Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christine Smith's Unfocused Christmas Ramblings

Christine Smith has posted more silliness on her blog. A "Christmas message" full of fluff and nonsense, signifying nothing other than that she's not ready for prime time.

Apart from the embarrassingly silly photos of this presidential aspirant frolicking in the snow (buried in snow up to her waist in one of them), there are her unfocused ramblings. Smith tells us that many people begged her to stay in the presidential race, that she likes Ron Paul, then she heaps praise on Christmas, and non-religious people, and liberty, and compassion, and Frederic Bastiat.

Smith writes: "For me, Christmas is all about liberty...all about freedom."

It may be for her, but it's an inaccurate understanding of Christmas. Liberty is good, and Christmas is good, but Christmas is not about freedom -- unless Smith means that Christ freed us from sin. But Smith never mentions sin in her post. Perhaps she imagines that Christianity is a celebration of doing your own thing?

She goes on to explain: "[Christmas] is a celebration of love, and love, by my definition, is the opposite of fear...and thus a celebration of love, Christmas, is inherently a celebration of liberty."

For the record, I am both a Catholic and a libertarian. It's my assessment that Jesus was apolitical. One can be a socialist or a libertarian, and be equally Christian. Jesus permits one to "render unto Caesar" because Jesus' kingdom "is not of this Earth." We may choose socialism or libertarianism while on Earth. The ancient Hebrews chose monarchy. I choose libertarianism, but it's not an inherently Christian choice. (Murderous totalitarianism is anti-Christian, but most forms of government are not -- sorry, fellow libertarians.)

Smith writes: "[Christmas is] also a time when libertarianism flourishes whether people realize it or not. People and businesses voluntarily give to charities and individuals, with compassion being the motivator. It's a lesson for all those who cling to their fundamentally immoral socialistic programs: people care, people freely give, people will care for one another - and we don't need Big Brother stealing from us to supposedly give to the poor on our behalf."

That's a nice sentiment, but again, it's inaccurate to say that "libertarianism flourishes" because altruism flourishes. Libertarianism allows for altruism, but does not require it. A society that shuns the poor, and one that voluntarily helps the poor, can be equally libertarian. One may behave as Scrooge or Mother Teresa and be equally libertarian (although not equally Christian).

Libertarianism is not compassion. It allows for altruism, and it allows for selfishness. It makes no judgment. In "selling liberty," some libertarians claim that a free society is more generous to the poor than is a socialist society. This may or may not be so, but it's a sales pitch. Let's not confuse the pitch with the philosophy. Only a dishonest or intellectually confused libertarian would do so.

There are, of course, intellectually dishonest people in the LP. Those who bend the philosophy to make it more palatable to the public. There are also intellectually weak-minded people in the LP. This happens when "getting votes" and "attracting members" become more important than educating the cadres and the masses.

There's much feel-good mush interwoven into Smith's unfocused "Christmas message." She tells us: "There are Christian libertarians, Jewish libertarians, pagan libertarians, agnostics and atheists...there are as many type libertarians as there are unique individual beliefs in this world, and this fact reinforces for me the intrinsic rightness of liberty. Because what we share in common is our focus on liberty, and for me, liberty recognizes, respects, and honors each individual's choice to worship or believe as they so choose. Liberty is the state of true love for mankind, giving all the ability to live life as they so choose free from intrusion and regulation."

Smith's is a standard politician's message (albeit written without benefit of a skilled speechwriter or editor). She hits many positive "talking points" but fails to convincingly tie them together. Liberty is good. Christmas is good. Compassion is good. If you don't believe in Christmas, that's good too.

Smith's "Christmas message" is intellectually insulting to both Christianity and libertarianism, because it dummies down both. Whether Smith does so out of ignorance, expediency, or poor communication skills, I don't know. I suspect all of the above.

Other libertarian bloggers have found Smith to be lacking in intellectual rigor. Maybe that's why Smith's "Christmas message" name-drops her reading list. She writes: "This year has found me discovering the many writings of Frederic Bastiat, Leonard Read, and Hayek. I cannot begin to explain the joy I feel at finding them."

I guess it's nice that Smith feels such joy, but I really don't give a damn about her -- or any other candidate's -- feelings. It reminds me of "compassionate conservative" Bush spending the 2000 race rambling about his feelings, always wanting to "tell you what's in my heart." In a candidate, I want a principled person with a clear understanding of, and commitment to, the Constitution. Not some squishy mush-head spouting a stream-of-consciousness about her feelings, even if she does pepper her ramblings with positive words like "liberty" and "freedom" and "compassion."

There's much nonsense when Smith's rambles about her feelings, some of it as embarrassing as her snow frolic photos: "I celebrate this re-awakening of the basis of libertarianism within me...my heart sings and I am flying again as a result."

Fly away, snowbird! Fly away!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ron Paul "New Year's Eve" March

Organizers are planning a series of Ron Paul marches on New Year's Eve -- in cities throughout America! The idea is to generate media buzz by creating a "media bomb" of an event.

Find out how you can participate in a Ron Paul march in your city.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Angela Keaton's Liberated Space Interviews Me

You can download me at Blog Talk Radio, or listen to me here.

The focus of the show was "libertarian and the arts." We discussed Vampire Nation, among other things.

Angela thought the show went well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Libertarians for Peace" Chain Cheney

California Freedom's January 2008 issue features an article by Lawrence K. Samuels of Monterey Libertarians for Peace. I've reprinted his article and photos below:

" 'Impeach for Peace,' Say Monterey Libertarians"

by Lawrence K. Samuels

"Monterey Libertarians, Monterey CodePink, and student peace activists of every political stripe rallied at Monterey's Window-on-the-Bay on December 8th to demand the impeachment of the entire Bush administration.

"Organizers -- which included local Libertarian leaders -- dubbed the event an "Impeach for Peace" rally. Participants plastered the park with four-foot-high Impeach signs and pink Peace symbols. The rally culminated with a faux Vice President Dick Cheney, who was handcuffed and donned in prison uniform.

"Support from motorists was incredible; very different from just a few years ago. This author witnessed many drivers honking their horns, smiling and displaying thumbs up."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christine Smith, the Hollow Newcomer Who Wants to Lead

Several months ago, Libertarian presidential candidate Christine Smith's website was mostly vague, feel-good fluff. More recently, she's created some buzz in the blogospshere by posting some radical, purist stuff.

Only, Smith’s words ring hollow to me. I don’t believe she means anything she says, so I won’t comment on their content.

Why don’t I believe her? Because, as far as I know, she’s a newcomer to libertarian activism. If she’s sincere, where was she all these years?

Smith should shut up, and listen, and learn.

Even were I to agree with Smith (not saying I do or don’t), she’s hasn’t earned the right to lead any charges. She’s earned no LP stripes, and unlike Ron Paul or Karen Kwiatkowski, Smith also lacks any great accomplishments outside the party.

I don’t believe Smith is sincere in her newfound passion for libertarian purism. Sorry, I ain’t buying her, regardless of what she’s selling.

Coincidentally, I hear that pro-war "Libertarian" Wayne Allyn Root has begun to soften his war message. Like Smith, Root is "evolving" as he campaigns. Like Smith, Root is a newcomer (author of Millionaire Republican). And as with Smith, I don't trust Root.

Nothing wrong with "evolving." But if you're a newcomer, and you're still figuring out what you stand for, you're not ready to run on top of our ticket. Humility and sincerity should compel you to step aside -- without having to be asked -- and support someone more experienced and grounded in his or her beliefs.

But then, neither Smith nor Root strike me as humble types. They're campaigning for their own egos, not for liberty

At least Steve Kubby and George Phillies have proven their libertarian stripes over the years. Neither are exactly impressive figures, but I'd prefer either as LP presidential candidates.

(Smith's newfound purist boilerplate beats Root's neocon-tainted rhetoric, but I doubt Smith's sincerity.)

Of course, I'm still hoping that Ron Paul or Karen Kwiatkowski, or someone of comparable gravitas, integrity, and credibility enters the LP race before the 2008 Denver convention.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wild Oats Libertarian "Creeped Out" by Wayne Allyn Root

My PorcuPeace "Libertarians for Peace" button is attracting much attention in liberal Santa Monica. Yesterday I blogged about the Starbucks Libertarian who commented favorably on my button. Today I'll describe the Wild Oats Libertarian.

Both incidents occurred over the past couple of months. Both times the clerk was a twentysomething white male.

While two people initiating comments do not make for a scientific poll, it's noteworthy that no women or people of color commented on my button. After all, women and people of color do work at Starbucks, Wild Oats, and other stores that I frequent. But apparently, the word "Libertarian" does not spark their interest, even when connected with a peace sign.

As with the Starbucks Libertarian, the Wild Oats Libertarian liked most of what he'd heard about the party's ideas, but he wasn't active in the party. He had heard Wayne Allyn Root on the radio, and found Root to be "creepy" due to Root's belligerent war stand.

Wild Oats Libertarian was glad when I told him that Root would likely not get the LP presidential nomination. He was curious as to who else was running for the LP nomination. He'd only heard of Root.

Small wonder, since Reich-Wing Radio has been interviewing Root, and only Root, for many months now. Neocon Radio trumpets Root as "Libertarian presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root," as if Root were already the LP's official candidate. No balance, no "We Report, You Decide." Not only does Neocon Radio not interview Root's opponents for the LP nomination, it doesn't even mention that Root has opponents for the LP nomination.

I explained to Wild Oats Libertarian that many of us in the LP were hoping that Ron Paul would enter the LP race. He liked that.

Wild Oats Libertarian is pro-peace. He summarized his philosophy to me, which is that we all need to learn non-violence, but that unfortunately many of us haven't "evolved" to that point yet. He's hopeful that humanity will keep "evolving" to a point of "universal nonviolence."

So Wild Oats Libertarian has a very New Agey philosophy, which is not uncommon in Santa Monica, nor at Wild Oats. If you've ever been in a Wild Oats grocery, it's full of organic this, and organic that, and Putumayo World Music CDs, and incense, and green-friendly detergents and toiletries.

Starbucks Libertarian didn't seem so New Agey.

I'm glad that libertarianism is appealing to twentysomethings, though we still need to locate these people and recruit them into the party. Wearing Libertarian buttons seems to help. It attracts their attention so that they initiate contact. Chances are, they've never met a party activist or officer before.

Unfortunately, it seems the LP's appeal is still almost exclusively to white men. Young white men to succeed the mostly middle-aged, white men who currently run the party. We must still figure out how to bring in more women and people of color.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Starbucks Libertarian Wants Stronger Top Tier Candidates

A guy working at Starbucks recently complained to me that the LP is "too disorganized." (Are they barristas if they're male, or barristos?)

This Starbucks worker had seen my PorcuPeace pin (which says "Libertarians for Peace") and he said he liked it, so I asked if he was a Libertarian. He said he liked some of the party's views, but didn't much like the party. I asked why, and he said it was because the party was "too disorganized."

His word. We're "disorganized."

I asked why he thought so, because it seems to me that the party is nothing if not organized. We've all levels of organization, from regions, to counties, to states, to national. And at every level, we have officers, websites, internal elections, delegates, bylaws, supper clubs, meetings, conventions, and ... well, there's really no one better at rearranging deck chairs than a Libertarian. We're still rearranging deck chairs long after the Titanic is underwater.

So this Starbucks worker replied, "I guess what I mean is, you guys never run any serious candidates." He then went on to explain that our presidential candidates were nobodies.

"So you think we should run more prominent people for president?" I asked.

"Well, or even for governor, or senator," he replied.

So that's "the word on the street" about the party. Although anecdotal evidence proves very little, it's nice to occasionally get a sense of what our supporters think of us.

This guy was a twentysomething white guy, working in a Starbucks in Santa Monica, California. He likes some of what he's heard about us, but all he knows about us, looking in from the outside, is who are top tier candidates are. The rest, he doesn't pay attention to.

This is noteworthy, because one recurring complaint in LP circles is that the party wastes too much resources on national elections. Those who hold this theory believe the LP should opt out of presidential elections, and run no one. Instead, we should focus on local elections, which in theory are easier to win. Then build a "farm team" of local office holders, who would then run for higher office. From school district board member, to state assembly, to senator, to president. So holds the theory.

LPC Southern Vice Chair Zander Collier III is a proponent of this "localist" theory.

I disagree. I stand with those who hold that presidential elections are great advertising. National elections are a great way to get on C-SPAN and attract attention. Ordinary people expect a real political party to run presidential candidates. They judge us by the prominence of our top-of-the-ticket candidates.

Zander Collier has told me that none of our national efforts have translated into votes or party growth. Yet who's to say we wouldn't be weaker if we didn't run national candidates?

My conversation with Starbucks Libertarian reaffirms the theory that the Average Joe only pays attention to "major office" elections, so unless we field candidates for those offices -- strong candidates -- we'll be invisible to "the man on the street."

