That is, I still firmly believe in the Philosophy of Liberty. But, I will no longer actively support the Libertarian Party.
It has become clear to me that the Chair, Secretary, and Media Relations of the Pennsylvania Chapter wish to “tone down” the speech of Libertarians in favor of making the party “more accessible.” I will let them speak for themselves below. Some may consider these quotes to be “out-of-context.” However, I provide a link to the exact quote in the LPPA forums so that you may read them in-context. It is my belief, however, that most of these statements speak for themselves.
Erik Viker – Media Relations (Feb. ’11)
A state party platform is first, and almost entirely, a marketing tool. It should appeal to non-LP voters, not cause them to step away in concern due to overly extreme rhetoric or complex philosophy. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35054.msg45462#msg45462)
Vernon Etzel – Secretary
“Statism” is a pejorative, used to identify those who violate the official thought of anarchism. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35209.msg46536#msg46536)
I don’t want to preserve the current world-view expressed in the current state platform. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35209.msg46546#msg46546)
I do hope to resolve strong ties to other libertarians and to build a political party with some influence. The moment people take up arms is the end of democracy. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35099.msg45538#msg45538)
Mik Robertson – Chair
Personally, I see myself as a being, not as something I own. Property is owned, not me. I have rights, property does not. If I can own myself, then I can sell myself, and somebody else can own me. I can own the fruits of my labor. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35209.msg46539#msg46539)
Liberty is not an ideology or philosophy unto itself. It is a concept. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35209.msg46556#msg46556)
The force of law is not necessarily oppression. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35099.msg45548#msg45548)
I disagree with the premise that the State is a violent and coercive body. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35157.msg45926#msg45926)
The LP is not now nor has it ever been the Anarchists Club, even though the Dallas accord made it seem that way. Rothbard’s driving away of minarchists in the 1980’s didn’t help the LP. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35157.msg45935#msg45935)
There is no question that the Libertarian Party has been a right-leaning organization since its inception. It came from the supporters of people like Barry Goldwater, after all. It is really not surprising that a lot of the rhetoric is reminiscent of conservatism. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35157.msg45939#msg45939)
If we want to increase individual liberty and decrease aggression, which I think is a good mission for the LP, then we have to look at the big picture, not just at what government does. If the purpose of the LP is to advance a particular ideology, then maybe a different focus would be in order. To the extent that government can secure individual rights equally, I think that is a good thing. To the extent that government can address market distortions, I think that is a good thing. If you want to see where the aggression is ultimately coming from, follow the money. The source isn’t governments, most of them are broke. Unleash those powerful interests unfettered on a free market and how long will there be a free market? (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35157.msg45939#msg45939)
I think [Ayn] Rand was simply wrong. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35157.msg45946#msg45946)
It is difficult to get ideas implemented if most people think that the organization is a bunch of wackos and dismiss anything that it puts forth out of hand. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35131.msg46522#msg46522)
If the LP’s only answer to everything is to eliminate government, we aren’t going to get very far as a political party out to affect public policy. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35131.msg46528#msg46528)
In the end, I think the Chair of the LPPA, Mik Robertson, completes the thought-process currently going on in the leadership.
In my book it is not a win if we are forever relegated to the political sidelines with no affect on public policy because we have clasp so tightly to untenable policy positions. (http://www.lppa.org/smf/index.php?topic=35131.msg46528#msg46528)
These “untenable policy positions” he downplays are the very policy positions that comprise the libertarian Philosophy.
The Leadership of the LPPA, more specifically Vernon Etzel (a self-described ‘progressive Libertarian’), Mik Robertson and Erik Viker, wish to neuter those whose speech may be “unpopular” or may reflect the party as being a “bunch of whackos.” They wish to do this by supporting efforts to re-write the Platforms by taking out some of the more ‘radical’ aspects and by denouncing efforts to keep the party honest.
How can you have an un-radical Libertarian? How can the Philosophy of Liberty be toned down? Why should any self-respecting Libertarian want to censor himself simply because the mainstream media doesn’t like what we have to say? More importantly, how can you be a Libertarian and support censorship of your own groups core ideals? You’d have to ask them yourself to get a clear answer on that.
As for me, I do not believe in ‘progressive Libertarians’ and I do not believe you can be a ‘moderate Libertarian.’ Centrists and moderates are reserved for the two major parties. Their Philosophy is ambiguous enough to allow for it. I do not wish to be in the same group with weak Libertarians who are more concerned about public image than they are about keeping the Philosophical purity and honesty.
That is, I’M A LIBERTARIAN AND I DON’T GIVE A DAMN WHO THINKS WHAT ABOUT IT! I’m not in the business to be worried about my ‘public image’ or worried what a bunch of Statist-sheeple think about my philosophy. Or worry that I may be “offending” some people with my honest and direct words. If someone doesn’t like what I have to say, then over there’s the door, take a walk!
Until the leadership decides to no longer encourage efforts to deceive the public about what libertarian ideals are, until the leadership decides to grow-a-pair, I will no longer be a member of the Libertarian Party. I am still a libertarian, mind you. But, I will not give my money to an organization that wishes to water-down their platform just so people can swallow Liberty a little easier.
Mik Robertson, Chair of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Libertarian Party, can be reached at this email address: Chair@lppa.org
Vernon Etzel, Secretary/Platform Committee/Judicial Committee of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Libertarian Party, can be reached at this email address: Secretary@lppa.org, Platform@lppa.org, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erik Viker, Media Relations Committee of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Libertarian Party, can be reached at this email address: Media-Relations@lppa.org
P.S. Please be respectful should you decide to contact these people for clarification on their rather confusing stances.
*This article is based on anecdotal conversations held in a public forum. I make every effort to substantiate my claims by providing links where the original statements may be found at the time of this articles posting. I am not making knowingly false claims about the person(s) included in this article. Every statement I make is my honest perception of the facts and my honest opinion of said person(s).