I just read that, over the weekend, the Nevada Libertarian Party held elections for its leadership positions. At first, I reacted to this news with a shrug. It’s another story about inside politics, in a subsidiary of an organization that, even on a national level, lacks vigor.
But then, just as I was about to close the story, a little question occurred to me. It’s been nagging at me most of the morning, so I’ve decided to share it, to see if anyone can come up with an adequate answer.
The small version of my question is this: Why does the Nevada Libertarian Party hold elections to put leaders into positions of power?
Some background to my question follows.
The preamble of the platform of the Libertarian Party reads, “As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others… The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.”
Then, in the platform’s statement of principles, the Libertarian Party declares that people “should be left free by government to deal with one another as free traders; and the resultant economic system, the only one compatible with the protection of individual rights, is the free market.”
In practice, the Libertarian Party has imposed 16 pages of rules restricting the activities of Libertarian Party members, dictating in fine detail the many ways in which Libertarian Party members will not be allowed to organized themselves. Furthermore, the Libertarian Party has created a bureaucracy of 19 committees in order to enact those rules. Even the U.S. federal government has only 15 departments.
The Libertarian Party won’t allow its state and local affiliates to endorse any candidate of any other party, even when there isn’t a Libertarian Party candidate running in the race. Libertarian Party officers aren’t allowed to become candidates for public office with other political parties either.
Article 6 of the bylaws makes it explicit that the national Libertarian Party shall have the power to abridge “the autonomy of the affiliate and sub-affiliate parties”. This includes the power of the national Libertarian Party to excommunicate entire groups, ejecting them from the organization by centralized decree.
The Libertarian Party bylaws refuse to allow anyone who has not agreed to obey the Party bylaws to become an “officer” – an executor of the Libertarian Party’s centralized authority.
The Libertarian Party refuses to allow its members to choose organizational efficiency by combining the positions of “officer” when they deem appropriate.
Libertarian Party members are not allowed to pass resolutions that are deemed incompatible with the party platform’s “statement of principles” – and a special centralized committee of Libertarian Party bureaucrats is given sole power to declare what is and what is not compatible with the statement of principles.
You get the idea. Libertarians say they want to create a small government so that individuals can enjoy the benefits of individual liberty from rules. However, when it comes to their own organization, Libertarians have created a huge government, relative to the number of the Libertarian Party’s members, and have imposed centrally-controlled rules to restrict the free political activities of Libertarian Party members.
So, my larger question is: If Libertarians think that small government and individual freedom in a free market are the most effective and most ethical ways for people to get things done, why don’t they organize their own Libertarian Party according to these principles, instead of doing so with a bureaucracy that imposes a big list of rules?
How bad is it working at WalMart? It’s so bad that you can work there full-time and still need food stamps to feed your family.
You don’t have to participate in the WalMart system. You don’t have to support it. You don’t have to just complain about it. You can oppose it.
On Black Friday — November 29, 2013 — there will be protests held at WalMarts around the country, calling for WalMart to pay its workers a living wage. To find a protest near you, check out this interactive map.
Here we are, more than halfway through November, and only now am I learning that this is Manatee Awareness Month. Manatees, for those of you who are not aware, are marine mammals that live along the coast of Florida. They’re endangered because of boaters who strike the animals at high speeds, maiming and killing them. This year, huge algal blooms are also implicated in a record number of manatee deaths.
Manatees are worth becoming more aware of, but I live far away from the warm waters where the animals swim. So, is this distance the explanation for my ignorance of Manatee Awareness Month?
I checked the top 50 recent containing the word “manatee” published recently by journalists. Only 6 of those were actually about manatees. Most of the articles described human communities with “manatee” in the place name – such as Manatee County.
Some of these articles, from the News Press, USA Today, and the Sun Sentinel, were about the algal bloom problem. CBS Miami reported on the annual manatee migration to warmer waters. One Green Planet has provided a general manatee overview. NBC 40, up in New Jersey, advised its viewers that that they can get a free manatee calendar from a pro-manatee organization.
Locally and nationally, manatee awareness seems to at a low point -despite the newsworthy rise in deaths of the endangered animals.
Think back to American history class in high school or college. What did you learn about the reasons for the drafting of the Constitution in 1787? Did you learn that the Constitution was enacted in order to combat inefficiency?
That’s the way the 1787 Party, a new political party in the United States, seems to remember American history. 1787 is named after the year in which the Constitution of the United States was written and enacted, and purports to base its policy on a return to the values of the Constitution.
What those values? They’re spelled out in the introductory paragraph of the Constitution:
- federal union
- domestic tranquility
- general welfare
So, how is the 1787 Party addressing these constitutional values today? Well, it isn’t.
This morning, 1787 released a message on Twitter urging its 2,800 followers to “Check out our newest blog about 1787′s plan to stop government inefficiency!”
Inefficiency? Inefficiency is never mentioned as a concern in the Constitution. The word “efficiency” was not written into the Constitution, in any of its forms, even once.
So, what are the unelected leaders of 1787 talking about? The Twitter post links to an article in which 1787 declares that “America is the largest business in the world and it needs to be run as such.” In supporting this idea, 1787 likens the federal government to Wal-Mart, and cites the libertarian Cato Institute.
If the federal government were run like a big business, as 1787 suggests, what would happen?
- Rank and file Americans would have no say in how the country was run.
- Wealth would be concentrated in the hands of the elite, even more than it is now.
- Americans could be kicked out of the country in punishment for displeasing the leadership.
- We would all be given cubicles to live in.
- Centrally-dictated goals would be determined by the federal government, and most of us would be made accountable to managers pressured to meet the goals by any means necessary.
- Our taxes would be sent to offshore banks to evade accountability.
- Any program failing to make a profit for the federal government’s top investors would be eliminated.
If 1787 had its way, and the federal government were run like a big corporation, the American way of life would be destroyed.
The idea that the U.S. federal government should be run like a business is totally contrary to the values of the Constitution. The Constitution sets up the federal government in order to represent the ideals of the American people. It does not establish the federal government in order to make a profit. The word “business” doesn’t show up in the Constitution at all. The only time “commerce” is mentioned in the Constitution is in order to point out that the federal government should keep control over commerce by regulating it.
Perhaps, in the future, despite 1787′s centralized, undemocratic organization, the political party might be taken over by citizens who have some greater degree of sense. For now, however, the few people who tightly control 1787 are so narrowly focused on short term economic goals, from a fringe libertarian perspective, that the new party seems unlikely ever to gather the support of more than one or two percent of American voters.
This Just In: did you know that Newt Gingrich is impressed with himself?
Double Down, a newly released book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, is filled with a fair amount of stale information about the presidential election of 2012. If you look hard enough, however, you’ll find some information that is both interesting and new.
During the 2012 election season, for instance, I had spent some time checking the truth of the claim by third party Americans Elect that it was simply a neutral platform for Americans to pick their own ideal presidential candidate and that the Americans Elect leaders had no favorites they were promoting. This claim was false. Take Jon Huntsman: multiple Americans Elect corporate leaders and board members publicly backed the presidential prospects of Republican candidate Jon Huntsman and even fundraised for him over a number of months at the height of the primary period:
Halperin and Heilemann’s book draws from interviews and inside access to players inside the campaign. Halperin and Heilemann augment the already observable pattern of Americans Elect leaders promoting Jon Huntsman for President with their claim that Americans Elect was actively recruiting Huntsman to run using Americans Elect in the months surrounding the Republican “Tea Party Debate” of September 12 2011:
The biggest source of tension between Huntsman’s family and his advisers resolved around a less trivial matter: the possibility that Jon might quit the Republican Party and wage an independent bid for president. Huntsman had first placed the idea on the table immediately after the Tea Party Debate in Tampa….
“I want to go independent,” Huntsman said. “I think we should do it sooner than later.” For some time, a number of Huntsman’s supporters in New York had been encouraging him to hop in the vehicle being built by a new group called Americans Elect. Formed and partly funded by Peter Ackerman, a wealthy financier and majority shareholder in Web-based grocer FreshDirect, Americans Elect was spending millions to gain ballot access in all fifty states for an independent “unity” ticket to be chosen through an online nominating convention in June 2012.
That much was public knowledge. But Ackerman and his associates were also secretly meeting with potential big name candidates…. The group had its eye on Huntsman, too.
If the Halperin and Heilemann account is accurate, it wasn’t just loose-cannon Americans Elect leaders who were absent-mindedly promoting particular presidential candidates in the media. If this new book is to believed, Americans Elect was making an organizational push for candidates it favored at the same time it was trumpeting its “neutrality.”
Why should you care about these sorts of details in the 2012 election campaign when the 2012 election campaign is over? There’s another round of elections coming. Watch for history to repeat itself.
My springtime mind advises that, if I do not rake the leaves out of my flower beds before snow covers the ground, the spring bulbs may have a difficult time getting enough sunlight to grow well in March. My autumn mind bends down to observe the thin tail of a garter snake disappearing under the leaves, and decides to leave well enough alone.
If it weren’t for the agree-with-me-or-leave-the-country attitude of people who aggressively flap flags around, we might think better of that flag. Note the order.
5. Your name
4. When people shake hands, it is not an invitation to arm wrestle
3. Mindfulness is associated with low pattern recognition ability
2. When people leave their houses, they are expected to wear clothes
1. The big thing beneath you is called Earth
A wave of Christmas-hating degeneracy is sweeping over the world, and the American Family Association is documenting it. Jim has pointed out the AFA’s clear standard: If you don’t say Christmas, you’re a Christmas hater.
I know that the good Christian soldiers already have a lot of work on their agenda, given all the hateful people who aren’t saying “Christmas”, but I’ve just discovered two more very important targets for their campaign.
Jesus never ever said “Christmas”.
The Christian Bible is one of the longest books in the world, but not even once does it use the word “Christmas”.
Clearly, Jesus and the Bible are anti-Christmas. In the name of Christianity, we must boycott Jesus and the Christian Bible!