[LP2014PC] Re: 2014 Platform Committee Report


  I have not responded to your previous message of May 27 until now because I wanted to go back and look at one of your past surveys again before doing so. Having now done so, please see my further comments interspersed with your remarks below.


Your characterizations are unfair. You use politically charged words to make things sound different than they are.

  Strongly disagree. I think I'm telling it like it is. See subsequent comments.

When I survey about the Platform Committee reports, I show them the proposal, ask if they support or oppose it, and ask for their comments. It isn't possible to be more objective than that. Let's not "spin" this into something it isn't, like "push-polling".

  You were chair of the Platform Committee in 2010 and sent out a survey that year. I presume you wrote the survey -- the introduction to the survey was signed by yourself as committee chair (if you did not write it, or if someone else had a hand in writing it, feel free to clarify that). That survey did NOT merely show respondents a proposal, ask whether they support or oppose it, and ask for their comments. It also includes statements describing the "purpose" of the proposed changes. Those statements are typically not neutral, but take the form of editorializing in favor of the proposed changes.

  For instance, the very first proposed change listed in that survey is preceded by the following statement:

Purpose: This amendment improves readability, protects our candidates from accusations on many subjects where we make no distinction between young children and adults, and removes the discussion of foreign affairs policy from a plank regarding Personal Liberty. Note that the non-initiation-of-force concept is already addressed in the 3.0 Securing Liberty plank.

  Clearly, survey respondents are being given a positive lead-in to the proposed change. That IS push-polling, and its use renders casts the accuracy and legitimacy of the survey results in doubt. Furthermore, the statement that the proposed change "protects our candidates from accusations on many subjects where we make no distinction between young children and adults" is highly controversial and debatable. It implicitly presumes that our platform should be about "protecting our candidates from accusations" rather than being about stating what we believe.

And when you talk about how the process isn't "transparent" because the "full results have not been made publicly available", I know you mean that I should publish on the internet the personal contact info of everyone who took the survey. That is not reasonable. I've discussed it with you several times before. My opinion has not changed. If I do a survey, I'm not posting the full dataset on the internet.

  Making survey results public is unreasonable ONLY if survey respondents have been led to believe that their responses will be kept secret! And that is an expectation that can and should be addressed by the language of the survey. We should let people know that the survey results will be made available to party members.

  One reason for making the results fully transparent to all party members is to avoid giving Platform Committee members an unfair advantage over other Libertarian Party members by giving them access to more information about how individual party members and convention delegates feel on various questions than may be available to others.

  Possible case in point -- your own comment below, in which you say that I "sometimes use the comment fields [in the surveys] to make complaints about other people". That is information to which other people not privy to seeing who sent in those surveys would not necessarily have access. Here, you are clearly using information from my surveys for political purposes, to bolster your argument against transparency, and possibly to damage my reputation.

Even in the comments, people for some strange reason volunteer info about their job status, medical conditions, etc. And you, Starchild, sometimes use the comment fields to make complaints about other people.

  While I don't have my survey responses in front of me and do not recall the comment(s) to which you are referring, I suspect that the person about whom I was complaining may well have been yourself, as the author of a leading survey conducted in a non-transparent manner!

Even the comments should not published on the internet, but should only be used by the committee to improve our own proposals.


  Your remark above about how I have used the comment field WAS published on the Internet (sent to the Yahoogroup used by the Platform Committee, which is public), and this disclosure was clearly NOT related to "improv(ing) our own proposals". I strongly object to this selective, political usage of data not made equally available to all party members who took the survey, and believe it illustrates why the full information in the survey results SHOULD be made equally available to all.

Love & Liberty,
                                 ((( starchild )))