Please Weigh in on Today's Speaker

Michael & Marcy,

  First of all, let me say how refreshing it is, after listening to some of the folks on the LNC, to be put in the position of, for a change, having to differ with people who frame their arguments in terms of how we should not water down our message or support the lesser evil! :slight_smile:

  However. In the comment Michael quotes from me below, I cautioned against two dangers: (1) watering down our ideas or trying to appear non-radical, and (2) making running for office and seeking votes our primary mission.

  I haven't changed my views about those things. But supporting Joel Engardio would do neither. In this case, we *can* walk and chew bubble gum at the same time, i.e. support him while still making it clear where we feel that he falls short (and hopefully get him to improve somewhat). And it doesn't mean we need to focus most of our efforts on running for office.

  What other efforts to meaningfully affect local politics would supporting him take time away from? Right now we don't have any local Libertarian candidates. Have you guys looked at Joel's website? I did, and there's a lot more there than in his flier. I'm not saying the content is great by libertarian standards, but he seems to lean decidedly in the pro-freedom direction on both the civil liberties *and* economic liberty sides of the chart.

  I also discovered searching online that he used to be a reporter for SF Weekly (perhaps he mentioned this before I arrived at the meeting, but I didn't notice it on his site or in his flier). Perhaps this isn't surprising -- there's appears to be a fair amount of content under his byline, and that's a hard thing to control when you're running for office. Also journalists -- the good ones -- don't get the public respect or appreciation they deserve. But what I found, I generally liked. Many of Joel's stories appear to show an awareness of, and opposition to, the harmful role of government over a wide variety of topics:

(1) A story from 1998 about there being only one bar in the Castro where it's legal to dance (thankfully this, at least, has changed somewhat for the better in the last decade) due to the difficulty of getting a permit to allow it:

(2) A story about gay culture emerging from the shadow of tyranny in China:

(3) A story about San Franciscans who live in their vehicles getting hassled by the police and looking for relief:

(4) A 1999 story about the SF Fire Department breaking its promise to run a shuttle service for its new SOMA headquarters, and instead gobbling up a bunch of scarce parking in the neighborhood, and often parking its vehicles illegally to boot, on sidewalks and even in front of fire hydrants:

(5) A tragic story about a transsexual woman from Nicaragua who was deported from the U.S. multiple times as an "illegal" migrant, only to return to San Francisco soon later each time, fleeing torture and transphobic abuse in her country of origin, and ending up at the time of writing sitting in indefinite INS detention limbo, denied her hormone pills and forced to live as a man in prison:

Love & Liberty,
                                                      ((( starchild )))

Maybe we should think in terms not of endorsing or not endorsing, but of issuing
a letter grade (A, B C D or F) based on the candidates' fidelity to libertarian
principles, such as limiting government, reducing plublic spending, disbanding
government agencies or ending foreign involvements (for national candidates).
Libertarians never seem to want to support anyone unless they are 100%
libertarian. The Libertarian Party is going to go the way of the Whigs, the
Know-Nothings or the Bull Moose Party, if we only support candidates who toe the
line on every issue.

Acting in the public sector is utterly different from acting in the private. In
hte private sector

(1) I have many choices and
(2) I can vary my choices on a daily basis
(3) My choices do not necessarily restrict the choices of others.
In the public sector
(1) I can choose between a bad candidate and a really really bad candidate
(2) Once someone is elected we're stuck with him or her no matter how
egregiously bad they may turn out

(3) Everyone is stuck with the winner no matter how few people voted for

I understand very well the reasons against watering down our principles,
but.....maybe that has something to do with our declining participation.


I have been a Libertarian since 1975. I don't need any fingers at all to count
the number of Lib candidates who I voted for and who got elected.

Hi Starchild,

I read Joel's website before going to the meeting. My "vote" remains firm against the trend we are experiencing of serving merely as an auxiliary for non-Libertarian candidates. However, at this point, I would simply not participate actively in the LPSF, rather than stand in the way of well-meaning members attempting new things.

The question you pose as to what we would be doing with our time instead of supporting non-Libertarians depends on what we mean by "supporting" a candidate. If we mean just telling the candidate "we support you"' then, I would say "nothing". If we mean actually campaigning for the candidate, I would say attending a City Hall meeting and speaking out in favor of a Libertarian position would serve the LPSF better.

As an aside, I heard hopes that Ron Paul would support Johnson. I will be surprised if he did. If he does, I might modify my strong opposition to LPSF's trend.


Beautiful! I had no problem supporting Adachi's pension reform, although I did not support Adachi. A letter grade on issues any candidate espouses is a great idea.


We are few. Our vision stands on the shoulders of great women and men.

It is not for us to bend to the illusions of the mob.
It is to jolt them awake with a clear vision of a free, peaceful, civil community.



Dear Les,

I love your suggestion of grading candidates on libertarian criteria.

I don't know of one person who has ever been a member of the LPSF who only supports candidates who are 100% libertarian. Your characterization is a gross distortion. Even an ideologue like myself passionately supports a particular candidate who opposes open borders and worships the Constitution*. That candidate is Ron Paul.

Warm regards, Michael

*To understand why supporting the U.S. Constitution does not rank as a defining issue for my type of libertarian, see /No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority/ by Lysander Spooner. It's a seminal libertarian work. Even if you disagree with its thesis, as a knowledgeable libertarian it behooves you to have read it. It's short and it's available free online in pdf format.


I'm not clear how supporting a statist like Joel Engardio would not give the message to anyone who cared (does anyone care?) that we support the usual Republocratic empty promises to make the City Govt more efficient and caring.

Warm regards, Michael


  I think "statist", like "libertarian", is a matter of degrees. I'm willing to support those who seem to be going further in the right direction than the other available choices, even if it's not as far as we'd like them to go, except in cases where it seems like backing this amount of incremental positive change will negatively impact our ability to achieve more positive change in the future.

  But I agree with you that we want people to know what we really want. It wouldn't be a bad idea though to talk on our website (or in brochures) about what we propoose for San Francisco -- sort of our own local platform. We could have one section where we talk about how we would ideally like the city to be governed (or not governed), and another section where we talk about incrementalist ideas for moving in that direction (i.e. the proposed cap on city officials' salaries at $99,999/year discussed at our meeting Saturday).

Love & Liberty,
                                ((( starchild )))

Hi Starchild and All! Thanks to everyone who weighed in on this issue. Starchild and I were the only ones who felt this candidate was worth recommending/supporting. I felt this candidate was far from perfect but much closer to our ideal than those others at The Board of Supervisors, plus he had an open mind and was receptive to Libertarian ideas. Regardless, the majority has spoken--the LPSF will not recommend or support Joel in his bid for Supervisor.

I also like Les' grading idea. Perhaps one grade on personal issues and another one on economic issues to help clarify our priorities. I think we can revisit this issue again in another meeting.

Thanks for voting!

Me too on the grading idea. Preferably even issue by issue for each candidate (at least on issues where we can get a good idea of their positions).

Love & Liberty,
                                   ((( starchild )))

I agree with Starchild.

Issue by issue would be significantly more informative.

Warm regards, Michael