Starbucks Libertarian likes our ideas, but he doesn't actively support the party because it's "too disorganized." Apparently, he assumes the LP didn't want to run its poor past candidates, but that it did so only because it was "too disorganized" to find serious candidates.

My conversation with Starbucks Libertarian (which occurred a month or so ago; I only now got around to blogging it) supports the theory that the LP would greatly benefit from running Ron Paul for president. Paul's a serious name candidate, whereas the LP's current declared candidates are a joke.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ron Paul Meetups Whoop Competition

Here's a cute image I found on the internet, just today. I don't know how accurate it is, but I assume it has some basis in reality. It certainly wouldn't surprise me if it were true.

IMPORTANT: You must click the image to get it to work.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Libertarians Prefer Ron Paul to the LP's Declared Candidates

None of the LP's presidential candidates excite Libertarians, much less "ordinary" Americans, as does Ron Paul. I know one California LP stalwart who kinda likes Kubby, but reserves his enthusiasm for Paul. I prefer Phillies to Kubby, but I want Paul. (My second choice is Karen Kwiatkowski, who likewise isn't running, yet.)

Why are the announced LP presidential candidates failing to excite the membership? How did we attract such a sorry bunch? Alas, it's true. And if you think that I've left the Libertarian reservation, consider the following:

On December 9, Stephen Gordon reported on ThirdPartyWatch.com that "In a move most unusual for this body, the Libertarian National Committee just adopted a resolution encouraging Ron Paul to seek the Libertarian Party presidential nomination ... The resolution recognized Paul’s standing and history with the Libertarian Party. It also recognized a renewed passion that Paul has ignited across America ... The motion was raised by former Congressman Bob Barr and approved unanimously by the body."

That's right, the LP's leadership has practically endorsed another party's presidential candidate. Unanimously.

Gordon quotes from the resolution: "In the event that Republican primary voters select a candidate other than Congressman Paul in February of 2008, the Libertarian National Committee invites Congressman Ron Paul to seek the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party..."

So the LNC recognizes that our current presidential candidates are, well, they're not exactly Ron Paul, are they?

Many Libertarians are thrilled with America's excitement over Ron Paul, particularly the enthusiasm he inspires among youth. I've heard LP members theorize that once Paul loses the GOP nomination, his supporters will swarm to the LP, especially if Paul runs on it. (They'll even come, if not swarm, if he doesn't.)

I agree. But some Libertarians have postulated a "dark side" to the Paul phenomenon. They think that Paul is competing for "our" money. One party pundit wrote that 70% of all LP member donations are going to the Paul campaign, the remaining 30% to all LP parties and candidates (national, state, and local). I suspect this pundit pulled that 70% out of his a--, but I agree that some of the money that went to Paul would have gone to us.

Not everyone thinks so. A longtime L.A. party officer (and Paul contributor) opined to me, "Yeah, right. As if all that money would have gone to the party.)

In any event, the whole thing may be mute. Within hours of the LNC inviting Paul to seek the LP nomination, Paul declined. A few Libertarian bloggers are already attacking the LNC for their resolution, claiming that both Reformers and Radicals are upset with the LNC over this.

I disagree. The LNC did good.

Neither do I blame Paul for declining the LNC's invite. He's still in the GOP race.

But should Paul court the LP presidential nomination at the May LP convention, I'll still vote for him. And I suspect most delegates will as well -- both Reformers and Radicals.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Midterm Report Card

My "From the Editor" column, which appears in the November-December 2007 issue of California Freedom:

This is my sixth issue as editor. Half a year. An appropriate time to self-assess my achievements and shortfalls.

My biggest disappointment is that California Freedom is not reaching members quickly enough for my satisfaction. My first issue (June) was fast on the heels of May, but later issues took longer. It's been a rocky road.

In June our printer dropped CF because our account wasn't large enough. LPC Executive Director Angela Keaton began a frantic search for a new printer that could do the job in time for the July issue, and within our budget. She came through, as always.

But then the post office created additional delays regarding our non-profit, periodical rate postal permit for the new printer. Angela worked to cut through the postal red tape.

An Executive Director (by whatever title) facilitates the efficient delivery of CF. She maintains the membership database, keeping track of who's joined the party, who's paid up, who's lapsed. She forwards the current mailing list to the printer. She collects dues from members and payment from advertisers. She sends complimentary copies to advertisers and contributors.

In August, Angela left. She was replaced by LPC Secretary Beau Cain, who's been working hard on the database, learning what needs to be done. (Read about Beau's work and his call for volunteers in this issue's "Welcome to YOUR Office.") Treasurer Don Cowles now handles CF's financials, sending invoices and making payments. They've both done a fine job.

Days before Angela left, CF's layout editor, Muffet Brown, announced that she was resigning to pursue other work. She expected September to be her final issue, but upon hearing of Angela's departure, she agreed to stay on a bit longer, in order to ease the transition.

I expect to take over the layout work and am learning Adobe InDesign. (Kudos to Mike Laursen for generously lending the LPC a copy for my use). For now, Muffet is doing the layout, though her new work takes priority over CF which she continues to do largely as a favor to the party.

The post office continues its slow pace. Some members report getting CF up to a month after it leaves our Georgia printer. One ExCom At-Large Member suggested we hire a local printer. That would speed delivery, but might increase costs. It's expensive doing business in California.

But delivery is only one stage. Producing CF involves four separate stages. First, I write and edit the paper. When that stage is mostly complete, Muffet begins the layout, followed by my proofing its text. In the third stage the layout file goes to the printer, after which Muffet proofs the colors, and Beau confirms the current mailing list. Then the post office takes over.

Hopefully, merging editorial and layout in a single person will speed things up.

How can you help? By submitting articles, letters, photos, and cartoons. This is a combined issue partially because I haven't gotten many submissions. (I need you to write articles, not send me ideas for someone else to write.)

Maybe you've not written anything because you don't think you're good enough?

Don't "not submit" because your piece is not perfect. Just write it. I'm here to edit. Almost nothing has been published these past six issues without my meddling--from minor punctuation changes to extensive rewrites. I've had people submit raw outlines that I've polished into articles. I expanded a single paragraph into a short article, and trimmed 2,500+ word submissions to under 700.

Don't delay because your piece is not perfect. Someone promised me an article last June, and has since periodically informed me that he's "still working on it."

I'm grateful to John Briscoe, Norm Westwall, Lawrence K. Samuels, and Elizabeth C. Brierly, all prolific contributors. In addition to her own pieces, Elizabeth routinely submits material from the Independent Institute and (like Lawrence) has directed me to other contributors.

But though I'm unsatisfied with CF's current delivery speed, many of my goals I have achieved:

* I wanted greater coverage of the most important political issue facing our nation and state: the current and future wars. Mission accomplished.

* I wanted to encourage discussion and debate of philosophical and party procedural issues. Done.

* I wanted a larger and livelier "Letters to the Editor" section. Done.

* I wanted greater coverage of libertarians in the arts. Done. Most past issues have profiled a Hollywood Libertarian. (But I need your help on this -- if you know of any libertarians in the arts, please inform me so that I can promote them!)

* We've also increased our advertising sales. Since I've taken over, CF has lost one advertiser, but gained two.

I hope to have speedier delivery of CF by spring 2008, after the holiday madness and convention chaos have subsided. I also expect to attend our state convention in San Diego. Look for me and let me know what you think.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'd Support Paul/Kucinich in 2008

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that
Dennis Kucinich would consider Ron Paul
as his VP running mate. Meanwhile, Kucinich's wife states that Kucinich might accept running as VP under Paul.

I am opposed to Kucinich's domestic policies. My dream ticket is Paul/Kwiatkowski.

However, should Paul run as an independent, a Paul/Kucinich ticket is something that Libertarians should seriously consider. Paul will likely never win the presidency with just Republican support; not enough Republicans support him.

Additionally, Paul's support spans the spectrum. And he'll need to tap into this wide spectrum of support -- from left, right, and center -- to win on an independent ticket.

Yet despite admiring Paul, many of Paul's leftist supporters worry about Paul's libertarian economics. A Kucinich VP could cement Paul's support among the left, convincing them that Paul isn't that "scary."

As someone who's never voted Democratic in his life, I can vote for a Kucinich VP if that's the price of getting Paul into the White House. I've held my nose for worse tickets in the past.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

California Freedom Gets More Expensive to Print

I'd like to inform Libertarian Party of California members that the cost of printing California Freedom will increase next year, due to an increase in the cost of newsprint.

This is Not Good, as printing and postage are already some of the larger expenses for the LPC.

As it is, I'm not pleased with the slow delivery of California Freedom. The October issue was mailed early last month from Georgia, and I have yet to receive my copy here in California.

Of course, that's the post office's fault.

I discuss the slow production and delivery problems of California Freedom, and possible solutions, in greater detail in the Nov/Dec issue. Which hopefully will be online soon.

In the meantime, below is an email that I (and, I assume, other LPC staff and officers) received from our printer, who in turn attaches an email he received from his newsprint supplier. I post it in the interest of transparency, and keeping LPC members fully informed of events within the LPC.


Dear Greater Georgia Printers Customer,

Attached is a letter from our newsprint supplier concerning price increases for early next year. These increases come on the heels of a $25 / ton increase in September.

The 2 largest newsprint manufacturers, Abitibi and Bowater, have merged and it is feared they can now control the price and supply of newsprint. There are plans to shut down or convert some mills which will take thousands of ton capacity off the market.

We will not be able to absorb these increased costs so I am sending you this for your 2008 budget planning.

Over the next few weeks we will be looking at our pricing and see where we need to be to remain profitable.

Your business is appreciated and we will work to remain competitive in this era of low profit margins.

Please let me know if you have any comments or concerns.

Bobby G. Miller, Jr.
General Manager
Greater Georgia Printers, Inc.
Crawford, GA 30630


Dear Valued Customer,

Today we are announcing a $60 /mt increase in our North American 48.8 gsm newsprint price. In an effort to be sensitive to our customers’ business, we will be implementing the increase in a staged manner - $20 January 1st, $20 February 1st and $20 March 1st.

Equivalent adjustments will be made for 45 gsm. Also effective January 1, 52.0 gsm will be priced the same as 48.8 gsm and will not be yield-adjusted.

We have undertaken a range of steps over the past few years to respond to the new market reality. The recent combination of Abitibi-Consolidated and Bowater is the most recent move to take costs out of our organization to meet the challenge that lies before us. Both predecessor companies had significantly reduced costs and AbitibiBowater has set an aggressive synergy target for the new company. Unfortunately, cutting costs alone will not return our Company to profitability.

In the last year, as pricing has fallen substantially, we have faced continued increases in fiber and energy input costs. At the same time, the U.S. dollar has continued to weaken compounding the negative impact on our financial results. We are absolutely committed to be a long term, high quality supplier of newsprint to our N.A. customers. As such, returning the revenue side of our business to an acceptable level is a critical component of our long term viability.

If you have any questions regarding this increase or any other matters, please feel free to contact myself or your sales representative. Your business is important to us and we appreciate the opportunity to serve you.


Colin Keeler
Vice President
North American Newsprint Sales

Monday, November 12, 2007

The 1914 Christmas Truce of World War One

You may have seen Paul McCartney's music video about the Christmas Truce of 1914, when enemy soldiers in World War One stopped fighting, crossed the trenches, and celebrated Christmas together.

The song (whose title I forget) appeared on McCartney's Pipes of Peace CD. But this historical event has also been written about in Christmas Truce: The Western Front December 1914 and in Silent Night: The Story of the World War One Christmas Truce, and recounted on the CD, Silent Night, Holy Night: The Story of the Christmas Truce.

Do you know any "Christians" who eagerly support our current wars? These books and CDs will make wonderfully appropriate Christmas gifts -- a great way to remind them that there's more to Christianity than bombing foreigners who never attacked us.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Johnny Rotten downplays "Anarchy"

I've never been an anarchist, but I've met several anarchists in the LP. If you're one of them, you may be interested to read what the Sex Pistols's Johnny Rotten recently told Los Angeles City Beat:

"Anarchy is mind-games for the middle class. It’s a wonderful philosophy if you’ve got the spare time to indulge in it. It’s more like French abstract art than reality, because ultimately you would destroy everything. What’s the point of that if you’ve got nothing to replace it with? Anarchy is a problem. It’s not a solution. But it’s worthy of some thought."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Voters for Peace Pledge

Voters for Peace is asking people to sign their peace pledge, by which you pledge to only support federal candidates who'll promise to end the war in Iraq and prevent future wars of aggression. The War Party will likely ignore it, but still, it's an easy and inexpensive way for you to promote peace.

If you want to go a step further, Voters for Peace also sells peace merchandise on their site.

And they accept online donations.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 27 Antiwar Protest Video

Way cool video from Oct27.org that promotes the upcoming October 27 antiwar protest:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My New Antiwar Book: The Cost of Freedom

Not mine, actually. But I am one of the contributors to The Cost of Freedom: The Anthology of Peace & Activism.

A lavish coffee table book that chronicles the wide spectrum of antiwar activism over these past several years. Not available from Amazon.com because (the editors say) Amazon wants a 55% discount.

So if you want The Cost of Freedom, you'll most likely have to buy it directly from the publisher, Howling Dog Press.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

FBI Monitors Third Party Registered Voters

Today a bunch of us were at the state party headquarters in Panorama City, stuffing envelops. While I was there, LPC Southern Vice Chair Xander Collier told me that the FBI opens a file on anyone who registers to vote under a third party.

Is that true? I've no idea. But it would mean that the FBI has opened hundreds of thousands of files, perhaps millions, to spy on Americans for no other reason than that they register with a party other than the two state-approved parties.

Apart from any privacy or political discrimination concerns, what an incredible waste of money and manpower!

It's Not Just About "Getting Votes"

My "From the Editor" column, which appears in the October 2007 issue of California Freedom:

Although I've been following the LP for thirty years, it's only in the last ten that I've heard the refrain: "The LP is a political party. It's not a social club or a debating society. It's about getting votes."

Those who say this usually begin by sniping at the LP's lack of electoral success. Then they invite everyone to be part of their solution to fix things--or get out of the way!

Unfortunately, there's no agreed upon solution. Two self-styled experts have chided me over the years for not knowing how to "get votes" even as they feud with each other. One in particular wins fewer votes every time he runs, yet this hasn't stopped him from extolling his vote-getting expertise on blogs and listservs.

However, I'd rather advance liberty than "get votes." And to do so, the LP must also promote education and stay true to principle.

If we can attain liberty by winning elections, fine. But why not also advance liberty by other means, if possible? Some would reply, "Because the LP is not a think tank, a social club, or a debating society." I disagree. The LP is a tool, to be utilized however best fits our needs.

Yes, we're a political party. A third party. A different animal from a major party. Different strengths and weaknesses. A cat who fights among lions because "being feline is about winning the 'lion's share' of the carcass" will lose. But this doesn't mean that a cat can't "get food" by other means.

A third party's primary strength is its freedom to speak truth to power. Liberated of any chance of winning most elections, our candidates have the luxury of saying things that people need to hear. It's nice to have libertarian think tanks and artists doing so as well, but political campaigns can educate people in ways that think tanks cannot. We should not ignore using elections as teaching tools.

The Libertarian Perspective, a series of weekly op-eds that the LPC syndicates to the media, is a mostly educational effort. Can anyone say that we should stop this effective program because "we're a political party, not a think tank"? (Kudos to Aaron Starr and Richard Newell for establishing The Libertarian Perspective.)

The various socialist parties did much educating in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They lost many elections, but won many hearts. In time, both major parties promoted socialism due to popular demand. Likewise, the Prohibition Party won few Congressional seats, but helped change people's thinking so that the 18th Amendment became reality. And the Reform Party won enough votes in the 1990s to compel the major parties to address deficit spending (however briefly).

That's how it's worked in America. Third parties rarely attain power, because once their ideas gain popularity, the major parties steal their agendas. And a major party that offers X appeals more to voters than a third party offering X, because a major party has the power to effectuate X.

It may be our destiny to advance liberty by pressuring the major parties into passing our agenda. Fine with me. I don't care what letter a politico has before his name so long as he advances liberty.

Like it or not, we're street fighters, not backroom insiders. We are the vanguard of liberty. The Anti-Bolsheviks. We must fight (peacefully) for a libertarian revolution on all fronts, not just on the ballot. In letters to the editor, radio and TV call-ins, speaking engagements, and protest marches. To paraphrase Tom Joad: "Wherever there's a rally against victimless crime laws, we'll be there."

If I'm wrong, no problem. The activism of LP Educationists and Electoralists (those who emphasize vote-getting) do not obstruct one another. Both groups want to advance liberty. Both need votes to do so (either to elect Libertarians, or to pressure Demopublicans into passing our agenda). And both require an educated public to win those votes.

Each of you is free to decide whether to emphasize campaign work or educational efforts. We need both.

What we don't need are people who would sacrifice principle in order to "get votes." We must not drop unpopular stances, or shun unpopular victims of the state, for fear of "losing votes." I'd rather we lose elections than lose our integrity. I've no sympathy for those who, because they "want to see some liberty in my own lifetime," would sacrifice an unpopular person's liberty for their own.

It's easy and tempting to play to the mob. But as a party of reason, we've set higher standards for ourselves. This requires educating and elevating voters to our level, rather than descending to the level of Demopublicans.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

"Jews for Ron Paul" vs. "Republican Jewish Coalition"

Jews for Ron Paul has issued the following press release:

Jews for Ron Paul 2008
Concord, New Hampshire
Executive Director: Jim C. Perry
Phone 603-671-3219
Email: jperry@jews4ronpaul.org

Jews for Ron Paul Offended by Dr. Paul's Exclusion From Debate; Calls for Jewish Republicans to Boycott Republican Jewish Coalition.

CONCORD, NH -- Calling on the Republican Jewish Coalition to change its criteria for inclusion in its Victory 2008 Republican Jewish Coalition Candidates Forum, Jews for Ron Paul for President Executive Director Jim C. Perry asked Jewish voters to avoid joining the organization that purports to be representing Jewish Republican voters. "The Republican Jewish Coalition has decided to exclude Dr. Ron Paul from their 'debate', not because of any objective criteria, but because they disagree with Dr. Paul on issues of foreign policy," he said.

The debate, to occur at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Independence Ballroom in Washington, DC on October 16, will feature Sam Brownback, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson. Although Mike Huckabee was invited, he will not attend the forum. RJC Communications Director Shari Hillman wrote that "due to the limited time available for the event, the RJC could only include the top six candidates currently in the field." Yet by all objective criteria, Ron Paul is a top six contender, including:

* First place finishes in the Gaston County, NC, Strafford County, NH, DeKalb County, GA, Alleghen

* Second place finishes in the Values Voters, Utah GOP, Cobb County, GA, Georgtown County, SC, and National Taxpayers Union Straw Polls;

* Third place finishes in the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, Illinois State Fair, and Texas Straw Polls;

* Fourth place finishes in the West Lafayette, IN, Students for Life America, and California Republican Assembly Straw Polls; and

* Fifth place in the Ames, IA Caucus.

"Congressman Paul has proven that he stands up for principle and doesn't pander to special interest groups. His voice should be heard at any serious Republican Presidential candidates forum," said Perry. "Hundreds of activists, Jewish and non-Jewish, have called and e-mailed to ask for Dr. Paul's inclusion in the Victory 2008 debate, but the Republican Jewish Coalition won't budge," he continued. "Instead, the RJC is asking those writing in to pay a membership fee, but what incentive is there for Ron Paul supporters to support an organization that is so clearly single-minded? The RJC has proven that they are not a serious organization, and we encourage Jewish voters not to support their Neo-Conservative agenda," concluded Perry.

Jews for Ron Paul was formed in the Summer of 2007 to support the Presidential candidacy of Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Dr. Paul is a respected fiscal and foreign policy expert and ten-term member of Congress who recently addressed the Johns Hopkins University School of International Affairs on the topic of "A Traditional Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy."

The Jews for Ron Paul Advisory Board members include: Steven R. Berger (Hingham, MA) of Adamas Partners; Dr. Walter E. Block (New Orleans, LA) of Loyola University; Jennifer R. Coffey (Andover, NH) of the Second Amendment Sisters; Rich Goldman (Baltimore, MD) of the Free State Project; Aaron Zelman (Hartford, WI) of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership; and member emeritas, Aaron Russo (1943-2007), the late prominent Hollywood film producer. Our Web site address is http://www.jews4ronpaul.org/.


Here's the contact info for those who wish to protest this exclusion of Ron Paul:

Republican Jewish Coalition
50 F Street, N.W.
Suite 100
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202.638.6688
Fax: 202.638.6694

Matthew Brooks
Executive Director
Phone: 202-638-6688 E-mail: RJC@rjchq.org

Suzanne Kurtz
Press Secretary
Phone: 202-638-2909 x108
Email: SKurtz@RJCHQ.org

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ron Paul Won't Seek Libertarian Party Nomination

Ron Paul says that, should the GOP not select him as their 2008 presidential candidate, he has no intention of seeking a third party presidential nomination.

Paul says this to Utah's Deseret Morning News, in a story dated September 16, 2007.

Yes, he's said it before. Even so, we Libertarians keep hoping he'll change his mind come the LP's 2008 national convention. But that possibility looks ever less likely.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Libertarian Party of California Endorses October 27 Peace Protests

Lawrence K. Samuels sends me the following report:

"On September 15, 2007, convening at the Clarion Hotel in Millbrae, California, the LPC Executive Committee passed the following Peace Resolution:

'BE IT RESOLVED: In an effort to become more publicly involved in the movement to end the war in Iraq, the Libertarian Party of California lends its official support and cooperation to facilitate the statewide peace protest scheduled for Oct. 27, 2007.'

However, the ExCom does not want the LPC to be a coalition member of ANSWER, which is spearheading the nationwide rallies.

I suggested that LP members participate in local peace rallies across the state. Several antiwar articles are available for printing and distribution at Freedom1776.com and the LPC Peace Caucus website: LPCalPeace.org."

Thus ends Samuels's report.

This new LPC resolution should help end the claim that Libertarians are divided on the war. Pro-war Libertarians are a small minority. Furthermore, pro-war is not a libertarian position.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I'd Rather Be Informative Than "Positive"

My "From the Editor" column, which appears in the September 2007 issue of California Freedom:

On July 16, I addressed the topic Should Libertarians Build Alliances With the Left? at Los Angeles's Karl Hess Club. Prior to my talk, I was informed that some libertarians had objected to my speaking there. While the KHC's facilitator wouldn't outright tell me the names of those who would ban me, he conceded that I'd guessed right. And on my first attempt!

It wasn't hard. One of them was a "pro-defense" libertarian who's done much public chest-beating over the need for libertarians to be tolerant, so I wasn't surprised by his behind-the-scenes intolerance. Of course, I've met both pro- and antiwar libertarians who would ban the other side. They share the same rationale: that California Freedom is a sales tool for the LPC, so it must present the LPC in a "positive" light.

But isn't California Freedom also a newspaper?

Really, which is it? An organ of public relations or of journalism? Is its purpose to promote the party or to inform the members?

Ideally, it does both. However, PR and journalism have opposing objectives. PR puts a positive spin on events, the truth be damned. Journalism informs people of unpleasant truths, the consequences be damned.

Some libertarians want us to avoid unpleasant news, as it may discourage or "drive off" members in the short term. Yet fake PR is more harmful in the long run, because it breeds cynicism and distrust once the happy facade is impossible to maintain. To judge from some libertarian articles over the years, one might think that all artists, musicians, young people, immigrants, entrepreneurs, tech workers, hell, everyone on the planet, is already a libertarian; they just don't know it yet. Let's ignore that many people within those groups also demand statist entitlements and protections. Please don't mention that. It isn't "positive."

I recall LP fundraising pieces in the 1990s predicting a Libertarian majority House and Senate by 2010. I wonder how many new members had their hopes raised by such "positive" stories, which were at best self-delusional, at worse deceitful. I wonder how many newcomers later quit the LP, disheartened and disgusted and cynical.

Journalism can irritate people, yet in the longterm it's a better sales tool than PR spin. People trust journalists over advertisers, which is why the latter try to mimic the former through infomercials and advertorials. Likewise, LP members will more likely stick around if they believe they're getting "the real scoop" from LP news sources.

In this issue of California Freedom we broach the divisive issue of platform reform (see "Letters to the Editor"). A member once told me that CF shouldn't cover political or procedural debates; those should be left for the conventions. Unfortunately, the clock always expires before we can vote on, much less debate, every convention proposal. Clearly, members must prepare for the conventions by discussing and debating issues in advance. And if CF isn't the proper forum to debate those issues, what is?

Reporting on divisive issues may not be "positive," but I didn't invent these party rifts; they're already there. It's just that some members are unaware of them, and thus might arrive at the conventions unprepared--or not show up at all. (Of course, keeping opponents in the dark may be a goal of the better-organized factions.)

Tim Crowley's letter, and my reply, won't adequately explain the issues that divided Portland in '06, and will likely repeat in Denver in '08, but they'll give you a heads up. Use them as a starting point, then conduct your own investigations. Inform yourself. Decide for yourself.

Two brief, final notes. Former CF editor Elizabeth C. Brierly now works as Media Coordinator for The Independent Institute, from which she submits "U.S. Role in Islamist Terrorism." Thanks Elizabeth, and congrats on the new job!

And much thanks to Angela Keaton for her past service as Executive Director. I'm sorry she's left the building. She's a principled woman, with a sharp mind and a pen to match. "A young Ayn Rand," as they say in Hollywood. Although Angela's no longer obligated to produce a monthly column, I hope she'll submit pieces in the future. Please keep up with her at AngelaKeaton.com.

