Hi, Michael. My answers from my campaign for Chair.
To the LPSF Chair and Vice-Chair candidates:
1. Do you agree an essential position differentiating us from SF
Republicans, Democrats, and Greens is we are anti-war, when
the war violates the rights of taxpayers forced to fund it (whether
they support it or not), those soldiers coerced to fight it, and the
innocents injured or killed in the attacked country?
Yes. The only US war that doesn't violate the rights of US taxpayers is
one in response to an attack on US territory. And this response must
also be against only those who helped the attack happen. To be
specific, because the Taliban provided considerable support to Bin Laden
both before and after the 9/11 attack, the operation to remove the
Taliban from power was justified. However, as you may remember, the
sign I carried in the protests prior to the invasion of Iraq said simply
"Iraq didn't attack us. We have no right to attack Iraq." (I think we
have a photo of that somewhere.)
2. Do you support having an activity as part of every monthly meeting,
e.g., writing letters to the editor, calling elected representatives,
calling registered libertarians, etc.? Please elaborate.
As needed, yes. But I've been a part of organizations that insisted on
creating "busy work" for regular meetings, so they wouldn't do things
like outsourcing direct mail production and postage to a company like
NetPost (the USPS contractor), even though doing the work themselves
took longer and cost more than outsourcing. But I would of course
support targeted projects during meetings with "light" agendas otherwise.
3. How do you feel about LPSF members supporting the Ron
Paul candidacy as a vehicle for spreading libertarian ideas?
I dispute the assumption inherent in the question. I see absolutely
nothing libertarian about these ideas:
I strongly suggest that LPSF members find a Libertarian Party candidate
and give him or her their support. I do not wish to see any further
damage to the "Libertarian" brand name due to association with
intolerant views that do not in any way represent our Party. I've been
trying to defend the Libertarian name from such associations, most
notably in a recent article in the Advocate magazine:
4. Would you agree it's not our direct purpose to improve
the lives of individuals, but rather to teach them the freedom
philosophy which, when adhered to, would have the
consequence (we believe) of improving their lives?
We simply MUST do both. The second part comes naturally to
Libertarians, but we've got to get better at the first part. On the
upside, the vast majority of people are quite rational and objectivist
when they are allowed to compare tangible results (less so, when only
allowed to compare rhetoric and promises). They really do vote based on
what's best for their own pocketbook. If they're no better off today
than they were four (or two or six) years ago, or are even worse off,
then they will invariably vote for new leadership. On the downside,
when you're not an incumbent, but rather a challenger (as Libertarians
almost always are), you have no tangible results to sell to the voters.
And if the race is three-way, even when they're tired of the incumbent,
it's easy to lose to the other major party competitor, because voters
are far less rational when comparing rhetoric and promises from candidates.
5. What new ideas or strategies do you have for improving
the LPSF's impact in educating SF residents of the benefits,
morality, and beauty of liberty? Please elaborate.
I think that we do best when we have a big local issue we can associate
ourselves with. For example, I'd like to see the LPSF take the lead in
taking another crack at passing a new condo conversion law similar to
Prop R (a.k.a. H.O.P.E.) from several years ago. Housing constraint is
a problem that won't soon go away in San Francisco, and it's an issue
where most San Franciscans disagree with the Supervisors that "rental
stock" must only be preserved by disallowing condo conversion and not
created via new construction. They instead agree with us that the best
way to make homeownership more affordable in San Francisco is to break
the choke-hold that City Hall keeps on new construction and condo