Gary Johnson Contemplates Bowing Out of Politics

Found in NewMexicoWatchdog.org
By Rob Nikolewski
November 9, 2012

This could be end of the political road for Gary Johnson .

In an exclusive interview with Capitol Report New Mexico on Friday morning, the Libertarian Party candidate for president said, “If there’s no path to winning I’m really not” interested in pursuing another run for the presidency. “I’m not interested in duplicating what I’ve just done,” Johnson said via telephone from his home in Taos.

On Election Night, Johnson became the first Libertarian Party presidential candidate to receive more than 1 million votes in a presidential election — something that the national Libertarian Party leadership said it was “thrilled about” — but the former two-term governor of New Mexico said, “I was kind of disappointed” in the showing.

“I thought the numbers would have been higher,” Johnson said.

The rest of the article can be found here .

188 thoughts on “Gary Johnson Contemplates Bowing Out of Politics

  1. Oranje Mike

    I will chalk this up as post election blues. Gary Johnson has more fight than this. We have 4 years to ensure that the LP is on the ballot in all 50 states. We have 4 years to spread the message. The Gov has 4 years to spread the word, even at his own leisure if he so chooses. If he sticks around there’s a good chance the LP can build on this past election.

  2. paulie

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, that was what I was afraid would happen.

    It’s not a one shot deal. If he campaigned actively the next four years he could get much better results AND build the party in the process. Instead we are either going to start from scratch again or have a suboptimal campaign when he finally does decide to run again after all (late in the game so there won’t be time to build much of anything once again).

    Now, would there be a path to actually being president? Not very likely, but who knows? Maybe if he actually didn’t give up and kept going nonstop teh next four years he could get those would-be superpac donors off the sidelines, or maybe outside events with the economy and foreign policy would bring things to a tipping point, or maybe a combination of both.

    Maybe it would take 3 or 4 presidential cycles.

    Instead….back to square one.

  3. PeterO

    This would be a shame, since he has previously and repeatedly said he planned to continue. Perhaps the 1.2 million vote total that is so impressive to the LP is, from his perspective as a former governor, a big disappointment. I expect he will ultimately decide to give it another go, though.

  4. Gene Berkman

    I want to thank Gary Johnson for running as the Libertarian candidate in 2012, and helping to reposition the party as solidly in favor of cutting government, defending a woman’s right to control her own body, and standing for non-discrimination in marriage.

    If he does decide to run again in 2016 as our candidate, ballot status will be easier, and he will apprear on the Michigan ballot. And we have plenty of yard signs left over that we can use again.

    If he does not run, we must either find a similarly qualified candidate, or we should concentrate on Congressional and state legislative races. It would be better to go with NOTA than another Badnarik or Barr campaign.

    But Gov Johnson does not have to make a decision now. He is titular head of The Libertarian Party and can campaign for our candidates and for marijuana referenda in 2014. He can help in some campaigns which do have a chance to win, and see how people respond.

    But surely The Libertarian Party is the real home for a candidate who focused on legalizing marijuana, defending abortion rights and defending gay marriage.

    Thanks Gov. Johnson and we need you in the fight. But you do get to choose your role.

  5. paulie

    @1

    I hope you are correct.

    But he did get out of politics for several years after being Governor – declined efforts to recruit him for 2004 and 2008 – so I would not be surprised.

    This often happens to crossovers who are not used to what we are up against here in exileland. Pat Buchanan for example, or Bob Barr, etc. They expect a much higher level of media, donations and volunteers from their experience with big party politics.

    Then they get smacked with reality and it sends them back to the big parties or out of politics.

    Many people can’t adjust.

    We need a candidate like Harry Browne who understands that the main role of our presidential campaign is to build the party, not to become the white house resident.

    And it sure would be nice to have one with the kind of credibility that comes from two terms as “Governor Veto” AND a heavy emphasis on peace and civil liberties issues.

    Even Browne dithered around and claimed at first that he would only run a second time if the party grew to 200,000 members or some such thing.

    Forget that.

    Just do it.

    Run and try to build it to as many members as possible.

    It’s running that helps build the membership, not membership that will build itself so you can run.

    And for Gaia’s sake … share the contacts both ways with LPHQ and local and state parties and the campaign in real time or as close as humanly possible and follow up on them, to get everyone involved in the campaign AND the national, state and local party as much as possible!

  6. paulie

    This would be a shame, since he has previously and repeatedly said he planned to continue.

    Exactly. But this is just what I was afraid would happen.

    Perhaps the 1.2 million vote total that is so impressive to the LP is, from his perspective as a former governor, a big disappointment.

    Yes it is.

    I was really hoping he was steeled for it, but afraid he was not.


    I expect he will ultimately decide to give it another go, though.

    I sure hope so.

    But I wish it would have been right away, and hope it is not too much longer.

    A lot of momentum can be lost by waiting around.

  7. Oranje Mike

    #4, NOTA? Gary Johnson brings a lot of recognition that we likely could not find again but there’s plenty of solid Libertarians to run on the same principles. Lee Wrights comes to mind.

  8. David Colborne

    I think he’ll be back. At the same time, we need as many people close to him as possible letting him know that the people in the LP don’t view his campaign as a one-time deal and want to build on this as well. This means getting state parties active, building membership numbers, running more local races in 2014, that sort of thing.

  9. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    If GJ chooses not to run, perhaps Judge Gray can be our candidate.

    2016 is so far away, though. Will the Republican party be completely dead by then (I can hope)! Will the Democrats have finally exposed themselves as the enemy of the people that they are? Will there even be a United States as we know it? And of course, there’s the possibility that we’ll have blown ourselves up in the World War III created by Israel attacking Iran.

  10. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I’ll also note that the article was from Friday. He must have been tremendously tired. He has some time to think about it after some quiet time, and time doing the things he loves.

  11. Oranje Mike

    #9, All valid points but if Israel attacks Iran it will be with “our” blessing. I don’t care what Obama and our media will say. As far as I’m concerned the CIA financed Arab Spring is just paving the way for an attack on Iran.

  12. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    OM @ 11, I agree with you that the US will support Israel in an Iranian attack. I almost feel it’s inevitable. I certainly hope I’m wrong.

  13. NewFederalist

    Perhaps the party should just let him be. Maybe someday he will run for office again but I doubt that he has party building as his goal. I believe Jill is right on target that Judge Gray would be a good choice or perhaps Judge Napolitano or better yet… both!

  14. Thomas L. Knapp

    Paulie @ 2,

    “Instead….back to square one.”

    What makes you think that?

    I’ve yet to seen any convincing evidence that the LP’s increased vote count in this cycle was entirely, or nearly entirely, a function of Johnson being the nominee (hint: The Green Party’s candidate this year got almost three times as many votes as the far more politically distinguished 2008 candidate).

    I’ve also seen no evidence whatsoever that any gains which might have been a result of Johnson’s nomination can only be held onto by nominating him again.

  15. paulie

    If he does not run, we must either find a similarly qualified candidate, or we should concentrate on Congressional and state legislative races. It would be better to go with NOTA than another Badnarik or Barr campaign.

    Can’t agree with that one.

    As I have detailed my thoughts in the past….NOTA would be a disaster and thus I would set the bar pretty low before I would support NOTA.

    I do like having it as an option on all our ballots – but I view it as a nuclear option that should not be used except in exceptionally dire circumstances.

  16. Gene Berkman

    Judge Napolitano is an outstanding champion of freedom, but he is anti-abortion. Nominating him would wipe out one of the gains of the Gary Johnson campaign.

  17. Andy

    “defending a woman’s right to control her own body,”

    Assuming that you are talking about abortion here, I don’t even consider this to be a libertarian issue. Furthermore, when Gary Johnson was Governor of New Mexico, he SIGNED A BILL BANNING LATE TERM ABORTIONS, and he also SUPPORTED PARENTAL NOTIFICATION IF A MINOR WANTED TO GET AN ABORTION. Gary Johnson has also stated that abortion should be left for the states to decide, which is the SAME POSITION AS RON PAUL.

  18. Andy

    “It would be better to go with NOTA than another Badnarik or Barr campaign.”

    I agree that potential candidates like Bob Barr should be avoided like the plague, but not running a candidate for President is just flat out stupid. The Libertarian Party’s candidate for President is basically an advertising campaign for the party and the movement, and it’s one of the best, if not the best, advertising campaigns that we’ve got. The Presidential campaign also helps down ticket candidates and helps keep ballot access in several states.

    If the Libertarian Party did not run a candidate for President it would become far more irrelevant than it already is.

  19. Gene Berkman

    TK says (…”The Green Party’s candidate this year got almost three times as many votes as the far more politically distinguished 2008 candidate)”

    Cynthia McKinney had less of a campaign than Jill Stein. As a member of Congress she was best known for questionable statements.

    Also in 2008 every left-liberal was concerned with eliminating Bush League Republicans from power. After 4 years of Obama, out of the tnes of millions of left-liberals that voted for him, a couple hundred thousand were disenchanted.

    Odd how Tom K and George P can look at the record vote total for the LP national ticket and say it does not really matter.

    Come on Tom, you can do better than that. How about look at those 50,000 votes that Roseanne Barr got – that’ s clearly more impressive than 1.2 million votes for the has been Libertarian Party?

  20. Andy

    “Gene Berkman // Nov 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Judge Napolitano is an outstanding champion of freedom, but he is anti-abortion. Nominating him would wipe out one of the gains of the Gary Johnson campaign.”

    You certainly are uninformed on Gary Johnson’s record and position on abortion. See my above post on the matter and look it up if you don’t believe me.

    Also, I don’t think that abortion had anything to do with gains that the Gary Johnson campaign made, or for that matter, for gains that it could have made but did not.

    Ron Paul is pro-life, but he thinks that the issue should be left for each state to decide, and guess what, Ron Paul is way more popular and successful than Gary Johnson and the entire Libertarian Party, and guess what else, Ron Paul has many supporters on both sides of the abortion issue, and he’s got many other supporters who don’t really care that much either way about that issue.

    Andrew Napolitano has the potential to be an excellent candidate for the Libertarian Party, and it would be damn foolish to turn him down if he decided to seek the Libertarian Party’s Presidential nomination.

  21. Andy

    Another factor in 2008 which kept Cynthia McKinney’s vote total down was that Ralph Nader was in the race, so much of the leftist protest vote went to Ralph Nader instead of McKinney.

  22. Gene Berkman

    I am not saying that Gary Johnson got votes because he took a pro-choice position; I am saying that his pro-choice position makes it easier and more comfortable for me to promote The Libertarian Party.

    I supported Ron Paul in 1988 and 2008, despite his position on abortion. In 1988 it was alot more controversial in Libertarian circles, and I was just one of many who backed Paul but disagreed with his abortion position.

    And since 1988 the LP state position on abortion has gotten more ambiguous, even though it was at one time the only position we took that was supported by a majority of Americans.

  23. Andy

    “Odd how Tom K and George P can look at the record vote total for the LP national ticket and say it does not really matter.”

    The more important criteria than raw number of votes is percent of the vote. Gary Johnson got a slightly lower percent of the vote than Ed Clark, so by this standard it was not the best showing every for a Libertarian Party candidate for President.

    I’m not saying that Gary Johnson didn’t do well (relatively speaking), I’m just pointing out that percent of the vote is more important than raw vote total.

  24. paulie

    (hint: The Green Party’s candidate this year got almost three times as many votes as the far more politically distinguished 2008 candidate)

    Stein’s campaign was much better run. In many ways better run than Johnson’s although she had less support base to build off.

    McKinney’s campaign was horribly run. So was Goode’s and Bob Barr’s. And with all due respect, Roseanne Barr’s too.

    Stein’s as I said was run very well.

    Gary Johnson’s did some things well. I would have loved to have seen them do some other things that I did not see them doing, which I saw Harry Browne doing in his LP campaigns and Jil Stein doing in hers.

    Johnson started with a better base than any of them and his credentials and name recognition (such as it is) did score him some media etc that I don’t think Lee could have gotten.

    And compared to either Barr, Goode, or McKinney, Johnson’s campaign was much better managed, so it was a decent combination of material to work with and handling – although of course not perfect in either respect.

    Biggest weakness of the Johnson campaign IMO was how late things came together.

    The college tour only had part of one semester to come together and spent a chunk of it finding its sea legs. Imagine several more semesters to build up the college groups?

    The paid advertising was literally only in the last ten days or so of the campaign. In fact, worse than that, until that time the campaign did not even have 30 second or 1 minute ads that supporters could put on local cable at their own expense outside the campaign!

    You’ll note that Virgil Goode did not do as well as Chuck Baldwin…so it was not the year that made the difference.

    But even if it had been – Johnson and his campaign team both built up a certain amount of following, name recognition and experience with this run.

    100,000 plus twitter followers, 350,000 plus facebook likes, whatever number of youtube shares and so on. A bunch of grassroots fan pages with whatever number of subscribers they have. Media contacts, campus contacts, vendor relationships, various things they learned to do and not to do by trial and error.

    All of that is hard to replicate and we will once again not be nominating a candidate until May of the election year.

    What’s more there is a high chance that Rand Paul will be once again much as his dad was eating up a lot of the existing and would-be support base, time money etc up until he loses to Paul Ryan or Jeb Bush in September.

    And then we are once again at square one…trying to build all that was built through hard work, trial and error in this campaign.

    And most likely without the media/supporter hooks that Johnson had – self made businessman, Governor Veto, climbed Mt Everest with a broken leg etc.

  25. paulie

    I agree that potential candidates like Bob Barr should be avoided like the plague, but not running a candidate for President is just flat out stupid. The Libertarian Party’s candidate for President is basically an advertising campaign for the party and the movement, and it’s one of the best, if not the best, advertising campaigns that we’ve got. The Presidential campaign also helps down ticket candidates and helps keep ballot access in several states.

    If the Libertarian Party did not run a candidate for President it would become far more irrelevant than it already is.

    I agree.

  26. Andy

    “22 Gene Berkman // Nov 11, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I am not saying that Gary Johnson got votes because he took a pro-choice position; I am saying that his pro-choice position makes it easier and more comfortable for me to promote The Libertarian Party.”

    Jesus freaking Christ, Gary did you NOT READ THE PART THAT SAID THAT AS GOVERNOR OF NEW MEXICO, HE SIGNED A BILL BANNING LATE TERM ABORTIONS, AND HE SUPPORTED PARENTAL NOTIFICATION IF MINORS WANTED TO GET ABORTIONS, AND THAT HE THINKS THAT ABORTION SHOULD BE DECIDED AT THE STATE LEVEL, WHICH IS THE SAME POSITION AS RON PAUL?

    The people who think that pro-choice on abortion is a necessary and important statement for a candidate to have would not consider Gary Johnson to be pro-choice.

  27. paulie

    Cynthia McKinney had less of a campaign than Jill Stein. As a member of Congress she was best known for questionable statements.

    Also in 2008 every left-liberal was concerned with eliminating Bush League Republicans from power. After 4 years of Obama, out of the tnes of millions of left-liberals that voted for him, a couple hundred thousand were disenchanted.

    Odd how Tom K and George P can look at the record vote total for the LP national ticket and say it does not really matter.

    Come on Tom, you can do better than that. How about look at those 50,000 votes that Roseanne Barr got – that’ s clearly more impressive than 1.2 million votes for the has been Libertarian Party?

    Here I agree with Gene Berkman.

  28. Michael H. Wilson

    Give the Governor a moment to relax and find out what he want to do. I appreciate the effort he put into the campaign but the LP needs to look at itself and ask how it could have done a better job of supporting his campaign. As Andy points out the presidential campaign is basically an advertising campaign for the LP and the movement but being vague about the ideas being promoted doesn’t help. Too often the LP is too vague.

  29. paulie

    Another factor in 2008 which kept Cynthia McKinney’s vote total down was that Ralph Nader was in the race, so much of the leftist protest vote went to Ralph Nader instead of McKinney.

    Good point, thanks.

  30. NewFederalist

    Gene @16… isn’t disqualifying Judge Napolitano (assuming he even has an interest) from the LP presidential nomination because of his position on one issue rather like so many people who find one thing in the LP platform they don’t like and use that as justification to vote for the Ds or Rs? I never paid much attention to the Judge’s position on abortion but I would guess it is an intellectual one rather than an emotional one.

  31. Andy

    “Stein’s as I said was run very well. ”

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Jill Stein’s campaign was run very well, but it was run better than Cynthia McKinney’s campaign, and going outside of the Green Party, it was run better than the campaigns of Virgil Goode and Bob Barr as well.

    Having said this, the Stein campaign did have some major flaws in the way that it was run as well, particularly when it came to ballot access. They did a lot of ballot access at the last minute and they failed in places where they could have made it.

  32. Gene Berkman

    NOTA would have been preferable to Michael Badnarik or his opponents in 2004. Badnarik was clearly unqualified to be President, and I was not happy with his ability to explain Libertarian positions.

    His opponent Aaron Russo is a good explicator of conspiracy theory, and might help to build that little corner of Libertarian/Constitution Party cooperation, but a proponent of conspiracy theories that many Libertarians reject is a poor spokesman for the LP.

    NOTA would have been preferable to Bob Barr in 2008. I appreciate the effort Bob Barr put into opposing the Bush police state in the 2004 to 2008 period, but his record on public policy while in office was not close enough to the Libertarian position to be convincing.

    His opponent Mary Ruwart is a committed Libertarian intellectual, but she lacks credentials and name recognition adequate to representing a party in a Presidential election.

  33. Andy

    If Andrew Napolitano decides to run for President in 2016 I would probably support him enthusiastically.

  34. paulie

    The more important criteria than raw number of votes is percent of the vote. Gary Johnson got a slightly lower percent of the vote than Ed Clark, so by this standard it was not the best showing every for a Libertarian Party candidate for President.

    I’m not saying that Gary Johnson didn’t do well (relatively speaking), I’m just pointing out that percent of the vote is more important than raw vote total.

    Too early to say, because a lot of votes remain to be tallied.

    That includes write-in votes in Michigan, a problem Ed Clark did not have to contend with.

    Clark was on the ballot in every state. Johnson missed Michigan and Oklahoma, which makes a difference when the percentages are that close (it may have had secondary effects in other states as well).

    Clark had a wealthy and generous running mate who funded that campaign far beyond what Johnson could afford, buying ads that were much cheaper than today’s ads and running against Democrats and Republicans who were spending a lot less than today’s Democrats and Republicans.

    I’ve seen that Johnson was outspent 666 to 1.

    Clark? Not anywhere near that. I don’t think it was even a tenth of that level of discrepancy.

    Clark had 15 months to campaign as the LP’s official nominee, something I wish we would go back to (Ron Nielson agreed in my interview with him). Johnson had only five months – and during the first few of those, a good chunk of his natural support base were spending all their time, money and efforts on behalf of Ron Paul’s latest run for a nomination he was never going to get close to. Also, for the first several months of that most college students – a major part of both Clark’s and Johnson’s campaign success – were on summer break.

    Clark had three semesters to build his campus efforts as the official LP nominee – Fall ’79, Spring ’80 and Fall ’80. Johnson had only the fall of ’12, not nearly enough time to fully build momentum. He didn’t get paid ads on TV until the last ten days or so of the campaign! Many things on the campaign felt like they just started to come together at the very end.

    If we had another year to keep the campaign up right now? I think we could have 5 or 10 million votes if we could keep building the momentum.

    Bob Barr and Wayne Root endorsed Romney. Had both Roger MacBride AND David Bergland been campaigning for Reagan in ’80, would that have suppressed Clark’s percentage at least somewhat?

  35. Trent Hill

    If winning an election was his goal, then he ran for the wrong office with the wrong party. Run for US Senate as a Republican if you want to win.

  36. Gene Berkman

    NF @ 30 – I believe Judge Napolitano is Catholic – and he apparently follows Catholic teaching on the issue. It does not detract from his outstanding commitment to freedom on other issues.

    But it is an important public policy issue, and The Libertarian Party until 1988 was unambiguous in taking the pro-choice position. In 1988 the platform remained clearly pro-choice, and Ron Paul was allowed to disagree with the platform.

    Then several years later – I think 1996 – the LP plank on abortion, which stated a position many people agree with – more than any other plank in the platform at the time – was muddied up to appease the anti-choice element, many of whom had joined after the Ron Paul campaign.

    Now after many years we had a candidate who yes, did state his personal opposition, but who took a clearly pro-choice position.

    I supported Ron Paul in 1988 because he had a clear record supporting freedom for many years, and a national following in dissident right-wing politics. I don’t see Judge Napolitano having the same assets to justify goig backward on this issue.
    I don’t see that nominating a former local judge with little name reco

  37. paulie

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Jill Stein’s campaign was run very well, but it was run better than Cynthia McKinney’s campaign, and going outside of the Green Party, it was run better than the campaigns of Virgil Goode and Bob Barr as well.

    Having said this, the Stein campaign did have some major flaws in the way that it was run as well, particularly when it came to ballot access. They did a lot of ballot access at the last minute and they failed in places where they could have made it.

    OK, fair caveat.

    Aside from ballot access everything I saw them do was done very well and used to maximize and leverage their support.

    Their ballot access was way too last minute and could have been done better.

    Too bad Erika went with Tyler instead of us.

    But everything else I saw done was done very well and I’m saving it all to emulate if an when I get a chance.

    I recognize quality work when I see it.

  38. Andy

    “Gene Berkman // Nov 11, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    NOTA would have been preferable to Michael Badnarik or his opponents in 2004. Badnarik was clearly unqualified to be President, and I was not happy with his ability to explain Libertarian positions.”

    I totally disagree. The main problem with Badnarik was that his campaign lacked money. I thought that he was “libertarian enough” and he worked hard on the campaign trail.

    “His opponent Aaron Russo is a good explicator of conspiracy theory, and might help to build that little corner of Libertarian/Constitution Party cooperation, but a proponent of conspiracy theories that many Libertarians reject is a poor spokesman for the LP.”

    Aaron Russo is the candidate for whom I would have voted to be the nominee if I had attended the 2004 LP National Convention.

    “NOTA would have been preferable to Bob Barr in 2008. I appreciate the effort Bob Barr put into opposing the Bush police state in the 2004 to 2008 period, but his record on public policy while in office was not close enough to the Libertarian position to be convincing.”

    Bob Barr was a dreadful candidate who did much damage to the party, and in spite of the talk about him raising $35-$40 million, he didn’t raise that much more than Badnarik did (I think it was around $500,000 more, which is rather trivial for a Presidential campaign).

    On the flip side, not having a candidate for President can cause the party to lose ballot access in some states, but then again, Bob Barr was such a dreadful candidate that maybe in this case risking ballot access in a few states may have been worth if it it meant not having that big government loving con-man represent the party.

    “His opponent Mary Ruwart is a committed Libertarian intellectual, but she lacks credentials and name recognition adequate to representing a party in a Presidential election.”

    If there is a choice between two candidates who are about the same on issues and philosophy, but one of them is more famous or has more money or has more charisma than the other one, I’ll take the candidate with more fame or money or charisma, but if the one candidate is more well known or has more fancy credentials next to their name, but this person has obvious gaping holes in their philosophy, and has questionable loyalty to the libertarian movement, then I will go with the lesser known candidate who has got the philosophy down (unless I’ve got some other reason to doubt a person who sounds good on philosophy).

    I personally don’t care that much about credentials. I care more about issues and philosophy and the ability to communicate to the public and to inspire people to join the cause. Sure, I prefer a famous candidate who has or can raise a lot of money, but this does not mean that I abandon issues and philosophy.

  39. NewFederalist

    Clark did not have the internet to work with so the 5 minute “infomercial” ads were very necessary and that is where Koch’s money came in very handy. Also, the campaign book and loads of printed material was a big help for Clark. Still the internet is an inexpensive tool to reach lots of people that Ed Clark did not have.

  40. Andy

    “I don’t see Judge Napolitano having the same assets to justify goig backward on this issue.”

    Andrew Napolitano is well known, he’s an excellent speaker, and he sounds really good on issues and philosophy. I think that he’s probably sincere as well. If so, he’d make an excellent candidate.

  41. Andy

    Ed Clark also had to contend with 3 candidates in the race that were higher profile than he was in Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and John Anderson.

    Gary Johnson only had to contend with 2 candidates who were higher profile than he was in Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney.

  42. NewFederalist

    I agree with Andy @ 40… I think Judge Napolitano is at least as well known as Governor Johnson and would make an excellent nominee if he has an interest. His position on abortion is no more a show stopper than Johnson’s position on the “Fair Tax”.

  43. paulie

    NOTA would have been preferable to Michael Badnarik or his opponents in 2004. Badnarik was clearly unqualified to be President, and I was not happy with his ability to explain Libertarian positions.

    I don’t agree. I was not happy to see Badnarik nominated, but I was very pleasantly surprised to see how his campaign turned out. IMO he was easily better than NOTA.


    His opponent Aaron Russo is a good explicator of conspiracy theory, and might help to build that little corner of Libertarian/Constitution Party cooperation, but a proponent of conspiracy theories that many Libertarians reject is a poor spokesman for the LP.

    I think Aaron Russo would have been an excellent candidate and I am very sorry we did not nominate him.


    NOTA would have been preferable to Bob Barr in 2008. I appreciate the effort Bob Barr put into opposing the Bush police state in the 2004 to 2008 period, but his record on public policy while in office was not close enough to the Libertarian position to be convincing.

    This is the closest call of your four examples, but again I disagree. I don’t think NOTA would have been better than Barr.

    When Barr was nominated I was afraid it would be a major disaster for the Libertarian brand, especially with a VP who also leaned strongly to the right. Instead I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out to be one huge non-eventful yawn. As far as I could tell there was not very much of a campaign. The potential for serious damage to the LP brand was averted.

    To this day I am still not running into people who say they were brought into the LP by that campaign, but I am also running into far fewer people than I feared I would who were turned off to the LP by it, and even most of the ones who were are more forgiving than I feared they would be and willing to give us another chance.

    In a way, Barr almost WAS NOTA.

    Which, given who he was, was a good thing.

    It wasn’t much of a campaign, but it was something, and it did not hurt us…at least not much. We came, we saw, we left.


    His opponent Mary Ruwart is a committed Libertarian intellectual, but she lacks credentials and name recognition adequate to representing a party in a Presidential election.

    I think she could have gotten a lot more support from the Ron Paul grassroots than Bob Barr did. Just because she is not a big name or an ex Governor or Congresswoman does not mean her campaign had to have sucked. It is possible she could have been the Libertarian Jill Stein. Which would not have sucked.

  44. Gene Berkman

    Actually, the presence of John Anderson in the race probably helped Ed Clark.

    Disenchantment with President Carter by the liberal media helped make John Anderson a well known name. Anderson’s ability to mouth liberal cliches despite his record in Congress as a ten term Republican enabled the media to build him up at Carter’s expense.

    But the media build-up of Anderson had the corallary effect of bringing the two party system into question. And so Clark got some free media along with the paid ads. And Clark, who had no experience in public office – was made more credible just because regular media attention on John Anderson made choices outside the two parties more credible.

  45. Andy

    “NewFederalist // Nov 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    I agree with Andy @ 40… I think Judge Napolitano is at least as well known as Governor Johnson and would make an excellent nominee if he has an interest. His position on abortion is no more a show stopper than Johnson’s position on the ‘Fair Tax’.”

    Supporting the Fair Tax is a much worse position to take.

  46. paulie

    If there is a choice between two candidates who are about the same on issues and philosophy, but one of them is more famous or has more money or has more charisma than the other one, I’ll take the candidate with more fame or money or charisma, but if the one candidate is more well known or has more fancy credentials next to their name, but this person has obvious gaping holes in their philosophy, and has questionable loyalty to the libertarian movement, then I will go with the lesser known candidate who has got the philosophy down (unless I’ve got some other reason to doubt a person who sounds good on philosophy).

    I personally don’t care that much about credentials. I care more about issues and philosophy and the ability to communicate to the public and to inspire people to join the cause. Sure, I prefer a famous candidate who has or can raise a lot of money, but this does not mean that I abandon issues and philosophy.

    Right again…………..but it’s a balance. A certain amount of credentials outweighs a certain amount of philosophical difference – someone with no credentials that supported the so-called “fair” tax I wouldn’t even consider for a minute.

    So, the factors have to be weighed, among others

  47. Andy

    “It wasn’t much of a campaign, but it was something, and it did not hurt us…at least not much. We came, we saw, we left. ”

    Actually, Bob Barr hurt the Libertarian Party with one of the most important groups of all, and that is the Ron Paul supporters. I’ve run into numerous Ron Paul supporters around the country who said that they did not vote for the Libertarian Party because of Bob Barr. Nominating Bob Barr made it look like the Libertarian Party “sold out,” which it did to some extent when a majority of delegates at the 2008 National Convention voted for Bob Barr.

    Gary Johnson was not as offensive as Bob Barr, so I think that a lot of the people who shunned the Libertarian Party in 2008 are starting to come back and give the LP a second look (I think that a lot of them voted for the LP this year), however, the fact remains that Bob Barr did damage the Libertarian Party’s credibility and the party has still not fully recovered from it.

  48. Brian Holtz

    [the LP stated position on abortion] was at one time the only position we took that was supported by a majority of Americans.

    When was that?

    For polling data on how popular the LP’s absolutist abortion position is, see The Undefended Popular High Ground On Abortion.

    (I raised the $200 challenge there to $1000, but nobody has ever identified an issue that qualifies them to claim the prize.)

    P.S. Here’s my platform recommendation for this issue:

    1.4. Procreation Abortion
    Recognizing that when human rights begin abortion is a sensitive issue on which Libertarians can disagree in good faith and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should not restrict, subsidize, or dictate the decision to begin or end one’s pregnancy be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

  49. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Odd how Tom K and George P can look at the record vote total for the LP national ticket and say it does not really matter.”

    Where did I say any such thing?

    What I said is that it’s not necessarily true that the record vote total for the LP’s national ticket is entirely a function of the composition of that ticket.

  50. Andy

    Thomas Knapp said: “What I said is that it’s not necessarily true that the record vote total for the LP’s national ticket is entirely a function of the composition of that ticket.”

    Yeah, the campaign did a lot of things right, but two of the biggest reasons they did (relatively) well are because there was no higher profile minor party or independent candidate in the race, and the fact that the LP was on the ballot in more states than any other minor party or independent candidate.

  51. paulie

    Actually, Bob Barr hurt the Libertarian Party with one of the most important groups of all, and that is the Ron Paul supporters. I’ve run into numerous Ron Paul supporters around the country who said that they did not vote for the Libertarian Party because of Bob Barr. Nominating Bob Barr made it look like the Libertarian Party “sold out,” which it did to some extent when a majority of delegates at the 2008 National Convention voted for Bob Barr.

    Gary Johnson was not as offensive as Bob Barr, so I think that a lot of the people who shunned the Libertarian Party in 2008 are starting to come back and give the LP a second look (I think that a lot of them voted for the LP this year), however, the fact remains that Bob Barr did damage the Libertarian Party’s credibility and the party has still not fully recovered from it.

    I’ve honestly not run into nearly as many Ron Paul supporters or anyone else telling me Bob Barr was their main problem with the LP as I would have feared. Ron Paul supporters who did not like Johnson mainly gave reasons that had to do with Johnson, and rarely that I ever saw mentioned Bob Barr.

    Yeah, the campaign did a lot of things right, but two of the biggest reasons they did (relatively) well are because there was no higher profile minor party or independent candidate in the race, and the fact that the LP was on the ballot in more states than any other minor party or independent candidate.

    Johnson was on the same number of ballots as Badnarik, and missing a more significant state (MI vs NH).

    As for no higher profile alt party candidate – Bergland ’84 and Paul ’88. Didn’t help them much if at all.

  52. Andy

    “Johnson was on the same number of ballots as Badnarik, and missing a more significant state (MI vs NH).”

    Yes, but keep in mind that Badnarik had to contend with the higher profile Ralph Nader, and that this was during the height of the anti-minor party and independent candidate hysteria due to the closeness of the result between Bush and Gore in 2000, so there was big backlash against all minor party an independent candidates that year.

    “As for no higher profile alt party candidate – Bergland ’84 and Paul ’88. Didn’t help them much if at all.”

    David Bergland in ’84 and Ron Paul in ’88 were both on the ballot in less sates, and there was no internet back then promote one’s message to the public. Also, it should be pointed out that Ron Paul’s runs in 2007-2008 and 2011-2012 have made libertarian ideas more popular and Gary Johnson was helped by this.

  53. Andy

    “I’ve honestly not run into nearly as many Ron Paul supporters or anyone else telling me Bob Barr was their main problem with the LP as I would have feared. Ron Paul supporters who did not like Johnson mainly gave reasons that had to do with Johnson, and rarely that I ever saw mentioned Bob Barr.”

    I’ve heard the not liking Bob Barr thing from a lot of Ron Paul supporters in multiple states.

    I’m not hearing much negative from them about Gary Johnson.

  54. Tom Blanton

    If Gary Johnson is getting out of politics, he’s a lot smarter than I thought.

    I’m just wondering when folks in the LP, many of which are thought to be very smart, will figure out that it doesn’t matter who the LP runs, the ruling establishment elite, their one political party with two factions, their lap dog media, and their political machines will simply not allow any third party candidate to compete, much less win, the elections and the information they control.

    Stick to pushing libertarian ideas instead of pushing politicians with ideas that are not particularly libertarian – like the Fair Tax.

    That’s if you want to see society move in a more libertarian direction.

    If not, beg Wayne Root to come back and lie to you about how he is the silver bullet you have dreaming of. I think he might come back if enough people kissed his ass.

  55. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    TB @ 57: “If not, beg Wayne Root to come back and lie to you about how he is the silver bullet you have dreaming of. I think he might come back if enough people kissed his ass.”

    No, no~ a thousand times no!

  56. Andy

    “Tom Blanton // Nov 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    If Gary Johnson is getting out of politics, he’s a lot smarter than I thought.

    I’m just wondering when folks in the LP, many of which are thought to be very smart, will figure out that it doesn’t matter who the LP runs, the ruling establishment elite, their one political party with two factions, their lap dog media, and their political machines will simply not allow any third party candidate to compete, much less win, the elections and the information they control.”

    This is why I favor utilizing other methods of fighting for more liberty than only relying on electoral politics. Given the set of circumstances in which we live, I see the primary purpose of libertarian political campaigns to get the message out and build the movement. If we can elect a few people here and there along the way, or when a ballot initiative vote here and there, then great, but we should all know going into it that we are usually going to lose at the ballot box, primarily because we are not as well funded as our opposition, plus the opposition has put up a lot of hurdles for us to jump over just to be able to complete.

    There is still a lot of merit in running libertarian political campaigns, but other options such as jury nullification, tax resistance, counter economics, and arming for revolution also need to be explored.

  57. JohnJeremyVines

    So if, next time around, the L’s (or any other minor party for that matter) decide to forego nominating a candidate for President and instead concentrate their finite resources on down-ballot races where the chances of winning and building up the party are infinitely better, exactly how would this be a bad idea?
    Enlighten me.

  58. paulie

    There’s no “finite resources” that belong to the party. Resources belong to donors until they find a campaign they want to donate to. Presidential race is what a lot of people want to donate to. If they prefer local candidates, they can already skip the presidential race and donate to local candidates right now. If they like both they can give to both. Nothing compels anyone to give a penny to a presidential campaign.

  59. George Phillies

    @60 The Greens tried this, somewhat, after 2000. Their party crashed and burned as a result. Paulie has a superb letter to the LNC explaining this historical event.

    Now, if the *Republicans and Democrats* want to do this, I am all in favor.

    George

  60. Alan Pyeatt

    “it doesn’t matter who the LP runs, the ruling establishment elite, their one political party with two factions, their lap dog media, and their political machines will simply not allow any third party candidate to compete, much less win, the elections and the information they control.”

    That may well be, but campaigns provide a good vehicle for exposing our ideas to the general public. Just as the MSM whites out LP candidates, it also whites out libertarian ideas. Our campaigns provide at least one way to expose the general public to ideas that many of them would never hear about, otherwise.

  61. Kleptocracy And You

    I understand Paulie’s desire to keep it going 24/7 365 but that’s a deadly pace for man and beast my friends. GJ gave us a good campaign by working at it. We all could point to improvements, but overall he put the time into it and is almost certainly EXHAUSTED. The college tour should definitely be used extensively by most LP candidates running for Federal and statewide elections in the future.

    GJ entered the R primaries planning to WIN. Afterall he knew nothing but winning. Two for two and that for Gov. no less is impressive! He made referrance to Carter in ’75 with less than 1% name I.D. etc. going on to victory. However he, like so many other people are naive to the truth that Blanton above so truthfully speaks. GJ was not and is not a member or more accurate words “puppet” or “Lackey” for the ruling establishment and their controlled media was not going to make him a household name like they did for Carter (Tri-Lateral Commission member under Zbig) in ’75-’76 or for so many others they control each cycle and yes MAKE them the nominee by FREE media coverage (which feed the donations from the masses in addition to and above their bundled Establishment donations). Anyone outside the “acceptable” POTUS candidates for each cycle (without Billion$ of $, then it still is almost impossible, ie Perot) has absolutely NO chance of being elected POTUS, period no exceptions! I imagine when GJ was excluded from the first R debate it was the largest shock of his life up until that time! His run to win was OVER.

    I can’t understand some of you seemingly wishing to place issues in the forefront (abortion,marriage choice, etc.) of the LP POTUS race that are in most cases the most controversial issues currently discussed by anyone. Those issues LOSE votes instead of gaining votes, which is the goal of political activity and campaigns afterall. Get votes NOT lose votes! The 2012 race was what MOST races are about. The ECONOMY STUPID !!! It just happen to be something Johnson was very competent on and should have been 99% of the entire campaign. He was better as a chief gov’t exec officer than both O and R on the economy. By far he was the best candidate in this race on economic issues. That alone would have got him millions of votes if he wasn’t blacked out by the MSMedia and had received fair media coverage on his record. This media treatment is possibly a major reason for GJ’s hesitance to commit to future political efforts. I doubt the former Gov. is naive about the system any longer.

    Let’s be honest. If GJ doesn’t run in ’16 there will surely be someone most willing to USE the LP and it’s Ballot Access ! Whoever that might be, it is for certain it would be much better for us if the campaign started for real in early Sept.’15 than in May of ’16. THINK about it!

    CARPE DIEM

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  62. Oranje Mike

    The debates are crucial to the success of the Libertarian Party in future elections. Gary Johnson probably has the best shot of any “third party” candidate to actually get on the televised debates unless someone like Bloomberg runs and buys his way into the debate.

    If Johnson had a seat at the table, I think he would have easily eclipsed 5% of the vote.

  63. Kleptocracy And You

    With all due respect Mike, Johnson will never get a seat at the table BECAUSE the table is RIGGED !

    “I’m Pro-Choice On EVERYTHING!” with LP toll-free phone number. 11″… http://www.lpstuff.com/shop/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=4

    “Real Conservatives Vote Libertarian” – http://www.lpstuff.com/shop/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=253

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  64. Kleptocracy And You

    Holtz you have done some EXCELLENT work for the LP, keep it up ! Now do you share a few pennies of each sale with the state or national LP? If so I will start to direct some business your way !

    Vote Different – Vote Libertarian – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxO6i0khqhk&feature=player_embedded

    What % of Americans Are Libertarians? – http://libertarianmajority.net/libertarian-polling

    Battlestar Liberty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXnKoMQoBNU&NR=1

    PEACE and PROSPERITY

  65. Crap on Election, White Revolution

    Who gives a rat’s ass, what will some stupid politician who is not proud of his Race running in a Zionist run fake election do to save your country or our Race, from, Zion rule, Orangutan puppet in a suit, Brown color of Crap people invasion, race mixing, pederasts, narcomania, Islamist Communism?

    Grab a Pitbull, an Axe, an AK 47, a grenade. White revolution is the ONLY SOLUTION!!! For Russia, Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand 14/88

  66. Brian Holtz

    Klep, I make plenty of money from my day job, so when my meager Zazzle proceeds (about $30/yr) build up, I just order one of my Libertarian shirts. If by chance my Zazzle proceeds ever pile up too fast, I’ll just split them among my county/state/national Libertarian parties, as I do with my water board income (~$750/yr after taxes).

  67. Tom Blanton

    Our campaigns provide at least one way to expose the general public to ideas that many of them would never hear about, otherwise.

    Yes, but not so much when the LP runs people like Bob Barr, Wayne Root, and yes, even nice guy Gary “Fair Tax” Johnson.

    That’s my whole point. Run libertarian candidates if you wish, knowing they won’t win but using the campaign to promote libertarian concepts.

    Pretending the LP has a horse in the race when the establishment won’t let give access to the starting gate is pointless. The notion that the LP is for winning elections, not education is bullshit and was never the intent to begin with.

    Also, pretending that anyone who believes in tax cuts and gun rights is a libertarian is bullshit. Running candidates who claim to be true conservatives is bullshit. And these are among the reasons that most libertarians I know, including myself, don’t support the LP.

    Merely telling people what you think they want to hear or adopting positions based on what you think people already support is foolish if you want to change public opinion. This is why the strategy of the LP moderates and reformers is a complete waste of time, energy and money, and is counter-productive if the desire is to move society in a more libertarian direction.

    So, LP members, advocate libertarian ideas or change the name of the party so the LP can stop being an embarrassment to other libertarian organizations that are advancing the libertarian message.

    Hell, one day some of you may become aware of the nature of politics and government and understand you’d be better off with no government than you are with it. Maybe one day the so-called moderates will even even quit rejecting anarchy because it won’t deliver utopia – something they don’t demand of government.

    Government delivers scenarios that produce people like the person @ 70.

  68. paulie

    I see the person @ 70 I referred to was censored out.

    I thought it was gratuitous crap, but since you referred to it I’ll restore it.

  69. Oliver Steinberg

    Gov. Johnson, coming from a major party background, had a tough learning curve about the reality of being a third party candidate. When he was in St. Paul the first question asked by the t.v. reporter was: “How do you expect to win?” and Johnson answered by pleading for a spot in the debate and then spinning a fantasy of climbing in post-debate polls. I think he could just as well have said, “I may not win in the sense of getting elected this time, but when we get a lot of votes because of the ideas we stand for, we may soon hold the political balance of power. Then it will be harder to keep our party out of the debates. Ideas can be winners even when candidates are also-rans.”

    I can see how he was disappointed not even to get the 2% he was resigned to, but he still did very well. And in New Mexico he got 4% so that should be a little consolation. If he bails on the Libertarian Party then he wasn’t the key to your future political success after all.

  70. Andy

    “That’s my whole point. Run libertarian candidates if you wish, knowing they won’t win but using the campaign to promote libertarian concepts.”

    I really think that campaigns also should be used to promote ways people can fight for freedom outside of electoral politics, such as via jury nullification, tax resistances, civil disobedience, counter economics, and yes, arming for revolution.

  71. Thomas L. Knapp

    @19 revisited:

    “Odd how Tom K and George P can look at the record vote total for the LP national ticket and say it does not really matter.”

    I objected that I had said no such thing, and the comment Gene was responding to was intended to reflect what Andy said later, among other things (i.e. there were other factors besides Johnson involved in the vote total, and Johnson maybe not running again does not put the LP “back at square one” as Paulie seems to think).

    But on re-thinking, I realize that Gene is correct in his classification of my general attitude:

    Johnson getting 1.x million votes was no more effectual, and may have been less effectual, than Bergland getting 228k votes in 1984 was, if the standard is achieving the LP’s stated purpose.

  72. Starchild

    Andy @48 – I agree, and I think that at the next LP convention we should try to pass a resolution formally repudiating the 2008 Barr/Root ticket.

    The public should know that Libertarians realize we made a mistake. Admitting this would make the party more credible in the eyes of many.

  73. Starchild

    Tom @72 – Staying out of the party won’t help those of us in the LP who are trying to make sure the Libertarian Party stands for libertarianism. To ensure we nominate solid candidates, we need the votes of hardcore libertarians like yourself at our conventions. If you abandon the party to moderates, pragmatists, disaffected Republicans, professional political types, and so on, of course it will be more likely to reflect their views than yours. The fight is winnable, but only if you don’t walk away.

  74. Brian Holtz

    LP members, advocate libertarian ideas or change the name of the party so the LP can stop being an embarrassment to other libertarian organizations that are advancing the libertarian message.

    To what non-anarchist “libertarian organization” is the LP an embarrassment?

    Ex-LP anarchists, either acknowledge the common ground you share with minarchists, or stop parasitizing our respectability by calling yourselves “libertarian”.

    you’d be better off with no government

    If you really think that, and believe that any government is unacceptable, then why cloak your message by calling yourself anything other than “anarchist”?

    As a proud atheist, I don’t whine about people who call themselves “agnostic” but don’t recognize that no gods exist. Instead, I hold high the banner of atheism, and don’t worry about what happens to the “agnostic” brand.

  75. Thomas L. Knapp

    Starchild @80,

    “Staying out of the party won’t help those of us in the LP who are trying to make sure the Libertarian Party stands for libertarianism.”

    Good. The sooner you figure out that the LP is a dead end even if it DOES stand for libertarianism, the better.

    I don’t knowingly buy drinks for alcoholics.

  76. Austin Cassidy

    Probably a good idea to cool off and wait a few months before thinking about 2016.

    Jim Gray was talking openly about them running again in 2016. They’ve already registered GaryJohnson2016.com.

    It’s almost certainly going to happen. But he’s got to get a little time off here! He’s been running for president for 2 years.

    Everyone needs to cool down and give him a few weeks. See what his mood is like during the November 14th online town hall.

  77. Rebel Alliance

    Gary Johnson has the post-election blues. Hopefully he’ll get past them soon. Those of us who’ve been in the LP a long time know not to let our expectations exceed the likely reality. When Judge Gray visited Minneapolis just before the election, he said they were strongly inclined to run again in 2016, understanding that building on this year’s momentum and having four years to organize would bring a much better result.

    Our state party tripled its outreach at various events during the summer, but the GJ campaign in Minnesota didn’t really catalyze until the end of September, when we were able to join forces with several Ron Paul activists & others. When that happened, I’ve never seen such an active Libertarian campaign in my life! But it was too late. We wasted two weeks scrambling to obtain yard signs and bumperstickers, which were unavailable from GJ2012 HQ even as people were asking for them. I knew it’d be a problem when in my neighborhood, a hotbed of Ron Paul support, I didn’t see a single Gary Johnson sign anywhere. That made it easy for the D’s & R’s to sway potential GJ supporters, who probably thought he was unpopular with no one else showing their support. And we were still identifying new contacts & colleges in outlying cities across the state, who could serve as local GJ support nodes, in the final two weeks before the election. There were MANY people who came out wanting to help GJ in just the final two weeks!

    In September, Johnson was polling 5% in Minnesota and 9% in the Twin Cities metro. After the Debates where he was excluded, it plummeted with people subconsciously believing he was not a viable candidate. On that note, this is the THIRD Libertarian presidential campaign I’ve seen where they’ve waited till the final week to begin airing TV ads. That is far, far too late. Most people have already made up their minds, many have already voted absentee, and the airwaves are saturated with other ads. I told Judge Gray that TV ads need to start in JUNE. Perhaps some anti-CPD ads could be aired as well, directly challenging the CPD before they’ve made their exclusion decision, bringing some public pressure to bear. I knew it’d be a problem when a week before the election, a lot of people still didn’t know who Gary Johnson was.

    But these are all organizational issues. They can be addressed in the next four years. Gary Johnson MUST understand that he’ll do much better in 2016, with the organization that’s already crystallized & if he begins mass-media much earlier.

  78. Robert Capozzi

    tb 72: advocate libertarian ideas or change the name of the party so the LP can stop being an embarrassment to other libertarian organizations that are advancing the libertarian message

    me: This could use some unpacking. Brother Blanton should help us understand how an “organization” can be “embarrassed.” Strikes me he probably means that members of organizations might tend to be embarrassed by the association with ideas that are disagreed with, or something.

    Embarrassment, of course, is a mild form of shame. This emotion is, as our Brother knows, just another example of psychological projection. If someone says something in public that triggers “embarrassment/shame,” all that really means is that the person who is embarrassed is seeing something outside that reminds him/her of a perceived deficiency in him/herself.

    I admit to doing this myself, when an L candidate for Congress advocated the right to private nukes. At the time, I found that VERY embarrassing – mortifying, even.

    Now that I get the concept of projection, I notice that when GJ advocated the FAIR Tax, for ex., I wasn’t embarrassed, I simply noted that my assessment was that the FAIR Tax was a dysfunctional aspect of GJ’s positions. My assessment may well be incorrect.

    It is what it is. Deal with it!

  79. PeterO

    While Barr/Root turned out to be an embarrassment — if I’d wanted to vote for two Republicans in ’08, I already had that option — I think the ’08 and ’12 LP tickets showed a movement away from the post-1983 radicalism back toward a broader party.

    There are many in the LP who are a part of it for philosophical and ideological reasons, who believe the best and most ethical system of government would be one based on the ideas of the Austrians and Rothbard. I respect that.

    But there are also those of us drawn to the LP because it is the most credible national party reflecting our views — that government should be smaller and should stay out of our private lives, that the U.S. should only intervene militarily in cases of the clearest national interest, and that the assault on civil liberties must be halted and reversed. We are not in the party because of ideological purity, but because we support this libertarian agenda.

    I think the problem the LP has in winning votes comes down to this:

    Libertarian: Government is too big, and spending is unsustainable.
    Voter: I agree.
    L: And government has no business telling us who we can partner with, or what we can put in our bodies.
    V: I agree with that too!
    L: And we need to stop trying to police the world with foreign wars that only increase contempt for the U.S. and the possibility of terrorist attacks.
    V: Wow, you are so right!!!
    L: And therefore, we need to abolish FEMA and the FDA, and privatize roads!
    V: Um… what?

  80. Robert Capozzi

    PO, well put, although again ya might consider the possibility that Barr/Root were not “embarrassing” but, perhaps, suboptimal. (I’d also suggest separating the Barr/Root CAMPAIGN from what those 2 have done since the campaign. Johnson/Gray improved on Barr/Root, IMO, but there’s still much work to be done to appeal to large numbers of voters.)

    Imagine Archtypical Angrytarian standing on the Jersey shore on the last bit of a boardwalk brandishing a machine gun to ward of the FEMA helicopters from rescuing a person trapped on a roof. He can be heard shouting, “Taxation is THEFT! That helicopter was paid for with stolen money! Leave us alone!” ;)

  81. PeterO

    Yes, you’re right that the ’08 campaign should be separated from its principals — though even at the time I neither trusted nor liked Barr. (I found his tortured rationalization of DOMA insulting, and thought he should have just owned up to that mistake.)

  82. Robert Capozzi

    Same take. Found the DOMA rationale weak, too, like I found GJ’s FAIR Tax rationale to be.

    GJ seems more “likeable” to me as well, but I found Barr to be FAR more articulate, from a technical perspective.

    I trust that both did the best they could, and I trust that GJ will continue to do so, no matter what he decides.

    Then, again, I even trust that GP thought it was appropriate to narc on the LNC to the FEC, but I surely disagree with him. I see no point is distrusting others…is there one?

  83. Marc Allan Feldman

    PeterO @89 I agree 100%

    The LP in its current structure and function is not politically irrelevant. It is much worse. The Libertarian party is political kryptonite. Gary Johnson would have received far more votes as an Independent.

    Consider:
    Social tolerance: mainstream
    Fiscal conservatism: mainstream
    Freedom: mainstream
    Smaller government: mainstream
    Libertarian base: Radical

    It is not too late for the LP to disavow the radical rhetoric, to run candidates who offer a steady hand to steer our country in the right direction.

    2014 could be the best year, or the worst year ever.

  84. NewFederalist

    Marc @ 93… how does that differentiate Ls from Rs with the possible exception of #1? The media will not see a difference IMO.

  85. Oranje Mike

    What is the “radical rhetoric”? What’s radical to the average Democrat or Republican is common sense to Libertarians.

    Are you suggesting the LP “play ball” and sacrifice all integrity in the hopes of winning office?

  86. PeterO

    As for me, I’m saying one can support this party through votes and financially and not want to eradicate every government institution, even those not specifically authorized in the Constitution. I’m glad we have a FEMA and a FDA and some sort of safety net, though it’s gotten unwieldy. I’m still a member of, and contributor to, the LP.

  87. Oranje Mike

    Because FEMA is working wonders post Sandy as it did post Katrina, eh?

    It’s another bloated government program propped up by theft that fails when called upon.

    I understand your angle but I do not agree. Standing against fraudulent programs like FEMA is what makes the LP stand out to me. The LP is the only reason I partake in the “civic duty” of voting.

  88. PeterO

    The success and existence of particular government programs can and should be debated. I’m simply saying that people who like some government programs, even extra-constitutional ones, can find reasons to embrace the LP.

  89. Marc Allan Feldman

    Newf @94

    I think the Libertarian party has the same principles as many in the Democratic and Republican parties. The differentiation is that we can be true to our principles.

    The main problem with the Democratic Party is the same problem with the Republican Party. They both run on money. Both parties pay lip service to reducing our national debt, but are structurally incapable of doing so.

  90. Marc Allan Feldman

    Oranje @95.

    When we have a 16 trillion dollar debt and a 1 trillion dollar deficit, saying that taxation is theft is not only radical rhetoric, it is irresponsible.

    Calling for the dismantling of FEMA without any promotion of a feasible alternative for providing needed services in a time of national disaster is not only radical rhetoric, it is irresponsible.

  91. Oranje Mike

    Stop waging war and attempting to expand empire. Problem solved.

    How is taxation not theft? I don’t volunteer the seizure of my assets. I get no say in the matter. If I don’t pay the Feds will use violence to seize my property.

  92. Darryl W. Perry

    While I did not vote for or support Gary Johnson for President this year, I would like to congratulate him on running the most successful (based on total votes) Libertarian Presidential campaign in the 40 year history of the Party.

    Before the election, there were rumors that he would continue his run into 2016. However, just a few days after the election Johnson reportedly stated, “If there’s no path to winning I’m really not [interested in pursuing another run for the presidency]. I’m not interested in duplicating what I’ve just done.” Johnson also said that he was “disappointed” in his 1 million votes.

    Regardless of whether the most successful LP Presidential candidate decides to run again in 2016, I still intend to run the most radical libertarian Presidential campaign of all time!

  93. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    OM 97: FEMA is n enormous government entity with almost unlimited powers . Only about 6 % of its budget goes to emergencies like Hurricane Sandy.

    Researching FEMA will ruin your afternoon, I guarantee you.

  94. Brian Holtz

    http://libertarianmajority.net/libertarian-polling

    The LP’s natural vote share is 5%-15%.

    The reason it’s not higher is that the remaining 85% really do like free stuff and/or they really do think most other people need to be protected from their own choices.

    But public policy could move in a libertarian direction if the LP were winning 5%-15% of the vote.

    The main reason we don’t poll that well is not our radical rhetoric/reputation, but rather the Wasted Vote Fallacy.

    The WVF has two major causes.

    1) The basic primate need to line up with the winning side. For most of the millions of years of hominid evolutionary history, lining up with the winning faction in the tribe was often potentially a matter of life or death.

    2) Primitive minds would rather be against an enemy than be for an idea. Thus in mainstream politics, people vote R because they’re against the Ds, and vote D because they’re against the Rs. And in the libertarian movement, you see angrytarians who invest more in attacking enemies than in promoting the idea of liberty.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t criticize those we disagree with. But we should recognize that demonization is the Dark Side of politics. When libertarians demonize political enemies, they promote the idea that politics isn’t for promoting ideas.

  95. Marc Allan Feldman

    OjM@101
    Stop war and expanding empire – great idea.
    A good start, but doesn’t begin to solve the problem.

    Even if you could reduce Military and Non-military, entitlements, and discretionary spending all to zero, we would still need over 250 billion dollars per year just to pay the interest on the debt. If taxation is theft, what do you suggest? A bake sale?

  96. Tom Blanton

    Imagine Archtypical Angrytarian standing on the Jersey shore on the last bit of a boardwalk brandishing a machine gun to ward of the FEMA helicopters from rescuing a person trapped on a roof. He can be heard shouting, “Taxation is THEFT! That helicopter was paid for with stolen money! Leave us alone!”

    Mr. Capozzi has it backwards. I can’t imagine the scenario he imagines. In addition, I don’t have to imagine a scenario where government agents, FEMA and others, use arms to ward off non-governmental agencies and individuals attempting to help victims of natural disasters. The reason I don’t have to imagine it is because it is not a dreamed up scenario – it has actually happened after both Katrina and Sandy.

    Once again, the moderate statist demands very little from the ruthless and violent government he clings to, but seeks to demonize those who sincerely believe that no government would be better, in spite of not providing utopian perfection.

    Projection, it seems, runs both ways. But, how strange when those who profess to love freedom cling more and more to government as that government becomes more and more dystopian, violent, arbitrary, and irrelevant.

  97. Tom Blanton

    Even if you could reduce Military and Non-military, entitlements, and discretionary spending all to zero, we would still need over 250 billion dollars per year just to pay the interest on the debt. If taxation is theft, what do you suggest? A bake sale?

    How about just winding down government over a multi-year period? Instead of confiscating wages or selling baked goods, have the trustees sell off federal government assets, much like bankruptcy trustees do for those who get in over their head. But, instead of winding down quickly and creating a distress sale scenario, sell off the assets over a period of time and create funds to pay of creditors and those who may be entitled to unfunded benefits.

    It may be time for a little more creativity than the usual:

    1) lie to voters
    2) get elected
    3) make laws
    4) enforce laws with violence and threats
    5) repeat

  98. Thomas L. Knapp

    MAF @ 100,

    “When we have a 16 trillion dollar debt and a 1 trillion dollar deficit, saying that taxation is theft is not only radical rhetoric, it is irresponsible.”

    Who is this “we” you speak of? I never authorized or approved the spending or debt in question. What’s “irresponsible” is the politicians expecting me to cover their bad checks.

  99. Wes Wagner

    TK@108

    I think when the moment of awareness comes to the majority that no person is obligated for the promises made by another, most of these issues will be disposed of.

    It is a principle of the common law … and eventually the average person will come to understand that they had no real ability to influence who represented them, as a result they were not represented, and thus they are not obligated to pay.

  100. Eric Sundwall

    Whereas the Libertarian Party seeks to maximize the influence of freedom in all policy making if need be the case, all members in good standing with either a state or a local affiliate, including the LPUS, shall be entitled to seek the office of the Presidency within said party and not be excluded from any internal debate, public or private.

    Whereas the Libertarian Party would not deny the right of any liberty advocating person to seek such office and make their best case for liberty, any new lifetime member shall also be granted the privilege of debate within six months of said nominating convention.

    It’s good to eat broccoli for lunch.

  101. Eric Sundwall

    Amendments to the motion that Paulie submits to the LNC are being accepted on the Hammer of Truth. Any picayune mistakes are the fault of the beer with aforementioned broccoli.

  102. Brian Holtz

    If taxation is theft, what do you suggest? A bake sale?

    1) Non-theft taxation
    2) Natural resources sale

    Geolibertarians oppose all taxes on things that aren’t aggression: honest income (wages, interest, dividends, profits, gifts, and inheritance), clean production (including value added), consensual transactions (e.g. the sale, import, or export of goods and services), and fairly-acquired wealth (e.g. real estate improvements, capital, or other produced assets).

    Geolibertarians favor taxes/fines only on aggression — e.g. polluting, depleting, congesting, or monopolizing the commons. In practical terms, this means

    • policing negative externalities through green pricing (e.g. pollution taxes)
    • protecting unowned natural resources with severance fees
    • financing club goods (e.g. highways, bridges, pipes, wires) through usage/congestion fees
    • financing public goods (e.g. streets, flood control, national defense) by taxing the extra land value they create

  103. John C Jackson

    I agree with Brian Holtz about natural LP vote share being somewhere around 5-15%. Around 85% are opposed to Libertarian ideas- it does not really matter how the message is finessed or how much money there is to dump into marketing it.

    As far as if getting that 5-15% would/could move policy in a libertarian direction, and why we don’t even get that level of support- In some electoral systems 5% will get you a Win, as in seats/representation. Here that gets you shit. So, of course it feels like a wasted vote to many, if there is no chance of winning anything unless you are polling in 30s. Unless the entire system is changed, there’s just not much hope for winning elections.

    I see a lot of comments supporting potential candidates to the right of Ron Paul, and that’s not really something I’m into. It seems backwards to me. Society is moving in a very socially liberal direction, for the better IMHO. It makes more sense to me to be “fully liberal” and embrace liberal social policies as well as markets- or what I would consider “liberal” in the normal sense of the word.

    There has to be room for people who are accepting and inclusive while advocating some kind of fiscal sanity, and I think going forward this would be a much better space to occupy than being the super-conservative angry-white-guy people.

  104. John C Jackson

    And Yes, when I talk about the super-conservative angry-white-guys, I am talking about Ron Paul associates and minor political celebrities who are mostly known only to Ron Paul/LRC circles and the like. I’m not saying a lot of these guys do not do a lot of good, but most of them are FAR less “famous” than purported and have chosen to market themselves in this way by their associations.

  105. Pingback: Gov. Gary Johnson disappointed with a million votes, considers end of political career | Daily Adams

  106. Richard Winger

    George Farah has an ongoing organization to fight the Commission on Presidential Debates. It was successful enough this year to persuade 3 of the 10 CPD debate sponsors to withdraw. If everyone on this discussion would get involved in activism against the Commission on Presidential Debates, starting now, we probably really could make a difference.

  107. YoungAndAnal

    #70 “Grab a Pitbull, an Axe, an AK 47, a grenade. ”

    …And stick them all up your ass, you nazi hemorhoid!

  108. Be Rational

    All taxation is theft of course, so using taxation or theft to pay off one’s debts or the government’s debts is just as wrong as the use of taxation for any other government purpose.

    It’s sad to see that geo-fascist-socialist earth nazi stuff rise up again.

    All land, air and water and all natural resources must be privatized and privately owned. It’s amazing how socialists can’t give up, and keep looking for any excuse to tax something.

  109. Marc Allan Feldman

    Brian @104
    “The LP’s natural vote share is 5%-15%.
    . . . . .The main reason we don’t poll that well is not our radical rhetoric/reputation, but rather the Wasted Vote Fallacy.”

    I don’t think the data backs you up. Look at Hawaii. Obama got 70%. Nobody was worried about Libertarians stealing republican votes. Yet GJ did not break 1%.

    Face it. The voters do not like to vote Libertarian.

  110. Richard Winger

    #119, then why did a majority of the voters in Atlanta, Georgia, vote for the Libertarian nominee for Public Service Commissioner (a statewide partisan election) in both 2008 and 2012? And other counties in Georgia as well.

  111. Nicholas Sarwark

    @79 – There’s no benefit to making a public statement about the 2008 ticket at the 2014 convention. That effort should be better spent in not repeating the mistake, not drawing attention to it.

  112. Marc Allan Feldman

    Richard @120.
    How is that again? Below are the results for the statewide Public Service Commissioner for Georgia in 2008 and 2012. Libertarians did well, with 2 getting over 1 million votes, but no majorities. Maybe it was in local elections?

    2008
    Georgia – Public Service Commission – District 1
    Candidate Votes
    H. Everett – R Incumbent 2,138,665 67%
    John Monds – L 1,072,957 33%

    Georgia – Public Service Commission – District 4
    Jim Powell – D 1,725,895 48%
    Lauren McDonald – R 1,702,495 47%
    Brandon Givens – L 177,128 5%

    2012
    Georgia Public Service Commission District 3 General Election, 2012

    Republican Eaton Incumbent 52.1% 1,847,106
    Democratic Stephen Oppenheimer 43.1% 1,525,786
    Libertarian Brad Ploeger 4.8% 170,053

    Georgia Public Service Commission District 5 General Election, 2012

    Republican Stan Wise Incumbent 65.9% 2,096,770
    Libertarian David Staples 34.1% 1,086,916

  113. NewFederalist

    Marc @ 123… read Richard’s post again. He said Atlanta, Georgia not the entire state of Georgia.

  114. Marc Allan Feldman

    Newf,
    Richard wrote “statewide”. He may have meant that even though there was no statewide majority, that these statewide candidates did win a majority in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Or he might have meant local candidates who actually won something.

    If you have the data, please post the link.

  115. Gene Berkman

    Marc – Richard meant that statewide candidates for PSC won majorities in Atlanta, not that they won majorities in their race. Like Romney winning a majority in Arizona, while losing the national vote.

  116. Robert Capozzi

    106 tb, your opinions about anarchism are valid, certainly. My TAAALism is valid, too, even if you don’t think so.

    I happen to believe that politics is the art of the possible. I don’t think abolishing FEMA is possible in the next, say, decade under the BEST of circumstances. I don’t have a problem with the feds coordinating disaster relief efforts as part of its mandate to secure domestic tranquility. Nor do I believe that that mandate is executed perfectly. I advocate cutting FEMA’s budget as part of an across-the-board effort to redirect the scope and scale of government in a lessarchistic direction. However, I believe it’s tin-eared and counterproductive to advocate FEMA’s abolition in the wake of a natural disaster. Such examples of “macho flash” tend to destroy L credibility. I don’t support such cadre-building posturing, and the evidence suggests a profound unpopularity of L Leninism. There is MUCH evidence to suggest that lessarchism IS popular, although it’s not nearly a majority position.

    Pointing out FEMA’s excesses and failures seem within bounds, though.

    Ultimately and theoretically, could the Red Cross do FEMA’s functions? Sure, I don’t see why not.

    Hope that clears up my position for you….

  117. Richard Winger

    There never are any Libertarian candidates on the ballot in Georgia for local partisan office, because of the crazy ballot access laws. The Georgia Libertarians are on automatically for all statewide offices, but not US House, or legislature, or county partisan office. It is again time for the Libertarian Party of Georgia to sue over this insane law. A party that can poll 34% of the vote in a statewide partisan race obviously has enough voter support to be on the ballot for all office.

  118. Andy

    “Starchild // Nov 12, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Andy @48 – I agree, and I think that at the next LP convention we should try to pass a resolution formally repudiating the 2008 Barr/Root ticket.

    The public should know that Libertarians realize we made a mistake. Admitting this would make the party more credible in the eyes of many.”

    I totally agree, and if I’m at the next LP National Convention I’d be happy to 2nd this motion.

  119. Andy

    I’d also like to see another resolution passed by the Libertarian Party at the next national convention to repudiate the Fair Tax.

  120. Marc Allan Feldman

    I stand with Gary Johnson in support of the Fair Tax. I would favor balancing the budget today, then add a Fair Tax with every dollar raised going to pay down our national debt.

  121. Brian Holtz

    All land, air and water and all natural resources must be privatized and privately owned.

    You can indeed create or acquire property from the unowned natural commons by combining it with your labor or body. But when you monopolize, deplete, pollute, or congest a natural commons, then you must compensate those whose access to it you have impaired through your aggression.

    End all taxes, and fine all aggression.

  122. Brian Holtz

    Marc @119, your data are consistent with the two Wasted Vote Fallacy drivers I identified @104:

    1) The basic primate need to line up with the winning side.

    2) Primitive minds would rather be against an enemy than be for an idea.

  123. Be Rational

    There is no such thing as a “natural” commons – just socialists grasping at creating a scheme to have a tax system. They can see logically that taxation is theft but won’t give up their dreams of spending other people’s money for their own pet ideas. So instead of working in a free market in a free society that might reject their foolish, unwanted and unneeded ideas they create nonsensical geo-fascist-socialist earth nazi schemes that are worse than the “Fair” tax because they are not only evil, they are based on loony premises and drive sensible people away from the liberty movement.

  124. Robert Capozzi

    p 129, yes, there are many examples of FEMA excesses.

    My guess is that abolishing FEMA would poll at maybe the single digits, despite this.

    There may well be some agencies that receive majorities of support for abolition.

    An across-the-board cut might also get majorities of support.

    Why fight that fight?

  125. Brian Holtz

    There is no such thing as a “natural” commons

    “Natural commons” is defined in the Free Earth Manifesto as “everything that is neither a person nor in any way a product of persons”.

    Examples are underground minerals, metals, and oil; wildlife, including forests; the genetic variety of life; oceans, lakes, and streams; the atmosphere, wind, precipitation, and sunlight; the electromagnetic spectrum; orbits; and the surface area of the Earth.

    It would indeed be complete nonsense to deny that such things exist. BR instead probably would argue that it’s not aggression to monopolize, deplete, pollute, or congest a natural commons.

    The defensibility of that position can be measured by BR’s need to use words like “socialist”, “loony”, “nazi”, and “fascist”.

    looney premises that drive sensible people away from the liberty movement

    Yeah, who could possibly be attracted to the liberty movement by an ethical framework that protects the Earth and its resources, identifies the natural way to fund club and common goods without initiating force, and draws a bright line against appropriating anyone’s labor or labor products.

    Much better to say that the infrastructure of a modern industrial society should be financed through bake sales and auctions of government holdings, except even BR admits that’s untenable, so he advocates also confiscating a fraction of everybody’s labor, but he clicks his heels together and promises that the fraction will never go above 10%.

    BR’s slogan is: “Taxation of labor is theft, so vote Libertarian because we only steal 10%.”

    No thanks, I’ll stick with: End all taxes, and fine all aggression.

  126. Robert Capozzi

    136 br: They can see logically that taxation is theft ….

    me: BR may “see” this logically, but then a radical inquiry into “theft” reveals that “theft” requires “property,” and “property” requires an institution to police said property. I – and I suspect most – can “see” that there is no “property” in a state of nature. Bear A catches the fish and it possesses it until Bear B takes it away.

    This seems abundantly non-controversial.

    BR may fear radical inquiry, assuming that the institution of property is a given. It clearly is not.

  127. Robert Capozzi

    139 bh: End all taxes, and fine all aggression.

    me: Compelling, but…what if the actor refuses to pay the fine? And what if the aggression is SO incalculably toxic that prohibition is indicated?

  128. Brian Holtz

    Bob, the existence of theft does not imply that there is no natural category of “property”.

    Saying that material property is unnatural is page one of the socialist playbook.

    The Free Earth playbook says: “Each person fully owns himself: his body in space and his labor through time. Each person fully owns the material property he creates or acquires from the unowned natural commons by combining it with his labor or body.”

    That ownership is not logically dependent on having the strength (or institutional backing) to protect it.

    What’s right is independent of anyone’s might.

  129. Brian Holtz

    what if the actor refuses to pay the fine?

    Aggression is force, and so gets met with force.

    And what if the aggression is SO incalculably toxic that prohibition is indicated?

    A prohibition is just a fine schedule where the penalty is severe and potentially non-monetary. FEM sez: “Persons who wantonly cause more damages than they can repay shall also lose bodily autonomy and social contact for a term reasonably proportional to the harm or risk caused.”

  130. Robert Capozzi

    142 bh: Saying that material property is unnatural is page one of the socialist playbook.

    me: This proves what, exactly? Material property is a WONDERFUL construct, one I wholeheartedly endorse as a way to arrange things in civil society. But it’s HARDLY observable in a state of nature…no, I’m being too kind. I’ll just go ahead and assert the obvious: Tain’t observable.

    Property requires person-made lines and contracts and such, which are clearly not observable in a state of nature. Pretend otherwise at one’s own peril!

    Protect the truth…it’ll always points toward freedom. Delusion? Not so much. Foundations always seem sturdier when built on rock, not sand, even if there’s a cultish recitation of the truth that sand lends itself to a solid foundation!

    Remember: John Locke was not God!

  131. Robert Capozzi

    143 bh: FEM sez: “Persons who wantonly cause more damages than they can repay shall also lose bodily autonomy and social contact for a term reasonably proportional to the harm or risk caused.”

    me: Seems sensible to me. But then I’m biased, as I advocate Nonarchy Pods for the recalcitrant and the sociopathic.

  132. Brian Holtz

    If property is a construct of society, then society owns all property.

    Property is easily observable everywhere on this planet where you see two kids together in the presence of a shiny stone or shell.

  133. Brian Holtz

    I advocate something like Nonarchy Pods instead of mandatory fines for one particular form of aggression: monopolization of land.

    Land value taxes need not even be strictly mandatory. If you as a landholder decline to return to our community the ground rent you appropriate from proximity to our public/club goods, then we could simply disconnect you from our wires and pipes, and while you’re in arrears we could publish your name, address, and photo as someone whose property and person are excluded from the protections of our LVT-financed police and courts. If we catch you trespassing on any of our streets, parks, or other LVT-financed spaces, then you would owe the arrears on your parcel’s land value tax, per the terms of the no-trespassing signs prominently marking those goods.

  134. Robert Capozzi

    146 bh: If property is a construct of society, then society owns all property.

    me: Doesn’t work for me on MANY levels. There is no “society,” what there is are social orders that are commonly agreed to. “Society” can’t own anything, since it doesn’t exist. Property, rather, is a set of rules in which a discrete entity has control of stuff or applied ideas.

    For starters.

    The kids example proves my point, actually, for ME, at least.

    But I would vote for you, despite your different opinion and epistemic viewpoint! ;)

  135. Brian Holtz

    There are no gods. But there are great ideas.

    Somebody had to be the first to connect the labor theory of resource acquisition to a prohibition against resource depletion.

    On Earth, that somebody was named John Locke.

    That doesn’t make agreement with this idea any kind of religious delusion.

  136. Brian Holtz

    he kids example proves my point, actually, for ME, at least.

    Well, if by “property is not observable in a state of nature” you just mean that the natural rules about property are not observable when there’s only one person around, then of course I agree.

  137. JD

    I heard Judge Gray say, in person, that after the election there will be a break taken by he and Gary Johnson. Then there will be a series of review sessions that will allow them to playback moments in the campaign both good and bad. They will then decide what to do for the future. Judge Gray said that he and Gary Johnson were running now for 2016.

    This is off the subject but a few folks have mentioned Goode’s campaign. I was a supporter of the CP but not anymore. The party is dead in the water and might lose their FEC big 5 status. There are maybe 2 dozen volunteers working to build that party. Virgil is a nice man that had no clue how to run a larger campaign. He ran for president like he was running for the state legislature.

  138. Brian Holtz

    There is no “society,” what there is are social orders that are commonly agreed to.

    So if all your neighbors commonly agree that your car should be available for borrowing by anyone who’s own car is in the repair shop, then you don’t have a natural property right to the contrary?

    I still can’t tell whether you agree that ownership of something should be considered to depend on having the strength (or institutional backing) to protect it.

  139. Robert Capozzi

    152 bh: So if all your neighbors commonly agree that your car should be available for borrowing by anyone who’s own car is in the repair shop, then you don’t have a natural property right to the contrary?

    me: No, wish there were such a thing as a “natural” property right to the contrary, but, sadly, there isn’t.

    My neighbors idea is a poor one, though, IMO. “God” agrees with me, too!

  140. Brian Holtz

    wish there were such a thing as a “natural” property right

    Wow.

    Is there a natural property right in one’s own labor?

    If not, why not? (And go wash my car!)

    If so, then why does that right not extend to the products of one’s own labor?

  141. Robert Capozzi

    bh, I think the disconnect here is the meaning of “natural” and “right.” I support the idea of “rights,” but it’s to me silly to call it “natural.” Maybe an even better word is “tangible.”

    If you can show me a “right” that shows up in a tangible way, I may get on board with your view here. But surely you can’t! Rights are not observable and tangible, they are made up. They are abstactions, a construct.

    I may not be from MO, but show me. Not words, but something that can be perceived with the 5 senses.

    Just because Locke, Friedman, Rothbard and Rand held a view, does it make it so?

  142. Green_Liberal

    Geolibertarianism sounds great.

    But if actually instituted, I’m afraid (imperfect) human nature would reassert itself, and people would form associations that would become governments based on monopolies of property. Any society composed of human beings in this world will require institutions to prevent harm and preserve justice.

    I’m afraid that the only practical guarantee of a free society (eg, a society without unjust, coercive governments) would be an international legal code that is universally recognized as just and with enforcement mechanisms in place. We’re a long way away from that.

  143. NewFederalist

    “This is off the subject but a few folks have mentioned Goode’s campaign. I was a supporter of the CP but not anymore. The party is dead in the water and might lose their FEC big 5 status. There are maybe 2 dozen volunteers working to build that party. Virgil is a nice man that had no clue how to run a larger campaign. He ran for president like he was running for the state legislature.”

    I think you are right on target, JD. A shame but perhaps inevitable.

  144. Be Rational

    Perhaps the greatest threats that the world faces today come from the socialization and nationalization of the “commons” and “infrastructure.”

    Pollution, global warming, misallocation of hundreds of trillions of dollars in the wrong infrastructure, massive overconsumption of energy resources, long commutes, long drives instead of what would be short walks in the park – literally – in a free market. Bad energy policy, bad transportation policy, bad government – all of these come from the faulty belief in the “commons,” or the faulty belief that we need government to have infrastructure. Government is only needed to build the wrong infrastructure – the one wanted by socialist planners without regard to efficiency, pollution, economic viability or environmental sustainability.

    Only the free market can plan the proper use and allocation of resources and the proper infrastructure to be built. And only when all resources being used by mankind are privatized and the commons is abolished can we end pollution, end the threat of climate change and build a green world with the most efficient infrastructure and communities that serve on a human scale instead of the industrial scale of today.

    The polluted commons results directly from its being held in common by government. We already have that system and it has failed. All land, air and water need to be privatized in the near term.

    Likewise, the world of socialism has built an infrastructure that is nearly opposite of what a free market would build and of what is needed for energy efficient transportation, provision of electrial energy for industry, commerce and households, heating, cooling and social interation of the people.

    Socialism has wasted tens of trillions of dollars on the wrong infrastructure, and the Geo-fascist-socialist earth nazis want to give us more, and enshrine that as some new system.

    This geo-fascist-socialist earth nazi nonsense that started with Henry George is really the imposition of the worst of the current system as the whole, instead of just part.

    The solution is to end all taxation.

    The worst tax of all is the tax on land and property and Libertarians should make repeal of all taxes on land, buildings, natural resources and personal property first priority – even ahead of repeal of the income tax, along with privatization of all natural resources.

    *******

    Taxation of land and natural resources causes more economic distortion than any other form of taxation.

    *******

    This distortion is not a result of the collection of the tax. It is a result of the change in decision making caused by the tax – misallocation of resources is a factor not even considered by the geo-fascists.

    The economic distortion caused by government creation of the infrastructure is in the hundreds of trillions of dollars globally and increasing.

    The worst possible future would come from the imposition of the geo-fascist-socialist earth nazi tax since it is the worst of all possible taxes causing the most economic distortion, pollution, misallocation of resources and the dangerous and fallacious ideas of the commons and externalities as an excuse for force, fraud and fascist government.

    The second worst outcome of the geo-fascist-socialist earth nazi tax scheme would be allowing it to be associated with the movement for liberty and thereby derailing our hope for the real, meaningful change needed in America and the world.

    Yes, the least intrusive and the least distortion comes from a low tax on consumption. This makes a consumption tax, especially one that treats all consumption and consumers the same, being capped at 10% Constitutionally and shared by all levels of government, constitutionally, the best transition tax to a zero tax society.

    “If there were a magic button to push” … this is an old idea and there is none. A transition to change, step by step change, that is a political necessity.

    A transition tax is an absolute necessity – politically – to get from here to there. It must be a single tax, be completely visible every day to all taxpayers, treat all individuals and products the same and exclude no one so we all can work together to control and reduce it to zero. It must be done without the welfare component of the unFair tax, but otherwise Gary Johnson gets it.

    The only tax that fits that bill is a flate rate consumption tax added on to every purchase receipt every day, pissing everyone off, with no shifting from one group to another. Raise the tax and all pay. Reduce the tax and all save. Eliminate the tax and all are free.

    The geo-fascist-socialist earth nazis see their tax as an end, a system including force and death is their fascist-socialist goal. They advocate government control. They do not advocate liberty.

    Libertarians see the end of all taxation as the goal, even if we disagree on how to get there.

  145. Brian Holtz

    Green Liberal @157: Any society composed of human beings in this world will require institutions to prevent harm and preserve justice.

    Absolutely. Aggression deterrence is a club good (“natural monopoly”) whose provision increases the value of the local land. That’s why it should be financed by tapping the ground rent it creates.

    an international legal code that is universally recognized as just and with enforcement mechanisms in place. We’re a long way away from that.

    If you take the long view, we’ve actually made a lot of progress in recent millennia and centuries and decades towards improved moral norms. See Steven Pinker’s work in this area.

    However, global enforcement mechanisms are the wrong approach. Rights enforcement should be done at the most local level possible, for two hugely important reasons.

    First, it allows exit: voting with your feet, competition between bundles of rules, and Tiebout Sorting.

    Second, decision-making costs rise dramatically with the number of people involved. Alex Tabarrok of GMU has an 11-slide powerpoint deck that does a great job of digesting the relevant material from Gordon and Tullock’s 1962 classic The Calculus Of Consent.

  146. Brian Holtz

    Bob @156: Rights are abstractions.

    So is pi.

    By “natural”, I mean that the human rights that I recognize are independent of and prior to any particular social institutions. In other words, there is no social/institutional context that would lead me to recognize some set of human rights other than those I describe in the Free Earth Manifesto.

    I hope that you don’t think human rights are a function of what zip code or decade you find yourself in.

    I can’t tell if you’re just trying to make some point about rights needing enforcement institutions, or if you’re really claiming that rights are the ultimately-arbitrary choices of institutions.

    Just because Locke, Friedman, Rothbard and Rand held a view, does it make it so?

    I hope you’re not suggesting I’m trying to argue from authority.

    I’ve already explained my view of Locke above.

    I have immense respect for Milton and David Friedman, but neither has influenced my ethical philosophy. I’m not aware of Milton expounding a theory of natural rights, and David is my poster child for consequentialism (as opposed to deontologism).

    You surely know how much effort I’ve invested in arguing against the mistakes of Rothbard.

    As for Rand, I’ve indicted her for committing the naturalistic fallacy. Maybe my use of “natural” rights makes you think I’m making the same mistake? If so, read that indictment.

  147. Brian Holtz

    Be Rational @159 attacks a platoon of socialist strawmen and bogeymen, so I only need to correct a few of his mistakes and misrepresentations.

    By “the infrastructure of a modern industrial society” I mean a very specific set of what economists call “club goods” (e.g. pipes, wires, police, courts) and “public goods” (e.g. defense, streets, flood control). None of these require coercive taxation. Any such goods that can’t be financed with consensual usage/congestion fees can be financed with land value assessments that can be opted out from as described above @147.

    the least intrusive and the least distortion comes from a low tax on consumption

    Demonstrably false, on both counts.

    Any macroeconomics textbook will tell you that consumption taxes have deadweight loss whenever they fall on products with any inelasticity of demand or with any elasticity of supply — which is pretty much any consumable product whatsoever. By contrast, the supply of land is inelastic, and so a tax on land value has no deadweight loss. Thus a land value tax causes no distortion in how resources are used. Instead, it just changes who collects the Ricardian rent of the land.

    A consumption tax is clearly more intrusive than a land value tax. All the community needs to know is 1) a billing address for each plot of land and 2) how much the unimproved land is worth. Appraisers and insurers make such calculations routinely, and one variant would have each land-holder self-assess as long as he’s willing to take any offer over his assessed value. There would be no need to audit or monitor anyone’s behavior, as with taxes on income/production/exchanges. There would be no tax evasion or black markets, because you can’t hide land. Land value taxes can be paid once per year, while consumption taxes impose an administrative burden that BR admits is “added on to every purchase receipt every day”.

    misallocation of resources is a factor not even considered by [geolibertarians]

    Again, demonstrably false. Here is geolibertarian economist Fred Foldvary:

    Geo-rent taxation would reduce sprawl. Current tax policies tend to discourage the development of urban land, because the fruits of those developments are directly taxed. To the extent that those policies are replaced by policies that tap geo-rent, the landowner is incented to develop his land. Recall, an underused site pays the same geo-rent tax as a developed site. The untaxing of production combined with the tapping of geo-rent will induce infilling of the city center, making for a more compact city, agreeable to mixed use and pedestrian activity. Hence, the demand-side push for sprawl is diminished. Moreover, the supply-side pull toward sprawl would also be diminished: Today, sprawl landowners are subsidized by extraneous taxpayers who pay for the roads, sewers, schools, fire-fighting, and security in the sprawl neighborhoods. If those services depended on the community’s geo-rent, the pull toward sprawl would be reduced.

  148. Austin Battenberg

    I read up to comment 105, so I still have more to read, but I thought I would just weigh in on something.

    I think everyone here knows that there has been a long and great battle within the Libertarian Party. The radicals and the pragmatics. The radicals are virtually voluntarists or anarchists, and the pragmatists tend to adhere to the idea of “social liberalism, fiscal conservatism”.

    Not only does the party continue to vie for power between these two factions, it seems both believes they have a better chance at appealing to voters. Perhaps the Libertarian Party would be better offering an alternative to the two major parties by being pragmatic, and could achieve votes from those who are “socially liberal and fiscally conservative”. But perhaps the Libertarian Party could achieve more votes from running a radical candidate because the only people who vote third party anyway are people who are completely disgusted with the system and would prefer a candidate who would do away with cabinets and agencies and bring home the troops from around the world.

    I’ll be honest, I’m in the radical camp, but I will fully support a pragmatic candidate, as I have done with both Bob Barr and Gary Johnson. Being pragmatic isn’t compromising my principles because, as Gary Johnson said, if we are trying to go from A to Z, but start by moving to C, then we are heading in the right direction.

    But I must point out that this bickering causes two problems. One, it makes us look immature, and all this infighting doesn’t do the party any good. All the strides that were made in 2012 could be lost by people who don’t want to be a part of this nonsense. The other major problem is that it seems that LP candidates are trying to walk this fine line between being a purist and being sensible, and as a result the message gets muddied. No one is happy, and the voters resign to going back to the two parties because they aren’t sure about the candidate.

    Whoever we pick for 2016, whether its Gary Johnson or anyone else, my opinion is they decide from the very beginning whether they want to be a radical or purist, and don’t deviate from that. Gary Johnson was a pragmatic who late in the campaign decided to start going radical in order to court the Ron Paul voters. Well, as you can see Gary Johnson only got half of what Ron Paul got, so obviously it will only work if you are CONSISTENT! I may not like a pragmatic candidate, and others might not like a radical candidate, but consistency is the most important thing (for me) in a Presidential candidate.

    I truly hope that us members of the LP can come together, despite our differences, because I truly believe that the LP can be used as a vessel to change society for the better. But so long as we do what Michael Badnarik says we do, where we agree with 95% of the issues but spend 95% of the time arguing over the other 5%, then we will never succeed as a party, and never succeed with voters.

    For what its worth, if the LP runs a pragmatic candidate in 2016, and Rand Paul is on the Republican ticket, I may have to vote Republican.

  149. Thomas L. Knapp

    @162,

    “A consumption tax is clearly more intrusive than a land value tax. All the community needs to know is 1) a billing address for each plot of land and 2) how much the unimproved land is worth.”

    It’s impossible, absent an actual sale, to know how much the unimproved land is “worth.”

    It’s also unnecessary. If you want a land tax, let an acre be an acre be an acre.

    “you can’t hide land”

    Yes you can. I’ve seen it done. In fact, I’ve seen it done for the express purpose of avoiding taxes.

  150. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian get real the most easily corrupted tax is a tax based on land. It is based on an opinion of an assessor. L. A. is dealing with a problem related to that today and numerous communities across the nation have seen similar problems.

  151. Brian Holtz

    It is based on an opinion of an assessor.

    No, in Geolibertania, valuations would be based on cash bids, not on opinions.

    It’s impossible, absent an actual sale, to know how much the unimproved land is “worth.”

    True! So each tax cycle, every plot of land is sold — usually, by the current landholder, to the current landholder. That’s what I meant when I wrote:

    Have each land-holder self-assess, as long as he’s willing to take any offer over his assessed value.

    I copied this idea from LP founder David Nolan, who wrote:

    What kind of taxation is least harmful?….My own preference is for a single tax on land, with landholders doing their own valuation; you’d state the price at which you’d be willing to sell your land, and pay taxes on that amount. Anyone (including the tax collector) who wanted to buy it at that price could do so. This is simple, fair, and minimizes government snooping into our lives and business.

  152. Brian Holtz

    Yes you can [hide land]. I’ve seen it done.

    No, you’ve never seen a better-than-marginal plot of land hidden from the tax collector — i.e. self-assessed at zero value — when David Nolan’s bid-you-off-your-land rule is in force.

    To say that better-than-marginal land could be hidden in Geolibertania is saying that markets don’t work — i.e. that no buyer anywhere can detect that the land in question exists and is better than marginal land.

  153. Robert Capozzi

    bh: I mean that the human rights that I recognize are independent of and prior to any particular social institutions.

    me: When you say “recognize,” do you mean that literally, or do you mean you “assert”?

    It’s my theory that Angrytarianism stems from believing it something that is clearly not there. On some level, the Angrytarian buys deeply into “natural law” theory that any affront to the application of the theory becomes a physical trespass. As that theory is built into a thought system, natural law-types often forget to ask the more basic question, taking it for granted that “rights” “exist.”

    Yes, pi is also an invention, although less removed from reality than political constructs. More tangible is that concept, I’d say.

    Yes, I was establishing that the argument from authority is pronouncedly pernicious in L circles, even if you personally don’t subscribe. But, jeez, BH, you DID trot out a literal bumper sticker asserting a def. of L-ism about this notion of “self ownership.” It IS an attractive, serviceable concept, I grant, but it’s only true until someone else takes something you’ve made. And then what?

    Which gets me thinking about my bumpersticker def….I don’t have one. My Inner Marin suggests a No Rules stance, but if pressed, I’d offer:

    L-ism is the invitation to respect the peaceful behavior of others.

    Vague, like the Golden Rule, and yet I’m liking the tone as well as the substance.

  154. Brian Holtz

    Having a definition of libertarianism that fits on a bumper sticker in no way suggests an argument from authority. That particular definition of libertarianism is original, not from some authority.

    Yes, “recognize a right” ultimately means “assert a right”. Again, read my indictment: Rand Did Not Solve The Is-Ought Problem.

    But I don’t think the epistemology of ethics is very relevant in this context. In the political arena, it’s sufficient to announce that we hold certain truths to be self-evident. That doesn’t mean there’s no room to debate political rights, but I don’t see the point of trying to cancel all such debate by constantly pointing out that there’s no universal and objective basis for resolving such debates.

  155. Thomas L. Knapp

    BH @167,

    Ah, your usual trick of adding strange conditions after the claim.

    Your original claim was “you can’t hide land.”

    Now it’s “you can’t hide land, if by ‘land’ we mean ‘better than marginal’ land, and if by ‘hide’ we mean ‘self-assess at zero value,’ and if we’re living in my fantasized future world instead of the real present one.”

    Sorry, I’m going to go with your original claim. Land can be hidden, and I’ve seen it hidden.

    It’s probably harder in the days of satellite photography and easy database comparison, but in my youth I was aware of some premium farm land that the county surveyor was bribed to disappear from the county plat (which the assessor and collector used for tax collection purposes).

    I don’t know if the surveyor just left the lot completely out and counted on the assessor/collector to not do the math, or whether he massaged the numbers on other nearby plots to disappear it, but disappear it he did.

    There was a bit of a scandal over it when the land owner died and the farm changed hands (the surveyor died before the land owner). The government wanted the new owner to pay the previous owner’s back taxes. Don’t know how it settled.

  156. Brian Holtz

    Tom, when I said “you can’t hide land”, I obviously meant “you can’t hide land from the tax collector”.

    So your example fails.

    The “better-than-marginal” proviso is just to close the loophole of “hiding” land that the tax collector doesn’t care about — e.g., an acre in the middle of a densely-forested wilderness, which would have no tax bill anyway because it would have zero ground rent.

    The proviso about self-assessed is just to point out that in Geolibertania, everybody is effectively a tax collector, and you can’t bribe us all.

    Nice try, though.

  157. Thomas L. Knapp

    BH @171,

    “when I said ‘you can’t hide land’, I obviously meant ‘you can’t hide land from the tax collector’.”

    And that’s exactly how I understood it.

    “So your example fails.”

    I’m not sure how you figure that. The land owner hid the land from the tax collector, and that hiding was not discovered for years, nor was it discovered until he was beyond the tax collector’s reach.

  158. Brian Holtz

    Your example fails because you admitted that the tax collector knew about the land, and had to be bribed.

    Your example also fails because you admitted that the tax was merely deferred until the next sale of the land.

    In Geolibertania, illiquid landholders are allowed to accumulate their tax bill (plus interest) as a lien against the property, capped at its market value, so nobody need ever be taxed off the land they hold. So your example highlights a feature of LVT, not a bug.

  159. Brian Holtz

    The bottom line is that you can’t hide land from its tax bill, you can only defer the payment date.

    Even the trick pictured below wouldn’t work, because the site is still there and taxable, even if the dirt is missing:

  160. Brian Holtz

    Hold on, I just thought of one way to prevent the tax collector from extracting your back taxes from the land’s next sale:

    So we might have to waive the accumulate-as-a-lien option for land adjacent to a subduction fault.

  161. Thomas L. Knapp

    BH @ 173,

    “Your example fails because you admitted that the tax collector knew about the land, and had to be bribed.”

    Um, no. The tax collector didn’t know about the land because a SURVEYOR was bribed to disappear it from the plat the tax authorities relied upon to assess and collect taxes.

    That kind of thing is a lot less likely to succeed these days as government databases converge and so forth.

    And it might be a lot less likely to succeed in Geolibertania … but I doubt it would be IMPOSSIBLE.

    The one thing I continue to not understand about your tax proposal is your attachment to land “valuation” as its basis.

  162. Be Rational

    Have to confirm Knap’s comment about “hiding” land. I’ve seen it done as well. Several hundred acres of land that was not on the tax map. It just wasn’t there. Because of the strange arrangement of what land was in what town, this land failed to appear on any town’s tax map, each apparently assumed it was part of one of several neighboring towns.

  163. Nicholas Sarwark

    @163 – The Libertarian candidate is generally stuck in a position of building name recognition, so I don’t think an inconsistent message is really noticeable other than to hardcore politics nerds.

    I agree that the LP needs to come together behind the nominee for a relative level of success. Johnson was a great improvement over Barr in that regard. The number of LP members in Vegas who said they wouldn’t support Gary Johnson after the nomination was vanishingly small, especially compared to Barr.

    On Rand Paul, if the GOP nominates him in 2016, it’ll be bad for LP voter turnout. My guess is that they won’t nominate him, but he’ll be running in the primaries, so we’ll have a similar situation as this year, where Paul siphons support until he’s eliminated.

    Also, is anyone from IPR going to watch the Gary Johnson town hall tonight and summarize in an article?

  164. Brian Holtz

    A landholder can bribe as many mapmakers as she likes, but if a site has non-trivial land value, then that represents money left on the sidewalk.

    Money left on the sidewalk gets picked up.

    In Geolibertania, markets would have the job of finding and picking up that sidewalk money. I think they’d do it quite well, but people with less faith in markets might disagree.

    In a conventional regime with property taxes, the money might not get picked up until the land next changes hands. But it will get picked up eventually — unless some disaster destroys all tax records.

    P.S. Note how tortured are the scenarios in which a land value tax is evaded, and compare to how easy it is to forever hide a transaction from a consumption tax. A consumption tax would not “treat all consumption and consumers the same”, because some transactions are easier to hide than others.

    By contrast, all land is equally hard to forever hide from taxation, because the only way to do it is to alter or destroy all the records of whether the tax has been paid.

  165. Thomas L. Knapp

    BH @ 179,

    “all land is equally hard to forever hide from taxation”

    Nothing is ever “forever.” But as far as being equally hard to hide from taxation, no.

    It’s a lot easier to hide rural land that’s not hooked into government utilities than it is to hide urban land that is, for example.

    But I strongly suspect there’s some hidden land in cities as well. Some groups of people don’t care that much about having government guarantee clear title, etc.

  166. Be Rational

    As to the inefficiency of taxing land, one of the claimed strengths by Holtz is that taxing land coerces owners into development of land.

    This is actually one of the major problems with taxing land. It forces development of land that should be left empty, undeveloped or unimproved for many years in order to allow the most effiecient use of the land and the most efficient infrastructure to be developed.

    Large and growing plots of empty land and empty lots, especially in urban areas are necessary to accumulate the land needed to undo the total misdevelopment that has already occured and to accomodate change. Taxes that cause that land to be re-developed or new infrastructure laid down can cause the misallocated resources to multiply and expand.

    The footprint of malinvestment and misallocation can remain for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. Such resource misallocation caused by the socialistic regulation, taxation, control of land and government provision of infrastructure is in the tens of trillions of dollars in the US and hundreds of trillions of dollars around the world.

    ******

    The loss from collecting a geo tax in terms of resource misallocation and wasted resources EXCEEDS the Total amount of tax collected. There is a loss to the economy greater than 100% of the tax collected.

    ******

    There is no other tax that is as bad for the economy as the geo-fascist-socialist earth nazi land tax.

    ******

    Holtz’s remarks make it clear that he doesn’t understand what is being discussed here.

    Misallocated infrastructure development and malinvestment:

    Building cities on a grid patten of roads that should not exist, building roads at all in most places, building for the automobile … however you want to look at it … is the socialist’s wet dream. It has failed. The government made the wrong decisions. Building and designing any place for any form of transport as decided by a government body of any kind will have the same effect.

    Building where nothing should be built. Empty spaces should be left empty until the market is ready to build there. Taxation forces resource misallocation and malinvestment to happen.

    Government deciding where to build schools, hospitals or any structure is guaranteed to cause massive resource misallocation.

    Government provision of pipes, wires or any other service that should be left to the free market is also guaranteed to caused massive resource misallocation. All of these can be proviced efficiently in a competitive free market.

    Properly developed areas with no government involvement or taxation will be served by multiple competing providers, with better service, lower cost, and the safety of having backup providers available all benefiting the consumer and profits to the provider – it is important to remember that the entire concept of a natuaral monopoly is nonsense … there is no such thing.

    In addition to better service and lower cost, the chance to switch to a backup provider in the case of outages has an inestimable worth to the lives of certain at risk individuals, hospitals and emergency services providers.

    None of these things have ever entered into the thought processes of the geo nut wackos.

    Deadweight loss in the collection of a tax is nothing. It’s less than 1% of what is lost by resource misallocation and malinvestment of the land tax system.

    Taxation of land, buildings, and any kind of property, taxation of natural resources, government control, regulation, zoning and other limits on land use, government provision of infrastructure – these socialist intrusions into the marketplace cause more damage to the world than even the total damage caused by all the wars in the history of the world.

    … and Holtz wants to give us more …

    Libertarians must call for repeal of all taxes on land, property and income – immediately – and the priviatization of all natural resources, in order to allow efficient development of the next generation of infrastructure, at the much higher level of investment that free market infrastrucure development would bring about.

    And we must safeguard our environment and end pollution by privatizing the environment so that private owners can demand an end to pollution, which will also curtail, and over time, undo the damage of pollution and global climate change already wrought upon the world by the current geo-socialist system.

    Finally, we can best protect the diversity of species on Earth and conserve resources by total privatization in the US, and in every other nation on Earth, and the end of geo-socialist type nonsense. Private owners make the best conservators.

  167. Gene Berkman

    NS @ 178 – Rand Paul is up for re-election to the Senate in 2016, so I don’t think he will run for President in the primaries

    I also think Rand Paul is realistic enough to know that he cannot any time soon be a realistic Republican candidate for President, and he will probably concentrate for years on his career in the Senate.

  168. Robert Capozzi

    169 bh: That particular definition of libertarianism is original, not from some authority.

    me: Yes, you may have put those words together in a unique manner, but the concept of “self ownership” seems to be the meat of that bumper sticker, and it’s been used before. What it actually means, I can’t say. Near as I can tell, the universe and everything in it is connected.

    bh: read my indictment: Rand Did Not Solve The Is-Ought Problem.

    me: Yes, thanks. Ayn seemed to be quite confused about a lot of things. “Indicting” her seems a mite harsh, though.

    bh: it’s sufficient to announce that we hold certain truths to be self-evident.

    me: I respect that it may well be “sufficient” for you, but it’s not for me. While I agree with TJ on many things, it’s my practice to use non-violent communication. “We hold” seems non-violent, but for me “self evident” is a separating notion. It has a my way or the highway tone about it, a we’re right and you’re wrong feel. It’s easy and de rigeur in L circles to cite TJ’s words as an authority (perhaps it’s not your intent here…I can’t read your mind). Radical inquiry into the words in the Dec of Ind elicit more questions than answers, although I do largely agree with the opinions expressed.

    bh: …constantly pointing out that there’s no universal and objective basis for resolving such debates.

    me: “Constantly” seems overstated to me, but I take your point. My response is: Observe the results. Are “debates” ever really settled? These sorts of things are more like fashion than truth finding. The search for a neat, tidy package seems futile. I happen to believe that truth exists, but it’s far to abstract and pervasive to boil it down into words. Lao Tzu – the First Libertarian – may have come closest with the eternal Tao, but then that’s really more a poem than a manifesto.

  169. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@183,

    I think you are missing Holtz’s point regarding “self-evident.”

    He’s very specific in his application: “In the political arena …”

    By which I assume he means “in the electoral political arena.”

    In the electoral political arena, there is remarkably little actual debate, or even very much persuasion , involved. Certainly not with respect to ideology, and mostly not even with respect to policy proposals.

    The electoral political arena isn’t about getting people to agree with you. It’s about letting the people who already agree with you know that you agree with them, and about getting those people to choose you because you do agree with them, and about motivating them to get off their asses and register that agreement on election day.

  170. Brian Holtz

    Bob, that I didn’t invent the idea of self-ownership does not mean I’m arguing from authority.

    For more about what self-ownership means, see the classic video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muHg86Mys7I

    the universe and everything in it is connected

    That doesn’t mean you don’t own yourself.

    Are “debates” ever really settled?

    Is progress never really made by debating? Not when people keep committing Strawmen / Excluded Middle fallacies.

    The search for a neat, tidy package seems futile.

    Strawman / excluded middle fallacy.

    truth exists, but it is far too abstract and pervasive to boil it down into words

    By its own admission, the above 16-word statement cannot be a truth.

    For 41,256 words of boiled-down truths, try my book Human Knowledge: Foundations and Limits.

  171. Brian Holtz

    BH: all land is equally hard to forever hide from taxation

    TK: Nothing is ever “forever.”

    I already said how to make land forever hidden from taxation: “alter or destroy all the records of whether the tax has been paid”.

    Short of this, land indeed cannot be hidden “forever” from taxation — and all land is equal in this respect. Sure, some sites might be overlooked for longer than others. But that’s like saying some heights take longer to fall from than others. For all sites, the back taxes eventually get collected.

    It’s clear that a tax on an immovable spatial site is harder to successfully evade than a tax on ephemeral events (transactions, production, etc.) or on movable material property or on intangible property.

    (And by “successfully evade”, I mean that you never end up paying the tax, nor do you suffer a discount by having to sell under the cloud of a future tax liability.)

    your attachment to land “valuation” as its basis

    The purpose of a land value tax is not to extract some kind of membership fee (e.g. like a capitation tax).

    Rather, the purpose of a land value tax is to finance public goods by unwinding the subsidy they provide to siteholders. Such subsidies get unevenly capitalized into site values, according to the market’s valuation of the quality and proximity of the public goods enjoyed by the sites.

    Unwind all subsidies, end all taxation, fine all aggression.

  172. Robert Capozzi

    185 bh commenting on “the universe and everything in it is connected”: That doesn’t mean you don’t own yourself.

    me: True enough. If it’s helpful to think in terms of “self ownership,” I’m for it. It appears to me that the notion of self ownership is and always has been disrespected, or at least not widely practiced. Bummer.

    bh: Is progress never really made by debating? Not when people keep committing Strawmen / Excluded Middle fallacies.

    me: That depends on what you mean by “progress.” This may be a little too “Mill Valley yoga studio” for you, but “debate” seems pointed to “defeating” the “opponent,” which doesn’t work for me. However, open-minded discussion among those seeking ever-elusive truth can lead to greater understanding by the individual. If enough individuals “get it,” yes, that does start to look like “progress.”

    bh: By its own admission, the above 16-word statement cannot be a truth

    me: Yes, no “debate” here! ;) Will have to check your book out…Thomas Sowell and Descartes, move over? ;)

  173. Robert Capozzi

    184 tk: The electoral political arena isn’t about getting people to agree with you. It’s about letting the people who already agree with you know that you agree with them, and about getting those people to choose you because you do agree with them, and about motivating them to get off their asses and register that agreement on election day.

    me: Extremely well put description of the current dysfunction. Most of the time, I advocate doing as the Romans do when in Rome. However, when a tiny minority, I personally like the idea of transcending the knife-fight of the public square. The power of “L-ism” is in the peace that it points to, not in bringing another weapon to the dance.

    If our shared ideas are going to “win” the day, my theory is that we have to appeal to the masses “greater angels”/conscience/Higher Self. It’s not so much that we’ve built a better mousetrap, it’s more that the Rs and Ds are children with matches. Isn’t it a good idea to take the matches away from them as a first step?

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