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  • An Open Letter to the Libertarian Party

    Posted by Dan from Madison on June 17th, 2008 (All posts by )

    To whom it may concern,

    As I have aged I have paid more attention to what is going on in the world around me. I treasure the Constitution and the rights it gives us. Like many, I am disgusted with how my money is wasted on the federal, state and local level. Swine at the trough.

    In my interest to take it back, I have shunned many Republican candidates in favor of Libertarians. I don’t necessarily agree with everything on the Libertarian party platform, but had no problem throwing a disgust vote to the Libertarians if the candidate was decent. I even gave Ed Thompson some of my hard earned money since I believed in him. I was quite pleased that he got 11% of the vote in his run for the governorship of Wisconsin in 2002.

    I have noticed in many races that Libertarian candidates have been, well, lame. Some have had zero qualifications, or advocate for some insane type of head in the sand foreign policy. At times I have had to go back to voting Republican simply because…I had to. And let’s face it, the Dems need to lose at all costs. This fall, when the Dems sweep the House, Senate and Presidency we are all in for tough times. I am fully prepared for an assault on my pocketbook and my personal liberties. Good luck grabbing my guns to the Dems, that’s all I am going to say about that.

    A few days ago I took a look at our local candidates for Congress and who is on the Libertarian ticket? Probably one of the men I hate the most on the entire planet, Kevin Barrett. He preached his message of hate at the UW and spouts his bullsh1t 911 conspiracy theories all over the place. This man is vile and disgusting, and he is your candidate for my district for Congress. OBVIOUSLY I will be voting Republican this time around. Not only that, I will never give the Libertarian party one cent of my hard earned money ever again, nor will I ever vote for a Libertarian candidate ever again. Good luck with your usual 1% of votes. When you allow crackpots like Barrett in your party you are going to get all that you deserve. And you don’t deserve me.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

     

    49 Responses to “An Open Letter to the Libertarian Party”

    1. Lexington Green Says:

      Third parties in the USA cannot win. The system is structured so that we always have two parties near the center. You may not like where the center is, but the parties are about marketing themselves to where the voters actually are. Changing the center is a cultural matter, more than a political one. Because we are structurally a two-party system, people with strong ideological positions are always going to dislike the major parties. People with strong ideological views can do one of three things (1) sit it out, or sit around and talk about stuff, (2) join a faction within one of the major parties and try to get part of what they want, or (3) join a third party as a form of expressive individualism, basically make a gesture which will cause the major party they disagree with more to be more likely to win. The kind of people drawn to (3) are often people who are fanatical or purists, sometimes a little bit unhinged, though sometimes you get professorial types who try to educate people, which is a best case scenario. The idea that by running a third party ticket you “educate” the major party is wrong. It shows that voters with those beliefs are unreliable, and forces the major party farther toward the center to make up for the lost votes. In political terms it is a pure loser.

      The future of libertarian ideas in actual politics, leading to actual changes in the law, is by building a faction within the GOP. People who say “I hate the government and I am too good and pure to have anything to do with it” should have book clubs in their living rooms and stay out of politics. Actually pushing back against Leviathan will require political skill and inevitable compromise in the process.

    2. Mike Doughty Says:

      To Lexington Green…………Excellent! Truer words were never spoken.

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      I agree with Lex, ideas, not parties matter.

      As for the Libertarian party itself, I have never had good experience with formal members of it. They seem to me driven largely by a psychological need to define themselves as members of an unjustly marginalized elite. They pursue more extreme version of ideological purity just to prove themselves. They evince little interest in practical (functional and political) real world solutions preferring instead to play the martyrs after people reject them.

      In the last ten years they seem to be drawing a lot of people who in the past belonged to racist or nativist groups. I think their lack of concern about electoral practicality lets them accept almost anyone because in the end they don’t really care about winning.

    4. peter jackson Says:

      the fact that ours is a two-party system is one against which I have no quarrel. It prevents fringe parties from gaining any power whatsoever, to my mind not a bug but a glistening, invaluable feature. My problem is the aspect of the system which keeps the Democrats and the Republicans locked into their positions at the top. Because of this lock we have a duopoly protected from outside competition, and thus protected to a large extent from outside ideas. This is why in here in the year 2008(!) we still have to endure a presidential election of a collectivist running against a “great man” nationalist. Jeebus.

      The aspect of our system which keeps our two major parties the two major parties is our balloting system, a system not prescribed by the Federal Constitution. By having only a single vote to cast in any election we subject ourselves to to many political externalities such as negative campaigning, spoiled ballots, spoiled elections, gaming, and of course the worst, wasted vote syndrome and it’s direct effect of having to almost always choose between the lesser of two evils, distorting the electoral feedback loop to exclude policies outside of the purview of the two major parties.

      This defect could be elegantly addressed with a single electoral reform, and that reform is approval voting, where each voter may vote or not vote for any candidate running. The only change that would be required to implement approval voting is to change the instructions on the ballot from “choose one below” to “choose any below.” Votes would otherwise be counted exactly as they are now with the winner being the candidate receiving the most votes.

      yours/
      peter.

    5. TMLutas Says:

      I disagree with Lex, but only up to a point. Absent serious changes to our constitutional system, there will always be two parties. There is no guarantee that they must always be Democrat and Republican. A 3rd party that wants to replace one of the two parties because they want to reconfigure the constellation of factions and increase their factions’ influence would be a worthwhile effort. It would be very focused on creating a stable of winning candidates who can contest for the races that matter. For instance, in NY it is the vote total of the gubernatorial candidate that matters. If you run 1st or 2nd, you gain tremendous advantage and can reconfigure the face of NY state politics.

      A charismatic libertarian that ran 2nd for governor in a NY libertarian party that was prepared to handle the fact that they would control significant patronage after that run does not currently exist. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t. The conservatives almost pulled this off with Herb London coming within a hair’s breadth of out polling the hapless Pierre Rinfret some years back.

      The technical measures the parties are using to preserve their duopoly are becoming less effective every cycle. Eventually someone is going to go for this overturning and succeed.

    6. SpotCash Says:

      The only problem I have with the post is a rather big one.

      Our rights do not spring from the Constitution, they antedate the Constitution. The Founders created the Constitution as a way of protecting the rights of citizens To the extent that any people begin to believe that their rights derive from the government, they lose control of their ability to defend their rights. If one’s rights derive from the Constitution [or the government], to deny those rights is a simple matter of changing the Constitution or the laws.

    7. Galileo Says:

      Sounds like Dan is a right-winger.

      Dan, you should know that experts have already confirmed that 9/11 was an inside job.

      If you think that Building 7 fell down from an office fire, then you are insane.

      WTC 7 – This is an Orange
      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3898962504721899003&q=wtc+7+this+is+an+orange&ei=gWkzSPSyA5qi4ALArYXoCQ&hl=en

    8. Jonathan Says:

      If you think that Building 7 fell down from an office fire, then you are insane.

      That settles it. I’m voting Libertarian from now on.

    9. Lexington Green Says:

      “Our rights do not spring from the Constitution, they antedate the Constitution.”

      But you cannot vindicate such rights, even if I agree they exist, via the legal process.

      So they pretty much don’t matter, except as something to rap about sitting on the porch.

      It is really helpful to have a written Constitution around which covers a lot of the ground. That way you don’t have to always be taking to the hills to re-found civilization.

      “…experts have already confirmed…”

      Speaking as a lawyer, I can assure that an expert is nothing more than some guy from out of town with a resume and a briefcase. There is one for every opinion, even the really nutty ones.

    10. Dan from Madison Says:

      Galileo – you did so well with the motion of uniformly accelerated objects, and now this. Tsk, tsk.

    11. Galileo Says:

      Dan;

      I am Barrett’s campaign manager and special 9/11 consultant. If you have any questions about the Barrett campaign, I am ready.

      PS

      You don’t live in Barrett’s district.

    12. Dan from Madison Says:

      Galileo – doesn’t matter what district I live in. I won’t vote Libertarian – ever again – because they let a crackpot like Barrett to run under their party banner.

    13. Lexington Green Says:

      “…campaign manager and special 9/11 consultant.”

      30 seconds on the website shows you are not doing a good job in your primary role. The site comes off as the vanity site of a crank who has no interest in winning the election. A bunch of conspiracy theorists with an off-putting website do nothing serious to advance the kind of small-l libertarian issues that many of us believe in. I say that not to be mean-spiritied, but to be objective. Any normal voter looking at it is likely to be less not more likely to vote for the candidate. Having principles and beliefs is one thing. Trying to get other people to agree with them and vote for a candidate is more difficult.

      The site is Exhibit A showing why the Libertarian Party is at best irrelevant and at worst a negative force for the promotion of its own core ideas.

    14. Galileo Says:

      what if Barrett loses the Libertarian primary?

      I will never vote republican again because they let George Bush run for president. He is a nutball.

      They also let perverts like Mark Foley run for congress and perverts like Larry Craig run for Senate.

      They let crooks like Tom Delay be Speaker of the House.

      They let liars like Alberto Gonzalez be Attorney General. They let criminal liars like Scooter Libby be VP Chief of Staff.

      They let drunken hunters like Dick Cheney be Vice President.

      And they take money from crooked lobbyists like Jack Abramhoff.

    15. Galileo Says:

      Polls show that 42.5% believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy, enough to win a three-way race.

    16. Lexington Green Says:

      OK, I see from the Wiki link that the national LP is disassociating itself from Barrett.

    17. Lexington Green Says:

      “… enough to win a three-way race.”

      The weirder a candidates views, usually, the more normal he has to act and look. Otherwise, the candidate comes off as a crank. Barrett should have a really boring and normal looking website, so the “out there” conspiracy theory seems mainstream. That would be common sense, if this were a campaign about trying to win. I’d have to see some more details about that 42.5% figure, but it is not enough of a bread-and-butter issue for most voters to matter, unless the candidate is otherwise very effective at reaching middle-of-the-road voters.

    18. Jonathan Says:

      Galileo,

      I deleted the URL from your comments because it points to a parked page that’s full of ad-driven links. If you are posting here to drive traffic to that page you won’t succeed. And if you are really affiliated with Barrett, why do you use a URL that makes you look like a troll or a spammer?

      I might add that your behavior in this thread confirms Dan’s observations about big-L Libertarians.

    19. Galileo Says:

      The info on Wikipedia is wrong. Barrett called for the removal of the LP political director for racial smears.

      The Barrett campaign is intolerant of racial smears.

    20. Galileo Says:

      I was also a campaign manager for Ed Thompson back in 2002.

      This site shows great ignorance.

      The author of the letter lives in the second district. His logic goes as follows:

      Since I’m a far right-winger, I am very angry that a centrist Libertarian, Dr. Kevin Barrett, has decided to run in the Libertarian primary in the third district. Even though anybody can run in any primary and no one can stop them, I’ll blame the entire Libertarian Party of the United States for this.

      Sheer brilliance.

    21. Jonathan Says:

      Since I’m a far right-winger, I am very angry that a centrist Libertarian, Dr. Kevin Barrett, has decided to run in the Libertarian primary in the third district.

      Outstanding reading-comprehension skills there.

    22. Shannon Love Says:

      Galileo,

      Your exactly the kind of person I was speaking off. You don’t care about actually implementing real world policy. You only care about being a rebel without a clue.

      Oh, and the Orange video. Do some research and look at buildings that collapsed due to structural failure or fire. Large steel frame buildings do indeed collapse by imploding within themselves.

      A lot of people seem to have an intuitive sense that a steel frame building 500ft tall will fall over like a chopped down tree or like the toy structures we built with blocks as a child. In truth, over the massive forces of moving three stories or so causes the structure to snap at that point breaking contact with the building above. The floors above then fall straight down pancaking onto the damaged structure below.

      As in all things, scale matters. The intuition we develop dealing with objects less that a couple of dozen feet long don’t apply to objects hundreds of feet tall.

      But do let us ruin your fun. You don’t care about issues, just posturing, so run along and have fun playing unrecognized genius while us grownups try to improve the world.

    23. Galileo Says:

      Experts on 9/11, including architects and engineers, have already determined that explosives were used to take down WTC 7. If you are going to challenge the experts, you need some real facts, not speculation and theories.

      http://www.ae911truth.org

    24. Lexington Green Says:

      This whole thing is like some kind of Wild Kingdom episode, where one of the exotic beasts is allowed to run around for the camera so people in their living rooms can get a good look at it.

      Now, can someone put it back in its cage and take it away, and release it in the wild again?

    25. Jonathan Says:

      Cool. Extreme assertions by conspiracy nuts with 0% track records are facts, reasonable skepticism by intelligent people is “speculation and theories.”

      OTOH, you might be able to get a scriptwriting gig.

    26. Jonathan Says:

      Ha! Lex, that is the best comment so far.

    27. Tom Says:

      I remember watching some of the 2004 Libertarian Party convention on C-SPAN. Twas high comedy, indeed. No party worth listening to could ever nominate somebody like Michael Badnarik. I’d say the LP is a disgrace to those of us who have small-l libertarian beliefs, but it does force most of the sensible people toward the Republican party which, as pointed out above, is probably for the best.

    28. Galileo Says:

      Yea, I can see your point, I left the GOP when they ran David Duke for Governor.

