Steve G.

Open Letter to LNC: Mission Statement

In Libertarian on December 11, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Fellow activists,

A draft of the meeting notes from the National Committee is currently circulating, and there is a  matter which I hope you will address as speedily as possible.  The Secretary’s notes include this:

The current mission statement* of the Libertarian [Party] is:

“The mission of the LP is to move public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office.”

*The Secretary does not have any document certifying what the mission statement officially is nor when it was adopted. Current thinking it was adopted in convention in 1998 and consists of the text above.

This is a matter to which I have given some attention in the past. I have also been unable to find this documentation (I am happy to share with any member who wishes my notes on the subject), and have in the past objected to the idea that we should use as official policy any such statement whose only support comes from hearsay. This wording, or similar, has at various times appeared on the LP’s website, appears regularly in LP News, and has been regularly quoted by staff. I am also concerned that this Mission Statement is in conflict, by virtue of containing only a subcategory of the Purposes outlined, with the Purposes clause of the member-voted Bylaws chosen by the delegates at the 2008 convention in Denver.

For these reasons, I request that National Committee members refrain, and direct LP staff to refrain, from citing the above statement as the LP’s “Mission Statement” until and unless it can be established that indeed the Party has an extant Mission Statement distinct and separate from the Purposes outlined in our Bylaws, and that the text above is that statement, and that such a statement was established under appropriate circumstances for the adoption of a statement regarding the Party’s Mission.

Thanking you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter,

– Susan Hogarth, LPNC

  1. An LNC representative was kind enough to share the above letter with the body via their email list, and I received in reply a citation of this issue of the Michigan Libertarian:

    http://www.mi.lp.org/Past%20Newsletters/Michigan%20Libertarian%20Vol%2021.6%201992%20Dec-1993%20Jan.pdf

    My reply was:

    I have seen this article that Scott mentions, of course, but I cannot consider that a statement adopted by a previous LNC which was placed in its policy manual and which was -not- carried over to subsequent policy manuals is to be considered an extant policy of the LNC. The same article that Scott references mentions that the LNC of that day adopted not only the Mission Statement in question, but also “recommendations that the LP at the next national convention eliminate the “pledge” as a criterion for LP membership and change the platform adoption criteria to shorten the platform, [and] draft it from scratch at each convention,” and I would ask you to consider that if you judge the Mission Statement to still be in effect through the decision of the 1992 LNC, do you likewise consider these other recommendations to be in effect as well? If the answer is ‘no’ (as I believe it clearly should be), why is this other statement to be enshrined in history without an expiration date?

    I am suprised and somewhat dismayed that the body would even consider such picking and choosing of what past LNC actions were still extant to be legitimate, and would would allow something as important as a Party’s Mission Statement to be promulagated based on no canonical documentation (such as the member-approved Bylaws or even the LNC’s Policy Manual), but on only a secondhand report from an old state party newsletter.

    This is, of course, aside from my other consideration that the statement in question can be seen as being in conflict with the “Purposes” statement of the 2008 member-approved Bylaws, which contain within them nearly identical wording regarding elections (“moving public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office”) as merely one clause in a more comprehensive set of Purposes. By elevating one of the member-selected ‘purposes’ of the Party to the status of the Party’s Mission, the LNC risks the charge that it is contravening the will of the body in selecting several purposes of (presumably) equal importance. This is addressed in the article Scott references as well, with the words “This statement replaced a much longer one in the NATCOM’s operating manual which focused on a number of goals, only one of which was the election of candidates.” Our (2008) membership has loudly and clearly chosen to “focus on a number of goals”, and if you, as a body, decide to choose to focus on only one of those goals, I believe you will be contravening the clear will of the convention. As a Party member, I cannot help but feel that the member-chosen Bylaws must supercede the LNC-chosen policy manual where the two conflict, and I can only hope that a majority of this body feels so as well.

