Sunday, December 14, 2008

We don't need no stinking social liberty around here.

The (formerly) Libertarian Party has had a birthday. It is now 37 years old. In my view the LP is a zombie -- the living dead. It walks and moves about but it is a corpse for all practical purposes.

LP National Chairman Bill Redpath has issued a list of promises that the LP has never backed down on -- or so he says. Now, for the record, I have no personal grudges with Mr. Redpath. We have met socially and never had cross words. I know almost nothing about what he has done, or hasn’t done, as national chairman. But I do know what a debacle the national offices of the LP was and how corruptly it acted during the presidential nominating convention. And I have to hold the national chairman partially responsible for that. I don’t know if Mr. Redpath was a Barr supporter or not. So I have no known disputes with him behind what I’ve stated.

That said I found his list of LP pledges very disappointing. It was certainly redundant. He promised the LP would “promote free market alternatives” and “protect a free and competitive market”. He said the LP will let “you keep the money that you earn” and will “work towards the repeal of the income tax.” He promises to “fight for less government” and to “cut the size of government.” He is against “bailouts” and “subsidies”. He is saying the same thing several times and counting each new time as if it were another pledge.

I have no problems with what he pledges at all. He basically says: no bailouts; promote free markets; less government; no new taxes, etc. All good things I think.

But what is shocking is what Mr. Redpath has left out. There is not a single mention of the LP fighting the war on drugs. Of course they pushed a drug warrior for president in the great Denver sell-out. There is no mention of civil liberties of any kind. Mr. Redpath doesn’t mention anything outside the realm of economics. He wrote a list of promises that the ultra-Right John Birch Society could sign. There is no mention of foreign policy at all.

Apparently Mr. Redpath doesn’t want to pledge the party will support a non-interventionist foreign policy. Why? He doesn’t want to discuss government interference in marriage rights. Why? There is nothing about abortion, censorship, or sexual freedom. There is nothing offered that will appeal to anyone Left of Bob Barr, nothing for the millions of civil libertarians. Redpath's pledge list is meant to appeal only to free market conservatives and no one else.

Has the (formerly) Libertarian Party given up on civil liberties and a non-interventionist foreign policy?

Mr. Redpath’s pledge list was another example of how the LP has become a Right-wing, conservative party and is no longer a libertarian one.

I can’t see him accidentally leaving off all references to civil liberties and foreign policy. This is not an oversight but appears to be a conscious decision to disassociate the LP from any policy that conservatives would find offensive. Mr. Redpath only confirms my reasons for disassociating myself from the LP. His lack of even a token reference to civil liberties speaks volumes.