Steve G.

Why Multiple Freedom Parties Is Dumb

In Libertarian Party-US on September 13, 2008 at 7:41 pm
Tom Knapp and George Phillies and Carl Milsted are very smart guys, but offering multiple  parties/candidates to the voters in our quadrant of Nolan space is dumb for multiple reasons:
  • Having multiple liberty-oriented choices tells voters that libertarianism is too incoherent to be worth understanding.
  • Having multiple liberty-oriented choices tells voters that the freedom movement is too poorly organized to be worth supporting.
  • Having multiple liberty-oriented choices vastly increases the cognitive/investigative burden imposed on a voter asked to cast her single vote for liberty.
  • Having multiple liberty-oriented choices tells politicians that pro-freedom voters are far from being a coherent caucus whose votes can be earned (e.g. by the party not running an opposing candidate).
  • Getting liberty-oriented candidates on the ballot requires a threshold amount of signatures/fees.
  • Getting a liberty-oriented party ballot-qualified requires a threshold amount of voter registration and/or votes in statewide races.
  • American elections generally do not allow fusion voting.
  • American elections do not allow approval voting, but instead uses plurality voting.
  • Duverger’s Law suggests the natural tactical response of voters to plurality voting is to gather into two parties straddling the political center along its major axis, or into one party for each natural cluster of voters in the political space.

A party should focus on the exercises of franchise whose effectiveness is magnified when the franchisees act in concert rather than through competing organizations. There’s no interesting limit to how many liberty-oriented parties we could indulge in creating. With over 20 free variables in libertarian theory, that’s over a million potential parties even if you assume only two possible values to each variable.  If two liberty-oriented parties are better than one, why aren’t 20 better than 2?  Why shouldn’t every intra-party caucus be its own party?

There are at least two possible exceptions to this analysis.  The first would be when the dominant freedom party has become immune to repair through caucus efforts and needs to be destroyed and replaced.   I for one am nowhere near ready to make war on the LP, and I’ll gladly defend the LP from those who make war on it.  Whatever the faults of the LP and its current nominee — faults I’ve never been shy about naming — they aren’t serious enough to stop telling the average voter she should always take the single choice called “Libertarian” whenever it’s available.  Democracy is an incredibly blunt instrument, and we can’t delude ourselves that the ballot box is a place for making subtle philosophical distinctions.  Remember, if every voter had as much political passion as we Libertarian activists, the streets would run red with blood — and plenty of it would be ours.

The second exception would be a zero-government abolitionist anarchist party.  I don’t mind working with anarchists wise enough to realize it’s harder to overthrow a big State than a small State — as long as they don’t insist the party endorse their abolitionist rhetoric (and thus help the State resist the party’s efforts to shrink it!).  However, having a separate anarchist party would be useful in clarifying that the LP has no official plans to abolish the state, and would siphon off radicals who fret too much about the LP’s lessarchist tent getting bloated with people lacking sufficient hatred of the state.

  1. Brian, these splits are happening because one wing of the party has taken over, and isn’t conducting itself with any sort of ethical or principaled stance.

    Combined with the Ron Paul factor (pulling those folks back into the Republican side of things instead of the LP), the natural result is, as in any free market of ideas, new strains are forming in the vacuum due to need.

    Yes, there is overlap. Who survives remains to be seen.

    I continue to remain a reformer, but I have discovered, sadly, that most of the “reform” crowd is willing and able to attempt to destroy the other side, rather than expand the tent and make space for all to remain under it.

    So the fight for the center of the party remains, and all of the names you’ve mentioned are a part of that struggle, as are many you didn’t name, including many who post here.

  2. urgh, it’s “principled”. and I know better too. Need to spell check more often.

  3. I fret that people lack sufficient hatred of the state.

  4. Can any party that is offering us Bob Barr be counted as a “freedom party”?

    I have sufficient hatred for the state, but am not going to let it run (or ruin) my life.

    Being an individual anarchist suits me just fine, but I’d support an anarchist party if such a critter is possible. And if they didn’t embrace “pragmatism”.

    In the meantime, check out my blog.

  5. Brian Holtz is never going to be satisfied by anything but one national, centralized, and carefully managed party that aligns with all of his ideas, preferably run by him. But, let’s deal with his points.

    “Having multiple liberty-oriented choices tells voters that libertarianism is too incoherent to be worth understanding.”

    Having one liberty oriented party has not exactly shown itself to be the way to get a majority of voters to vote for freedom. Complexity is not incoherent, it is only complex. Given the very complex statistics, large numbers of teams, and very large numbers of players that feature in extremely popular sporting contests, it is clearly not a problem for voters to keep track of complexity. Some people gamble on very complicated schemes. Some people invest on complicated systems.

    Having multiple choices is the nature of markets. And Brian Holtz isn’t smart enough to command the entire economy. Whether he likes it or not, there are going to be many freedom oriented parties. Most of them are going to be outside his control.

    “Having multiple liberty-oriented choices tells voters that the freedom movement is too poorly organized to be worth supporting.”

    Having just one party run by crazy people who want to burn ballot access petitions, put neo-conservatives like Barr at the top of the ticket, and insult prominent pro-liberty people like Ron Paul doesn’t seem to have convinced the voters that the freedom movement is well organized. Organization doesn’t mean no competition. Rather, the spontaneous order of the free market involves lots of choices.

    “Having multiple liberty-oriented choices vastly increases the cognitive/investigative burden imposed on a voter asked to cast her single vote for liberty.”

    Jesus Haploid Christ on a crutch, we might be asking the voters to think! Imagine how hard that is. What a burden. There minds are already full.

    As above, I think it very clear from the amount of brain power and time spent analyzing sports teams for fantasy leagues that it is not hard to get people to think about things they find very interesting. The question is whether we have anything they find very interesting.

    The party loyalist position is: purge everything too extreme while at the same time demanding that all other groups stop having their own party. Well, tough. You don’t get to choose whether there is a Boston Tea Party, Brian. We’re here. Get used to us.

    “Having multiple liberty-oriented choices tells politicians that pro-freedom voters are far from being a coherent caucus whose votes can be earned (e.g. by the party not running an opposing candidate).”

    So, let’s tell the truth. Pro-freedom voters are not a coherent caucus. They have divergent views on a host of issues. Some are for reproductive freedom and some are for defending the unborn. Some are for gay rights and some are for existing marriage licenses. Some are for immigration and some against. Some think the Confederacy was fighting for a constitutionally limited republic and some think it was fighting for slavery. These people cannot be organized into just one party with just one party line – we’re not communists. The purges have to stop.

    And what if the anti-freedom politicians find out that there is nothing they can do to avoid having a candidate for freedom run against them? How is that my worry?

    “Getting liberty-oriented candidates on the ballot requires a threshold amount of signatures/fees.”

    Many of us work to reduce the threshold which is the best approach here. Ballot access is not just for the LP. And the thresholds are lower in some states than in others, so it is possible to approach this issue with many different parties and candidates in different states. Besides, Brian, my money goes to support BTP on the ballot and not the LP. It isn’t your money. You don’t get to choose how I spend it. And the LP hasn’t earned my respect and hasn’t earned my money, so they don’t get to spend it either.

    “Getting a liberty-oriented party ballot-qualified requires a threshold amount of voter registration and/or votes in statewide races.”

