Archive for November 8th, 2008

  • I’m looking for more bloggers to write here. If you are interested, drop me a note in the comments.

    I’ve already added Less Antman, Robert Mayer, Matt Harris and Jim Davidson. Michelle is still signed up to write here, but has not in quite some time. I still cross-post at her blog.

  • The about page is out of date.

    It includes some youtubes which have since expired. I haven’t done much with Crazy for Liberty or myspace in quite a while, and the Steve Kubby radio show is no more. Since I am no longer at LFV (see below), here is my about blurb that used to be listed there:

    Paulie was born in Siberia, part of the former USSR in 1972 and the USA is reminding him more of the country his parents took him out of every day. Growing up in the epicenter of the 1980s crack cocaine explosion in NYC, Paulie got caught up in the available business ventures and saw some of his friends die, and then became an activist against the drug war.

    Through his involvement in the drug peace movement, and college studies in free market environmentalism, he became interested in libertarianism, and abandoned the Democrats after they picked the military-industrial-corporate-statist DLCer and drug warrior hypocrite Bill Clinton as their nominee in 1992, thus finally disproving the idea that 60s radicals were merely infiltrating the establishment in order to change it.

    Paulie became an LP member in 1995 and a life member in 2000, and has occasionally been on the executive committee of the Alabama LP. Since 1998, he has traveled the country as a professional activist. Between that and his earlier travels in the import-export business as a teenager, he has been to 49 US states and about 20 countries, and lived in a number of them. As a life long entrepreneur, he has also started hundreds of businesses in a wide variety of fields.

    Paulie recently worked on the Steve Kubby for President campaign, has been an active member of the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus, is an advisory board member of Liberty Consulting, and hopes to start a new national College Libertarian Organizing Committee.

    He is an Anti-war, true leftist, anarchist, left libertarian, agorist, (r)evolutionary.

  • As many of you already know, I got kicked off LFV last month. The stated reason for doing so was

    I have the message you sent out to individuals and groups behind my back, attempting to damage my reputation and LFV’s reputation (which again, proves only that I was right to downgrade your permissions, since obviously you cannot be trusted at all). As a result of that vindictive email, which wasn’t even truthful […], I have removed you from LFV.

    Here is the only email I sent out during the timeframe in question that pertained to the situation, other than to ENM directly:

    Anyone who has issues with ENM is welcome to join me on my blog as contributors.


    I realize some of you are busy. It’s an open invitation for whenever.

    She just downgraded my status at LFV with no prior discussion/warning. I’m not too happy about that since I’ve been there longer than her, invited most of the people who write there (her included), etc.

    This is the full text of the email. Nothing in it attempts to damage anyone’s reputation, or is in any way vindictive. It went out to a very small number of people who had either been kicked off LFV before I was or left on their own, and no “groups” as ENM claims in the portion I did not reprint here (although Brian Miller later forwarded it to Outright Caucus exec comm, without asking me). It did not say anything about reasons why she downgraded my status, another false claim ENM made in her last response, after which she stopped talking to me.

    Of course, I have removed her from writing any more here. I freely admit that I made a mistake in trusting her to be a co-administrator with me both at LFV and here. I should have taken full control of LFV when I had the chance. I was on the road, with limited internet access, and foolishly put my trust in the wrong person. Luckily, she did not kick me off this site as well.

    People ENM kicked off LFV before me include Jim Davidson and Chris Bennett. Others left on their own.

    Since that time, ENM has also kicked out Todd Andrew Barnett, and as a result he is starting The Freeman Chronicles, another group blog I have been invited to and might join.

    As for my original offenses:

    1) I did not volunteer information about my criminal history. True, but she never asked me. She says she “did ask” me, by way of asking why I was trying to dissuade her from publishing a hit piece about Gary Fincher. However, since my reasons were at that time stated completely and truthfully, and had nothing to do with my criminal past, this is erroneous. I don’t exactly hide that I have a criminal past, either:

    No, I have not always been a good person. I have lied, stolen, cheated, swindled, literally beaten the shit out of people, just about every bad thing you can think of I have done. No, I am not proud of doing these things. No, I don’t have a time machine. I apologize to everyone that my deeds as well as my words have hurt.

    2) I published some articles about top search terms used to find LFV, what articles were being read the most, what links LFV readers clicked the most on, and top referring sites to LFV. She says that “anyone with any common sense” would not have published those. I described what I did to several people, and not one of them thought there was anything wrong in publishing what I did. If anyone is curious, I can publish the same sort of information for this blog.

    3) In the aforementioned exchange regarding Gary Fincher, she claims I was “repeatedly, intentionally abusive” to her. This is completely false. I have the email exchange saved and can prove that I was not abusive. If she took it that way, it was most certainly not due to any intention on my part.

    Since I’m now publishing this here, she may well say I am provoking her into publishing an article about some of my criminal history. If she does, I’ll consider it a violation of my privacy, and a way of making it easier for an experienced and trained killer who has publicly and explicitly threatened to kill me and feed my corpse to his dogs to find me. I consider respect for privacy to be a two way street.

  • PDSA has fixed the code on the Blogosphere of the Libertarian Left widget.

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(cross-posted at Last Free Voice)

In 1985, the Board of Directors of Coca-Cola committed one of the biggest marketing gaffes in history. After decades of establishing their product as “The Real Thing,” they accepted the findings of their research team that discovered a taste people preferred in blind tests, and proudly announced that they had improved the formula.

The New Coke was an absolute disaster. The anger of the consuming public was so great that they had to eventually accept hundreds of millions in losses and figure out a way of reversing their course. They announced the return of “Coke Classic”, to give people a choice, and then quietly shelved the New Coke once they had gotten rid of as much of the stuff as possible.

Now, far be it from me to describe the Libertarian Party of 1971 to 2000 as a best seller like Coke. Anyone who measures success by the election of LP members to office should have long ago given up and gone somewhere else (the Republican or Democratic parties, if they have any common sense). Still, it was a far more effective brand than people think it was: it served as a feeder organization for the entire movement, and many non-political libertarians of today can trace their first contact with libertarianism to the Libertarian Party. It had and has an intellectual respectability within the field of academia and the blogosphere, and some within the field of journalism.

Well, we blew it. In a year that screamed for an alternative, we were virtually ignored, and in a year that had thousands of young, idealistic people energized, we failed to convince them that we are the only logical home for the Ron Paul Revolution. I think it is because we failed to defend our brand.

Now, before someone thinks this is going to be a rant against the Reform Caucus, let me state clearly that it is not. I have substantial disagreements with Reformers on strategy, mainly because I think they have been insufficiently pragmatic and because most failed to implement their strategy consistently. Their preferred candidate should have been George Phillies, not Bob Barr or Wayne Root, and if the nomination battle had come down to Phillies vs Ruwart, I think we would have come out of Denver united and inspired, regardless of who was the final winner, with our brand strengthened and a lot of new, young activists making our future bright. Once Phillies was eliminated, Reformers should have switched to Ruwart, not Barr or Root.

We don’t all want exactly the same thing, but we’re reasonably close. What I want is a society with as little aggression as the real (not a fantasy) world can provide. In my view, the most practical society will be based on private property anarchism, but if you put me in a room with LP Founder David Nolan, who is explicitly a limited government libertarian, you’ll probably find that there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference in our actual positions (with the possible exception of immigration), and our differences are mainly in how we predict societies with libertarian sensibilities will address security, dispute resolution, and collective defense. I think (I need more time to be sure) that I have more differences with, for example, Brian Holtz, but I also have differences with Rothbardians. None, in my view, is fatal to a successful alliance. In fact, as an admirer of Friedrich Hayek, I don’t think any of us CAN know how a free society will solve all the serious problems facing a free society, and I don’t trust anyone who claims to know. Even me.

What both Radicals and Reformers want is an appealing and DISTINCT brand that will attract people to libertarianism. Now, I happen to think that anyone who works within the LP has already made a decision to forego electoral success, but I wouldn’t mind being proved wrong and, in any event, neither an educational nor an electoral strategy has a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding unless libertarianism is an inspiring and unique brand, incapable of being confused with either Republican conservatism or Democratic progressivism. I don’t think we’ve ever tried hard enough to brand it properly.

Our radical past is a myth. The LP before 2006 was NOT the product of decades of explicitly radical campaigns based on the Rothbardian platform of the LP. To this day, there has never been a presidential campaign that promoted anarcho-capitalism, and Radical Caucus candidates have, with rare exceptions, pretty much been as loathe to campaign on their ideal society as Reform Caucus candidates (I blame the misinterpreted and now-dead Dallas Accord for some of this, but not all). Similarly, the 2008 presidential campaign is NOT an example of the Reform strategy, as I understand it. Reform Caucus advocates are every bit as eager as Radical Caucus members to have libertarianism stand out, and not be viewed as merely a principled version of conservativism.

My view is that we must renew and strengthen our brand as the only consistent advocate of liberty, and that we must remain absolutely vigilant that we not appear to be a form of conservativism (or progressivism). To my fellow Radicals, I think it is time we accepted the less comprehensive platform on a permanent basis, working only to improve it where it strays from plumbline libertarianism (as I believe it does implicitly in the tax plank and explicitly in the immigration plank). To my friends in the Reform caucus, I think it is time you accepted the pledge and the Statement of Principles as keys to our brand, the Party of Principle.

Applied to issues, let me sketch out what I see the implications on a national level of a libertarian who wants a brand that is neither conservative nor progressive.

Foreign Policy – An end to military intervention in other countries AND an absolute stand in favor of global free trade.

Health – The abolition of restrictions on drugs and treatments AND the abolition of government subsidies for health care expenditures.

Economics – An end to coercively financed poverty welfare AND an end to corporate welfare.

I do think members of the Reform Caucus should acknowledge the Law of Unintended Consequences. I have enough respect for many of you to know that you didn’t want the absurd platform that came out of Portland in 2006 but, absent your strategy, it wouldn’t have happened. Many of you didn’t want Barr to be our nominee but, absent your strategy, he wouldn’t have been the nominee. Acknowledge that.

Let me also caution my fellow Radicals about People Who Live in Glass Houses. You talk a good game about other people not being open about the full implications of libertarianism, and you were eager to fight for a comprehensive platform in Denver, but I spent a lot of time browsing candidate web sites and reading newspaper clippings, and with rare exceptions, I couldn’t tell you which candidates were members of which RC if my life depended on it. When it comes to radicalism, either put up or shut up (for the record, you are all hereby invited to hold my feet to the fire on this issue as I expand my site, Anarchy Without Bombs, over the next several months: I’m human, and sometimes I’m weak, so if you catch me waffling at www.anarchywithoutbombs.com, I will be ever-so-grateful for your correction of my heresy).

This is not intended to be the final word on this topic, but to get us talking about the future. I’m more interested right now in hearing the views of others who care about the future of the LP than I am about defending this entire post. I think the Ron Paul Youth are still up for grabs, and that we still have the opportunity to inspire them to our side (especially once the Obama Presidency gets going and starts disappointing). How do we reach them?

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