Category Archives: Libertarianism

Victory for the AR Libertarians! Election by the numbers

After running an incredible campaign, educating hundreds of thousands of Arkansans about the libertarian philosophy and the LPAR, our esteemed gubernatorial candidate Frank Gilbert earned 16,217 votes on Tuesday.

I hope you will help me congratulate Frank on a well-fought race. His determination, ability to truly connect with voters and his charming attitude were a breath of fresh air this election season. I firmly believe that our members could not have nominated a better candidate for Governor.

Now, what do our candidates’ vote totals mean?

Frank’s record-breaking vote totals (1.92%) show a marked increase over votes for Gary Johnson in 2012 (1.52%) and blew away the Barr/Root 2008 results (0.44%). Frank succeeded in winning more hearts and votes than any top-of-the-ticket candidate in AR election history in a year with less than 50% voter turnout. Congratulations, and thank you, Frank!

Unfortunately, we were not able to reach the state-mandated percentage requirement (3%) to retain our ballot access for 2016. This means that we will again have to raise tens of thousands of dollars and re-petition in order to run Libertarian candidates in 2016.

While this is not the outcome we were hoping for, I hope you will join me in celebrating the many Arkansas Libertarian victories in 2014.

*Arkansans elected THREE Libertarians this year! Congratulations to Mayor-elect Bobby Tullis of Mineral Springs, to Constable-elect Jacob Faught in Gentry and to Alderman Casey Copeland of Prairie Grove for his third consecutive win.

*Results show an increase in percentage and vote totals for Libertarian candidates. Our top-of-the-ticket returns improved from (approximately) 0.4% in 2008 to 1.5% in 2012 and again to 1.92% in 2014. Liberty is rising! In 2012, 96,116 votes were cast for 16 Libertarian candidates in 18 races (4.17%). In 2014, we significantly increased our number of candidates and more than quadrupled our number of votes. Our 28 candidates earned 387,687 votes out of 7,746,462 votes cast in their races. That’s a solid 5%.

*Looking only at our four Congressional races, we can see that a minimum of 65,712 unique voters cast ballots for Libertarian candidates in this state. Compare this to 37,082 votes cast for our four Congressional candidates in 2012, and you can see a 56% increase in the number of Libertarian voters in this state, even with lower voter turnout this year.

*Every Arkansan had at least nine Libertarian options on their ballot this year. Arkansas voters were among the luckiest in the nation with such a high number of Libertarians on each ballot.

*The LPAR was the only political party to have a candidate in every single debate hosted by AETN. This opportunity allowed our candidates to reach new voters and educate Arkansans about the libertarian philosophy throughout these repeatedly-televised debates.

*From 2012-2013, the LPAR’s membership increased by an extraordinary 65.38%. We also saw a 23.26% membership growth from 2013-2014. Lifetime memberships in the LPAR will see an increase of 300% by the end of this year. Arkansans with memberships in the National LP grew by 17.98% this year as well. Our social media pages are being followed by more people than ever. Even our facebook page “likes” have almost doubled since the time of the 2012 election. While these are not election results, we count this as yet another victory in our efforts to move Arkansas towards freedom.

If you would like a breakdown of all Libertarian candidates’ races, you can view our election results page HERE.

LPAR Election Results

I hope that you will join us in celebrating these victories. We have a long road ahead of us to put Libertarians on the ballot in 2016, and we need YOUR help to make that happen. If you haven’t already, please consider joining the LPAR as a state party member. Party memberships start at only $10/year and those funds help support the daily operations of the LPAR. We also greatly appreciate our monthly Torch Club Sustaining Members, whose monthly contributions help us better plan for the future. To thank our monthly donors, we offer LPAR exclusive merchandise, and it’s not too late to get on our upcoming shipment of gratitude gifts.

We thank you for your support, your votes and your help this election season. We want to continue offering Arkansans more freedom by putting Libertarians on the ballot. Will you help us?
Live FREE!

Jessica Paxton
Chairman – LPAR
chair@lpar.org

A personal “thank you” from the LPAR Chair

While we wait on the last county to report it’s election totals, I wanted to take a moment of your time to give some amazing Arkansans the thanks they so truly deserve. Without our candidates, the LPAR would cease to exist as a political party, and it is because of these folks that you had the option to vote for true freedom-fighting candidates this year. While we had some rousing victories and some heart-breaking defeats, our candidates consistently stood tall in a sea of opposition, all the while unwavering in their desire to win elections and initiate positive change in this great state.

