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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

RE: Opposition to the Platform Committee's draft?

Harland Harrison wrote:

BH) "I will be a delegate in Denver, I have read all 2500 words of the 27-plank Platform Committee draft, and I nevertheless believe that the LP should instead restore most of the language that was in the 14,000-word 62-plank 2004 Platform." (BH

HH) Does ‘PlatformFeedback’ really want a cascade of that boilerplate language, or is Brian Holtz just being facetious? (HH

We'll take any feedback we can get, but the most effective way for members to get us to change our draft is to say they've read it and then give actionable complaints about it.  Since the feedback address was announced in LP News six months ago, we've gotten 15 messages -- 14 of them from the same guy.

HH)  Both are good, but I do prefer 2004.  I do not why you call for such divisiveness, but the 2004 Platform is more complete. (HH

I'm not sure what you mean by "divisiveness", but the delegates can't have both the 2004 Platform and the proposed 2008 draft, so some kind of choice is necessary.  I personally think the problem with 2004, aside from its length and redundancy, is in fact its divisive extremism, e.g. personal secession, privatizing all streets, and immediate non-enforcement of all tax laws.  I notice that none of these were included in your specific complaints about our draft.

HH) Notice what government “Child Protective Services” is doing in Texas, for example.  The 2004 Platform says that only a court should be able to take children from their parents; the “Pure Principles” draft leaves that out. (HH

"Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs."  I don't agree we need to specify the mechanism by which children can be taken from their parents.  The 2004 language was in fact absurdly vague: "Only local courts should be empowered to remove a child from his or her home, with the consent of the community."  What in the world is the phrase "consent of the community" doing in a Libertarian platform?  It's in Rob Power's draft, too, so maybe he can explain it to us. :-)

HH) The “Pure Principles” draft says nothing about torture at all.  The 2004 platform condemns government torture:  ” We particularly abhor the widespread and increasing use of torture for interrogation and punishment.” (HH

The context suggests that this language was not aimed at Washington D.C: "We condemn the violations of human rights in all nations around the world. We particularly abhor the widespread and increasing use of torture for interrogation and punishment. The violation of rights and liberty by other governments can never justify foreign intervention by the United States government."

The proposed 2008 Platform says: "The Bill of Rights provides no exceptions for a time of war."  I hope you're not telling us that the Bill of Rights does not cover torture.  Our draft also says: "We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied."

But this is a good suggestion; the Committee should consider adding specific language about torture.  I personally prefer the language of articles 1-21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights over the comparable language of any past LP platform.  Article 5 says "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

HH) The “Pure Principles” draft says nothing [about nuclear weapons]; the 2004 Platform recognizes the obligation of all armies to protect civilians, and the duty of our government to spend military dollars appropriately. (HH

Can you quote the language to which you refer?  The only mention of "civilians" in the 2004 Platform's military plank says not to target civilians with nuclear weapons.  Our draft says: "We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups." 

I don't see what room is left for inappropriate spending of "military dollars" in our language:  "We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world and avoid entangling alliances. [...] American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world and its defense against attack from abroad. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid."