Monday, September 22, 2014

What Now?

The Libertarian Party came into existence because the hunger for freedom was already large in the minds and hearts of Americans.  

Americans are still hungry. 

The Libertarian Party was intended to be a tool for reclaiming local control, individual rights, and a judiciary which provides dispassionate justice for all.  

Within our communities we can care for each other through our churches and other organizations.  But we need freedom to accomplish our goals.  

Because the LP was hijacked, its trust extinguished, by the Kochs in the early 80s, there remains an unmet need for a political party which represents the nexus between right and left, is proactive on such issues as the lack of accountability by such corporate interests as Koch Industries and against the regulatory infrastructure which, today, is taking aim on Americans who assert their right to live free from governmental over sight.  

Only when all political factions come together, creating traction for action, will be have the needed power to take back our live, renewing local control of our communities.   

Can the Libertarian Party become that tool for freedom?  You tell me. 

The Late Great Libertarian Macho Flash

From: Libertarian Party of Michigan

Comment:  The original article from the Libertarian Party of Michigan site is a straight quote of Emerling-Cloud.

The underlying assumption of this 'approach' to political persuasion is the enormously overstated assertion a significant number of Libertarians ever used this 'technique.'   

Certainly Emerling-Cloud did - and noticed it cut down on his opportunities to sell his ideas and so make a profit.  In this period the LP was populated by far more women and men who were always civil and knew perfectly well what was, and was not acceptable.

But the assertion 'flashing' was a problem was generally accepted because Emerling-Cloud always cited someone doing it elsewhere.  

Defending the Undefendable, a fine book by Walter Block, a respected economist teaching at Loyola University in New Orleans,  is not an example of flashing, focusing as it does on victimless crimes and the persecution of those who choose to make life choices which are unconventional.

Having moderated a panel on this subject in 1977, with Professor Block as one of the panelists I can say categorically no Macho Flashing took place.  

The shock value of the ominous specter of 'Macho Flashing' added enormously to the profits Emerling-Cloud accrued on his lecture tours. 


… From Michael Emerling-Cloud’s Essence of Political Persuasion

(It was a large and expensive home.)

It was a large and expensive home. The architecture radiated impeccable taste. Seated around the dining table were five people: three moderates, a conservative and a libertarian. The conservative was a multimillionaire — and a generous political contributor. After dinner she turned to the libertarian and said, “Our hosts tell me you’re a libertarian. Maybe I’m a little naive, but I don’t know what that word means. Could you tell me about your beliefs?”
“Sure. I can explain them in a sentence: ‘Fuck the State!’ Libertarians want to get rid of as much government as they can.”

The woman was stunned. She dropped the subject and guided the conversation into other areas. In her mind, two things were associated with ‘libertarian': bad manners and gutter language.
In the early 1960’s, a student asked a spokesman for Objectivism what would happen to the poor in a free society. The spokesman answered, “If you want to help them, you will not be stopped.” What did the student conclude? That Objectivists are indifferent to human need, callous toward the unfortunate, and without solutions to the misery of poverty.  MORE

The Dallas Accord

From:  The Wiki 

The Dallas Accord was an implicit agreement made at the 1974 Libertarian National Convention to compromise between the larger minarchist and smaller anarcho-capitalist factions by adopting a platform that explicitly did not say whether it was desirable for the state to exist.[1][2][3]

The purpose of the Dallas Accord was to make the Libertarian Party of the United States a "big tent" that would welcome more ideologically diverse groups of people interested in reducing the size of government. Therefore, the 1974 platform focused on statements arguing for getting government out of various activities, and used phrases such as "where governments exist..." It was agreed that the topic of anarchism would not even be on the table for discussion until a limited government were achieved.[3][4]

During the following years the number of anarchists in the party dropped by about half and more conservative-oriented and constitutionalist members joined.[3][5] 

During the 2006 Libertarian National Convention delegates deleted a large portion of the very detailed platform. They added the phrase "Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property."[6] This development has been described as the "Portland Massacre". Some took this as meaning the Dallas Accord was dead.[3] 

 Delegates tried in 2008 to restore the platform, without success. Anarchists do continue to work in the party and run for office.[5] Anarchist philosophies of no government still are supported by planks of the party platform, one of which describes the "right to alter or abolish government" and another which states that "Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval."[6]


  1. Mike Hihn, "The Dallas Accord, Minarchists, and why our members sign a pledge", Washington State Libertarian Party, August 2009.
  2. Paul Gottfried, The conservative movement: Social movements past and present , Twayne Publishers, 1993, p. 46.
  3. Less Antman, The Dallas Accord is Dead, Lew, May 12, 2008.
  4. Carl Watner and Paul Bilzi, [ "What's Next in the Pursuit of Liberty"], "The Voluntaryist", November 1984; see also Murray Rothbard reply letter posted by then-The Voluntaryist editor Wendy McElroy at her web site.
  5. Knapp, Thomas, "Time for a new Dallas Accord?", Rational Review.
  6. Libertarian Party platform.

The Libertarian Pledge

The Libertarian Pledge 
The Libertarian Pledge was dreamed up by David Nolan, a very busy guy back then, and used the emotionally powerful language familiar to the two groups who made up the majority of those who then considered themselves to be Libertarians, the Randians and the Miseans. Randians followed the ideas of Ayn Rand and Heinlein and Miseans followed the ideas of Ludwig von Mises, one of the economists who most influenced the work of Murray Rothbard. To join the LP you have to sign the Pledge which is as follows:

“I certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.”

Today, David Nolan says he only inserted the Pledge to ensure that Libertarians would not be accused of being engaged in attempts to violently overthrow the government. But that is not how most Libertarians view the Pledge. The idea of asserting standards and values for behavior has been an issue within the Libertarian Party for as long as it has been around and many believe firmly that the Pledge should be broader and read more like,

“I certify that I will initiate deceit, manipulation, or violence to achieve any of my goals, personal, social, or political.”

The idea of a pledge would give those involved in political action the security of knowing that the organizations had objective standards for what is acceptable and what is not tolerated. This is a blind spot for many Libertarians who, like the stereotype referred to at the beginning of this chapter and others now still sleeping on those Star Wars sheets, that a political party can be an excellent way to redirect funds, power, and sexual favors into your own use. Libertarians and their movement brought with them the seeds of their own destruction and those we will be examining a little later.

All organizations that survive past the first beer bust develop ritual that knits its members together. If organizations persist long enough they develop a working mythology that functions to set the limits and expectations for behavior within the group. 

The Pledge is effectively a piece of Libertarian Ritual that could have grown from its original form to the foundations for an internal justice system. This did not happen. The LP is a State sanctioned political party that has no consistent and reliable means for conflict resolution. It could have adopted one, as did the Green Party. It did not so choose. 
David Nolan, the LP founder, claims that the Pledge was just a PR gesture to ensure that whatever administration did not stamp down on LPers as potential terrorists. For the record, that is not the understanding of most long time LP members, who believe it is supposed to mean something. What that is they are not sure. Attempting to excise or change the Pledge could result in blood being spilled along with a lot of yelling. Messing around with theology is likely to make people testy. 
The National Pledge has been around since before I was first a member, meaning at least since 1973. 

As the reality of psychopathy is now explaining the impact of us personally, politically, and in business and even in our communities many are coming to understand the need to ensure these neurologically disordered individuals can no longer use our trust to accrue, and abuse power for their own gain.

Sadly, the Libertarian Party has suffered through a number of these individuals, including Michael Emerling Cloud.  

For more on this subject see Life Stealers and the sites recommended there.   

None of the Above

None of the Above is acceptable

In all Libertarian elections None of the Above is always a candidate. Libertarians recognized that sometimes all of the choices are so bad that you need a way to register that disapproval without having to vote for the lesser of two or more evils. 
Over the past decades occasions have arisen when None of the Above filled the office. When this happens it means that none of those flesh and blood candidates who presented themselves for consideration are eligible to be considered in the subsequent election for the same office. 
This took place in California when I was active when a candidate named William Wagner presented himself as a candidate for party office and was soundly defeated by None of the Above. B. J. was certainly disappointed but remained a Libertarian. 
Since 1996 the champion for None of the Above has been unofficially Dean Ahmad. Dean is an astrophysicist who is also the President and Founder of the Minaret of Freedom located in Bethesda, Maryland. Dean Ahmad has become Mr. None of the Above for all those occasions when it is clear that the power-maddened have again grabbed the steering wheel. 

