Libertarianism's Extreme Makeover

Leilani,

  I wasn't primarily trying to counter your words in the paragraph below, but to clarify my own. I was the one who had previously written something that could be interpreted as accusing Ron of advocating selling out.

  If you have ideas for a party overhaul, I'm still all ears. And not just in a "put up or shut up" way -- valuing your perspective not only as a strongly principled Libertarian but as a gender and ethnic minority in the party representing demographics we'd like to better connect with, I really would like to hear anything you may come up with.

Yours in liberty,
        <<< Starchild >>>

Dear Starchild:
My comment about not selling-out was not directed to Ron. It was directed to you!
Have a great day,
Leilani

Leilani,

I don't think Ron is advocating "selling out" [It's very hard to
credibly criticize someone crying "revolution!" as a sell-out 8) ] but
I think that's a fair description of the prescription offered by the
original article that was posted. It was that article to which I was
primarily responding. If you have ideas on how we can overhaul the LP
to make ourselves more effective without abandoning the pursuit of what
we're fighting for, I'm all ears.

Yours in liberty,
<<< Starchild >>>

> Dear Ron:
>
> I could not have put it better. I concur with both your
> comments/rebuttal and the originators words. And this is not because I
> am disappointed with the results of the recent election. I, as well as
> the rest of us knew (or should have known,) that the result was a
> foregone conclusion. However, (in my opinion,) the over-haul is long
> overdue. I am not trying to decry the accomplishments of the founders
> and others that have worked hard to bring the party to fruition;
> having said that, many great ideas at some point can use sometime fine
> tuning to adapt to the present conditions instead of the past when
> it/they were incepted. Otherwise, we would still be flying Bi-planes
> and driving the earliest versions of automobiles, etcetera. This does
> not have to mean that it is a sell-out.
>
> Leilani
>
> Ronald Getty wrote:
>
> Dear Starchild;
>
> Who said anything about sacrificing Libertarian principles to attract
> money?? Or putting the Libertarian party up for sale? Having power for
> a Libertarian does not mean giving up principles. Who said that!!!
>
> Michael Badnarik running for president wasn't a joke. The amount of
> money raised on his behalf was in comparison to the cost of a single
> ad run by the two jokes from those other two jokes of a party.
>
> A million dollars is nice but it doesn't get the national recognition
> needed to help people understand who and what a Libertarian is and
> what a Libertarian stands for and why people should consider becoming
> a Libertarian or even convince them there is a Libertarian web site
> with great stuff on it about becoming a Libertarian.
>
> Say what you want about pragmatics. Phil Burtons statement still
> stands, "money is the mothers milk of politics." Without money and
> lots of it you don't have a chance of overcoming the loudspeakers of
> the Reps and Dems. With the needed investment capital then you can
> create a groundswell of support across states and boundaries and
> parties for a Libertarian presidential candidate who will get more
> than 300,000 votes.
>
> Then you won't have someone arrested because he wanted to be part of
> the taxpayer funded presidential debates because he was a from some no
> nothing no name political party who we shouldn't even deign to mention
> by name as we look down our long snooty noses at the very idea of this
> person presuming he could be in a Presidential debate with two real
> presidentail candidates from two real political parties. HAH! We
> certainly must have only a dem or a rep getting a chance to say
> something to the vast unwashed masses of bleating sheep being led to a
> the slaughter by The MORON in the White House.
>
> Other view points? Never happen! People might actually start to
> think!!! We can't have people thinking about who to vote for. What
> would this country come to if people started thinking about who they
> should vote for. Vote for the person you are told to vote for or
> else!!! You want political power? Now that's real power to the
> people!!! The power from being able to declare someone an enemy
> combatant and having them whisked away to never never land never to be
> seen again if they don't vote your way.
>
> That's what all that money bought! It wasn't about all the Bush Bleep
> of the good he was going to do for everyone and fulfilling their moral
> values. Bush Bleat! It was about retaining power to do what you want
> when you want when you feel like it. And not having to give a damn
> about it.
>
> It's time for another American Revolution!!!!! Viva La
> Revoluciones!!! We need an American Che Guevera to lead the revolt
> against the Robbing Hoods of the "Taxes are Good for You Because
> We Are The Ones Who Know Best On How To Spend The Money We Stole From
> You ."
>
> Ron Getty
> SF LIbertarian
> Starchild wrote:
>
> Ron,
>
> This kind of talk seems to surface after every big election, when some
> Libertarians -- usually those who had unrealistic expectations going in
> -- are discouraged by the results. Not understanding what we've done
> right and how the party has flourished and grown to its present level
> where so many alternative parties have failed, they jump to the
> conclusion that the LP needs to be more pragmatic and more like the
> establishment parties. It's a somewhat understandable attitude, but a
> mistaken one. More comments follow...
>
> > Dear Everyone;
> >
> > The article about re-formatting the Libertarian Party speaks to the
> > truth.
> >
> > It also means nominating a Presidential candidate who can raise and
> > spend millions. As former San Francisco now deceased member of
> > Congress Phil Burton once said publicly; "Money is the mothers milk
> of
> > politics."
>
> A political party should not be for sale. Sure, money can help win an
> election battle in the short term. But if you sacrifice principle to
> attract money, you've lost the war. Do you think that the LP could just
> put its principles on the shelf until it had won a few high-profile
> elections and was competing with the Republicans and Democrats, and
> then take them down and dust them off and have them be good as new?
> Hardly. The more power an organization wields, the harder it is to stay
> principled. If we discard them in order to go after power more
> efficiently, we won't get them back.
>
> > You can nominate a Presidential candidate who articulates the party
> > line but if he doesn't have any money forget about it. The message
> > will never get across. While Michael Badnarik raised and spent a
> > million that's how much either of them other two jokes would spend on
> > just one ad!
> >
> > Unless you have a party which is prepared to raise and spend tens of
> > millions forget the presidential race and getting on every ballot in
> > every state. 300,000 votes out of 115 million cast is a joke.
>
> It's not a joke. That's insulting to a whole bunch of hard-working
> people who don't deserve it. We did better than all but one alternative
> candidate (Nader) and came close to beating him, despite receiving much
> less media coverage. Sure, we'd all like Michael Badnarik to have
> gotten a lot more votes. Does that mean that his running was a joke, or
> a waste of time? Hardly.
>
> > Concentrate on local offices and forget the Big Bust unless you have
> a
> > candidate who can raise and spend tens of millions and a party
> > apparatus that can do likewise.
>
> We had a number of local candidates here in San Francisco, Ron. But
> you're not talking about them. You're talking about presidential
> politics. Most people are no different. They care a lot more about the
> race for president than the race for Congress or School Board.
> Especially non-political people, many of whom don't even have a clue
> what the School Board does. I know -- I've fielded that question a
> number of times over the past few months. A presidential campaign, even
> one that only gets 1/2 a percent of the vote, attracts attention and
> has a visibility in the media that local campaigns cannot match, even
> when you have strong local candidates running. Many current
> Libertarians have found out about the party through our presidential
> candidates.
>
> > As far as reaching out to new group segments by altering the
> > Libertarian message to reflect a groups cultural values - and how the
> > Libertarian message does reflect those values. What do you think the
> > Reps and Dems have been doing all along? Focused focus groups focused
> > around a focal point.
> >
> > It's time for a sea change in how the Libertarian Party presents
> > itself and its message.
>
> More libertarians actually getting active at the local level and doing
> the necessary work would make a lot more of a difference. Too many
> libertarians are standing on the sidelines complaining, whether out of
> pique that everyone in the party isn't jumping up to follow *their*
> grand strategic plan, or simply using the LP's imperfection as an
> excuse not to get more involved in fighting for liberty.
>
> See further comments interspersed with the essay below...
>
> > Ron Getty
> > SF Libertarian
> >
> >
> > Mike Denny wrote:
> >
> > v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
> > w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape
> > {behavior:url(#default#VML);} st1\:*{behavior:url(#default#ieooui) }
> > This is a good one Scott˜.IÃm sending to our local list.
> >
> >
> >
> > Best regards,
> >
> >
> >
> > Michael Denny
> >
> > Libertarian Party of San Francisco
> >
> > (415) 986-7677 x123
> >
> > mike@MichaelDenny.net
> >
> > www.MichaelDenny.net
> >
> > www.LPSF.org
> >
> > From:Scott Brown [mailto:sbrown@trashmanage.com]
> > Sent: Friday, November 12, 2004 1:11 PM
> > To: Scott Brown
> > Subject: Try this one (Modified by Scott Brown)
> >
> >
> >
> > Libertarianism's Extreme Makeover
> > By Max Borders
> > Published
> > 11/12/2004
> >
> > The Libertarian Party is politically moribund. Most libertarians
> don't
> > even vote for the Libertarian Party, much less affiliate with it.
> Why?
> > Because we have a pragmatic streak that we just can't shake.