    It is difficult for me, and no doubt burdensome to Rachel, to make a complete case through an intermediary. I will be happy to discus this with individual LNC representatives at any time, and will do my best to attend the discussion in Charleston. However, as this matter is in what I consider to be legitimate dispute, and the only record produced (to my knowledge) to support this Mission Statement is a secondhand account, I do urge you to cease reporting this as ‘the’ LP Mission Statement until the matter is settled, and to direct staff to do so as well.

    Thanking you again for your time and patience,

    – Susan

  2. Susan,

    The wording of the currently published LP mission statement was adopted in 1992 by the LNC and reaffirmed by the strategic planning project in 2001. The strategic planning project was conducted over a seven month period by a strategic planning team consisting of then current and former LNC members and elected libertarians. State activists were also invited to participate. (I attended and participated in most of the meetings). The plan including the mission statement was then formally adopted by the entire LNC in 2001 and referenced and utilized by subsequent LNCs.

    See: http://www.dehnbase.org/lpus/library/spt/

    Lois Kaneshiki and I argued strongly that a clear, unambiguous and realistic mission statement was necessary before any serious strategic planning could be undertaken.
    I was not satisfied with the adoption of the 1992 mission statement. Very little discussion was involved before its adoption, and I felt then, as I do now, that it was ambiguous as to the definition of “libertarian” and the possible metrics to be used to determine “libertarian direction”. But it was at least a documented focal point.

    I was further disappointed when the process rapidly degenerated into a “let’s do everyone’s favorite project” free for all.

    You said; “” Our (2008) membership has loudly and clearly chosen to “focus on a number of goals”.

    That is what they did and that is why the resulting strategic plan was and is useless.

    Until the LP is ready to face reality and make hard choices it can not succeed. (according to my definition of success).

    “Keeping the membership happy” is a clear mission statement and relatively easy to achieve and maintain. The constituency of the membership is self-adjusting. Unhappy members leave and happy ones stay and contribute time and money.

    If the mission of the libertarian movement is to reduce the size and scope of government to the minimum defined in the Declaration of Independence, (securing the individual rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) AND;

    If he mission of the LP is to assist in the mission of the libertarian movement by engaging in electoral politics, THEN; some serious decisions must take place and some, or even most of the current members may become unhappy.

    The LP can not be all things to all self-identified “libertarians”. It can not be CATO and Reason and the Heartland institute and FEE and COFOE and FFF and AntiWar et cetera.

  3. Susan to me this statement reads more like what some refer to as a “vision statement” in that it speaks to the long term as opposed to the here and now, but we could debate this.😉

    MHW

  4. The original LNC text is here: http://marketliberal.org/LP/Docs/1992%20Mission%20+%20Goals.txt.

    The radical LNC member who resigned in response to the 1992 resolutions cited only the statements about the Pledge and the Platform, and those were precisely the two statements that were rescinded by the LNC in 1993. In the extensive LP News coverage of this episode (of which I have original copies), and in the LNC email traffic on it that Carol Moore has archived at http://www.carolmoore.net/4secretary/documentation1.html#CLM, not a single critic of the resolutions claimed that the LNC had usurped the Bylaws.

    The 1992 mission statement is suboptimal. I recommend: “The mission of the Libertarian Party is to unite voters who want more personal liberty and more economic liberty behind the electoral choices that will most effectively move public policy in a libertarian direction.”

  5. This all seems solved if the language were more like:

    “A mission of the LP is…”

  6. “The mission of the LP is to move public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office.”

    ********************************************

    If you believe in Public Choice Theory, then you might come to the conclusion that the reason Radicals and Reformers each want their version of the Mission Statement to reign is that each side wants to control the actions of the other side.

    IOW – Radicals don’t want to let Reformers who run for office tp “get away” with campaigning on a “Libertarian-Light” Platform, and Reformers don’t want to see Radicals “forcing” the LP concentrate on lobbying and street theater, as opposed to running for winnable, local public offices.

    One answer, which I am going to try to sell to a wider audience, is to let Radicals run for non-winnable races, and campaign on whatever positions they want to. And, Reformers will run for winnable races, and campaign on whatever positions they want to, with the constraint that they at least have to be campaigning to make a given legislative body or executive position more libertarian than it currently is. My very unofficial guide is that if a Libertarian candidate’s campaign positions are at least 150 out of 200 on the WSPQ, then they are sufficiently libertarian to qualify as “libertarian”.

    The key to this compromise is that Radicals need to shutdown the more obnoxious members on their side who publish blog comments that call Reformers 4 letter words, or claim Reformers are unlibertarian. And Rerformers need to shut down members on THEIR side who make personal attacks against Radicals (eg: call them Povertarians, make nasty comments about their personal appearance, etc).

    I know that the above is not going to be easy for either side to comply with, but for the time being, I don’t see any other solution.

    One more thing – the Boston Tea Party can not be used as a weapon against the LP. Either the BTP needs to be dissolved, or it needs to become totally separate from the LP and not expect any kind of cooperation from the LP.

    That being said, I can envision some kind of
    election-cooperation between the LP and the BTP, but that needs to be done in a spirt of cooperation, not competition. Eg: the BTP concentrates on non-winnable races, and the LP concentrates on winnable races.

  7. Scott,

    > “Radicals need to shutdown the more obnoxious members on their side”
    > “Rerformers need to shut down members on THEIR side”

    Huh???? Where exactly did free speech go? Or am I mis-interpreting your words, and the above isn’t proposing censorship nor that fellow humans aren’t capable of filtering verbiage on their own?

    Also, why should the BTP be dissolved again? The US is still a “freeish” country, if the BTP doesn’t like the policies and actions of the LP, then, it’s pretty much their right to proclaim loudly where the LP has gone astray from libertarian principals. It would then be up to the LP to rectify the transgressions, in which case I’m pretty sure the BTP would happily dissolve itself…

    Now, as far as the LP mission not really being the mission, then, gee, how about, someone (Susan?) bring it up for a vote at the next convention so that the members can decide? (Which would also nicely keep it from being back room brokered in National Committee.)

    Merry Holidays All,

    M.J. Taylor
    Publisher
    from Reason to Freedom
    http://www.reasontofreedom.com/

  8. One answer, which I am going to try to sell to a wider audience, is to let Radicals run for non-winnable races, and campaign on whatever positions they want to.

    Scott, can you clarify a bit what you mean by the word ‘let’ here? Also, what you mean by ‘non-winnable’, for that matter.

    How do you envision this candidate control happening?

    The key to this compromise is that Radicals need to shutdown the more obnoxious members on their side who publish blog comments that call Reformers 4 letter words, or claim Reformers are unlibertarian.

    Can you explain what you mean by ‘shut down’? Many of the blogs you might be referring to have deliberate policies of not ‘shutting down’ folks, and as many of the folks running them are not LP partisans, I’m not sure they’d have any interest in (or benefit from) exercising such controls.

    Either the BTP needs to be dissolved, or it needs to become totally separate from the LP and not expect any kind of cooperation from the LP.

    It IS ‘totally separate from the LP. They have members in common, but so do the LP and the VFW (probably). There’s really not anything you can do about it, and making statements like this will only make the situation worse, I suspect.

    That being said, I can envision some kind of
    election-cooperation between the LP and the BTP, but that needs to be done in a spirt of cooperation, not competition. Eg: the BTP concentrates on non-winnable races, and the LP concentrates on winnable races.

    Political parties don’t ‘cooperate’ – they compete. Also, the BTP’s platform is (arguably) much less radical than the LP’s, so your ‘for example’ assigning them to running ‘non-winnable races’ contradicts your earlier idea of having radicals concentrate on ‘non-winnable races’.

  9. If you believe in Public Choice Theory, then you might come to the conclusion that the reason Radicals and Reformers each want their version of the Mission Statement to reign is that each side wants to control the actions of the other side.

    I’ a radical, and I don’t want ‘my version’ of the Mission Statement – I want the membership’s expressed choices in the Bylaws (Purpose Statement) and Platform (intro) to be respected. I guess you could say that ‘my version’ of the Mission is what the membership says in the Platform and the Bylaws.

    IOW – Radicals don’t want to let Reformers who run for office tp “get away” with campaigning on a “Libertarian-Light” Platform,

    The Party’s mission statement doesn’t control candidates, or how they choose to present themselves.

    and Reformers don’t want to see Radicals “forcing” the LP concentrate on lobbying and street theater, as opposed to running for winnable, local public offices.

    No proposed mission statement precludes (or even discourages in the slightest) candidates running for office – winnable or otherwise. The Bylaws ‘purposes statement’ does not even elevate any other activity over obtaining office.

  10. Scott,

    There’s already “election cooperation” between the BTP and the LP. For example, the BTP endorsed a number of LP candidates for public office in the 2008 election cycle, and those LP candidates accepted (actually, requested) the endorsements. We also had assistance from LP activists in getting on state ballots, and some BTP activists worked hard for the LP ballot line in other states.

    Personally, I still hope that re-merger of the BTP back into the LP as an internal caucus is possible. I moved for that at our first convention, and intend to do so again in the future if there’s any chance of the matter receiving real consideration from the BTP’s membership. That chance will be created or not created largely by the LP’s actions.

    If the BTP continues on its own, I expect it to fairly quickly — in the next 2-3 election cycles — eclipse the LP in the “winnable elections” area.

    One thing you should consider is the possibility that the struggles in the LP don’t break down very simply to “radical” versus “reformer” or “purist” versus “pragmatist.”

  11. Susan: I want the membership’s expressed choices in the Bylaws (Purpose Statement) and Platform (intro) to be respected.

    Bob: Yes, the 7/8ths requirement pretty much ensures that, yes? Whether that’s “respect” or an “insurmountable obstacle put there in the 70s” is an interesting question. Murray and Asst Secretary Bill done good, in a sense.

  12. I tried to reply to Susan’s letter yesterday but it seems to be lost or in “awaiting moderator” limbo.
    My revised reply follows:

    Susan wrote; “The Secretary does not have any document certifying what the mission statement officially is nor when it was adopted.”

    This has been a concern of mine since I was national secretary. The LNC as an institution continually “forgets” what it has done, seems to resist maintaining a complete and easily accessible indexed audio, video and document archives, and seems more interested in secrecy than full communication, debate and transparency. Literally millions of dollars and myriad people hours have been spent on LNC activity over the last 36 years.
    To what real end?

    The wording of the currently published LP mission statement was adopted in 1992 by the LNC See: http://sites.google.com/site/lncminutesjdf/Home/lnc1992

    Why do I have this information that you can’t get from the secretary?

    The mission statement was reaffirmed by the strategic planning project in 2001.
    The strategic planning project team consisting of then current and former LNC members and elected libertarians met over a seven month period. State activists were also invited to participate. (I attended and participated in most of the meetings). The plan including the mission statement was then formally adopted by the entire LNC in 2001.
    See:
    http://sites.google.com/site/lncminutesjdf/Home/sptreport

    The mission statement has been referenced and acted upon by subsequent LNCs. Up through February of this year, just prior to your joining the LNC.
    See:
    http://www.lp.org/lnc-meeting-archives
    and most recently,
    http://www.lp.org/archives/lnc20080217.pdf

    Background:
    At the time, (2001) Lois Kaneshiki and I argued strongly that a clear, unambiguous and realistic mission statement was necessary before any serious strategic planning could be undertaken. I was not satisfied with the adoption of the 1992 mission statement. Very little discussion was involved before its adoption, and I felt then, as I do now, that it was ambiguous as to the definition of “libertarian” and the possible metrics to be used to determine “libertarian direction”. But it was at least a documented focal point.

    I was further disappointed when the process rapidly degenerated into a “let’s do everyone’s favorite project” free for all.

    You said; “Our (2008) membership has loudly and clearly chosen to “focus on a number of goals”.

    That is what they did and that is why the resulting strategic plan was and is useless.
    Until the LP is ready to face reality and make hard choices it can not succeed.
    (According to my definition of success).

    If the mission is “Keeping the membership happy” it is relatively easy to achieve and maintain. The constituency of the membership is self-adjusting. Unhappy members leave and happy ones stay and contribute time and money.

    However, as I see it, it is the mission of the LIBERTARIAN MOVEMENT (LM) to reduce the size and scope of government to the minimum defined in the Declaration of Independence, (securing the individual rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) AND;

    It is the mission of the Libertarian Party (LP) as one facet of the LM to assist in the mission of the LM by electing libertarians to office to EFFECT changes rather than AFFECT the decision makers.

    Some may not agree, but it is incumbent upon them to come up with an alternative that is a clear, unambiguous, realistic mission that is not duplicative of other facets of the libertarian movement. The LP can not be all things to all self-identified “libertarians”.
    It can not be CATO and Reason and the Heartland institute and FEE and COFOE and FFF and AntiWar and the Advocates et cetera.

    Some serious decisions must take place and some, or even most of the current members may become unhappy.
    The alternative is perpetual irrelevance.

  13. Bob,

    The 7/8ths requirement does not apply to the bylaws “purpose” provisions, nor does the Statement of Principles either require or preclude a “mission statement” focused solely on winning elections.

    As far as the Statement of Principles is concerned, if you find it that problematic, there’s always the option of finding or starting a party without one, or with a different or more easily amended one. It’s not like the 7/8ths requirement was established yesterday. It’s been since before most of the people now in the LP joined the LP. Bitching when the basement floods in the new house is one thing. Doing so when you bought the house knowing it was situated on low ground in the Everglades is another thing entirely.

  14. They have members in common, but so do the LP and the VFW

    I first read this as “the LP and the UAW”. Hee.

  15. Tom, yes, I know those facts, thanks for clarifying.

    When I joined the LP, I agreed with the SoP. I agreed with everything Rothbard said. I even agreed that fetuses are parasites, I’m embarrassed to say. My only defense is that I was young and impressionable!

    Having read Rothbard’s account of how he and Evers joined the LP to fix it, and how he put all these procedural traps in to either sabotage or keep his viewpoint codified in perpetuity, I now share that information for fair-minded lessarchists to consider a different, more functional approach to L politics.

    Yes, I could leave, but at the moment I see a lot of potential with the LP, for I believe a large percentage of the population would like to roll back the State on all fronts. I prefer to not get bogged down in theoretical and procedural minutiae, but sometimes that too is necessary.

    Sorry if I sound to you like I’m “bitching.” I’d like to think that I’m offering my perspective. Isn’t that the point of ALL political discourse: To offer another way? If I recall, you want to reduce — possibly eliminate — taxes, yes? Would you characterize your position as “bitching”?

  16. Knappster: As far as the Statement of Principles is concerned, if you find it that problematic, there’s always the option of finding or starting a party without one, or with a different or more easily amended one.

    Me: For those who may not have noticed, this seems to be a (kindly put) example of an L suggesting another L leave the LP. My way or the highway? Is that really a path toward liberty?

  17. Re-submitting comment without links, since comment moderation on LFV is incredibly slow:

    The original LNC text is here: marketliberal.org/LP/Docs/1992%20Mission%20+%20Goals.txt.

    The radical LNC member who resigned in response to the 1992 resolutions cited only the statements about the Pledge and the Platform, and those were precisely the two statements that were rescinded by the LNC in 1993. In the extensive LP News coverage of this episode (of which I have original copies), and in the LNC email traffic on it that Carol Moore has archived at carolmoore.net/4secretary/documentation1.html#CLM, not a single critic of the resolutions claimed that the LNC had usurped the Bylaws.

    The 1992 mission statement is suboptimal. I recommend: “The mission of the Libertarian Party is to unite voters who want more personal liberty and more economic liberty behind the electoral choices that will most effectively move public policy in a libertarian direction.”

  18. Robert,

    If I have this right, you consider the SoP as written and widely interpreted to be a barrier to your agenda, and you’re aware that it’s not a barrier easily taken down.

    My suggestion was not offered by way of any desire for an ideological housecleaning or factional purge, but rather as a suggestion prompted by your own observations.

    I don’t have any particular interest in seeing you leave the LP, and as a matter of fact I’d rather you didn’t. I was not trying to nicely say “don’t let the door hit you in the ass” or anything of that nature.

  19. Robert Capozzi said,”When I joined the LP, I agreed with the SoP.”

    Now you don’t?

  20. Tom, you didn’t answer my question: Is your advocacy of lower taxes “bitching”? Is my advocacy of deleting aspects of the SoP “bitching”? If your answers are No and Yes, help us understand the difference, please.

    As the founder of BTP, we could all follow your lead, Tom. I could found the Theoretical Asymptotic Anarchist/Applied Lessarchist Party. Holtz could found the Geolibertarian Party. Hogarth could found the Rothbardian Love Children Party. Davidson could found the Angry Atomistic Nihilist Party. Hancock could found the Merry Prankster Party. Smith could found the Non-ZAPsolutists, Go Play in Traffic Party. Etc. Such splintering seems contra-indicated to me.

    Maybe we should hire Rodney King for this particular conflict resolution😉

  21. Dan, yes, I joined the LP (in 1979), not the Borg. I suspect most Ls disagree with something in the SoP and Platform, and I suspect you are among them, too. Or are you suggesting that we must agree with every word if we are to call ourselves “L”?

    I find the 7/8ths requirement for changing the SoP profoundly arrogant. Don’t you?

    To be clear, I agree with most of the SoP and platform. Some of the language is sophmoric, IMO. And some of the language is Rothbardian code. If you haven’t gotten it about my history already, Dan, I’m a Randian/Rothbardian in recovery. While those two thinkers are seminal in my and many L’s thinking, some of their views no longer resonate with me. Some of their views I find dysfunctional or loopy.

    Ya know, I’d always thought that Ls were open-minded, free thinkers, not prone to a quasi-religious doctrinaire sectarianism. Am I incorrect?

  22. Tom: …you consider the SoP as written and widely interpreted to be a barrier to your agenda…

    Me: I shouldn’t leave this unanswered…my “agenda” is to roll back the State, and for the LP to be a force in making that happen.

    Sophmoric and ridiculous language like “cult of the omnipotent state” is IMO an obstacle to my “agenda.” The wide interpretation of that — at least among the English-literate population — is: “blind worship of an all-powerful government.” Since no one that I’m aware of holds that view, such language only serves to make the LP look non-serious.

    So, yes, I have an agenda. Don’t we all? Or is the LP the party for the agenda-less?!😉

  23. In the extensive LP News coverage of this episode … and in the LNC email traffic on it that Carol Moore has archived … not a single critic of the resolutions claimed that the LNC had usurped the Bylaws.

    How interesting. Are you offering this as a response to my argument that the current supposed MS does in fact contain only a subset of the Bylaws Purposes statement, and therefore ‘usurps’ (for lack of a better word at the moment; still on first cup of coffee) the Bylaws?

    If so, I find it interesting that you would answer a logical argument with “But no one ever brought that up before!,” rather than responding with some logical counterargument.

    But perhaps I’m being unfair and you’re only wanting to cite some interesting historical factoids. In which case: how interesting.

  24. Again, I’m not a fan of what the LNC seems to accept as its current mission statement. I just don’t think that the best way forward from here is to insist that an LNC-adopted mission statement has to be a cut and paste of the Bylaws Purposes statement. For example, I think the Judicial Committee would laugh such a “usurping” complaint about the current mission statement right out of its virtual court. This mission statement has been appearing in LP News for quite a while, and if it were a big problem for the NatCon delegates, then they could have addressed it through the LNC elections. As far as I know, you were the only LNC candidate who made an issue of this, and that message didn’t seem to resonate with the delegates.

