Signal Intelligence About The LP

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Monday, April 28, 2008

5 Questions For Dr. Ruwart

Hi Steve, I'm going to try to resist calling in to your show today, as I'd like Dr. Ruwart to have the maximum time to give her short (or long) answers to as many questions as you can ask her. I suggest five questions below, and some bonus questions if by some miracle you two run out of things to talk about. :-) I'm also curious to hear your answers, but Dr. Ruwart seems to be in the hot seat this week.

Also, I want to repeat what I've said elsewhere: that 1) it's scurrilous slander for anyone to suggest that Dr. Ruwart personally favors any child's choice -- or any adult's coercion of that choice -- to engage in child pornography or pedophilia, and 2) this teapot tempest by no means disqualifies Dr. Ruwart from the nomination or exposes the LP to unusual risk if she wins it. I only wish our other leading candidates had such an extensive and forthright record on the full range of libertarian issues as Dr. Ruwart has. Delegates should weigh any lack of such a record as heavily as they weigh the parts of Dr. Ruwart's record that they might disagree with.

I can't find an email address for Dr. Ruwart, so I would appreciate anybody forwarding this to her.

Dr. Ruwart has been deservedly praised by her supporters for her extensive, consistent, approachable yet "plumbline" explanations of libertarian theory, perhaps best exemplified in her famous "Short Answers to Tough Questions". If such a candidate who is lauded as a leading libertarian theorist wins the LP nomination at a convention in which the Platform is at its most fluid state since 1974, it will be taken as a profound signal about the ideological direction the Denver delegates want the party to go. Such a theorist arguably has a special obligation to clarify her views on libertarian ideology -- or, perhaps, to disavow that her nomination would have any special ideological implications beyond that of previous LP candidacies or the nomination of any of her leading opponents.

The questions below are respectfully submitted to clarify those views. For any that have been clearly answered already, pointers to the answers will of course suffice. Note that I am asking these questions only as a delegate and LP congressional candidate, and not in my capacity as Secretary of the Platform Committee or board member of the Reform Caucus.
  1. How soon, in a specific number of days or decades, should the United States allow personal secession, whereby an individual can declare himself exempt from all the government's laws (while still being subject to private prosecution for violations of natural law)?
  2. Should the criminally accused have the Sixth Amendment right to subpoena innocent witnesses, and if not, specifically how soon should that part of the Sixth Amendment be repealed?
  3. In your ideal anarcholibertarian legal system, who would prosecute parents/guardians for aggression against their children?
  4. Do you agree with Rothbard that it should not be a crime for parents to starve their children, or do you hold that the legal system should require a positive obligation of parents not to starve their children?
  5. Should there be no binding laws/rules that consider age to be any kind of rebuttable factor in sexual consent, or are you only opposed to "bright-line" age discrimination that creates crimes because of rigid calendar calculations?

  • If you advocate a positive legal obligation of parents not to starve their children, then
    • Can you indicate what other positive obligations you think should be enforced in your ideal libertarian legal system?
    • What principled distinction do you make between the positive legal obligations you do endorse, and the myriad positive legal obligations that we libertarians oppose?
  • How, if at all, do you think that allowing personal secession is in principle any different from anarchism?
  • You write that on abortion "libertarians are split into two camps, both believing that their view best expresses the non-aggression principle". Do you think the LP Platform should take the position of one camp over the other?
  • A prominent supporter of yours says you are actually in a third camp on abortion, usually called "evictionist", which holds it should be a crime to allow a healthy viable fetus to die as a result of evicting it from the womb. Is that your position?
  • If you think the Platform should side with neither the pro-choice nor pro-life camps, then do you think it should adopt an abortion position of 1) evictionism, 2) Ron-Paul-style de-federalization with no further opinion, 3) silence, or 4) some other option?
  • Specifically how soon should America end all restrictions on the immigration of peaceful honest people?
  • Should private ownership of WMD be a crime, and if not, should the Platform make this explicit by opposing (as the 2004 platform did) "all attempts to ban weapons or ammunition on the grounds that they are risky or unsafe"? Must the Platform explicitly call for the privatization of all streets and pipes, or would you accept the Platform not being explicit on this topic?
  • Must the Platform explicitly say that only torts (and perhaps consumer activism) should be used to regulate pollution from dispersed sources (e.g. tailpipes, chimneys, runoff, CFCs in air conditioners), or would you accept the Platform leaving room for libertarians to advocate contestable default point-of-sale pollution fines by generically saying that "pollution is best regulated when market prices reflect the costs of pollution"?
  • In your extensive research for your books, have you ever encountered an instance in the historical record in which pollution aggression from dispersed sources was corrected only by market forces, without any crucial contribution by legislation or technological innovation?

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