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Friday, May 2, 2008

The Grownups' Table and The Kids' Table

Starchild and Less and Steve LaBianca: spare us the vapid imagery about "locking our ideology up in the attic" or "last nails for the coffin of a principled party" or "throwing out the baby with the bathwater", and just answer the questions:
1. Have you even read the Platform Committee's draft?
2. What in your opinion is the most important libertarian principle that a 2/3 majority of NatCon delegates would agree is missing from it?
3. What in your opinion are the most important specific policy questions that a 2/3 majority of NatCon delegates would agree do not have any answer in it but should?
If you don't have enough testicular fortitude to answer these questions, then your whining is content-free.
Starchild, I loudly and vigorously argue that the state may initiate the absolute minimum force to enforce a framework of legal due process, such as the Sixth Amendment right of the accused to coercively subpoena innocently bystanding witnesses.  I loudly and vigorously argue that the state may use pollution "taxes" (i.e. court-contestable default point-of-sale fines) to punish pollution micro-aggression.  I loudly and vigorously argue that the state may use court-contestable land value "taxes" to require site monopolizers to return the site's ground rent to the community commons when the site's monopolization is in violation of the Lockean mandate to "leave as much and as good" when homesteading from a commons.  Now, am I in violation of your Non-Aggression Principle, or not?  Am I in violation of the Pledge, or not?   Do you have a firm enough grasp of your libertarian principles to answer these questions, or are your principles simply mush?
You proclaim here on Third Party Watch that "there’s no getting around the fact that coercive taxation is still a form of theft and slavery".  Do you have any recording of you -- or any radical LP candidate -- ever saying "taxation is slavery" to a general-voter audience?  It's time to fact-check this urban legend that today's LP radicals have the guts to "hold high the banner" of radicalism in front of anything but a Libertarian audience.  I don't want to hear this "taxation is slavery" nonsense one more time until you come back with a recording of it being proclaimed to a general-voter audience.  Bonus points if it's an African-American audience.
I'm not an "anti-radical" -- I claim I'm *more* radical than you.  I oppose force initiation so vigorously that I'm willing to do more than just abstain from it.  I hold individual rights -- like the right of the accused to subpoena witnesses -- so dear that I'm willing to protect them even if it gets a spot on my lily-white gloves.  I only hope that someday you're as radical as I am in your opposition to force initiation.  I have faith that your libertarian journey is not yet over.
Less, you have the purpose of the Platform and individual campaigns exactly backwards.  You think the Platform should be a detailed extremist crypto-anarchist tract that leaves no room for principled minarchist state protections of individual rights, and yet you think that our anarchist and state-abolitionist candidates should bite their tongues and not test whether their abolitionist principles resonate with their particular set of voters.  It's far better for the Platform to state all and only the principles that unite all good Libertarians, and to let each candidate test how her own presentation of her Libertarian principles resonates with her audience.  It's far better to have every Libertarian candidate making an honest case for her own detailed vision of what she would do in office, than to put an extremist Platform albatross around the neck of each candidate and then tell them all to ignore it and stick with a uniform "libertarian lite" campaign message.
If "libertarians can get along magnificently without complete agreement", then why don't we trade places?  You anarchists let us minarchists write a Platform with a dozen statements that you reject on principle, and we minarchists will let you anarchists practice "getting along magnificently without complete agreement".  If the kids' table is so great, why don't you trade me your chair at the grownups' table?