I Rejoined The Libertarian Party

As regular readers might recall, the Libertarian Party was one of my first stops when I started to become very interested in liberty. It wasn’t much of an organization. Just a dozen or so activists staring down the collective barrell of the guns of the State, not entirely sure what to do about it. This was back in New York, a place where even the Republicans want to raise taxes and grab guns, so however small and ineffective the party may have been as an organization, it was absolutely a necessary thing to have some kind of opposition to the growth of government.

Here in New Hampshire that is not so much the case. The government here is already small and accessible. If you want to run for office as a major party candidate, you pay a nominal fee, and you get on the ballot. Even the Democrats here are not as bad as the Republicans in New York, and the Republicans here more closely resemble libertarians than some LP members I ran into in New York.

I Rejoined The Libertarian Party

I Rejoined The Libertarian Party

Maybe that’s why the LPNH hasn’t been much of a force here, to put it lightly. You might think that the freest state in the union, the home of the world’s largest libertarian political migration, would have a thriving libertarian party, but we don’t. The Facebook page has 346 likes and is updated sporadically at best. The website hasn’t been updated in over a month. Our chairman was incommunicado for some time, until I got the executive director for national to prod him. Planning the yearly convention was impossible in his absence, and when it finally did get planned, it coincided with the Free State Project’s Liberty Forum, an event from which I am banned. They also changed the location at the last minute without issuing any public notice, so that I ended up standing outside a restaurant wondering what happened. Luckily I had a friend inside the meeting, who told me it was taking place in a hotel room.

Add to this the fact that I’m an anarchist who doesn’t think electoral politics are going to solve our problems, and you might find yourself asking the same question I did. Why bother?

All elections are scams, after all. I’m not particularly interested in political power. Even if I was, I’m terribly unlikely to obtain it through the Libertarian Party. There’s certainly no money in it. Hell, I drove an hour and a half to get to the convention, and paid $25 to become a member. This does not seem like the wisest allocation of resources for a guy who makes his living soliciting donations.

The Libertarian Party, for all its shortcomings, serves a purpose. Those of us who have been involved in the movement awhile might look at the institution as ineffective and pointless at times, but think back to when you first got involved. In my case, it was 2004 LP Presidential Candidate Michael Badnarik who radicalized me. When I began researching libertarianism, the Libertarian Party was one of the first institutions I found, one of the first groups that I joined, one of the first meetings I attended.

If you think I’ve done some positive work, you can thank the Libertarian Party for that.

It may well be unfortunate that the image of the party has become what it has, but that’s because people like me move on to other things and leave the institution behind. It’s not the fault of the Libertarian Party as an institution, that the LPNH website and Facebook are lacking content, it’s the fault of libertarians who haven’t been active within the LP. All of this can change if people are willing to put some effort into it.

We might not be winning elections any time soon, we might not even make the ballot. I don’t particularly care about those things anyway. What we can do, is get a radical libertarian message in front of people who are curious about it, under the banner of a recognizable organization that just happens to be the nation’s third largest political party. We can run candidates for public office who don’t have to tone down their message in hopes of winning over a majority of the electorate, giving them the soapbox of a political campaign to put anti-State messages in the minds of voters.

If one of those people just so happens to get elected in the process, I can think of worse outcomes.

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  • Richard Onley

    Well, if anybody can reanimate that corpse, it’s probably you.
    I was involved from 1976 to 1980, when the ballot drive convinced me it was a waste of time. The big problem was that everyone was busily playing politics, trying to say everything everybody wanted to hear without saying anything much at all. (This was known as an “educational campaign.” …) I suggested all manner of tactics, but every one would be shot down with the caveat “We can’t say that, we might offend somebody.”
    Often, it’s being offended that finally gets people agitated enough to start thinking. That seems like something you’d be good at. …

    • I agree. This is also how the greatest leap forward was ever made, by the Levellers, and “Fox’s Libel Law.” (An advance taken advantage of even more by WIlliam Penn, Edward Bushell, and Penn’s Quakers.) The same problem persists today (unaccountable tyranny), and requires almost the same solution.

      So, why did you let them beat you? Why didn’t you run for state legislature, or go door-to-door yourself? Actually, as a ballot access petitioner, the only thing that gets people to like Libertarians is a bold defense of freedom. Trying to sound like “Option #3” of three similar options is very stupid. However, this requires “common sense.” There are some things people don’t want to change, and won’t accept changing. …This is very little of the LP platform, when properly explained.

  • Murray Roodbaard

    “It’s not the fault of the Libertarian Party as an institution.”

    It is the fault of the Libertarian Party as an institution that they have completely destroyed their credibility by electing the likes of Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root to prominent positions in recent years. Would you take them seriously if they put Cathy Reisenwitz in a prominent position in the next few years?

    • Ian Sean

      No institution can have fault by definition.Only indivuduals. Hence limited liability being bullshit.

      • Murray Roodbaard

        Exactly my point. Chris’ gratitude to people like Michael Badnarik does not render the LP useful, nor does it diminish how useless it has been rendered by the many decisions since then. After all, Michael Badnarik is not in the LP anymore. Which is why i used Cathy Reisenwitz’ name. What the LP is, is determined by the people in it and using it. Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root for example have shown the type of people the “institution” is going for. As such, it is tainted and pointless. Obviously, the people in charge of it are not serious libertarians.

        • Ian Sean

          Yeah Barr was 08 it’s like Johnson doesn’t even count. How many folks wrote in Paul in 12?

        • “Michael Badnarik does not render the LP useful, nor does it diminish how
          useless it has been rendered by the many decisions since then.”

          The LP is an empty vessel. Bill Redpath largely recruited Bob Barr. Barr narrowly won at the convention, because he paid attention to strategy, and played politics. Ruwart refused to, and lost. Barr was an abortion, but ask yourself this: How did Russell Verney have anything to do with another “third-party” political campaign after sabotaging Ross Perot in 1992?

          That was an object lesson in “Feedback.” The system tested us, and here’s what it found: A bunch of people who know as much about the importance of “continuous feedback” as you apparently do: ZERO.

          Such people are easy to beat. All you need to do is take a measurement of where you stand. Then, start adding supporters. Add committed supporters until you have enough to win. When someone says they’re attending, but they refuse to commit to voting for you, count them as a supporter of your opposition. If you can’t talk to everyone, in all relevant areas (not relevant to a convention, but relevant to a district-based election), extrapolate from that “polling ratio.”

          This is a strategy that is in line with material reality. The truth is this: Sociopaths want to steal from libertarians more than libertarians want to keep what they’ve earned. This includes the theft or defense of life itself.

          Pathetic, when you view it that way, isn’t it? We don’t want to live as much as they want to kill us.

          Winners aren’t tolerated in the LP. Nor is anyone who suggests a winning strategy. Most libertarians cannot even tell the difference between a winning strategy and a losing one. This is the case because they only care about the philosophy, not its implementation.

          OK, die then. Losers.

          (This isn’t an exaggeration. If you’re older than 60 right now, there’s almost a 100% chance that you will die as a direct result of the FDA and State licensing of medicine.)

  • Edward Patrick Dunne

    So I guess it’s safe to assume that you will be supporting Gary Johnson in 2016. . .

    • FUKKA

      That is hilarious. What the fuck has got into Cantwell lately? Jesus its boring to watch this ‘within the system’ shit play out. You just know he’s going to learn in 5 years it was a waste of time and go back to being angry Cantwell. I can’t wait.

      • Edward Patrick Dunne

        I hope he becomes a candidate. That would be a lot of fun.

    • Murray Roodbaard

      Would he support a man that is NOT in favor of wholesale decriminalization of drugs? That is in favor of using the military for intervention (such as what Johnson wanted in Uganda) that he personally can get behind? That seems to have no serious understanding of how bad the Federal Reserve is, and the need for its abolishment?

      • It’s a moot point. No sense in bashing Johnson unless someone better comes along. It’s also moot because the LP has no business _seriously_ running for any office higher than State Legislature of Sheriff. All other campaigns are “messengers” only.

        • Murray Roodbaard

          Not only is there good sense in bashing Johnson (unless you’re an acolyte of the voting system), it is also my prerogative to bash anyone i please that is a statist on issues that should matter most to libertarians (military war and the war on drugs).
          Whether someone better comes along or not, it won’t change the fact that Gary Johnson’s policies would still have innocent people DIE. Maybe you have no problem putting your signature underneath that, but i do, and so would any real libertarian.

          • I had plenty of problems with Johnson, but he was significantly better than Barr. You’re well within your rights to say you couldn’t support him, and I wouldn’t disagree with you, or even urge you to reconsider all that hard. On issues of morality, each person decides where to compromise, and where to fight harder. Some people refused to support Ron Paul because of his inconsistent stances on abortion and immigration –I wasn’t one of them. The benefits of Paul far outweighed the ills, and he called attention to the Federal Reserve, and foreign wars in a brave and meaningful way, waking a lot of people up.

            In both cases, however, a compromise was struck, and a plan congealed around a non-delusional candidate, which is a paradigm that Joe Sixpack understands. The more such plans we can pursue, and the closer we get to running perfectly optimal “voluntaryists” like Harry Browne, the better.

            To bitch that Browne ran for office is totally delusional, making the perfect the enemy of the good. The cost of printing the ballots is insignificant next to the benefits of putting a voice against the drug war on those ballots.

            I believe that anyone who doesn’t see it that way is totally delusional.

  • Michael Turner

    the answer to ” why bother is the exchange of ideas, the affirmation of ones own sanity and the hopes that we can stumble upon a formula that could facilitate real change.

    • No need to stumble upon it, it’s a well-known and well-understood science to everyone except “philosophy-centric” libertarians who view losing elections as a badge of honor.

      • Murray Roodbaard

        Losing elections *is* a badge of honor. Nobody uses political power for good, including libertarians.

        • Dick Randolph, Ken Fanning, and Andre Marrou made a State income tax illegal in Alaska. Ron Paul used political power to spread the message of liberty to millions of Americans. Lech Walesa expanded trade and enriched millions of Poles after winning an election. John Lilburne used “political power” in the form of printed pamphlets to spread freedom to the old and new worlds by expanding jury nullification. So, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

          You either don’t know what you’re talking about, or you are one of the many government plants the CIA, FBI, DHS, or similar apparatus pays to comment on libertarian goings on. If you have any capacity for “system level” thinking, ask yourself this question: What if libertarians were in the vast majority and all thought this way? ie: What if they had the numbers to dramatically win every election, but disavowed participation? In that perverse case, libertarians could dramatically outnumber power-seeking sociopaths, and yet still be totally and completely dominated by them in every sphere of existence that matters.

          What if libertarians didn’t currently have such numbers, but *almost* did? With your style of “thinking,” they could be on the cusp of incremental improvement, dramatic downsizing of the government, and never see any incremental imrpovement at all.

          In fact, this is largely the case today, due precisely to the kind of idiotic and ineffectual thinking encouraged by people such as yourself. Most likely, given your idiotic name, you wish to purposefully caricature Rothbard’s (and Hayek’s) ideas. This makes me wonder: What kind of “voluntaryist” are you? Watner and Konkin majorly disagree with Rothbard and Browne.

          And how do we know elections can, at least *sometimes* make a dramatic difference? Consider the case of the perestroika elections that marked the fall of the iron curtain in Poland. “None of the Above” won the first election, and the communists were forced to put the capitalist candidates on the ballot. Shortly thereafter, Poland moved significantly closer to freedom than it had been.

          Now sure, the world isn’t going to become libertarian tomorrow by participating in elections alone. But participating in elections costs almost nothing compared to the alternatives, and there’s a smart way to go about it that produces results that are measurably better than not participating.

          You might not know anything about this, but it is, in fact, the truth.

          • Murray Roodbaard

            Let’s see:
            Dick Randolph helped abolish state income taxes. I’ll give you that one.
            Ken Fanning and Andre Marrou, other than them being from the LP i cannot find anything specific they achieved after being elected.
            Ron Paul achieved what he did as a spokesman, lecturer and teacher. When i talk about political power, i am talking about using that power to undo policies or legislations. While he had a large platform to speak as a politician, he didn’t need to be a politician to spread any message.
            As a matter of fact, the only real reason i think a libertarian could have for going into politics is to spread the message, as going into politics and losing means you have given the system itself legitimacy.
            Lech Walesa could hardly have done worse considering Poland was already a communist and collectivist rathole. In that sense you wouldn’t ask for much would you?
            He was also anti-self ownership by LAW by being against abortion. On top of that he also opposed in vito fertilization and same sex marriage. As a private person this is his business, as a politician this is imposition of personal morals onto others.
            I don’t care what anybody does in terms of “good” if he also uses state coercion for bad.
            If you liked money you may have liked Walesa a lot more than if you were gay. But “money” is not a libertarian issue; individual liberty is.
            Spreading pamphlets is not the use of political power. Decreasing state power is.

            Am i an alphabet letter agency plant? Who knows? Maybe i am. Maybe you just need to take your anti-paranoia meds for thinking i am a plant just because i am not naive enough to believe that using the system to defeat the system is useful any more than becoming a mobster to turn the mafia into the salvation army.

            In terms of “system thinking”, your positing of fantasy hypothesis is useless. If the majority of people were libertarian i am convinced there would be no state in the sense that there is today.. As a matter of fact, in that case it would be entirely pointless to use the system at all; simply ignoring state edicts and general civil disobedience would suffice, just as it did for quite some time immediately after the founding of Pennsylvania in the late 17th century. If 10 men play a game that is rigged by 8 people who threaten violence, you’ll be liable to play. If 10 men play a game that is rigged by 2 people who threaten violence, you give them a beating or you just walk away from the table.
            So to answer another question: no they would not be totally dominated by a few sociopaths. Do you honestly believe that if a few sociopaths can rule over a majority of libertarians, that using the democratic system against these sociopaths would change anything? Do you think the system is “magical”? Or do you believe these sociopaths would actually stick to the rules?

            This is NOT the case today, as Ron Paul ultimately lost the race to the kind of Republican even Republicans mocked. And let’s not even talk about the “chances” of Gary Johnson. We are nowhere near a critical mass.

            Am i making a caricature of Rothbard’s name? Nope. The reason for my nickname is meaningless to this discussion and just another attempt at questioning my “motives” rather than my arguments. Hayek was pro-social welfare so fuck him. Watner and Konkin disagree with Browne and Rothbard? Why should i give a shit even if i know exactly what they disagreed about? I don’t “do” appeal to authority. That’s for cultists and sycophants.

            Your comments about the iron curtain come from what i would call “the argument from totalitarianism”.

            What i mean by that is; if you have totalitarianism, then any improvement from this extreme form of statism is considered “good” by the likes of you, while i would call them normal or even unavoidable. My arguments come from “anarchism”. That is to say, since we have a right to maximized freedom, i refuse to be thankful or grateful for anyone giving me more liberty than i would have under a more despotic regime, anymore than i would be grateful to a slaveowner who would give me 10 lashes instead of 50.

            That is why i pay no tribute to ANYONE who returns to me some good, while still imposing on me some bad.

            If you think only the electory system could have ended that decrepit and bankrupt system of communism, then obviously you don’t even understand that communism was already dead. You think a REAL communist regime would have ever allowed a vote to end their reign? I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

            “You might not know anything about this, but it is, in fact, the truth.”

            And yet, the state just gets bigger, stricter, and more violent ever since the moment America got its independence. Whereas people had a mentality of liberty in the beginning of the country’s existence, it never stopped the state from becoming what it is today. Good going with that electory participation. Democracy sure kept that government in check, didn’t it?

            The world isn’t going to become libertarian by participating in elections AT ALL.

            The only thing that is going to stop it, is the state’s self destruction, just as Rome self-destructed, and just as Soviet Russia self-destructed.
            But go ahead. Vote. Pretend that some libertarian politician stands a chance against all those sociopaths that are drawn to political power like flies to shit. See you in 20-50 years when the state will come crashing down all on its own because it can’t support its own weight.

          • You concede enough of my points for me to declare a minor “victory.” (Randolph needed the others to achieve what he did, and he got them elected. Moreover: the “build outward” strategy was proven valid,on the way to Tom Woods’ “State Nullification.” It remains a viable,but unused strategy,thanks to people like yourself.)

            Then,most telling, you write “See you in 20-50 years when the state will come crashing down all on its own because it can’t support its own weight.”

            I’ll quote Blade Runner here:
            “I want more life, fucker!”

            I don’t have any sympathy or patience with “libertarians” who are content to possibly be proven right in 20-50 years. Such people don’t value freedom in any meaningful way.

            Zaijian, comrade.

          • “Lech Walesa could hardly have done worse considering Poland was already a
            communist and collectivist rathole. In that sense you wouldn’t ask for
            much would you”

            I urge the libertarian movement to understand the difference between “real gains” and “insignificant gains” and to abandon all-or-nothing thinking. I also urge strategic realism evaluated for likely consequences. Real freedom is better than theoretical conversation about it.

  • Coralyn Herenschrict

    IMO, the key to legitimacy here is recognizing the Libertarian party qua political party seeking power over others is an immoral, self-defeating road to nowhere and thus staying unwaveringly true to a “radical libertarian” i.e. anarcho-capitalist position.

    Maintaining this strict precondition from start to finish, then using the Libertarian party brand recognition as a platform to be heard is just shrewd marketing. Why not reach the brainwashed, who only admit political thinking into their brains under guise of election campaigns, by reaching out via a channel they listen to rather than ones they don’t?

    The purported legitimization of political authority caused by campaigning even for an anarcho-capitalist position has never been clear to me. The 0.001% of society who understand elections are preposterous and illegitimate already see through the myth. The 99.999% who don’t, will not be swayed by dint of anyone else’s non-participation.

    In the unlikely event a radical libertarian does get elected, his marketing platform would get even bigger. And I can see a course of principled action whereby a devout anarcho-capitalist state official could gum up the works, vote “no” to every conceivable expansion of state power, and at minimum deny the seat to a statist who would otherwise use it to cause harm.

    • Murray Roodbaard

      You don’t need the Libertarian Party for that. See: Ron Paul. Problem with the LP is that just as an AC could get the nomination, so too could some hack that embarrasses good libertarians everywhere.
      AGAIN i mention the likes of Cathy Reisenwitz.

      • Coralyn Herenschrict

        Good point, but the Republican Party only admitted Ron Paul to run under their banner because he is a minarchist. They would not admit an AC. I’m pretty sure the Libertarian Party would admit an AC to run under their banner.

        • Murray Roodbaard

          I’m pretty sure the Republican Party would have gladly thrown Ron Paul out if they could get away with it, minarchist or not.

    • “unwaveringly true to a “radical libertarian” i.e. anarcho-capitalist position”

      Anarchism has nothing to do with radical libertarianism.

      I’m a radical libertarian, but not an anarchist or a minarchist. I’m a voluntaryist (Taxes would have to be voluntary for it to be “libertarian.”) Those who are anarchists claim knowledge of the future they cannot have. The US has been closer to minarchy in the past, so there is a precedent for it. The less government we’ve had, while still arresting murderers and such, the better life has been. In many areas, there was a time when nearly noone was arrested for victimless crimes. That condition (some would call it “minarchy,” even if not a perfect one) was dramatically better than the prison state we have today.

      Moreover: Politics is a contest between Manichaean devils in a cybernetic system. The enemy benefits by introducing confusion into your system. You help him do that, from a strategic standpoint, by using words he thinks he knows with a different intended meaning. You assist the newspeak language butchers this way, that is all.

      In fact, when you claim “anarchism” instead of “justice” as your goal, you simply turn off Joe Sixpack. Voluntaryism can be minarchist or anarchist. Joe Sixpack believes that anarchists would not arrest Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy, and most anarchists reinforce this view, or claim “it wouldn’t be government doing it.” …Which is fucking stupid to say, because then Joe Sixpack just writes you off, since right now, the FBI’s ISU is the part of government that catches serial killers.

      The public understands the concept of limited government, and they support it. That’s why when Spooner switched away from the anarchist Garrison, his message took off like wildfire. Via the delivery of Frederick Douglass.

      If you want libertarianism, then advocate libertarianism. Don’t mix it with something the public sees as poison and then expect them to adopt it. That’s unwittingly self-destructive.

      Unwitting self-destruction is the definition of stupidity.

      That said, I mostly agree with your last paragraph. However, that’s the same thing a minarchist voluntaryist libertarian in the model of Thoreau or Harry Browne would do.

      • Coralyn Herenschrict

        I heartily agree with you that use of the term voluntaryism rather than anarchism makes great marketing sense. Even better than voluntaryism I like the phrase “radical libertarianism” because the public instantly gets it in the sense that matters most without having to launch into a lengthy explanation of what is a voluntary society or worse how anarchists don’t advocate violent chaos. There simply is no bandwidth in most pithy discussions with strangers and acquaintances for such lexicography.

        A person might attempt to use the term radical libertarianism to admit devout minarchism in the colloquial loosey-goosey use of the term libertarian, but I decline to accept that definition. I believe those of us who believe in non-aggression for reals, i.e. without personal pet exception for state aggression of one form or another, need to reclaim the term libertarian from those who compromise it in sundry arbitrary and absurd ways. So I unabashedly assert the term radical libertarian ought to mean anarcho-capitalism by any reasonable interpretation of the word libertarian to mean rejection of aggression.

        And with all due respect, a voluntaryist cannot ever be confused with a minarchist. There is nothing voluntary about an agency wielding a violently enforced monopoly on use of violence (state police / military) or monopoly on dispute resolution (state courts) or monopoly on rules of behavior (state laws). A minarchist is a statist, by definition of those terms.

        • Murray Roodbaard

          Agree completely.

        • I mostly agree, but you’re wrong about one thing: A state can be voluntarily supported. So long as you can withdraw your consent/support from the state, and remain apart from the state in a personal condition of “non-aggression,” you live in a voluntary state. Why not just call it anarchy? Because such a state still must allocate control over the police democratically, even to people who have “opted out.” (When this doesn’t happen, you have the current situation, of corrupted cops, corrupted law, and private prison profiteers who drive the corruption of the police.)

          Moreover, this voluntaryist state would still enforce laws against murder, theft, etc. So it makes no sense to describe it as a “private company,” since Joe Sixpack still gets a vote about how the police are organized (lest they beat him up, and put him in a private prison,well-incentivized to do so by a court system that “cannot touch” the private “DRO.”) Additionally, these democratically-controlled police don’t get to enforce the laws against murder on a sporadic or favoritist basis. They enforce according to the right. …As the FBI’s ISU currently does w/r/t serial killers. Very few legitimate “voluntaryists” would bemoan Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer being brought to justice by such a police force. Many serial killers have been caught this way, and rightfully so. Would non-government DROs (as typically described by Rothbard, etc.) have caught them? I suspect not. Moreover, if I suspect not, then what of Joe Sixpack who sees such agencies as “non-negotiable”? You alienate him from our side of the struggle, when he’s more than willing to be a consistent voluntaryist in all other respects than philosophically inessential “rejection of electoral participation.”

          And think about the transition, realistically, to a voluntaryist society: Right now we have private prisons,and a totalitarian or maximum-possible state. We have immense corporations ready to step in and act as perverse incentivizers. We also have fraudulent elections, which can be made less fraudulent, which can be scrutinized.

          What is more likely? That we abolish the police entirely, or add democratic limits to their operation: (Adding always-on video cameras to cops. Adding referendum votes on every new police chief at the next intervening election. Increasing the number of private rifle-carriers in public, in the black community. Adding recall to all police officers. Eliminating sovereign or government “immunity” laws. Exit polling the elections, and discrediting rigged elections.) Every aspect of “liberal democracy” could be made more liberal, with several lifetimes of theory and practice in what has worked, and what has not.

          US Libertarians are rarely familiar with any of this, and rarely thoughtful enough to recreate it. Heinlein was an exception who was both. Rand was not. Nock and Molyneux are not.

          All-or-nothing thinkers rarely come up with intelligent gracefully-decaying strategic plans. It’s a different kind of thought, one that most US libertarians grotesquely fail at.

      • Murray Roodbaard

        “The US has been closer to minarchy in the past, so there is a precedent for it.”

        The only thing there is a precedent for, is that small governments grow large (and this process started *immediately* after independence, among others through the alien and sedition act), and that things like checks and balances are not worth the paper they’re written on because the adherence to them is determined by people who are part of the very system that violates them. The very history of the state since the agricultural revolution shows that states grow, because power attracts the power hungry.

        There is no precedent however, for a large state that became a limited, minarchist one through the voting system. Ignoring cause and consequence, and history, is not going to make the future of “minarchism” any more likely.

        “The public understands the concept of limited government, and they support it.”

        If the public understood and supported it, they wouldn’t have put the likes of Clinton, Bush and Obama in power, and they would have flocked to vote for Ron Paul. The last thing they either truly understand, or support, is limited government. That is why education is what libertarians should be focusing on.
        I submit that the public has no clue what limited government really means, that they use it as lip service when what they really mean is “limited for me, not for thee.”

        If you are going to defend minarchism as a strategic way to increase liberty, at least be honest about how little the public REALLY knows about it, or supports it.

        Just because they like to toss the word around doesn’t mean they actually believe in it.

        As far as not convincing Joe Sixpack, i have no illusions, because Joe Sixpack loves patriotism and the troops. My opinion is with the likes of Albert Jay Nock and Stefan Molyneux.

        • “The only thing there is a precedent for, is that small governments
          grow large (and this process started *immediately* after independence,
          among others through the alien and sedition act),”
          OK, so Alexander Hamilton was the Founder who was in favor of the biggest government. Did you know that he argued jury nullification of law (directly copying the prior Andrew Hamilton’s 1735 defense of John Peter Zenger), while defending Harry Croswell against a charge of “seditious libel” (under the 1802 Alien and Sedition Act), in 1804? You see, I totally understand the desire you have to be right. It would be a lot better if the world could fit into “all or nothing,” “black and white” “perfect good against perfect evil.” But that’s just flat-out unwillingness to accept the true nature of reality. …And it makes your arguments weaker, and your strategy weaker, by preventing you from identifying the good in other people, and working with it. It also, ironically, makes your enemies vastly stronger, because they can paint you as an alienating nutjob who wants to “destroy the good with the bad.” (And it doesn’t matter to this caricature of our views if you’re right that the bad outweighs the good by 1,000 or even 1,000,000 times.)

          “and that things like
          checks and balances are not worth the paper they’re written on”
          You’re conflating republican limits on government with democratic limits on government, or, at very least, failing to differentiate between the two. If democratic limits on government power didn’t work, then we would simply march toward totalitarianism hopelessly, with never a chance of going in the other direction, toward freedom. Yet, this view, again, doesn’t mirror reality.

          “because
          the adherence to them is determined by people who are part of the very
          system that violates them.”
          This is solely true of republican limits on government power, or “laws.” As Spooner said, the most such laws do is inform the government when they can expect to encounter resistance. But your statement totally and completely ignores democratic limits on government power, both strong (organization of the jury around “nullification of law”), and weak (elections). Though weak, elections are stronger than what strategically-illiterate “anarchists” portray them as.

          “The very history of the state since the
          agricultural revolution shows that states grow, because power attracts
          the power hungry.”
          And we’re all just hopeless weaklings and can’t resist? How then, has there been any improvement in our condition? How was slavery overturned? Through cybernetic warfare of ideas and people. The warfare always continues, and is always constant, though its intensity, position, and advantage varies on either side.

          “There is no precedent however, for a large state
          that became a limited, minarchist one through the voting system.”
          Go reread what I wrote. Perestroika, and many other despotisms have been “more limited than they otherwise would have been” without a voting system. You make a common mistake: you conflate the outcome of one election in a despotism with the total influence of the electoral system, campaigns, and disincentives. When lots of people vote for a pro-gun candidate, it does nothing to stop the overall increase in tyranny, but it does indicate that there are a lot of gun-owners, to the totalitarians. This indication gives them “prior restraint” when trying to push laws on us that go past the “line in the sand.”

          “Ignoring cause and consequence, and history, is not going to make the
          future of “minarchism” any more likely.”
          Which is why my argument closely pays attention to history.

          “”The public understands the concept of limited government, and they support it.”

          If the public understood and supported it, they wouldn’t have put the
          likes of Clinton, Bush and Obama in power, and they would have flocked
          to vote for Ron Paul.”
          Not so. Though I understood and supported Paul, I am among a well-educated tiny minority, as are you. Ron Paul was a weak messenger, in many ways. He could be portrayed to leftists as a “pro-life” and “anti-immigrant” candidate. In fact, these were the very first attacks against him, online. When the enemy brings a far better, far more strategically sophisticated game to the elections than we do, we can’t be surprised when we lose. In fact, though Ron Paul rambled in phrases designed to ignite his base, he was very inarticulate in terms of going from “simple to complex” in explanations that could reach the historically, economically, legally, and philosophically illiterate. I think Ron is great, and I helped put his delegates on the ballot in two states. However, he was not young and energetic enough to “play politics” in a way that engaged the masses. For example, citing “Austrian economics” on Jay Leno, instead of naming Hayek by name, mentioning that he had won the Nobel Peace prize for figuring out that voluntary transactions are the most peaceful way to organize society. Blah, blah, blah. He didn’t know how to talk. Even so, his campaign did a HUGE amount to build the liberty movement: more than the prior 30 years of Libertarian Party masturbation.

          “The last thing they either truly understand, or
          support, is limited government. ”
          In the most precise, all-or-nothing sense, you’re right. However, your view lacks nuance, and in its lack of nuance, it ignores physical and biological reality. It views exponentials as binary, it views the possibilities for change as unchanging and unalterable. Basically, your view mistakes pine trees as skyscrapers, because both are tall. There are a multitude of electoral strategies that yield dramatically better results than any proposed “alternative to participation” that you might propose.

          “”That is why education is what
          libertarians should be focusing on.”
          You fail to see that those who focus on “education” when its obviously long past time to fight, are not taken seriously by anyone. The public stupidly and inconsistently supports what they view as “limited government.” There is a lot of room in this definition, but the LP, if it did things right and could expel its infiltrators, would win around 30% of the vote in every election. You’re complaining about the fact that the system is rigged, while taking it for granted that there’s no way to fight a rigged system. There are many ways to do so.

          “I submit that the public has no
          clue what limited government really means, that they use it as lip
          service when what they really mean is “limited for me, not for thee.””
          Sure, the majority of the public is inconsistent. So are you. Big deal. I can work with a well-meaning public that has a lack of education more easily than I can work with someone like you who is committed to the incorrect facts revealed to him by second-rate thinkers. In the first identity, the person knows they know very little, when they hear the truth. In your case, you’re committed to a carefully-crafted set of bogus-but-internally-consistent set of arguments.

          “If
          you are going to defend minarchism as a strategic way to increase
          liberty, at least be honest about how little the public REALLY knows
          about it, or supports it.”
          I know exactly what the public thinks in a demographic sense. I also understand that they are inconsistent, but the mainstream parties take this into account, and so can we, if we’re smart.

          “Just because they like to toss the word around doesn’t mean they actually believe in it.”
          It’s not even that good. But still, there are lots of ways to resist.

          “As
          far as not convincing Joe Sixpack, i have no illusions, because Joe
          Sixpack loves patriotism and the troops.”
          Well, then why don’t you go get your rifle, and start fighting? Talking with you is pointless if you believe change is impossible. If you believe Joe Sixpack could be educated, then you have to admit he could be educated in such a way that would change his vote. Moreover: not all Joe Sixpacks are alike. Some will vote for any pro-gun candidate, breaking with the party mom and dad told them to vote for based on that one issue. And this doesn’t even take into account that “independents” outnumber Ds and Rs in many areas. Like supermarket products, the electoral change must exist before they fully embrace it, since they have no consistent philosophy.

          “My opinion is with the likes of
          Albert Jay Nock and Stefan Molyneux.”
          And because it is, it is ineffectual in the areas that matter the most. …Just the way your totalitarian enemies like it. You couldn’t have played into their hands more. …And I say that liking much of what Nock and Molyneux have said and done. However, their opposition to political engagement was and remains FUCKING STUPID.

          • Coralyn Herenschrict

            “democratic limits on government power”

            No such thing. The election process that you assert to be a meaningful check on government is itself entirely controlled by government. Akin to having the gun you rely on for self defense built and maintained by the same criminal who is invading your home.

            The U.S.’s election process might appear open and impartial on its surface until one appreciates the indirect influences and incentive structures pervading the election process, all traceable back to legislation, that skew elections toward candidates that favor growing rather than shrinking state power. The election ecosystem is regulated and cartelized such that the pathways to getting on the ballot, reaching voters, and obtaining votes all but require candidates play ball with the ruling class in order to win the election. It is not an accident that each year the only choice on the ballot ends up just between two flavors of big institutional statist.

            To see such scale tipping at work elsewhere, consider the last Russian election where Russian election laws enabled Putin to officially place his operatives in positions to stuff ballot boxes. Or consider that North Korea actually holds popular elections for its government! When the government itself runs the election process, claiming that elections can reign in government is folly.

          • “”democratic limits on government power”

            No such thing.”
            No, you’re incorrect. You haven’t thought it through, and you haven’t made an attempt to reference the patter found in nature that I’m referencing. Let me explain: A republican limit on government is a law, written on a piece of paper. A democratic limit on government power is a response from a network of human-level (or greater) brains and computing machines. The strongest democratic limit on government power is the jury: this is “sortition,”-based democracy. Sortition amplifies a democratic operation adding a pressure in a certain direction. Because 1/12 can hang the jury, the jury’s “default pressure” is in favor of non-punishment. There are six major ways that juries have been destroyed, or “rendered powerless” as a democratic limit on government power, the strongest of which is the adoption of subject matter “voir dire.’

            Elections are also a “democratic limit on government power,” but they are a far weaker limit, especially given an uneducated society. To get a sense of how important various democratic limits on government power are by my estimate, juries are 70%, speech and assembly are 15%, widespread private gun ownership and practice-to-competence are 6%, elections 9%. Let’s say you want to elect libertarians, which would, if they actually were libertarians and not sociopaths, make a difference in the tyranny level. If this were not the case, Dick Randolph (and the three other State Legislators he got elected in AK), would not have been able to outlaw an income tax in Alaska.

            “The
            election process that you assert to be a meaningful check on government
            is itself entirely controlled by government.”
            You don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s 95% controlled by government, simply because dipshit libertarians don’t know the first thing about political strategy, nor do they care to learn. They are strictly armchair philosophers, the exact opposite of “doers.”

            “Akin to having the gun you
            rely on for self defense built and maintained by the same criminal who
            is invading your home.”
            …And this is where “reasoning by analogy” breaks down. This is why Elon Musk counsels people to “reason from first principles.” Or why Ray Kurzweil extols the benefits of a “hierarchical worldview.” Such prioritized and intelligent reasoning prevents you from making a lot of basic philosophical and political errors. With your style of thinking, progress is impossible -prevented entirely by the impotent hopelessness of libertarians who have made themselves helpless to effect any meaningful change.

            Fact: if you talk to people entering and exiting a polling place, they will talk to you. Many will lie, be clueless, etc. A percentage can be assigned to how many you think this is. Many more will be willing to talk with you, and organize with you, if you are not “100% obviously full of shit” in the domain of strategy. You see, non-libertarians primarily care about strategy, (40/50% on strategy, 10/50% on philosophy) whereas libertarians are precisely the reverse, except that they get a 0% on strategy and a 50% on philosophy.

            “The U.S.’s election process might appear
            open and impartial on its surface until one appreciates the indirect
            influences and incentive structures pervading the election process,”
            I’ve put the Libertarian Party on the ballot in 15 States. I’ve registered over 9,000 people as Libertarians, away from the major parties. I’ve gathered thousands of signatures on pro-liberty initiatives and referenda. If the Libertarian Party hadn’t directed money away from me (and the other long-time Libertarian activists), and to Democrats, you’d have already heard about “the State that went libertarian.” You haven’t heard of such a state, because the Libertarian Party is infiltrated and neutralized. (…Either by the FBI which encourages idiotic plans, just like they did when they infiltrated AIM using informant Douglas Durham, or by wealthy and competent people who are idiotic when it comes to strategy who also encourage idiotic planning at the lower levels. I’ve seen a lot of “maintained contradictions,” and contradictions generally don’t persist unless defended. If they’re well-defended, you’re infiltrated by a system that’s smarter than you are.) at the highest levels and filled with do-nothing abject idiots at the low levels.

            “all
            traceable back to legislation, that skew elections toward candidates
            that favor growing rather than shrinking state power.”
            This alone is not enough to prevent pro-freedom candidates from winning.

            “The election
            ecosystem is regulated and cartelized such that the pathways to getting
            on the ballot, reaching voters, and obtaining votes all but require
            candidates play ball with the ruling class in order to win the election.”
            False. However, with every minute that passes with libertarians being totally uneducated about the political process, from a strategic standpoint, the more this is true, the more ground we lose.

            “It is not an accident that each year the only choice on the ballot
            ends up just between two flavors of big institutional statist.”
            I agree. However, you draw conclusions from having only witnessed what’s going on from a distance. Paying attention, and viewing the situation from inside, you’d be able to see that libertarians (small and big L) are 100% responsible for the failures of libertarianism.

            “To
            see such scale tipping at work elsewhere, consider the last Russian
            election where Russian election laws enabled Putin to officially place
            his operatives in positions to stuff ballot boxes.”
            Yes, this is much like US elections.

            “Or consider that
            North Korea actually holds popular elections for its government!”
            No, it doesn’t. It’s highly perverse to suggest that North Korean “elections” are the same as elections in Colorado, or another state with a viable initiative process.

            “When
            the government itself runs the election process, claiming that elections
            can reign in government is folly.”
            No, your argument is a combination of “straw man” and fatalism that fails to isolate key variables of the political process. Moreover, it’s never been my position that elections _alone_ can “reign in” government. Elections combined with jury rights _can_. The levellers proved this, and their elections were far more controlled than ours, and they had no legal ability to remove the King. …And even speaking in public could mean one’s death. Yet, Freeborn John managed to topple King Charles, and to dramatically extend jury trials even under Cromwell’s following military dictatorship.

            “Political impotence” is a weak argument that spreads like a virus among weak-willed and politically inept libertarians. Only in a few U.S. elections are the outcomes 100% rigged (for example, the election that elected LBJ to the Senate in Texas; certain Chicago elections; etc).

          • Coralyn Herenschrict

            I’m at a loss to understand how you can’t see that juries, speech, gun ownership, elections do not provide meaningful limits on state power because the state itself regularly re-writes and re-interprets the laws governing people’s ability to do these things without being thrown in the state’s jails. These laws are mere speed bumps the founding fathers erected that are being progressively ground down by statists decade after decade.

            As sortitious as it may be considered in isolation, in practice jury nullification has been widely dissipated with pro-state pre-propagandization of jurors, voir dire, and jury tampering laws. Free speech is constantly eroding legislatively and judicially and is outright discarded when the state really wants to (Alien and Sedition acts of 1798, Espionage Act of 1917). We all know how ineffective the constitution has been protecting our right to keep and bear arms despite that being spelled out explicitly. The election process is a mess skewed toward the large parties. To see what the end of this road looks like, look up “Elections in North Korea” in Wikipedia.

          • Coralyn Herenschrict

            We may agree more than it seems that politics can be a useful tool.

            Yes, we still maintain enough freedoms at the current time to have some maneuvering room. Yes, against the odds we do occasionally elect a liberty guy. And yes, if we could convince a majority of the population in the near future to see the light, we could achieve our goals with the election process alone despite fierce opposition from the ruling class and all would be well. Perhaps we can at least agree convincing people to see the light is our #1 objective.

            But you emphasize the importance of political strategy as the means of doing that. As if doing what it takes to gain political power is the way forward. Well, it’s the way to win elections, I grant you. Lie, conduct media and election law hit jobs, dispense donors state favors from public coffers, horse-trade political power, promise new regulations to special interests, etc.

            If this is what you mean by embracing the political process, and if a libertarian does all this, then how is he different from a statist? If a libertarian candidate doesn’t do all this he’ll suffer a huge competitive disadvantage against all the other candidates who will.

            I do think we need an activism strategy that incorporates political action as a component, including running for office for the sake of the pulpit where that makes sense and including campaigning for single-issue free market initiatives that even statists can get behind. And yes, we suck at such political efforts. To those ends, thank you for your awesome actions promoting liberty.

  • Disco Biscuits

    Just curious, but how many Free Staters are in the NHLP?

    Does this mean they will let you into Porcfest this year?

  • Michael Lecompte

    I have not voted since 2012 and all I wrote was nobody for each name on the ballot. The ballot machine spat it out four times before a person manually inserted the ballot.
    I started in the LP back in 1996 with the Harry Browne campaign. The LP did help me discover the ideas of Liberty. I gave up on the LP when Bob Barr got the nomination over Mary Ruwart. Since then, I have been on a nonvoting kick. However, nonvoting has not abolished the state because most nonvoters are statists who are not happy with the choices of taxslavemasters. There has been some positive progress in the NH leglislature on the part of Liberty activists and am reconsidering my position on voting.
    There is no doubt that on a small scale, a bunch of liberty oriented people coud get freerer through voting on a smaller scale. However, the voting booth is still a government program and is still slow and inefficient.