Friday, June 06, 2008

Both. And Neither.

Here's my From the Editor column in the June 2008 issue of California Freedom. I finished the issue before leaving for the convention, over two weeks ago, so it should be in mailboxes by now. It's not in mine. Don't know why.

It's also still not up on the LPC website, so I put it up on mine.

Here's the editorial itself:

In 1977, a high school buddy and I entered the West 38th Street headquarters of the Free Libertarian Party (as the NY affiliate was then called). I was visiting all the third parties that year, my curiosity piqued by the citywide elections. The FLP's office was occupied by some half dozen middle-aged white guys (some things never change), sitting around a table, drinking coffee and shooting the breeze.

Knowing nothing about the LP, I tried to understand it by first locating it on the political spectrum. I asked these guys: "Are you left-wing or right-wing?"

"Weeeeell...," one of the men pondered. "We're both. And neither."

In over thirty years, I've yet to hear a better reply to that hoary question. Those few words sum it all up.

We are both. And neither.

Consider this issue of California Freedom, which features both CodePink and the American Enterprise Institute. Antiwar socialists and pro-war neoconservatives, respectively. Where else can you find that?

Yet it's not so strange. Most libertarians are antiwar, as is CodePink's Hanan Shawar [page 1]. Most libertarians disbelieve in a manmade global warming crisis, as does the AEI's Kenneth P. Green [page 5]. Where libertarians find common ground with other political groups, Left or Right, it makes sense to cooperate--provided we never forget or compromise our own principles.

Of course, some libertarians support the war. And some libertarians not only believe in manmade global warming, they think government should do something about it. Not just "left-libertarians"--I've met a pro-war "eco-libertarian" who thinks so.

I've often said, there are more factions in the LP than actual members.

I'm writing this on May 10th, before the Denver national convention. By the time you have a paper copy of this issue in your hands, you'll likely know who is our presidential candidate. Conventional wisdom on the libertarian blogosphere and supper club circuit says that, of the over dozen LP contenders, only six have a real chance of winning: Bob Barr, Mike Gravel, George Phillies, Steve Kubby, Wayne Allyn Root, and Mary Ruwart.

Conventional wisdom adds that, of the Likely Six, the Most Likely Three are Barr, Root, and Ruwart.

It will be interesting to see if there are any upsets. In 2004, Gary Nolan and Arron Russo were the Most Likely Two. The winner was Michael Badnarik.

Conventional wisdom (which is very talkative) also says that on the libertarian spectrum (as opposed to the traditional left/right spectrum), Barr and Root are preferred by the LP's reformer/pragmatarian wing, Kubby and Ruwart are favored by the radical/purist wing, and Phillies and Gravel are the "libertarian moderates" occupying some space between the pragmatist vs. purist extremes.

I don't yet know how I'll vote at the convention. As of today, I plan to cast my token for Mike Gravel.

You see, each delegate will receive a token, to cast for the candidate he or she would like to see participate in Saturday's presidential debate, to be broadcast on C-SPAN. A candidate must collect tokens from at least 10% of the delegates to be included in that debate.

This doesn't mean I'll vote for Gravel on the following Sunday, when we select our presidential candidate. I may. Maybe not. But I'd like to hear more from this antiwar former Democrat, and I figure Ruwart won't need my token, so Gravel gets it. As of today.

Of course, Kubby or Phillies (or even Ruwart) may yet persuade me to surrender my token. We'll see.

This issue of California Freedom marks my one-year anniversary as editor. June 2007 was my first. Although everyone's welcome to submit, much of the material in this issue comes from the usual suspects. It seems not an issue goes by without Lawrence K. Samuels reporting on his activism--no wonder he won a Bray Award! Laura G. Brown's back with another film review. And we've two articles from Albert J. Segalla. Barbara "Joy" Waymire is a newcomer, but she'll likely remain a presence for many issues to come.

The July issue should contain many articles and photos about the Denver convention -- but only if you provide them!


And in case you're wondering, I did give my token to Mike Gravel. I also voted for Gravel on the first three ballots.


Anonymous said...

Someone had said that was a smear site. I went there to check it out, and while it might not make Barr look all that great- There is nothing there that is not true. It seems more like a fact site then a hit site. So whoever posted that it was a smear site. Must not be that familuar with Bob Barr or Wayne Root. I will leave the link if you want to figure it out for your self. Its barr root08

Thomas said...

Thanks. I'd never heard of the site until you mentioned it.

paulie said...

send any Denver pics my way

Thomas said...

Paulie, I have a ton of photos. Any in particular that you want? If you want them all, you'd better have a fat bandwidth.

BTW, can I reprint your Starchild photo in California Freedom? And if so, how do you want your photo credit to read? Paule Cannoli?

paulie said...

Photos on my blog are by GE Smith. My gmail account holds about 6-7 gigs, you have more photos than that?

Vortex said...

Knowing nothing about the LP, I tried to understand it by first locating it on the political spectrum. I asked these guys: "Are you left-wing or right-wing?"

"Weeeeell...," one of the men pondered. "We're both. And neither."

I usually respond with, "We're not left or right, but above."

paulie said..., perhaps?