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Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't Dictate Candidate Choice Between Better and Best

Brian Holtz
// Sep 27, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Michael, I obviously wouldn’t claim that all anarchists oppose vouchers, since my article says “even an anarcholibertarian like David Friedman has spoken favorably of vouchers”. This was originally written as a response to a particular anarchist, and the first sentence got garbled as I generalized the response into a standalone blog posting. I’ve changed “anarchists are mired” to “anarchists are often so mired”. The original said “Tom Blanton is so mired”.

I’ve never suggested that opposing vouchers is un-libertarian; I’m just denying the charge that supporting vouchers is un-libertarian.

Debra, you quoted me out of context. The whole sentence was: “The LP is not the right party for anarchists whose plan is for the government to keep growing until it completely collapses under its own weight.” I stand by this statement, and I’d be surprised if you disagreed with it.

Cork, if I can’t get complete separation of school and state, I’ll take tuition vouchers as a first step. If I can’t get that, I’ll take tuition tax credits as a half-step. In fact, that’s the education plank of the campaign program that I suggest LP candidates unite around:

Brian Holtz // Sep 28, 2009 at 11:43 am

Tom Blanton objects that "government MIGHT wish to retain control by regulating how vouchers may be used".  What he doesn't dare say is "government will have just as much control over education as they do now when they own the schools, choose the textbooks, choose the holidays, hire the teachers, and pay for their pensions".  Unless he dares to say that, he just isn't disagreeing with my point. In fact, he strengthens my point by quoting David Friedman: "Many of the disadvantages of government schooling could be eliminated, or at least reduced, by a voucher system."

His claim that vouchers don't "represent a clear difference between the LP candidate and the GOP candidate" is, once again, reality-impaired.  The 2008 GOP platform plank on education thoroughly assumes continued government ownership and operation of K-12 schools, and only mentions vouchers in a throwaway line that also nods toward home-schooling.  Here in California, even the libertarian-leaning GOP gubernatorial candidates Tom Campbell and Steve Poizner have backed off from vouchers.  I asked Poizner in person about vouchers a few years ago, and he said that position was politically unrealistic.

Blanton says there is "nothing wrong with advocating (on the local level) actually selling off local school buildings and getting local government out of education altogether".  I completely agree!  I don't criticize LP candidates who say that.  By contrast, Marc Montoni wants to disaffiliate any state LP that endorses a candidate like me (or Michael Munger in NC) who supports tuition vouchers.

Blanton asks "should a libertarian candidate advocate the better idea or the best idea?"  My answer is: candidates can do both, or either, according to their judgment.  What's wrong with that, Mr. Blanton?

Nobody has called Michael Savage a libertarian, so Blanton is arguing with voices in his head.  He also hears voices "embracing" Glenn Beck, but what's really happening is that Libertarians are welcoming Beck's entry into our quadrant, and hoping for more progress.

Another voice in Blanton's head exhibits "ego-driven delusions of winning an election when all odds are against them".  It can't be my voice, because I've always said that the purpose of partisan LP campaigns is to INCREASE AND PUBLICIZE the amount of support for both more economic and personal liberty.  I've never said that freedom will come from the voting strength of Libertarian-controlled legislatures, or even from the swing votes of Libertarian legislators.  I've always said that if the LP can move public policy, it will be by getting the incumbent parties to adopt our positions in order to co-opt our votes.

Yes, Mr. Blanton, I know all about Ron Paul.  He's the Republican who used his 30 minutes of national network TV time to deny he would "abolish public schools, welfare, Social Security and farm subsidies", and instead protested that "I'm the one that has saved" Social Security.  Yes, Paul advocates repealing the income tax, but my campaign was more radical -- on the front page of my campaign site I said "End taxes on income, production, sales, gifts".  Paul also opposes open borders, denies that markets can provide national defense, and insists on a "vital constitutional role in overseeing monetary policy".  So remind me, how is Ron Paul supposed to be your poster child for abolitionist campaigns?