>
> I wouldn't call it a pragmatic streak. As the author notes, you'll
> have a greater impact on politics by calling in to a radio show than by
> voting. Voting is not particularly pragmatic; it's an act of faith, a
> statement of allegiance.
>
> > And that comes simply from being American. It's in our bones. Some of
> > us vote Republican because we care about defense. Others vote
> Democrat
> > because we're afraid Crusaders will overrun the barricades between
> > church and state. In either case, we hold our noses and go to the
> > polls just to feel some civic connection with all those folks in our
> > community -- even though we know they are wrong, and are voting for
> > all the wrong reasons.
>
> Now I suspect that is closer to the heart of the matter. Being a
> Libertarian can feel lonely. People can't stand feeling lonely, they
> want more sense of civic connection, so they vote the way that more of
> their neighbors are voting so that they'll feel more a part of things.
>
> > Most libertarians understand the profoundly irrational aspect of
> > voting -- i.e. that you'll have a greater effect on politics if you
> > call in to a radio show and say something clever instead of going to
> > the polls. You have a better chance running into Michael Badnarik at
> > the Piggly Wiggly than having your vote be the deciding factor in an
> > election. In the meantime, the teeming hordes follow their baser
> > instincts all the way to the church basement and vote their
> > "consciences." But aside from the Constitution and the Courts,
> > democracy is the only game in town.
> >
> > Thus, things can't get any lower for many libertarians. And that's
> why
> > if we're going to keep trying to enter politics through the front
> > door, we have to prepare to change.
>
> That's a non-sequitur. Your vote has no greater an impact if you vote
> for a Democrat or Republican than if you vote Libertarian. Slightly
> less, actually. If there is a need for the LP to change -- and there
> certainly *is* a need for change, just not of the kind advocated in
> this article -- the fears of mainstream voters and the mathematics of
> voting do not make the case for it.
>
> > Playing the Game
> >
> > Libertarians must get it together. That's going to mean shifting the
> > mindset, overhauling the current LP, and spending lots of money.
>
> Where is the money going to come from, and who's going to give money
> who isn't giving it now, and what's going to motivate them to do so?
> Those obvious questions are left unanswered.
>
> > If we're going to have an effect on electoral politics, we're going
> to
> > have to get some people into office.
>
> We have some people in office. Over 600, which is more than all the
> other alternative parties in the U.S. combined.
>
> > Now, for the immediate term, that may mean running as a D or an R and
> > acting like Ron Paul -- or even supporting a Schwarzenegger.
>
> That certainly isn't going to help the LP grow.
>
> > But the other option is to begin transforming the LP inside and out.
> > But how do we do that?
>
> We don't do it by running as Democrats or Republicans, or by voting
> for Schwarzenegger.
>
> > First we need to define ourselves better. Some people think
> > libertarians are the party of Lyndon LaRouche. (I kid you not.) Keep
> > it simple. At the moment, our elevator pitch sounds like the Bill of
> > Rights.
>
> Of course it's good to be able to deliver our ideas in pithy sound
> bites when the occasion requires it. No mystery or controversy there.
> But I see no evidence that people correctly understand what other
> alternative parties stand for, and are just confused about the LP. If
> that were true, then this criticism might have greater validity.
>
> > There's nothing wrong with the Constitution, but sadly, getting
> people
> > on board requires lowering ourselves to the level of vacuous talk
> > employed by our bigger, better bipartisan counterparts. That means we
> > need a simple, visceral message that works. Then, and only then, will
> > we start to see some interest from the masses.
>
> There are better ways and worse ways of teaching liberty, but I'm
> hardly convinced there is *a* simple way that *works* while all other
> methods, by implication, do not. The Democrats and Republicans don't
> have simple, visceral messages. They appeal to many different people
> for many different reasons. Ask people why they vote for one party or
> the other and you'll hear tons of different answers.
>
> > They're libertarian and they don't even know it. How many times have
> > you heard someone describe him-or-herself as "socially liberal, but
> > fiscally conservative?"
>
> Many people do fit this description, but I rarely hear them use it to
> describe themselves. Libertarians are the ones who usually use the
> description. I often use it myself when I need a quick explanation of
> where Libertarians are coming from.
>
> > Many of these are the people who either hold their noses at the
> polls,
> > or simply don't bother. They are disenfranchised by the two-party
> > system and the "Party of Principle" just isn't reaching them. The
