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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The success sect

Eric, I'm not a member of any "success sect".  If there is one, I'm at best a fellow traveler.  I think the best hope for the LP in my lifetime will be to discipline the nanny state parties and to deny the Greens a monopoly on the principled progressive vote.  I'd love to be proved too pessimistic by those who advocate the farm team approach or the little-engine-that-could run-better-campaigns approach, but I'm not holding my breath.
Exclusivism about the Pledge isn't about "fun" or "philosophy 101".  It's about the bludgeon that the LP's small-tenters reserve the right to use against any American who dares to fill out the membership form for the only political party in our country that advocates both more economic liberty and more civil liberty.  If you find the existence of such a bludgeon "unnecessary" or embarrassing to the LP's "image", then don't blame those of us who have been hit with it -- blame those who swing it at us.
Yes, version 1.0 of the No 1st Force Pledge is written in my words, but when I made my $100 offer I told Hogarth "we can negotiate over the details of the pledge if necessary".  In particular, I'll still make my donation if, for each element of the N1F Pledge, the Radical Caucus either endorses it, or else proclaims that it is not and should not be in any way an implication of whatever Pledge they advocate for the LP.  The Radical Caucus claims to be about "educating LP members about the Party's core principles", and all I'm doing is offering $100 for them to take a 30-question true/false test about those principles.
If the Radical Caucus would just agree with Pledge author (and radical) David Nolan that it merely requires LP members not to be violent revolutionaries, then they get my $100, and there is no issue here.  Otherwise, I have to ask you how "useful" it is to have LP members be told that they've inadvertently taken a quasi-anarchist loyalty oath.
A leader within the LP told me recently he thinks Nolan defends the no-bomb-throwing interpretation only to make it easier to keep the Pledge as a radical bludgeon to enforce LP purity.  I can't believe that Nolan would be that Machiavellian, but maybe I'm just naive.   I don't know if noted Pledge researcher Tom Knapp had thought/heard of this theory before, but I predict that he will classify it as credible.