1972 LP nominee Hospers reviews Root’s Conscience Of A Libertarian

John Hospers was Chair of the philosophy department at USC when in 1972 the Libertarian Party chose him to be its first presidential nominee.  He has added to his site’s collection of articles a review of The Conscience of a Libertarian, the new book by 2008 LP vice-presidential nominee Wayne Root.  Excerpts:

My book, LIBERTARIANISM was first published in 1971. Its subtitle, ‘A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow’ has at long last come true today.  I hope it’s not too late.

The pragmatic reality is in Wayne Allyn Root’s brilliant new volume: THE CONSCIENCE OF A LIBERTARIAN – a title I might add, that was obviously carefully considered and borrowed in the “classic liberal” sense –that is, it was returned with dividends of thought and deserved tribute to The Conscience of a Conservative author, politician – Barry Goldwater.

The similarities between Root and Goldwater become increasingly apparent; both strongly believe in individual freedom, both recognize the United States as a republic and firmly support States’ Rights and a federal government with limited powers as unmistakably defined by the United States Constitution; both are conservative, agree an oversize federal government dooms America.

Yet both are centrist libertarians when addressing topics concerning personal choices and social issues such as abortion, gays in the military and the legalization of medical marijuana.

Above all, both Root, the Libertarian Party’s 2008 Vice-Presidential nominee and Senator Barry Goldwater, the 1964 United States Presidential Candidate of the Republican Party – are blunt, outspoken, straight-talking politicians who do not see ‘liberty and justice for all’ being compatible or existing for long with federal government spending-gone-wild – and, like Goldwater, Root is bold, passionate, unafraid to speak clear and often about what he believes.  [...]

Written in Four Parts, Root’s work is a must-read guaranteed to rivet all who cherish their freedom and seek to protect their lives and loved ones from the dictates of a monstrously oppressive federal government looking to control its citizens from pre-crib to post-crypt, from now and for generations to come. [...]

Root has solutions. To me, he’s the only candidate who’s articulate, powerful in presentation, and RIGHT. He presents his views with vigor and clarity on every occasion. He comes across great because he speaks truth from the heart, of America, to America, for America. There’s time: ROOT FOR AMERICA. Bring in 2010 and 2012: THROW OUT THE BUMS, AND CRIMINALS!

0 thoughts on “1972 LP nominee Hospers reviews Root’s Conscience Of A Libertarian

  1. Gene Berkman

    I hope Wayne Root’s book does well, despite whatever disagreements I might have with it.

    But it is presumptuous to compare Wayne Root – basically a hype artist – with Barry Goldwater, head of a department store company and elected to the Senate several times.

    Their manner of presenting themselves to the public is vastly different – the difference between a straight talker who is willing to take the consequences of his straight talk – and a hype artist.

  2. Michael Seebeck

    The similarities between Root and Goldwater become increasingly apparent; both strongly believe in individual freedom, both recognize the United States as a republic and firmly support States’ Rights and a federal government with limited powers as unmistakably defined by the United States Constitution; both are conservative, agree an oversize federal government dooms America.

    Uh, I hate to break it to Professor Hospers, but STATES DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS!

    They never have, either.

    People have powers and rights inherent in their very existence.

    Governments have powers delegated to them by the people.

    The Founders were very careful to delineate and separate the two, as noted in these sections:
    – Article I Sections 1, 8, 9, and 10,
    – Article II Sections 1 and 2,
    – Article III,
    – Article IV Sections 1, 2, and 3,
    – Amendments 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and ESPECIALLY 9 and 10,
    – Amendments 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 23, 24, and 26.

    Nowhere in the Constitution is there any delegation or reservation of rights to any government–only to the people.

    It’s disappointing to see that fundamental point just is not understood, by either Hospers or Root, or by the vast majority of the public at large.

  3. Robert Milnes

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! Unless the radicals do something big & quick, Root is going to get the nomination. & muck up everything. BTP, get ready for another influx of refugees.

  4. Thane Eichenauer

    @Gene Berkman,
    In and of itself, there is nothing admirable in and of itself of being elected (and then re-elected) to the US Senate. Any given year nearly 100 people will be elected and some large fraction of those 100 people are re-elected.

    Not that I don’t grade Barry Goldwater as better than the other 99 Senators then in office.

  5. Corbin Loukins

    This book won’t sell many copies and if Wayne Root ever got scrutinized they would destory him. He’s got more skeletons in his closet than all the past 10 president combined.

  6. Catholic Trotskyist

    I agree with Seebeck’s comment, this time. However, the only solution, since government is necessary to prevent mass starvation and disorder, is to combine all the nations into a world government.

  7. Michael Seebeck

    Michael seebeck, “…states’ rights…” is code for dixiecrat conservative rationalizations.

    Nope, it’s code for not understanding how the republic is set up at is base foundations.

  8. Robert Milnes

    John C. Jackson, “Robert Milnes is more sane than Hospers at this point.” Agreed. But Hospers has more credibility, having been nominated by the LP like Bann Bobb Barr.

  9. Thomas M. Sipos

    Hospers has been quite pro-war since 9/11. He has as much credibility with me as does Cheney.

    I don’t know how much cred Hospers has with other libs. Some certainly like him. But I also know antiwar libs who’ve long since lost any respect for Hospers.

    It may be that Hospers is preaching the the LP’s Republican Lite choir.

  10. Andy

    I saw John Hospers debate Gary Nolan over the war in Iraq (Hospers was pro-war in Iraq and Nolan was anti-war in Iraq) at the 2005 Libertarian Party of California State Convention. Hospers made a fool of himself. He was embarrassing to watch.

  11. George Phillies

    Hospers was a key member of Libertarians for Bush. He has not repented his betrayal of our party. Root circulated the endorsement, so Root has lined up with the Republicans.

    Root’s book, which is full of conservative Republican nonsense, is more of the same. For example, Root notes that Cuban cars are the 1959 models, and blames this on ‘socialism’ — as though socialist government bureaucrats would not buy SUVs, when in fact the core issue with 50 year old Cuban cars is the American trade embargo that he fails to mention.

  12. Robert Milnes

    The problem with Hospers & Root & Barr & Paul is that they are able by a slim margin/majority e.g. Barr v Ruwart- to dominate the party.-Paul was I believe about 72%. We need for the RADICALS to dominate the party. Like BTP.

  13. Thomas M. Sipos

    Milnes, your attempt to lump Ron Paul together with Hospers/Root/Barr won’t wash.

    Many antiwar LP radicals enthusiastically supported Ron Paul. It was antiwar LP radicals who gathered 55 California electors so Paul could be an official write-in candidate here in California.

    I’ll never vote for Root, regardless of which party he runs on. But I’ve voted for both Phillies and Paul in the past, and can do so again.

    We need for the RADICALS to dominate the party. Like BTP.

    Milnes, you don’t get it. Radicals in the LP love Ron Paul. I’ve seen them at L.A. supper clubs, wearing their Ron Paul Revolution caps and t-shirts.

    Angela Keaton has praised Ron Paul on BlogTalkRadio, calling him a true libertarian. I still have the MP3 file.

    Gail Lightfoot, one of the LPC founders, a current county chair (last I heard), and a hardcore radical, led the effort to certify Paul as a write-in candidate.

    Anthony Gregory, a hardcore anarchist, edits Paul’s Campaign For Liberty website.

    LP radicals (myself included) are big supporters Paul. I know a few who aren’t, but they’re in a minority.

  14. Andy

    “Robert Milnes // Sep 3, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    The problem with Hospers & Root & Barr & Paul”

    I wouldn’t put Ron Paul in the same league as Hospers, Root, and Barr. Paul is more libertarian than all 3 of them.

  15. Andy

    “Gail Lightfoot, one of the LPC founders, a current county chair (last I heard), and a hardcore radical, led the effort to certify Paul as a write-in candidate.”

    Gail Lightfoot was also the official write in Vice Presidential candidate for Ron Paul as an official write in candidate for President in California.

    I voted in California in 2008 and this was the first time since I started voting back in 1996 that I did not vote for the Libertarian Party’s Presidential ticket as I cast a write in vote for Ron Paul & Gail Lightfoot instead of voting for the LP’s ticket of Bob Barr & Wayne Root.

  16. Robert Milnes

    Thomas M. Sipos, didn’t you read Phillies @16? I guarantee Prof. Phillies, Tom K. & I have been critical of Paul & Barr & Root. I guarantee very few BTP members support Paul, Barr & Root. I know, Keaton & Mary R. & Karen K. have been supportive of Paul. Maybe they will get over him. I certainly hope so. Don’t you resent the 35 million handed to that GOP/CP counterrevolutionary? What’s wrong with you people?

  17. Andy

    “George Phillies // Sep 3, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Hospers was a key member of Libertarians for Bush. He has not repented his betrayal of our party.”

    Yes, Hospers turned out to be a real embarrassment for the Libertarian Party. Libertarians for Bush was disgusting and pathetic.

    “Root circulated the endorsement, so Root has lined up with the Republicans.

    Root’s book, which is full of conservative Republican nonsense, is more of the same. For example, Root notes that Cuban cars are the 1959 models, and blames this on ’socialism’ — as though socialist government bureaucrats would not buy SUVs, when in fact the core issue with 50 year old Cuban cars is the American trade embargo that he fails to mention.”

    These are examples of why I’m not wild about Wayne Root’s campaign to capture the LP’s Presidential nomination in 2012.

  18. Andy

    “Don’t you resent the 35 million handed to that GOP/CP counterrevolutionary? What’s wrong with you people?”

    Ron Paul’s campaign for President woke up a hell of a lot of people. The Libertarian Party could have gotten a lot of that support and raised a heck of a lot more money than it did if the party did not fumble as badly as it did last year. A huge potential – probably the biggest in the history of the party – was flushed down the toilet last year.

  19. Thomas M. Sipos

    didn’t you read Phillies @16? I guarantee Prof. Phillies, Tom K. & I have been critical of Paul & Barr & Root.

    I respect Phillies and Knapp, but I disagree with them about Paul.

    I guarantee very few BTP members support Paul…

    Very few BTP members support or oppose anything, because there a very few BTP members to begin with.

    I respect what the BTP is trying to do, but, I’m sorry, I don’t think of them as a real political party. Not even by the very low standards of the LP, GP, or CP.

    Don’t you resent the 35 million handed to that GOP/CP counterrevolutionary?

    You mean to Paul? No, I don’t resent it. Paul shook up the establishment — scared them and made them blink — in a way that Root doesn’t even try.

    Root comes on Fox News and parrots right-wing radio. Root talks low taxes, but he doesn’t challenge the Empire. Paul did.

    As for Knapp and Phillies, they can’t challenge the Empire, no matter how hard they try. Paul can. And does so.

  20. Robert Milnes

    Andy & Thomas, by supporting Ron Paul, you are enabling the right libertarians to rationalize their support of rightist LP & the CP/AIP. Paul wound up endorsing Baldwin. Barr, being the LP nominee, should have gotten his endorsement over Baldwin, if he really had the good of the LP in mind & heart. Despite any personal conflicts there may be. You don’t get it. The split between a reactionary counterrevolution and a progressive-libertarian movement/revolution is the CP & LP. Support the CP & GOP & you support political reaction(GOP) & counterrevolution CP. The Ron Paul R-evol-ution was/is a COUNTERREVOLUTIONARY phenomenon. As it pulled the LP towards it, the LP became counterrevolutionary also. That is why the real (very) radicals were squeezed out of the LP into the BTP. & you won’t find very many Ron Paul supporters there. & rest assured, if the LP continues its rightist trend, the BTP will grow. & it will get more ballot access. & I will hope for it’s nomination. The left libertarians do not have a comparable person to invest all this energy as Ron Paul. THAT’s the source of his support last year from the LP side. If there was a left libertarian in the U.S. Congress, that would have been the person the LP would have supported, not Ron Paul. But a left libertarian elected to Congress is a virtual impossibility under the present duopoly. As Ruwart’s example showed, it is very difficult for a left libertarian/radical to even get the LP nomination.

  21. Aroundtheblockafewtimes

    Tell you what. Let Wayne Root let loose his vast talents in challenging Harry Reid in Nevada for the Senate seat in 2010. Then we will see if he is for real or his talents are merely half-vast.

  22. Thomas M. Sipos

    Andy & Thomas, by supporting Ron Paul, you are enabling the right libertarians to rationalize their support of rightist LP & the CP/AIP.

    Forget “right libertarian” or “left libertarian.” Pro-war or antiwar, that is the question.

    Paul wound up endorsing Baldwin.

    Baldwin has baggage, but at least he’s antiwar. That’s why the pro-war AIP faction backed Keyes.

    Barr, being the LP nominee, should have gotten his endorsement over Baldwin, if he really had the good of the LP in mind & heart.

    Who cares if Paul has “the good of the LP in his mind & heart”? His priority is peace and liberty, not any particular party. And many LP members who voted for Paul agree with those priorities.

    Come 2012, I’ll vote for the strongest, most vocal antiwar candidate. I hope that will be the LP’s candidate, but peace is my priority, not whether a candidate has an R, D or L in front of their name.

    Libertarians do not vote like lemmings for whoever the LP puts up. Members think and choose for themselves.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    gp: Hospers was a key member of Libertarians for Bush. He has not repented his betrayal of our party. Root circulated the endorsement, so Root has lined up with the Republicans.

    me: Please clarify. Are you saying because Root circulates an endorsement from Hospers, it FOLLOWS that Root is “lined up with the Rs.”

    If so, that doesn’t follow for me. I’m not an R, for ex., but if Hospers “endorsed” me I might be inclined to cite that. If Roderick Long, say, “endorsed” me, I might cite that, too, but that would not make me an anarchocapitalist.

  24. Tom Blanton

    The thing with Ron Paul is that he has earned the trust and respect of libertarians over a long period of time and on the big issues, he is quite libertarian. He is probably more libertarian than most LP candidates, which tells you more about the LP than it does about Ron Paul. He is what he is.

    On the other hand, what is it about Root or Barr that would inspire trust in libertarians? Barr is a shyster from way back and Root is a two-bit huckster. Barr should be selling coffins and Root should be selling used hot tubs.

    Instead, Root is marketing dumbed down right-wing talking points to “conservative” talk radio listeners and FOX News watchers. Not so surprising since the LP defines activism as listening to and calling talk radio, according to the LP website.

    LP members can support Root if they wish, but in doing so they are doing damage to the wider libertarian movement and that is unfortunate. Thanks to people like Root and Barr, not to mention radio clowns like Boortz and Beck (who often claims to be a libertarian), millions of potential libertarians are lost to the movement because they think libertarians are a bunch of hyper-conservative Republicans.

  25. Robert Capozzi

    ts: Forget “right libertarian” or “left libertarian.” Pro-war or antiwar, that is the question

    me: Yes, I’d say Paul is a right L, but antiwar. I’d say Dondero is a right L, but pro war.

    I can’t think of any left Ls who are pro war.

    I mostly see the right/left L distinction a matter of emphasis…left Ls downplay economics, and emphasize social issues.

    But, all these dualisms are not especially useful, especially for King Caucus members ;-)

  26. Thomas L. Knapp

    “I guarantee very few BTP members support Paul”

    As someone points out, there are very few BTP members to support anyone.

    However, if Paul had for some reason agreed to accept the BTP’s presidential nomination, I suspected he’d have received 90% of votes cast. The current program of the BTP is the presidential campaign program of Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, and BTP members adopted each of its four points with 90%+ voting in favor.

  27. paulie

    bm: Barr, being the LP nominee, should have gotten his endorsement over Baldwin, if he really had the good of the LP in mind & heart.

    ts: Who cares if Paul has “the good of the LP in his mind & heart”? His priority is peace and liberty, not any particular party. And many LP members who voted for Paul agree with those priorities.

    p: Perhaps I read that wrong, I thought if he really had the good of the LP in mind & heart referred to Barr.

  28. Jeremy Young

    In Root’s favor, I have to say that I don’t think Root’s decision to circulate the Hospers endorsement reflects badly on him. Hospers is a major historical figure in the party, so his endorsement carries some weight. It doesn’t matter whether Root agrees with him or not.

  29. libertariangirl

    Tell you what. Let Wayne Root let loose his vast talents in challenging Harry Reid in Nevada for the Senate seat in 2010. Then we will see if he is for real or his talents are merely half-vast.

    me__ I wish he would . I literally cant stand Harry Reid , but he’s almost invincible . Unless a scandal comes around or a challenger raises millions and millions of dollars , then Harry aint going nowhere unfortunately.

  30. Andy

    “Robert Milnes // Sep 4, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Andy, how?”

    Not nominating Bob Barr to be the Presidential candidate for starters.

  31. Aroundtheblockafewtimes

    Invincible, LG? I thought the latest polls had him 11% behind the GOP’s likely challenger, Tarkanian? Sure, the gap will narrow whenever an incumbent – even a scumsucker like Reid – is in the race: all the more reason for Root to enter the race and get all sorts of media coverage as the potential “balance of power.” If he can’t make the 2010 race, and prove his vote drawing power, then a lot of LP delegates ain’t going to be “rooting” for him for the 2012 nomination.

  32. Gene Berkman

    George @ #16 – libertarians as advocates of free trade of. course support ending the embargo on Cuba. Rep Ron Paul has co-sponsored bills to end the embargo.

    But blaming the embargo for the shortcomings of Cuban socialism is nonsensical. Indeed, the main effect of ending the embargo would be to end the excuses the Reds make for Cuban poverty.

    Other countries trade with Cuba. If the Cubans had money, they could buy more modern cars from Germany, Japan or Sweden. So the embargo is not the reason they drive 1959 cars, socialism is.

  33. Brian Holtz Post author

    Ron Paul is indeed the teflon libertarian moderate who gets a free pass from libertarian radicals for his many statist heresies and blatant backsliding.

    The editor of the California LP newsletter writes above: “Come 2012, I’ll vote for the strongest, most vocal antiwar candidate. I hope that will be the LP’s candidate, but peace is my priority”. California already has a Peace And Freedom party, but I guess they don’t pay their newsletter editor $4K/yr to write in the newsletter about how he didn’t vote for the party’s nominee.

  34. Solomon Drek

    I agree that Root and Goldwater are cut from the same cloth as Robert Taft, Bill Buckley and other paleo-conservative Republicans.

    If these guys had their way blacks would still be in segregated schools and riding the back of the bus.

  35. Westmiller

    Seebeck @ 2
    “Uh, I hate to break it to Professor Hospers, but STATES DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS!”

    They don’t have inherent individual rights, but they do have proper legal claims against the expansion of federal power beyond those enumerated in the Constituion, which is the common meaning of the term. Of course, I agree that “state’s rights” do not in any way supercede individual rights.

    Root is a well-intentioned and thoughtful person, who knows the importance of rhetoric in motivating political action. Does he play to conservatives? Sure. But, no more than Ron Paul did during his campaign (he always described himself as a ‘conservative’ and evaded the ‘libertarian’ word through most of his campaign).

    Hospers has been a friend for decades, but we certainly have disagreements. His viewpoints on war are not uncommon among Objectivist advocates. ‘Just war’ theory is not an indefensible position.

    I think the movement needs to encourage all advocates of liberty to apply their talents and skills to the contest. Root has done that, so has Hospers. Find fault with their tactics or their conclusions on particular issues, but always applaud their contributions to the cause.

  36. Brian Holtz Post author

    What libertarians should be smuggling in any idea labeled “State’s Rights” is a coin with two sides: decentralism and exit. Arnold Kling has a recent post up at http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2009/08/what_is_real_fr.html arguing that real freedom depends on having the choice of exit, rather than having a democratic voice.

    Libertarians should always push for decentralization of government authority, even if we think that other people (e.g. “dixiecrats”) are using this means for a different end. If we really believe that freedom works, then we shouldn’t fear competition between jurisdictions that can vary how much freedom they allow. If our liberties in our local jurisdiction can only be protected by the standards of a distant central government, then our cause is already lost. A distant central government will always be captured by rent-seeking, thanks to the diffusion of its monitoring and the concentration of its benefits.

  37. Michael Seebeck

    They don’t have inherent individual rights, but they do have proper legal claims against the expansion of federal power beyond those enumerated in the Constituion, which is the common meaning of the term.

    Uh, no. The common meaning of the misnomer has been perverted into something that is entirely fictional. A mutated strawman, if you will.

    The legal claims you refer to fall under reserved powers of the Tenth Amendment, which has NOTHING to do with rights. NO ENTITY BEYOND THE INDIVIDUAL PERSON HAS RIGHTS–no group, no government, no corporation, no animal, no business, period, as none of those are persons, despite how the law is interpreted.

    But I do agree completely with Brian that any efforts to decentralize needs the ultimate in decentralization, being the personal exit plan.

  38. paulie

    If he can’t make the 2010 race, and prove his vote drawing power, then a lot of LP delegates ain’t going to be “rooting” for him for the 2012 nomination.

    I would also like to see Root running for some sort of local office. My understanding is that Aaron Starr advised him against it, because he wants him to be seen as a national figure rather than someone who lost a local race, or some such reasoning.

    He already has a likely race for 2010 – for LNC chair. Honestly, I have a hard time seeing him sit through the meetings.

  39. Jeremy Young

    Actually, it might be excellent political strategy for Root to run for Reid’s Senate seat. The race is shaping up to be between two extremely unpopular candidates, particularly if Danny Tarkanian is the GOP nominee. I could see Root pulling eaily 10-15%, given his energy and connections. Then he’d have an almost unstoppable route to the 2012 LP nomination, and he’d do better in the GE, too.

  40. paulie

    I agree that Root and Goldwater are cut from the same cloth as Robert Taft, Bill Buckley and other paleo-conservative Republicans.

    Eh? Buckley and Taft were very different. Buckley was a premiere cold warrior/interventionist, Taft was relatively isolationist. Goldwater was relatively more socially liberal than the first two, especially towards the end of his life. I’ve never heard anyone classify Goldwater or Buckley as paleoconservatives.

    If these guys had their way blacks would still be in segregated schools and riding the back of the bus.

    I rather doubt it. It’s true that much of the change in race relations has been pushed by the federal government, but I tend to think it reflected social changes that would have happened anyway, although somewhat more slowly, and by now may well have been more thoroughly effective than the changes that did take place.

  41. paulie

    “Uh, I hate to break it to Professor Hospers, but STATES DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS!”

    They don’t have inherent individual rights, but they do have proper legal claims against the expansion of federal power beyond those enumerated in the Constituion, which is the common meaning of the term.

    The common meaning of the term is a double entendre; one meaning is as stated above, the other does mean precisely state power over individuals, often in the context of enforcing racial prejudice, someone’s notion of Biblical law, or some such thing.

  42. paulie

    ts: Forget “right libertarian” or “left libertarian.” Pro-war or antiwar, that is the question

    bc: Yes, I’d say Paul is a right L, but antiwar. I’d say Dondero is a right L, but pro war.

    I can’t think of any left Ls who are pro war.

    p: My understanding is that the reason why there’s a LeftLibertarian2 yahoo group is that the moderator of the original Left Libertarian group is pro-war.

    Also, Starchild would generally be considered a left-libertarian, and has a somewhat complex foreign policy position that includes support for alleged wars of liberation, which he still believes Iraq to be last time I checked.


    bc: I mostly see the right/left L distinction a matter of emphasis…left Ls downplay economics, and emphasize social issues.

    p: Partially true. I’d say the peace issue is also a major part of the distinction between left and right. For instance, Dondero classifies Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, etc., as leftists for that reason.

    Another part of the distinction between left and right is the approach to economic issues. Right libertarians tend to defend existing big business corporations, while left-libertarians tend to see them as heavily intertwined with the state, or even outright tentacles of it. Right libertarians also tend to sell relative economic non-interventionism (low taxes, pared back regulations) in terms of self-interest of relatively well-off people, while left-libertarians tend to make a moral case that state interventionism is inherently wrong in theory – and destructive to relatively not so well off people in practice.

    bc: But, all these dualisms are not especially useful, especially for King Caucus members

    p: As I see the Rodney King caucus, we aren’t aiming to sweep our differences under the rug or deny that they exist, but we strive to keep the discussions over them civil, respectful and where possible friendly, and find ways to work together where we do agree.

    Do you see it differently?

  43. paulie

    Libertarians should always push for decentralization of government authority, even if we think that other people (e.g. “dixiecrats”) are using this means for a different end. If we really believe that freedom works, then we shouldn’t fear competition between jurisdictions that can vary how much freedom they allow. If our liberties in our local jurisdiction can only be protected by the standards of a distant central government, then our cause is already lost. A distant central government will always be captured by rent-seeking, thanks to the diffusion of its monitoring and the concentration of its benefits.

    I agree. However, I think terminology is important.

    I can sell “decentralism” or “decentralization” to many people who would viscerally reject anything labeled “states rights.” Hell, it’s even a key value of the Green Party.

    What’s more, I think it is a more accurate explanation of what I support.

  44. Westmiller

    paulie @51: “The common meaning of the term is a double entendre …”

    Which is why my next sentence explicitly rejected the idea that any “proper claims” of the states do not supercede anyone’s individual rights.
    I simply made a presumption that the definition offered was more likely the intent of Hosper’s use of the phrase “state’s rights.”
    One good way to tell the difference is the advocate’s position on the 14th Amendment, which essentially offered a federal guarantee of individual rights against state violations.

  45. Andy

    “He already has a likely race for 2010 – for LNC chair. Honestly, I have a hard time seeing him sit through the meetings.”

    As boring as some of those meetings are, I have a hard time seeing anyone sitting through them.

  46. Robert Milnes

    Brian Holtz, thank you for your comments which I take to generally support my positions. Further, you seem to paint an even gloomier picture re: list of radicals with support for Ron Paul-who if he is as I claim a counterrevolutionary, speaks poorly of the radicals. You can add Kwiatkowski to your list. Keaton I’m not sure. Kwiatkowski & Ruwart I did some research on. Hogarth I also am not sure of.

  47. Erik Geib

    As long as we’re stuck with plurality voting, it’s likely many of us settle for a ‘lesser evil’ at some point when voting. Even if that lesser evil is an LP candidate less evil than a Republican/Democrat. The nature of plurality voting (Hell, the nature of party system voting in general) generally forces voters to make their ideological battles within parties before elections. I certainly don’t like Wayne, but I’d probably be able to hold my nose and vote for him in the general if he were the LP’s nominee. Probably. Maybe. :p

  48. Brian Holtz

    Angela is definitely a Ron Paul fan. Radical l/Libertarians adore Ron Paul almost universally, despite all the reasons I listed why they might not. The only prominent Libertarian radicals I can think of who could be called anti-Paul are Tom Knapp and Susan Hogarth — and their problem with him seems largely to be Paul’s choice to work within the GOP.

    I suspect that what attracts less-intellectual Libertarian radicals to Paul is the mutual gravitation between Paul and libertarians gripped by fear of nefarious and conspiratorial forces — be it the Fed, “Empire”, Israel, Jews, foreign immigrants, the Council on Foreign Relations, Abraham Lincoln, Bush’s 9/11 plot, etc. As is explicitly admitted by one of them above, these people define themselves politically in terms of the dark forces they oppose, and they are fiercely loyal (and ideologically forgiving) to any leader who pledges mortal combat against their hated common enemies.

    Sophisticated radicals probably appreciate Paul more for his unquestioning fealty to Austrian economics and for his decades of unflinching defense of core libertarian (but not anarchist) principles. However, none of them ever seem to publicly question Paul on why his Austrian/libertarian principles don’t lead Paul to anarchism — even as they viciously savage other minarchist libertarians who share Paul’s doubts about anarchism.

  49. Thomas M. Sipos

    Drek: I agree that Root and Goldwater are cut from the same cloth as Robert Taft, Bill Buckley and other paleo-conservative Republicans.

    If these guys had their way blacks would still be in segregated schools and riding the back of the bus.

    I wouldn’t call them outright racists, but Root certainly has a bug up his ass about Obama being a black man who’s more successful than Root.

    I flipped through Root’s book today at the local B&N (they had one copy, in the current affairs section on the third floor). Root has a chapter on affirmative action.

    Root wrote (for the umpteenth time) that Obama was his classmate, same year of graduation, same major, and that minorities like Obama benefit from affirmative action.

    Root says in his book that “reverse racism” is racism. Hence, he technically condemns racism in his affirmative action chapter.

    But I sense that Root has emotional “issues” about Obama and him beginning at the same starting gate, yet Obama having achieved more.

    I get the impression that Root measures his success against Obama’s, and feels resentful that Obama has gone further.

    I also checked the index. I didn’t see Iraq, Iran, or war listed.

    Root seems to be courting the “angry white man” vote, which is not inconsequencial in the LP.

    Milnes: You can add Kwiatkowski to your list. Keaton I’m not sure.

    I am. I heard Angela Keaton interviewed on Lew Rockwell’s radio show. She was asked if Ron Paul was a real libertarian. “Oh yes!” she enthusiastically responded.

    And don’t forget Steve Kubby, another enthusiastic Paul supporter.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    bh 45: Arnold Kling has a recent post up at http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2009/08/what_is_real_fr.html arguing that real freedom depends on having the choice of exit, rather than having a democratic voice.

    me: Brian, perhaps Kling is using a lot of shorthand in his blog, but I can’t say I agree that “absence of monopoly” is the definition of freedom. First off, monopoly is itself not a problem, especially if there are substitutes. He may mean coercive monopoly. Yet, would he say that Somalia is freedom? I wouldn’t. For me, freedom is only a meaningful construct conditioned on the existence of sufficient baseline peacekeeping mechanisms. Without a rule of law, for ex., we have the state of nature, which may appear to be “freedom,” but we’d lack what I’d call “civil society.”
    Second, I’m not sure he means “right of exit.” Exit sounds to me like emigration. Escaping a coercive monopoly seems hardly like “freedom” to me. Perhaps he means personal secession, which I’m OK with through the Nonarchy Pod option.

    bh: Libertarians should always push for decentralization of government authority, even if we think that other people (e.g. “dixiecrats”) are using this means for a different end.

    me: Always? Too absolute for this hombre. For ex., I’m open to “national” steps on several controversial fronts: abortion and marriage come to mind. This L, at least, is highly biased toward decentralization, but for a host of mitigating factors, the centralized solution may be indicated, at least in the short to intermediate term.

  51. Robert Capozzi

    pc 53, sure. RKCers certainly can be civil “dualisticalists.” Thanks for the opportunity to clarify. I would suggest we should EMPHASIZE agreement without denying areas of disagreement.

  52. Robert Milnes

    Thomas M. Sipos, I didn’t forget Kubby. What with his whole convoluted endorsement of Ron Paul while simultaneously running for the LP nomination. T.K.’s criticisms are strong and constant & multi-faceted not just one issue, like Prof. Phillies. So Brian, please add Phillies to T.K. & Susan H. & me too. Kubby is on Brians list. I am not but am not sure if that was an affirmative omission or what.

  53. Robert Milnes

    I want to be counted as against Ron Paul. I have no problem with him being an elected Congressperson. Or even GOP. Better he is there than not. My problem is he gets a pass & support in lib circles & is actually a counterrevolutionary. Is Libertarianism revolutionary or isn’t it?

  54. paulie

    The only prominent Libertarian radicals I can think of who could be called anti-Paul are Tom Knapp and Susan Hogarth — and their problem with him seems largely to be Paul’s choice to work within the GOP.

    I haven’t heard that Susan is “anti-Paul.” As far as I could tell she was/is supportive, but did not think the LP *as a party* should be.

    Tom Knapp, on the other hand, has problems with Ron Paul that go far beyond party label. But I suspect he’ll go into some detail, or provide a link, himself, if he hasn’t already (I haven’t read the whole thread yet), so I won’t get into that.

  55. paulie

    However, none of them ever seem to publicly question Paul on why his Austrian/libertarian principles don’t lead Paul to anarchism — even as they viciously savage other minarchist libertarians who share Paul’s doubts about anarchism.

    I can’t think of anyone who “viciously savages other minarchist libertarians who share Paul’s doubts about anarchism.” Maybe Jim Davidson? Other than that, the vicious attacks tend to be on specific issues, not the general question of anarchy. For instance, some people tend to feel very strongly about war or income taxes, and tend to be big fans of Ron Paul. Other people see gay rights as their key issue (Rob Power, Brian Miller), and tend to be big non-fans of Ron Paul.

  56. paulie

    Perhaps he means personal secession, which I’m OK with through the Nonarchy Pod option.

    As I understand the Nonarchy Pod option, it could easily be called the Archy Pod version as well, and is in fact a de facto call for the right of personal secession and the establishment of anarchist enclaves (which can grow to become the rule rather than the exception if people so choose).

  57. Thomas M. Sipos

    none of them ever seem to publicly question Paul on why his Austrian/libertarian principles don’t lead Paul to anarchism — even as they viciously savage other minarchist libertarians who share Paul’s doubts about anarchism.

    “other minarchist libertarians”?

    Holtz keeps tub-thumping his favorite false dichotomy: that radical means anarchist.

    Although I’m considered a radical, I’m a minarchist.

    Anarchists and minarchists are united. Both camps mostly like Paul, and both are opposed to Big Government Liberventionists (because you can’t have libervention without Big Government).

  58. Brian Holtz

    Tom Sipos cannot quote me ever saying that all radicals are anarchists. I have indeed suggested that many radicals are anarchists, and that many radicals assume that anarchism is the purest form of libertarianism. Does he dare dispute either claim? I’m a careful enough writer not to use “all” where I mean “some” or “most”, so he should stop being a careless reader. Alas, that will happen right around the time he stops chanting his silly mantra that libervention is the fundamental issue behind the radical/reformer schism. LP insiders quickly learn to politely ignore such trolling, just like we politely ignore Carol Moore on secession, or Doris Gordon on abortion, or Robert Milnes on fusion, or Jim Duensing on 9/11, or people named Andy or Gary on petitioning, or Jim Davidson on pretty much everything.

    Paulie, there are plenty of anarchist Ron Paul fans who have savaged minarchist Libertarians for their ideological impurity. On my Teflon Libertarian list alone, the most egregious cases are Rockwell, Hornberger, Long, Hancock, Smith, Raimondo, Gregory, Samuels, and Selzer. You can also add to the list people like Keaton and Blanton. I’d list Montoni too, but I don’t recall him having a position about Ron Paul either way; he may be in the Hogarth camp.

    Phillies is not a radical, so he doesn’t join the list of prominent LP radicals who criticize Ron Paul. As for a couple other names that people have mentioned, I’ll just point out that trolling on blogs frequented by prominent Libertarians doesn’t make one a prominent Libertarian. Prominence means having been a party official or nominee, or having been a close contender for same, or at least being a writer that many party members read (as opposed to skip over).

  59. Bruce Cohen

    This is typical dishonest nonsense by the dishonest wing of the LP.

    Let me get it straight.
    It’s ok to lie, if you are a radical.
    It’s ok to be single issue, if you are a radical.

    You are not a Libertarian or fit to be one if you support a non-Libertarian Candidate. (Like John Hospers sort of did, and Tom Sipos and many other radicals did and do…)

    Allow me to continue.

    Libertarians are not allowed to oppose illegal immigration for any reason.

    Libertarians must be anti-war.

    Did I get it about right?

    Oh, and anyone good looking and successful has to be automatically bad, even if you can’t come up with a real reason to oppose them, like with
    Wayne Root?

    I think that about covers it.

    Oh, and it’s ok to lie about what John Hospers said and did about George Bush.
    [Mister Hospers lead nothing, no group, organization or effort for Bush. He didn't even really endorse him. So stop lying, guys, and tell the truth.]

  60. Thomas L. Knapp

    I have to applaud Bruce Cohen here for his healthy sense of truth in advertising. I wish everyone started their posts off with such accurate one-sentence summaries of the subsequent content.

  61. mdh

    I’ve heard some good things from credible sources about Root’s new book, but a credible source, Hospers is not. This is the guy who, in 2004, endorsed Bush. Give me a break!

    Root is almost certainly ten times the libertarian today that Hospers is. In fact, it seems that while Root keeps getting more genuinely libertarian, Hospers drifts further – from being an LP candidate in 1972 to endorsing a statist Republican in 2004. Root has gone from endorsing statist Republicans to being an LP candidate. Hospers could, perhaps, learn a lot from Root’s progression in the proper direction!

  62. Brian Holtz

    Hospers wrote:

    “But when the stakes are high, as they are in this election, it becomes imperative that one should choose, not the candidate one considers philosophically ideal, but the best one available who has the most favorable chance of winning. The forthcoming election will determine whether it is the Republicans or the Democrats that win the presidency. That is an undeniable reality.

    If the election is as close as it was in 2000, libertarian voters may make the difference as to who wins in various critical “battle ground” states and therefore the presidency itself.

    That is the situation in which we find ourselves in 2004. And that is why I believe voting for George W. Bush is the most libertarian thing we can do.”

    That’s an endorsement.

  63. Michael H. Wilson

    I’ve been to three book stores looking for Root’s book and have not seen it displayed in any of the three.

    Makes me wonder about the marketing of this book. How much effort is really going into it.

    Anyone have any idea what the sales numbers are?

  64. Bruce Cohen

    I spoke with Mister Hospers about this very thing. He told me he DID NOT endorse President Bush.

    He felt the national security issue overrode other considerations. But ONLY in ‘battleground’ states, where the vote was super close.

    He also said he PERSONALLY was voting Libertarian, because the California electoral votes were already decided.

    That’s tactics.

    All the Ron Paul people did the same kind of equation.

    Libertarians like Steven Greenhut voted for Obama for tactical reasons, even though the California vote was a fait accomplis.

    What a bunch of dishonest mouth breathers.

    About the only vocal radical that’s not a duplicitous liar is Mike Seebeck. And no, it’s not because his wife likes my dog either.

    He’s got a good, rational opinion, and the smarts and facts to back it up.

    Gee, what a concept!
    Someone from one intellectual faction of our party that has a brain and is honest!

    Anyway, folks, stop it with the lies and ad hominem. Stick to reality and not fantasy.

    Wayne is as Libertarian as Americans come.

    It’s rare we find perfect people like Thom Arse Seeping Oaf very often in the LP.

    Oh, and let’s not forget he voted against Libertarians in the last election.

  65. George Phillies

    Root’s book does wonders to demonstrate that he is an old-fashioned right wing Republican pretending to be a libertarian.

    Consider, for example, his claim that the Constitution requires that Federal money be commodity-backed, which appears to have escaped from under a right-wing rock. There’s also his endorsement of States’ Rights.

    It was not States’ Rights that said Connecticut married couples were entitled to buy contraceptives. It was the Supreme Court.

    It was not States Rights that said ‘equal protection of the laws’ meant that African American in Little Rock were entitled to attend to good high school. It was the United States Supreme Court backed when push came to shove by President Dwight David Eisenhower and the 82nd Airborne Division.

  66. STOP THE LIES

    I think that if all the people who truly believe in freedom should come together instead of wasting time with the negative. Wayne Root have been working hard and getting the message out. The untruthful insults are just a waste of time when this time could be spent backing Wayne Root and getting 3rd party in Capital Hill. Don’t be example of what insults have done in the race of McCain against Obama and visa versa, in our innerparty. Let work on what we can do to change things to get 3rd party in office. Let set an example of being better than the democrate and the Republican. We freedom loving people are all in this boat together, no matter how you want to look at it. It is all together that is going to hopefully going to get us out of this hard mess if it is not too late. A good number of us are upset at what is going on in the country, but throwing insults is not going to solve the problem.

  67. Michael H. Wilson

    I think a lot of people need to read this essay by Hayek and think about it.

    Institut HAYEK – Why I Am Not a Conservative

    “At all times sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities, that have prevailed by associating themselves with auxiliaries whose objects often differed from their own; and this association, which is always dangerous, has sometimes been disastrous, by giving to opponents just grounds of opposition.” – Lord Acton
    http://www.fahayek.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=46

  68. paulie

    Paulie, there are plenty of anarchist Ron Paul fans who have savaged minarchist Libertarians for their ideological impurity. On my Teflon Libertarian list alone, the most egregious cases are Rockwell, Hornberger, Long, Hancock, Smith, Raimondo, Gregory, Samuels, and Selzer. You can also add to the list people like Keaton and Blanton. I’d list Montoni too, but I don’t recall him having a position about Ron Paul either way; he may be in the Hogarth camp.

    I don’t believe any of the people you mention attack all non-anarchists. In fact, I’m not certain all of them even are anarchists themselves. Is Raimondo an anarchist currently, for example?

    It’s true that they attack various people on certain particular issues, but it may be that Ron Paul does not deviate on those particular issues.

    I suppose it is a matter of how important any person finds any given issue or set of issues.

  69. paulie

    Phillies is not a radical, so he doesn’t join the list of prominent LP radicals who criticize Ron Paul. As for a couple other names that people have mentioned, I’ll just point out that trolling on blogs frequented by prominent Libertarians doesn’t make one a prominent Libertarian. Prominence means having been a party official or nominee, or having been a close contender for same, or at least being a writer that many party members read (as opposed to skip over).

    I don’t know whether I qualify as a prominent enough person, although I’ve seen enough responses to my comments from people you classify as prominent to know that my comments are read by at least some of those people at least some of the time.

    As such, I’ve never hesitated to criticize Ron Paul where we disagree, nor have I ever let my criticism stop me from offering support when I think he is doing good things – which is most of the time, and in a scope that exceeds other people.

    When he first announced for the Republican nomination, I had many misgivings and expected a Kucinich-level campaign that would hurt the LP. However, when he stood up to Giuliani that was an electric moment that galvanized his campaign and made me much more supportive, to the point where I even did some work on his campaign despite my earlier promise not to do so unless he did his moral duty as a member of Congress by introducing and/or supporting impeachment articles against the Bush gang.

    Later, I did not hesitate to keep pointing out those issues where we disagreed, such as immigration, or the mismanagement of the official campaign. I also did not hesitate to point out where he did good, such as galvanizing young people, artistic types, people coming from the left, and a demographically diverse group with a message that was largely libertarian – precisely what I had hoped for many years the LP would start doing (and still hope it will, with less and less optimism as time passes).

  70. Brian Holtz

    I didn’t say they attack all non-anarchists. I said they attack non-anarchists for alleged statist deviations that are no worse than Ron Paul’s deviations.

    For example, Tim Russert on national network TV challenged Ron Paul to defend “abolition of public schools”. Ron Paul simply stammered and backed away: “I, I bet that’s a misquote. I, I do not recall that. I’d like to know where that came from, because I went… ” When Russert cut him off and asked if Ron Paul is “OK with Social Security now”, Paul’s reply included the claim “I’m the one that has saved it.”

    What did we then read on LewRockwell.com about Paul’s performance? He “did brilliantly”.

    Imagine how LewRockwell.com and other radicals would have savaged Bob Barr for saying on national network TV that “abolishing public schools, welfare, Social Security and farm subsidies” is “not part of my platform”.

    What hypocrisy.

  71. paulie

    Mister Hospers lead nothing, no group, organization or effort for Bush. He didn’t even really endorse him. So stop lying, guys, and tell the truth.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1255362/posts

    Hospers: “There is a belief that’s common among many libertarians that there is no essential difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties — between a John Kerry and a George W. Bush administration; or worse: that a Bush administration would be more undesirable. Such a notion could not be farther from the truth, or potentially more harmful to the cause of liberty.”

  72. paulie

    About the only vocal radical that’s not a duplicitous liar is Mike Seebeck. And no, it’s not because his wife likes my dog either.

    kthx

  73. paulie

    @ Dr. Phillies

    I believe the reference is to this: “Article 1, Section 10 – Powers prohibited of States

    No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.”

    It’s true enough that this speaks of states, not the federal government, but it seems exceeding unlikely that states should not accept federal money as payment of debts, no?

  74. Robert Milnes

    I am willing to stand corrected that Hospers did not simply “endorse” Bush, but rather rationalized a vote for Bush by libertarians in “battleground” (purple) states as the lesser of 2 evils-Bush v Kerry. In 2004 I voted, also lesser of 2 evils-for Kerry. There was some rumblings about how the vote might be close in NJ a usually blue state so do not vote third party but rather make sure the blues (democrats) win in NJ. But that might have been anti-third party propaganda by democrats. In that case I understand what Hospers said in context-a tactic. But here Hospers is clearly endorsing Root who is clearly a rightist- AT BEST a right libertarian- of some kind & Root is making use of that endorsement. There is an alternative to Root, on the left. That is where libs should focus. In the case of radicals endorsing Ron Paul, Paul’s ultimate falling in with the counterrevolutionaries was well disguised and last minute-the endorsement of Chuck Baldwin CP. So it is understandable they were duped especially in view of no leftist alternative and in view that endorsement could be taken as a protest vote or non-duopoly vote. But again there is an alternative now on the left which the radicals should look to & support. It may go so far as abandonment of the LP in favor of the BTP and/or an Independent. So be it.

  75. paulie

    Brian,

    I didn’t say they attack all non-anarchists. I said they attack non-anarchists for alleged statist deviations that are no worse than Ron Paul’s deviations.

    For example, Tim Russert on national network TV challenged Ron Paul to defend “abolition of public schools”. Ron Paul simply stammered and backed away: “I, I bet that’s a misquote. I, I do not recall that. I’d like to know where that came from, because I went… ” When Russert cut him off and asked if Ron Paul is “OK with Social Security now”, Paul’s reply included the claim “I’m the one that has saved it.”

    What did we then read on LewRockwell.com about Paul’s performance? He “did brilliantly”.

    Imagine how LewRockwell.com and other radicals would have savaged Bob Barr for saying on national network TV that “abolishing public schools, welfare, Social Security and farm subsidies” is “not part of my platform”.

    What hypocrisy.

    If Bob Barr had the positives that Ron Paul does – his record as “Dr. No,” his long record of votes against the drug war, standing up to Giuliani on the issue of war and 9/11 in nationally televised debates, his well known position and primary role in challenging the Federal Reserve cartel, etc. – I’m sure he’d get far more of a pass for such deviations than he would have otherwise.

  76. Gene Berkman

    George @ # 79 – in fact, the Constitution does not mandate a commodity standard – gold or silver – it only prohibits the states from making anything other than gold or silver a legal tender.

    However, if you don’t believe in gold backed currency, or competing gold & silver currencies, then you are clearly not a free market libertarian, maybe some kind of “low tax liberal.”

    And ok, “state’s rights” might be a bad formulation, but people today who talk about state’s rights are more likely to be supporters of medical marijuana than of the abuses you mention. I cannot understand someone claiming to be a libertarian who implies a preference for a centralized government.

  77. paulie

    I just re-read Hospers’ entire letter to make certain I wasn’t missing anything.

    Nowhere does he say that he was only calling on libertarians to vote for Bush in some states.

    The closest he comes is a very oblique mention in one paragraph:

    When the stakes are not high it is sometimes acceptable, even desirable, to vote for a ‘minor party’ candidate who cannot possibly win, just to “get the word out” and to promote the ideals for which that candidate stands. But when the stakes are high, as they are in this election, it becomes imperative that one should choose, not the candidate one considers philosophically ideal, but the best one available who has the most favorable chance of winning. The forthcoming election will determine whether it is the Republicans or the Democrats that win the presidency. That is an undeniable reality. If the election is as close as it was in 2000, libertarian voters may make the difference as to who wins in various critical “Battle Ground” states and therefore the presidency itself. That is the situation in which we find ourselves in 2004. And that is why I believe voting for George W. Bush is the most libertarian thing we can do.

    If he meant only that libertarians in battleground states should have voted for Bush and libertarians in other states should have voted for Badnarik, he should have said so.

  78. Brian Holtz

    Paulie, I still think that what earns Ron Paul his free pass from most radicals is that he shares their dogmas about black-hat conspiracies and Austrian economics. LP radicals savaged the 1980 Clark campaign for deviations that were nowhere near as egregious as Ron Paul’s performance on Meet The Press.

  79. Robert Milnes

    Brian Holtz, IMO Prof. Phillies is a radical who opposes Ron Paul. Of the latter there is clearly no doubt. Of the former, he does have a VERY few non radical positions. But for the most part just about every comment or position of his is clearly radical & I’ve been closely monitoring since his entry into the 2008 race & subsequently. He deserves a place in your exclusive listing along with T.K & S.H. & me.

  80. paulie

    Paulie, I still think that what earns Ron Paul his free pass from most radicals is that he shares their dogmas about black-hat conspiracies and Austrian economics. LP radicals savaged the 1980 Clark campaign for deviations that were nowhere near as egregious as Ron Paul’s performance on Meet The Press.

    Granted. However, it can also be argued that Ron Paul’s positives were far greater than those of the Clark campaign as an overall outreach tool.

    Also, I think there were more active radicals in the LP back in 1980, although I can’t say for certain, as that was before my time.

  81. paulie

    Brian Holtz, IMO Prof. Phillies is a radical who opposes Ron Paul. Of the latter there is clearly no doubt. Of the former, he does have a VERY few non radical positions.

    Dr. Phillies has numerous non-radical positions and has positively stated that he is not a radical.

