Tag: Libertarian Vice Chair

The Libertarian Party: A History From Hospers to Johnson

John Keller | United States

The Libertarian Party

John Hospers (1918-2011) was the first Libertarian presidential candidate. He defined Liberty best in 1971, during his campaign for President in 1972, that “Liberty is the absence of coercion by other human beings.” The Libertarian Party began forming on July 17, 1971, with a meeting of David Nolan, John Hospers, Ron Paul, Tonie Nathan, Edward Crane, and others. The new political party was officially announced January 31, 1972. The first platform of the party focused on ensuring a gold-backed currency and a return to the classical liberal thoughts held by many of the Founding Fathers of America. The Libertarian Party’s goal was, and is, to shrink government and return rights and liberty to the citizens of the United States of America.

“The only proper role of government, according to libertarians, is that of the protector of the citizen against aggression by other individuals. The government, of course, should never initiate aggression; its proper role is as the embodiment of the retaliatory use of force against anyone who initiates its use.” – Dr. John Hospers

A Brief Introduction to the Philosophy

The philosophy of libertarianism is rooted in texts from the Age of Enlightenment (1685-1815), such as the theories of John Locke (1632-1704), in his The Second Treatise of Civil Government, written in 1689 as well as the philosophies and writings of Thomas Paine (1737-1809), who wrote Common Sense in 1776.

In addition, the Libertarian Party has been influenced by many modern-day philosophers as well. The most notable of these philosophers is Ludwig von Mises (1891-1973) who wrote Human Action in 1949. His philosophies dominate the Libertarian Party’s economic platform, and his work was so influential the Mises Caucus formed within the party. After his death, the Mises Institute was founded in Auburn, Alabama in 1982 with the mission, “To advance the Misesian tradition of thought through the defense of the market economy, private property, sound money, and peaceful international relations, while opposing government intervention as economically and socially destructive.”

History of the Libertarian Movement (1972-2000)

The Libertarian Party has historically been the strongest third party in the 20th century. In 1972, John Hospers received 3,674 votes. In 1996, the presidential ticket of Harry Browne and Jo Jorgensen received 485,759 votes.

As the presidential election began to get started in 1976 there were serious doubts in the minds of conservative voters on the integrity of the Republican Party following the Watergate Scandal in 1972. The Libertarian Party become a place to vent frustration with government, and with their message for smaller government and personal accountability attracted many new voters.

The 1976 presidential ticket consisted of former state representative of Vermont Roger MacBride for president and California lawyer David Bergland for vice president. His campaign focused on issues, such as ending the Federal Reserve and returning to a gold-backed currency, as well as non-interventionist foreign policy. Democratic nominee “Jimmy” Carter spoke of being an outsider “untainted” by the politics of Washington D.C. while Republican nominee Gerald Ford focused on his ability as the chief executive, relying on his incumbent status to help carry the election in his favor.

By the end of the campaign, Roger MacBride and David Bergland had won over 172,557 votes, almost 170,000 more votes than the first ticket just four years prior and having ballot access to thirty-two states.

In 1980 the Libertarian Party hoped to capitalize on the moment of the previous year and nominated Ed Clark, who had received almost 378,000 votes in his campaign for Governor of California in 1978, for the presidency. David Koch, a successful businessman and vice-president of Koch Industries. The election began heavily contested.

President Carter faced immense backlash for his foreign policy in the Middle East and many Americans had deemed it improper for an actor to be president. The Libertarian Party and the Libertarian presidential ticket was seen as a viable third option. Although Reagan won in an electoral landslide, the Libertarian ticket received almost one million (921,128) votes.

The Reagan Administration proved to be very popular, and in the 1984 election, it showed. Former vice presidential candidate, now presidential candidate, David Bergland was only able to generate a quarter million votes.

One of the most iconic, although not the most successful, presidential runs of the Libertarian Party took place in 1988. Former congressman Ron Paul of Texas received the nomination and Andre Marrou, a former member of the Alaska House of Representatives, was nominated as the vice presidential candidate. The campaign Ron Paul ran was described by one reporter as a “Kamikaze Campaign” for being so dedicated to the issues while he stood, according to the journalist, “as much chance as I” at becoming president. Ron Paul focused on non-interventionist foreign policy, ending the Federal Reserve, getting the government out of education, and focusing on returning the American dollar to the gold standard. On top of these key issues, former Congressman Ron Paul made a pillar of his campaign the War on Drugs.

Although unsuccessful, the Ron Paul for President Campaign raised the campaign standard and redefined the Libertarian Party, highlighting the power and ability of a grassroots campaign as he raised over $2 million in donations.

In 1992 Ron Paul’s former running mate, Andre Marrou, took the nomination and continued the message of Ron Paul, but faced limited success as Americans flocked to Ross Perot, an independent from Texas who attracted over 19,000,000 votes.

Following the success of Ross Perot, the Libertarian Party knew that large success against the two-party duopoly was possible. Harry Browne received the 1996 presidential nomination. As a veteran, he pressed Bob Dole for claiming “My generation won [World War Two]” and his strong ties to the past and not to the future. When election time came he had attracted nearly half a million votes – losing votes to the popular Ross Perot who gained over 8,000,000 votes for the Reform Party.

In 2000, Harry Browne again took the nomination and ran a similar campaign to the campaign run in 1996. He won nearly the same number of votes but served a larger role.

In the controversy over the election in Florida, where Ralph Nader arguably detracted enough support from Al Gore to allow George W. Bush to win the state, the story in the state of Washington is often forgotten.

Harry Brown’s campaign attracted enough votes, alongside Pat Buchanan’s campaign for president, to swing the state away from George W. Bush and in Al Gore’s favor, ensuring the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, Al Gore, took the state, winning him an additional 11 electoral votes.

As the century turned and George W. Bush took the White House, the Libertarian Party began to go through a reformation process.

New Age Libertarianism (2004-2012)

In the twenty-first century, the Libertarian Party began to reform its priorities in its platform. The reformation became highlighted in the 2004 Libertarian National Convention as it became the most contested presidential primary in the thirty-two-year history of the Libertarian Party.

The three leading candidates were Aaron Russo, Gary Nolan, and Michael Badnarik. Aaron Russo was leading in pre-convention polls for the nomination. He was running his campaign on criticizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and ending the War on Drugs.

Gary Nolan, polling second, focused his campaign on Anti-Bush doctrine. He planned to focus campaigning on his home state Ohio with the goal of swinging the state away from Bush and winning the state for the Libertarian Party. His platform consisted of repealing the USA PATRIOT Act, ending the war in the Middle East and bringing home the troops, while rallying against the income tax.

Going into the convention Michael Badnarik was predicted the least likely of the three major candidates to win the nomination. His campaign was built on the principles of laissez-faire economics.

With Aaron Russo in the lead, it seemed clear that the Libertarian Party was beginning to switch away from the Ron Paul Era of economic focus and begin focusing on social issues, with economic policy on the back burner; however, a surprise came at the 2004 Libertarian National Convention.

On the first ballot, the vote counts for the nomination were all within twelve votes of each other; with Russo gaining 258, Badnarik 256, and Nolan 246. On the second nomination ballet, Nolan was eliminated and surprisingly endorsed Badnarik. In the final vote for the nomination, Badnarik took the nomination 417 votes to 348 for Russo, with six delegates voting “None of the Above”.

Although the focus on economics continued in this election cycle, a focus on social issues was beginning to grow within the party. Badnarik began his run immediately, trying to build off the momentum of the convention, but he struggled at first getting the Libertarian Party on board, especially those who had supported Aaron Russo who felt “cheated” at the convention.

By election day, the highest poll for the Libertarian ticket was at 5%, a poll conducted in New Mexico. On election day Badnarik, who held high hopes, pulled in about 400,000 votes, only about 0.32%. Following the results, he pursued, with support from Green Party candidate David Cobb, a recount in the state of Ohio, which President George W. Bush had won by about 100,000 votes. If the recount had been “successful” then Ohio would have swung to be a blue state, and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) would have been president.

In 2008 the election became key as there was a rejection of the Bush intervention policies. Former congressman Bob Barr was nominated by the Libertarian Party to run for president. He held high hopes going into the general election as many conservatives were growing tired of the pro-war leanings of the Republican Party, and the dedicated hawk candidate John McCain (R-AZ). However, Barack Obama (D-IL) came out as a strong anti-war candidate and supported social liberty and Barr began losing support. He tried to shift focus towards an economic policy where he believed he held the edge over the other candidates, but the American people were more focused on issues regarding foreign policy, and Barr was only able to gain a half million votes come election day. As the election cycle wore down the Libertarian Party began to strategize for 2012.

Libertarianism in the Modern Age (2012-Present)

In 2012 the upcoming nomination for president at the Libertarian National Convention was projected to be a toss-up between former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and Libertarian Party Vice Chair R. Lee Wrights. Going into the convention, Gary Johnson was being seen as an unlikely choice. He was a former two-term Republican governor in the state of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. He had joined the Libertarian Party December 2011, just six months before the national convention after he failed to gain any traction in the Republican New Hampshire primary. On the other hand, R. Lee Wrights had been a member of the Libertarian Party since 2000 and had served for two years, prior to the 2012 Libertarian National Convention, as Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party (2004-2006).

Just as in 2004, the convention turned out to be an upset. Gary Johnson, on his platform of fiscal responsibility and social equality, won a surprising landslide victory at the convention, receiving 419 delegates (70.4%). Jim Gray, a California judge, received the nomination for vice president. The pro-immigration and anti-intervention ticket won considerable support as anti-war Republicans who could not support Mitt Romney voted Libertarian. Gary Johnson, on election day, made Libertarian Party history by receiving 1,275,971 votes.

Gary Johnson continued to fight for the Libertarian message and in 2016 sought to be renominated for the Libertarian presidential ticket. He was renominated in a landslide, gaining more than 30% more delegates than the runner-up Austin Petersen. Bill Weld, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts, was selected as the vice presidential nominee.

The 2016 election proved to be pivotal. Gary Johnson and Bill Weld began speaking throughout America on the message of peace and prosperity, speaking to the people about pro-immigration policy, low taxes, balanced budgets, and more. In short, the campaign rested on the idea that the government should stay out of your wallet and out of your bedroom. Bill Weld ran a strong campaign under Gary Johnson, and together they received 4,489,235 votes for the message of peace and prosperity.

Leading to the 2020 Libertarian National Convention much is unknown, but it is clear that even if there is not another Bill Weld or Gary Johnson, the idea and message of Libertarianism will spread. As the message spreads and more and more people are informed of the principles of peace and prosperity, it is clear that the breakout year for the Libertarian Party is coming soon as momentum grows.


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#FinallyFreeAmerica – Interview with Adam Kokesh

By John Keller | United States

Adam Kokesh is a libertarian political activist, known for his show Adam vs. The Man. He announced his desire to run for President of the United States in 2020 on July 18th, 2013 and officially filed the paperwork on January 16th, 2018. Adam Kokesh is working to #FinallyFreeAmerica.

Keller: You are a veteran of the war in Iraq and a former marine. What was the moment that you decided you were changing from a marine into a political activist?

Kokesh: Some things are just decided for you! When I got out of the Marines, I moved to DC to study at GWU. While I was there, I came across the website for Iraq Veterans Against the War and I realized that I had to have my name on that list and joined right away. I really fell over backwards into full-time activism because I of the welcoming nature of the organization and the movement behind it. When I realized that the story of my experience in Iraq could be used to save lives, I had no choice.

Keller: You wrote a book titled ‘FREEDOM!’. To you what is the message of freedom all about? Why is Libertarianism better than conservatism or liberalism?

Kokesh: Freedom is what you have when no one is forcing their will on you. That is to say that freedom is a state of harmonious coexistence. Freedom is peace. Freedom is love and respect and appreciation for people. A Libertarian is someone who opposes the initiation of force. Why would you settle for anything less? Conservativism and liberalism are just different flavors of statism. Statism is the incorrect belief that it is ok, positive, or ethical for people to force themselves on others. It’s really that simple!

Keller: Trump has taken credit for the booming ‘success’ of the stock market. Is he right to take this credit?

Kokesh: That’s hard to call and I don’t really care. The stock market is a highly manipulated racket. I’m sure some things he does manipulates it up, some things down. Either way, buy Bitcoin. Invest in innovation. Buy real property that can’t be manipulated by government like the stock market.

Keller: There has been a growing movement, often credited in its growing traction to Ron Paul, to ‘End the Fed’. What does this slogan mean to you?

Kokesh: Ron Paul definitely deserves credit for bringing the crimes of the Federal Reserve System to the attention of the American people and his supporters deserve credit for sloganizing his message into, “End the Fed” at his rallies that I attended going back to his 2008 campaign. The slogan has come to mean something much bigger now. To me, it means end the federal government entirely!

Keller: The #LetRonSpeak Scandal quickly went viral. What was your stance on this issue?

Kokesh: The people with the Libertarian Party who decided to decline to give Dr Paul an opportunity to speak at the 2018 convention, National Chair Nick Sarwark and Convention Chair Daniel Hayes, definitely do not represent the base of the party and I hope they are never in positions to make such an embarrassing mistake ever again.

Keller: Arvin Vohra has been stirring up quite a storm online with comments about rape and school shootings and many speculate his actions are harming the Libertarian Party. Where do you stand on this controversy? Should Vice Chairman Vohra step down?

Kokesh: It’s not so much the controversy about “inflammatory” that concerns me so much as his statements advocating for violations of the nonaggression principle. Those clearly go against what the party stands for. He should and will be replaced at the upcoming national convention.

Keller: Recently you were arrested in Texas, mere hours after official filing candidacy for President of the United States. What was this experience like? What charges did the police have against you?

Kokesh: I’ve been arrested over three dozen times relating to my activism, mostly in civil disobedience. This one was unplanned. I can’t say it was scary, but it was disturbing because, as you can see from the video, the officer who pulled me over was determined to arrest me even though I had not committed a crime. He broke multiple laws and violated police procedure in order to come up with an excuse to arrest me after unlawfully ordering me to stop recording. When he entered my vehicle, the first thing he did was turn off the other camera I had rolling. I was jailed for ten days and have still yet to be presented with any official papers regarding my charges or the police report despite my repeated requests. Welcome to the United Police States of America! Fortunately, with self-driving vehicles on the horizon, most of the excuses that police use to harass people will go away.

Keller: Your campaign is on the philosophy of voluntaryism, with a peaceful and prosperous people without the threat of government. When this idea is depicted it is often, almost exclusively, depicted as chaotic anarchism. What makes your vision different from the media portrayed voluntaryism?

Kokesh: I have no idea what you are talking about. I have NEVER heard anyone say that a voluntary society would be chaotic. It is contrary to the very definition. A voluntary society is one in which all human interactions are free of force, fraud, and coercion. As for my campaign, it is based on the practical policy of localization, the idea that political power should be localized as opposed to centralized. Voluntaryism is the philosophy that leads me to that practical policy.

Keller: Within the Libertarian Party there is a philosophical divide between minarchists and voluntaryists. As a voluntaryist, what do you have to say to the question of minarchism? In essence, how is anarchy preferable to minarchism?

Kokesh: There is no such divide. When you join the party, you take a pledge that says, “” That is voluntaryism in pledge form. The people who take that pledge and mean it sometimes identify as minarchists, but they always want whatever the government does to be voluntary. So I’m a minarchist myself in that sense because I’m a voluntaryist. You can have as much government as you want, as long as it’s voluntary! The divide in the party is between people who believe in the Party’s Statement of Principles and take their pledge seriously, and infiltrators like Bob Barr, Gary Johnson, and Bill Weld, who pretend to not understand the pledge they took in order to misrepresent the party. Sadly, many Libertarians are fooled into supporting them, with the obvious disastrous results and negative consequences we saw in the last three election cycles, but the effectiveness of their infiltration would not have been possible without the support of hundreds who infiltrated the delegations of the last three nominating conventions. A big part of my campaign is to encourage people who believe in the principles of the party to be delegates so that isn’t possible again. Frankly, it’s embarrassing that they were able to take so many vacant delegate slots. If I have anything to say about it, they will all be filled with real Libertarians, not infiltrators. So far, our success this year is undeniable. We are halfway through state convention season, and only about a dozen (out of over 1,000) delegate slots are empty.

Keller: You campaign on the peaceful dissolution of the national government. What will that look like in office, how will you accomplish such a goal? What role will Congress play?

Kokesh: On day one, I will sign my one and only executive order declaring the federal government bankrupt and of no authority. I will resign to become “Custodian of the Federal Government” to oversee the process as a bankruptcy agent. The executive order will be as detailed as possible in laying that process out in a clear, legally binding way. Congress will have no authority, but may have some minor role to play in the apportionment of certain agencies and resources. Every federal agency will be either liquidated, localized to the state level, or spun off as a private institution.

Keller: You campaign on dissolving the national government, but often states can be more tyrannical than the national government. As president, what actions would you take against such injustices, if any?

Kokesh: I would have no such authority and will make no promises that I cannot keep. However, the premise of your question needs to be put into perspective. Yes, States can occasionally be more tyrannical than the federal government, but if you added up all the injustices committed by state governments and compared them to the injustices of the federal government, it would be like comparing a schoolyard bully to the mafia! And to be fair, you would first have to subtract all the State injustices made possible by the federal government. More importantly, when people see the benefits of localization, (which they will immediately, because on day one, federal laws will not be enforced) there will be a race among the States to dissolve down to the County level. Then a global race to localize. Eventually, government will be so local that it will be … voluntary.

Keller: Recently, you announced and have been working to implement “Operation Big Easy Book Bomb”. What is this operation and why was it enacted?

Kokesh: We are putting a copy of my book, FREEDOM! in every residential mailbox in New Orleans. 205,000 copies. We want to deliver the message of FREEDOM! directly to the people. Once we show that it can be done there, we will do it in every city in America.

Keller: As of late, the Democratic Party faces a small identity crisis and the Republican Party is losing faith in Donald Trump. What makes you the best candidate for 2020 and what should attract disillusioned voters?

Kokesh: I’m not the best candidate for President. In fact, asking who is the best candidate for President is like asking who would you most want to kick your ass? If your answer is, “NOBODY!” vote for me, because I will resign. I don’t need to attract disillusioned voters. The government is doing a fine job driving them away. We just have to show them that there is an alternative to government: freedom.

Keller: If people are interested in getting involved with joining your campaign, what steps can they take to do so?

Kokesh: Check out KokeshForPresident.com, click on volunteer, and fill out the form. But more importantly, don’t wait for direction and don’t ask permission to spread the message of freedom! Have fun waking people up and do something that you enjoy. Talk to your friends and family about why you care about freedom.

Keller: Do you have an final remarks to the readers, to supporters, and potential voters?

Kokesh: I’m the last President you’ll never need and I approve this message.

I would like to thank Adam Kokesh for his time. Be sure to visit KokeshForPresident.com and be sure to read his book “FREEDOM!”, which you can find here and follow his Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for all updates.

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Consent Matters: Non-consensual School Funding is Wrong

Arvin Vohra | Vice Chair of The Libertarian Party

Consent always matters. Even if it’s something considered good, even if it’s something demanded by religion or sense of duty, consent always matters.

For example, it’s generally considered good for married couples to have sex. In many religions and cultures, it is virtually considered a moral obligation. Perhaps because of this, for centuries marital rape was not considered a crime. As late as the 1980s in America, in many states it was considered legally impossible for a husband to rape his wife, or vice versa.

Today, thankfully, we’ve started to understand that consent always matters – even in marriage. We’ve understood that marital rape is possible, that it’s morally unacceptable for the same reasons that any other rape is unacceptable: consent matters.

I imagine this may have been very difficult for some men to hear. A husband accustomed to forcing himself on his wife, who thinks it’s normal, even a moral obligation, does not want to be compared to some back alley rapist. But rape is rape. We recognize that marital rape is wrong for the exact same reasons that stranger rape is wrong. We now realize that having consensual sex with a stranger is far better than having nonconsensual sex with a spouse.

Today, we have many people who are like that husband of the past who didn’t get that consent matters. They are trying to do a thing that they think is good. It may be trying to educate kids, defend the country, etc. Like sex within marriage, most people agree that it is a good thing. But done without consent, that good thing becomes bad.

Today, government schools, charter schools, and vouchers are done without the consent of those being charged. Those who have not consented to pay for those programs are being forced to pay anyway – not only without their consent, but often over their strong objection.

It’s not an issue of democracy, or law. When democratically elected representatives passed laws making marital rape legal, or failed to pass laws against it, marital rape was still wrong. And no matter how popular nonconsensual, theft-funded schooling is, it is completely, absolutely, morally unacceptable.

The ubiquity of this nonconsensual funding does not make it okay. It makes it worse. Rape is always bad, but more rapes are certainly worse than fewer rapes. 100 million rapes is worse than 100 rapes. The fact that so many parents use government schools, unconcerned that they are funded by force, that so many teachers work there, similarly unconcerned, makes it worse, not better. The fact that so many kids are being indoctrinated into thinking that it’s okay to steal, as long as it’s for what you believe is a good purpose, makes it even worse.

This isn’t a battle that will be won at the policy level. Today, a democratic voter referendum would probably support tax funded schooling, just as a referendum in 1810 would probably have supported slavery, or one in 1890 might have supported marital rape. This battle, like those battles, must be fought on moral battlefields and cultural ones. Our job is to change hearts and minds. Change them, not pander to them.

We must have faith that even when people are doing evil, some part of them wants to do good. The husband accustomed to raping his wife may have wanted to do something right, and just didn’t get that what he was doing was wrong. Changing that mindset didn’t come from pandering and sweet words, but from intense and controversial discussion, and a massive cultural war.

Non-consensual funding is morally wrong. It’s certainly not necessary in education; in a world with free online education, theft funding schooling has gone from morally wrong to patently absurd. Let’s change this toxic mindset, with the simple concept: active consent is necessary before you take someone’s money, no matter how good you consider the purpose. And participating in system that acts without consent, that acts over the objections of those being robbed, is always morally wrong.

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