> > first order of business should be to tap this political market. But
> > how do you get these libertarians-who-don't-know-it interested?
> > Indeed, how do you steal them from the major parties?
> >
> > A Purple Brand and an Unyielding Media Blitz
> >
> > From the nominated candidates, to the branding, to the talking
> points.
> > Everything visible about the current LP (and the Movement) has to
> > change -- maybe even the name.
>
> Then again, maybe not. The author certainly hasn't laid out any better
> plan -- or more pragmatically, explained how he's going to get all the
> Libertarians to follow his concept.
>
> > Consider the stereotypes of utopians and pot-smokers who throw around
> > terms like "individual rights," "coercion," and "statism" like it
> came
> > from the Randian Scriptures. Rectitude isn't worth a dime when it
> just
> > smells funny to people.
>
> Instead of attacking your allies in print for daring to dream, for
> using words that mean things, for being right, subtly reinforcing the
> very stereotypes you supposedly find troublesome, explain the ideas to
> the public in a way that doesn't "smell funny" without betraying them
> in the process. The sentences above are worse than useless, they're
> destructive.
>
> > One approach might be to tap into this popular blue-red dichotomy.
> > Start coloring everything LP purple. Make it obvious that we're the
> > best of both parties. Take the top Libertarian talking points from
> the
> > Rs and the Ds and merge them to make the LP talking points. Then
> avoid
> > the rest like the plague.
>
> Run away from content, run away from ideas. Put them on the shelf,
> they'll be there later when we need them. No, they won't.
>
> > Who are we? The best way to tell the world about us is through good
> > ole advertising -- name your medium. (Midterm elections might be a
> > good time to start experimenting.)
>
> There's a place for advertising, especially in a national campaign,
> but it should not be the main focus of the party's outreach.
>
> > How about this for a commercial?: split screen, red and blue. On the
> > red side you see the words low taxes˜ security˜ fiscal
> > responsibility˜parental choice in education˜One the blue side you see
> > civil liberties˜ freedom to live my life my way˜a woman's right to
> > choose˜The two sides merge into a large, purple screen. The New
> > Libertarian Party˜ Americais deserves the best of both.Or some such.
> > TV, Radio, Newspaper, Internet. Again, defining ourselves is the
> first
> > step. And we're going to have to spend money doing it.
>
> Except for the "New Libertarian Party" part, this red/blue/purple ad
> is the only good idea I've read in this essay so far.
>
> > From Principles to Pragmatics
>
> From Libertarian to Demopublican.
>
> > "The Party of Principle."
> >
> > Unless you just put down the Fountainhead, reading that line just
> made
> > your bile duct secrete.
>
> Wrong. "The Party of Pragmatism" -- now that would make my bile duct
> secrete. Of course the pragmatists would never dream of using a slogan
> like "The Party of Pragmatism" -- even they know that the concept
> stinks to high heaven once you name it as such. That's why they talk
> instead about the need to manipulate people (see below).
>
> > Most people think their party is the party of principle.
>
> Oh? I don't see any evidence of that.
>
> > The LP should get rid of that slogan, and fast. That doesn't mean you
> > throw the baby out with the bathwater, it simply means you think
> > strategically about how to reach out to people. It means being
> > realistic. Incremental. Manipulative, even.
>
> Of course throwing the baby out with the bathwater is exactly what
> he's proposing. The prescription offered earlier in this essay was to
> take the best of the Democrats' and Republicans' offerings and "avoid
> the rest like the plague."
>
> > For example: "support the repeal of all taxation." Now, a repeal of
> > taxation implies there should be no taxes at all, which means no
> state
> > at all (as there would be no revenue stream for a state to exist).
> > What else are we to infer? Unless you're trying to woo the bloggers
> at
> > LewRockwell.com, you might consider moderating both the message and
> > the views. Instead, how about "do away with the income tax" or
> > "support a national sales tax?" Then you can talk about how we could
> > retire the IRS and save a lot of money. Everybody hates the IRS.
> > Everybody likes money saved. Nobody likes anarchy, even if it's
> > coupled with a warm and fuzzy term like "capitalism."
>
> Seeing "capitalism" as a warm and fuzzy term is a sign of being out of
> touch. The term is necessary perhaps, but hardly warm or fuzzy. It's at
> least as misunderstood as "anarchy," and even more negatively perceived
> in many places.
>
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Alternatively, more like this (from the LP site) would be good:
> >
> > "Recognizing that abortion is a very sensitive issue and that people,
> > including libertarians, can hold good-faith views on both sides, we
> > believe the government should be kept out of the question."

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