  82. Brian Holtz

    Paulie, the last three sentences you quote make it very clear that Hospers was making such a tactical recommendation. Given how little difference the Democrats have made on the warfare state, it’s not unreasonable for a libertarian to have voted Republican in 2004 in hopes of privatizing Social Security and not further socializing healthcare. For more details of such an argument, see http://knowinghumans.net/2006/07/fear-neophobia-not-police-state.html.

  83. paulie

    Let’s rewind that tape again:

    HOSPERS: “The forthcoming election will determine whether it is the Republicans or the Democrats that win the presidency. That is an undeniable reality. If the election is as close as it was in 2000, libertarian voters may make the difference as to who wins in various critical “Battle Ground” states and therefore the presidency itself. That is the situation in which we find ourselves in 2004. And that is why I believe voting for George W. Bush is the most libertarian thing we can do.”

    True, he does mention battleground states obliquely; but nowhere in the entire letter does he say that any libertarians anywhere should have voted for Badnarik. If you can find a place where he does so, please point out what I missed.

    If he meant to make that clear, I submit he did a very poor writing job, and as he is a professional educator and published author, I do not believe that to have been the case.

  84. Brian Holtz

    Clark had nothing like the GOP baggage of a Barr or even a Root — to say nothing of the newslettergate and xenophobia and fundamentalist baggage of a Ron Paul.

    If Paul was such a great outreach vehicle for libertarianism, then he drove that vehicle straight into the ditch during his biggest opportunity (in terms of eyeball-minutes) of his entire 2008 campaign. When you get 30 minutes of network TV time all to yourself, you don’t stand up and say that public schools, welfare, Social Security and farm subsidies all get a free pass. It turned my stomach to watch Dr. No become Dr. I Don’t Know.

  85. Brian Holtz

    Paulie, I leave it for readers here to decide for themselves whether 1) libertarians can be assumed to be smart enough to figure out whether they’re in a battleground state, or 2) whether Hospers has to type the letters B-A-D-N-A-R-I-K for libertarians in non-battleground states to figure out who to vote for.

  86. paulie

    Brian@99

    That may well be true.

    I recently read Ed Clark’s 1980 campaign book, and found very little to disagree with, and much to cheer about in the way he presented issues.

  87. paulie

    Brian@100,

    If you were issuing such a conditional endorsement, would you fail to mention one of the two candidates you were endorsing by name?

    If we accept your logic, Hospers is asking libertarians in most states to vote for Badnarik, and writes an entire essay in which he does not name Badnarik at all or make that fact explicit in even one sentence?

  88. Brian Holtz

    Paulie, he was asking libertarians to deviate from the default voting behavior under specified circumstances for specified reasons. Most libertarians don’t need to be told to stick to their default strategy under default circumstances. :-)

  89. paulie

    Brian@103,

    As you well know, most libertarians don’t vote Libertarian. In most recent elections a majority or plurality of self-identified and/or strongly libertarian-leaning (Nolan Quiz) voters has voted Republican, but there is evidence that in 2006 and 2008 a majority of libertarians voted Democratic.

    In no year did a majority or plurality of broadly defined libertarians vote Libertarian for President.

  90. Andy

    “And that is why I believe voting for George W. Bush is the most libertarian thing we can do.”

    BAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  91. Andy

    “IMO Prof. Phillies is a radical who opposes Ron Paul.”

    I thought that Phillies was a moderate, but then again I suppose it could all be in how you want to define the terms.

  92. Brian Holtz

    If Hospers is trying to convince libertarians yo vote GOP, then his audience is libertarians who don’t vote GOP, and libs who already vote GOP aren’t very relevant.

  93. Brian Holtz

    Phillies and Milnes don’t qualify for a list of prominent Libertarian radicals who are anti-Paul, because one isn’t radical, and the other isn’t prominent (by the criteria I stated above).

  94. paulie

    Brian @109,

    libertarians who vote Republican in some elections and Libertarian in others, or who are voting for the first time and are on the fence, or who have voted before but are on the fence for the first time, are all targets of Hospers’ letter.

    It isn’t likely that many of those did not know the name of the then sitting president, yet Bush’s name, supposed virtues, and reasons to vote for him are mentioned many times, whereas Mr. Badnarik receives no mention whatsoever, nor is there any explicit mention that any libertarians anywhere should have voted Libertarian that year.

    Thus, readers can indeed decide for themselves where Dr. Hospers’ sympathies lay.

  95. Andy

    “to do so unless he did his moral duty as a member of Congress by introducing and/or supporting impeachment articles against the Bush gang.”

    Ron Paul did say that Bush deserved to be impeached. He just didn’t think that it would go anywhere in Congress (which it did not when Cynthia McKinney and later Dennis Kucinich issued articles of impeachement against Bush).

    I would like to have seen Ron Paul issue articles of impeachment against Bush, but I can understand why he didn’t). In addition to realizing that it was not going to go anywhere, he may have been intimidated into not doing it as well.

  96. Michael H. Wilson

    Given the history of their campaigns I would have to say that the Clark campaign was by far more Libertarian than that of Ron Paul. And Paul turned off a number of people with his position on abortion in ’88. Probably still does today.

  97. Robert Milnes

    Brian Holtz, I beg your pardon. Just because Prof Phillies says he is not a radical does not necessarily make it so. It wouldn’t be the first time somebody did not understand him/her self. I say he is & further, the fact-undesputed-that he is longtime a criitic-one of very very few, of Ron Paul, virtually by definition makes him radical. I also by the same logic, as one of very few who have been longtime & multifaceted and vociferous-my positions on Ron Paul have been widely publicized-critics of Ron Paul, by definition make me radical AND prominent.

  98. mdh

    “All the Ron Paul people did the same kind of equation.”

    Absolutely not correct. I believe that as Libertarians, we should not endorse or favor a non-LP candidate over an LP candidate. Endorsing or favoring a candidate for an office which there is no LP candidate is not only acceptable, it should be encouraged. Mr. Hospers endorsed Bush who was running against our candidate, Badnarik.

    I endorsed and supported and even worked for Ron Paul in the race for the GOP nomination – a race in which there was not an LP contender. Had Ron won the nomination, myself and others like me would have had to carefully consider whether we wanted to continue as LP activists, or work within the GOP. Had Ron Paul been nominated, I suspect that it would have been seen as a sign that the GOP was worth saving and would have chosen that option over trying to bring the LP to prominance. Instead, the GOP endorsed McCain who had no appeal (much like Bush had no appeal) to true libertarians.

  99. George Phillies

    @88

    No state shall make anything but gold and silver…However, United States Notes and Federal Reserve notes are not made by states, but by Act of Congress.

    By your argument, can the Federal government bind states to obey treaties, which states are not allowed to make?

    I’m sorry, but that section is about what states may not do, not what the Federal government does.

  100. George Phillies

    I certainly do not agree that bullion fetishists and their advocacy of gold buggery are entitled to claim that people who are unimpressed with them are not Libertarians. If next qeek quantum rearrangement transmutation makes gold as common as the iron from which it was made, well, Libertarianism will be just as true as ever.

    With respect to conservatives, American history of advancing liberty over the last 50 years has for the most part been using Federal power to contain the depredations of warmongering right-wing conservative homophobic misogynist racist pigs, where, all those modifiers beyond “conservative” are somewhat repetitive. I am quite old enough to remember stinking white racist Southern conservative bigots claiming they could keep persons of color from voting, and they would still be doing so if not for the force of Federal law.

  101. Gene Berkman

    George @ #116 – you are correct to say that the Constitution does not mandate a gold or silver as the only allowed money the federal government must issue.

    But why do you attack the idea of gold backed money as “right-wing” nonsense? Mises, Rand, Rothbard and others clearly in the libertarian or pro-capitalist camp all backed the gold standard.

    George, I would recommend you read “Gold and Economic Freedom” by Alan Greenspan, in “Capitalism:The Unknown Ideal” available @ http://www.renbook.com

  102. Gene Berkman

    George @ 117 – it is astounding that a libertarian would see the federal government as the main engine of expanding freedom in the United States.

    I do back the voting rights act and federal anti-lynching legislation, but in many other ways the federal government is the main threat to freedom in America. Calling people racists does not change that.

  103. Brian Holtz

    There are very good reasons for preferring that civil liberties in early 21st-century America should be protected at the level of the federal judiciary, rather than at the level of state governments — or at the level of the U.N. However, those reasons are empirical matters of historical contingency, and have no more necessary connection to abstract libertarian principles than does the historical scarcity of gold. Seventy years ago, when the federal government was just as bad as the various states on civil liberties, and was leading the assault on our economic liberties, it would indeed have been preferable to limit federal jurisdiction as much as possible in precisely the way that 72-year-old Ron Paul suggests. The last 70 years of improvements in America’s civil liberties weren’t due to any magic wand of the federal judiciary — rather, the courts were just spurring (and sometimes chasing) social changes that were happening anyway. However, the federal nanny state has slashed our economic liberty in ways that the several states could never have replicated even by acting in parallel. States that tried to create mini Medicare or Social Security schemes would have failed miserably, because people could leave (and because states can’t print money).

    I for one don’t want the federal government to do for other civil rights what it’s done for substance use and campaign speech and equal marriage and warrantless monitoring and gun rights and ‘hate crimes’ and reproductive technology and digital copying technology. Still, if in 2009 a magic button could put the federal judiciary in charge of all of America’s personal liberties, while eliminating all federal jurisdiction over our economic liberties, I’d gladly push it. Unfortunately, I don’t yet see a way to get the feds to protect our civil liberties without also trampling out economic liberties. At this point, I’d be willing to radically reduce the federal involvement in both areas, and let the states compete in things like marriage laws and socialized healthcare. Let the free-est jurisdiction win.

  104. mdh

    If there was no government, it wouldn’t matter whether people could vote or not, since no one would be voting anyway – then everyone could be happy.

    – LP Anarchist Caucus.

  105. paulie

    No state shall make anything but gold and silver…However, United States Notes and Federal Reserve notes are not made by states, but by Act of Congress.

    By your argument, can the Federal government bind states to obey treaties, which states are not allowed to make?

    I’m sorry, but that section is about what states may not do, not what the Federal government does.

    Does that mean that the federal government may pass ex post facto laws and bills of attainder, grant titles of nobility, etc.?

  106. paulie

    Brian Holtz, I beg your pardon. Just because Prof Phillies says he is not a radical does not necessarily make it so. It wouldn’t be the first time somebody did not understand him/her self. I say he is & further, the fact-undesputed-that he is longtime a criitic-one of very very few, of Ron Paul, virtually by definition makes him radical.

    By that definition Giuliani, Dondero, and Jamie Kirkchik are radical libertarians, among many other people.

    Simply put, no.

  107. George Phillies

    Paulie,

    A diligent search will find places where the Federal government is explicitly forbidden to pass bills of attainder, work tainture of the blood, pass ex post facto laws, etc….but not a place where it is forbidden to use paper, gold, or or tin as its currency. So the answer is that the Federal government is not allowed to do so, but not because this section forbids them.

  108. paulie

    A diligent search will find places where the Federal government is explicitly forbidden to pass bills of attainder, work tainture of the blood, pass ex post facto laws, etc….but not a place where it is forbidden to use paper, gold, or or tin as its currency. So the answer is that the Federal government is not allowed to do so, but not because this section forbids them.

    You may be correct.

    I’m not claiming to be a constitutional scholar, or for that matter a constitutionalist.

    I only find the constitution useful insofar as it acts as a restraint on government, and I don’t think it is a very effective restraint, but sometimes it is better than nothing.

    As for money, I’d prefer a free market in competing means of exchange.

  109. paulie

    A reproduction of some of my comments on related matters from a blog that was quasi-stolen out from under me……..



    The central government was certainly NOT the only entity capable of violating individual rights.

    However, on balance, the federal government – particularly the much later implemented incorporation doctrine you imply by mentioning the BoR, otherwise with the BoR only applied to the feds themselves – is more destructive than protective of rights.

    Likewise, a strong UN might indeed play some positive role in liberating some countries from dictators or genocide or preventing conflicts, but it isn’t worth the risk of a totalitarian world government.

    Decentralization is not perfect by any means, but it’s generally a step in the right direction, with individual sovereignty being the end goal.


    Responding:

    Governments exist to defend individual rights.

    Nice theory. I contend that it is merely the latest window dressing used to justify their existence, though.

    If the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government, and the federal government had no real power, then the Bill of Rights would be useless — which it essentially was prior to the 14th amendment.

    The price is having a federal government big enough to enforce it against local tyrants. I say it isn’t worth it, although it may not be readily apparent.

    When you advocate the type of “anti-federalism” you are advocating, you are essentially granting each of the fifty states the authority to be a little tyranny all to itself. Governments exist to defend individual rights, and if they do not do this, they are illegitimate. There is no purpose for a national government if it does not exist to defend our rights, including against the “state’s right” (sic) of racist, sexist, and otherwise collectivist tyrants.

    But what happens when the federal government becomes tyrannical? Unlike the local tyranny, which a smaller number of people may be more readily able to defeat, or – failing that – to emigrate from, a federal tyranny is harder to mobilize against, and takes more effort to move out of. It also adds layers of extra bureaucracy and unaccountability; hardly a good thing.

    I know, I know… You can cite me a huge long list of government abuses. Well, I have one that the national government helped end: Slavery. You can’t top that. Another — female disenfranchisement, and later, minority disenfranchisement. All of the abuses by the feds against the states cannot begin to remotely compare.

    I wouldn’t say the feds’ imperialism, the domestic tyranny imposed in the name of foreign wars, the federal war against the American indigenous peoples, the trillions of dollars of stolen tax money, the many trillions more kept from being created by regulations, the injustices perpetrated by corporations protected by limited liability and corporate personhood, the corporate welfare and wars on behalf of corporate interests, the war on drugs, etc, etc, are so readily dismissed.

    It’s true that the feds ended chattel slavery and Jim Crow in the South. Could it have been done otherwise? Had the south been allowed to secede and the north stopped enforcing its fugitive slave laws, slavery could not have lasted long. More importantly, the US imperialist state of the late 19th century on may well have never emerged, WWI could have ended in the negotiated neutral end it was headed toward without US involvement before 1917, and fascism, nazism and Marxism may very well have never come to power.

    Every nation in the Americas except Haiti and the US ended slavery without a war around that time, Brazil being the last in 1888 or so, if I recall my reading correctly.

    Or, let’s take a more contemporary example:

    Black and Latino communities suffer disproportionately from police brutality. It’s local cops, but the weapons and paramilitary tactics come from the feds. The “wars” leading to the militarization of local police departments – against drugs and terrorism – come from the top. The equipment is the leftovers of the military-industrial complex sold at military fire sales or given away in fire sales by the feds to police gangs. The members of those gangs in many cases got their training brutalizing people in the federal regime’s foreign wars.

    So, is it worth it to have a strong federal government? It may seem that way at first, but I think that is a case of what Bastiat called “that which is seen and that which is not seen”.

  110. paulie

    Further comment rescue from the quasi-stolen blog….


    It’s not my “theory” — it’s from the Declaration of Independence.

    That’s a theory. The results are somewhat different.

    The absence of government is tribalism.

    Monopoly government itself is tribalism, only elevated to a more deadly level. Or is it technological progress that you think is made possible by government?

    I’ll take our current state of affairs over pre-historic barbarism, and I’ll work to make the government conform to the unknown ideal of a truly limited government that exists solely for the protection of individual rights.

    It’s a false choice. Prehistoric barbarism is a function of technology. Monopoly government does not advance the progress of civilization, it retards it. As for limited government, that’s like limited cancer.

    But whatever “injustices” perpetrated by the North in the Civil War (”War of Northern Aggression” is racist code, must like “states’ rights”) do not justify disgusting neo-confederate revisionism, nor do they preclude the morality of a national government wielding its monopoly of force against those who violate individual rights.

    Injustices perpetrated by the north were quite real. Neo-confederate revisionism goes too far in many cases, but it also exposes commonly held misconceptions about the war; both sides go too far in looking at complex historical events selectively to whitewash one side and overvilify the other.

    As for monopoly force, I’m against it. It may protect some individual rights but ultimately it destroys them far more.

    You will argue that the government should not exist. My point is, if it cannot defend my rights, then no, it shouldn’t.

    Glad we agree :-)

  111. paulie

    Yet more comment rescue


    ……. finds fault in paleolibertarian connections to the racist Old Right, neo-monarchists, neo-confederates, racial purity anti-immigrationists, anti-semites who hide behind the much more respectable and justified anti-zionism, patriarchal traditionalists, and so on.

    He asks, fairly enough, what is worse than slavery and Jim Crow? And certainly, chattel slavery and Jim Crow were (and are – there are at least 27 million slaves in the world today, by one estimate I have seen, and it’s not as if racism has gone away) monstrous evils.

    Well, what about imperialism? In the 20th century alone, strong central governments killed an estimated 200 million of their own citizens and many millions more in wars.

    In this young century alone, the US regime has killed about a million middle easterners (plus another million or so in the preceding decade – “worth it” according to former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright). About half of these have been children. Many more have been raped, tortured, robbed, mutilated, made homeless, and subjected to every conceivable horror. And the US regime is hardly the only murderous regime in the world.

    Sure, racism plays a role in all this. Foreigners are dehumanized as “gooks” and “hajis” to make them easier to kill, torture, and all the rest.

    The drug war that feeds the domestic police gang/prison-industrial complex is sold to the public under the guise of protection both from foreign narcoterrorism and urban “law and order” against supposedly marauding minorities, and these popular archetypes play a large role in immigration hysteria.

    But imperialism plays an even bigger role. When you get to the bottom of it, the US regime and large corporations financed the very evils they have grabbed huge chunks of our money and freedom to fight – Marxism, Fascism, Jihadism, and narcotrafficking – and in return, the regime has been given much more money and many more powers to fight these evils, while its partner corporations have made huge amounts of money producing weapons, rebuilding bombed out countries after wars, refining petroleum, and so on, all the while shielded by corporate personhood and limited liability.

    And where have the successors of the classical liberals been on all this? Ayn Rand supported nuking Russia, on the pretext that its people had not overturned sovietism; some of her disciples today favor nuking Mecca and fighting the whole Muslim world. Barry Goldwater was a staunch cold war militarist. The Kochs made money off military contracts, and bought immunity from large pollution liabilities with Republican Party contributions and intermarriage into the Bush Clan, and their foundations such as Cato have waffled on Bush Crime Family imperialism in the middle east. Neal Boortz is an unabashed warmonger, and even defends torture and the domestic surveillance state.

    The military-industrial complex is a true evil, and it is far more murderous than even slavery or Jim Crow. It always finds legitimate sounding excuses: fascism, communism, jihadism, narco-terrorism – but in reality it creates these excuses, and needs them to keep grabbing more of our money and more of our freedom. And imperialism is the Achilles heel of neoliberals, neocons and neolibertarians just as much as racism is the Achilles heel of paleocons and paleolibertarians.

  112. paulie

    Yet more comment rescue from lost free voice…



    Unfortunately, giving the federal regime the power needed to make it an effective check against the abuses of the people by the states has also gone hand in hand with removing whatever limits existed on federal government.

    See

    Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War

    by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

    http://www.amazon.com/Emancipating-Slaves-Enslaving-Free-Men/dp/0812693124/ref=sr_1_1/103-7042557-4724637?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1183393336&sr=8-1

    However, it’s not as if the federal regime’s abuse of power began with that
    war, a fact all too often overlooked at sites like LewRockwell.com.

    Ranging from the wars against the American Indians, such as the trail of tears

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_of_tears

    to the fugitive slave acts

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugitive_slave_act

    to the US invasion and imperialist occupation of half of Mexico

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican-American_War

    The feds have been grabbing and abusing power from the start; it didn’t start with Mr. Lincoln.

  113. robert capozzi

    pc, it ain’t just “the feds,” I’d suggest. States — no matter the size — tend to grab power. Some checks and balances work better than others to blunt such power grabbing. Some territorially small states are pronouncedly more rights infringing than larger-area states.

  114. Robert Milnes

    paulie @124, come on. Of course I was speaking of anyone criticizing Ron Paul from a radical anarchist perspective, which there are very few. Holtz made a partial list of those giving RP a pass. Just to simply criticize Ron Paul does not make one a radical anarchist. The entire Congress would be a seething cauldron of radicals.

  115. Robert Milnes

    & Phillies’ criticisms are similarly veined as mine & Tom K. et al. I’ve already commented elsewhere that his comments etc. I almost always agree with. & they are often backed up with well researched facts. Both the original research & the research necessary to dig them up & out. So come on, give the Prof. a break. & tangentally me, who is probably the real target of your criticism. Just because you should be on Holtz’s list & weren’t prominent enough-for him. I’d say you are prominent enough.

  116. paulie

    Of course I was speaking of anyone criticizing Ron Paul from a radical anarchist perspective, which there are very few.

    Phillies is neither anarchist nor radical.

    He believes in a fairly robust central government, maintaining public (government) schools, government/federal reserve money monopoly, mandatory taxation and a tax code that is complex enough to have tax credits, certain restrictions on immigration, etc.

    He may be a radical when compared to run of the mill Democrats and Republicans, but he’s certainly not a radical libertarian.

  117. Brian Holtz Post author

    Susan, I vaguely recall you agreeing with Tom and George that LP leaders should not have been lending any aid and comfort to Ron Paul during his race for the GOP nomination, nor have invited him to seek the LP nomination. As I said @61: your “problem with him seemed largely to be Paul’s choice to work within the GOP”.

    I’m curious which of his 13 positions I document here you would be OK with an LP nominee taking. I’m also curious whether you agree with Walter Block that Paul “did brilliantly” when he appeared on Meet The Press.

    Paulie didn’t miss my list for not being prominent; he missed it for not being “a bitter critic of reform and moderation within the LP”. Paulie’s criticisms are reasoned and collegial, not bitter.

  118. Michael Seebeck

    Bruce @78:

    About the only vocal radical that’s not a duplicitous liar is Mike Seebeck. And no, it’s not because his wife likes my dog either.

    He’s got a good, rational opinion, and the smarts and facts to back it up.

    Gee, what a concept!
    Someone from one intellectual faction of our party that has a brain and is honest!

    I’m speechless!

    OK, got that out of my system. :)

    But seriously,

    Bruce, I really appreciate that. But I need to clarify one tiny thing–not an error, really: We *both* like Ginger. She is a very intelligent girl and great for you. :)

    My problem with Root has always been two things: presentation and part of his message. He’s been getting better on both, and he deserves proper credit on that. He still has a ways to go IMO, but he’s working on it, and he is growing, and that’s about all that can be reasonably asked for.

  119. Robert Milnes

    Brain, I mean Brian, what do you think of my proposal to require Lp party officials & candidates to ACTUALLY BE LIBERTARIANS as determined by a Peer Review Board? Practically, it should result in a purge of rightists from being party officials & candidates but not members.

  120. Brian Holtz Post author

    We already have a review board: the Libertarians who vote for LP officials and candidates. If a candidate for LP office or nomination isn’t libertarian enough for you, run somebody against them.

  121. Robert Milnes

    Brian, very astute & good sound bite. But wrong. When rightists & right libertarians join the LP & naturally seek party office & candidates, they influence EVERYTHING to the right. So much that after the convention 2008, BTP surged. Refugees from the LP I think. Unless something is done i think this is a more or less permanent situation. I have no problem with rightists of various sorts joining. But excellent example, Barr joins & shortly thereafter gets the presidential nomination. WTF? How did he beat out Gravel? who was previously higher ranked as a former U.S. Senator. Only because Gravel was a leftist of some sort. & Mary Ruwart. Bona Fide radical. I rest my case.

  122. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    A party is the people who join it. All that your “peer review” board would do is make it easier for whichever clique could stack that board to seize control of the party.

  123. Thomas L. Knapp

    “A Gravel/Ruwart ticket, if promoted as a fusion ticket, may very well have won the friggin election, Pinky.”

    In some alternate universe, maybe.

    In the real world that we actually live in, not a chance.

    I suspect that Gravel/Ruwart might have done better than Barr/Root, but it would still have performed in the low single digit percentage range.

    Ditto for any other LP presidential ticket that was actually on the table, and for most LP presidential tickets that could have been plausibly imagined.

    A Colin Powell/Norman Schwarzkopf, Ross Perot/Sam Nunn, or Ronald Reagan’s Corpse/Justin Timberlake ticket or something of the sort might have made it into double digits, but those weren’t in the “plausibly imaginable” category.

    Choosing the “right” presidential ticket is not a silver bullet that turns a minor party into a presidential election winner.

  124. Who's Thumbing Who?

    “So much that after the convention 2008, BTP surged.”

    I’ve had bigger surges in my pants.

  125. paulie

    My problem with Root has always been two things: presentation and part of his message. He’s been getting better on both, and he deserves proper credit on that. He still has a ways to go IMO, but he’s working on it, and he is growing, and that’s about all that can be reasonably asked for.

    Exactly.

    Paulie didn’t miss my list for not being prominent; he missed it for not being “a bitter critic of reform and moderation within the LP”. Paulie’s criticisms are reasoned and collegial, not bitter.

    Thanks!

  126. Brian Holtz Post author

    If anything, 2008 saw a siphoning of right-libertarians from the LP due to the Ron Paul campaign. To say that a sudden influx of right-libertarians in 2008 gave Barr the nomination is just as reality-impaired as these wild claims about the prospects of fusion candidacies.

  127. Andy

    “George Phillies // Sep 5, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    I certainly do not agree that bullion fetishists and their advocacy of gold buggery are entitled to claim that people who are unimpressed with them are not Libertarians. If next qeek quantum rearrangement transmutation makes gold as common as the iron from which it was made, well, Libertarianism will be just as true as ever.”

    This is an example of why I support competing currencies in a free market. Historically gold & silver are what has worked best as money, but anything that people are willing to accept without being forced to accept could be used as money.

  128. Aaron Starr

    Michael @ 72

    “Uh, I hate to break it to Professor Hospers, but STATES DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS!

    They never have, either.

    People have powers and rights inherent in their very existence.

    Governments have powers delegated to them by the people.

    It’s disappointing to see that fundamental point just is not understood, by either Hospers or Root, or by the vast majority of the public at large.”

    Michael,

    I think to be fair to John Hospers, the term “States’ Rights” is just a common usage term employed by many people who are referring to “State Powers.”

    It’s true that many people do not understand the concept of individual rights, but it would not be fair to include John Hospers in that crowd.

    John Hospers writes extensively on what constitutes rights in two rather large volumes he authored — An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis (the second edition is over 600 pages long) and Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow (over 500 pages). In these writings, Hospers always refers to rights as belonging to the individual.

  129. Robert Milnes

    Tom @146, close but no cigar, Steve Gordon. Correct, a Peer Review Board could be stacked. But in this case “stacked’ would be stacked with bona fide libertarians who are mostly the radicals. Right Brain, I mean Brian? aka:Pinky.

  130. Robert Milnes

    Pinky @150, I didn’t say there was an influx of right-libertarians. They are endemic. They are always around, like a yoke on the Lp’s neck. Make a bylaw: LP party officials and candidates must be bona fide libertarians. Emminently rational & justified. Unarguable. Probably solve a lot of your problems too. & note: a fusion ticket would pass muster, as a left progressive could still be defined as an anarchist(libertarian) or Teddy Roosevelt progressive(libertarian).

  131. Robert Milnes

    Tom@147, I said “…if promoted as a fusion ticket, …”. That means educating the voters as part of the campaign. That both sides are agreed in coordinating their vote in order to win. So, inclusive progressive & libertarian voters, vote for the fusion ticket & the one LP or GP candidate on EVERY ballot (hopefully), or as best we can accomplish. Evidently Suffolk County, NY might be a problem. Publicize this BIG TIME. The voters will respond. You are talking about politics as usual tickets & campaigns. This would not be politics as usual.

  132. Susan Hogarth

    Holz @139: “LP leaders should not have been lending any aid and comfort to Ron Paul during his race for the GOP nomination, nor have invited him to seek the LP nomination”. Essentially correct. That doesn’t in my mind equate to “problem with him seemed largely to be Paul’s choice to work within the GOP”, though. But I can see where you might view it that way.

    As for your questions: sorry, but I’m not interested in arguing over whether Paul would be a good LP candidate until and unless he chooses to be one.

  133. Robert Milnes

    Susan, you are not into the spirit of this thread, are you. This is an inquiry, about you as much as anything. At least to me. Even the above is remarkable. 72% of libs were supporting RP. Most of the rest were not critical very much. Even the LNC was trying to recruit RP. Turns out he endorsed Baldwin CP which verified the worst that the few had deduced. i.e. The Ron Paul “R(evol)ution turned out tp be COUNTERREVOLUTIONARY. cAN YOU SEE HOW THIS IS IMPORTANT?

  134. Brian Holtz Post author

    Susan, I promise not to argue with you here over whether Paul would be be a good LP candidate. My question wasn’t about Paul himself, but about any LP nominee who might take his positions.

    To the point that Paul operates outside the LP and so isn’t worth discussing, I’ll note that of the top 2008 LP presidential contenders, Kubby endorsed Paul for president outright, Barr and Root tried to offer Paul a spot on the ticket, and Ruwart sought mileage from Paul’s endorsement of her book. Paul of course has already been the LP nominee before, and the LNC invited him to seek the nomination again. And as I listed in my blog posting, nearly all of the leading anarchists in the libertarian movement were enthusiastic about Paul’s campaign.

    Re: @154, thanks for confirming my mistake in deviating from my policy of not feeding the IPR trolls who fixate on things like Green fusion voting or 9/11 or petitioning scandals.

  135. Robert Capozzi

    bh, it’s interesting that those who a quick to brand people “not L” refuse to do 2 things:

    1) Devise a specific litmus test, so we can know who is L and who isn’t (according to the brander).
    2) Devise a specific policing mechanism to exclude those branded “non L” from representing the LP.

    I’m curious why they won’t do so. We could discuss these as adults if they’d put their standards on the table. They might even suggest a list of issues where Ls can actually disagree!

    Or we could pass the St. Louis Accord in convention as a resolution.

  136. paulie

    If anything, 2008 saw a siphoning of right-libertarians from the LP due to the Ron Paul campaign. To say that a sudden influx of right-libertarians in 2008 gave Barr the nomination is just as reality-impaired as these wild claims about the prospects of fusion candidacies.

    As far as I can tell, libertarian support or non-support for Ron Paul was not strongly correlated to left/right divisions within the party or movement. Some left-libertarians supported Ron Paul, in large part because he made foreign policy and the military-industrial complex major campaign themes, and some right-libertarians opposed him for that reason.

    Some left-libertarians opposed Ron Paul because he is too conservative on several social issues, while some right-libertarians saw that as an additional reason to support him.

    While I don’t know of any sudden influx of right-libertarians in support of Barr, it seems to me that since I became involved in the LP in the 1990s much of the party has drifted noticeably to the right, and it certainly seems clear to me that those delegates who voted for Barr on the final ballot were more conservative-leaning (with some exceptions) than those who voted for Ruwart.

    Thus, I suspect that if the Bob Barr of 2008 were running for the Libertarian nomination in 1996, 2000 or (probably) even 2004, the outcome would have been different.

  137. paulie

    bh, it’s interesting that those who a quick to brand people “not L” refuse to do 2 things:

    1) Devise a specific litmus test, so we can know who is L and who isn’t (according to the brander).

    2) Devise a specific policing mechanism to exclude those branded “non L” from representing the LP.

    I’m curious why they won’t do so. We could discuss these as adults if they’d put their standards on the table. They might even suggest a list of issues where Ls can actually disagree!

    Everyone will brand someone as “not L,” unless you take the rather illogical position that everyone is L, in which case the term is completely meaningless, or at best a synonym for human.

    So, supposing that you believe that “libertarian” has a meaning beyond “human,” you might begin by answering your own question(s):

    1) Devise a specific litmus test, so we can know who is L and who isn’t (according to the brander).

    2) Devise a specific policing mechanism to exclude those branded “non L” from representing the LP.

    3) Suggest a list of issues where Ls can actually disagree.

    Or we could pass the St. Louis Accord in convention as a resolution.

    I don’t see these as mutually exclusive projects. Do you?

  138. Robert Capozzi

    pc, it’s not my practice to brand others. If someone says they are L, then they are, in my book. Now that doesn’t mean I’d support them or even agree with them on each and every issue.

    As an institution, I’d say that if a person advocates for a net reduction in government coercion, I’m OK with that person representing the LP as a candidate, etc. There are probably some issues — especially involving hate — that I’d be inclined to support the party renouncing the views of a hater.

    I’d vote for Susan Hogarth despite her views on nuclear disarmament. I’d vote for Root despite his sometimes shrill and conservative-sounding rhetoric and some of his foreign policy views. I would not vote for David Duke if he became a L UNLESS I was convinced he’d had a change of heart regarding race matters.

  139. Michael Seebeck

    Aaron @152:

    I think to be fair to John Hospers, the term “States’ Rights” is just a common usage term employed by many people who are referring to “State Powers.”

    Just because it’s common doesn’t make it accurate or proper. As I stated above, the improper usage has become so common as to pervert the real meaning into something it isn’t, and as a result it has badly warped the political landscape, especially in terms of limited government. Because of that very warping, the Incorporation Clause of the 14th Amendment becomes paramount in importance, and it needs to be fully applied to the Bill of Rights, especially the areas where it currently isn’t, most notably the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments. (A proper reading of the roles of rights and powers and their levels of subordination relative to each other indicates that this is done implicitly anyway, but the explicit is what is needed under the law to have it mean anything.)

    It’s true that many people do not understand the concept of individual rights, but it would not be fair to include John Hospers in that crowd.

    Then why does he fall into the same trap as everyone else who uses the term incorrectly if he knows better? That’s either being intellectually lazy or dishonsest on his part.

    John Hospers writes extensively on what constitutes rights in two rather large volumes he authored — An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis (the second edition is over 600 pages long) and Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow (over 500 pages). In these writings, Hospers always refers to rights as belonging to the individual.

    I would hope that such lengthy tomes (which I will admit to not having read–if a philosophy work needs that many pages it’s approaching a religion more than a philosophy!) would be on more than simply individual rights, especially because lil’ ole me can summarize rights vs. powers in a mere couple of paragraphs. Either that or he writes a lot but doesn’t say much in the process.

    IOW, he knows better and can (and should!) do better.

  140. Michael Seebeck

    Everyone will brand someone as “not L,” unless you take the rather illogical position that everyone is L, in which case the term is completely meaningless, or at best a synonym for human.

    Not quite. I would submit that everyone has some L in them, in varying levels, and most don’t recognize it for what it is, and those that do have the most in them and are the people we see here and interact with politically.

    So, yes, I would say that being human means being part libertarian, and sometimes part statist, and sometimes somewhere in the gray area between. The political challenge we face is to get people to see the libertarian in themselves (difficult at times) and then apply that politically (very difficult most of the time) to make a better overall life. That’s where we can take lessons from psychology and advertising (which are really the same thing except the latter is psychology applied in a commercial setting) on how to get there. But we Ls traditionally have sucked at both psychology and selling, even chafing at it (which might explain some opposition on Root), instead of learning it and making use of it.

  141. Brian Holtz Post author

    Not having a binary litmus test for libertarianism doesn’t mean that one thinks the term is meaningless. Just because I can’t tell you what number of hairs you need to be non-bald doesn’t mean I think only the absolutely hairless are bald. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorites_paradox.

    That said, the draft St. Louis Accord arguably smuggles in both a threshold definition of libertarian and a metric for libertarian-ness. A person is a libertarian if he “wants more personal and economic liberty” and thus distinguishes himself from both the Left and the Right. A person is more libertarian to the extent that he “defends the full rights of each person to his body, labor, peaceful production, and voluntary exchanges” and shares the “ultimate goal of banishing force initiation and fraud from human relationships”. I’m not saying that this threshold is deterministically binary, or that this metric imposes a total order on the set of all libertarians, because I don’t think anybody can seriously claim that either is possible.

    I dispute that the LP needs any more machinery for litmus-testing its representatives. Those who advocate more such machinery need to explain precisely how it would work (feel free to dry-run it on me), and in particular why it would do a better job than the Pledge and Statement of Principles have done in dissuading the LP from choosing insufficiently-libertarian representatives.

    LP representatives should generally be free to disagree with any of the 27 planks of the Platform, as long as they clearly advocate substantially more personal and economic liberty and don’t mislead people about what policies the LP advocates. For a long list of issues on which the LP itself has taken no stand, see http://libertarianmajority.net/free-variables-in-libertarian-theory.

  142. Robert Milnes

    Tom, paulie, Susan, Robert C., Brain, Michael, thank you for your comments on this topic. Tom mentioned stacking the deck & taking over the party. Precisely. I would like to see the radicals, purists, anarchists et al, take over the party FROM the rightists, so called reformers. By the way I am a member of LRC & believe Milsted has many good points. The goal would be to make the situation more conducive to REVOLUTIOn & less conducive to REACTION & COUNTERREVOLUTION. Enter the Progressive-Libertarian Alliance. The mechanism could be & I think it could work, a by law such that LP party officials & candidates must actually be libertarians. To be determined by a Peer Review Board. Many means could be determined & add up to a consensus on each individual. I don’t think this is asking too much of party officials or candidates, who as such forfeit somewhat of their privacy anyway. Hopefully such a Board could screen out many rightists, paleos, dixiecrats, conservatives theocrats etc. Anybody would still be free to claim they are a libertarian and/or join the party.

  143. Robert Milnes

    Call this a purge if you want. I think it is necessary. & the radicals have GOT to be more positive about revolution & lp-gp vote coordination, fusion ticket etc. Brian.

  144. Aaron Starr

    Michael @ 163

    “Just because it’s common doesn’t make it accurate or proper. As I stated above, the improper usage has become so common as to pervert the real meaning into something it isn’t, and as a result it has badly warped the political landscape, especially in terms of limited government. ”

    We agree. The meaning of various terms does get twisted over time.

    For example, “liberal” used to mean something completely different than it does today.

    Another example, people often use the word “democracy” to describe a “republican” form of government.

    And I suppose I could write an article about that. And I’m sure that John Hospers could as well, even though he is in his 90s.

    But that’s not what he’s attempting here. He’s writing a review of a book. And if you’re going to write a book review intended to be read by the general public, rather than us philosophy geeks, you don’t waste time defining the meaning of terms. At that point, it’s no longer a book review.

  145. paulie

    Brian @ 165

    That makes a lot of sense, at least on first read. Just got back from 12 hours of riding city buses and panhandling for signatures, so my brain is a little fried…

  146. Robert Capozzi

    bh 165, I wasn’t seriously suggesting litmus-testing machinery, of course. There seems to be a strong propensity among some Ls to brand other Ls “not L” because on a few issues the other L takes views that some object to.

    Rather than whine about it, I’m suggesting the complainers should attempt to get the appropriate committee to renounce the candidate. So, for ex., were I a candidate and I suggested publicly that I didn’t hold high the banner for the ideas of, say, unilateral nuclear disarmament or the “right” to sell babies, one could appeal to the LNC or LPVA state committee to renounce my candidacy.

    I’d of violated dogma held by some. In so doing, they might sincerely believe that my candidacy was misrepresenting and therefore damaging the reputation and understanding of L-ism. If that’s actually correct, then by all means renounce me.

    If those examples don’t meet the test of dogma damage, but that there ARE positions that deserve renunciation, all I ask is that those positions be made explicit. Perhaps it might be immediate abolition of standing armies, or unqualified support of hand-held rocket launchers, or the right to abortions at 8 months, etc.

    It would be an excellent service if a “real” L would assemble such a list for our information and guidance.

  147. Robert Milnes

    What Robert C. is proposing is not good enough. It is inadequate & unreliable & after the fact. What I’m proposing is preemptive. Screen rightists out BEFORE they get hired or appointed. & candidates BEFORE they declare, or at least promptly thereafter. What Robert C proposes would be fine as a vigilancy contingency. e.g. a candidate gets approved then starts publicizing non-lib policies. Somehow got through the screening process. It is the aggregate effect of so many rightists strong tendency to dominate that is the problem.

  148. Robert Capozzi

    Strikes me that the explicitly liberty-minded are too few to exclude any branch of the movement. Since politics is largely a numbers game, excluding seems contra-indicated.

    Plus, the left/right dualism only captures some of the differences in approach. For ex., there’s the amplitude of change advocated…moderate vs. extreme is another variable.

  149. Robert Milnes

    Robert C., I specificly specified several times that this proposal does not exclude anyone from-joining the party. -Working for the party in non-official capacity.-claiming they are a libertarian or anarchist. It also wouldn’t exclude anyone from apprenticeships like the one just taken by Austin Petersen. (although that was with Atlas-the same applies to LP)

  150. Robert Capozzi

    why would someone join a party that has second-class citizens, especially if the individual would be considered part of the second class?

  151. Robert Milnes

    Well, I’d say it looks like libertarians have a choice. 1. Big tent mostly to the right. Rightists dominate. 2. Big tent. rightists prevented from dominating by screening process. 3. Small tent. Purists dominate & discourage rightists from joining. The LP is presently 1. BTP is presently 3. All 3- more or less. If the screening process is not too strict and traumatizing, I don’t see too much of a problem. Look at all the difficulties the dems & reps have with blue dogs (Lieberman) & conservatives.

  152. Robert Milnes

    Evidently the rightists are not overwhelming. It took six ballots for Barr over Ruwart. Root over Kubby close also. So a moderate screening process might be sufficient. Passing a moderate Peer Review Board process shouldn’t be asking too much.

  153. Brian Holtz Post author

    It remains reality-impaired to claim that “rightists dominate” the LP. Consider:

    1. Barr and Root together claimed only 45% of the first-ballot votes in Denver, and a swing of only 25 votes (4%) on the final ballot would have given the nomination to Ruwart.

    2. The Denver delegates overwhelmingly approved a repaired platform that achieves excellent left-right balance.

    3. A majority of the Denver delegates voted against deleting the extremist 2006 pro-choice plank, and then a 2/3 supermajority approved replacing it with an equally extremist pro-choice plank.

    4. The Denver delegates passed the following resolution with the requisite 2/3 approval: “Whereas the war in Iraq was sold to the American people based upon lies, exaggerations, and half-truths; Whereas the war in Iraq was prosecuted for the private interests of the administration and its cronies, was not and is not in the interests of the national security of the United States, we call for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq as quickly as can be safely accomplished.”

    I know of no prominent LP leader — officer, nominee, or close contender for same — proposing any specific ideological testing of party leaders. While it’s useful to periodically call the bluff of the few random party members who occasionally complain about the lack of such testing, there’s no need to beat that horse after confirming it’s still dead.

  154. robert capozzi

    rm, you seem to contradict yourself. if left and right candidates were competitive, the party was itself a review board. caucuses did interview the candidates.

    as a moderate, centrist L, I’m not seeing this as a significant issue.

  155. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    Even if we assume that your claims of rightist dominance in the LP are correct, that’s an argument AGAINST your proposed “peer review board.” If the right is dominant in the LP, then the right will define “peer” and pick that “review board,” further entrenching themselves.

    I don’t think that your assumptions are correct, however. The dominance of one ideological wing in the party tends to be dependent on a “swing” bloc which evaluates candidates for leadership positions, political nominations, etc., less on the basis of ideological factors than on the basis of other perceptions (fame/name recognition, financial backing, perceived competence, etc.).

    That swing group is problematic because of its gullibility, not because of its ideology. Said gullibility swings nominally left (Campagna in 2004, for example) probably about as often as it swings nominally right (Root in 2008, for example).

  156. Robert Milnes

    Pinky @179, fortunately in myreality impaired state I have managed to devise a strategy for myself that does not rely on what you do, or the radicals or the Lp does. re: 1. I said close. That is close. But in majority vote, as is the case in Lp balloting, 1 vote more wins. As opposed to plurality vote, which a close national 3 way race would be. So in every situation close goes to the rightists. re:4. Unreliable subject to judge left-right balance in that there is a strong anti-Iraq war right. Even the CP, Barr & Paul are anti-Iraq war. re: your last paragraph. So what? So since only a few have thought about it & have the guts to speak up & are quickly beaten down, does not change my position. It should be done asap. Logically, if the rightists dominate in the party heirarchy, then such a self defeating proposal would be frowned upon.

  157. libertariangirl

    I think evaluating on ideology alone is the gullible path . It relies on the bias that ones ‘ideology’ is ALWAYS right and best .

  158. paulie

    That swing group is problematic because of its gullibility, not because of its ideology. Said gullibility swings nominally left (Campagna in 2004, for example) probably about as often as it swings nominally right (Root in 2008, for example).

    I think what Tom means by gullible here is that Campagna in ‘4 as well as Barr/Root in ‘8 had a lot of people voting for them because they believed there would be large amounts of money/votes materializing that did not.

  159. Robert Milnes

    Tom, if Brain is correct that libertarianism can be defined and measured, that is reality. & reality is difficult to game & stuff. If the rightists have a winning @4% majority then a reduction in their numbers/influence by @5% would provide a 180. That would be the difference between a reactionary/counterrevolutionary LP.& a progressive/revolutionary LP.

  160. Robert Milnes

    Do you think that when he announced his candidacy Ron Paul declared he was a reactionary/counterrevolutionary, libertarians would have supported him as much? That was left to be figured out after the fact; essentially when he endorsed Baldwin. His campaign success then became a fait accompli. & I count in that success suppression of the LP campaigns.

  161. Michael Seebeck

    Aaron,

    “And if you’re going to write a book review intended to be read by the general public, rather than us philosophy geeks, you don’t waste time defining the meaning of terms. At that point, it’s no longer a book review.”

    No, you use accurate terms accurately. If the terms are sued correctly, no definition is needed, and if people aren’t sure what they mean, they look them up and learn something.

  162. Robert Milnes

    Brain, I beg your pardon, I thought alternating Pinky & Brain was humorous. Go ahead & tease me-incorrectly about those items. That would be quite politically incorrect. I was duped by the FBI into pleading guilty to Threat by Mail, not stalking. FYI. & my depression has not been quite lifelong. As I said, my childhood was fairly typical & happy for the most part. My depression began-coincidentally?-around when I had to deal with all those neurotic women out there. Right now I’m borderline homeless, having moved somewhat into my van. I could use a motor home!

  163. Brian Holtz Post author

    Mr. Milnes, I wasn’t asking for permission to be disrespectful about your life story. Rather, I was just asking you to be respectful about my name.

  164. Robert Milnes

    Very well, Mr. Holtz. Now, I have a complaint about your lib quiz. It seems quite accurate. But it is too contrived. The questions belie the answers if one is at all familiar with the issues. Which I’m sure you are about 100%. Rather, like the task of the Peer Review Board, evaluate the entire presentation of the individual. How about if we compare the first date & strength of our taking publicly a position for or against Ron Paul. I believe mine was right after Kubby endorsed him. A counter to that & in no uncertain terms. I didn’t say give me more time or maybe I will not endorse him. I said no endorsement from me NOW. What did you say about Ron Paul & when did you say it?

  165. Brian Holtz Post author

    You’re seriously saying that the way for your proposed LP Thought Police to judge “the entire presentation of” one’s libertarian-ness is not by a comprehensive assessment of their policy positions, but rather by how soon and how hard they opposed Ron Paul?

    That’s hilarious on multiple levels.

    I’ve got an alternative suggestion for how to test potential LP leaders: how wisely they spend their LP-related time, e.g. in feeding IPR trolls. In the last few days, I’ve been failing the test miserably. :-)

  166. Robert Milnes

    MMr. Holtz, I said I think your test is flawed. It is a test. People who take it are doing it for certain reasons. They are able to “game” the test e.g. obviously in order to get a maximum score, one should always answer with a 5. How about if I don’t call you Brain & you don’t call me a troll, ok?

  167. Brian Holtz Post author

    Uh, to get a 100/100, you have to answer 10 (“full freedom”) on every issue. If you say that advocating full freedom on a comprehensive spectrum of 20 issues is merely a way to “game” the test — and that opposition to Ron Paul is a better test of libertarianism — then that’s just too silly to rebut.

    My position on Ron Paul hasn’t been as simple as endorse vs. oppose. Anyone who cares what I’ve said about him should start by reading http://libertarianintelligence.com/search/label/Ron%20Paul

  168. Aaron Starr

    Michael @ 192/193

    I respectfully disagree. Communicating effectively means tailoring your language to meet the needs and understandings of the audience.

    To use an extreme example, if I wrote something in Mandarin Chinese, it would be meaningless to a typical American reader, even if I wrote it perfectly.

    In other words, it’s not what you say, it’s what people hear that matters.

    Many of us libertarians seem perfectly content to write in a way that appeals to us, rather than to someone who is not yet familiar with us. I suspect that approach keeps us from expanding our base of support because we wind up only talking to ourselves.

  169. Michael Seebeck

    Sorry Aaron, but you’re wrong.

    One can use terms accurately and still tailor a message to an audience. In fact, that’s what should be done in the first place, since to do otherwise simply loses credibility once the disparity and inaccuracy is pointed out.

    I believe I call it “couching a libertarian message in populist tones”. It’s something libertarians in general suck at, because they get too stuck in the eggheaded arguments and people’s eyes glaze over.

    But that doesn’t create a pass for inaccurate terms, either. We’ve seen enough of that horrible practice in the Supreme Court.

    Hospers knows better. So do you.

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