    It is now possible to register to vote as a member of the Boston Tea Party in Florida and Colorado. Obviously, how we choose to spend our time is none of your business, Brian. You cannot prevent us from working on ballot access for our candidates and our party. And you haven’t persuaded us to stop.

    “American elections generally do not allow fusion voting.”

    Americans are generally screwed for freedom. Maybe this has something to do with fusion voting, but I doubt it. Milnes-Holtz has a ring to it.

    “American elections do not allow approval voting, but instead uses plurality voting.”

    A plurality elected Hitler. Maybe approval voting would be better. Anyway, you don’t get to vote for me, either, Brian. And I won’t vote for the LP’s candidate for president no matter how illogical you think it is.

    “Duverger’s Law suggests the natural tactical response of voters to plurality voting is to gather into two parties straddling the political center along its major axis, or into one party for each natural cluster of voters in the political space.”

    So, they’ve already done so, and the LP and the BTP are neither of those two parties.

    Maybe the LP is going to prove to be the most chosen party in the libertarian quadrant, but maybe not. Maybe the LP is losing members right now and the BTP is clearly gaining members right now.

    None of these bullet points address the reasons why. People are rejecting the LP, and have been for over a decade, because of corruption in the LP headquarters team, amongst its officers, and on its national committee. The scene from last weekend drives home the point – the LP national committee would rather feast on one of its own than do anything else. And did just about nothing else. Many people reject the LP this year because the LP’s presidential candidate is not a libertarian by any stretch of the imagination.

    The LP can earn my respect, but it has not. And until it does, I am free to pursue another political party of my own choice. Nothing you have written convinces me to stop.

  6. I’ve supported a big-tent Libertarian Party in Texas. It’s so big, Texas has 171 of the total 549 Libertarian Party candidates in the US according to info I’ve found.

    You say you’re going to win? Great. You say you’re not going to win but you’re going to be on the ballot to help build the party? Great. You say you’re a pure libertarian? Great. You say you’re a moderate libertarian? Great.

    You say your plan X is right and others who support plan Y are wrong, but rather than recruit more people to your plan X, you’re going to focus on kicking Y out of the party?

    I see . . .

  7. This is a very good article, Brian. I think I largely agree with it, though I’d say that the first of your “exceptions” has already been met. As for your second exception, I’d be happy to join an avowedly anarcho-capitalist party — and that might ease tensions between anarchists and “lessarchists” and allow us to work towards common goals.

    However, Brian, I am troubled by a blog post at your site and would like you to correct it. I wrote you an email about it which I will re-post here:

    Everything you say about me here…

    …is true except for the title: “What Jason Seagraves Won’t Tell You”

    That is not true. I WILL and DO tell people all of those facts, and in fact, they are reasonably well known by the frequent posters at IPR and LFV, etc.

    I humbly request that, in the name of accuracy and honesty, you change the title of your article to something like: “Consider the Source: G.E. is Barr opponent, former Paul employee, Ruwart supporter.”

    That is fair. What is NOT fair is to insinuate that I “won’t” tell people my name, my occupation, my political history. That is NOT true.

    Also, I request that you refrain from excessive use of my real name. I, like many other people on both sides of the current conflict, try to keep my real name out of Google searches from employment purposes.

    Thank you,

    Jason Seagraves aka G.E.

    I think my willingness to post the above vindicates that your title, saying I “won’t tell” people, is untrue.


  8. Brian, multiple freedom parties split the vote. &…how is it you consider Barr/Root reformist? Are either a member of LRC as I am and obviously Milsted is. & Milsted has called for a “new…upper left…” party. So, there is another one…incipient?

  9. Do I have to be the one that knocks all of you on the head and points out one of the most obvious things that points out your total lack of consideration for one of the most dedicated activists out there?

    I guess so. So here goes.

    What about Richard Winger and Ballot Access News?

    Yeah, sure, for most of you it’s real easy to just read his reports and take them for granite. But put yourself in his boots.

    What if you had to track even more political parties than he does already and had to mail out newsletters about them all? I’ve got pretty good eyes, but I don’t want to be having to read tables with 4 point font because there are so many parties and I don’t want to be responsible for putting all that extra work on his shoulders.

    People, show some consideration!

  10. Wes, just out of curiousity, “…take them for granite.”? what is that? A typo or a rock solid pun? PS. Polished granite ain’t cheap!

  11. Robert,

    I made my money manufacturing, selling, and installing synthetic marble and GRANITE kitchen countertops. Real granite isn’t much more expensive than synthetic granite. I usually told prospective customers there wasn’t much difference between the real thing and the synthetic thing in performance, which was true except for a few areas, which I didn’t take for granted, and explained to them.

    We all agreed Formica sucked.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with people who choose to live with Formica. That’s what my apartment has. I just wouldn’t vote for it.

  12. “Brian Holtz is never going to be satisfied by anything but one national, centralized, and carefully managed party that aligns with all of his ideas, preferably run by him.”

    I disagree. While Holtz does ceasely advocate for his preferred policy positions, ideological orientation and strategic approach, he’s been consistently supportive of the LP through periods when it has shown no signs of adopting same in many areas.

    Not only that, but has taken specific actions to allow opponents of his to have their own voices heard on such issues (including, at the 2006 national convention, voting as Starchild’s proxy instead of according to his own lights when the convention, improperly in Holtz’s views, declined to seat Starchild as a delegate in his own right).

    As far as the question of multiple parties goes, I find Holtz’s argument defective on several grounds, but frankly I’m too tired to elaborate well at the moment … six hours at a theoretically four-hour LP picnic, three hours at a theoretically two-hour Green Party event.

  13. I bet Brian Holz has Corian countertops. They scratch easy.

  14. The rebuttal to this nonsense is actually simple: the “free market” of political ideas/parties will sort out the complexities on its own, survival of the fittest, the consumers (the electorate) making the call.

    As libertarian as it gets.

    Too bad there’s not a true free market of political parties…

    Me, I prefer a different approach, moving policy in the proper direction through other means. It has worked over the years for the socialists, who, outside the major parties, have had little electoral success but great policy success (to our detriment, no less), and it can work for us, too.

  15. Wes, Corian here, and they do fine. scratches out with 220 sandpaper and they clean well with SoftScrub. And we love the seamless sinks!

    And yes, Formica does suck.

  16. Wes, you raise a damn good point about Richard Winger, even if it’s tongue-in-cheek. He is a treasure not only to the freedom movement but to the cause of democracy (such as it is). This other comment of yours went right over my head: “You say your plan X is right and others who support plan Y are wrong, but rather than recruit more people to your plan X, you’re going to focus on kicking Y out of the party?” My article is about keeping people IN our party, and making sure nobody (including me) gets to use the party’s fundamental documents to make good libertarians feel like second-class citizens.

    Mr. Milnes, I don’t have any fresh information about Carl’s stated desire to start a new party. I don’t think I’ve ever said Barr was a “reformist choice”. He didn’t ever get a vote from me until I had to choose between him and what would have been the first (except perhaps for Bergland) openly anarchist LP nominee — which would have been fine except she was campaigning on being “fully attuned to the Libertarian philosophy” and said she will “take the party in the direction we want to go” and “really explain to the American people what we truly are all about”. We all know what that explanation turned out to be.

    Seth, I’d like to know more about this “wing” that you say has “taken over” the LP. If you’re talking about the Reform or Radical caucuses, both Susan Hogarth and I will tell you that neither caucus has been able to “take over”. Both Hogarth and the two Reform Caucus leaders who ran for at-large seats did not win them. Chuck Moulton has been active in both caucuses, but still lost the Vice-Chair race. None of the voting LNC members are Reform Caucus leaders, and most of the Reform Caucus leaders I know were pulling for Root rather than Barr. It’s 8 weeks before a Presidential election, so it naturally feels like the LP is currently dominated by its presidential campaign, but this too shall pass. The fact remains that in Denver radicals were able to gain a significant number of LNC seats. Our presidential ticket may not be balanced, but our party leadership is, and that’s what will count after November.

    I’ll agree that there are way too many LP leaders of all ideological stripes who far too readily engage in personal attacks on their peers, questioning their motives and their commitment to the cause of liberty. The LP needs a Grownups’ Caucus of leaders and activists who can disagree with the ideas and strategies of their peers without making attacks on their character or their commitment to liberty and without either threatening to quit or asking their opponents to quit.

    John Amendall, I’ve argued loud and long for an ecumenical LP that equally embraces the half-dozen leading schools of libertarianism, it’s simply Orwellian for you to fantasize that I am “never going to be satisfied by anything but one national, centralized, and carefully managed party that aligns with all of his ideas, preferably run by him”. If you’re going to lie about people, try not to do it so incompetently.

    If you had even the slightest familiarity with the polling data that my article linked to, you’d know that no arrangement of freedom parties is going “get a majority of voters to vote for freedom” in the foreseeable future. The challenge is how to raise our vote share from our current 0.5%-3% to the 3%-10% we ought to be able to get given the 13%-20% of Americans who want both more economic freedom and more personal freedom.

    Multiple choices is indeed the nature of markets, and we had multiple choices in Denver. But the nature of party politics is to unite voters with similar values behind the one choice most likely to make progress implementing those values. I’m of course not saying that all pro-freedom voters have (or need) the same views on all (or even most) issues, but feel free to fantasize that I am if that’s what it takes to rationalize your disagreement with me. I’m just saying it would be stupid to have a Pro-Life Libertarian Party and a Pro-Choice Libertarian Party and a Pro-Death-Penalty LP and an Anti-Death-Penalty LP, etc. etc. (Michael, are you really arguing we should form the cross-product of all these kinds of parties, and let the voters sort it out, rather than having LP conventions and caucuses and party-internal elections and plank voting etc.?)

    Now, I recognize that a good way to guarantee that at least a couple of libertarians will do something is to say that doing it would be stupid, so go ahead and form as many parties as you want. I promise not to use the power to stop you that you seem to think I possess. I will even put away my John Amendall voodoo doll that you think I was using to try to control your political donations and voting behavior. Rest easy, those sharp pointy feelings in your spine will now start to fade.

    G.E., I didn’t recall ever hearing you’d been on a Ron Paul payroll before reading it today, when I was trying to (re)discover your name. I’m a pretty well-informed LP semi-insider, so if I didn’t know about your recent financial conflict of interest in any Paul vs. Barr spat, I’d bet that 99% of your readers didn’t know either.

    “What X won’t tell you” is an idiom, whose cash value is “what X hasn’t told you yet and won’t be volunteering”. It doesn’t mean “what X would never admit”. Still, I’m willing to retitle to “What G.E. hasn’t told you”, and to water it down even further if you can show me where in your coverage of this dustup you’ve pointed out your recent paid employment in the Ron Paul campaign.

  17. Brian Holtz (Formica dude):
    Can you provide an executive summary? Real politics is a “sound-bite world.” Is every one of your words essential? We’re not all long-winded philosophers here. Me for example, I’m good at math.

  18. Under many conditions, I’d agree with Brian, especially if it were a more ideal world…

    However, our LPMA US Senate candidate, Robert Underwood just made a really good analogy to the current situation – You’ve just had a car wreck, and have to decide between getting your old car fixed, and getting a new one, which might have a different set of problems…

    I feel that this certainly applies to the current LP, though I’d be more inclined to consider it a train wreck, as a car crash seems to minor to match the situation….

    The LP currently IMHO has had more than just a minor fender bender, it’s more like running into a bridge abutment – The engine’s crunched, and there is major frame damage.

    Is it repairable? We have a contingent that nominated a divisive ticket, that doesn’t seem to want to play by anybody’s rules, or support the long standing parts of the platform where there isn’t huge disagreement. We have an LNC that can’t / won’t control it’s office staff, that “eats it’s own” to the exclusion of serious issues, and that many are convinced is controlled by an “evil conspiracy” of Redpath, Starr, Sullentrop, Karlan, M. Carling, etc…

    Seems like it would take a miracle or really major surgery to fix it…

    So it looks more and more tempting to total out the old reliable clunker and shop for a new set of wheels.

    When we look at the “marketplace of ideas” it seems that you really only get competition when the existing players are failing to meet the needs of the market…

    If the LP was nominating more broadly acceptable candidates – and almost any of the other nominated people in Denver would have been more acceptable than Barr – perhaps not with great enthusiasm, but not having huge numbers of people walking out either… Would the BTP be attracting new members?

    If the LNC was less visibly corrupt / ineffective / incompetent – would the BTP be going anywhere?

    I could go on, but the key issue is the question of “Is the LP satisfying the needs and desires of its constituency? – I would say it isn’t, which is WHY we are seeing competition… The extent that the groups like BTP and LfA do well is the indicator of how poorly the LP is doing.

    Brian is right that the freedom movement is not helped long term by splintering, but I think it is a healthy thing at this time. The existence of competition will hopefully either cause the LP to get its act back together, or cause it to fold, and a new organization, either the BTP, LfA or something else to emerge as the primary “freedom party” that will hopefully have learned from the failure of its predecessor, and be a better / stronger organization as a result….

    Given my obligations as an elector, I need to retain my LP registration until election day, but after that, I may well be switching to a new set of wheels, especially if I’m unable to convince the LPMA to separate from the wreckage that used to be the LPUS…

    LPMA Operations Facilitator
    LPMA Presidential Elector – NOT substituting Barr!
    Speaking for myself

  19. Brian – Fair enough. “Hasn’t told you” is better than “won’t tell you.” “Won’t,” even under your idomatic use, implies a desire to hide. I’m proud to have been an employee of Ron Paul, even prouder to have spoken for Mary Ruwart (which was covered here), and I only hesitate to bring it up in an effort not to boast.

    Regardless: I would appreciate the title change, and I thank you for acknowledging my request.

  20. How about What You Might Not Know About G.E.?

    I think that’s fairest of all, but I’m willing to accept your offer.

  21. I see you’ve made the change. Appreciated. Ignore my suggestion on #20. What you’ve done is fair enough.

  22. I also re-posted it, so that the URL would be changed too. It’s now at

  23. Thanks. If anyone claims I’m being anonymous, I will direct them to that link.

  24. We have fusion in NY and it sucks. Certain parties choose to pick a gubernatorial candidate that will get then 50K votes (typically a red or blue) and then they peddle that influence in directions they deem effective. The LPNY tends to hang in there with an ardent group of activists and long time loyalists. Every four years we run a statewide slate and then go home.

    That being said, we tend not to agonize too much over ideology. Splits usually derive from personality disorders and dysfunctions. I actively pursue alliances with Greens, the CP and even some outsider Republicans and Democrats. I’d love to be able to brag like Wes about the amount of candidates we have or run for Congress as perennially as Brian seems able, but we can’t.

    The nature of the third party in America tends to be factional and quirky. Broad coalition, big tent operations aren’t necessary in this regard. Their purpose is to satisfy membership and produce meaningful opposition and protest.

    I find the current ‘success’ modality in the LP’s general membership rather irksome. It tends to alienate a base of membership who have signed on, not to win, but to be effective issue movers. Pick three issues and run for office . . . But when certain factions marginalize others with exclusive tendencies (cruise ship conventions let’s say) or ideological branding (radical/reformer) it creates fundamental discord among personalities.

    When the LP existed for meaningful protest and not happy happy win win schlop, it was much more unified and secure in its ideological misgivings and splits (witness the existence of the former Dallas Accord). Of course as not winning progressed and sniping about the same became the mantra and bloodsport for re-positioning all manner of things, that’s when folks either dug in their heels or simply started walking away.

  25. “…parties is dumb” tells me everything I need to know about you, Holtz. Parties are not dumb, they speak volumes.

  26. John, when concocting rationalizations for not facing my points, you might not want to hang a bell on the fact that you’re not facing them.

    The singular verb in my title here tells you that what’s dumb/ill-advised is the _idea_ of multiple parties. No competent reader here would think that I was instead trying to say that the creation of a second freedom party makes them both individually or collectively ill-advised. Nor would any competent reader mistake what sense of “dumb” I was using — although each of multiple freedom parties might indeed be rendered effectively voiceless if all they do is drown each other out by offering inconsequentially different choices.

    Eric, I’m no fan of a rah-rah focus on electoral victory, but I’d like to know when you think the LP was “much more unified”. The early 1980s had infighting far more vicious than now, the early 1990s had similar fights over SoP/Platform/mission, and a lot of the time since then was marked by either scandals or accusations of scandals. From what I can tell, the most harmonious era of the LP may have been from birth until about 1979, which happens also to have been the era of the LP’s most spectacular growth in its electoral results.

    I’m not sure what size you mean by “big tent”. The polling data I link to above show a potential pro-more-freedom vote of 13% to 20%. How much of them would have to join the LP before you’d say our tent was so big as to undermine our job of being “factional and quirky”?

    As for ideological branding, I only use it in self-defense, when people are trying to make the party’s fundamental documents say that their ideology is better than mine. I don’t see such self-defense as being exclusivist or divisive, but rather the opposite.

  27. OMG Brian, you actually chose of your own free will barr over sweet mary? & just for the record 13-20% refers to The Libertarian Vote Cato, right?

  28. It looks like I land with the Corians. It is so pragmatic to be able to so easily sand out the blemishes.

  29. Heaven help me, I luv seamless sinks to! G.E., just out of curiousity (I have too many cats!), what did Ron Paul dixiecrat conservative pay you to do?

  30. Stainless steel sinks have a lot going for them too though.

  31. Brian, I’ve faced your foolish points and dealt with them each and every one. You have not responded intelligently. Just the same sorry stupid ideas.

    And dumb is a condition of speechlessness, it is not ignorance, and it is not stupidity. If you meant the idea of many parties is stupid, you might have said so, but you didn’t, because you don’t write well.

    You are a fool marketing unity in a free market of ideas. Maybe Robert Milnes is buying whatever fusion you are selling. I’m not.

    Hang a bell around it, put it in your pipe and smoke it, or just blow away in the next strong wind from whatever quarter you think is best.

  32. “…the nature of party politics is to unite voters with similar values behind the one choice most likely to make progress implementing those values.”

    Calling other people “dumb” for wanting out of your disgusting, corrupt, self-destructive party is not a good way to unite anyone with you. You are quick to call other people’s ideas stupid, slow to admit anyone else was right to do something you disagree with. Which is fairly typical for a libertarian. Tell people they are stupid, tell them they aren’t answering your points, and then insist that they ought to unite behind your evil, criminal, corrupt, authoritarian candidate Bob Barr, if you wish. But don’t be surprised if I tell you to blow it out your ear.

    If you want a political party capable of uniting the 20% of the country who care about freedom, then stand up for principles against the corruption, the abuse of power, and the wasting of party funds. If you want a candidate who can bring people together, find one.

    I didn’t join the Boston Tea Party when it sounded like they were going to endorse the LP nominee, if it were Mary Ruwart, for example. But I did join up and have worked with enthusiasm for the BTP when it became clear that it was serious about offering a real alternative to the hateful, hurtful, corrupt, dirty, back biting, name calling, and irritating cesspool that is the LP.

    There is no longer any choice for you to have only one freedom party. There are many parties for freedom, but you don’t like it that way. So you call them “dumb.”

    “I are Brian Holtz and multiple freedom parties is dumb.”

  33. JA) If you meant the idea of many parties is stupid, you might have said so, but you didn’t (JA

    False. I wrote: “offering multiple parties/candidates to the voters in our quadrant of Nolan space is dumb for multiple reasons”.

    JA) dumb is a condition of speechlessness, it is not ignorance, and it is not stupidity (JA

    False. Here is the relevant sense, from several different dictionaries:

    1. unintelligent: regarded as having or showing a low level of intelligence

    6 a: lacking intelligence : stupid b: showing a lack of intelligence

    6. Conspicuously unintelligent; stupid

    1. lacking intelligence or good judgment; stupid; dull-witted.

    3. what John Amendall is

  34. Learn to read.

    1. I didn’t call the people dumb, I called the idea dumb. (I have now jokingly call _you_ dumb, as the evidence here really allows for no other conclusion.)

    2. I made an exception for “wanting out” of a party that you think is unsalvageable and needs to be destroyed.

    3. I never “insisted they ought to unite behind” Bob Barr. I think people disappointed with the Barr campaign out to follow David Nolan’s advice.

    Again: learn to read.

  35. Seth: …most of the “reform” crowd is willing and able to attempt to destroy the other side…

    Me: Please cite evidence of this. Who has Holtz attempted to “destroy”? Or me? Or, when he was still in the LP, Milsted?

  36. On the discussion here about whether Barr is the Reform choice, he was not. The Reform Caucus doesn’t do endorsements of candidates.

    I generally think Barr has run a good campaign, one that Reformers would generally want to see. I also think he’s made mistakes, as we all do from time to time, yes? Running for prez is hard work!

    He filled the vacuum left by the hope of many that Ron Paul was going to come back. Those hopes were dashed for me with NewsletterGate. That was a mistake, too, but one that was not fixed, IMO.

    I disagree with Barr on some issues, but don’t we all sometimes disagree? Can we not agree to disagree sometimes?

    The LP is not the Borg. If it is, “don’t you know that you can count me out” 😉

    Ahh, further citing the Beatles, “don’t you know it’s going to be all right.”

  37. Holtz: …having a separate anarchist party would be useful in clarifying that the LP has no official plans to abolish the state, and would siphon off radicals who fret too much about the LP’s lessarchist tent getting bloated with people lacking sufficient hatred of the state.

    Me: Hear, hear. As a theoretical asymptotic anarchist/applied lessarchist, I don’t recall signing up for “hating” anything. Hate, for me, is a corrosive emotion, and I’ll have none of it.

    Most of the State is certainly dysfunctional, and it may well all be. Let’s figure that one out in a few decades. In the meantime, there’s much work to do.

  38. During the pre-1979 era, the infighting was between the neo-objectivists who rejected noninterventionism and the “radicals” who insisted that it was a core element of libertarianism.

    More or less, it was “Reason” vs. “Cato.” (Not of today,
    but of that era.)

    While there was a tremendous improvement between
    Hosper’s (a neo-objectivist hawk) campaign and the
    McBride campaign, the LP was just getting started in 72.

    A second division, was between the “freaks” and the “straights.” The “freak” view is that the LP should celebrate and publicize lifestyle diversity. Sometimes the
    “freak” group self-described as people who “live” liberty.
    The “straight” side insisted that the LP should put forth
    leaders who dressed, behaved, had careers, and so on,
    that were reasonably conventional.

    McBride, who ran on free market economy, civil liberties, and noninterventionist foreign policy (the radical program) created tremendous controversy by his personal opposition to the selection of a gay man for his VP.

    Leaving aside the particulars of that controverty, Rothbard and those closest to him favored the radical/straight approach. You know–Ron Paul as the ideal candidate.

    The Clark campaign brought up the “moderate vs. radical” division among the “radicals.” This is the conflict that Holz describes. It wasn’t the nomination battle between Clark and Huncher that was so divisive, but rather the recrimations after 1980, with Rothbard and Nolan leading the attacks on the Clark campaign for being too moderate.

    The federalism (states rights) vs. federal courts defending individual rights controversy has been closely tied to the pro-choice vs. pro-life debate. Paul and Browne came down on the federalist side. I have always assumed that
    Marrou and Badnarik did as well, but there wasn’t as much
    controversy. Anyway, Browne’s extreme federalist views
    were an issue in the nineties.

  39. Brian Holtz,

    You disgust me. People like you and the Retard Caucus are the ones who are bent on pushing many of us out of the party. Republican-lite is NOT what I joined this party to begin with. I hope you are happy with Bob Barr and how his candidacy is destroying the LP, while many of us non-Bob Barr supporters are sitting on the sidelines laughing at the soon-to-be implosion of the party I once was proud of. Never again or at least not until the LP gets rid of the racist,sexist Republicans on the LNC (Sullentrup, Redpath, Starr, Carling,Lieberman, Karlan, ect.)

  40. LOL. Chris, my article is all about KEEPING anarchists and radicals (like you) in the LP — even though doing so weakens the influence of minarchists like me. Even so, I’d rather we work together inside one party and present to voters a united front for freedom.

    What’s “retarded” is to claim that LP reformers are “Republican lite”. They despise the GOP’s pandering to the religious right and its empty lip service to free markets. They regularly vilify the GOP for its tolerance of laws regulating prices, minimum wages, maximum hours, equal pay, plant closure, family leave, hiring, firing, occupational licensure, insurance policies, zoning, rents, product safety, drug efficacy, fuel efficiency, pollution mitigation technology, parental media control, media copying technology, etc. They berate the GOP for its failure to use its legislative majority to start privatizing any of our socialized systems of education, health care, health insurance, agriculture, and retirement savings. They bitterly attack the GOP for its support of regulations and bans on gambling, suicide, substance use, pornography, gay marriage, sexual services, reproductive services, and cloning.

    I’ve already posted my complaints about the Barr campaign, and why I supported other candidates over him.

    P.S. “Racist”? Wow, is there no epithet you won’t stoop to using?

  41. I have proof that many on the LNC are rather sexist and racist. Brian Miller and Angela Keaton also have e-mails backing my claim. I call them like I see them. And BTW, how many minorities did you recruit into the LP or are you part of that “freedom is only for the angry middle-aged white male crowd”?

  42. I have proof that many on the LNC are rather sexist and racist. Brian Miller and Angela Keaton also have e-mails backing my claim.

    Please post them then.

    BTW, I am having to pull all of Chris’ comments out of spam. Is he banned from commenting here? If so, I will have to stop pulling them out of there.

    If he is not, perhaps the setting was set too broadly, not just that he can not post original articles anymore but even blog comments?

    I did not notice this until now, as he is far from the only real poster whose comments go into spam, but it seems to be every single one?

  43. And BTW, how many minorities did you recruit into the LP or are you part of that “freedom is only for the angry middle-aged white male crowd”?

    Comrade Bennett, be realistic. Can you see Comrade Holtz speaking to angry-young-black-males with much effectiveness? There is some role for division of labor. That is why C. Holtz wants you to stay in the LP. He wants many more Libertarians and knows he is not the best person to speak to all prospects.

    For the same reason, you should welcome C. Holtz – unless, of course, you think you might be better than he is at recruiting 40-something cubicle ‘droids – or unless you think that they do not belong in the LP.

    Look upon C. Holtz as a stalking horse for people who might be spooked by the idea that libertarianism means not killing people who have not aggressed against you. After they’ve had some time to imagine they can be both pro-liberty and pro-mass-murder and (ideally) after they have started to question the contradiction inherent in such an idea, then other comrades can further their education.

    Perhaps even C. Holtz will travel this path of thought someday; but even if he does not, he still has value to the LP even exceeding the significant financial contributions he no doubt makes to the Party.

  44. Chris, you need to read Do you really think playing cards from the bottom of the identity-politics deck will work on a libertarian audience? Everybody I’ve ever tried to recruit to libertarianism is in the smallest minority of all — the individual.

    Caltrop, I’ll eviscerate your “pro-mass-murder” slander just as soon as you acquire the intellectual courage to put your name behind it. Until then, thanks for the back-handed compliments. 🙂

  45. Brian and Robert: I don’t directly include you two (nor Milsted), but many of the other ‘reformers’ are also part the cabal which I referred to a wing of the party, in this case, the right libertarians, aka conservative wing.
    Few of the leftwing are members of the reformer crowd I’m referring to here. It’s NOT the “Reform Caucus” that is the problem, it’s the folks who joined it and used it to get where we are now. IMHO, Barr hurt the Reform side greatly, and we are now years behind in the cause of bigtent.

    As for proof, look at the mix of names involved in the controversies, look at the way people voted and who they supported and who they worked for, and what they did. The list is pretty clear.

  46. Holtz “2. I made an exception for “wanting out” of a party that you think is unsalvageable and needs to be destroyed.”

    I don’t want out, I’ve never been in. Your party is a disgusting thing, and you are a disgusting person.

  47. Holtz “Chris, my article is all about KEEPING anarchists and radicals (like you) in the LP”

    No, it is not. It is about demeaning those of us who have different views from Brian Holtz, calling us unintelligent, demanding that we stop having a separate party of our own, and calling our ideas “dumb.” Brian Holtz is a disgusting name calling jerk who hates individual liberty when it is expressed by anyone but himself on any terms but his own. That he attempts to disguise his contempt briefly and shallowly in order to attempt to seem equitable is part of the disgusting sham.


    You say my article is all about “calling us unintelligent”. “Us” who? Who do you think you speak for? Again, learn to read. My article’s first clause is “Tom Knapp and George Phillies and Carl Milsted are very smart guys”. I guarantee you that none of those three consider my article to be insulting in the least. Smart people can hear criticism of their ideas/positions and not automatically feel personally insulted. Dumb people, not so much.

  49. Seth, clear as mud. 🙂 What votes? Who “joined the Reform Caucus and used it to get where we are now”? All three of the Reform Caucus leadership who ran for party office in Denver lost.

    Of the few Reform Caucus leaders whose presidential preference I know, more preferred Root than Barr. Reform Caucus meetings in Denver drew no more than ten people. The Reform Caucus in Denver put zero effort into the presidential race, and all its effort into Platform and SoP reform. We lost on SoP because delegates are instinctively suspicious of any change that appears to involve procedural gymnastics. We won on Platform because the delegates — who don’t care about caucuses and mostly don’t know they exist — wanted a repaired Platform that could be adopted in one day, and we had worked hard to offer one to them. Despite all the angst leading into the Platform debate, and in sharp contrast to Portland, there have been very few complaints about our new Platform, even from those who fought its adoption. Instead, they are blaming the Reform Caucus for an LP nominee that the Reform Caucus didn’t endorse, and sometimes even using the Reform Caucus’s own repaired platform to hold that nominee’s feet to the fire.

    There indeed appears to be a functioning majority on the LNC, but you could call any LNC majority a “cabal”. Chuck Moulton recently pointed out that very few LNC votes break on ideological lines. There are plenty of LNC members whose ideological leanings I have no information about, and I’d welcome anybody shedding more light on what our LNC members think and do.

  50. Brian, look closer. The answers are there. I’m focusing on local politics for the future, especially the next 2 months.

    But I stand by my claim that Barr has hurt the Reform cause, folks who nominally were ‘not with Barr’ were in fact with Barr behind the scenes (ask yourself why Ruwart was invited to run, who convinced Root to take a backseat, etc…) and the LNC has a functioning cabal, both within the LNC and as supporting (former LNCers and alternates, and well as others close to them)

    Follow the money.

  51. Seth Cohn, agreed. Evidently dixiecrat conservatives camouflage themselves by close association with right libertarians & invoking big tent reformism. Holtz fell for it with barr. A big problem is Ron Paul fits best here. & they are not about building the LP but rather reform of the GOP & drawing libertarians into that.

  52. Seth,

    You need to be more specific on WHO you think is “reformist,” because the inuendo’s getting thick. Holtz is generally more “right” L, but is green and pro-choice. I’m centrist to left, green and pro choice. He liked Root, I liked Barr, mostly for the cred and media potential.

    LNC is all over the map. I hear Redpath supported Ruwart, yet he’s called a “reformer.” Sullentrup…not sure. Jingozian…himself. Starr I think Root. Etc.

    Point is, there are lots of L brands and schools of thought.

    Labeling is toxic. AND inaccurate.

  53. Sorry, Seth, but until you actually have something to say, I’m just going to put you down as having said nothing. 🙂 You can go play Deep Throat with somebody who thinks Root needed “convincing” to take — or had anything to exchange for — the VP spot. Root is not the most brilliant mind to ever contest the LP nomination, but a basic skill in his profession is the ability to compare two integers.

    Robert Milnes, I “fell for” nothing with Barr. Despite the recent contretemps, his campaign is far, far from making me regret the one vote I cast for him, to keep the LP from nominating an anarchist who said she was “fully attuned to the Libertarian philosophy” and said she can “really explain to the American people what we truly are all about”. We all know what that explanation turned out to be.

  54. My understanding is that it was Root who approached Barr about an endorsement trade, between ballots before the ballot in which Root was eliminated — and that Barr wasn’t interested in talking to him at that point.

    My further understanding is that it was Root who approached Barr the second time as well, after that ballot … and that Barr then decided to talk (probably because on that ballot, Ruwart came in ahead of Barr).

    The idea that Root had to be persuaded to deal is ridiculous. I had to do everything but throw furniture at one of his people after the second ballot to get past him when he wanted to talk “Kubby endorses Root for president, Root endorses Kubby for VP” (I did convey the message, although I was 99.9% sure that Kubby would endorse Ruwart as he had intended to all along if eliminated; which, of course, is what he did).

    The Barr nomination was not a “reformer versus radical” thing — or, to be more specific, that’s not all it was.

  55. I don’t need to learn how to read, Mr. Holtz. I’ve been reading since I was three years old. What I have read is you repeatedly calling me and others like me dumb. You are a nasty person who refuses to respond to my points, above, detailing what’s wrong with your idiotic ideas. You continue to insist that I started the name calling, when your entire article and its title are name calling. You are a horrid, vicious, nasty poor excuse for a human being. I find you tiresome and dull.

  56. If anyone thinks Mr. Amendall has raised a substantive point whose answer is neither on the record nor obvious, please quote it and I’ll respond to it — such as, for example, his brilliant point that I can’t stop people from trying to ballot-qualify multiple freedom parties, and therefore such duplication of effort is not a waste.

    I fear that what’s happening here is that reading my article and its supporting arguments makes Mr. Amendall feel quite bad, and so he reacts as if my goal were precisely to make him feel bad, as if I had called him a name or poked him with a stick. Reasoning with such a person only makes him feel worse about his positions and his (in)ability to defend them, eliciting responses that become more and more emotional. If my arguments were as weak as he so hysterically insists, he’d be unlikely to bother answering them at all, or to at most dispassionately note their weakness, perhaps expressing bemused relief that no stronger arguments were forthcoming. Instead, his anger seems designed to try to elicit a similarly emotional response from me, thus allowing him to rationalize that my arguments must not have been very good in the first place as I was unable to defend them without rancor. This pattern of behavior is not uncommon among people whose polemical reach exceeds their grasp.

  57. As I said to my state chair right after my concession speech — it’s on the network television coverage — “train wreck”. The enthusiasm of as adequate number of Barr supporters for Ruwart, had she received the nomination (see Holtz, above) about equals the enthusiasm of the Ruwart supporters for Barr (all over the place).

    The reaction of the LNC to the draft ‘expel’ and the draft ‘good work’ resolutions, if not positive, at least clarifies to those sides where they stand relative to the LNC votes, and ensures that they cannot claim that their side was not heard.

  58. Mr. Amendall,

    Apparently the use of the word “dumb” requires some contextual elaboration.

    Holtz says that Carl Milsted and George Phillies and I are very smart guys.

    Edward Teller was, in the view of most people, including his opponents on various issues, a very smart guy (almost certainly smarter than me, and maybe even smarter than Mr. Milsted or Mr. Phillies, both of whom are physicists like Teller was).

    Teller’s proposal to use hydrogen bombs to blast out a new deep-water harbor in Alaska was, in the view of most people, dumb.

    Saying that someone’s particular plan or idea is dumb is not the same as saying that that person is dumb.

    I founded the Boston Tea Party. Milsted has proposed, and may be working on creating, the Free Liberal Party. Phillies’s activities are less overtly associated with the formation of a completely new party than my activities or Milsted’s, but he is in fact on the ballot in two states either instead of, or in addition to, the LP’s national-convention-selected nominee.

    Mr. Holtz thinks that these activities are dumb. He does not necessarily think (and says he doesn’t think) that the people behind them are dumb.

  59. If victory is within reach, unity is useful. If it’s 5% of the vote we’re talking about, who cares if it goes to 1 freedom party or is split between 17?

    Some years back I discovered a niche where a pro-freedom party could play on an equal playing field with the D’s and R’s in races below president. I launched the Reform Caucus to see if the LP wanted to occupy that niche. The answer is no. Fair enough.

    My apologies for the resulting disruption, but I didn’t want people whining about my splitting the movement should I start a new party (a project on hold until I amass sufficient resources). My offer had a high price and a high benefit. The price was abandoning being the Party of Principle in favor of being a Party of Freedom. The benefit was actually winning elections and cutting government.

    The LP is oscillating around its equilibrium point. Its days of real growth are over, barring massive restructuring. Maybe that restructuring has begun with the new platform, or maybe it’s just another oscillation.

    Perhaps the existence of a real pro-freedom party could push the LP into doing what it could be good at: street theater. Learn from the Left and the environmentalists. The Left has many, many, on-the-ground activist groups other than the Democratic Party. Most of the members of these groups vote Democratic, even when they consider the DP to be too right-wing.

    Liberty needs multiple defenders, ranging from radical to pragmatic. Unity is required only for winnable elections.

  60. Carl, almost none of those “many, many on-the-ground leftist activist groups” call themselves a party and try to dilute the Democrats’ impact in the voting booth.

    We’re a long way from having freedom candidates finding themselves in winnable elections, but (modulo the two exceptions I noted) splitting the freedom vote will only take us farther away from that goal, not closer.

  61. I have been a member of the LP for 30 years.
    I am a Rothbardian market anarchist and a long-time fan of Dr. Ruwart.

    I live in Texas and am a GIANT fan of Wes.
    That’s because I believe in a big-tent LP and the pragmatic approach to eventual electoral success.
    Wes has taken our party profile to a higher level in Texas because he welcomed all manner of “impure” freedom lovers.
    I haven’t seen such fervor for the Texas LP in a long time and I expect the R’s to be surprised by the polling numbers.

    I am also a member of the BTP, which I first joined within days of it’s founding and have just rejoined.
    It has become my party of “pure” principle.
    Am I sending them any money?

    They will get my money when the LP has become one of the status quo parties and more people have gained enough experience applying the underlying philosophy to consider taking it to the next step.

    If the R3evolution people build something sustainable and make greater inroads into organizing the 20% of liberty-minded citizens than the LP has managed, I will support them and shed no tears at the LP’s demise.

    However impure the vehicle, I will take whatever gains can be made for freedom IN MY LIFETIME.

    I will never cease advocating for what I consider REAL liberty.

    I will advocate for the real thing with the LP, with the R3volutionaries, and against any distortions that may creep into the BTP.

    The more organizations pushing a freedom agenda, however incomplete, the more opportunity for people to find their place in it and expand their horizon of Liberty until it reaches everyone.

  62. Quoth Brian Holtz:

    “splitting the freedom vote will only take us farther away from that goal, not closer.”

    That’s not necessarily correct.


    From 1972-2006, the LP was, for all practical purposes, the only US “freedom party” and substantially the only vehicle for a US “freedom vote.”

    If you want to argue that the Republican Liberty Caucus (1991-present) and Democratic Freedom Caucus (1996-present) have, at one time or another, successfully made their respective parties into de facto “freedom parties” in one or more elections, feel free to so argue.

    If you’re aware of a non-LP, non-major-party-caucus which has coopted any major piece of “the freedom vote,” please let me know.

    Facts based on the assumption.

    – At the presidential level, the LP has never exceeded 1.x% of the vote, and has only exceeded 1% once (in 1980).

    – At the congressional level, the LP has never elected a US Senator or US Representative, seldom polls in double-digit percentages in those races, and, to the best of my recollection, has never exceeded 30% even in a two-way race with one major party opponent.

    – At the state legislative level, the LP has elected a handful of legislators in states which have very low-population districts and/or allow “fusion” candidacies. Apart from those outliers, LP performance at the state level is similar to LP performance at the congressional level (i.e. typically single-digit vote percentages, occasionally better, but few or no wins).

    – No identifiable upward trend has emerged to give us reason to hope that the above results are going to give way to better results for the LP.

    Conclusion: Either “the freedom vote” is too small to win elections, or the LP has failed to gain the support of “freedom voters.”

    It may be that “splitting the freedom vote” between new parties with different approaches may be the only way to FIND OUT HOW to appeal to a large existing freedom vote (perhaps the 13% alluded to in the Cato study, or ~20% per Rasmussen and Pew) on a regular basis, or to create large numbers of new “freedom voters.”

    If the LP had been trending upward from 0.3% of the presidential vote toward 25% or 30% over the last few election cycles, I might buy the argument that “splitting the freedom vote” is harmful. Ditto if the LP had elected, or looked set to elect, one or more congresscritters, or was at the point of holding, or attempting to hold on to, a majority in some state legislature.

    However, none of those things have happened, nor is there any reason to believe that they’re about to happen (although I am aware of one state legislative race that may actually be in play — Rex Bell’s in Indiana).

    Maybe the BTP, or the eventual Free Liberal Party, or some other attempt to do things differently than the LP has, will work better than the things the LP has done. It’s not obvious to me that nearly four decades of electoral failure entitles the LP to an uncontested claim on “the freedom vote.”

  63. Agree with Tom. The LP vote in partisan races is usually insignificant, especially when both major parties contend. Experiment is in order.

    Given that most LP candidates are paper candidates, it is possible for 10 other freedom parties to experiment with their respective messages. Once one or more of those parties gain real traction, I suspect the others will either decay or morph into the kind of non-party activist groups that the Left has so many of.

    For a very large fraction of the LP membership, the LP is an on-the-ground educational organization just like those lefty activist groups which aren’t parties. Libertarians need to learn that there are many more options besides think tanking and running candidates.

  64. Tom, you make a great argument for the LP finally trying a slightly different approach — and that explains a lot of what we did in Denver. However, I didn’t see where you made the case that creating more freedom parties is the best way to find a better approach. The point in your argument where that case would fit is at or near this clause: “splitting the freedom vote between new parties with different approaches may be the only way to FIND OUT HOW to appeal to a large existing freedom vote”.

    But of course, another way to find that out is for the LP to invest a decade or two in an approach other than the one it tried for its first 35 years.

    This all comes down to whether one sees political parties more as 1) a way to aggregate and magnify the electoral influence of voters with similar political values, than 2) an outlet for self-expression about the uniqueness and superiority of one’s political values. The value of (2) should not be under-estimated, but the LP has been over-estimating it for decades, and BTP is yet another symptom of that problem.

    Still, I’ll say it again: that self-styled freedom fighters feel they can afford to indulge in this kind of disunity shows just how far America is from tyranny.

  65. Brian,

    Given the current size/concentration of “the freedom vote,” I don’t see any advantage to continuing to run in series (and stuck on one node of that series, a node marked “LP”) rather than in parallel.

    It’s not like there’s a 48-52%, or even 32-34%, “freedom vote” in pocket that’s going to lose an election if fragmented which it was otherwise set to win. Either that “freedom vote” is already fragmented (and the LP hasn’t been able to unite it in nine presidential election cycles) or it’s just not there (and the LP hasn’t been able to create it in nine presidential election cycles).

    You think that tinkering with the engine on a car that’s never won a major race is the way to win a major race. And you may be right.

    I think that sponsoring new cars and new drivers is likely to produce results that show us some things about how to win races. And I may be right as well.

    “that self-styled freedom fighters feel they can afford to indulge in this kind of disunity shows just how far America is from tyranny.”

    How “far from tyranny” was apartheid-era South Africa, that it could “afford” the African National Congress, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the Pan Africanist Congress, the Azanian People’s Organization, et al?

    Ah, yes, Russia was “so far from tyranny” in 1917 that it could “afford” to have the RSDP, the SRP, the Trudoviki, the Progressives, the Constitutional Democrats, the Centreists, the Octobrists, the Nationalists, the Kadets, etc. not just out and about, but comprising the Fourth Duma. And Germany, of course, was “so far from tyranny” in 1932 that it could “afford” the Nazi Party, the German National People’s Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Communist Party, the Centre Party, et al in the Reichstag.

    I don’t see how a profusion or non-profusion of anti-establishment parties is necessarily an indicator either way of “how far from tyranny” we might be.

  66. Knappster,

    Hmm, is BTP actually running “in parallel,” or is it in part a shadow LP?

  67. Bob,

    I guess that depends on what you mean by “shadow LP.”

    The BTP has endorsed some LP candidates in states/races where it doesn’t have ballot access in its own right. Some of its members are also LP members, or were until very recently.

    Only time will tell whether the BTP continues to grow in an independent-of-the-LP direction, moves back toward being more of an internal endorsement caucus, or establishes some other relationship to the LP. Or, for that matter, disintegrates and is heard from no more. Any of those things, and others, are possible and I don’t have a crystal ball.

  68. BTP seems to be operating now like the NY Conservative Party running with the GOP, but sometimes against. BTP seems to generally be endorsing Ls, sometimes challenging.

    Interestingly, while most BTPers I’m aware of are “radical,” the BTP platform is moderate and generally non-specific.

    I wish BTP all good things, but it doesn’t seem to be parallel to me, more like a caucus.

  69. Bob,

    You write:

    “BTP seems to be operating now like the NY Conservative Party running with the GOP, but sometimes against. BTP seems to generally be endorsing Ls, sometimes challenging.”

    Well, no.

    The New York Conservative Party has a ballot line in New York. Sometimes it runs its candidates a la carte, sometimes it fusions with the GOP.

    Most states don’t allow for fusion, so I doubt you’ll see much of it from the BTP. Where we can get ballot access, we’ll run our own candidates. Where we can’t get ballot access, we may endorse independents or candidates of other parties who believably support our platform.

    The only slate we’re running as a party this year is presidential, and that slate is not cross-nominated with any party that I know of (unless we’re on in Utah with the Personal Choice Party — I know that was discussed).

  70. PCP failed in Utah.

    One less snowstorm, and I would have gotten enough signatures for them.

    Of the three I was doing there at the last minute, LP was the only one that made it, only because they already had a lot of signatures before I got there.

  71. One less snowstorm



  72. I predicted months ago that the LRC stooges would try and back-pedal away from Barr and here it starts, with precious claims they really supported Root. A distinction without a difference.

    They’ll back-pedal away from the 2008 platform in due course, since it isn’t theirs: it was offered to the LNC as part of the improvement program then underway sometime in 2000. They changed a few lines, that’s it. The real aim was to take out the retired reformatted project platform, slander it, and reject it in an illegal vote in 2004 and then on to attack the pledge and SOP.

    Meanwhile the mis-information campaign continues. 20 flavors of Libertarianism, mis-definitions of anarchism, re-writing LP history, and so on. Wonder how soon until they disband the LRC and start another ‘mainstream’ movement?

  73. “Ken” (whoever he is) is simply fact-impaired.

    My preference for Root and Phillies was public before the convention. On May 8 I wrote (at “I withhold judgment on Barr until he gets a lot more specific on what makes him a “100/100″ libertarian and how sharply he plans to distance himself from his legislative record. My two favorite candidates so far are, in alphabetical order, Phillies and Root.”

    Other prominent reform-minded LP leaders backed Root even more strongly than I. For starters, I know that my fellow Californians Aaron Starr, Scott Lieberman, and Bruce Cohen advised the Root campaign. I don’t think any of them were unhappy with Barr, but their preference was clear. Reform-minded radical (and recent Reform Caucus board member) Chuck Moulton voted for Root over Barr on the first five ballots, as he explains at (He and I both voted for Kubby over Root for V.P., in hopes of balancing the ticket.)

    Immediately after Denver, I publicly favored putting the Barr campaign on notice (especially regarding drugs and DOMA):

    The history of the 2008 platform is told at It was assembled from past platforms on a Friday evening 14 months before Denver, and posted the next morning: It’s simply hallucinatory to claim that anything like the 2008 platform was “offered to the LNC as part of the improvement program then underway sometime in 2000”.

    Of course, with my magical Reformer powers to “rewrite LP history”, I may have somehow fabricated all the above evidence after the fact.

    All your base are belong to us.

  74. I may be tarnishing my radical credentials here, but I have been one of the organizers of the radical caucus and de facto No. 2 behind Knapp on the Kubby campaign team, and Brian Holtz is absolutely correct in comment 73.

  75. Actually, I don’t think Chuck Moulton was on the LRC Board, but he was on our list and provided a lot of input to our big-tent approach. I could be wrong about that…just my recollection.

  76. I have to side with Paulie on this one, Bob. 🙂 Chuck in fact is still listed as a member of our PAC Board, which you Chair:

    I bet you were confused because of our policy of always wearing those hooded robes in our dimly-lit meetings around that massive table in our secret headquarters. Chuck, LNC Vice Chair at the time, was the one toward the end of the table to whom we always handed the parchment instructing the LNC about every move it should make.

  77. … Californians Aaron Starr, Scott Lieberman, and Bruce Cohen advised the Root campaign.

    This certainly explains a lot.

  78. There you go, Brian, addressing facts with fantasy. How Reformist of you!

  79. oops, I mean fantasy with fact!

  80. Yes, Susan, it helps explain why Root’s views on foreign policy improved noticeably over the course of the campaign. Root said publicly at the California convention that he’d learned a lot about Libertarian foreign policy from the reading list that Starr recommended to him.

    Full disclosure: I had private and limited discussions with the Root, Phillies, Kubby, and Gravel compaigns, and also sent unsolicited private advice to the Barr and Ruwart campaigns. I had pretty close to a perfect track record of my advice going politely unheeded.

  81. I’m a moderate Libertarian who is also a member of the BTP. As I’ve stated elsewhere on LFV, I don’t see any contradiction between membership in both parties.

    I primarily support LP candidates when I can, and I would fully and happily support some of the folks being discussed as 2012 Libertarian national candidates — Kubby, Munger, Phillies, and Ruwart are the ones who leap to mind.

  82. The Boston Tea Party says on its web site that the Boston Tea Party supports LP candidates. Many of them.

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