RE: Non-aggression pledge.

David Nolan, who I think either wrote the pledge or had a hand in
writing it back around the time he and others were founding the
Libertarian Party, has said that the purpose of the pledge was as Chris
reports -- to give us the ability to point to something saying that we
are not advocating violence except in self-defense, and that it was not
designed as a "purity test."

  However, I think that the enduring popularity of the pledge has been
due to the fact that it *is* a statement of principle. It *does* set us
apart from other parties, and that's a *good* thing. By asking people
to sign it as a condition of membership we are essentially saying, "If
you want to be entrusted with the ability to help shape the policies
and direction of the Libertarian Party, you must be concerned with

  Perhaps even more importantly, the pledge also implies that the
Non-Aggression Principle is central to the Libertarian Party's reason
for being, which I believe is the truth. If we abandon the NAP, and
just become a moderate party advocating smaller government, there's no
"fixed star in our constellation" (to borrow a Supreme Court phrase).
If this happens, we will become much more susceptible to having what we
believe in get sold out from under us by future LP leaders and elected
officials, to an extent that will make us nostalgic for the relatively
minor deviations we are seeing now (typically from the kind of
Libertarians agitating to discard the pledge, I might add).

Yours in liberty,
        <<< Starchild >>>

Derek Jensen wrote:

Yes, this is the same question I had. I always suspected that mabe it
was because perhaps at some point the Michigan Militia types were
starting to gain influence within the LP.

The pledge has been around longer than that — since the beginning of
party, I believe. But it’s proven itself useful in precisely those
when various violent types get identified as associated with us, we can
point to the Pledge and say, “no, those are not our principles, and
violating them can be (and have been) expelled from the party.”

For example, there was a fellow in New Hampshire, running for state
legislature a few years ago, who said that it was justifiable to shoot
cop who pulled you over for a traffic violation. He was running as a
Republican; the Republican Party said, “Uh… he’s, he’s actually a
libertarian!” We were able to say, “No, we kicked his crazy ass out of
the party for violating our pledge. You took him in.”

I believe that the Pledge’s origins lie in the party’s birth in part
the SDS, which began to advocate violent revolution. As a political
party, we are working for change within the system, and believe that
is only acceptable in defense of one’s self or others.

Christopher R. Maden, Principal Consultant, crism consulting
<URL: >
PGP Fingerprint: BBA6 4085 DED0 E176 D6D4 5DFC AC52 F825 AFEC 58DA

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