Bob Barr’s Keynote Speech To The Libertarian Party National Convention

Posted at Bob Barr’s personal website:

RELEVANT LIBERTARIANISM AND WHY ATLAS WEEPS FOR AMERICA

Fellow Libertarians, it is an honor to stand before you today, in 2010, as I did two years ago in accepting the Libertarian Party nomination for President of the United States. In these past two years, many of the consequences which we predicted in 2008 would befall America in the absence of Libertarian Party leadership, have in fact occurred. America’s national debt has ballooned to record and dangerous levels; government spending has risen to levels for which the term “irresponsible” fails to adequately convey the magnitude thereof; our civil liberties, supposed to be guaranteed against government encroachment in our Bill of Rights, continue to be diminished; property rights, understood by us as a fundamental underpinning of a free society, today remain naked in the face of government power; and the sanctity of the right to contract enjoys even less currency today than it did in 2008.

Is it therefore any wonder that Atlas – that Atlas after who Ayn Rand titled her seminal work in 1957 – is weakened today even more than in 2008? But we as Libertarians know that Atlas’ weakened condition is the result not of two years’ of incessant pounding against the foundations of freedom and free enterprise; or of twenty. It is the result of a process that began almost as soon as our country – which held such promise at its inception – was conceived; the process of turning from our nation’s founding premises and towards those of societies from which we emerged as the antithesis.

But those early days were glorious indeed.

America’s founding caused Atlas to stand proud and resolute. Our Declaration of Independence woke Atlas from his centuries-long slumber during which mankind was ruled under conditions of servitude, class structure and constrained economic systems. Freedom and liberty were enshrined in our Constitution when it was ratified in 1788; and Atlas beamed even more proudly in 1791 when, with the ratification of our Bill of Rights, individual liberties were strengthened and government powers expressly limited.

Shortly thereafter, Atlas’ load started to grow heavier as government power – born alternatively of legislative and executive branch greed, and judicial acquiescence — began to chip away at liberty’s foundation on which Atlas stood. The Alien and Sedition Acts, though later overturned, illustrated within America’s first decade how strong yet still were the forces of government power against which George Washington led our forces.

The privileges or immunities clause in the 14th Amendment – intended to protect fundamental rights such as the right to keep and bear arms, belonging to all free men – was artificially and dramatically weakened by an intellectually vapid Supreme Court in 1873’s Slaughterhouse Cases decision. (And there remain to this day justices in that body who pay hollow allegiance to that liberty-debilitating decision.)

Atlas suffered knee-buckling body blows in the infamous efforts to undermine the Great Writ of habeas corpus in the Civil War era (mimicked again even today, in the post-911 world). His ability to be productive was severely diminished with the ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913. Atlas watched with astonishment the disgraceful “Palmer Raids” in the WWI period, and the forced internment of Japanese Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. His guns were confiscated in New Orleans following the natural disaster that was Hurricane Katrina in 2005; rendering him utterly defenseless and completely dependent on the government for protection of his life and property.

Each time economic rights and powers are taken from the American people, whether by the “Square Deal,” “New Deal,” or the “Great Society,” Atlas’ knees bend a little bit more. Every program that sucks vitality from free enterprise, and which steals from the American people the fruits of their labor, causes the ground to shift beneath Atlas, making it harder still for him to stand and bear the weight of free men on his shoulders.

How many more decisions like Kelo v. City of New London can Atlas sustain; can we sustain? How many more pieces of federal legislation that decimate our civil liberties and our fundamental right to privacy can we withstand; can Atlas withstand? Atlas has witnessed with us the occasional small victory – the Heller 2nd Amendment Supreme Court decision in 2008, and Citizens United earlier this year that struck down some of the unconstitutional impediments to political expression that have grown up as cancers surrounding the political process. But these are nowhere near sufficient to nurture Atlas sufficiently to make up for the sapping of his strength, occasioned by decades of growing government power orchestrated by our country’s two monopoly parties.

Will Atlas shrug and walk away? Will America’s promise fade to nothingness? Is Atlas weeping? And if he weeps, why does he weep?

RELEVANT LIBERTARIANISM

I believe Atlas weeps instead of shrugging, because he still cares; he still hopes; he still sees promise in the America of our founding.

But he also may weep because he knows we in the Libertarian Party have failed to consistently offer to the American people the righteous, vigorous, principled and positive alternative to the stale, two-party system that has become America’s political status quo. Atlas knows that the Libertarian Party has more – much more – to offer the people of this country than the current closed system dominated by the Republican and Democratic Parties, with their cadres of superficially charismatic leaders able to mouth sound bites but little else.

Atlas may weep because we have let him down by allowing ourselves to chase false priorities, and to dissipate the energy of our convictions on esoteric exercises of little or no relevance to the real political world.

If Atlas does so mourn, then let us as Libertarians this year become once again Atlas’ champion.

After all, it is the Libertarian Party alone among organized politics that shares the concern for and commitment to freedom that keeps Atlas from shrugging. It is the Libertarian Party alone among America’s political parties that possesses the understanding of liberty and freedom that launched this country as the engine of economic capitalism and technological innovation; which became in short order the lodestar to guide much of the world.

It is the Libertarian Party, alone within America’s political system, that understands why — with the surge of liberalism and statism in the 1930s and which accelerated in the 1960s — Atlas nearly shrugged and walked away; which would have crippled human progress perhaps permanently.
But we – as Atlas – also know that the human spirit of reason, resourcefulness, and productivity, is not dead; that it is alive even if somnambulant among the vast majority of our countrymen.

Yes, the challenge is great; even daunting. The federal government now eagerly seeks to gobble up huge segments of our economy, our businesses and other institutions – health care one day, the auto industry the next, and the financial services sector for dessert. The two monopoly political parties offer no or feeble resistance.

It would be easy for Atlas to shrug; just as it would be easy for us as Libertarian Party members, to shrug and walk away to debate among ourselves and to grouse about how bad things are.

But we as America’s Political Party do not look for the easy way; nor does Atlas. He weeps for America and for liberty’s loss because he knows our nation’s heritage and potential are being squandered, wasted and dissipated; and also because he understands it can be salvaged.

So also must we undertake those things and take those steps to brace up Atlas; to fan liberty’s light, not with empty rhetoric and internal squabbling, but by fashioning a message of true and relevant liberty. That is, liberty based on the fundamental libertarian philosophy of maximized individual freedom and minimized government power; but which at the same moment is relevant to the broad range of voters across the country — voters who are tired and deeply mistrustful of the status quo political and governmental systems in America, and who are growing more so.

Relevant Libertarianism means articulating a message using words comprehensible to others who may not be steeped in our movement’s work. What is Relevant Libertarianism?

  • Relevant Libertarianism tells America’s business – small and large — that their long years of having the regulatory and tax tails of the dog dictate their entire business plan need no longer continue.
  • Relevant Libertarianism shows American families that control of the education of their children will be once again placed in their hands, not those of government bureaucrats.
  • Relevant Libertarianism indicates unequivocally that decisions between a patient and a doctor are made between the patient and the doctor, without the intervening and arbitrary filter of so-called “government health care” bureaucrats or, even worse, the IRS.
  • Relevant Libertarianism promises America’s taxpayers that the country’s oppressive, complex, unfair and unfathomable tax system must and will be dismantled – not all at once or overnight, but that at least the process of dismantling it will begin.
  • Relevant Libertarianism reminds voters that they can at long last have a real voice for real change in our country’s political present and future.
  • Relevant Libertarianism clarifies that our system of criminal laws and procedures, which continues to grow and manifest itself far, far beyond those laws that are necessary or even reasonable for a free and ordered society, will be fundamentally reevaluated and reconstituted so as to protect liberty rather than stifling and taking liberty a criminal law “Grace Commission,” so to speak).
  • Relevant Libertarianism ensures that those laws on the books that are necessary and reasonable to ensure freedom, liberty and a fair and open economic system, are actually enforced consistently and appropriately; and not by creating massive, oppressive, and intrusive regulatory structures every time there is a problem within a particular sector of our economy.
  • Relevant Libertarianism shouts loud and clear across the land that the days of the Nanny State are over and the re-dawning of the Freedom State are again within the grasp of the American people.

    These messages, which already resonate in the hearts of the vast majority of Americans, must be articulated by us through a short, clear and precise platform and agenda that is unequivocal in its enunciation of real-life political freedom. The message must be brought to individuals, businesses and communities across the country by candidates who are articulate and who can and will relate to real-life voters and businesspeople.

    The vehicle for bringing that message must be a political party that behaves like a political party – a party that develops and maintains a functioning and responsive organizational structure; a party that works consistently to fund its endeavors; and a party that fields candidates capable of and oriented toward accomplishing real political goals in the real world.

    We must develop a platform that does not require readers to employ a dictionary or a thesaurus in order to comprehend its message and its relevance to them.

    Words are a bridge between the party and the voters. Words in a Platform or a Statement of Principles actually do impact how people view us; using words that are unnecessarily opaque, even unintelligible to the voters, not only obscure our message, but turn potential voters, supporters and even candidates, away. It is not an abrogation of our allegiance to our philosophy or goals, to craft a Platform, a Statement of Principles, and other documents for public consumption, that speak in plain English and convey relevance to today’s voters and candidates. Simply put, proceeding thusly aids in accomplishing political goals in the real world — which, after all, should be the goal of any political party.

    This is critically important today because American voters are ready for a message of Relevant Libertarianism; they have always been ready for such a message. It is not just our heritage as libertarians, it is America’s heritage. However, the American electorate will not flock to our party for this reason alone. The barricades to freedom erected and manned by the two monopoly parties are tall, wide and formidable. Words alone; internal debates alone will not breach these barriers.

    But words coupled with a strong organization, well-funded and focused on real-life issues, fighting battles well-chosen and not scatter-shot, will begin to overcome decades of freedom-stifling laws and regulations standing between citizens and political liberty.

    These tools, if they are well and consistently executed over the long haul, will serve to renourish and reinvigorate Atlas; giving him hope once again that America’s promise, once bright but now dramatically dimmed, will again radiate vigorously. If we do our job as America’s Libertarian Party – as America’s Political Party – Atlas will no longer weep; he will no longer contemplate shrugging off the productive world.

    Our work will be his hope – America’s hope – for a real rebirth of Liberty in the real world. This is our challenge; this is America’s challenge. If we fail, America fails; and the world will be a far colder, darker place for generations to come. We cannot allow that to happen. Let us commit here, in two thousand and ten — in the year of America’s independence the two-hundred and thirty-fourth – that the Libertarian Party will at long last meet its true potential and destiny in the real world; for real, living Freedom. Atlas waits. America waits. Let us not let them down.

  • RELEVANT LIBERTARIANISM AND WHY ATLAS WEEPS FOR AMERICA

    Fellow Libertarians, it is an honor to stand before you today, in 2010, as I did two years ago in accepting the Libertarian Party nomination for President of the United States. In these past two years, many of the consequences which we predicted in 2008 would befall America in the absence of Libertarian Party leadership, have in fact occurred. America’s national debt has ballooned to record and dangerous levels; government spending has risen to levels for which the term “irresponsible” fails to adequately convey the magnitude thereof; our civil liberties, supposed to be guaranteed against government encroachment in our Bill of Rights, continue to be diminished; property rights, understood by us as a fundamental underpinning of a free society, today remain naked in the face of government power; and the sanctity of the right to contract enjoys even less currency today than it did in 2008.

    Is it therefore any wonder that Atlas – that Atlas after who Ayn Rand titled her seminal work in 1957 – is weakened today even more than in 2008? But we as Libertarians know that Atlas’ weakened condition is the result not of two years’ of incessant pounding against the foundations of freedom and free enterprise; or of twenty. It is the result of a process that began almost as soon as our country – which held such promise at its inception – was conceived; the process of turning from our nation’s founding premises and towards those of societies from which we emerged as the antithesis.

    But those early days were glorious indeed.