    I still prefer the following mission statement, in part because of how it reminds us to seek Left/Right balance in our outreach:

    “The mission of the Libertarian Party is to unite voters who want more personal liberty and more economic liberty behind the electoral choices that will most effectively move public policy in a libertarian direction.”

    The Chair’s recent LP birthday message demonstrates the risk of diluting our neither-Left-nor-Right branding by trying to appeal to voters who want more of just one kind of liberty. In my own outreach efforts (at LibertarianMajority.net and in my campaign materials) I’m obsessive about Left/Right balance, all the way down to the color scheme. 20% or more of Americans reject the Left/Right false dichotomy. The LP’s mission should be to turn on the landing lights and guide them home.

  25. I originally replied to Susan Hogarth on Last Free Voice a few days ago but it has been in “awaiting moderator” limbo since then. The problem seemed to be the links, so I put them all together into one.
    My revised reply follows:

    Susan Hogarth wrote; “*The Secretary does not have any document certifying what the mission statement officially is nor when it was adopted.”

    This has been a concern of mine since I was national secretary. The LNC as an institution continually “forgets” what it has done, seems to resist maintaining a complete and easily accessible indexed audio, video and document archives, and seems more interested in secrecy than full communication, debate and transparency. Literally millions of dollars and myriad people hours have been spent on LNC activity over the last 36 years.
    To what real end?

    The wording of the currently published LP mission statement was adopted in 1992 by the LNC See: History of the Mission Statement see:

    http://sites.google.com/site/lncminutesjdf/

    Why do I have this information that you can’t get from the secretary?

    The mission statement was reaffirmed by the strategic planning project in 2001
    see above link

    The strategic planning project team consisting of then current and former LNC members and elected libertarians met over a seven month period. State activists were also invited to participate. (I attended and participated in most of the meetings). The plan including the mission statement was then formally adopted by the entire LNC in 2001.
    See: above link
    The mission statement has been referenced and acted upon by subsequent LNCs. Up through February of this year, see above link

    Background:
    At the time, (2001) Lois Kaneshiki and I argued strongly that a clear, unambiguous and realistic mission statement was necessary before any serious strategic planning
    could be undertaken. I was not satisfied with the adoption of the 1992 mission statement. Very little discussion was involved before its adoption, and I felt then, as I do
    now, that it was ambiguous as to the definition of “libertarian” and the
    possible metrics to be used to determine “libertarian direction”. But it
    was at least a documented focal point.

    I was further disappointed when the process rapidly degenerated into a “let’s do everyone’s favorite project” free for all.

    Susan said in her original post; “Our (2008) membership has loudly and clearly chosen to “focus on a number of goals”.

    That is what they did and that is why the resulting strategic plan was and is useless.
    Until the LP is ready to face reality and make hard choices it can not succeed.
    (According to my definition of success).

    If the mission is “Keeping the membership happy” it is relatively easy to achieve and maintain. The constituency of the membership is self-adjusting. Unhappy members leave and happy ones stay and contribute
    time and money.

    However, as I see it, it is the mission of the LIBERTARIAN
    MOVEMENT (LM) to reduce the size and scope of government to the minimum defined in the Declaration of Independence, (securing the individual rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)
    AND;

    It is the mission of the Libertarian Party (LP) as one facet of the LM to assist in the mission of the LM by electing libertarians to office to EFFECT changes rather than AFFECT the decision makers. Some may not agree, but it is incumbent upon them to come up with an alternative that is clear, unambiguous, realistic mission
    that is not duplicative of other facets of the libertarian movement. The LP can not be all things to all
    self-identified “libertarians”.

    It can not be CATO and Reason and the Heartland institute
    and FEE and COFOE and FFF and AntiWar and the Advocates et cetera.

    Some serious decisions must take place and some, or even
    most of the current members may become unhappy. The alternative is perpetual irrelevance.

  26. Robert-

    No “blind worship of an all-powerful government”? Maybe you haven’t been following this whole “Obama” thing… I think there might be some merit in the blind worship business, and I am expecting some very unsettling actions in the near future; they won’t involve a government that recognizes its inherent limitations.

    Dan.

  27. Dan, the key phrase is “all-powerful government.” Are there people who kinda, sorta blindly think government can and should solve a lot of problems? Yes.

    Are there people who believe cultishly that government should control all aspects of life? None that I know.

    Even Obama has said, at least, that there’s lots of things government does poorly. I recall his interview where he critiqued 70s-style liberalism as far too top-down, which is why he said Reagan was a transformative figure. And he at least didn’t go nearly as far as H. Clinton on socializing medicine.

    “Cult of the omnipotent state” is wildly overstated. I buy it directionally as a tendency, but it’s literally false and, frankly, crazy sounding.

  28. Mr. Famularo would leave education to the broader libertarian movement and political action to the LP. Unfortunately, only the LP is organized – however haphazardly – on the grassroots level. No other libertarian movement organization has any significant grass roots organizations. So maybe, given that LP politics generally flops, it should take over grassroots education and activism until such time as political action can actually achieve some worthwhile victories?

  29. Roscoe, I’m not sure that there are NO libertarian organizations at the grassroots level, but even if that’s true, it’s not obvious that the LP couldn’t be a League of Women’s Voters type of outfit.

    I’d suggest that the LP “flops” generally for a lot of reasons. I’d also suggest that that’s tragic, since large percentages of voters would like to see government smaller pretty much across the board. Getting out in front and giving them a voice and a choice seems indicated. Arguing about abstract theory? Not so much. Arguing about the alleged excesses of using limo services? Absurd!

    The sooner that Ls of all stripes recognize that politics is about finding candidates that we MOSTLY agree with and LIVING WITH the issues we don’t, the sooner we can get to the real work of rolling back the State.

  30. Robert-

    Are you joking? “Directionally as a tendency”? Is that meaningful phrase to anyone but you? And are you really saying Obama’s socialism is not so bad because it doesn’t go as far as Hillary’s socialism? If anything is has a tendency to be directionally crazy sounding, it is a “libertarian” sounding apologetic for the most perverted and complex forms of fascism we call the present state of our country. Rolling back is your “buzz word,” apparently, but the state is obviously your friend, not your foe.

    And it is not “quasi-religious doctrinaire sectarianism” or “dysfunctional or loopy” to state that to the extent we have platform with a clear preamble and statement of principles, an additional “mission statement” that is not immediately and directly drawn from those words is both misguided and in error. Any excuse for a putative “mission statement” that falls short of the principles by which we stand is what is “sophmoric [sic] and ridiculous.”

    Daniel Grow.

  31. Dan,

    If you’re asking me whether I’m an absolutist, the answer is no. Yes, if Calvin Coolidge is a 1 on the socialist scale, and Obama is an 8 and Clinton is a 9, yes, I’d prefer Coolidge. You wouldn’t?

    The state is neither friend nor foe. I’d prefer a lot less of it, though. States exist, and generally do damage to civil society. The only place where states seem to not exist is Somalia, and I don’t find that place especially virtuous, although Ethiopian troops that occupy it may think otherwise.

    If it’s YOUR opinion that it’s a black and white world, with white hats and black, I wish you much happiness and insight from that perspective.

    I don’t believe I’ve commented on the mission statement. However, since I know that the SoP was a railroad job in the 70s that Rothbard and Evers snookered a few hundred people in the early days of the LP, I’m willing to work with the document as written. Since then, the definition of Libertarian has changed and broadened. Some have actually gone back and read Hayek and Lao Tsu! Murray was not Moses. He was a character, to be sure, amusing speaker, well read, but a bit of a victim.

    The authors of the SoP became Republicans. It’s as if James Madison moved to England and became a Duke or something!😉

    Thanks for catching my sophomoric typo!

    …still waiting for your answer on whether Acme nuclear deterrence works…don’t be afraid…just answer, we’re among friends…

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