Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Libertarian Party Not Pro-Peace Enough

I received the below bit of info from the Libertarians For Peace Yahoo Group. It was written by a Jeff S. Many members of this group feel that the LP's Iraq Exit Strategy does not go far enough.

Anyway, I think the below item from Jeff S. contains some info that may be of interest to libertarians:

"A few weeks ago I talked in-person with one of the LNC at-large reps. Without saying who it was, I'll just say he is one of those thought to be 'practical' as opposed to 'ideological.' He was genuinely upset with Joe Seehusen over the IES matter, because of how the statement was released without LNC approval. He said the matter would be addressed at the upcoming meeting. When asked if he felt IES conflicted with the platform, he would only say he was angry about being put in the position of having to consider that question.

"I just looked at Sean Haugh's blog (Sean routinely publishes reports on LNC meetings), and no action on IES is mentioned. Maybe something will show up in his full _Liberty for All_ report, when that comes out.

"My acquaintance on the LNC seemed convinced this was something dreamt up and done by the staff, without even National Chair Michael Dixon being in on it. Maybe, since Seehusen is gone, those with issues against the staff feel sufficiently mollified; or maybe they no longer have an interesting enough target. I have no idea.

"Anyone not an LP member probably won't have seen the latest issue of LP News, which includes a blatantly one-sided and misleading account of IES -- an account disparaging the statement's critics without giving any detail of their arguments.

"LP News failed to report that the bylaws REQUIRE LNC APPROVAL on major policy statements. Instead, the little allusion made to the approval issue left the impression it was a matter for interpretation, and that it had only been raised on the blog by members 'and even some non-members,' not by LNC members or other big wheels.

"I could go on, for example about how a minor figure from was quoted as having a somewhat favorable view of IES, even though publisher Eric Garris -- as quoted on this list -- thinks IES is a disaster and talked to the staff himself about it.

"I was bothered when LP News reported LNC approval of a dues increase without thinking it relevant to mention it was done by secret ballot. I am bothered by LP News repeatedly giving space to George Squyres to push his proposed immigration plank, without allowing critics anything approaching equal space. (Personally, I hate the proposed plank for more reasons than are appropriate to go into here.)

"Back to IES, LP News is a shameless apologist for somebody: I suppose one could assume that, even after the flak raised by IES's release, the staff still has balls enough to voice controversial views all its own through the party newspaper. One _could_ assume that, but I'm not.

"The day after I read the latest LP News, I called LPHQ and discontinued my monthly pledge. I cited as reasons the unapproved release of IES (with secondary platform concerns), and the shameless use of LP News as an organ of propaganda.

"I also mentioned how certain 'hired guns' have been brought forward to supposedly show how IES aligns with the platform, and how these efforts can't be taken seriously. (Maybe some of those glib 'experts' should have a talk with National Chair Dixon, since even he -- with his long and varied LP experience, including having chaired the platform committee -- publicly acknowledged the discrepancy early on.)

"For its part, LP News only made nonspecific references to the pro-IES platform-related arguments, perhaps sensing that a more detailed look would expose those arguments to the ridicule they deserve.

"It's saddened me to realize how some within the party apparently are capable of arguing any side of an issue; I wonder if the only factor determining _which_ side is how doing so will enhance or diminish their power within the party.

"We've sometimes talked here about 'means justifies the ends' utilitarianism. The degree to which I've seen this in the LP over the last few years, even among people I have (or had) a certain respect for, has really taken a toll on my interest in the party.

"What a person _does_ cannot be separated from what they _are_. What is true for individuals can also be applied to political parties. The last LP News triumphantly announces (what it hopes will be) the party's repudiation of the Values of Being -- though of course the issue isn't framed that way.

"At bottom this represents a clash of worldviews, since political philosophy can't truly be separated from philosophy as a whole. The LP is well on the way to losing its soul."

Jeff S.

Jeff adds:

"Contrary to my previous observation, it now appears _some_ action resulting from IES was taken at the recent LNC meeting -- the reinstatement of a committee to oversee advertising and publications. Not enough, since there is no repudiation of the objectionable elements in IES, but it's a positive sign nevertheless.

"After reviewing the LP bylaws again, I should probably say they don't baldly state that all major policy statements must have LNC approval. However, I believe only someone with a pre-existing agenda could read them -- particularly Article 6, which deals with the LNC control of the party program -- and think it appropriate that a major statement such as IES be issued without LNC approval. An objective observer would assume this policy statement, one that will likely tower above all others for sometime to come, should have had prior or concurrent explicit LNC approval as to its basic content.

"It is also stated, in the fifth item of Article 6, that no program proposal (at least tacitly this should govern major policy statements) shall conflict with the LP Platform -- even with LNC approval.

"One could also make a case based on previous precedent, which I do not think has ever seen a statement of this magnitude-- let alone a controversial one -- released without LNC approval.

"Readers may be interested to know my source for the views of publisher Eric Garris. It is a reply Libs4peace list member Terry Parker received from him, along with Mr. Garris's permission to share his comments:"

The below is by Eric Garris of

"Dear Terry,

"It is worse than that. I called and talked to the new Communications Director, Shane Cory, about the plan. He brought up the Marshall Plan as a good example to emulate in Iraq, since it 'worked so well for Europe.' I mentioned that Nixon had a similar plan in 1971 in Vietnam, and Cory said that he would have been successful had it not been for the public interference (ie, the antiwar movement).

"He also said that this was 'just the beginning,' since the LP is perceived as way too radical and we needed to go after the Bush people. He said other stuff, but I started to go into shock and can't remember it all right now."

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