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.