    America’s founding caused Atlas to stand proud and resolute. Our Declaration of Independence woke Atlas from his centuries-long slumber during which mankind was ruled under conditions of servitude, class structure and constrained economic systems. Freedom and liberty were enshrined in our Constitution when it was ratified in 1788; and Atlas beamed even more proudly in 1791 when, with the ratification of our Bill of Rights, individual liberties were strengthened and government powers expressly limited.

    Shortly thereafter, Atlas’ load started to grow heavier as government power – born alternatively of legislative and executive branch greed, and judicial acquiescence — began to chip away at liberty’s foundation on which Atlas stood. The Alien and Sedition Acts, though later overturned, illustrated within America’s first decade how strong yet still were the forces of government power against which George Washington led our forces.

    The privileges or immunities clause in the 14th Amendment – intended to protect fundamental rights such as the right to keep and bear arms, belonging to all free men – was artificially and dramatically weakened by an intellectually vapid Supreme Court in 1873’s Slaughterhouse Cases decision. (And there remain to this day justices in that body who pay hollow allegiance to that liberty-debilitating decision.)

    Atlas suffered knee-buckling body blows in the infamous efforts to undermine the Great Writ of habeas corpus in the Civil War era (mimicked again even today, in the post-911 world). His ability to be productive was severely diminished with the ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913. Atlas watched with astonishment the disgraceful “Palmer Raids” in the WWI period, and the forced internment of Japanese Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. His guns were confiscated in New Orleans following the natural disaster that was Hurricane Katrina in 2005; rendering him utterly defenseless and completely dependent on the government for protection of his life and property.

    Each time economic rights and powers are taken from the American people, whether by the “Square Deal,” “New Deal,” or the “Great Society,” Atlas’ knees bend a little bit more. Every program that sucks vitality from free enterprise, and which steals from the American people the fruits of their labor, causes the ground to shift beneath Atlas, making it harder still for him to stand and bear the weight of free men on his shoulders.

    How many more decisions like Kelo v. City of New London can Atlas sustain; can we sustain? How many more pieces of federal legislation that decimate our civil liberties and our fundamental right to privacy can we withstand; can Atlas withstand? Atlas has witnessed with us the occasional small victory – the Heller 2nd Amendment Supreme Court decision in 2008, and Citizens United earlier this year that struck down some of the unconstitutional impediments to political expression that have grown up as cancers surrounding the political process. But these are nowhere near sufficient to nurture Atlas sufficiently to make up for the sapping of his strength, occasioned by decades of growing government power orchestrated by our country’s two monopoly parties.

    Will Atlas shrug and walk away? Will America’s promise fade to nothingness? Is Atlas weeping? And if he weeps, why does he weep?

    RELEVANT LIBERTARIANISM

    I believe Atlas weeps instead of shrugging, because he still cares; he still hopes; he still sees promise in the America of our founding.

    But he also may weep because he knows we in the Libertarian Party have failed to consistently offer to the American people the righteous, vigorous, principled and positive alternative to the stale, two-party system that has become America’s political status quo. Atlas knows that the Libertarian Party has more – much more – to offer the people of this country than the current closed system dominated by the Republican and Democratic Parties, with their cadres of superficially charismatic leaders able to mouth sound bites but little else.

    Atlas may weep because we have let him down by allowing ourselves to chase false priorities, and to dissipate the energy of our convictions on esoteric exercises of little or no relevance to the real political world.

    If Atlas does so mourn, then let us as Libertarians this year become once again Atlas’ champion.

    After all, it is the Libertarian Party alone among organized politics that shares the concern for and commitment to freedom that keeps Atlas from shrugging. It is the Libertarian Party alone among America’s political parties that possesses the understanding of liberty and freedom that launched this country as the engine of economic capitalism and technological innovation; which became in short order the lodestar to guide much of the world.

    It is the Libertarian Party, alone within America’s political system, that understands why — with the surge of liberalism and statism in the 1930s and which accelerated in the 1960s — Atlas nearly shrugged and walked away; which would have crippled human progress perhaps permanently.
    But we – as Atlas – also know that the human spirit of reason, resourcefulness, and productivity, is not dead; that it is alive even if somnambulant among the vast majority of our countrymen.

    Yes, the challenge is great; even daunting. The federal government now eagerly seeks to gobble up huge segments of our economy, our businesses and other institutions – health care one day, the auto industry the next, and the financial services sector for dessert. The two monopoly political parties offer no or feeble resistance.

    It would be easy for Atlas to shrug; just as it would be easy for us as Libertarian Party members, to shrug and walk away to debate among ourselves and to grouse about how bad things are.

    But we as America’s Political Party do not look for the easy way; nor does Atlas. He weeps for America and for liberty’s loss because he knows our nation’s heritage and potential are being squandered, wasted and dissipated; and also because he understands it can be salvaged.

    So also must we undertake those things and take those steps to brace up Atlas; to fan liberty’s light, not with empty rhetoric and internal squabbling, but by fashioning a message of true and relevant liberty. That is, liberty based on the fundamental libertarian philosophy of maximized individual freedom and minimized government power; but which at the same moment is relevant to the broad range of voters across the country — voters who are tired and deeply mistrustful of the status quo political and governmental systems in America, and who are growing more so.

    Relevant Libertarianism means articulating a message using words comprehensible to others who may not be steeped in our movement’s work. What is Relevant Libertarianism?

  • Relevant Libertarianism tells America’s business – small and large — that their long years of having the regulatory and tax tails of the dog dictate their entire business plan need no longer continue.
  • Relevant Libertarianism shows American families that control of the education of their children will be once again placed in their hands, not those of government bureaucrats.
  • Relevant Libertarianism indicates unequivocally that decisions between a patient and a doctor are made between the patient and the doctor, without the intervening and arbitrary filter of so-called “government health care” bureaucrats or, even worse, the IRS.
  • Relevant Libertarianism promises America’s taxpayers that the country’s oppressive, complex, unfair and unfathomable tax system must and will be dismantled – not all at once or overnight, but that at least the process of dismantling it will begin.
  • Relevant Libertarianism reminds voters that they can at long last have a real voice for real change in our country’s political present and future.
  • Relevant Libertarianism clarifies that our system of criminal laws and procedures, which continues to grow and manifest itself far, far beyond those laws that are necessary or even reasonable for a free and ordered society, will be fundamentally reevaluated and reconstituted so as to protect liberty rather than stifling and taking liberty a criminal law “Grace Commission,” so to speak).
  • Relevant Libertarianism ensures that those laws on the books that are necessary and reasonable to ensure freedom, liberty and a fair and open economic system, are actually enforced consistently and appropriately; and not by creating massive, oppressive, and intrusive regulatory structures every time there is a problem within a particular sector of our economy.
  • Relevant Libertarianism shouts loud and clear across the land that the days of the Nanny State are over and the re-dawning of the Freedom State are again within the grasp of the American people.

    These messages, which already resonate in the hearts of the vast majority of Americans, must be articulated by us through a short, clear and precise platform and agenda that is unequivocal in its enunciation of real-life political freedom. The message must be brought to individuals, businesses and communities across the country by candidates who are articulate and who can and will relate to real-life voters and businesspeople.

    The vehicle for bringing that message must be a political party that behaves like a political party – a party that develops and maintains a functioning and responsive organizational structure; a party that works consistently to fund its endeavors; and a party that fields candidates capable of and oriented toward accomplishing real political goals in the real world.

    We must develop a platform that does not require readers to employ a dictionary or a thesaurus in order to comprehend its message and its relevance to them.

    Words are a bridge between the party and the voters. Words in a Platform or a Statement of Principles actually do impact how people view us; using words that are unnecessarily opaque, even unintelligible to the voters, not only obscure our message, but turn potential voters, supporters and even candidates, away. It is not an abrogation of our allegiance to our philosophy or goals, to craft a Platform, a Statement of Principles, and other documents for public consumption, that speak in plain English and convey relevance to today’s voters and candidates. Simply put, proceeding thusly aids in accomplishing political goals in the real world — which, after all, should be the goal of any political party.

    This is critically important today because American voters are ready for a message of Relevant Libertarianism; they have always been ready for such a message. It is not just our heritage as libertarians, it is America’s heritage. However, the American electorate will not flock to our party for this reason alone. The barricades to freedom erected and manned by the two monopoly parties are tall, wide and formidable. Words alone; internal debates alone will not breach these barriers.

    But words coupled with a strong organization, well-funded and focused on real-life issues, fighting battles well-chosen and not scatter-shot, will begin to overcome decades of freedom-stifling laws and regulations standing between citizens and political liberty.

    These tools, if they are well and consistently executed over the long haul, will serve to renourish and reinvigorate Atlas; giving him hope once again that America’s promise, once bright but now dramatically dimmed, will again radiate vigorously. If we do our job as America’s Libertarian Party – as America’s Political Party – Atlas will no longer weep; he will no longer contemplate shrugging off the productive world.

    Our work will be his hope – America’s hope – for a real rebirth of Liberty in the real world. This is our challenge; this is America’s challenge. If we fail, America fails; and the world will be a far colder, darker place for generations to come. We cannot allow that to happen. Let us commit here, in two thousand and ten — in the year of America’s independence the two-hundred and thirty-fourth – that the Libertarian Party will at long last meet its true potential and destiny in the real world; for real, living Freedom. Atlas waits. America waits. Let us not let them down.

  • 28 thoughts on “Bob Barr’s Keynote Speech To The Libertarian Party National Convention

    1. Spence

      In 2008, I begrudgingly accepted Barr as the Libertarian nominee for POTUS, hoping that maybe some of his pragmatism would rub off on downticket candidates — you know, the kind the LP prefers to ignore — and with the revamp of the LP platform, give libertarians a credible brand for once. The kind that’s approachable to blue collar workers that haven’t been committed to the mental institution; women and the minorities that libertarian philosophy would actually benefit; and disaffected liberal intellectuals soured on the Democrats’ majority prospects and looking for an alternative/protest.

      At that time there were (and are still) 3 factions in the LP: Milsted’s reformers, the radical poofertarians whose concept of “me first” meant all aspects of libertarianism that were remotely utilitarian are evil, and the LINOs, which were mainly disenfranchised republicans like Barr.

      I hoped that with a ticket like Barr/Kubby (*cough*) running a targeted campaign, a newly focused electoral strategy for local and state races, and a redesigned website would give the LP some inkling of success after a dismal 30-year track record of failure.

      How naive was I. Anyone that expects anything but rationalized failure from the LP is sorely mistaken. The convention this year will not bring anything radical. Not even if Phillies becomes chair. The LP is a failed, poisonous brand, that hurts libertarianism rather than promotes it, and its members are sycophantic gun/gold bugs, hosting weekly meetups at the nearest Denny’s.

      But of course… it’s BLASPHEMY to suggest starting from scratch.

    2. NewFederalist

      Spence- how would you improve the prospects for the LP? I am not trying to bust your chops… I am truly curious. I left the party 25 years ago although I still vote Libertarian as the “lesser of three (or more) evils”. I am ready for a serious party to challenge the Demorepublicrats before it is too late (if it isn’t already). Thanks.

    3. OneEyedPony

      Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Independents, and other small parties will be better off uniting and taking over the current Mutated Rino Republican party of the Grand Ole Party.

      It’s apparent, the current Duopoly fascist rigged system is here to take our freedoms, liberties, and wealth.

      When the people unite and the government fears this, there is Liberty.

      Time to take on the Neocons with a vengence, because we have experienced the past few years how they’re using every resource to preserve their stranglehold politically at all levels.

      Let’s unite and take back the republican party to where it once stood for:

      Liberty, Small government, The US Constitution, Independence, and Freedoms for the people.

    4. Jim Bovard

      Has someone done a verbatim transcript of the speech?

      There was a reference to “meager resources” early in Barr’s comment that is not visible in the speech text on his website.