Unfortunately, a significant number of these started their careers as Libertarians.   

Rituals tell us a lot about organizations and their histories if we know what to look for. Rituals always focus attention either towards something or away from something. American rituals, such as the Pledge of Allegiance, familiar to all Americans, was adopted to displace a previous focus on the founding documents of our nation, for instance the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution which were at that point in time routinely studied in schools along with the Federalist Papers so that all Americans would be aware of their rights and history. Ironically enough, today it is the Liberals and Progressives who oppose the Pledge to the Flag without realizing that it was originally their idea while those opposed to its adoption, Conservatives, defend the Pledge with fervor. 
Life is filled with strange reversals. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Individualist

Initial Publishing: February 1970 

Publisher:   James Dale Davidson

An excellent new libertarian magazine has just been launched! This is The Individualist, the new monthly journal of the Society for Individual Liberty, and an outgrowth of The Rational Individualist, the magazine of the predecessor Society for Rational Individualism. The Individualist is a fully professional magazine, with numerous ads, and excellent layout and art work; the new publisher is the young libertarian, James Dale Davidson, who is also executive director of the new and rapidly growing National Taxpayers Union. Featured in the initial, February, 1970 issue (recently off the press) is an article on "The Great Ecology Issue: Conservation and the Free Market", by Murray N. Rothbard, who will contribute a monthly economic column for the magazine. The article is a libertarian critique of all aspects of the latest Ecology, or Environment, craze. The forthcoming March issue will focus on a critique of the Pentagon and military spending, featuring an informative inside look at military spending by former Assistant Secretary of Defense A. Ernest Fitzgerald. The Individualist is a bargain, available for 75C a copy, or $5.00 Per Year, at 415 Second St., N.E., Washington, D. C. 20002.

July-August 1971 Individualist - The Case for a Libertarian Party

Written by David F. Nolan

Four years ago, at the YAF convention in Pittsburgh, there was born a unique coalition – the coalition that is known today as “the libertarian movement”. There, for the first time, Randists, Miseists, and elements of the old “radical right” from all over the country got together and established an embryonic network of organization and communication – laying the groundwork for future cooperation and building the foundations for a mechanism whereby previously isolated individuals could begin to act as a cohesive force in American society.

Since that time, “the movement” has come a long way.

Today, there are an estimated ten to twenty thousand individuals who can be loosely classed as “libertarian activists”, with perhaps a thousand of these being “hard core” or “self-starting” activists.

Where, in 1967, we had no organizational home save the semi-hostile Young Americans for Freedom, today we have the Society for Individual Liberty. And where, in 1967, there were no libertarian publications of national scope, save a few esoteric journals, today we have several (Reason, Protos, The Individualist, etc.)

Press coverage of libertarian views and activities has mushroomed from an occasional local item or back-page squib to major proportions (Newsweek, The New York Times, The National Observer, etc.) and the libertarian philosophy is now beginning to find some acceptance among the intellectual community.

“The movement”, in short, has come of age. Yet, despite this new-found acceptance, we have not yet been able to make any major impact on the course of events. Day by day, America moves ever closer to becoming an overtly statist country. And in a few areas where strides have been made towards libertarianism, it has been almost entirely irrespective of the existence of “the movement”.

The question, the, is “What can we do about it?” And the answers that have been given, to date, have fallen (roughly speaking) into one of four categories, whose advocates can be described as follows…
1) The Educators, whose answer is, in a nutshell, “go forth and spread the Good Word, and, in time, people will Come To See The Light – and the millennium will have arrived.”

2) The Infiltrators, whose strategy is to get libertarians into the seats of power (the academy, the media, think tanks, existing political organizations) in the hope that by a sort of reverse Fabianism we can undo past mistakes and “turn things around.”

3) The Snipers, who have devoted their efforts to sharp-shooting at the more obvious and repugnant examples of statism, in the hope of either bringing statist programs to a halt, or arousing the public to the dangers such programs pose; activities such as picketing draft boards, blocking urban-renewal bulldozers, and refusing to pay one’s taxes fall into this category.

4) The Retreaters, whose approach is one of liberation oneself, ignoring the state as much as possible, and encouraging other to do likewise – on the perfectly valid grounds that if everyone did so, all would be well with the world. Variants of this philosophy are the Waldenesque “build a cabin in the woods, and eat berries” approach, and the “start our own country, on the seas or in some remote location” idea.

There is, of course, an overlap in these four approaches – and all are both philosophically sound, and, to some extent, efficacious. The fact nonetheless remains that all of them (except the “infiltrative” strategy) also largely ignore a central fact that one of the major determinants (if not THE major determinant) of the course of events in this country is the political process.

Now, one may argue that politics is an “immoral” game, that political approaches are inherently coercive, that one cannot achieve pure ends by impure means, and so forth. But the fact nonetheless remains that we live in a society whose shape is largely determined by political processes, our chances of achieving our goals are not great.

Many libertarians have recognized this fact, of course – and have expended hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of man-hours in political activities. But to date, we have reaped only a minuscule reward for our efforts.

And the reason for this lack of success, I believe, is simply that the present two-party system is fundamentally “rigged against us.”

The Myth of the Two-Party System

This statement may seem a little strong, at first reading – especially as most of us have been raised from first childhood to believe that the two-party system is The Best Of All Possible Arrangements.

We are told, for instance, that it is the hallmark of a free society – with the Soviet one-party system held up as its antithesis. Conversely, we are told that a multi-party system produces “chaos”, which in turn means loss of freedom for those persons so unfortunate as to live under such a system.

The fact of the matter, however, is that, logically speaking, if a one-party system is tyrannical, a two-party system is only one step removed from tyranny. And empirical evidence shows that citizens of a country which has a multi-party system can be just as free as we are here in the United States; such countries as Germany, France, and Australia, while hardly libertarian nirvanas, are not significantly more repressive than our own country – and Switzerland, which has a four-party system, is probably the least despotic of any of the world’s major nations.

The second popular argument against a multi-party system – that is produces “chaos” – is, from a libertarian viewpoint, actually an argument in its favor. The prospect of a coalition government, where any of a number of small parties can veto legislation, is far from horrifying to anyone who is inclined toward a limited-government (or no-government) philosophy.

A third argument, often brought to bear against anyone who advocates the establishment of a third party here in the United States, is that (historically speaking), third-party candidates “can’t win”. This argument has two basic flaws in it, however.

First, third-party candidates CAN win – especially in local or nonpartisan elections. Even at the national-government level, it happens occasionally. Third-party candidates have been elected to Congress more than one hundred times in this century, and there are two “third-party” Senators (Buckley and Byrd) in office at this very moment.

And second, “winning” (in the sense of electing someone to office) is not the only reason for having a political party – especially in the short term sense.

In fact, this very mania for “winning now” is one of the factors that makes both of our present major political parties unlikely vehicles for libertarianism. Both the Democrats and Republicans are so concerned with “winning” that they are almost rabidly hostile to the idea of candidates who would “rather be right than President”. A third party, in contrast, can take a long-range approach – running candidates with no intention of immediate victory, for the purpose of building up support and organization for future elections.

Thus, upon analysis, we can see that the major consequences of our present two-party system are as follows…

1) It drastically limits the range of choices open to the voter, and the range of viewpoints which can be expressed in the political arena.

2) It assures that there will be a cohesive majority in the government at all times.

3) It eliminates from contention those poten- (sic)

The Present Situation

As might be suspected from the foregoing analysis, the two major parties in America today offer little hope as potential vehicles for the promotion of libertarian ideas. The GOP, at the moment is nothing more that a step-n-fetchit organization for Richard M. Nixon – who, even at his most promising, was nothing to rave about, and who is now virtually indistinguishable from his 1968 opponent Hubert Humphrey. The Democrats, by virtue of assiduous efforts, have managed to make themselves even less appetizing. And the present outlook is that neither party is likely to take any stance in opposition to the prevailing semi- statist ethic in the foreseeable future; after all, they both want to win.

Such third-party efforts as already exist are also less promising. Wallace, although probably not significantly worse than Nixon or Kennedy, is “anti-liberal”, and most of his opposition to the “liberal” zeitgeist is on points where libertarians would tend to agree with the liberals (e.g., social issues) rather than where we would tend to disagree (e.g., economic issues).
Such third-party efforts as may materialize on the “left” are also unlikely to offer much. At best they will be hyped-up versions of the Democratic Party (e.g., a Lindsay-Gardner ticket); at worst, they will be voices for totalitarian nihilism.

All of which leads this writer inexorably to the conclusion that the time has come for us to form our own party. We have the numbers to mount a meaningful effort, nationwide. We have both a desire and a need to achieve visible results. And, despite the fact that we certainly aren’t going to elect “one of ours” as President of the United States – at least not in 1972 – there are a number of advantages to be gained by such action.

First, and perhaps most important, we will be able to get a great deal more news coverage for ourselves and our ideas than we have ever gotten before. Public interest in political issues and philosophies is always at an all-time high during Presidential election years, and the media people are actively seeking news in this area.

As a direct consequence of this fact, we will probably reach (and hopefully convert) far more people than we usually do; hopefully, some of these people will turn out to support our candidates, and will thus enable to locate hitherto-unlocatable libertarians (or at least sympathizers).

Third, we will be able to get some idea of how much support we really do have (at least in potential form) around the country; if we can get 100,000 votes the first time out, we know there are at least 100,000 libertarians out there – and whatever number we get, we can figure that it represents only a small fraction of the total, as not all of our potential supporters will even hear about our efforts, and many of those who do will be in States where we can’t get on the ballot.

Fourth, a libertarian political party would provide a continuing “focal point” for libertarian activity – something that “one-shot” projects do not provide.

Fifth, we will be able to hasten the already emerging coalition between the libertarian “left” and libertarian “right”. At the moment, the former group is supporting people like Eugene McCarthy, while the latter is supporting people like Barry Goldwater. A truly libertarian party would draw support both from such “leftist” groups as the Institute for the Study of Non-Violence and the American Civil Liberties Union, and from “rightist” groups like the John Birch Society and the Liberty Amendment Committee, however. This would increase the political impact of the libertarian “movement”, as “leftist” and “rightist” libertarians now usually wind up voting so as to cancel each other (when they vote at all). Furthermore, libertarian votes now get lumped in with “liberal” and “conservative” votes, whereas the votes received by a libertarian party would not be hidden in this manner.

A sixth point is favor of establishing a libertarian party is that by its mere existence, it would put some pressure on the other parties to take a more libertarian stand.

An finally, there is always the possibility that we might actually get some libertarians elected.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Karl Jack Bray - June 12, 1943 - May 7, 1978

Karl J. Bray was a political activist and co-founder of the National Libertarian Party. 

A charismatic libertarian leader and outspoken tax rebel, he served as an early member of the Libertarian National Committee, then in 1974 was the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate in his home state of Utah, running against opponent Jake Garn. 

It was Karl's sincere conviction that the federal income tax was unconstitutional. 

He had done considerable research, published pamphlets and given speeches centered around this topic. After losing the election he was arrested and convicted by the IRS over tax issues. He took the case all the way to the Supreme Court

He died soon after contracting an aggressive form of cancer in federal prison. Karl Bray's headstone in the Provo City Cemetery is inscribed "THE LIBERTARIAN TAX REBEL". The Karl J. Bray Memorial Award for Activism is presented in his honor by the Libertarian Party of California to outstanding activists in their state.

Article published in Reason Magazine in 1976, now republished. 

Taxes are Revolting

Karl J. Bray from the April 1976 issue

 Karl Jack Bray, the Libertarian Tax Rebel


Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Sources

Nixon: Wage and Price controls
Quote on Howell Campaign:
Interviews with various Libertarians
Hunscher – 1999
Mac Bride – 1994 and 1995
Ed Clark – 2002
Alicia Clark – 2002
Gail Lightfoot – 2002, 2006
Andre Marrou – 2006
Dick Randolph – 2006
John Hix – 2006
Emil Franzi – 2006
John Hospers – 2002
Vickie Emerling – 1999 and 2006
Dean Ahmad – 2006
Richard Winger – 2006
George Phillies – 2002 and 2006
Lee Wright – 2006
Conversations over heard:
Michael Emerling Cloud, from my home while he talked to my ex-husband on the telephone.

Memories, sweet and bitter, of my own.