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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An Accordion-Style Platform?

Starchild, the principles that unite libertarians need much more space to state than a bumper sticker, and much less space to state than the 50-page promise lists of the cradle-to-grave nanny-state parties.

By "unapologetic" I mean not feeling embarrassed that artists and art subsidizers don't find anything more in our platform other than the principle that I quoted.  That something isn't said in the LP platform doesn't mean the LP can't say it.

How many "categories of subsidy" do you estimate you'd want to argue against in the platform?  The bloated 2004 platform had 62 planks, but no mention -- let alone paragraphs of evangelism -- about art subsidies.  I just don't agree that the platform should be a concatenation of a hundred or more essays trying to justify the Libertarian position in standalone and repetitive fashion.  The current process for drafting and approving LP platforms simply doesn't have enough bandwidth to process more than a few hundred words of novel text per convention. 

If it did, I might be interested in developing an accordion-style platform that can compress or expand to a wide variety of sizes.  Here are examples at various sizes:
  • 1 word: "libertarian"
  • 2 words: "market liberal"
  • 4 words: "free minds, free markets"
  • 11 words: "Protect individuals from each other, not from their own informed choices."
  • 16 words: "What you do or make is fully yours, but what you take or spoil is not."
  • 27 words: "Outlaw only fraud and force initiation. Tax only land rent and polluting/ congesting/ consuming the commons. Provide only network natural monopolies and protection of life and liberty."
  • 50 words: "Government should protect life, liberty, and property – keeping the market as free as possible from initiated force.  Government should not initiate force to protect you from your own informed voluntary choices, nor to make you offer choices to others. Government should not do anything that can be done by individuals cooperating in a free market."
  • 2500 words: 2008 LP Platform
  • 150 pages: Fred Foldvary's Science of Economics
I think the first step in such a direction would be to add a bibliography to each plank of the platform, with suggested libertarian readings and warnings that they are not necessarily endorsed verbatim by the LP.