Signal Intelligence About The LP

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

LPrads: Phillies Talks Platform, Attacks Ron Paul

On LPradicals on Monday, LP presidential hopeful George Phillies posted some opinions about the LP Platform that were a thinly-veiled attack on Ron Paul, who is embraced by the other leading contenders for the nomination. (The nomination is Paul's for the taking, but I judge there's only a 10% chance he'll take it. I rate the other contenders' odds as: Kubby 35% Phillies 25% Root 25% Smith 5%.) Highlights:
  • "Opponents of these [federal protection of gay rights] positions, no matter how they dress their stands in constitutionalist rhetoric, should be characterized as homophobic bigots."
  • "I hold no position on the length of the platform. I do hold a position on writing quality, namely that the 2004 platform was abysmally repetitive."
  • "We should condemn Republican right wing extremist opposition to abortion with partial dilation." [In fact, at most 10% of Americans think near-term abortion should be legal, and the LP ignores the undefended popular high ground on the whole abortion issue.]
  • "people who reject evolution are unfit to be President". [Ron Paul says "It's a theory; I don't accept it. ... I just don't think we're at a point where anybody has absolute proof on either side."]
[I was leaning toward supporting Phillies if Paul isn't going to be in the general election, because Phillies shows more intellectual independence from dogmatic Rothbardianism than Kubby does, on issues like the environment, education, taxation, and trade. However, in his speaking and writing, Phillies is almost as bad as Christine Smith in his disdain for, and borderline paranoia about, libertarians who don't agree with all of his ideas about policy and strategy. I'm going to support whatever candidate is best equipped to enduringly expand the varieties of principled libertarianism that the LP officially tolerates. Root seems unlikely to be able to convince skeptical Libertarians that his candidacy is more about libertarianism than it is about Wayne Allen Root. Kubby has the disposition and intellectual honesty to be such a candidate, but to date he's been following Tom Knapp's advice to hew to "plumbline" libertarianism, and seems unaware of the myriad free variables in libertarian theory that make the "plumbline" notion quaintly oxymoronic.]

Phillies gets thoughtful responses from Paul F****** (aka goldrecordings) and Dick Clark, and Anthony Gregory pipes up on Friday to defend Ron Paul. There is also an interesting exchange on environmentalism between LP Vice Chair Chuck Moulton and Phillies: Moulton Phillies Moulton Knapp. Chuck tries to present the economic perspective on environmentalism, which relates to one of the most obvious intellectual holes in "plumbline" libertarianism. The always-interesting geolibertarian Dan Sullivan follows up with an essay on corporate environmentalism.

Update: Tom Knapp writes:
It's lazy thinking to conflate my role in helping Kubby communicate his positions with some weird notion that the positions themselves result from my "advice." When I signed on with Steve's campaign, I immediately cracked open the two books he'd written, conducted an extensive survey of his web-published articles, and threw issues at him to get HIS thoughts and HIS positions.
Tom goes on to say he knows of no policy issue "on which his position has changed since I joined his campaign". As a Platform wonk, I know how rare it is for anybody to publish a comprehensive set of policy positions, so Tom's claim might not be as sweeping as it sounds. Since Kubby is increasingly likely to be the 2008 LP nominee, I'd love for Tom to publish a syllabus of Kubby's books and articles, to see what policy stands Kubby actually made before running for President.

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