    29. Carl from Chicago Says:

      I can’t believe that your post summoned the actual troll-king lunatic to this thread.

      here is a note for you… Galileo… you are a disgrace to this country and a lunatic.

      The other commenters are actually being quite nice to you, treating you as if your opinions are worthy of discourse.

      But they aren’t… you are the lowest kind of scandal-monger, you make the people that wait for up skirt shots of Britney look like Pulitzer prize winners…

      Did you used to work for the Lyndon LaRouche campaign??

    30. Shannon Love Says:

      Galileo,

      If you are going to challenge the experts, you need some real facts, not speculation and theories

      I do have facts. It’s called physics. Since I actually paid attention in high school I know that an 1,800 foot building doesn’t fall over sideways like a child’s toy. As a minor note, literally every engineer and scientist on the entire freaking planet saw the towers collapse and if even 1% of them saw something dodgy there would be tens of thousands of experts calling the incident into question not a couple of dozen as we see in conspiracy groups.

      I personally have a science background and I have gone over all the supposed evidence and I saw nothing that suggest that explosives were required to bring the building down. All the supposed evidence is as bad an obviously wrong as the little video you linked to.

      Could you please go away and play your little fantasy role playing game with all your emotionally stunted little friends?

    31. Galileo Says:

      you’re not an expert on 9/11. The experts on 9/11 have already determined that it was an inside job. You should defer to the experts on technical subjects, lest you fall into error and disturb the victims.

      The Smoking Gun of 9-11 (WTC7)
      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4605940839251141560&q=wtc7+barry+jennings&total=6&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=2

    32. Jonathan Says:

      Here is an authoritative video:

      http://youtube.com/watch?v=AZjXnhBNKpU

      One must defer to the experts, after all.

    33. Galileo Says:

      That’s not an expert.

      Here is your kind of expert:

      Charlie the Unicorn
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5im0Ssyyus

    34. zenpundit Says:

      “Polls show that 42.5% believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy”

      So what?

      At one time, you could have polled Americans on the guilt of the defendents in Stalin’s show trials and gotten a similar percentage believing that they were gulity. In the New York Times newsroom back then, the figure would probably have been 80 %. Polls that indicate popular beliefs are little other than indicators of the popularity of that belief, not the factual characteristic of the belief. A plurality of Americans today also believe in UFO’s, Bigfoot, that LBJ had Kennedy assassinated and that OJ was innocent. There’s a word for people like that: “Fool”. What wisdom is possessed by crowds ain’t accessed by polling.

      There are examples of genuine conspiracies. The assassinations of Julius Caesar or Abraham Lincoln and the attempted assassination of Hitler in 1944. The Watergate cover-up. The Bolshevik coup in October 1917. The difference between these documented, historical, events and the products of fantasists with too much time on their hands is that real-lfe conspiracies are relatively simple affairs whose success or failure did not hinge upon wildly improbable chains of coincidences intersecting in some kind of matrix of uber-complexity that would defeat the computational powers of IBM’s Big Blue.

      The following link was intended for intra-physicist community arguments but there is more than enough salience in this ludicrous comment thread to offer it up here:

      http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html

    35. Dan from Madison Says:

      Zen said: The difference between these documented, historical, events and the products of fantasists with too much time on their hands is that real-lfe conspiracies are relatively simple affairs whose success or failure did not hinge upon wildly improbable chains of coincidences intersecting in some kind of matrix of uber-complexity that would defeat the computational powers of IBM’s Big Blue.

      Lex said: This whole thing is like some kind of Wild Kingdom episode, where one of the exotic beasts is allowed to run around for the camera so people in their living rooms can get a good look at it.

      Two of the funnier comments I have read in a long time.

      Galileo, congrats to you and your “campaign managing” for the Libertarian Party. You and the other crackpots can sit in the corner while the adults move on and solve problems.

    36. Shannon Love Says:

      Galeilo,

      9/11 was the most widely observed and recorded event in human history. I would say that of the 6 billion people on earth, 5 billion have seen at least one of the hundreds of hours of video and still footage taken of the incident. To date, not a single pre-existing engineering, scientific, accident investigation or law enforcement agency of any ideology of any country, has been willing to put it name to the claims you assert. Think about it. Why didn’t the Chinese, the French or the Russians whip out the truth when they wanted to stop the liberation of Iraq?

      For that matter, why have hundreds of thousands of engineers and scientist remained silent? For that matter why hasn’t one of the hundreds of conspirators made his fortune by revealing it?

      I do have an understanding of the scientific issues. I do personally understand why your so called experts are a bunch of idiots. I also understand that this is a matter of faith for you and that you never, ever try to test your own preexisting convictions.

      I just pray to the powers that be that you don’t have any responsibility for any dangerous systems.

    37. Carl from Chicago Says:

      I must say that we are all giving Galileo way too much credit.

      Would we give a Holocaust denier the same respect?

    38. Tom Says:

      Duke called himself a Republican, but was never approved by the Republican party, who in fact endorsed other candidates, including Democrats when it looked like Duke might do well in a plurality election. But thanks for playing, and I’m sure we have some lovely parting gifts for you.

    39. peter jackson Says:

      The GOP supported incumbent Republican governor Buddy Roemer, who had changed parties from D to R after being elected. Roemer, having endured a divorce while in office, ran a despondent campaign, allowing Duke to beat him by 80k votes for a place in the runoff. Although the GOP never endorsed Duke’s democratic opponent Edwin Edwards, Roemer, the former Republican governor Dave Treen, and President George H. W. Bush.

      I remember because in 1991 I voted for Edwards (who won), loaded up my car, and moved to Texas.

      yours/
      peter.

    40. peter jackson Says:

      That is Roemer, Treen, and Bush did endorse Edwards over Duke.

      sheesh/
      peter.

    41. Galileo Says:

      “Duke called himself a Republican, but was never approved by the Republican party, who in fact endorsed other candidates, including Democrats when it looked like Duke might do well in a plurality election. But thanks for playing, and I’m sure we have some lovely parting gifts for you.”

      Duke was endorsed by many county republican parties. Sorry, your information is wrong. You simply believe what you are told, just like with 9/11.

    42. Lexington Green Says:

      “You simply believe what you are told, just like with 9/11.”

      Galileo has God-like powers. He does not believe what he is told. He knows.

      Even the quality of trolls has been declining lately. These are sorry times.

    43. Jonathan Says:

      There is no question but that prominent Louisiana and national Republicans endorsed Edwards in that election. I remember it well, and so probably do most of the people reading your comments. Your suggestions that Duke was representative of Republican candidates or ideology is an inversion of the truth. Now that you’ve been called on it you attempt to shift focus to “county republican parties,” but that’s still dishonest. If you really wanted to accomplish something politically you would work for libertarian candidates running as Republicans, or at least for sane Libertarian Party candidates. But you would rather support a despicable nutcase candidate, slander Republicans as racists and posture about your great humanitarian sensitivity in leaving the Republican Party.

      Happily, the genius of Google will preserve this thread for the benefit of anyone who wants to learn more about the great Kevin Barrett.

    44. Galileo Says:

      “There is no question but that prominent Louisiana and national Republicans endorsed Edwards in that election. I remember it well, and so probably do most of the people reading your comments. Your suggestions that Duke was representative of Republican candidates or ideology is an inversion of the truth. Now that you’ve been called on it you attempt to shift focus to “county republican parties,” but that’s still dishonest. If you really wanted to accomplish something politically you would work for libertarian candidates running as Republicans, or at least for sane Libertarian Party candidates. But you would rather support a despicable nutcase candidate, slander Republicans as racists and posture about your great humanitarian sensitivity in leaving the Republican Party.”

      Barrett is not running for governor.

    45. Lexington Green Says:

      “Barrett is not running for governor.”

      Move to strike as nonresponsive.

    46. zenpundit Says:

      Point of parliamentary procedure: Don’t strike – as an exception to the moderation rule, this thread is one for posterity. :)

    47. Galileo Says:

      “Move to strike as nonresponsive.”

      MOTION DENIED!

      Bill Doyle, Father of 9/11 Victim, SPEAKS OUT!
      http://www.911blogger.com/node/13930

    48. Tatyana Says:

      Is there something in the water these days? Everybody got attacked by trolls, first neo, then you.
      I gotta give it to Galileo, though – he must be descending from missionaries, the way he carries on regardless the objections of his audience, against overwhelming opinion. I guess it’s a question of faith; I wouldn’t know.

      He reminds me of one 9/11 truther, picketing the small square in front of Ground Zero, who declared that as a civil engineer he promises that steel does not liquify when sufficiently heated. Honest.

    49. Lexington Green Says:

      Galileo has time on his hands. Maybe he should work harder at being Barrett’s campaign manager.

      “MOTION DENIED!”

      The motion wsan’t directed to you, Gal.