    5. Tom Blanton

      Let’s unite and take back the republican party to where it once stood for:

      Liberty, Small government, The US Constitution, Independence, and Freedoms for the people.

      Let’s see, that would have been from December 6, 1937 to December 12, 1937.

    6. Robert Milnes

      Radicals take over! LP presidential ticket=LINO, reactionary, counterrevolutionary, dixiecrat conservative, constitutional theocrat NEVER AGAIN!

    7. Spence

      “How would you improve the prospects for the LP? I am not trying to bust your chops… I am truly curious.”

      Just like I said. The LP is a failed brand. We need to do away with it completely. Those who want to play debate club politics and go and join the Boston Tea Party; it was made for radicals, by radicals. Plain and simple.

      The LINOs will either move back to the Republican Party or Constitution Party.

      That leaves one faction left: the pragmatic libertarians. The ones that are politically savvy, that shave their 3-foot ZZ Top beards before going out in public, the ones that know better than to let people in Guy Fawkes masks or people like Starchild wander around in front of CSPAN cameras…

      A new libertarian party would incorporate 3 strategies:

      -Better outreach to liberals with positive language. (Ending the practice of addressing liberals as “godless statists…” would be a good start.)
      -Banish ideologues like Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand from party literature. Adopt a platform based on Henry George’s “geolibertarian” policies.
      -Run targeted congressional and local campaigns. This runs contrary to the current “hands-off” instinct or “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” sentiment in the LP.

      Right now, the only one in the LP who remotely gets it is Phillies, and even if he miraculously become LNC chair, he’s nowhere near ready to take this organization to where it needs to go. (He talks about grassroots everywhere, but all major parties started out by emerging from a particular region…)

      Obviously, to start any new party, not only do we need to cut ties with the poofertarians and LINOs, but we also need money, and for once, some savvy people to manage it.

      Assuming a new party did take off, then cash for at least the first year would likely not be a problem with enthusiasm as high as it would likely get if the project failed. The first years would be tough, getting ballot access in a few states and vetting the most telegenic and promising candidates, but it can be done with some elbow grease.

      The means are in place. Enough people just need to reach the boiling point. The LP as is occupies this “too-big-to-fail” status as far as libertarian political parties go.

    8. LibertarianBlue

      Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Independents, and other small parties will be better off uniting and taking over the current Mutated Rino Republican party of the Grand Ole Party.

      __________________________

      The problem with that for at least Libertarians and Constitution Party members their are alot of conflicting interests.

    9. Tom Blanton

      It would seem that the so-called pragmatic libertarians that “get it” have not been able to demonstrate any success, despite their vast numbers acting over a long period of time in the LP.

      Complaints about Rand and Rothbard being featured in party literature ring hollow – what party literature?

      Spence underestimates Republicans and Democrats if he believes the LP can eliminate every possible criticism of the LP. No matter how well-groomed LP members are and no matter how mainstream candidates and the LP platform appear, the LP will be criticized, marginalized, and demonized by opponents – that is what opponents do. That is what politics in America is all about.

      It is incredibly naive to believe that the 3 “strategies” that Spence sets forth @ #8 would result in any miracles for the LP. It is not internal problems that prevent the LP from electoral success. The entrenched two-party media-political system prevents all third parties from winning elections.

      To compete with major party candidates’ paid media advertising, third party candidates need to raise and spend at least 100 times more money than they currently do. This would only address one part of the problem.

      Third parties must still deal with laws designed to prevent them from competing on a level playing field and other external situations.

      The so-called pragmatists and their visions of party reform and central planning to achieve “success” are misguided and unrealistic. If they want to “do real politics”, they need to grow a thicker skin to avoid paralysis when criticized. They need to understand what the traditional role of third parties in America has been. They need to understand that the general public will never adopt libertarian ideas unless they are exposed to them.

      The “pragmatists” that continually whine about imaginary “debate clubs” are invariably the very people who start debates by asserting that their foolish strategies will somehow magically transform the political landscape in America. They fail to realize that their “new solution” is nothing new. They also fail to realize the fundamental existing realities that must be overcome – realities that are beyond their control.

      There are no silver bullets, magic beans, or anointed saviors with a master plan. The pragmatists need to quit pretending they are serious, reasonable adults and actually grow up.

    10. Eric Sundwall

      I despise this whole ” the LP’s been a failure for forty years and what they need to do is . . ”

      It’s bunk. The party has stayed cohesive and exists because of it’s ideology. Middle of the road parties like the Reform Party are torn asunder by ridiculous opportunists seeking to placate the angry American middle class mob.

      Every time I run a campaign, it’s a pragmatic attempt to appeal to all types. I have people from the Dems and GOP asking me to be one of them all the time. I subsequently get ceremoniously bounced from the ballot, but still get to make our points. Even the Greens like me. I still quote Rothbard and Mises whenever I can.

      Run for local office the pragmatists will say. Sorry, I’ll not waste years of my life arguing zoning shouldn’t exist to a bunch of finicky city transplants running my little locality. I’d sooner fight them in the streets. They still have to deal with me on the little league fields . . .

      I can proudly say that I’ve publicly debated a sitting Senator and Congressman and they’re no better or smarter than me. Bleeding heart liberals and ignorant reactionaries identify with me for more than my big party elitist counterparts in my generation (ie Scott Murphy & Kirsten Gillibrand).

      Third parties don’t win. If that’s rationalized failure, so be it. If I can’t be libertarian in the arena of politics, I’ll stay home and fix my own roof. But I won’t cry failure or howl about what we should do . . . I’ll always do the real fighting and not look for a laurel wreath on my fuzzy red head.

    11. Captain Obvious

      Legalized child porn, hard drugs, hash dens, whore houses, gambling casinos…that’s the Losertarian party’s idea of a good America. And that is exactly why they’ll never win a major race nor get above their amazing 1.1% high-water mark in presidential elections since their existence.

    12. Alan Pyeatt

      It’s important not to confuse the means with the ends. “Winning” for us means implementing a libertarian society. That is our desired end.

      Running campaigns is our means to that end. If we elect candidates, great, because that helps us implement a libertarian society faster. But if it happens without electing a single candidate, then we’ve won anyway.

      And it will be a cold day in Hell before I advocate replacing Rothbard with Henry George in anything. Not in MY whore house/hash den/child porn studio/Indian casino!

    13. Spence

      @NewFed

      And this (from Tom Blanton, Eric Sunwall, and Alan Pyeatt) is what we’re up against. Poofertarian defeatist rhetoric who use fearmongering JUST AS THEY DENOUNCE THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES OF DOING to keep the LP together.

      “It would seem that the so-called pragmatic libertarians that “get it” have not been able to demonstrate any success, despite their vast numbers acting over a long period of time in the LP…”

      This is ridiculous. The reformers didn’t even get an opportunity to start reforming the LP until ’06. They were shut down twice, in the 80′s, and early 90′s by poofers like yourselves. Then came the LINOs, who hijacked an ideal ticket for the LP in ’08 with Barr/Root.

      Now, you see..I’ve been arguing that the LP is a microcosm of the two major parties for a long time. I mean there are two factions and a minority/independent faction. The major factions are the LINOs/radical poofers. The indies faction is the pragmatic chunk of the LP with reasonable expectations.

      Now, just as liberals like to lump libertarians and conservatives together, poofertarians like to lump LINOs and pragmatics together. Or vice’a’versa. It’s hilarious and some poofers (including you apparently) don’t get the irony in it.

      “It is incredibly naive to believe that the 3 “strategies” that Spence sets forth @ #8 would result in any miracles for the LP. It is not internal problems that prevent the LP from electoral success. The entrenched two-party media-political system prevents all third parties from winning elections.”

      More poofer fearmongering. It is naive to suggest I said there were ONLY three strategies, and if you actually spent some time reading my comment instead of skimming it, you’d see I made references to a NEW party, NOT THE LP, and only for the first few formative years of the new party’s existence.

      I am completely unconvinced that your LP is salvageable. That is why I advocate the complete and utter destruction of the LP. It’s already a sick animal; its cult-like followers acting as if it’s some fallen deity.

      “The so-called pragmatists and their visions of party reform and central planning to achieve “success” are misguided and unrealistic. If they want to “do real politics”, they need to grow a thicker skin to avoid paralysis when criticized. They need to understand what the traditional role of third parties in America has been. They need to understand that the general public will never adopt libertarian ideas unless they are exposed to them.”

      For the last time: read the post. Every. Word. I don’t advocate working within the LP and haven’t for almost 3 years now, since it’s clear the party is no more than a ship of a fools with the LINOs and radicals at the helm.

      I said earlier that poofers just throw everything to the wall and see what sticks. You just confirmed that. MY misguided approach however, seems to have been what got the Democrats and Republicans in power in the first place. They pick their fights all the time! And it works!

      “The “pragmatists” that continually whine about imaginary “debate clubs” are invariably the very people who start debates by asserting that their foolish strategies will somehow magically transform the political landscape in America. They fail to realize that their “new solution” is nothing new.”

      Albert Einstein once said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

      Basically, this means that as long as you’re still looking at the LP as an “educational” organization that runs outreach campaigns rather than FIELD actual candidates, you’re automatically disqualified to talk about party management.

      Since you’re so fond of associating me with the LP, I’ll say this once and once only: last I checked, the Libertarian Party was a registered political party in the United States. NOT A PAC, NOT A THINKTANK – A PARTY!

      A party is not the vehicle you use to teach; a party is the vehicle you use to DO. This requires you operate by rules of politics. If you can’t even understand that the very nature of running a political party means being inclusive and sometimes compromising, and *gasp* centrally coordinating campaigns and outreach efforts, then it’s no wonder you have no idea what I’m talking about.

      It’s like a whole different language… or to try another metaphor, like wanting to run a Mac app on a PC. It’s different code, it’s incompatible.

      A REAL political party is inherently contradictory to the thinktank nature that the LP really is.

      And that’s your problem: first, you’re incorrectly assuming I want to work with the LP, and second, that I want to tack on some electoral reform to the core of the party.

      You’re right, there is no silver bullet or master plan. There is nothing new that I’m suggesting either, which I’ll readily admit. This is the way politics has always been done. And therein lies the key: it’s politics, not education.

      You guys can pat yourselves on the back for getting .8% of the total ballot count any given election year if you want to, but the people who actually understand the history of third parties in this country realize what the problem is.

      It’s not hard to figure out, and it’s VERY realistic to achieve a foothold somewhere. I’d count even a state-only presence on par with the NY Conservative Party, Minnesota Independence, Alaska Independence Party, Vermont Indie Greens, as a much larger success than the LP has ever had. You do this by being open (no NA pledge here), by strategically targeting an area where your money can best go (eliminating the need for raising huge gobs of cash off the bat), focusing on key demographics (read: not just disaffected republicans) , and by building your campaign on something that is third rail to the other two parties – something they don’t have credibility to hijack.

      The alternative is of course, recruit a billionaire, have him build a vanity party, and swoop in the remains (Reform Party). Or of course, wait until society fails and maybe, just maybe, the world will embrace libertarian ideals because they’ve tried everything else…

      Now which do you honestly see as the most likely?

      Pragmatists are willing to play ball. It is the poofers’ who cry foul and take their ball home. They prefer being the antagonists. They demonize compromise. They are generally uncomfortable with head-on debates with liberals/conservatives, and rather battle it out with each over in the name of principle purity. This is why several libertarians are now squirming with the spotlight on them in the aftermath of Rand Paul’s comments being picked up on liberal blogs.

      Poofers are not ready. They insist that they haven’t educated people enough so it’s not fair to immediately have the masses judge them. Well… you guys have had plenty of time to educate. Where are the fruits of your labor?

      The doubter asks why? The doer asks why not?

    14. Spence

      @Alan Pyeatt:

      A couple points… with much more brevity and clearheadedness than my reply to Tom commanded.

      “It’s important not to confuse the means with the ends. “Winning” for us means implementing a libertarian society. That is our desired end.”

