Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
One way that you can help our campaign is by educating people about libertarianism and the Libertarian Party. A great way to do that is by participating in the "Quiz Across America" campaign.
These "Quiz Across America" door hangers contain the World's Smallest Political Quiz on the front and information about the Libertarian Party on the back.
You can get 100 door hangers for every $5 that you donate to the Libertarian Party.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I look forward to promoting our message of less government and more freedom and to letting the people of Louisiana know that they don't have to settle for the Republicans and the Democrats. I'll be updating this site in the coming days with details on how I plan to make the case for liberty during the next nine weeks leading up to the general election.
First, though, I do want to express my appreciation for the people who helped so much during this primary campaign.
I thank Tony Gentile for being a fine candidate and for making this Libertarian primary possible. I wish him the best of luck in the future.
I thank the leadership of the Libertarian Party of Louisiana, especially Chairman T. Lee Horne III and Vice-Chairman Scott Lewis, for all the work they did. Leading a group of libertarians can't be an easy job.
I thank long-time Libertarian Party of Louisiana activist Mike Wolf for all the great advice he has given me and the support that he has shown.
I thank Chris Bradford for his work organizing volunteers and reaching out to voters. I thank Robert Gaffney for his words of encouragement and for his assistance in economic policy matters.
Over the course of the last few weeks I've gotten many emails from people asking for my opinions, or letting me know their own opinions, on a variety of issues. I thank all of those people for their time and attention and advice. I can't name them all, but I do want to especially thank Matthew Steel, Rodney Moore, and Donnie Griffith for the discussions we've had. I also thank Donnie for the good work he does on behalf of medical marijuana patients in Louisiana.
There are many other people who deserve to be thanked and I'm in the process of responding to calls and emails now. If I miss you, please know that you are appreciated.
Finally, I thank the voters who turned out to cast ballots in this history-making election. Please remember to vote on November 2.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Earlier this year the Louisiana Legislature voted to return us to the jungle primary system which Edwin Edwards instituted in the 1970’s. When that law takes effect next year, Louisiana's election laws will again be out-of-step with almost all of the rest of the country.
The jungle primary (or blanket primary) encourages a highly personalistic political culture and causes any coherent discussion of ideas and issues to fade into the background of the political circus. In short, the jungle primary brings about the kind of political culture that has held this state back for decades.
It is inevitable that party primaries will return to Louisiana someday. They are a part of a mature democracy. Let’s hope our leaders don’t give up on the voters so easily next time.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Yet, as long as we do not put government obstacles in the way of restructuring our economy, the recession and its unemployment will not go on for very long. Attempting to "fight" the recession through government stimulus will only prolong the agony. The two largest attempts to do so in American history were the 1930's and the 1970's, both of which had poor economic growth and persistently high unemployment. The government should instead cut spending, cut taxes, and remove any obstacles to the economy's restructuring, such as bailouts. This is the only way to ensure a relatively quick recovery and minimize the pain.
Moreover, we need to eliminate the incentives that got us into this crisis. We should not use the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates as stimulus policy, as this necessarily blurs economic forecasting and leads to bad investments, just as lowering interest rates in the wake of the dot-com bust led to our housing bubble. We should completely end bailout policies and expose the idea of "too big to fail" as the fiction that it is. We should recognize that government subsidies lead to imbalances that are eventually exposed in crises and attempt to eliminate them all, allowing the market rather than the government to coordinate resources.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The simple fact is, this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship, and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right. And if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. --- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
I don't always agree with Bloomberg, but on this point he is exactly right. Private property rights and religious freedom are basic parts of the American tradition of liberty. They are, in fact, more important than anything that happened on September 11. It dishonors the people who died that day to use their deaths to diminish freedom.
We should never allow the State to start regulating the private practice of religion. Every house of worship in America is built on the same legal foundation on which Park51 will stand. If that foundation is weakened, they will all be in jeopardy.
The disdain that some have shown for private property rights is equally troubling because it threatens every home and every business in the country. In a free society a person has the right to do whatever he wants with his own property so long as he does not violate the rights of any other person. There is no right to not be offended.
The opposition to the mosque is a consequence primarily of mistaking the people who are building the mosque for the people who crashed planes into the World Trade Center. The broad brush with which all Muslims are being painted is the same brush that was used to paint us into the Iraq war. We cannot let it be used to blot out what's left of our liberties.
There can and should be a civil discussion about the various societal issues raised by the building of the mosque. That discussion is a good opportunity for greater understanding and it should not be overshadowed by hateful, short-sighted rhetoric about limiting anyone's legal rights.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
In some cases the U.S. entered those wars at the behest of foreign interests who were happy to have Americans fighting their wars for them. In other cases there were ill-conceived ideas about imposing democracy or inflicting humanitarianism with military firepower. In some cases there were foolish fantasies of following up the Cold War with a global empire. In all cases, though, there were American politicians who were willing to use foreign deployments of American soldiers to support their own political careers.
We must always be ready to defend our military from war-hungry politicians. The most effective antidote is a knowledge of history and geography, but a few basic things are worth mentioning:
The terrorists do not "hate us because of our freedoms." They hate us because of the invade-the-world foreign policy that we've allowed our leaders to follow for decades.
There is nothing patriotic about sending a young American half-way around the world to fight in a foreign war.
We should support our troops by bringing them home now and never again letting our leaders use them as pawns in global politics. We should follow a truly pro-American foreign policy which avoids committing U.S. troops to wars that are not essential to our national security.
See also: General Smedley Butler's War Is a Racket
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Below are brief statements of my thoughts about the two major issues in the Perry case.
I believe that same-sex marriage should be just as legal as opposite-sex marriage.
The ideal solution would be to get the government out of the marriage business altogether. "Marriage licenses" are a fairly recent invention with embarrassing origins. It seems a bit absurd to have to get the state's permission to get married, just as it would be absurd to have to get the state's permission to have a child. These things are just far too personal to be subject to government licensing.
Recognizing, though, that the ideal solution isn't likely to be adopted very soon, legalizing same-sex marriage is a minimal reform that is needed. People are being harmed by the state's refusal to extend to them the same basic legal benefits and licensed social status that the state extends to others in substantially similar circumstances. Religious objections and the revulsion that some people feel toward homosexuality do not justify state-directed harm.
Religious organizations and private celebrants should be free to refuse to administer or recognize marriages that they see as objectionable. A minister could decline to officiate at a same-sex wedding just as a minister can now decline to officiate at a wedding in which one of the parties is a divorced person. The state, however, should not discriminate in this way.
I believe that the federal government has no valid role to play in regulating marriage.
There simply isn't anything in the U.S. Constitution giving the federal government any power over marriage. Again, I understand the 14th Amendment arguments, but reject them. That's too complex an issue to fully discuss here, but I might return to it in another post. Most importantly, the expansion of federal power, even when done for the short-term furtherance of individual rights, has the long-term effect of endangering individual rights. A weak central government is, in the long run, better for personal liberty.
If marriage is going to be regulated by government, then it should be regulated by the state or local governments. The federal government should neither ban same-sex marriage nor require states to recognize same-sex marriage.
To the extent that the federal government is involved in marriage (e.g., in the granting of Social Security survivor's benefits), it should recognize marriages that are valid under the laws of the states in which they were performed.
See also: Ted Olson's "The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage." Olson's argument for federal jurisdiction is flimsy, but his observations about the ways in which society would benefit from legalizing same-sex marriage are excellent.
Monday, August 2, 2010
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS --- CONGRESSIONAL CLOSED PARTY PRIMARY
Democratic Party (DEM)
Green Party (GRN)
Libertarian Party (LBT)
Reform Party (RFM)
Republican Party (REP)
No other parties are unrecognized. By law, no political party shall be recognized in Louisiana which declares its name solely to be “Independent” or “the Independent Party”.
2. I’m registered with the Democratic (DEM) party, can I vote at the August 28th 1st Party Primary?
Yes, the Democratic Party will have a 1st Party Primary on August 28, 2010 because they qualified two (2) or more democratic candidates for U.S. Senator and for U.S. Representative in Districts 2 & 4.
3. I’m registered with the Green (GRN) party, can I vote at the August 28th 1st Party Primary?
No, the Green Party did not qualify two (2) or more candidates for the August 28, 2010 primary.
Yes, the Libertarian Party will have a 1st Party Primary on August 28, 2010 because they qualified two (2) or more libertarian candidates for U.S. Senator.
5. I’m registered with the Reform (RFM) party, can I vote at the August 28th 1st Party Primary?
No, the Reform Party did not qualify two (2) or more candidate for the August 28, 2010 primary.
6. I’m registered with the Republican (REP) party, can I vote at the August 28th 1st Party Primary?
Yes, the Republican Party will have a 1st Party Primary on August 28, 2010 because they qualified two (2) or more republican candidates for U.S. Senator and for U.S. Representative in Districts 3 & 5.
7. I’m registered with an unrecognized party or no party, can I vote at the August 28th 1st Party Primary?
Yes, you are considered an “unaffiliated voter” because you are either registered with an unrecognized party or with no party. Recognized parties determine who is allowed to vote in their party primaries and the Democratic Party and the Libertarian Party have opened their primaries to unaffiliated voters. The Republican Party has chosen to close their primary to only registered republican voters. Therefore, you may choose to vote in EITHER the Democratic or Libertarian party primary election. If you choose to vote in the Democratic party primary, you may vote for only the Democratic candidates in the U.S. Senate and U.S. Representative races (in those districts which have a U.S. Representative race). If you choose to vote in the Libertarian party primary, you may only vote for the Libertarian candidates for U.S. Senator. (The Libertarian Party did not qualify two (2) or more candidates for U.S. Representative, only U.S. Senator).
8. Why can’t I vote for the candidate of my choice?
The closed party primaries restrict voters to voting for candidates in the same party as their voter registration party. However, voters who are registered with unrecognized parties or no party may choose to vote in an open party primary as discussed above.
9. Why is the Republican primary closed to all voters except Republicans?
The law allows a recognized party to file documentation with the Secretary of State to close their primary. The Republican Party has filed such documentation.
10. I’m registered with the Reform (RFM) party, and I know that a Reform candidate qualified to run for U.S. Senate, so why can’t I vote for that candidate at the 1st party primary on August 28, 2010? When will I be able to vote for that candidate?
When only one candidate qualifies for a congressional office, that candidate’s name will appear only on the GENERAL ELECTION ballot, and will not appear in the party primary. You can vote for your candidate in the general election on November 2, 2010.
11. If I change my party to Democratic, can I vote for a Democratic candidate?
If I change my party to Libertarian, can I vote for a Libertarian candidate?
If I change my party to Republican, can I vote for a Republican candidate?
Yes, you may change your party, but you must do so before the 30 day deadline before the election (7/28/10 is 30 day deadline for August 28th 1st party primary, 9/1/10 is the 30 day deadline for October 2nd 2nd party primary, and 10/4/10 is the 30 day deadline for the November 2nd General Election). All registration changes must be made 30 days prior to the election, or they are held until after the election. Contact your parish registrar of voters.
12. If I changed my party so I could vote for the candidate of my choice in the party primary, how do I change my party back?
You may change your party again, but you must do so before the 30 day deadline before the election. Contact your parish registrar of voters or make a change online at http://www.geauxvote.com/ by clicking on the Register to Vote button.
13. I’m registered with a non-recognized party, such as the Louisiana Taxpayer Party. Will I be allowed to vote in the closed party primary?
Yes, you are considered an unaffiliated voter. See the answer to question #7 above.
CLICK HERE to read the rest or to get a printable pdf.
Friday, July 30, 2010
NO MORE FOREIGN WARS
The U.S. military should be returned to its original purpose. It should be a defensive force, not an imperial force or an international police force. U.S. troops should not be used as pawns in global politics and should not be sent to fight in foreign wars.
Our current involvement in foreign wars has cost us much of our reputation in the world and created more anti-American sentiment than it could have prevented. The personal suffering that this involvement has caused, both in America and abroad, is almost too horrible to imagine. We should bring our troops home now.
REDUCE THE POWER OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
Power should be shifted away from the federal government and decision-making should be returned to the state level, the local level, and (most of all) the individual level.
PROTECT OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES
Our basic freedoms and our privacy are under attack from both the Left and the Right. We should not sacrifice liberty for security and we should keep the government out of our private lives.
OPEN AND FAIR ELECTIONS
Our election laws have been written to favor the Republicans and the Democrats, to strengthen incumbents, and to oppose consideration of ideas that are unpopular with the political establishment. We should re-write those laws to open the political process to a broader range of voices, personalities, and ideas. Fairer ballot access laws are needed and other electoral reforms (e.g., instant runoff voting, fusion, Congressional term limits, and proportional representation) should be considered.
RESTORE GUN RIGHTS
Contrary to what some people seem to think, the right to keep and bear arms has nothing to do with deer or duck hunting. It is intended to give the people the means to protect themselves from an oppressive government. It is one of our most important rights because it gives us the ability to, when necessary, preserve all our other rights from a government that would take them away.
REPEAL PROHIBITION OF DRUGS
Much of our crime problem is the result of our failed "War on Drugs." Drug prohibition has created a market that is too profitable for criminal gangs to resist, has encouraged those criminals to commit the most brutal crimes to protect their profits, and has burdened our criminal justice system with a flood of non-violent drug-users. We should decriminalize drugs, allow a carefully regulated drug market, and treat the problems associated with drug use as a health problem rather than as a criminal problem.
END CORPORATE WELFARE
Private business should generally be free from government control, but private businesses must also be allowed to fail. There should be no government bailouts of private industries. The various government-instituted benefits, including subsidies and limitations on legal liability, that private businesses receive should be ended.
REFORM INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAWS
Copyrights and patents are unlike any other type of "property." They are government-granted, limited monopolies. They were contrived for the purpose of encouraging creativity, but are now used to stifle creativity.
The internet and other modern technologies have revolutionized both the production and the distribution of idea-based property. The economic realities of today are very different from those of the 18th century. Keeping in mind the altruistic purposes for which intellectual property laws were first written, we should update those laws so that they can better complement the ways in which we now create, realize, and exchange ideas.
Lowering taxes will have the two-fold advantage of allowing the people to keep more of their own money and forcing the government to become smaller.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Final preparations gathered steam and early balloting began this week for the Democratic and Republican First Primaries July 23, the first dual primaries to be held here in recent years.
Held simultaneously with the Democratic Primary will be a Republican Primary between candidates for U.S. Senator, William Dane and George W. Reese, Jr. This, the first Republican Primary in Winn in years, promises to be a light ballot with only six registered Republicans in the Parish. Democrats are not eligible to cross party lines in the Primary....
---- Winn Parish Enterprise, July 14, 1960
The writer clearly regarded a Republican primary as a novelty and, in citing the tiny number of registered Republicans in Winn Parish at that time, made the point that it was an event in which few people would get to participate.
This year, Louisiana will be holding another novel primary. Since the Libertarian primary will be open to both the 3500 or so registered Libertarians in the state and the 660,000+ registered independents, it will probably attract a much larger vote share than the Republican primary did fifty years ago.
Still, there are some interesting parallels between then and now.
In 1960 (and even much later) registered Republicans in Louisiana were hard to find. There were occasional Republican candidates, but they didn't win. Those candidates were philosophical standard-bearers who ran to remind the voters that there was another choice.
Fifty years ago the Republicans were a "minor" party in Louisiana just as surely as the Libertarians are a "minor" party today. Gradually, the Republicans gained ground here because the Democrats were out of touch with the people of this state.
Today, BOTH major parties are in the same position that the Democrats were in fifty years ago. They exist for the purpose of consolidating power. They are both driven by the furnace of Big Government.
Just as the Democrats warned Louisianans against "wasting their votes" on Republican candidates, both major parties now make that same argument against voting for third party candidates.
We are living in an exciting time. Independents and third party candidates are running strong races all over the country. More and more voters are recognizing that the name-your-poison, R vs. D game is a sham. Thanks in part to the internet, our political horizons are much broader than they were fifty years ago and the cycle of change in the political culture is much shorter.
The first step in providing a real challenge to the major parties is changing your party affiliation. Whether you register as an independent or as a Libertarian or as a member of some other third party, you will have freed yourself from the labeling system that both major parties want you to follow.
Then, educate yourself about all the candidates. Consider voting in the Libertarian primary. Each vote that is cast in the Libertarian primary will strengthen the position of third parties in Louisiana.
Finally, always vote your conscience. Remember that the lesser of two evils is still evil. Always look for a third, non-evil option.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
In a swipe at Rand Paul and his supporters, Gerson writes:
"In America, the ideology of libertarianism is itself a scandal. It involves not only a retreat from Obamaism but a retreat from the most basic social commitments to the weak, elderly and disadvantaged, along with a withdrawal from American global commitments. Libertarianism has a rigorous ideological coldness at its core."
Gerson is making a mistake that is worth correcting. Libertarianism does not involve a retreat from humanitarianism nor is it a call for selfishness or Social Darwinism. Libertarianism recognizes that the State is a massive bureaucracy, a heartless thing that has no human compassion because it is not human.
Bob Dylan wrote that "to live outside the law, you must be honest." I would add that you must also be caring.
When there is no Big Brother to keep us all in line and to help us when we're hurt, we must follow our own consciences and help our fellow men and women when they need and want our help.
Libertarianism does not diminish our social responsibilities. It requires that we face them instead of pretending that a forced tithe to a faceless government makes everything okay. As liberty increases, so does each man and woman's personal responsibility.
I presume that the "global commitments" that Gerson was talking about are military deployments and foreign aid. I would counter with my favorite president's quote about "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none," but I suspect that Gerson would simply dismiss that advice as the ramblings of a treasonous revolutionary.
Friday, July 16, 2010
On August 28 Louisiana will, for the first time in living memory, hold three statewide party primaries. One will be for the Republicans, one for the Democrats, and one for the Libertarians. This provides us with a great opportunity to reject the two major parties and support a third option. Each vote that is cast in the Libertarian primary will make one more dent in the armor of the two party duopoly.
You can vote in the Libertarian primary if you are either:
1) a registered Libertarian
2) registered with no party
3) registered with a non-recognized party. (So, for example, a registered Conservative or Constitution party member can vote in the Libertarian primary.)
The only voters who will NOT be able to vote in the Libertarian primary are those who are registered as either Democratic, Green, Reform, or Republican.
Full instructions and an informative chart can be found at the Secretary of State's website.
If you need to change your party affiliation, you can do so very easily through the electronic voter registration form. Alternatively, you can make the change in person at your parish registrar of voters office.
JULY 28 is the deadline to register or change your party affiliation for the August 28 election. Changes made through the electronic voter registration form can take a few days to process, so if you are using that method you should make the change at least a few days in advance of the July 28 deadline.
If you are not sure what your current party affiliation is, you can check your registration through the polling locator.
It has been brought to my attention that some parish registrars of voters are giving voters incorrect information about their voting options on August 28. I'm sure that these are honest mistakes since our current election system can be confusing for some people. My advice is that any general questions about this election should be directed to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office. Alternatively, you can contact me with your question. If I don't know the answer, I'll do everything I can to find the answer for you. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
A choice between Republican paternalism and Democratic maternalism is not a real choice. I'm running so that voters who are dissatisfied with both major brands of power-hungry opportunists can, instead, cast a vote for personal freedom.