I hope you'll find this issue of California Freedom positive and informative. But if I had to pick one, I choose the latter.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Ron Paul Challenges Mike Huckabee on the War

The Swamp has reprinted an interesting exchange between Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee in the last debate, in which Paul rips a hole in Huckabee on the Iraq War.

Now CNN is offering a one-on-one rematch between these two GOP candidates. A great opportunity for Paul to get his anti-war message out!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ron Paul Beats Guiliani, McCain in Illinois Straw Poll

Ron Paul has come in third place at %18.9 in the Republican Illinois straw poll. Paul beat McCain and Giuliani.

The pro-war GOP establishment will spin this away. But if Fox News and neocon talk radio had a shred of honesty, they'd henceforth treat Paul as a serious candidate who deserves to participate in all the debates, and who deserves full news coverage. But instead, the GOP neocons will continue to downplay and ignore Paul.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Colorful Libertarian

Okay, some libertarians are ... colorful. Here's one who defends cannibalism (provided one gives consent to being cannibalized). He stops short of advocating cannibalizing children, because, he says, children can't give "contractual consent."

Granted, this post isn't about the war. I just thought seeing this colorful character might enliven your day.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Rudy Giuliani -- The Fake Hero of 9/11

At the June 30 Los Angeles County LP convention, someone suggested the LP nominate Rudy Giuliani for president. That struck me as ... inappropriate. Everyone else seemed to agree.

It also gave me an idea for a cartoon. So I contacted my cyber-friend and cartoonist, British libertarian Stuart Smith of Graviton Creations.

I scripted a cartoon and sent it to him. He drew to perfection. It now appears in the August issue of California Freedom.

Peaceniks, feel free to pass it on.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"Libertarian" Fascists

Here's a choice quote from self-professed Mainstream Libertarian Eric Dondero, sent to me by a fellow peacenik:

"Eric Dondero Rittberg wrote:

'I don't think being against the War in Iraq and the War on Islamo-Fascism makes one anti-defense. Rather, it's more correct to say that those who oppose the War in Iraq are outright Traitors and Seditionists who are actively aiding and abbetting Al Qaeda. Decades ago, such Seditionists would have been shot for Treason. But now that we live in Girlie-Man Nation, where we've all been feminized, and taught that Patriotism is a 'bad thing', nothing happens to these Traitors.' "

These are the types who populate the Libertarian Reform Caucus and/or Mainstream Libertarians. They call themselves "big tent libertarians," or "pro-defense libertarians," or "mainstream libertarians." They plead for tolerance from antiwar libertarians. Until the day they gain a majority in the LP -- then watch out!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ron Paul Support Growing in LP

It appears to be increasingly likely that Ron Paul will be the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate in 2008!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Military Favors Ron Paul

A recent poll among military personnel indicates that U.S. troops support Ron Paul over other GOP candidates.

That's weird. Considering that neocons would have us believe that Ron Paul hates the troops.

Of course, Ron Paul still polls low among chickenhawks.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wayne Allyn Root calls for War on Iran

Seems the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not enough for Libertarian presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root.

During an online radio debate between Root and opponent candidate Steve Kubby, moderated by Angela Keaton, Root said Iran was a threat, and called for an eventual U.S. attack on Iran if all other means to stop Iran's nuclear program fails. Root says that Iraq was the wrong war, and Iran is the right war.

Yet isn't this how we got into the Iraq mess in the first place?

Listen to Root and judge for yourself.

California LP shifts against the war

The April 2007 state convention of the California Libertarian Party went well for antiwar libertarians. The previous leaders made a point of avoiding the war issue, but the newly elected Executive Committee has far more antiwar members.

One of their first acts was to appoint me as editor of California Freedom, the state newspaper. June 2007 was my first issue.

Antiwar libertarians were thrilled, pro-war libertarians less so. The former Orange County chair even shot off a missive saying that California Freedom had become a "blame America first" publication. (Which is code for "If you ever criticize America, or its government, you're anti-American." -- and how is that a libertarian, or even a rationale, perspective?)

I'd promised to show all sides as editor, but it's hard to find libertarians who want to go on record as "pro-war." Most insist that they're "pro-defense," and waffle when asked to submit pro-war pieces ("I certainly don't support the way the war is being fought").

Even so, the August issue will have some pro-war pieces. I suspect the pro-war crowd won't be entirely pleased, despite that. They'd rather the war issue be entirely avoided.

I can understand that. The status quo is that there's a war on, and silence supports the status quo. Any debate and discussion can only benefit the antiwar faction.

And there will be debate and discussion. California Freedom will be fair, but it will not avoid the war issue, not while I'm editor.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Karen Kwiatkowski Not Running for VP ... At This Time

I just received the following email from George Phillies:

"I have just been in touch with Karen. She is not running for Veep at this time, and has asked me to clarify this to people if it comes up. There were good reasons for believing that she was, but her current statement is that she is not."

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Phillies had earlier expressed an interest in Kwiatkowski being his running mate. But it appears Kwiatkowski is not currently interested in being anyone's running mate.

My dream ticket remains Ron Paul/Karen Kwiatkowski, but should neither of them seek the Libertarian Party nomination, Phillies is an attractive alternative.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Pro-War Libertarians' Unfair "Compromise" of Silence

For years, pro-war types in the Libertarian Party have been saying that "because there is disagreement" over the Iraq War, we should therefore avoid discussing the issue. This is presented as some sort of pragmatic, fair-minded compromise.

The fault in this "logic" is that we are currently at war; war is the status quo, and silence always benefits the status quo. What's more, if we don't protest the Iraq War and a foreign interventionist policy in general, we're far more likely to have yet another war in Iran (which would suit many pro-war types just fine).

The War Party has what it wants. Why should they want to discuss the issue? Discussion brings change. Avoid the issue, remain silent on the issue, and the War Party wins.

Why should peaceniks accept rules of "compromise" that are calculated to benefit one side and not the other? We shouldn't. We should discuss the war in all Libertarian Party publications and at all Libertarian events. After we end the war, then we'll agree that everyone must stop supporting all future foreign interventions. Then we'll seen how keen the War Party is on silence.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Libertarian Party's 2008 ticket should be Ron Paul - Karen Kwiatkowski

So far I've been pushing for Karen Kwiatkowski to run for president on the LP ticket, based largely on her gravitas and background, plus her non-interventionist stand.

However, Ron Paul is doing better than I'd expected in the GOP debates, garnering much attention. Yes, he's coming in for much flak because of it, but many Americans are taking favorably note. I don't think Paul will get the GOP nomination, but that's no reason the Libertarian Party can't nominate him.

Right now Ron Paul exceeds Karen Kwiatkowski in terms of experience (being a Congressman as opposed to Pentagon Lt. Col.) and in public fame, plus he shares Kwiatkowski's non-interventionist (pro-peace) stand.

Considering that Paul ran on the LP ticket for president in 2008, and that as of this writing Kwiatkowski still wants to run as the LP's VP pick, I think that a Paul/Kwiatkowski ticket looks mighty fine for 2008.

(And BTW, it's my understanding that under Texas law, Paul can run for both his current Congressional seat and for president, simultaneously).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Causality Does Not Mean Moral Blame

Libertarian Republican Congressman Ron Paul has said that America's interventionist foreign policy is partly to blame for the 9/11 terrorist attack. Of course, Rudy Guiliani went ballistic. War supporters often smear non-interventionists by saying that the latter claim that America "deserved" 9/11.

This, of course, is not what non-interventionists like Paul are saying. Causality does not mean moral blame. If a man walks down a dark alley in a dangerous neighborhood for no good reason, his foolishness was part of the chain of causality leading to his being mugged. But that is not to say that the mugger had a moral right to mug him.

Likewise, America's foreign interventions do not morally justify killing innocent people on 9/11. At the same time, America's foreign interventions may have motivated the attackers, and it may be wise to cease future interference in others' affairs.

Moral justification for 9/11, no. But causality, yes.

Yet War Supporters will deceitfully twist the words of non-interventionists ("He says America deserved to be attacked!") because people are dull, and easily manipulated emotionally, and if you don't have Reason or the Constitution on your side, twisting words is the way to go. We live in a sound bite culture.

Those who oppose the war, when faced with such deceitful tactics, should observe that the causes of 9/11 (American foreign interventions) do not mean that its victims deserved to die, but it would still be wise (and Constitutional) to cease foreign interventions (as George Washington sagely suggested).

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Exploiting the "Perpetual Peace" Movement

In 1984 Orwell observed that the State uses war to rally unquestioning support for its policies. Thus 1984's three States sought perpetual war.

Yet it occurs to me that the opposite is also true. Some people hope to benefit from a peace movement. And if so, surely they have an incentive to desire a perpetual peace movement -- which can only be achieved through perpetual war.

It does seem that various elements of the Left are less interested in stopping the war than in exploiting the peace movement. Voters for Peace wants to unite the peace and "climate change" movements. But that's no way to build an antiwar coalition. A "coalition" is a union of disparate groups around a single issue. Once you introduce other "progressive" issues, you drive away libertarians and conservatives who oppose the war, but who disagree with the "climate change" crowd.

So is the Left more interested in building a large antiwar movement (the best way to stop the war), or is it more interested in exploiting the antiwar movement as a recruiting drive for its other efforts?

John Walsh writes that United for Peace and Justice is preventing Libertarians and Greens from speaking at their rallies, so as to curry favor with the Democrats. Again, is the peace movement to be a broad coalition that can effectively stop the war, or is it to be a subsidiary of the Democratic Party, to be used to co-opt voters for the "antiwar" Nancy Pelosi?

Some "conservatives" pine for 9/11. Much as they may regret the tragedy of that day, I sense from reading their posts and blogs that a dark side within many "conservatives" misses those feelings of national unity, everyone rallying around Republican leaders, flags everywhere. Heady days. It's not something they dare admit even to themselves, but yes, many "conservatives" do miss 9/11. (See Sorry, Haters for an interesting indie film about a disturbed woman who misses 9/11.)

But are "progressives" any better? I think not. I suspect that many of them pine for the 1960s peace movement, which they owned, and jealously want to own again. They don't want their precious and fun-filled peace movement spoiled by the presence of libertarians and conservatives, however helpful the latter groups may be in shortening the war.

Something else progressives dare not admit to themselves: a fun-filled antiwar movement requires a war. So for "progressives" to enjoy the 1960s (whether to relive it, or for the first time), the war must continue. A perpetual peace movement requires a perpetual war.

But why pick on conservatives and progressives? I've met libertarians, both pro- and antiwar, with ulterior motives. I know one Libertarian Party officer who quietly supported the war (refusing to oppose it when I twice confronted him in 2002). But by 2004, when the war was a done deal, and he saw that his prospects in the Party were best served by spinning himself as antiwar, he began to sell himself as an antiwar leader.

Of course, I also know of pro-war libertarians who hope to curry favor with the Republicans. These pro-war libertarians are sell-outs, but they are more pathetic than Republican or Democratic sell-outs, who at least sell out for real power. What can one say of Libertarians who sell their "sacred honor" for crumbs from the table? For an invite to a beltway party, or for a nice mention from some celebrity pundit or politician? Such Libertarians not only sell out, they sell out cheap.

So yes, there are people across the political spectrum exploiting the war/antiwar issues for their own ulterior motives.

My own suggestion: those who sincerely oppose the war should set aside extraneous issues (like "climate change") and focus on building alliances with anyone of any ideology who opposes the war.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Libertarian Presidential Candidates Are Political Lightweights

I've looked over the current crop of declared Libertarian Party presidential candidates, all of whom offer statements in the current LP News. All hope to win the Libertarian Party presidential nomination in 2008.

I like some of George Phillies's positions. And I had dinner with Dave Hollist at the 2006 national convention. Both seem nice enough, but both are political lightweights.

So are the rest of the declared candidates. Not having met them, I can only go by their photos and statements, and what I see are the same old slick suits and toothy grins, spouting the same libertarian boilerplate. (Liberty good! Government bad! Duh!)

Many of these candidates come across like motivational speakers, like hucksters and opportunists and careerist libertarians, hawking their books and tapes, claiming expertise in marketing, making wild promises about their ability to spread the message and attract votes.

All of our declared candidates reaffirm how much the Libertarian Party needs Karen Kwiatkowski. I'm told that in April 2006, Kwiatkowski declared her intention to run for the LP vice presidential nomination in 2008. That'd be a shame. None of our current candidates has Kwiatkowski's Pentagon background, her credibility with the media, her sheer -- dare I use the word? -- gravitas!

It'd be a shame if Kwiatkowski were to run as a mere sidekick to one of the LP's lightweights. That's why I urge all LP members to lobby for Kwiatkowski. On listservs and blogs, at conventions and dinner clubs, urge her to run for president, and urge your fellow libertarians to support her candidacy.