I want to send my heartfelt gratitude to these 28 Libertarians who sacrificed their time, energy, money and free time to run for office this year. Whether participating in debates, knocking on doors, waving signs or doing countless interviews, these men and women have gone above and beyond in their quest to bring more freedom to Arkansas. Their spouses, families, friends, neighbors and campaign teams have sacrificed countless hours to support these candidates and I want to also thank each and every one of you for believing in them.

And finally, I want to thank every Arkansan who cast a vote for a Libertarian candidate. With each election cycle we grow stronger, earning more and more votes and winning more elections. While it’s an uphill battle, it’s a battle that’s worth fighting. And I thank you for standing beside me as we march forward, advancing each year, moving closer and closer to a Libertarian world. A world in which we will eventually take over. And then leave you alone.

Please join me as I sincerely thank your 2014 Libertarian heroes:

-Frank Gilbert for Governor

-Chris Olson for Lt. Governor

-Aaron Cash for Attorney General

-Jacob Holloway for Secretary of State

-Brian Leach for Auditor of State

-Chris Hayes for State Treasurer

-Elvis D. Presley for Commissioner of State Lands

-Nathan LaFrance for US Senate

-Brian Willhite for US Congress Dist 1

-Debbie Standiford for US Congress Dist 2

-Grant Brand for US Congress Dist 3

-Ken Hamilton for US Congress Dist 4

-Wayne Williams for State Rep Dist 15

-Marc Rosson for State Rep Dist 20

-Greg Deckleman for State Rep Dist 31

-Rodger Paxton for State Rep Dist 51

-Taylor Watkins for State Rep Dist 80

-Eddie Moser for State Rep Dist 95

-Michael Kalagias for State Rep Dist 96

-Glen Schwarz for Pulaski County Judge

-Shawn Hipskind for Saline County Judge

-Val Emmons for JP Dist 2 Pulaski County

-Chris Parks for JP Dist 2 Lonoke County

-William Brackeen for JP Dist 13 Pulaski County

-Whit Hyman for Constable in Springdale

-Jacob Faught for Constable in Gentry

-Bobby Tullis for Mayor of Mineral Springs (nonpartisan)

-Casey Copeland for Alderman in Prairie Grove (nonpartisan)

Stay tuned for a detailed election analysis, coming tomorrow!

Jessica and (my biggest supporter, without whom I would be lost – thank you!) Rodger Paxton

Live FREE!

Jessica Paxton
Chairman – LPAR
chair@lpar.org

What To Do about Taxes?

All libertarians argue for cutting taxes, but they don’t always agree on how or how much. My preference would be to eliminate all taxes and let Americans make voluntary donations to any government programs they would like to see continued. Two of the most talked about plans are the Flat Tax and the Fair Tax. I believe either plan would be an improvement over the current system, but popular forms of each leave much to be desired for libertarians.

The Flat Tax would create one rate that would apply to taxpayers at all income levels, while eliminating most or all deductions and exemptions. There are various proposals, some of which retain some deductions and provide exemptions for low-income Americans. Rates of 10%-17% are being discussed.

The Fair Tax would eliminate the income tax and create in its place a national sales tax. One of the biggest benefits would be making the IRS obsolete, since income would no longer be taxed and tax returns would no longer need to be file. The Fair Tax proposal offers a tax rate of 23% on all consumption, with a monthly pre-paid rebate paid to all lawful residents of the U.S. with a valid Social Security number. (Those willing to forego the rebate and Social Security benefits could presumably work without having one.)

Either proposal would be a big improvement over the current system. I think all libertarians can agree on that. Both proposals would free Americans from filing complicated tax returns, estimated to cost the average taxpayer nearly 27 hours to complete. Both eliminate double-taxation of certain income that is occurring under current tax law. Both would bring an improvement in economic growth. Both would stop the social engineering and spending manipulations that are rampant in current tax law.

The biggest benefit of the Fair Tax, in my opinion, would be the elimination of the IRS, along with all the civil liberties violations the IRS brings to the table. No longer would the government have any need to know about our income or to snoop into our bank accounts and our business activities. Employers would no longer have to work as tax collectors.

Most of the benefits of the Flat Tax over the Fair Tax center on the easier political road it faces, since flat taxes have been tried. There is also concern that a national sales tax could be created without ending the threat down the road of a new income tax on top of it. There are many arguments in favor of each proposal over the other, but I won’t go into all of those here. For more information along those lines, you might find these three articles of interest:

http://www.freedomworks.org/content/flat-tax-vs-fair-tax

http://ivn.us/2013/01/23/fairtax-vs-flat-tax-seven-reasons-to-support-the-fairtax-2/

http://dailycaller.com/2013/06/04/fair-tax-or-flat-tax/

But I also see problems with both. Proposals from both camps have a tendency to try way too hard to be basically revenue-neutral. With the level of taxation as high as it is today, why would we want revenue neutrality? We need to CUT taxes, STOP the printing presses at the Fed, and CUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING!

The Flat Tax leaves the IRS in existence. A big negative of the Fair Tax, in addition to the too-high rate being proposed, is its name. The FAIR Tax? Really? The only fair tax would be NO tax, and if that’s what we’re hoping to work toward, I can’t see any strategic sense in calling this the Fair Tax.

It’s one thing for libertarians to be ready to vote for either proposal as a step on the road toward greater freedom, but I think libertarians need to be looking at more radical proposals—proposals where revenue neutrality is not a concern.

—Kathleen Wikstrom, LPAR Vice-Chair

Drowning in a Sea of Red Ink

The declaration in the Biblical book of Proverbs, chapter 22, “the borrower is the slave of the lender,” is quite instructive to the current situation of the federal government and the deficit spending binge it has been on for over a decade now. It was bad enough during the George W. Bush presidency. The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were being paid for through increasing the debt load on the American people, and the Republican Congress instituted a Medicare prescription drug plan that had no funding mechanism to pay for it. But toward the end of the Bush administration and continuing on through the Obama administration, this profligacy has increased to new record levels.

The 2009 stimulus program added even more debt for the American people to bear. Foreign investors helped this along by purchasing a large chunk of this debt, and the Federal Reserve has been more than willing to help by monetizing the debt as needed. The first yearly deficit that surpassed $1 trillion (the actual increase in the total national debt) occurred during the last full fiscal year of the Bush administration, coming in at a robust $1.2 trillion. The deficit grew even larger, hitting $1.9 trillion in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011. After dropping to “only” $671 billion last year (as the sequester’s automatic spending reductions had at least some bite and revenues increased a bit), the national debt has already increased by approximately $800 billion in the first six months of this new fiscal year.

And if all of this awful fiscal news was not enough to digest, the American people are facing unfunded federal government liabilities of many tens of trillions of dollars in the upcoming decades. These are unfunded because, at the moment, there is not enough projected revenue to pay for much of the expected spending, which will be mainly in the area of entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid).

I propose that two steps are necessary to stem this tide of red ink that is swallowing the American Dream. First, we need a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will require bringing the budget in balance within five years of its adoption. Doing so would help to stabilize the spending of the federal government at around 18% of GDP. That is still too high for a truly limited, constitutional federal government, but it would be a starting point. Spending levels could be ratcheted down from there, and at least the flow of red ink would be stopped at that level of government. There is no lack of ideas for prudently cutting down federal spending, and we need to start implementing at least some of them sooner rather than later.

Second, we need to ditch the Federal Reserve and its fiat paper monetary regime and institute a modern day gold standard. As former Congressman Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman wrote in 1982, in The Case for Gold, page 159:

It is necessary to balance the budget and institute a gold standard together. The discipline required for one mandates the other. If government is to be limited in size, the budget balanced and the market free, gold will be a necessary adjunct.

As the Bible instructs in Deuteronomy 25:15, “A full and fair weight you shall have, a full and fair measure you shall have.” The Federal Reserve has manipulated the U.S. dollar since its creation in 1913 and has so far destroyed 96% of its value. At this point, I guess we should be grateful that they have left us with even four pennies on the dollar. This manipulation must come to an end, by instituting a sound gold-backed dollar and Balanced Budget Amendment, as a line of defense against deficit spending.

—Ken Hamilton, LPAR Executive Committee member

The Militarization of the Police

For those who follow the news or participate in social media networks, it has been hard to miss the numerous stories about the killing or assault of innocent citizens (or at least, non-dangerous citizens) by police. What were once written off by some as “isolated incidents” have clearly become common occurrences in America.

Concerns about potential abuse of using military tactics for domestic policing date back to the time of the Constitution, when the Founders worried about standing armies and intimidation of the people.

Most reasonable discussions about the use of SWAT teams focus on already-violent situations, but, increasingly, SWAT teams are being used to turn non-violent situations into violent ones. While the fear of terrorism drives much of the support for the militarization of police, SWAT teams are much more likely to target non-violent “criminals,” primarily as part of the failed War on Drugs. But even most people who support drug laws would oppose turning their enforcement into potentially violent situations that put innocent citizens and police officers in harm’s way. The likelihood of armored vehicles and military gear being used for good is far outweighed by its potential for harm to citizens and police officers.

The number of raids conducted by SWAT-like police units has grown from a few hundred a year in the 1970s to approximately 50,000 raids in 2005, according to surveys conducted by Peter Kraska, a criminologist at Eastern Kentucky University.

For those interested in reading more about this scary path, as well as a detailed history of how we got here, I highly recommend Radley Balko’s recent book, The Rise of the Warrior Cop. Balko had this to say about the situation:

Law-enforcement agencies across the U.S., at every level of government, have been blurring the line between police officer and soldier. Driven by martial rhetoric and the availability of military-style equipment—from bayonets and M-16 rifles to armored personnel carriers—American police forces have often adopted a mind-set previously reserved for the battlefield. The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the U.S. scene: the warrior cop—armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.

There is reason for concern that police officers are tempted to turn non-threatening situations into dangerous ones, in order to get the chance to use their “cool, new equipment.” SWAT teams have been deployed in many American cities, leading to the deaths of innocent citizens as well as police officers, to break up illegal poker games, to capture someone suspected of defrauding the federal student loan program, to raid the homes of low-level drug users, to raid bars suspected of allowing underage drinking, and other non-threatening situations.

Assault-style raids have also been used to enforce regulatory law in recent years, including IRS raids at respected Arkansas businesses, including Mountain Pure Water in Little Rock and Duncan Outdoors in Conway. (Check out this 17-minute video about the raids on those Arkansas businesses.)

In a review of Balko’s book at Amazon.com, John J. Baeza, a retired New York Police Department detective, had this to say:

A profession that I was once proud to serve in has become a militarized police state. Officers are quicker to draw their guns and use their tanks than to communicate with people to diffuse a situation. They love to use their toys and when they do, people die.

The days of the peace officer are long gone, replaced by the militarized police warrior wearing uniforms making them indistinguishable from military personnel. Once something is defined as a “war” everyone becomes a “warrior.” Balko offers solutions ranging from ending the war on drugs, to halting mission creep so agencies such as the Department of Education and the FDA don’t have their own SWAT teams, to enacting transparency requirements so that all raids are reported and statistics kept, to community policing, and finally to one of the toughest solutions: changing police culture.

The effect of militarization on police culture has been startling. Dogs are now routinely shot. Women have been sexually assaulted during routine traffic stops. Elderly citizens have been killed for resisting unwanted medical treatment in nursing homes. Unarmed innocents have been killed for what is classified “resisting arrest.” The police are clearly out of control.

There’s only one way to stop this escalating militarization of police, and that is for the people to stand up and say “no.” It’s time to get America off the road to becoming a police state.

But perhaps it’s time to consider a more radical solution. Let’s compare the aggressive military mindset of today’s police forces to how a private police service might operate. In fact, such a service already exists, in the city of Detroit, where the government police department has thrown up its hands in failure, informing people that they enter Detroit “at their own risk.” According to a recent article at freethoughtproject.com, the Threat Management Center is filling the void:

The Threat Management Center’s sole priorities are the protection of the people under their charge. They have specific incentives to focus exclusively on safety, and find non-violent ways of defusing tense situations before resorting to force. Since they’re privately funded, they have a direct incentive to make their customers happy. Any form of misconduct can instantly result in a loss of funding. The best part? The Threat Management Center doesn’t exclusively protect paying customers. Yes, they protect people for free.

