Steve G.

Six plank suggestions for the Boston Tea Party

In Constitutional Rights, Libertarian Party-US on June 5, 2008 at 12:14 am

The Boston Tea Party seems to have found its ticket — Charles Jay and Tom Knapp — and it is working on a platform. I recently joined the BTP and offered six suggestions on constitutional and monetary issues. Your feedback is appreciated.

  1. The Boston Tea Party acknowledges that the 14th amendment was never properly ratified, is illegitimate, and all ensuing legislation based upon the 14th amendment, including the Supreme Court’s “incorporation doctrine,” is null and void.
  2. The Boston Tea Party calls for the repeal of the 16th amendment, and a new amendment to the Constitution limiting the scope of Congress’s powers of taxation to proportioned taxes assessed to the states.
  3. The Boston Tea Party calls for the repeal of the 17th amendment, which gave us the direct election of senators. U.S. Senators should be elected by their state legislatures in order to best represent the interests of the individual states versus the federal government, as the framers intended.
  4. The Boston Tea Party calls for a Free Trade Amendment to the Constitution, revoking Congress’s powers to assess tariffs, duties, or other taxes on imports, and barring embargoes, sanctions, quotas, and other restrictions on free trade absent a formal declaration of war against the named country. This amendment would render all current trade agreements null and void and prohibit the negotiation of new ones, henceforth.
  5. The Boston Tea Party calls for the abolition of the Federal Reserve, and the liquidation of the Federal Reserve System and all federal-government assets, excluding those few necessary for legitimate constitutional functions, for the purpose of paying off the national debt and redeeming all outstanding Federal Reserve Notes, pro-rata.
  6. The Boston Tea Party calls for the full legalization of competing currencies and the abolition of unconstitutional legal-tender laws. Under the Constitution, only the states may declare legal tender, and they are limited to choices of gold and silver.

Note: Membership in the Boston Tea Party in no way excludes someone from membership in the LP, nor does it preclude support of the LP presidential ticket. I do like having the BTP as a back-up option for a write-in vote that will be counted, though. And I think it will be fun to help fashion a truly libertarian platform, without the statist “reformers” raining on our parade.

  1. GE,

    Quick correction on terminology:

    The Boston Tea Party already has a platform (version 1.0 of the World’s Smallest Political Platform) … and if you think the 7/8th requirement for amending the LP’s Statement of Principles is tight, check this out:

    Notwithstanding any other or subsequent provisions for amendment to these bylaws, the Party’s platform, and the entirety of this article, shall be perpetual and unmodifiable.

    What you’re referring to is the program, which is to be rebuilt from scratch every two years and may have a maximum of five points.

    Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about whether or not I might have to campaign on your proposed program (or any five points of it, that being the maximum size); since the BTP got off the rails on its bylaws, things are proceeding somewhat ad hoc, with the presidential nomination to take place weekend after next, but the actual “real” convention at which the program will be considered scheduled for October. That said, let me go through your proposals point by point:

    1. I’m not interested in rewriting history to conform to Dixiecrat fantasy.

    2. I don’t have a problem with repealing the 16th Amendment, obviously, but I don’t see any need for another amendment to replace it. I’m for eliminating taxes when possible, cutting them when not possible.

    3. No special problem with repealing the 17th, either, although I don’t see it as an issue of burning interest to the electorate — and in the modern era, legislative selection of US Senators would probably closely track the likely outcome of a popular vote anyway.

    4. Very nice!

    5. Sorry — if I’m going to address the national debt, it will be either for repudiation or honest repayment, not for weird schemes to repudiate the debt while purporting to pay it.

    6. This one works for me … but once again, the point of a political party program is to address issues for which there is some significant concerned constituency. I support (and sometimes use) competing currencies, but if I’m going to try to get Joe Sixpack off his couch to read a campaign flier, I want to have something in that flier that he gives a shit about.

  2. G.E. — awesome recommendations!

  3. #4. The government shall make no law abridging the freedom of commerce.

  4. “The government shall make no law…”

    I like that.

  5. I’m a BTP Member. We seem to have enough in Michigan to form a State Affilliate.

  6. Jason,

    I’m frantically trying to get a hold of you and Todd.

    jasongatties@aol.com

    I also pop in via gmail from time to time to chat.

  7. What are the chances of Jay/Knapp being on California? Probably nill, but I’m keeping my hopes up.

  8. Good platform!

  9. I think it will be fun to help fashion a truly libertarian platform, without the statist “reformers” raining on our parade.

    At least we agree on something! I think the contrast will make for a good case study. By all means, fashion away.

  10. How long until every libertarian has his own Party?

  11. Thomas,

    Will Mr Jay’s Vice presidential running mate from the 2004 election play any part in the BTP’s administration?

  12. Tom – How did your post get to the top?

    Regardless, yes, my temporary infatuation with the BTP came to an abrupt end when I realized it had been “reformed” before it even got started, with its castrated, bite-size, non-platform. Oh well. It at least gave me an excuse to write this post.

    My rebuttal:

    1. Well-documented and universally acknowledged (among non-court historians, and even some of them) TRUTH becomes a “dixiecrat” fantasy; and the Yankee imperialist lie becomes truth in Tom Knapp’s eyes. History has already been written, the truth is known. I say it should be ACKNOWLEDGED, but Knapp wants to aid and abet big government instead. Sad.

    2. Okay. An amendment can only be repealed by amendment. And Tom Knpap is for allowing Congress’s virtually unlimited power to tax — INCLUDING AN INCOME TAX IN ABSENCE OF THE 16th — to remain. Excise taxes, an income tax on everything but investment income, tariffs (although he seems to be against those), etc. Just because of the extra dozen words that might be needed. We know Knapp’s love for brevity after all.

    3. No problem with the 17th? Its passage marked the last death blow to Jefferson’s republic. Though that’s probably a “dixiecrat” fantasy, too.

    4. So you’re against tariffs, but want to leave the power of Congress to pass, say, a 10,000% tax on marijuana? Why?

    5. “Repudiation” is absolutely idiotic. I’ve given you several chances to show me how it’s not, and you’ve failed to do so. It crushes the value and paper wealth of the people while leaving the government in control of the gold and other assets. It is statist and elitist.

    6. Speaking of elitist… “Joe Six Pack” cares about the value of the dollar. More than “Jacque Cabernet” does.

  13. At least we agree on something! I think the contrast will make for a good case study. By all means, fashion away.

    This from the guy who said IPR wouldn’t last a week.

    Unfortunately, the BTP has already been “reformed,” before it could even get started.

    I’m now starting a party of my own, the WSPP (World’s Smallest Political Party), which will have the WLPP (World’s Longest Political Platform). And guess what Steve — YOU CAN’T JOIN!

  14. How long until every libertarian has his own Party?

    Well, considering that the Libertarian Party has absolutely no interest in libertarianism anymore, it is nice to see a true libertarian party taking its place.

  15. I’m now starting a party of my own, the WSPP (World’s Smallest Political Party), which will have the WLPP (World’s Longest Political Platform). And guess what Steve — YOU CAN’T JOIN!

    LOL

  16. GE – what is wrong with the simplified version? It removes a lot of problems, if you ask me. I am confused why some Libertarians think that every single issue they can conjure up in their head has to be put together is a massive document that no one will ever read (except critics) and call it their “Platform”.

  17. When I was becoming a libertarian, I would go to the pre-purged platform and read, and say to myself, “Oh, this is too extreme. This wouldn’t work!” But then I would wrestle with the idea in my head, and it would make sense to me. I think a platform should be specific and show the applications of libertarian principles to specific issues. Most people do not think in terms of philosophical axioms, and saying you’re for “freedom” and “reducing government” means virtually nothing to most people. Everyone says they are.

  18. GE,

    I’m not sure how my comment got to the top. I just posted as usual.

    Re-read point #3: I have no problem with REPEAL of the 17th.

    As for the 14th, I did some reading on that after our last discussion of it. While the case is debatable, I don’t find the revisionist “it wasn’t ratified” argument especially convincing, and 140 years of history says that argument has been soundly rejected.

    And, as a POLITICAL matter … I get tired of having to say this … the task of a political party is to address issues that voters CARE about. How many voters give two shits whether or not the 14th Amendment was properly ratified? Where is the associated voting constituency? How do you intend to mobilize them?

    Look — show me even 10-1 odds against (to quote Manuel), and I’ll gladly hoist the black flag, proclaim the revolution, smash the state, etc. No problem. Let’s get’er done.

    That’s NOT what an American political party operating in the electoral arena does. It’s not something an American political party operating in the electoral arena CAN do. All an American political party operating in the electoral arena can productively do is attempt to appeal to voter sentiment on issues that the voters care about and agree with that party on.

    The point of the BTP’s platform is to create a directional framework around which any compliant program — reformist or radical, incrementalist or abolitionist — can be built. I never tried to sell the BTP as a radical party, and in fact specifically advertised it as a “big tent” — lessarchist, as Robert Capozzi likes to put it — experiment. Bitching about it is like buying a pet mouse and then returning it on the complaint that it’s not an alpaca.

  19. But you don’t understand. I wanted to live out my fantasy through the BTP. Now you’ve crushed my dreams and all I have left is my sorrow.

  20. You and I have different opinions on the purpose of a political party and its platform. I agree with Walter Block. You agree with the Reform Caucus.

  21. You can still create your World’s-Smallest-Party-with-the-World’s-Largest-Platform. I will, of course, hijack it however… and nominate a Shaquille O’Neal / Kane ticket to run on a platform of “Do good stuff”.

  22. A unity ticket? Kane is a hardcore libertarian — he was wearing a Mary button, sucka. Shaq is a statist copsniffer and chump.

  23. What’s up with the constant attacks on the 14th Amendment? It puts the BTP on the same page as the Dixiecrats and segregationists.

    Wake up, guys!

  24. Brian – That’s absurd. The 14th amendment was NOT ratified, and I think that’s kind of important. It has been the basis for the growth of government since the Civil War, and led to the absolute destruction of the Constitution and decentralized government.

    If Dixiecrats and segregationists are against child molestation, are you going to come out in favor of it just to be on the opposite side? David Duke is against the war in Iraq — so are you pro war just to be in opposition to a racist?

    The federal government will never be under control until the lie that is the 14th amendment is properly recognized as such.

  25. Tom – How did your post get to the top?

    One of Tom’s posts got caught in the spam filter. I honestly don’t recall which one; I saw it was from Tom and immediately released it without even reading it, as it is neither necessary nor desirable for me to “approve” messages on LFV.

    However, any messages caught in spam will show up as having been posted earlier, since the date/time stamp would reflect when it was originally posted, as opposed to when it was released from spam.

    Sorry for any confusion, folks. I’m trying to stay on top of this problem, and hoping it will resolve soon since the messages getting caught usually do not fall under our predetermined parameters for spam. Luckily, it is still fairly unusual, since 99% of messages post as they should.

    If anyone leaves a comment which doesn’t show up right away, please shoot me an email to enm(dot)lastfreevoice(at)gmail.com so I’ll know to check the spam filter.

  26. You need to somehow ban this charleslaw guy. He posts those domain spam posts all over the place.

    I’m not convinced, ENM. I think this is part of a Viguerian conspiracy to destroy my ultimate platform for the BTP.

  27. Knapp – You’re wrong. The issue isn’t “debatable.” The facts are conclusive. No one seriously argues the 14th amendment was properly ratified, anymore than someone would seriously ratify Lincoln didn’t violate the Constitution. There are people who make EXCUSES for the facts, but no real historian denies the FACT that the 14th was NOT ratified. The only “debate” is whether a non-ratified amendment can be the basis of law, and if you think it can, then you’re willing to sacrifice far too much power to the state.

  28. wow

    I’m speechless

    Carry on.

    (GE on a side note, will you be at the LPM Con Saturday?)

  29. Yes, I’ll be at the convention on Saturday, and the BTP online convention too. Don’t misinterpret my disappointment with a lack of support for making Jay/Knapp an available option should Barr fall off the wagon.

  30. GE,

    The issue is not only debatable, it’s been debated on and off for 140 years.

    Among those who “seriously argued” that the 14th Amendment was properly ratified were the US Congress and Secretary of State William Seward, both of whom certified to its ratification.

  31. Jason,

    GE and I disagree on a number of issues, but we both favor liberty. That’s enough for me to call him “comrade.”

    I suspect that much of the root of our disagreement lies in the fact that he’s recently coming into a “constitutionalist” phase, while I’ve recently emerged from same. That’s not to say that I’m right and he’s wrong, or that I’m “more developed” and he’s less so, just that we’re running on somewhat different tracks of discovery. Hopefully those tracks will either merge or remain parallel as time goes on.

  32. Yes, Father Knapp. I’m sure in time I will “discover” the Aged Wisdom that a constitutional amendment “ratified” under coercion (and not really even ratified that way) was in fact legitimate, as are all of the ensuing laws that have destroyed freedom in its wake.

    It is NOT debated nor debatable among historians — most of whom are shills for the court, and they STILL admit the truth. Citing the Congress and Seward is like citing Dick Cheney on the PATRIOT Act.

    I AM right and you ARE wrong. I’ll say it. And your “path of discovery” needs to make an f-ing U-turn!

    Your friend,

    G.E.

  33. GE,

    You’re missing the point. It’s irrelevant to me whether the 14th Amendment was properly ratified … because I AM NOT A CONSTITUTIONALIST. I used to be, but then I read my Spooner. Agonizing over the “legitimacy” of the 14th Amendment is, to my mind, intellectual masturbation (an activity I don’t necessarily disapprove of, but I’m just not a fan of the same kind of porn you prefer any more).

    As an anarchist, I see the Constitution as pretty much an old, crumbling edifice that needs to be bulldozed aside with the state it created in favor of a stateless society. Since I don’t expect that to happen within my lifetime, if ever, I don’t spend a lot of time or effort thinking about that, though. It’s sort of like heaven to an “Easter-Sunday Christian” — pie in the sky when I die and all that.

    As a Libertarian politician, my focus on the Constitution is whether and how it can be used to promote liberty. I recognize that the priority is to work with the tools at hand to address the situation as it exists. The 14th Amendment is one of the tools at hand, and the situation as it exists is that the vast majority of Americans either consider it a legitimate tool or don’t care one way or the other about it. I’m not going to waste a lot of effort trying to drag that tool to the dumpster. There’s no demand for someone to do such a job, and politicians exist to fulfill demands. I look for where the largest demand for liberty is, and that’s where I invest my effort.

  34. I think the spam filter is acting up because it wants to drive me insane. LOL

    I don’t ban anybody unless they are threatening people, libeling people, etc.

    Have you been deleting his comments? They kept showing up in spam, but when I’d check the thread, they weren’t there so I’d approve it again. I thought it was the same comment and the spam filter being screwy, since we’re having other problems with it.

    Either way, his stuff is already going to spam, so I’ll just stop approving it if it’s a repetitive post.

  35. ENM – I’ve been putting them in spam. I’ve done it a dozen or more times. They are CLEARLY spam. He posts the SAME THING every time. It is a SPAM post.

    You can set your own policy, but if you’re not going to ban him, I’m not going to keep declaring his spam comments as spam. You can do it, or we can just let him spam the entire site.

  36. GE – I adore reading your posts. You need to come to Texas & hang out with disinter & me!

  37. I suspect that much of the root of our disagreement lies in the fact that he’s recently coming into a “constitutionalist” phase, while I’ve recently emerged from same. That’s not to say that I’m right and he’s wrong, or that I’m “more developed” and he’s less so, just that we’re running on somewhat different tracks of discovery. Hopefully those tracks will either merge or remain parallel as time goes on…because I AM NOT A CONSTITUTIONALIST. I used to be, but then I read my Spooner.

    If that’s the path of discovery, does that mean I am on a further track because I’ve read my Randy Barnett🙂

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Barnett#Constitutional_theory

  38. “You’re missing the point. It’s irrelevant to me whether the 14th Amendment was properly ratified … because I AM NOT A CONSTITUTIONALIST. I used to be, but then I read my Spooner. Agonizing over the “legitimacy” of the 14th Amendment is, to my mind, intellectual masturbation (an activity I don’t necessarily disapprove of, but I’m just not a fan of the same kind of porn you prefer any more).”

    In defense of G.E., that doesn’t make sense. You’re claiming to be an anarchist and defending the 14th Amendment simultaneously. Explain to me the logic behind that.

  39. Ouch, TG. I’m moved out of Collin County for 2 months and am forgotten on invite lists. ;o)

  40. TG – I’ve been to Texas once, to visit my namesake village, Seagraves, TX. It was quite an experience. I would love to hang out with you and Mike if I came within 100 miles or less. I wish both of you had made it to the convention — we could have used two more votes!

  41. Hugh,

    You write:

    “You’re claiming to be an anarchist and defending the 14th Amendment simultaneously. Explain to me the logic behind that.”

    Well, first of all, I’m not “defending” the 14th Amendment. I’m just saying that I think the argument that it was not ratified is less than compelling, and admitting that I’ll use it if I find it an effective tool for expanding liberty.

    Beyond that, I consider philosophical anarchism and practical political work to be at MOST tangentially related. I’m not in the BTP or the LP for the purpose of abolishing the state, because an electoral political organization isn’t the kind of tool that’s useful for that purpose. I’m involved in electoral politics for the purpose of achieving (smaller than direct transition to anarchy) gains for liberty, and because I’m a junkie.

  42. Less than compelling? Tom, you’re exposing ignorance or laziness here. There is literally no debate, no doubt, and no argument about the facts at hand.

    What you’re also saying: You’ll use the coercive power of the federal government to advance “liberty” where appropriate. Another anarchist, Paulie Cannoli, taught me the sheer ridiculousness of that.

  43. GE: Good, I’ll see you Saturday. There are 4 of us coming from our local group (Dan Grow, Bill Parker, Bob Jackson & myself).

    Knapp: I will always support any of your efforts 100%. I really hope you do well with your House run & hope the BTP can get back on track.

  44. GE,

    “There is literally no debate, no doubt, and no argument about the facts at hand.”

    Obviously there is, or you wouldn’t have to keep repeating that absurd blanket statement instead of attempting actually CITE what you believe the facts at hand to be.

    “You’ll use the coercive power of the federal government to advance ‘liberty’ where appropriate.”

    In every case where I can reduce or eliminate the power of the state (any state), I’ll do so. In every case where I can’t reduce or eliminate that power, you’re damn right I’ll attempt to direct that power toward advancing, rather than eroding, liberty.

    I do not regard setting the power of one state (the government of the United States) against the power of another state (any of the several states) for the sole, express and lawful purpose of preventing the latter state from suppressing liberty, to be a bad thing except to the extent that the fact that either or both states exist in the first place is itself a bad thing, or to the extent that “collateral damage” is possible in the case of that force taking physically violent form.

  45. I’m also unable to cite to any sources proving my assertion that there’s no debate, The sky is blue. You got me.

  46. […] to life (and into the internal conflicts that tend to characterize third parties), and apropos of recent discussions with GE, now seems like a nice time to briefly reprise the party’s existence from the perspective of […]

  47. GE,

    Well, of course you can’t cite sources to prove that there are no sources.

    However, I can cite sources to establish that there IS a debate.

    For example, I can cite Bruce Ackerman, Devvy Kidd and yourself on the side of the debate that says the 14th Amendment was not properly ratified.

    I can cite the US Congress and the US Secretary of State circa 1868 as having argued that it was ratified. I can also cite any number of Supreme Court cases in which the majority, having relied on the 14th Amendment to guide their jurisprudence, implicitly argue that it was ratified.

    The fact that you think you’re right doesn’t change the fact that the subject is debated.

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