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Monday, April 28, 2008

RE: We need a Denver Accord to reaffirm the Dallas Accord

Starchild wrote:

SC) Expressing my concern that the Libertarian Party not become libertarian-lite is not name-calling. (SC

"Lite", "nerf", "foam rubber", "mini-me", "watered down", "wishy-washy" -- these are the names that radicals have been using against Platform reform.  They have zero intellectual content.  If you're really just trying to say that you don't want the LP to become "less radical" or "more moderate", then why hide behind the pejorative word "lite"?

SC) I've stated my views on this topic pretty clearly -- I'm against age discrimination. (SC

No, you haven't stated your views on this topic clearly.  You've said you're against bright lines.  Congratulations, so am I.  I'll ask you for the third time: "is it or is it not immoral [i.e. against libertarian principles] for the state to legislate a rebuttable ability-to-consent presumption that includes age as a factor?"

SC) We don't want to move *one step* toward a less radical party! (SC

Translation: only anarchists and "zero-aggression" abstentionists get to have a veto on Platform language.

SC)  I'm asking you now to return to the 2004 platform and use that as a starting point. But you don't want that as a starting point, do you? You want to hold onto the gutted 2006 platform as the starting point (SC

Please get your facts straight.  I voted with the Platform Committee which is on record as recommending that the delegates should throw out the entire 2006 platform as well as its format.  In fact, even your Restore04 group is not using the 2004 platform as a "starting point".  They are cutting its plank count in half, completely replacing its section organization, throwing out 4000 words (have they told you which ones?), and adding hundreds of words of novel language (have they identified them to you?) that have never been vetted/debated by a NatCon or a PlatCom.  Apparently the 2004 platform was so bad that even Restore04 won't defend it.

BH) you want to claim for your narrow ZAPsolutist school of libertarianism (BH

SC) Who's name-calling? (SC

You don't claim to be absolutist about the Zero Aggression Principle?

I definitely don't claim to be "lite".

See the difference?

I still say that you are a less-than-optimally-principled libertarian to the extent that you disagree with the principles of the EcoLibertarian Manifesto.  Should I therefore call you "lite"?

BH)  Can you quote a single sentence in the 2004 Platform with which you disagree on principle? (BH

SC) You're putting the cart before the horse. Let's restore the 2004 platform first, (SC

I can't ask you a simple question until you get your preferred platform restored?  Gee, that sounds fair.  Either you have the intellectual courage to answer my question, or you don't.  Admit it -- you want libertarians like you to hold over Platform content a veto power that you would deny to libertarians like me.

SC) You said non-aggression was your primary political value. Has that changed? (SC

I repeat my unanswered remarks to you here from Mar 29:

You're simply conflating 1) advocating OPPOSITION to aggression and 2) advocating ABSOLUTE ABSTINENCE from aggression.  I've been trying for almost three years to get you to face this distinction, and I'm out of ideas for how to get you to notice it.  Here are two more attempts:

1) I dare you to say "If one doesn't advocate absolute abstinence from X, then one cannot claim to oppose X."  If you can't say this, then I don't see where you're disagreeing with me.
2) Needles cause pain.  Doctors use needles.  Do you conclude that doctors do not have a fundamental goal of minimizing pain?
Minimizing the incidence of force-initiation **IS** the goal that I **ALWAYS** argue for against ZAPsolutists -- who instead argue for absolute abstinence from force-initiation, regardless of the (allegedly unpredictable) consequences in terms of an increased amount of force-initiation.  I wrote to you in Sep 2005:
I dispute your apparent premise that the Non-Aggression Principle (or Zero-Aggression Principle) is the essence of libertarianism. I would say that the essence of libertarianism is the Anti-Aggression Principle, which says that the role and incidence of aggression in society is to be minimized. (This is precisely equivalent to saying the role and incidence of liberty in society are to be maximized.)
Three years, Starchild.  I've been making this point to you for almost THREE YEARS.  Are you ever going to face it?
SC) I think you're the first person I've ever heard talk about these alleged "major schools" of libertarianism. I don't buy it. (SC
To deny there are distinct schools of libertarianism is to disqualify yourself from serious discussion here.  Please come back after reading:
SC) I think the Non-Aggression Principle is the heart and soul of libertarianism and the Libertarian Party (SC
Yes, OPPOSITION to aggression is the heart and soul of libertarianism and the LP.  But not all of us define aggression in precisely the same way (given these 25 free variables in libertarian theory), and many (most?) of us don't agree with you that absolutist abstention from force-initiation is the best way to oppose it.
SC) I would like to see a Denver Accord that reaffirms the Dallas Accord and formally commits the LP to using language in its governing documents that does not exclude either anarchy or limited government as possibilities. (SC
I would like you to explain why your narrow school of libertarianism gets veto privileges on Platform content, but other schools don't.  We don't all get what we wish for.
SC) Radical libertarians, anarchist or otherwise, may have their differences with some of the language in the 2004 platform (SC
Prove it.  Quote a sentence from the 2004 Platform that you fundamentally disagree with.  I can quote at least ten that I disagree with.
SC) but recognize it as superior to the document adopted in Portland (SC
Strawman.  Nobody is defending keeping that document.  No such proposal will be on the table in Denver.
SC) and therefore are not interested in providing soundbites criticizing it or pointing out their disagreements with it at a time when we are trying to restore it (SC
Oh, so you're putting political expediency ahead of an open and honest discussion of principle.  Thanks for finally explaining your uncharacteristic evasiveness.  However, I don't think you'll further your revanchist aims by being coy about whether your faction demands effective veto power over platform content -- unless, of course, you recognize that you do demand such a veto.
SC) I think the contention that we are "sitting at the kids' table" in the LP is absurd. Libertarian spokespersons and  Libertarian Party documents regularly say [...]  (SC
The SoP and Platform trump all those spokespersons and press releases.  Indeed, the Platform was vaguely and mysteriously invoked by the Advertising and Publications Review Committee to summarily abolish the official LP Program that the LP had promoted for over a decade.  The Platform is the very bludgeon that radicals like you try to use against LP spokespersons whose deviations you condemn.  That your bludgeon doesn't always work perfectly is a poor argument that you should be allowed to keep wielding it.
SC) One would logically think that for someone truly worried about anarchists dominating the LP, an agreement under which the party favors neither anarchy nor limited  government would be seen as a blessing (SC
No, if the LP had the intellectual courage to call itself the Anarchist Party or the Zero State Power Party or the Force Initiation Abstention Party, then I'd be happy to quit and throw my support to the real libertarians at Cato and Reason.  But as long as this party uses the label "Libertarian", I'm going to fight to make it ecumenical toward all principled libertarians.
SC) Yet the main defenders of the Accord seem to be  radicals. Why do you suppose that is? (SC
I already told you.  Please pay attention.  I told you that the Dallas Accord "gives a Platform veto only to the anarchists and ZAPsolutists".  I too would love a Portland Accord that gave such a veto only to my side, but I'll settle for a Denver Accord that creates a level playing field.
SC) "In 1990, the Dutch parliament made sex  between adults and children ages 12 to 16 legal as long as there was mutual consent. The child or the child's parents can bring charges if they believe the minor was coerced into sex." The LP is in pretty bad shape if we can't even do better than a government parliament when it comes to reducing the role of government! (SC
Please try to keep your arguments straight.  You're the one here defending Ruwart's position that there should be no laws that consider age to be any factor in sexual consent, and I'm the one arguing that the law should include an age-specific 4-year-window during which we flip the polarity of the rebuttable presumption that juries start from in deciding each case.
SC) ""Legally designating a class of  people categorically unable to consent to sexual relations [...] " (SC
Strawman.  I repeat: "Ruwart's not in trouble for opposing bright-line legislation for protecting minors.  She's in trouble for opposing any state legislation that isn't completely age-blind -- i.e., that doesn't make the same default assumptions about 3-year-olds as it does about 30-year-olds."
Nobody benefits when you make arguments that I can answer merely by quoting what I've already written to you.  Please try to keep such arguments to a minimum. :-)
SC) I also believe that holding party office, voting on party policy (platform, bylaws, etc.), or representing the LP as a candidate for public office (to the extent we can control this), *should* be carefully restricted on the basis of ideology. I have no set beliefs on the precise mechanism(s) to be employed, or what the cutoff point (s) should be, but I think it is vital that we ensure the party remains in the hands of people who agree with the general proposition that humans should be able to live their lives as they choose, short of initiating force or fraud. (SC
Over the last three years you've audited my opinions and positions in great detail.  Do you think there should be a mechanism that keeps LP members from being able to choose me as a candidate, officer, or Platform committee member?  Recall that on principle I advocate things like pollution taxes, land value taxes, and the right of the accused to subpoena witnesses.  I've asked you before whether you think I'm violation of the Pledge, but you've walked right up to the line of saying I am, without ever actually putting your toe across it.  Surely you have enough information on my ideology to decide whether to "restrict" me, right?  So what's your verdict?