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Thursday, May 8, 2008

RE: [CALibs] Ed Clark on anarchism (video)

Starchild wrote:

SC) . A brief clip that includes 1980 LP presidential candidate Ed Clark being asked about anarchy and the Libertarian Party. Except for dissociating the party from violence, he does not attempt to disown anarchists at all, merely saying that "as a political movement, Libertarians don't envision anarchism as an immediate alternative." (SC

Your "at all, merely" is very misleading, and the word "anarchism" here is a misquote.  Here's what censorship of me on lpradicals and lpsf-discuss will prevent readers there from learning Clark actually said:

EC) The Libertarian Party is a classically liberal party, and a classically liberal party believes that people are basically good, that they can take care of themselves, and that the best way to create a better society is to have smaller government and lower taxes. So we would reduce taxes, we would reduce spending, we would reduce overseas military commitments, we'd take government completely out of the whole regulation of lifestyles. [...] The whole Libertarian Party is aiming toward very major cuts in government, a very much smaller government, and as a political movement I don't think Libertarians envision no government as an immediate alternative. (EC

"Smaller government" and "lower taxes" is a clear distinction from anarchism, and this is why the 1980 Clark campaign was viciously criticized by the anarchist LP godfather Murray Rothbard (who also mocked Clark for only getting 5X the votes of the 1976 campaign!).  Rothbard's criticisms drove out the moderate faction, who went on to fame in the Cato Institute while the LP never repeated the success of Clark's moderate 1978 and 1980 campaigns.  After Rothbard hollowed out the LP, he and the entire leadership of his Radical Caucus abandoned the LP for the GOP, variously endorsing candidates like Pat Buchanan and G.W. Bush -- and in the case of Rothbard's top anarchist lieutenant Bill Evers, even working for Bush in Iraq and now the federal Dept of Education.  The dead hand of these Republicans still steers the LP, even as one of them (Rockwell) mocks the LP for having been subjected to a "brain drain".  The LP's current radicals are a cargo cult who now have built a coconut-and-bamboo version of Rothbard's earlier formidable Radical Caucus, hoping their effigy will reincarnate the power of their long-departed moderate-excluding gods, who in 1980 strode the LP like titans and thundered "Never again Clark!  Never again Crane!"

SC) During the '80s and '90s and up to the present, I believe the party gradually became ideologically weaker and less radical, and partly as a result of this, lost the momentum it had during the 1970s. (SC

The LPradicals list will never hear that you've got your history backwards.  The LP started out as an explicitly minarchist party, and its greatest successes stopped when the radicals finished seizing control by driving out the Cato faction in 1983.  Bergland's radical campaign in 1984 was an embarrassment, and -- according to LP archivist/blowhard Eric Dondero -- Bergland wrote a two-page LP News article in 1985 advocating alliance with NAMBLA and similar groups.  Personal secession was added to the Platform in 1986, and the notorious Children's Rights plank was elaborated on during the 1980s before finally being moderated in 1996.