      You are absolutely right about that. I have no problem whatsoever with libertarians who have other means of implementing a libertarian party, whether that means educating people with mass outreach campaigns or private sector ventures. Steve Kubby, one of my few LP idols, is the living embodiment of “practice what you preach”.

      Ever since the LP basically repudiated him at the 2008 convention, he’s moved on to taking his efforts to decriminalize drugs straight to the masses through a marijuana-focused VC firm.

      My problem is with this statement:

      “Running campaigns is our means to that end. If we elect candidates, great, because that helps us implement a libertarian society faster. But if it happens without electing a single candidate, then we’ve won anyway.”

      You cannot WIN if you don’t even know how to use the tools provided to you. The current, failed experiment that is the LP is a registered political party, but it THINKS it’s CATO or something. The radicals think that running libertarian scholars as candidates or purging the inclusive faction from their ranks somehow makes their message more appealing to the people. Tell me: how is this more rational than just running the LP like what it was supposed to be? Not some hybridized PAC/party/advocacy group, etc.

      A political party‘s ONLY means to an end is getting elected. Those worried about corruption or compromise or some other evil “c-word” need not even apply. Go educate society! You’re right — getting candidates elected is not the only way a libertarian society may occur.

      BUT…no matter which way you slice it, the status quo has NOT educated the masses, to say nothing of ELECTING our people (anywhere). Eric and Tom may marginalize any local or state control as not worth it, but they once again are reducing the libertarian strategy to a one-pronged attack.

      We must do both! Educate AND get elected. The LP is for the latter, NOT for the former. There are better venues to teach people. I’ll point out the only way Ron Paul amassed the following that he did is because he was running a “message” campaign in a MAJOR PARTY. The LP? Not so major. Their message campaigns don’t even make a ripple in the water. You need to work your way up to that platform first, but the LP’s inherently set up to defeat any such reorganization.

      And personally, it wouldn’t make much difference to me if they did change their ways. As soon as the average voter hears that the LP has been around 4o years and only now started getting reasonable, they’re going to laugh.

      A NEW party, from scratch, is the only thing that can redeem the libertarian movement. Which brings us to:

      “And it will be a cold day in Hell before I advocate replacing Rothbard with Henry George in anything. Not in MY whore house/hash den/child porn studio/Indian casino!”

      This is a free market of ideas. You’re free to continue to support your current poofer edifice and its 2 minutes of hate on all the statist officeholders and sell-outs that actually want to make libertarianism somewhat palatable. If you refuse to even consider Henry George as a source of inspiration, then take your copy of “Atlas Shrugged” or “Man, Economy, and the State” and go elsewhere.

      Since I’m advocating for a NEW party, as most of you seem to conveniently miss (I shouldn’t be surprised), you wouldn’t be forced to join. All I’m tired of is the fearmongering poofers do — whenever a viable alternative (to pulling your chairs in the circle and taking turns decrying gun control) presents itself, all poofers do is work up a bunch of fear, uncertainty, doubt about that plan. It requires a startling amount of doublethink. I once wrote a column that likened poofertarianism to Marxist ideology for this very reason as well. Suffice it to say, the radicals were none-too-pleased.

      The LP is not worth anything to anyone anymore, not even the radicals who hold it hostage.

    15. Tom Blanton

      POOFER (from the Urban Dictionary):

      1. when you get with a girl and engage in sexual contact and right when you cum she poofs and disappears from the face of the earth.

      2. slang term for a gay man, i.e. queen

      3. another word for decota mangrech

      4. a word that means the same thing as fart, only less vulgar

      5. a fart, especially a short, sharp, small fart making little or no noise, generally a feminine kind of fart with little volumetric displacement or effect on the barometric pressure of the surroundings, the opposite of a sonic boom

      6. a cigarette…word popularized by two ice rink workers in dublin, ca

      7. one who has an especially crap taste in music – i.e. Neil Diamond

      8. one who is to prone to buffing and dusting their desk like a stoopid fooker

      9. female sexual organ, commonly called the vagina

      10. a poofer is someone who blows smoke up other people’s butts, i.e., tells people what they want to hear; a liar; distantly related to a brown-noser and a yes-man

      11. mister promise

      Now it is clear what Spence is talking about when he refers to fear mongering poofertarians. It suddenly dawns on me that if everyone in the world thought exactly like Spence, it would be a perfect world.

    16. Spence

      Lol, no real refutation of my points. No real substance at all. And you cite urbandictionary too…wow….just wow.

      On why you’re all called poofertarians:

      http://is.gd/cxqSG

    17. Alan Pyeatt

      Spence, I’m glad we have some common ground, at least. For one thing, we have a common goal, and that is a start.

      But you have made several incorrect assumptions about me. Calling me a “poofertarian” and linking to the nolanchart.com article implies that I am not willing to “approach things strategically, practically.” No. In fact, I have decided not to run for state or national office any more, but rather to find some nice board or commission and actually start serving. I think that’s practical, and it serves the strategy I have in mind.

      I’m not looking to debate the “education vs. election” issue again, and I agree with you that the movement needs to do both. But I don’t buy your assertion that the LP is not for education. In fact, running candidates gives us a unique opportunity to provide that education, especially in an election like this one, where voters are looking for alternative ideas. MSM sure isn’t likely to educate voters about Murray Rothbard OR Henry George. Maybe YOU’RE the one who doesn’t “know how to use the tools provided to you?”

      You mention Ron Paul, and the greater attention he received as a GOP Presidential Candidate. Yes, but how do you think Dr. Paul developed his national support network? Maybe his 1988 LP campaign helped a little bit? I campaigned for him in 1988. Was I wasting my time? No, the work we did back then helped provide the foundation for C4L and the Ron Paul R3VOLution. Hopefully, that seed will keep growing, and I am very glad that there is a faction of the GOP that’s moving in a libertarian direction. We need to do the same with our friends on the left, too.

      I also admire Steve Kubby and the work he has done. However, I disagree that the LP “basically repudiated him at the 2008 convention.” In fact, I remember both Kubby and David Nolan speaking to a group of us outside the convention hall after Bob Barr’s nomination, asking us NOT to abandon the LP, but rather to stick it out and keep fighting to return the LP to its core principles. That’s what we’ve been doing, and will continue to do. Don’t know if you were there to hear that, but that’s what they asked us to do, despite the fact that you seem to have a better plan.

      Go ahead and form your new party; as you say, it’s a free market of ideas. But fragmenting into splinter groups (maybe you heard Darryl Perry’s 15 minutes of fame yesterday?) doesn’t sound like a practical strategy for victory, to me.

      I don’t know what part of my post above you interpreted as “fearmongering.” And I defy you to find anything I have EVER posted on IPR which is defeatist. On the contrary, I have tried to create unity where it’s possible, and unlike the multitude who seem to exist only to snipe and rain all over our parade – anybody seem familiar to you? – I have tried to build esprit d’corps among the people in our movement. That’s part of my – wait for it – STRATEGY.

      BTW, calling me a “poofer” isn’t exactly winning friends and influencing people. Is that part of your “practical” libertarianism? Alienating your natural allies? And then you have the gall to call ME defeatist? Uh, no.

    18. Spence

      You’re an apologist for the radical way, Alan. That much is now simple. I’m here to make friends about as much as you guys are here to achieve something. The truth isn’t about pandering to people. Poofertarians can’t be convinced, plain and simple. This “poof!” concept has them enamored and will ultimately tear down any “consensus” you think that you have constructed.

      It’s funny for me, at least, because for someone that doesn’t want to “debate the ‘education vs. election’ issue again”, you go and bring it back up. And what do you do? You prove my point exactly. You feed into exactly what I was talking about.

      Here you say that you “don’t buy [my] assertion that the LP is not for education” and that “running candidates gives us a unique opportunity to provide that education, especially in an election like this one, where voters are looking for alternative ideas.”

      And I want you to tell me: just how effective has the LP been at tapping into the tea party movement? Just how persuasive have your current methods of “fire-and-brimstone” libertarianism been working on the masses?

      You don’t have to answer now. We can wait until after Election Day. But if you’re prepared to rationalize the poofertarian failure away (just like every other year before), and say something like “it takes time to educate people”, then you better forget it.

      Yes, campaigns DO hand out the requisite literature now and then… but is such literature supposed to be the main focus of the campaign? Is it ever the most effective means of promoting awareness or achieving viability? God no!

      Naturally, I don’t expect the MSM to bring up Rothbard or Henry George. How did you manage to pull it out your ass that I do?

      I have very low expectations. It comes with the territory of being a REALIST and observing (studying) decades of failed third party movements and comparing them with several significant political movements of the past. The MSM is not obsessed with doing history reports on various political party idols, of course not!

      The media is trained to look for things like soundbites and photo-ops, something that an “education-first” LP fails at entirely. But this re-evaluation is beyond them completely. It would require thinking outside the box – something they’re/you’re not even willing to do.

      As I said before, education is crucial, but you DON’T try to plug a square peg in a round hole. So… that whole bit where you tried to turn the tables around on me? That’s right: laughable attempt, try again. Or better yet… just quit the LP and go join CATO or become a regional leader for C4L.

      If you’re concerned about making a difference, you’ll be twice more effective there than in the LP. That’s something I’m even willing to bet on.

      And yes, I DO remember Kubby’s speech to the delegates to try to unite the party. I do remember how in vain it was after they all stomped their feet, had a tempter tantrum and left the floor, allowing Root to take the VP nomination. They betrayed Kubby. Hell, that’s not including the slander of him leading UP TO the convention.

      This past weekend… the libertarians had a chance to elect George Phillies, another sensible libertarian as chair. And? They wiped him out of contention… first ballot. These people do not want to change. They do not want to be viable. They want to perfect their oratory until their echo chamber sings.

      So yes, this has not helped the image of the LP one bit. It absolutely deserves to be abolished. And I will one day proceed in some capacity or another with a new party. What Darryl Perry pulled was a douchey move, of course, and I wouldn’t take it as far as he did, because a) I’m not aiming to convince any more poofertarians and b) the Boston Tea Party was in reality, a poofertarian creation in the first place.

      And I don’t know if you’re humoring me or not, but your suggestion that I just put up, shut up, grow up, and rise up in the LP is deeply ironic. I don’t know if you even understood the part where I was going off on you poofertarians for doing this exact same thing: perpetuating the myth that LP can’t die, because it’d be the end of the freedom movement.

      You DO realize that this is not only the identity crisis the Republican Party and Democratic Parties have been experiencing the past few years (so it’s not unique to the LP), but also it contradicts what you go on to say about not being defeatist or fearmongering?

      P.S. Not only does it contradict your assurances that you’re not fearmongering, it ALSO falls apart when you add that C4L has had more success in just two years than the LP has had in 40. So the LP is definitely not the end-all, be-all of the freedom movement. You can lay that one to rest.

      And because of that, that also brings me to my final point: Ron Paul running for the Libertarian ticket had little impact on birthing the current freedom movement, tea parties, or C4L, so don’t even try to take credit for that.

      Like I said, where are the libertarians now with the tea parties? Oh, I’m sure you guys are filling out loads of registration forms and racking up plenty of dues-paying members.

      Ron Paul owed most of his breakout success to the college crowd, most of whom were barely a year old when he first ran for president. In retrospect, sure, the LP campaign may have helped his credibility, but few would point to it as a deciding factor in their support for him.

      No, C4L and the LP are two different bodies with different infrastructure. There may be some overlap occassionally, but it’s largely one-way. They are mainly courting disaffected independents and republicans, and if they endorse a Libertarian either during the primary season or this November, only then will I be willing to nullify that argument.

      Once again, the poofertarian way blinds you from seeing the LP for what it is: an emperor with no clothes.

    19. Jon

      Spence,

      We need more like you on the Libertarian National Party facebook discussions. Please join and bring these ideas to that forum where they are needed and will have a larger audience.

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