The training that they give their officers is designed to fill their “mental toolboxes” with non-violent ways to diffuse potentially-violent situations. Dale Brown, founder of the Threat Management Center, said, “We make sure that in that toolbox, there are so many options to create a non-violent outcome that it’s almost impossible to have violence.” Brown summed up his company’s goals and policies like this:

We are not looking for people, and we do not accept people, who are human predator oriented, people who like to fight or people who like to shoot people… We’re not looking for the kind of mindset that says “you know what, it’s OK to use violence as long as you can legally explain it.” We’re looking for people who don’t want to use violence under any conditions. What we emphasize is 100 ways in a situation which would normally be fatal-force oriented, 100 ways, to not have a violent or fatal incident take place. We protect communities here in Detroit, upscale communities… we have approx 1000 homes that depend on us for safety. And we have approx 500 businesses that are our clients as well. And then the people that cannot afford our services, we help them for free. The reason that we can do that is because there is a healthy profit margin leftover from excellence from providing for our major corporations. We offer free training to families. We call it Free Family Friday. Typically, the prosecutor’s offices, the shelters in the area for domestic violence victims, stalking victims are sent to us for assistance. We protect them for free. We escort them to court. If they have a violent ex-husband or boyfriend or neighbor or some stranger that’s coming after them, we will literally stay with them, transport their kids to school. We stay with them at their homes with our rifles and keep them alive. And in 20 years, none of us have had a court date and, more importantly, none of us have been killed. And the most important, no one who has ever come to us for help in 20 years has ever been injured or killed after coming to this organization.

This is an impressive record, and it indicates the possibilities for effective law enforcement without violating people’s right. If the police cannot start focusing on protecting the people rather than threatening them, private security companies may be our best option.

—Kathleen Wikstrom, LPAR Vice-Chair

The Non Aggression Principle, as I understand it

The “Non Aggression Principle” (or NAP) is an ethical doctrine that states that aggression is wrong, aggression being defined as the initiation of physical force or fraud against persons or property, or the threat of the same. In order to join the national Libertarian Party, you must affirm that you “oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.”

In a letter to Francis Gilmer in 1816, Thomas Jefferson stated it like this: “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” He went on to say, “No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.” (emphasis mine)

We all understand that to practice the NAP we can never initiate force against individuals or against their rightly-acquired property. As I have come to understand this concept, I equate force with violence, whether physical (actually touching another person) or non-physical (fraud). This ethical stance does not include self defense, for in that case we are responding to an initiation of force against ourselves or our property. I am no pacifist. As R. Lee Wrights put it during a speech at one of our State conventions, “Break into my house and you’ll see how much of a pacifist I am.” This is the easy part of the NAP, and I think most people get that, heck, it was stuff we were taught in preschool. “Don’t take other kids toys, don’t hit other kids, etc.”

Taking this to a higher plane, how does this apply to our system of government? Most of us understand that codifying morality is in direct opposition to the NAP. For example, I may believe that prostitution is immoral, but it should not be illegal. To a sharper point, I believe that the “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation” part of the Fifth Amendment is in direct violation of the NAP. If the owner of the rightly-acquired property doesn’t want to sell, no one, not even the government, should be able to take that property from the owner, regardless of the price offered. Again, those are things that I, at least, see as fairly easy concepts. But what about those things that we find both morally and ethically reprehensible? Wouldn’t it be one of the tenants of good government to correct societal wrongs?

In my opinion, the answer is a resounding NO. To back that up, I will go back to what Thomas Jefferson said above: “law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” Individuals, even those that are what society deems to be “outside the norm,” have rights, too. Even when their actions are reprehensible, as long as they do not initiate force, either violently or by fraud, against another individual or their property, they have every right to be as disgustingly repugnant as they want to be. To paraphrase a famous quote attributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you do, but I will defend to the death your right to do it as long as you don’t initiate force against another individual.”

I do not believe that it is provided anywhere within the Constitution for our government to become the arbiter of societal wrongs. The “general welfare” clause has been brought up during discussions of this nature, but James Madison said this of the “general welfare” clause, in a letter to Edmund Pendleton in 1792:

If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.

If the “general welfare” clause allows the government to be the “righter of wrongs” (also becoming the arbiter of what is right and wrong), it would, in my opinion, completely invalidate the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution.

The real problem with having government make laws that make certain aspects of human nature illegal hinges upon the “or else” clause that is inherent in all laws. These laws have, as part of their inevitable conclusion, the barrel of a gun pointed at a person’s head. Let’s take anti-discrimination laws as an example. First, these laws provide that the government is the sole arbiter of what is, or is not, discrimination. Is that something we really want the government to decide for us? Next, if a business, as that is where most anti-discrimination law is directed, is found to be in noncompliance with this law, what happens? A government official will visit that business, point out the noncompliance, and probably extract a bribe (aka: fine). The government will then monitor the business for any further noncompliance. If the business continues this practice, it will be shut down and the owner arrested. What if the owner doesn’t want to be arrested? Well, here is where the “or else” clause kicks in. Now the owner is in defiance of the will of the government, so other government officials, with guns, will show up to arrest the owner, who will then either be incarcerated or killed—all because he or she was in violation of government approved behavior. Am I saying that I approve of discrimination? No. But there are much better, non-physical, ways to cure this “societal” ill, provided by a free market.

In conclusion, the Non Aggression Principle should be the guiding principle for all we do in life, not just in the political sphere. Realizing that violating the rights of the individual (even those individuals whose actions are morally repugnant) violates the NAP is essential to understanding this ethical principle. Laws that define appropriate human behavior violate the NAP. Even if they are intended to “do good” by correcting inappropriate behavior, violation of these laws ultimately leads to the initiation of force against a person or their property. To that point, I will leave you with one more quote:

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. —Mahatma Gandhi

—Mark M. Young

We the Employers need to adopt new hiring criteria

We the EmployersEvery couple of years, voters hire representatives to do the job of protecting the interest of the people. It has been common practice to elect lawyers and business owners, in the hopes that they have answers that the “average” person does not. But this strategy has not worked out well for “We The People,” — we the employers need to adopt new hiring criteria.

After all, lawyers and business owners have, at the very least, a dual focus: on their own career and on representing constituents. I’ve had a career, but now I’m a stay-at-home mom. Raising my children is my career. Their future is my focus, and a better future for Arkansas means a better future for my children. That’s why I’m running for Congress.

I’m not running for Congress so that I can begin campaigning for re-election the minute I step into office. I’m not here to make deals and sell our country’s future to increase my own power, the power of my party, or the power of government. I’m not here to make important contacts, gain status, get a title, or create new regulations that will benefit my business.

I’m here for one reason: to make sure my children have MORE freedom—to make sure they aren’t indentured to an over-reaching state with an endless appetite for squandering the labors of the people it was created to protect. I want to reduce, and even eliminate, the enormous burden of debt that we are leaving to our children.

The future of America is intricately tied to the future of my children. That is why I will work tirelessly to restore freedom for all Americans and why EVERY vote I make will be for more freedom and less government.

-Debbie Standiford, Libertarian Candidate for US Congress, Arkansas’ Second District

Why I Left

Since joining the Libertarian Party, I have been asked numerous questions by friends, family, and strangers. Usually the first question is, “What the hell is a Libertarian?” My favorite one is, “Aren’t they the ones that want to legalize weed?” Both of these questions are great, and provide an outlet to answer why I am a libertarian, and more importantly why I am a member of the Libertarian Party.

To give you a little background information about myself, I have considered myself a libertarian since 2010. I was an avid Ron Paul supporter, and I would probably still be in the GOP, had he not been treated the way he was at the RNC convention. It was there I realized “you people” were not welcome in the party.

I was now politically homeless. After attending my state’s Libertarian Party convention a little over a year ago, I was sold. For once I was in a room where I was not a “Paulbot” or a Continue reading

We Are Libertarians

We Are Libertarians

We are not “Republican-light.” We are not “Democratic-light.” We are Libertarians.

It is tiresome to continually be asked why we would want to run a Libertarian candidate against a “good Republican” or “a good libertarian leaning Republican.” Would this same person ask that of the Democratic Party? Would this same person expect the Democratic Party to not run someone against a “good moderate Republican?” Of course not. So why do they ask us? As Mark Axinn, LPNY chair said, we could just as easily ask “why are they running against so many good Libertarians?”

I believe Republicans and conservatives do this because they have a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be a Libertarian. They believe we share some sort of camaraderie with them but can offer no proof of what makes them think this way. They throw around words like “Republican-libertarian,” and “conservative libertarian,” and “constitutional libertarian” like these word salads have some sort of meaning. They do not.

A libertarian is someone who believes in the non-aggression principle, plain and simple. Simply put, the non-aggression principle states that no man may initiate force or fraud against another person or his property. This is also called “classically liberal” in many circles and fits just as well as the word libertarian. The political party that upholds these libertarian principles is conveniently named The Libertarian Party. Republicans and Democrats have no such moral compass. This is evident in the sort of legislation both parties have brought us. However, since I am talking about the Republicans today, let’s see what they have done to this state and country recently.

  • Republicans have brought us, in the last legislative session in Arkansas alone, a bill that steals $125 million from the taxpayer’s pockets to give to a for-profit steel mill.
  • The Republicans also passed legislation in the last session making it more difficult for the Libertarian Party to get on the ballot, restricting our freedom of speech and freedom of choice.
  • The Republicans also passed legislation increasing an already ridiculous burden for the citizens of Arkansas to bring ballot initiatives to the people to vote on.
  • The Republicans also brought us a bill to be voted on that will double their term limits.
  • The Republicans have also brought us a bill making it much more difficult and expensive for a person to get certain body modifications to their own body. And this was all just in the last session alone!
  • Now, in the current fiscal session, the Arkansas Republicans are trying to ram the private option funding through the House any way they can! The private option is the largest expansion of Medicaid in Arkansas history and was passed initially last session in our Republican-controlled legislature! And one of the biggest supporters of getting this passed in this fiscal session? Nate Bell, the supposed “libertarian Republican!”

And you wonder why these word salads like “libertarian Republican” have no meaning.

Federally, things are just as bad, if not worse. Republicans brought us the PATRIOT Act, Homeland Security, TSA, Medicaid Part D, multiple stimulus packages to prop up private companies, multiple wars to massively increase the military budget, pork, etc. I could keep going, but you get the point. All of these programs stole money from our pockets and stole freedom from our lives.

These are supposedly the “fiscally conservative” Republicans. And yet you wonder why Libertarians candidates run against “good Republicans.”

As independent reporter Steve Brawner said in the Times Record today, “”Libertarians are the party of less government — really less government…That sounds like Republican rhetoric, but Libertarians are a lot more serious about it, and the party’s less government philosophy lands it to the left of many Arkansas Democrats on social issues.” Mr. Brawner gets it. Why don’t the Republicans get it?

This is the reason the Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing party in Arkansas, because we get it. We get that the people of this great country and great state are fed up with the false choices they are being given at the ballot box. We get that people are finally saying, “ENOUGH!” The Libertarian Party is giving these voters real choice, a real difference from the eerily similar Republican and Democrat parties. People every day are fed up, looking around, and realizing that they too are Libertarians.

R. Lee Wrights, the Vice-Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, said today on his Facebook page, “Libertarians do nothing for America or themselves by joining and supporting our oppressors! WE gain nothing and America loses every time someone falls for this load of elephant droppings. Republicans cannot be trusted. We have learned even the Democrats have more integrity than Republicans. Not by much, mind you, but by a degree. Democrats tell us they are going to take our money and give it to others, then, they get elected and do it. Republicans lie through their teeth and tell us, “Vote for us, we are not like that!” Then, they get elected, take our money, and give it to their friends. Republicans and Democrats are two wings on the same bird of prey.”

I could not have said it better myself. We are no longer content with elephant and donkey droppings. We are no longer content pulling the lever for these people who campaign one way and then legislate another. We are no longer willing to play their games and allow them to run roughshod over us. We are not Republicans. We are not Democrats. WE ARE LIBERTARIANS! And, in Arkansas anyway, we are here to stay and to win.

Rodger Paxton
LPAR Secretary

Where are all the small government liberals? They’re everywhere!

Persuasion.  It is the cornerstone of the political philosophy of any classical liberal, libertarian, or voluntaryist you’re likely to meet.  We oppose the initiation of force to achieve political, social, or economic goals and as a result, are left with no other option when trying to accomplish a goal than to try to persuade others that our ideas are correct.  Now, it’s no coincidence that in a country founded on classical liberal philosophy that persuasion is a crucial part of the fabric of the American experiment in self-government.

From the floor of the United States House of Representatives to the comments section of any political blog floating out there on the interwebs you’ll see individuals debating ideas and trying to persuade each other to their side.  On topics ranging from Obamacare to foreign affairs you’ll find no shortage of heated, passionate debates between individuals carrying the banner of their beliefs.  Typically on any subject you’ll find the cliché “big government liberals” vs. “small government conservatives” waging a war of words.

A person must ask themselves though, is mainstream American thought so unoriginal that we are so easily divided into these two neat, tidy little groups?  Are these two labels really Continue reading