in Europe and from which many fled to found eventually the United States.

    Think through the consequences of collectivizing moral judgments. The principle of non-initiation of force when collectivized voluntarily seeks to stop the search for exceptions to start the cycle of violence which you advocate as humanitarian - a lesser evil. Lesser evils beget greater and greater evils until the exception becomes the rule and holocaust is the end state.

  54. DrGonzo Says:

    I’m not really a fan of assassinations. That gets into the realm of saying we are right and they are wrong. This is always a slippery slope when you start going down it.

    There are two other good options that can be used.

    1. Let the ICC put him on trial for his crimes. This has worked in the past.
    2. Let his people put him on trial for his crimes which is the preferrable method. Hand him over when the new government is ready to put him on trial.

    I don’t disagree with the rest of your post. In many instances what is moral is relative depending on which side you are on. However, genocide is usually clearly defined and not hard to tell when it is taking place.

  55. D. Frank Robinson Says:

    What you note does make libertarianism so maddening for many people. The libertarian non-aggression principle does not allow much relative moral wiggle room. Making exceptions to it become difficult to sustain without a complete collapse into what is moral depends on which side you’ve already chosen to be on.

    Humans have been susceptible to tribal solidarity as a survival strategy. Unfortunately, as the weapons available to enforce that solidarity have become genocidal in scope. tribal solidarity is also suicidal.

    The non-aggression principle encourages one to critique all one’s other moral precepts - usually adopted without much reflection from one’s culture. It is not a comforting endeavor. It leads one to question the morality, if not the sanity, of the those who claim to love us and have our “best interests” at heart.

    Moral individualism is not for the faint of heart.

    I wish you well in your moral explorations.

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  57. Brian Holtz Says:

    Alex Peak wrote:

    BH) By contrast, minarchists had no equivalent veto power over the subsequent accretion of abolitionist Platform statements that conflicted with their own small-government principles. (BH

    AP) I fail to see how this could possibly be true. Are you telling me that the 17/20ths of the party that are not anarchists could not muster a vote of 50% needed to remove planks not to their liking? (AP

    No, I’m telling you that the balance of polemical power that determines Platform content is not measured by such simplistic fractions of NatCon delegates, let alone LP members. Or did you think that the “Dallas Accord” had zero influence/authority because it wasn’t in the Bylaws?

    AP) Is it not possible, in your mind, for someone to think that both the 2004 platform and the Pure Principles platform are good? (AP

    Non-responsive. My point stands: a major species of criticism of Platform reform said in effect that “platforms don’t matter, so shut up and let the radicals control the platform”. That you didn’t offer such criticism doesn’t mean it didn’t exist, or that it wasn’t wrong.

    AP) Is it not possible, in your mind, for someone to prefer Restore ‘04 because he/she believes it’s very important for the platform to state why Libertarians believe this or that, rather than simply and solely to state what it is that Libertarians believe, so that the proposals thus appear less extremist to the average American? (AP

    No, I don’t think it’s possible for an intelligent Libertarian to think the Restore04 text would “appear less extremist to the average American” than the PlatCom draft did.

    AP) Is it not possible, in your mind, for someone to prefer Restore ‘04 over the other proposals for purely pragmatic reasons? (AP

    Lots of things are possible, but I’m not a mind-reader, and so I have to stick with the reasons that Restore04 supporters actually gave.

    AP) Conservatives often say that neoconservatism is not a school of conservatism. Ought libertarians not say the same of neolibertarianism? (AP

    I assume that by “neo” you mean liberventionist. I explain the deep-seated need of radicals to excommunicate liberventionists at http://knowinghumans.net/2007/06/anti-war-doesnt-grow-lp.html.

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