There are currently three main proposals circulating for the Libertarian Party Platform.
I am trying to put together a series of debates on blogs like this one, and/or internet radio such as the Steve Kubby Show, between the proponents of these platform proposals. So far, Brian Holtz has expressed an interest in a text debate, David Nolan would prefer to start with a radio discussion, and Tom Knapp has said he is willing to
debate by either text or radio.
The floor is open in the comments, and also at the new
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lpradicals-debate/ (not to be confused with
or the original
which are internal caucus lists).
Here is a brief synopsis of the different proposals.
A) RESTORE 04 by LP Founder David Nolan
More than 100 members of the Libertarian Party, including its founder, a former Presidential candidate, and two of the 2008 Presidential aspirants, have signed a petition calling on the 2008
Platform Committee and convention delegates to restore the 2004 Platform as the starting point for the 2008 version. The petition appears on the website of the newly-formed Restoration Caucus:
The first 100 endorsers of the proposal signed up in less than three days, with more names coming in at about one per hour, according to website coordinator Jack Dean. “We’re very pleased by this enthusiastic response,” he said. “We launched the site on December 26, and were hoping for 100 signers by year-end. To reach that goal in only three days shows that a lot of Libertarians are very unhappy with
what happened at the Portland convention in 2006, and want to undo the
damage that was done there.”
Among the high-profile Libertarians signing the first day were Presidential contenders Steve Kubby and Christine Smith. Anyone wishing to join them in this effort to keep the LP “the party of principle” is urged to log on www.restore04.com and sign the petition.
In addition to the website, there is a group on facebook,
Libertarians for the Return of the 80% of the Platform which was Deleted
B) Worlds Smallest Political Platform by Tom Knapp
The Boston Tea Party adopted this platform and has recently been re-started. More information about the WSPP at
The full text of the platform is
“The Libertarian Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope or power of government at any level or for any purpose.”
Tom Knapp’s message to WSPP supporters:
If you are a member of the Libertarian Party, and if you favor having the LP adopt the World’s Smallest Political Platform, it’s important that you say so. Please visit:
… and sign the petition supporting the WSPP for the LP.
Other things you can do to promote the WSPP:
- Invite your Facebook friends to join the group.
- If you have your own blog or web site, promote the WSPP there (link buttons are available at wspp.info).
- Talk up the WSPP at your local Libertarian Party activities (it fits on a business card, and I’m working on a printable brochure right now, which will also be available at wssp.info).
- Do you know a candidate for public office? Ask him or her to use the WSPP as his campaign platform.
Thanks for joining the group, and please don’t hesitate to start discussions. There’s also a Yahoo discussion group at:
C) Greatest Hits Platform by Brian Holtz
This platform is compiled from selective parts of all the platforms
from 1971 to 2006. It has the support of
several members of the current platform committee, including its author.
Brian wrote me,
The Directional Principles Subcommittee now contains 9 of PlatCom’s 20 voting members, and our draft is very likely to be the basis of the PlatCom’s majority report. Our draft is also backed by the leadership of the Reform Caucus, an organization with over 1000 members.
Meanwhile, LPHQ in conjunction with the platform committee has sent out a survey (which I also received by snail mail).
Here’s the letter which went out with the e-mail announcing the survey:
Dear fellow Libertarian,
I need your advice.
I serve as chair of the Libertarian Party’s 2008 Platform committee, and we face a difficult challenge. Our job is to make recommendations for changes to our party’s platform.
These recommendations will be considered and voted on by delegates to our national convention, which will be held in Denver from May 23-26, 2008.
Your input is needed to know what recommendations we can offer the national convention delegates that will have the best chance of winning the 2/3 vote required for adoption.
It would be of tremendous help for the future of our party if you could spend the next few minutes completing this online questionnaire.
You’ll find that some of these questions are thought provoking.
These questions were purposely written such that you’ll need to select one answer that more closely represents your preference, even though in some cases you’ll find that both answers offer desirable benefits.
Please answer each question based on your honest opinion rather than what you imagine others might want your answer to be.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to help with this very important task.
Alicia G. Mattson
Chair, 2008 LP Platform Committee
A number of party members have been unhappy with the format, question and choices in this questionnaire. In LP Radicals, Bill Van Allen writes,
There are a number of flaws with this poll; the first and most glaring one is that the author appears to assume that “Libertarianism is what the majority of Libertarians say it is.” That’s just populist bullshit. Libertarian philosophy is the philosophy of individual liberty, personal responsibility and free markets. This poll sounds like it was written by a Clinton “which way is the wind blowing so I’ll know what to say” pollster.
Also, there are other principled options to the questions posed, beside the “all or nothing” choices provided, and some questions assume the unknowable. For example, the question on detail in the platform asks whether we should support “little or no” detail or “comprehensive” detail, completely throwing out the current four-section platform format which is a massive improvement over the previous situation which included duplication and gobbledy gook.
Also, the question about where “mainstream Libertarian thought is at odds with what most voters want” makes the arrogant assumption that we know what “most” voters want on any given issue. The only thing that “most” voters want is another option besides the Republicrats telling them what THEY think the voters want to hear. Your question could be restated for a Yes or No answer thusly: “Should our platform tell people who we are, or what we think they want to hear?” If we’re going to remain the Party of Principle, that answer should be so obvious that the question need not be asked.
Carol Moore writes
Also complain that the questionnaire does NOT provide enough options for some of the questions; i.e., either answer is NOT what most of us radicals want, but either something too extreme or unworkable or something the republicans want. I also told them to kick all the
republicans out of the party :-)
Wes Benedict‘s take:
I found many of the questions biased in order to lead respondents who aren’t very familiar with the arguments to give answers the current platform committee wants to hear which is dominated by Reformists and will likely irritate bold platform supporters like myself. Although I haven’t personally decided whether or not I’ll support the Restore04 effort, I think this platform committee will make it more likely the Restore04 effort will succeed and I sure am glad some of you started it.
For the record, platcomm members were not involved in the development of this survey and only received notification after messages were sent. LNC members who supported Alicia Mattson are urged to question their own judgment.
This is an either/or mentality that infects the entire LP (and American electorate). Certain issues, ideas and policies require a differing degree of approach. I believe this is clearly a push question which ultimately seeks to temper the traditional outrage of the average libertarian who has come to the party in protest or frustration after having the major parties fail them.
On the other hand, Brian also says that he has had no luck in getting radicals to point out exactly what libertarian principles are missing from his Greatest Hits proposal.
If anyone wants to weigh in, please comment!