Crossroads? Johnson/Weld vs. Invisibility?

The idea of freedom is fully alive and ready to express in every next generation.

It is only in the abuse and loss of freedom, the idea of freedom is extinguished.

The few percent in the next generation of the "movement" are less than the percentage of my parent's generation of the.movement, and they are far less in touch with the idea of freedom than my parents.

And they are even less in touch with the idea of freedom than my great grandparents, who would not tolerate today's conditions.

I'm not so pessimistic, John. Your great grandparents may have been more pro-freedom than most people today when it comes to taxes and regulations for instance, but how were they on questions of racial and sexual tolerance?

  Society and the laws have been moving toward freedom in some respects while moving away from it in others. But even when it comes to things like the regulatory environment which have clearly gotten worse, I think the percentage of people who today understand the fundamentals, and are prepared to consistently fight against encroaching regulations, is higher than it was in your great-grandparents' day. If they had understood and consistently defended freedom, government in this country would not have expanded to what it is now.

  Brian Doherty's history of the American libertarian movement in the 20th century, "Radicals for Capitalism", illustrates how bleak the intellectual climate was for freedom during the early-to-mid 1900s, and how the important questions were on virtually no one's radar. That has dramatically changed for the better, and the forces of statism are no longer on the intellectual offensive. Capturing the high ground and winning the intellectual battle is tremendously important – what society's intellectuals believe tends to gradually filter down to influence laws and social mores.

Love & Liberty,
                              ((( starchild )))

My two cents: it's the forever argument of what the LP is supposed to be, a "pro-freedom movement" or a political party. And yes there is a difference, as Richard already pointed out with his example of what the Republican Party had to do in the South, etc. A movement thrives on polemic and has no need for accountability. A political party lives by results -- those numbers voters look at after elections, and the Secretary of State tallies up to see if the party lives or dies.

Some questions of fact:

Income taxes were much, much higher in the good old days http://www.businessinsider.com/history-of-tax-rates

The average citizen is totally fine with more and more regulations: label GMO foods! regulate the high price of drugs! force employers to pay sick leave! tell businesses how much they have to pay their CEO's and their cafeteria personnel! force developers to subsidize housing!

Regarding gains in "social issues," true, some states legalized pot and same-sex marriage, and the feds legalized the latter. Any other significant achievement that compares with, say, the wholesale incarceration of folks in general but mostly blacks and Latinos?

Bottom line is, no, double no, society has not been at all moving towards freedom. And some think it's time to try new business models, whether it is leaving the E.U., sticking it to The Establishment by voting for Trump, or campaigning for two high-profile non-purist Libertarians.

So there.

Marcy

Marcy D. Berry
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Thanks Marcy....Richard Winger contributed a lot to this thread. According to Richard this current LP ticket's strategy has deep roots in politics.

Richard, from what you've said, it sounds like you understand and approve of this strategy for Johnson / Weld. I'm all ears. This has been a very thought provoking discussion.

Mike

During 2012, I mentioned Gary Johnson to many people. The vast majority, both before and after the election, said they had never heard of him.
It takes a massive amount of resources, or good luck, to break through to most residents of the U.S.
Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, by their conciliatory personalities and stands on issues, have managed to persuade big media in this country to give them substantial publicity. Just today (Saturday) the New York Times mentioned Gary Johnson in the lead editorial. That is extraordinary. The editorial was worrying that Hillary Clinton's campaign is not well thought out and that she might lose. Then it said, "Some are looking at Libertarian Gary Johnson." That was all, but this was the lead editorial, not just an op-ed.
The publicity that the Libertarian Party is getting, because of the Johnson-Weld campaign, is entirely new. So it is exciting. I don't know where it will lead but I have been a member of the LP since September 1972 and this is easily the most exciting time for the LP in all those decades.
And in Great Britain, the two-party system is truly crumbling. I can imagine it crumbling in this country also.
Meanwhile, I am reading "The Clintons' War on Women" published last year. I was just about to google the book and see how much attention it has got. It seems credible to me and it shows both Bill and Hillary Clinton to be truly evil.
Richard Winger 415-922-9779 PO Box 470296, San Francisco Ca 94147

Ditto. We don't know where this new thing will lead us. But we could just give it a try, I think.

Marcy

The idea that the Libertarian Party's presidential ticket is getting significantly more publicity than would have accrued to a ticket featuring a pair of candidates with stronger and more consistently libertarian positions but without "governor" on their resumes seems to me like a matter of speculation, not fact.

"Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, by their conciliatory personalities and stands on issues, have managed to persuade big media in this country to give them substantial publicity..."

  That statement sounds fine and reasonable, until one considers the massive amounts of publicity given to Donald Trump, who has neither a conciliatory personality nor measured and conventionally "reasonable" stands on the issues, but just the opposite.

  I agree that it's an exciting time to be libertarian and to be in the LP; I just don't attribute those things specifically to Johnson/Weld. That being said, they are the LP candidates, and I want to see them do as well as possible. The arguments against "lesser evil" voting are stronger this year than ever.

  Regarding "The Clintons War on Women", it sounds kind like shallow, right-wing clickbait on the face of it, but then again so did "The Great Global Warming Swindle", which is actually a terrific documentary film (available free on YouTube) that I recommend to people all the time. Certainly there is no shortage of unflattering (to put it mildly) material out there about Hilary Clinton though; the challenge is getting the people who intend to vote for her to look at it and think about it and not cast reactionary votes based on partisanship, media bias, and faulty notions about how elections work.

Love & Liberty,
                                 ((( starchild )))

The LP itself is not a political movement; it is part of a political movement, the libertarian movement. The fact that it is part of this movement is more important than the fact that it also happens to be a political party, because where an organization stands ideologically is more important in determining whether it is worth supporting than what specific type of organization it happens to be. Virtually no one (I hope) says, "I just love this particular type of organization called a political party, so I'm going to go find one to support!" Rather, people who support a particular party generally do so because of the ideas, policy positions, and so forth that it represents.

  Every organization, every leader, has a need for accountability. So a movement, having leaders and typically comprised in large part of organizations, certainly has such a need. If the leaders of a movement, or the organizations championing its cause, are not accountable to their grassroots supporters, they are likely to go astray and betray the goals of those supporters. On an individual level, because power corrupts individuals who possess it, and on an organizational level because organizations over time tend to become calcified, resistant to change, and more focused on their narrow parochial/institutional interests and less focused on the larger cause.

  Once a formal organization is created – whether a business, a nonprofit, a political party, etc. – it can pretty much exist indefinitely. A party like the Prohibition Party can continue on for decades and decades after its time has passed, despite attracting hardly any voters; a party like the Democrats or Republicans can continue on for centuries despite no longer reflecting its founders' principles or goals. A movement, on the other hand, has no such perpetual shelf life of its own, but requires grassroots energy to sustain it. It generates this grassroots energy by assertively championing a cause, inspiring its supporters and seeking to grow, and persevering in its aims while being tactically flexible enough to stay relevant.

  Here in no particular order are some signs of progress over the past few decades and reasons for libertarian optimism:

• the GLBTQ movement
• equal rights for women
• the Sexual Revolution
• the Internet
• the "sharing economy"
• the explosion in number and diversity of media outlets
• the explosion of social media and the blogosphere (allowing individuals to become the media)
• the worldwide growth of the libertarian movement
• the worldwide decline in severe poverty and accompanying decline in birthrates
• trust in government institutions and politicians near record lows
• the cracking facade of the "War on Drugs"
• the growth of the sex work rights movement and switch of the antis from condemning prostitution to condemning trafficking
• the rise of Bitcoin and digital currencies
• the growing awareness and exposure of police abuses
• the growing pressure to reduce mass incarceration, mandatory minimum sentencing, etc.
• the growth of homeschooling, independent schools, and charter schools
• the end of the military draft in the U.S.
• the declining number of casualties in armed conflicts
• the growing number of subcultures or "tribes" formed around shared interests (instead of geography or political/economic agendas)
• the rise of Wikileaks, whistleblowing, and the growing inability of governments to keep information secret from the public
• the accelerating pace of technological change bringing new innovations and developments faster than the State can control them

Love & Liberty,
                               ((( starchild )))