Signal Intelligence About The LP

Loading Table of Contents...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Platform Committee Meets Friday

The Platform Committee's Directional Principles subcommittee this week approved its report to the PlatCom for consideration at PlatCom's Las Vegas meeting on Friday. I recommend reviewing this annotated version of our subcommittee's draft platform, which also shows what sort of amendments some of us are proposing to tighten up a few areas where the recycled language seems inadequate. Also available:
The PlatCom is aware that the Restoration Caucus has proposed using the 2004 Platform as a baseline. Some of us on PlatCom have looked at not only the 2004 Platform, but also
  • 10 other earlier LP platforms,
  • 8 state LP platforms,
  • the Democratic Freedom Caucus platform,
  • the Third Parties '96 Common Ground Declaration,
  • 20 more declarations on human rights throughout history, and
  • 6 other novel platforms proposed by libertarians inside the PlatCom and out.
Our Directional Principles subcommittee adopted 10 criteria for evaluating Platform proposals, and decided to draft a platform of pure LP principles structured around the concepts of the Nolan Chart. Evidence from the PlatCom Chair's recent survey suggests to me that this approach would be preferred by NatCon delegates over both the lengthy detailed style advocated by the Restoration Caucus and the brief contract-with-America style that had been advocated by many in the Reform Caucus.

Restoration Caucus leader and LP founder David Nolan discussed the Platform for a few minutes with Steve Kubby on Feb 6 (at 33 minutes into Steve's show). Nolan characterized his side of the Platform debate as "typically having a better grasp of policy issues". (Readers of LPplatform-discuss over the last year can draw their own conclusions.) He said the main problem with the Pure Principles approach is that it is "very vague and avoids committing us to specific positions" on issues like "iraq, the drug war, the police state, the economy" and "everything from the right to keep and bear arms to our opposition to reinstituting the draft to our opposition to wage and price controls etc."

It turns out that Nolan has a poor grasp of what the Pure Principles Platform says. I quote:

On the drug war: "We favor the repeal of all laws creating 'crimes' without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes."

On the police state: "We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. [...] We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied. [...] The defense of the country requires that we have adequate intelligence to detect and to counter threats to domestic security. This requirement must not take priority over maintaining the civil liberties of our citizens. The Bill of Rights provides no exceptions for a time of war."

On the economy: "We oppose all violations of the right to private property, liberty of contract, and freedom of trade. The right to trade includes the right not to trade — for any reasons whatsoever. [...] We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item. We support a halt to inflationary monetary policies, the repeal of legal tender laws and compulsory governmental units of account. [...] We oppose government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest. Industries should be governed by free markets and held to strict liability." [I could go on...]

On RTKBA: "We affirm the right to keep and bear arms. We oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting, the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition. We oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense."

On the draft: "We oppose any form of compulsory national service."

On wage and price controls: "We oppose all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates."

Thus Nolan got the six claims above flat wrong. On the other one, Iraq, the Pure Principles Platform says exactly what is said by the 2004 Platform that Nolan wants to restore: nothing. The word "Iraq" isn't in his Platform. However, the 3P draft does say: "The United States should abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world. [...] The important principle in foreign policy should be the elimination of intervention by the United States government in the affairs of other nations. American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world and the defense — against attack from abroad — of the lives, liberty, and property of the American people on American soil. "

Nolan's criticisms of the Pure Principles Platform are actually good news for the cause of Platform reform, because their demonstrable falseness will be easy to demonstrate to the delegates in Denver.

[Posted from the top floor of the Golden Nugget in Vegas.]

No comments: