Signal Intelligence About The LP

Loading Table of Contents...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Platform Committee Adopts Report

The Libertarian Party Platform Committee met in December in Las Vegas.  It adopted 16 proposals, two of which include "pending amendments".  (A pending amendment is subject to an initial majority vote by the convention delegates before the proposal it amends receives its usual up-or-down 2/3 vote.)  This wiki page shows how the PlatCom proposals would change the platform.  Highlights:

1.0 Personal Liberty.  PlatCom offers two alternative rewrites to this plank. Both say that "the right to make a choice depends on both understanding that it has consequences and accepting responsibility for them". This will help defend LP candidates from charges that we demand adult freedoms for children.

1.2 Privacy and Self-Ownership is the proposed new title for this plank, which is broadened to the scope that was originally intended in the 2008 platform rewrite. 1.1 is about freedom of one's own mind, 1.2 is about freedom of one's own body, and 1.3 is about the freedom to have relations with others. PlatCom here generalizes the "drugs" language to include all "substances".

1.4. Abortion would explicitly "welcome both pro-life and pro-choice members", and oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.

1.6. Self-Defense would clarify gun freedom on private property, and rework some clumsy phrasing inherited from the 1976 platform. However, I worry that this proposal is imperiled by replacing the classic "ammunition or firearms" in favor of "personal defense weapons".

2.4 and 2.5 are rewrites that add more complaints about taxes and subsidies. They add language about "hardworking Americans" and "the American dream", while deleting explicit mentions of the IRS,  Balanced Budget Amendment, currency freedom, and banking.

2.6 Labor Markets is rewritten, with a focus on government employee unions and pensions.

2.8 Education gets some polishing, and loses an out-of-scope rhetorical aside.

3.4 Free Trade and Migration is also polished, and it too gets a mention of "the American dream".

3.5 Rights and Discrimination. PlatCom proposes to replace the condemnation of bigotry with a denial that a "natural can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that right".  A separate 3.5 proposal qualifies parenall rights when "a jury finds abuse, neglect, or reckless endangerment".

The following table gives the PlatCom votes for each proposal, along with my analysis of whether the proposal will be approved in convention.

My Analysis
1.0 responsibility requires understanding 12-0-0 drops force initiation, adds govt role 30%
1.0 American liberty 12-1-0 too jingoistic 5%
1.2 Self-Ownership, risk-taking 13-0-0 good generalization of "drugs" to "media and substances" 80%
1.2 individuals -> adults 13-0-0 gives LP cover for kids+drugs 80%
1.4 welcome pro-life & pro-choice 9-4-0 fig leaf for our extremist pro-choice position 60%
1.4 no tax-funded abortion 13-0-0 slam dunk 99%
1.5 restitution of/to 13-0-0 obvious grammar fix 99%
1.6 guns on private property 11-1-0 good but imperiled by changing "ammunition or firearms" to "personal defense weapons" 60%
2.4 taxes imperil American dream 12-1-0 too jingoistic; delays income tax repeal; drops IRS & BBA references 25%
2.5 against fraud and bailouts 11-1-0 good change imperiled by dropping references to banking & currency 40%
2.7 govt employee unions/pensions 9-4-0 good language, but backsliding toward excess detail 70%
2.8 rewrite education w/o "moral values" 12-0-0 good rewording; radicals won't like dropping "like any other service" 70%
2.9 free to be uninsured 12-0-0 harmless clarification 90%
3.4 immigration rewrite 12-0-0 don't need "American dream" or "general welfare" sap 80%
3.5 rights impose no duties 9-1-3 too absolutist; sticklers will cite jury duty 60%
3.5 child abuse 13-0-0 jury reference is crucial for approval 90%
3.6 electoral -> voting 13-0-0 harmless improvement 95%
3.6 voting to limit govt 10-0-3 almost too obvious 90%

My personal agenda for this platform cycle is to minimize platform language churn while trying to fix the top five vulnerabilities that the platform leaves for our candidates. This web page lists those five problems and the fixes I suggested.  PlatCom's proposals address all five problems, although not always with the precise language I offered. I voted against only one of those five solutions, where the 1.6 proposal only used half of the "peacable adults" solution and made extraneous changes that put the whole proposal at risk.

I voted against 4 of the 6 other plank rewrites, as they tended to churn (and sometimes weaken) the platform language without actually provided extra defense or guidance to our candidates. I cast all five of the solitary nays, and was among the nays or abstentions whenever there were any.

My portal of information about the LP Platform is here.

No comments: