These opinions warrantied for the lifetime of your brain.

Loading Table of Contents...

Monday, March 10, 2008

RE: Platform surveys for candidates and LP leaders

Starchild wrote:

BH) I'm attempting to strengthen our opposition to aggression by expanding the list of individual rights that we defend and the ways that we advocate defending them. (BH

SC) Oh? What individual rights does the LP currently not defend, that you think we should defend? (SC

For starters:

  • the right to be protected from invading armies strong enough to overcome anarchotopian militias;
  • the right to be protected from the murderous whims of neighbors(*) thousands of times wealthier than you;
  • the right to be protected from aggression where the damage caused is less than the cost to the victim of targeting, contesting, winning, and enforcing a tort claim against the aggressor;
  • the right of every individual to equal access to and enjoyment of the natural productivity of land;
  • the Sixth Amendment right of the accused to subpoena witnesses;
  • the general right of the accused not to be subject to Yellow Pages prosecution services that do not uphold the right to 1) be presumed innocent, 2) be free from arbitrary searches and incarceration, 3) know the charges against them, 4) have assistance of counsel, 5) examine the evidence against them, 6) confront hostile witnesses, 7) abstain from self-incrimination, 8) have a fair speedy public trial, and 9) be free from ex post facto charges, double jeopardy and cruel and unusual punishment.
(*) I live two driveways down from Andy Grove, who has a net worth in the hundreds of millions.  He could always outbid my every effort to buy protection from him, and have me whacked at any time with vanishingly little fear of retribution.  This isn't merely hypothetical. John Gotti whacked his neighbor because of the neighbor's innocent involvement in a car accident fatal to Gotti's child who was biking carelessly in the street.

SC) What means of defending them do you think we should advocate that we do not currently advocate? (SC

For starters:

  • a state monopoly on retaliatory and punitive force, that observes/enforces all the rights of the accused;
  • policing (e.g. through pollution fees) of forms of micro-aggression that are too distributed and cumulative to allow tort-based control;
  • land value taxation to prevent free-riding on the contributions of your neighbors toward national defense and universal access to the justice system;
  • fees for congestion or unsustainable consumption of the commons, and returning to the commons the ground rent of exclusively-possessed land, in order to compensate those individuals excluded from it;
  • a Sixth Amendment right of the accused to subpoena witnesses.

(Anarchotopians may claim that they oppose violations of the rights of the accused that I list above, but they advocate no mechanism that actually tries to protect those rights.  They instead merely say it's a shame when such rights are violated.)

SC) And how are these goals related to seeking to abandon the Non-Aggression Principle? (SC

The same way your question is related to your efforts to stop beating your mother.

I advocate an LP tent big enough to accept as first-class members those of us whose fundamental value is the actual protection of individual rights, instead of declaring us inferior to libertarians whose fundamental value is abstention from violation of individual rights.

BH) I'm merely asking to pay the Radical Caucus to do what it claims it already wants to do: "educate LP members about the Party’s core principles". (BH

SC) With all due respect Brian, these are word games. (BH

"The Party's core principles" are expressed in words.  If the Radical Caucus can't answer straightforwardly-worded questions about those principles, then it should change its declared purpose.

SC) What you appear to want -- a platform and a party that put less emphasis on the Non-Aggression Principle -- is at odds with what I believe the Radical Caucus wants, namely education that will strengthen the commitment of Libertarians to non-aggression. (SC

I indeed want to expand the LP's foundational texts to be ecumenical toward both libertarians who want to actually protect individual rights AND libertarians who want to merely to set a good example of abstaining from violating  individual rights.

SC) I don't believe that coming up with those documents involved any kind of internal democratic process. I think an "endorsement" -- a statement generally assumed to reflect the views of an organization's duly-chosen leaders, or its membership at large -- should involve a higher standard of due process in order to really have any significant meaning, don't you? (SC

I wouldn't know, as I'm not part of a group that presumes to "educate LP members about the Party’s core principles".  I would think that such a group would, after nearly two years of existence, perhaps have some methodology for answering questions from LP members about a topic like, say, the Party's core principles.  But maybe I'm wrong, and maybe the group is primarily a moral purity exhibitionism club for people who don't think the LP itself is good enough at that sort of thing.

SC) I'll check out the links, but may want to fill out the surveys directly (i.e. have you send them to me) rather than via a website. (SC

There's nothing fancy involved, it's just reading statements and then writing down the extent to which you agree with them.  You're either up for it or not.  I'll pay you guys to "educate me", but I draw the line at genuflecting outside your inbox. :-)

SC) I might not object to eating a single greasy, high-fat meal, [...] (SC

Argumentum ad McDonaldsem.  You can either address the substance of the 18 2004 Platform quotes and the 30 elements of the No 1st Force Pledge, or you can keep dancing away from them. Your call.

SC) What approximate percentage of the current draft would you guess that you are responsible for? (SC

In one sense, zero percent, since the the draft is 100% recycled from past platforms -- and about 2/3 of the language was in the 2004 Platform that the radicals claim to love so much.  I'd guess there's only about 50% overlap between the language I chose to include a year ago and the language in the current draft, and the plank count grew from 21 to 27.

BH) "LP Radicals: We Think About Libertarian Principles So You Don't Have To"

SC) Sure... just let me know when the "Reform" Caucus will be adopting the slogan, "Who Says Winning Isn't Everything?" (SC

Nice try, but while Susan's censorship is still going strong and my questions about principles remain unanswered, the Reform Caucus has long since moved away from the pamphlet-like Contract-With-America next-four-years style of platform that some winning-focused reformers had been advocating.  The Pure Principles Platform is the sane and reasonable middle ground between a verbal diarrhea platform that was repudiated in Portland and a reformista approach that was repudiated in the recent PlatCom Chair's survey: Platform Survey Rebukes Silence and Length.