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Ask Libertarian Presidential Candidate Michael Badnarik 1478

Our first interview subject for is the Libertarian Party candidate for US President, Michael Badnarik. You can read his blog to learn more about him. Standard Slashdot interview rules apply: Post your questions today in this discussion. Moderators do your thing. We'll select ~10 questions, and hopefully get answers later this week.
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Ask Libertarian Presidential Candidate Michael Badnarik

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  • First Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oculus Habent ( 562837 ) * <oculus DOT habent AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:04PM (#10236996) Journal
    Other than winning, what hopes do you have for the Libertarian Party in the 2004 election?
    • I have a question (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rd_syringe ( 793064 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:34PM (#10237381) Journal
      How do you feel about what the Democrats are doing to Ralph Nader, preventing free choice by blocking him from the ballot because of some insane notion that someone doesn't have the right to run for President if they're not a Democrat or a Republican? Have you had any troubles yourself in this regard?
    • Approval voting? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by j1m+5n0w ( 749199 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:04PM (#10237779) Homepage Journal

      Do you support approval voting [] or some other non-plurality voting system as a way to allow voters to support less popular candidates without "throwing their vote away"?


  • Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sethadam1 ( 530629 ) * <adam.firsttube@com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:05PM (#10237002) Homepage
    Regarding our current system, what do you think can be done to encourage people to vote for third party candidates? It seems to me that most people still feel it's a "wasted vote."

    Also, editors - great theme!
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Interesting)

      by celeritas_2 ( 750289 ) <> on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:08PM (#10237051)
      How about: How can we change the system so people have the choice between multiple canidates and not just two?
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Phleg ( 523632 ) <stephen@ t o> on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:49PM (#10238386)

      This one is fairly easy, I posted my reply [] to similar sentiments in my weblog not long ago. I'll paste the contents below, to avoid blatant whoring.

      As I see it, a vote for a third party carries far more weight than a vote for one of the primary parties. When you vote, for instance, Libertarian, your vote gives them proportionally more media coverage, funding, and ballot access than either of the established parties receive. As recent example, both Greens and Libertarians received enormously disproportional amounts of coverage (the Greens in particular) after the 2000 election. Why? The percentage of their votes, in many states, was well above the margin between the two primary candidates. Most political analysts believed that the Green Party significantly swung the outcome of the 2000 presidential election, and as a result, they gained more media coverage than anyone could have predicted.

      Third parties also gain in less inflammatory ways when they receive more votes. It helps them receive campaign funding from the federal government, for one. A few more votes one year, in many cases, will allow the party to run several more candidates the next. All thanks to more funding. Even more importantly, in many states, more votes are the precursor to ballot access, which in turn helps the party concentrate on campaigning rather than petitioning. Today, ballot access is one of the most pressuring obstacles facing third parties; in states like Georgia, only one third party candidate has ever been on the ballot for the United States House of Representatives.

      How does this happen? In Georgia, third parties must submit a petition signed by over 5% of the number of registered voters in the district in order to get on the ballot for any office. When the voter roles haven't been purged in a decade, leaving both dead voters and invalidated voters still listed, the true number in many cases exceeds 10%. Even worse, due to gerrymandering, many third parties have no clue about the final geographical layout of districts, until a month or two prior to the petition deadlines. When the district lines are changed again and again, many petition signatures which were once valid are no longer, since the signatory no longer lives within the correct district. I am digressing substantially from my original purpose, but there is plenty to read regarding ballot access, for those who are interested.

      Back to the original topic. We've covered voting for third parties, but if you look closely, does it really matter if we have a Republican or a Democrat president? It's a toss-up to how much they will suck, and it's usually irrelevant what party they're from. Bush hasn't been the best president ever, but Clinton was pretty poor, too. And now, it seems like the two parties are converging. Republicans are creating bureaucracy and spending like crazy. Democrats are opposing gay marriage and won't stop the drug war. As far as I'm concerned, it's two heads of the same hydra.

      So go ahead, throw away that vote of yours. I insist.

  • by FriedTurkey ( 761642 ) * on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:05PM (#10237011)
    How does the Libertarian Party, whose platform is a complete free market economy with personal responsibility, expect the economy to prosper with the recent corporate scandals such as Enron?
    • by Marlor ( 643698 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:41PM (#10238296)
      Similarly, in the Libertarian worldview, why is "Big Government" bad, while "Big Corporations" are fine. Ideally power shouldn't be centralized, but if it is going to be centralized somewhere, shouldn't it be in an institution that is directly accountable to the people, i.e. the Government?
  • Regarding your description of free trade vs. state corporatism at your website [], How can we prevent the propagation of Multinational corporations without resorting to government regulation? Is that form of Government regulation a necessary evil, or is there a method for preventing the formation of huge multinationals and monopolies without the government restricting free trade? If so, how would this method be implemented?
    • by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @03:48PM (#10238957) Homepage Journal
      The modern public corporation can only exist via the state, because only the state can provide the corporation with an abolition of responsibility and the charter of personhood.

      Libertarians have nothing against businesses or even big businesses. But libertarians who understand the issue should be against the state chartered corporation. There is no need for government laws to control multinational corporations, instead all you need is an *elimination* of laws, specifically the laws of incorporation. Let the corporation compete fairly with the private business on a level playing field without any state granted mulligans.
  • Where are we headed? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:06PM (#10237020)
    Where do you see America in 5/10/15 years under its current leadership? Where do you see America in the same timeframe with you as the president? What broad steps will you take to get us there?
  • by nlinecomputers ( 602059 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:07PM (#10237026)
    I tend to hold a Libertarian point of view but you have NO chance of ever being elected President. Aren't there more viable methods to get your viewpoint heard such as PACs or lobbyists?
    • by TheWickedKingJeremy ( 578077 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:22PM (#10237242) Homepage
      What an unfortunate point of view. Don't you realize that your party need not win for your vote to matter? Besides, the Libertarians need not win for them to affect elections/policies. Suppose the Libertarians started getting 10% of the popular vote - don't you think the two major parties would begin to listen to what they have to say?

      It really depresses me when I hear people say things like this... they have it completely wrong, and are truly the barriers to change.
  • Regulation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:07PM (#10237031)
    Mr. Badnarik, as president, would you support breaking up monopolies such as Microsoft to enable competition?

    Thank you.
  • In my experience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:07PM (#10237043) Homepage
    In my experience, a lot of what the libertarian platform stands for makes a lot of sense and I whole-heartedly agree with. The problem is, the parts that I don't agree with seem absolutely batshit insane (i.e. privatizing sidewalks? WTF?). So my question is basically, do I find myself agreeing with you because I'm a little crazy or disagreeing with you because you're a little crazy.
  • Induce our vote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:07PM (#10237044) Journal
    What are you views and hopes for privacy and security for the citizens of the internet age, and how do you proactively aim to safegaurd and give back our rights that have been eroded away. (INDUCE act, PATRIOT act, et al)
  • PATRIOT act (Score:5, Interesting)

    by keiferb ( 267153 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:08PM (#10237045) Homepage
    What's your view on the Patriot act? What, if any, parts do you think need to be changed, and why?
  • by goldspider ( 445116 ) <.ardrake79. .at.> on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:08PM (#10237046) Homepage
    What obstacles do third party candidates have to overcome to get on a state ballot? How do they differ from how Democrats and Republicans get on the ballot?
  • by ellem ( 147712 ) * <ellem52 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:08PM (#10237050) Homepage Journal
    I have voeted Libertarian the last 3 elections but this year the stakes are too high. You know you can't win. Have you considered "Deaning" your supporters and asking them to vote for Bush or Kerry depending on who you think should be President (besides yourself)?
    • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:15PM (#10237906) Homepage Journal
      I have voeted Libertarian the last 3 elections but this year the stakes are too high.

      The stakes are too high? Isn't that just another way of saying that you've bought into the scaremongering of one side or the other?

      As long as people keep voting to stop what they (think they) hate rather that voting for what they want, the negative attack campaigns scaremongering on either side of the fence and always threatening how it will be "So much worse under the other guy" will continue.

      The really sad thing is that most of the scaremongering is crap. They take positions, and they sput rhetoric, but very little actually gets enacted (of the scaremongering claims - plenty of bad stauff gets enacted, but both sides tend to share equally in that).

      Get out of this silly "Us v. Them" mentality.

      • Scaremongering (Score:5, Informative)

        by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:45PM (#10238346) Journal

        The stakes are too high? Isn't that just another way of saying that you've bought into the scaremongering of one side or the other?
        It could be that he's just tired of seeing people killed in what amounts to a relgious war between the "our" christians and "their" muslems. What is it, 20,000 people or so? Not WWIII perhaps, but still a lot of dead people whose main failing seems to have been not backing the right brand of god.

        Yes, I know there have been all sorts of other explanations offered (9/11, WMD, etc.) but those don't hold up to a minute's thought. If we were striking back for 9/11, why didn't we even look at Saudi Arabia? If it was WMD, why are North Korea (or South Korea for that matter) largly ignored?

        I'm a Republican, and not particularly scared, but I'm sick of my country and my party being hijacked by the "moral" right to go kill infidels. You don't need to "threaten" how much worse four more years of this will be.

        -- MarkusQ

  • by zzyzx ( 15139 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:08PM (#10237055) Homepage
    The downside of removing the safety net is that there will be people who don't have the skills needed to succeed; we can't all be the best at what we do after all. Any system has winners and losers. What is your plan for the losers under your system? Charities only do so much after all.
    • by ratamacue ( 593855 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:07PM (#10237828)
      Charities only do so much

      Charity only does so much because our means to donate is severely hampered by government -- both financially and psychologically. Did you know that the average US citizen is forced to pay nearly 50% of their yearly earnings to government through federal, state, and local taxes combined? It's no surprise that the typical citizen is unwilling to donate, after government assumes both the means and the responsibility.

      I don't know about you, but I'd be a hell of a lot more willing to donate if I wasn't so busy making ends meet on what little of my earnings government "allows" me to keep.

  • by Eric Seppanen ( 79060 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:09PM (#10237056)
    Some background information: Dark Horse on the Third Ballot []
    Badnarik believes that the federal income tax has no legal authority and that people are justified in refusing to file a tax return until such time as the IRS provides them with an explanation of its authority to collect the tax. He hadn't filed income tax returns for several years. He moved from California to Texas because of Texas' more liberal gun laws, but he refused to obtain a Texas driver's license because the state requires drivers to provide their fingerprints and Social Security numbers. He has been ticketed several times for driving without a license; sometimes he has gotten off for various technical legal reasons, but on three occasions he has been convicted and paid a fine. He also refused to use postal ZIP codes, seeing them as "federal territories."

    ...He proposed that convicted felons serve the first month of their sentence in bed so that their muscles would atrophy and they'd be less trouble for prison guards and to blow up the U.N. building on the eighth day of his administration, after giving the building's occupants a chance to evacuate.

    • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:16PM (#10237160) Homepage
      U.S. Constitution, Article I Section 8:

      "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;"

      Is that a good enough explanation?
    • by Chess_the_cat ( 653159 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:24PM (#10237268) Homepage
      Badnarik believes that the federal income tax has no legal authority and that people are justified in refusing to file a tax return until such time as the IRS provides them with an explanation of its authority to collect the tax.

      This guy is an idiot. The Sixteenth Amendment gives the IRS authority:

      The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

      If that's not enough this pdf [] clearly outlines where the IRS gets it's authority and why US citizens must pay income tax.

    • by Senjutsu ( 614542 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:56PM (#10237661)
      Given that you claim in your biography that you:

      "Became interested in the U.S. Constitution in 1983 and began a life-long journey in self-study of this founding document of the country he is so proud to call his home."

      how do you reconcile your belief that the federal income tax has no basis in law with the fact that the 16th amendment clearly states: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."?

      Similarly, you have outlined a plan for confining prisoners to their beds for the first month of their incarcaration, in order to atrophy their muscles, thereby reducing their ability to make trouble. How do you reconcile this proposal with the 8th amenment: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted"?

      Given that these two proposals of yours (among others) seem to stand at odds with the constitution itself, how do you expect the average informed voter to come to any conclusion other than that you have no more respect (and possibly less) for the constitution of this country than the current administration does? Are you in fact another "I'm for the parts of the constitution that I agree with" politician, or do you believe in the authority of the entirity of that document? And if you do agree with it's authority, will you now either renounce these ideas or provide a detailed argument for their compatibility with the constitution as it stands?
  • by pegr ( 46683 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:09PM (#10237057) Homepage Journal
    Given the current political climate of entitlement, pork-barrel spending, and district vote-buying, how can we get this country back into compliance with the spirit and letter of the Constitution?

  • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:10PM (#10237067)
    When somebody you strongly dislike is running, it's very tempting to vote for the person who is more likely to win against them rather than the person whose views you agree with more.

    What is your response to the people who say that a vote given to a third-party candidate is wasted and should have gone to one of the main two parties, if only to make sure that the "bad candidate" doesn't win?
  • by Triumph The Insult C ( 586706 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:11PM (#10237083) Homepage Journal
    Mr. Badnarik, a two-parter if I may ...
    1. If elected, what stance would you take on the PATRIOT Act, DMCA, and INDUCE?

    2. Would you do anything to try and reduce the influence of nutjob organizations (Fellowship, C-Street Center, etc) in federal politics? For that matter, would you do anything to return Washington to citizens and take it away from lobbyists/corporations?
  • purpose? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mikeee ( 137160 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:11PM (#10237085)
    The structure of the US voting system is such that two major parties appear to be the only stable political alignment (though on a couple of occasions, one of the major parties has imploded and been replaced).

    Given this, why is a 3rd (4th/5th) party a good use of political resources, rather than explicitly trying to shift one or both of the major parties toward your viewpoint?
  • by discovercomics ( 246851 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:11PM (#10237092) Homepage
    How can you even begin to be a viable choice if you don't have candidates across the board in a majority of electorial races. Even if your positions are fantastic on the issues without at least a glimmer of support from the congress you are dead in the water.

    Q: How would you be able to lead and govern effectively when you would very little support from the congress?
  • Howard Stern (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ellem ( 147712 ) * <ellem52 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:12PM (#10237103) Homepage Journal
    Howard ran for New York Govener under your party's name. What do you think about:

    Howard's fight with the current FCC

    Howard's hard turn Left

    Howard Stern being your FCC Commissioner.
  • by zzyzx ( 15139 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:12PM (#10237107) Homepage
    As we've learned over the past few decades, free speech only applies to public property. Private owners can evict anyone they want for whatever reason. If there is no public property, how are free speech rights protected? Would there be any free speech rights at all in a Libertarian world for people who aren't well off enough to buy property?
  • How about... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:13PM (#10237118)
    Could you explain your belief that the United States is to blame for 9/11?
  • by philipdl71 ( 160261 ) <> on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:13PM (#10237123) Homepage
    Do you believe that the U.S. Government has the right to invade countries run by dictators like Saddam Hussein and liberate the people by establishing a free society even if those countries do not threaten the United States?

    In a nutshell, how does the libertarian principle of non-initiation of force apply to foreign dictators? Who or what has the right to unseat these dictators?
  • 2 questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:13PM (#10237124) Journal
    1. Via a presidential order, GWB allowed past presidents to hide anything that they wanted by declaring it national security. Will you lift this order and restore our right to know what our past presidents have done?
    2. Is your priority to balance the budget first and then cut taxes, or is to cut taxes followed by balancing the budget, the same way that Reagan and GWB has done?
  • Morality (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:13PM (#10237126)
    I am an ill-fitting member of one of the two dominant political parties. I have been interested in the past in libertarian ideals and thoughts and did some amount of research.

    My understanding is that libertarians have a belief system where individual are free from regulation and rules.

    This seems like a great way to live until I start running some of the possible scenarios and consequences to my family, specifcally my children.

    What sorts of regulations and rules if any do libertarians believe are necessary to prevent the descent into "survival of the fittest"?

  • Federal Regulators. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Irvu ( 248207 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:15PM (#10237138)
    I have seen several of your posters that include, among other things, the following bullet point: "Every Federal Regulator that we fire produces 150 new jobs, enough to re-hire all of those federal regulators and the able-bodied poor."

    What I wanted to know is, how does that work exactlly. If I were to say fire a building safety inspector, an Air Traffic controller, or an inspector with the FDA how would that produce jobs? And, how would we guarantee that no adverse effect (salmopnella in the food) would result?
  • 320.5 (Score:5, Funny)

    by sudotcsh ( 95997 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:15PM (#10237140)
    Do you find you have problems keeping the whole Dewey Decimal system straight? What do you think about their licensing fees?

    Pardon me - hold on a second.


    Oh. Libertarian. My bad.
  • Morality? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Milo Fungus ( 232863 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:18PM (#10237176)

    Several (most?) of the American Revolutionaries believed in the moral tradition of Western Europe, including Christianity, chastity, honesty, etc. A representative quote is from John Adams, who said:

    We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

    What are your views on this issue? Are your views consistent with the predominant views of the Founders? Please explain.

    It is not difficult to argue that the importance of these values and morals are being diminished in our current society. Do you think there is a direct relationship between this change in our moral climate and the changes in civil liberties that have heppened in the last hundred or so years? Or do you think that these changes are not directly related to one another?

  • Any electoral votes? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sharkb8 ( 723587 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:18PM (#10237179)
    I think we can all agree that, being a minor party, the Libertarians run little risk of getting any of the electoral vote. If that's the case, why do you run? I'm honestly curious, is it to educate voters, try to expand the two party system? Is it even to simply voice your views? Or is this merely the first step in total world domination?

    Nader seems to have gotten away from doing what would be best for the country, and made his Independent Party bid an ego thing.

    I agree that our current system of governance sucks, but the system was built so that things changed slowly, so that one person, pressident, or session of congress couldn't radically change America. Do you propose making incremental changes from the inside, or are you hoping for dissatisfaction with the current system to foster whole scale change in American politics?
  • Non-compete clauses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zzyzx ( 15139 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:19PM (#10237197) Homepage
    Do you think that non-compete clauses in contracts should be acceptiable as long as both parties voluntarily agree to them?

    If not, what other agreements are people not allowed to engage in?

    If so, how do you stop people from hiding them in long, seemingly unrelated contracts in order to create a new class of indentured servants. Is a world where every single agreement you would ever make would have to go through a lawyer to make sure that there isn't some poison pill buried in there really a better and freer place than the one we live in now?
  • timing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by j1mmy ( 43634 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:20PM (#10237203) Journal
    I fully support the Libertarian platform and ideals and I have every intention of voting for you in November. My only beef with the libertarian approach is timing. You've stated that in your first couple months of holding office you'll eliminate the federal reserve, kick the U.N. out of the country, and bring as many of our troops home as possible, among other radical (but good) changes. My question is this: how do you plan to handle the societal impact of these changes? Eliminating the federal reserve is not something I'd expect to go over lightly in the financial markets, for example. Much of the Libertarian platform is a severe departure from the current state of the nation -- I feel that society would need time to adapt to these changes.
  • by geoff313 ( 718010 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:20PM (#10237208) Journal
    As the offical Libertarian party cadidate for president, where do you stand on the issue of intellectual property? Should it be considered the same as traditional property, or should IP be not subjected to the same protections that physical property is? And do you feel that your personal views on the subject reflect the views of the majority of the party itself, or is this an issue that has the potential to polarize your party much the same way that abortion does for the Democrats and Republicans?
  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:20PM (#10237210) Journal
    Why are you for unlimited immigration with no caps and no requirments?
  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:20PM (#10237211) Homepage Journal
    Do you believe that someone should have the right to gamble with their bodily organs, and that the government should enforce the result?

    This may seem like a crazy question, but I know people that call themselves Libertarians who would argue that you should.

    If you agree with them - aren't you putting your ideology before the common sense realisation that people aren't always perfectly rational?

  • The Environment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sotogonesu ( 705553 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:21PM (#10237223)
    Mr. Badnarik, I see that the Environment didn't make your web site's issues list. If elected, what would you do to help preserve the planet?
  • by catbutt ( 469582 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:22PM (#10237248)
    in such a way that third party candidates hurt their own causes by running (by taking away votes from the candidates who are most similar to them in the eyes of voters), why do you think your running is worth the risk of helping the worst candidate to win?

    Are you interested in election reform to eliminate the spoiler effect (through such things as condorcet election methods []), or would you prefer pretend the problem is not there, and not worry what damage is caused by your running for office?
  • by SiliconEntity ( 448450 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:25PM (#10237278)
    What would you do about the spread of nuclear weapons and other WMDs? Iran is now working on the bomb while Europe wrings its hands. North Korea has the bomb. What is the Libertarian position? Would you ever support attacking Iran to prevent them from going nuclear?
  • by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:27PM (#10237299) Journal
    I have scowered for the answer to this, but could not as it is not on the platform.

    Libertarians aim to preserve personal liberty above all else. This would indicate that IP is not belived in, yet I think the party realized the nessesity for "securing for limited times [exclusive rights]" whether it be art or invention.

    How would the LP shape IP in order to "advance the process of the arts and sciences", while balancing peronal liberties?
  • Copyrights (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HolyCoitus ( 658601 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:29PM (#10237335)
    Having watched your constitution class and having kept up with your blog, I'm aware of where you stand on most issues. However, I don't believe you've taken a stand on copyrights and how you see them effecting technology and society. Do you view copyrights as an inherent right given to the person who created the work, or do you see it as a privilege given to those people by the government as a proxy for the people? Many people would say copyright has turned into a weapon for large corporations, established insitutions and people. The constitution grants a limited time protection for copyrights as you know, however the current terms [] being much greater than the author's life are hardly limited in the scope of insuring future creations by the author.

    My question is, then, do you view the current copyright situation as constitutional and correct? If not, then what do you propose to change to weight the situation back towards the common person?
  • by starphish ( 256015 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:31PM (#10237348) Homepage

    I notice that when I quiz people on their beliefs on many issues, a large portion of them have views that are in line with the Libertarian Party. It's my belief that many people are Libertarians and don't know it.

    Has the Libertarian Party considered spending more money on mainstream advertising to inform people what the party beliefs are? It seems that especially in the geek culture, Libertarian views are very prevalent. Have you thought about a way to target this group?

    It would be in the Libertarian Party's best interest to target geeks. Here's why. When we don't like something, we have a great knack to make it seem evil, like say, Microsoft and SCO. This attitude bleeds over to our friends, family, and mainstream media. If we love something, like say, Linux and Google, The opposite effect happens. People seem to trust us when we are for, or against something.

    With us geeks, the Libertarian Party has the opportunity to change public perception on how the public views Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians. We're VERY good at making something seem good or evil.

    Any thoughts on this?
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:35PM (#10237391) Homepage Journal
    In your own words, what does the constition and its bill of rights mean?

    Abbreviated answers are acceptable, but please no 'political-speak'..

    After that, what do you have planned to protect what you just have described, and how is that different then the other 2 main candidates plans?
  • Cost of Ownership (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baldrson ( 78598 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:38PM (#10237424) Homepage Journal
    In a strictly libertarian society, the costs of protection of rights fall on the owners of those rights -- not on the general public. How does this differ from a net asset tax and how would you move from taxing productivity to charging fees to cover the cost of the protection of rights?
  • Free State project (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:39PM (#10237426) Homepage
    Where do you see the the Free State Project in New Hampshire leading, both for your party and for the nation in general?
  • national relevance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drteknikal ( 67280 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:45PM (#10237510) Homepage
    I am a member of the Libertarian Party. I am aware of what the party is doing at the local level, and the slow progress being made.

    What can the Libertarian Party, or any third party do to make their candidates more relevant at the national level? Unless/until the national polls put a third-party candidate beyond potential "spoiler" numbers, as happened with Anderson in 1980 and Perot in 1992, the national media provide scant coverage. I think this exposure is critical to achieving relevancy, let alone victory.

    What can be done to coerce the media into covering third-party or independant candidates? Most people are unwilling to vote for a candidate they don't believe can win. Most identify canditates they haven't seen on the news as candidates that cannot win.

    Short of spending 30 years building a national party infrastructure from scratch to rival the Democrats or Republicans, what can be done? Does relevancy require infrastructure?

  • by Mr. Cancelled ( 572486 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:47PM (#10237538)
    I'm a pretty big news buff, and I've never heard the Libertarian candidates name until now.

    So I guess a more PC question than the one posed above would be "Please introduce yourself to the readers, and explain why it is that your party is being completely ignored in the mainstream press."

    I'm guessing that the real answer will be something to the effect of "A 3rd party candidate doesn't stand a chance, so why waste the camera time", which is the mantra that the two main political parties chant over and over, but seriously... In the land of the free where anyone can supposedly become president, why is it that only the two most despised parties (albeit with the most members) constantly get all the press attention.

    How can someone be given a fair chance if the partisan news coverage never covers them?
  • by Adolatra ( 557735 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:52PM (#10237597) Homepage
    In most of your appearances and in your debate with Dave Cobb, you emphasized that one of your most immediate actions would be to end the Federal Reserve and dramatically restructure the currency system. Given that the market can take considerable swings if Alan Greenspan so much as sneezes, have you considered the market reaction in response to a sudden standard shift? Regardless of your personal policies, if the public confidence in a metal standard isn't there, how would you prevent a panic? Would it be possible to take a more gradualist approach to Libertarian policies, in order to do things like pay down the public debt first?
  • by EvilJello203 ( 749510 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:58PM (#10237691)
    The Libertarian Party platform advocates separation of education and state. How would you go about reforming the nation's educational system without a massive disruption to a student's schoolwork?
  • by Randolpho ( 628485 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:14PM (#10237899) Homepage Journal
    One of the reasons 3rd parties often fail to obtain a significant portion of the vote is that they tend to take on extremist views. Your own party, for example, recommends extreme policies such as turning environmental protection over to corporations [], and legalizing drugs [].

    The problem is that most Americans fall somewhere in the middle on the policital spectrum (or near the origin of your own two-axis spectrum []), and both of the major parties cater to those Centrists by doing their best to appear Moderate/Centrist regardless of their actual agenda.

    How do you plan to lead your party toward a more Moderate viewpoint, and thus toward political power?
  • Financial alchemy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:17PM (#10237934) Journal
    From your website, on healthcare reform:
    Lower costs, along with the savings from downsizing regulatory bureaucracy, will fund tax credits for those who establish Health Savings Accounts for themselves, their families, Medicare/Medicaid recipients, and the needy
    I see this a lot on your website, how downsizing regulatory bureaucracy will bring all these savings. There's just one problem. Cutting red tape and reducing bureaucracy is something that all governments attempt all the time as part of the day-to-day order of business. Do you not think that proclaiming this magic wand solution as the answer to all our problems only marks you out as another political wannabe?

    Every aspiring and inexperienced politician has thought of that one at some stage. Just look at Arnie down here in Kali-foonya. Despite his promise to solve the state's fiscal problems by 'cutting bureaucracy,' we're still in a mess. The former Conservative leader William Hague thought he could topple Tony Blair in the last British general election with that promise, but the educated electorate knew better than to swallow that one.

    What makes you think you'll be any different?

  • by Yonder Way ( 603108 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:23PM (#10238059)
    Why are Libertarian-minded people so fixated on winning the executive branch when really that cannot happen until the party is accepted as mainstream by the public at large? Wouldn't it make more sense to stay focused on the legislature? The legislature, after all, presents hundreds of opportunities every couple of years for Libertarians to win a chance at influencing policy. The legislature controls what bills the president gets to sign. And the legislature controls spending.

    I didn't know until today that there was a Libertarian running for senate in my state (Pennsylvania) and only then I found out because I looked hard for her. I've yet to see a single sign outside or a single campaign button or bumper sticker. This, in my opinion, is where the party needs to really focus its limited resources.
  • by MischaLeChatte ( 813130 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:25PM (#10238093)
    Most members of the public are scared by what is viewed as "extremism" in the Libertarian party. "End the war on drugs" and "Abolish the IRS" are scary changes for many people to make all at once. Why does the party resist pushing a more incremental platform? Why won't the party say things like "In our first term we will legalize marijuana and marijuana only. We will closely study and follow the ramifications of this policy in terms of savings to our military and police forces, crime rates, prison overcrowding, and market factors such as pricing and tax revenues generated. At the end of x number of years we will judge the experiment and debate expanding or restricting other drugs." The party always seems to know where it wants to go, but it is weak in explaining to the people how we will go about getting there.
  • by Maul ( 83993 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:30PM (#10238167) Journal
    I hear a lot of complaints from friends and relatives about how they dislike the government getting involved with their lives too much. At the same time, they are afraid to let go of their "presumed" security that they falsely believe the government gives them. This prevents them from accepting the Libertarian view that government power should be reduced.

    Unfortunately, people have lived for so long with an unconstitutionally invasive government and have been spoon fed lies from fearmongers that they need a massive government.

    I believe this is the strongest challenge the Libertarian Party faces. This is especially true since 9/11, since many people assume giving the government more power will protect them.

    What are your strategies for convincing people that their lives would be better and safer by reducing the power and scope of the government rather than increasing it?

    Also, where do you personally place the blame for the origins of government bloat? Do you think the root cause is an apathetic public unwilling to stand up to the government, or have we (as a whole) merely been tricked by slick politicians?
  • by code_rage ( 130128 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:47PM (#10238363)
    There have been proposals to eliminate the electoral college. Notably, Slate has run a series of pieces calling it "America's worst college." Slate's coverage has examined some of the political difficulties in trying to change the system and has proposed some possible solutions.

    It's clear from the results of 1992 that the electoral college, as currently implemented at the national and state level, tends to turn small spreads into large ones, and eliminates 3rd parties altogether. As a 3rd party candidate, this must be an important issue to you (after ballot access, perhaps the most important one).

    How do you propose to address this? Would you support an amendment to the US Constitution to abolish the Electors in favor of direct popular vote? Or, would it make more sense to address it state by state, using legislation to split the electors proportionately within each state (as Maine and Nebraska do)?

  • by bensyverson ( 732781 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @03:46PM (#10238932) Homepage

    Libertarianism places much emphasis on the theory that individuals can pull themselves up by their bootstraps to success. With good enough education, the theory goes, even the poorest members of our society should be able to become wealthy entrepreneurs. Under this model, if you're impoverished, it's simply because you're not trying hard enough. But bootstrapping is a myth; even if it were possible (for many people it is just not), millions of people do not have the desire to start their own business, and simply want to make a fair and livable wage working their 9-5 job.

    Because Libertarianism is even more conservative than Republicanism, impoverished people would be denied many of the resources they need to survive. Libertarians call for the dismantling of welfare, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, and the reliance on private charities to care for our neediest citizens. Reagan gave us a taste of this logic when he all but dismantled the federal financial aid program for college students. The theory was that the private sector would step up and help our nation's students.

    They didn't.

    Instead, students and their families often face the burden of massive debt upon graduation, limiting their ability to start building their lives. The Libertarians point out that Americans already contribute over $125 billion to charity already. [] But Social Security alone contributes $535 billion to our citizens. [] That much cannot be generated from charitable contributions, even if the tax benefit is increased.

    If Libertarians such as yourself had their way, our nation's poor would sink even deeper into poverty and debt while our nation's wealthy would grow wealthier and wealthier. Sure, the rich would donate to private charities to lessen their tax burden--but less "sexy" charities would suffer. Would you rather give money to a charity for mentally disabled homeless people (who now receive Social Security), or to Cancer research?

    The role of government is to take care of its citizens, and ensure that we do the right things for society. Private corporations and organizations have no such goals, and cannot be entrusted with such responsibilities. If Libertarians had their way, the government would step back and let people sink or swim. This is short-sighted, cynical and above all, cruel.

    Which brings me to my question, Mr. Badnarik: If the government is there to care for its citizens, why do you want to outsource this responsibility to the private sector, which has no real incentive to work for the public good? In short, where is the compassion?

    Sincerely, Ben Syverson

  • by Whatsmynickname ( 557867 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @03:51PM (#10239005)

    What's your position on illegal immigration and/or outsourcing? I would think a libertarian would say "keep the gov't out of it". However, at some point, doesn't having too much of either outsourcing or illegal immigration ultimately impact our national socio-economic stability?

  • by Qrlx ( 258924 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @04:04PM (#10239174) Homepage Journal
    Dear sir, I seem to consistently have a hard time squaring the Libertarian philosophy with the realities of the world we live in.

    My belief is that Libertarianism appeals so strongly to Americans because we live in the land of plenty. Libertarianism is a very convenient political philosophy to have if you live in a country with abundant natural resources, plenty of land, and the world's largest military to maintain the hegemony.

    In other words, if the cards are already stacked in your favor, yeah a "free market" is a good thing. Pay no attention to the slave labor who built this country or the former inhabitants who have mostly been ethnically cleansed.

    Is Libertarianism really only appropriate for rich, "developed" countries such as the United States?

    And please set me straight regarding what I see as pie-in-the-sky talk of "free markets." It might be true that free markets will result in competition and benefits for the consumer. But we will simply never know that. Look at all the barriers to free trade in our country and throughout the world. Those will not simply be swept away as cobwebs before a broom. And yet, Libertarianism seems particularly regulation-hostile, which makes me wonder if you think Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" was merely Communist propaganda of a hundred years ago.

    I think an illustrative example would be the Enron or WorldCom bubbles. Both of those, you may agree, stemmed from some degree of deregulation in the market. And yet where is the payoff? It's in the offshore accounts of a handful of oligarchs. Now, you might argue that the method of deregulation was flawed, but the primacy of human greed cannot simply be "explained away" because regulators set the game in motion with poorly devised initial conditions. How can you be sure future deregulation won't be so disastrous? (It should be obvious, I'll trust my essential servcies like water and power to a bumbling government bureaucracy working for everyone over a cutthroat profit-driven corporation working for shareholders any day.)

    From what I can determine, Libertarianism embraces the central tenets of Capitalism -- that people are lazy, and that people are greedy. I ask you: Are those really healthy core values to be driving your politics?

    Finally I do wish you luck on achieving critical mass and taking over one of the smaller state legislatures. Better we perform our experiments in Capitalism on our own people than our unfortunate subjects in Iraq.
  • Policy Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geekpolitico ( 743680 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @04:16PM (#10239293)
    How do you respond to this situation?

    A paper mill opens upstream from a small town. The mill begins dumping chemicals into the river. As the town's health problems slowly begin to increase, property values begin to drop. Eventually the townspeople are dying young of cancer, birthing children with horrific birth defects, and are too poor to be able to move.

    This happens today when we have some sort of regulation. It has been empirically demonstrated that most Americans don't care enough about these issues to substantially alter their buying habits to prevent this from happening. If the government abdicates its regulation role, if we unfetter corporations from laws demanding that they behave within certain norms, if the government doesn't have resources to help these people, should we just turn a blind eye and think of these problems as the cost of doing business. Higher GDP built on the lives of someone else's children?

    While it is very clear that the government regulates any number of things, it is not consequently the case that no regulation is a better solution.
  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @05:02PM (#10239747)
    The US is a wealthy country that has collected itself a good number of serious enemies for that reason and many others. 9/11 taught us that in a serious way. Many people, including myself, feel that we are not in a position to passively defend ourselves against terrorists. We've done too many things, actively and passively, for us to even consider returning to our isolationist roots before the first and second world wars. Besides, the rest of the world has changed too; people who would harm Americans have become more and more powerful over the decades. Unless we take preemptive action to prevent future terrorism, the terrorists will be back.

    Of the major political parties, the Libertarian party is generally my favorite. Libertarianism lacks the "tax me to death and give my money to those who won't work" attitude of the Democrats, and it lacks the bigotry and "morality police" attitudes of the Republicans. Libertarians also don't take action to squelch technological and scientific advancement. But the one place where I have to give the Republicans credit is that they don't wimp out when it comes to defending the country militarily. All political parties have been accused of "selling out to the enemy", but in my opinion, this is least likely to be true for the Republicans. [1]

    My question to you is this: Given the Libertarian history of having an isolationist attitude, what is your policy on defending the country? Do you intend to cut back military and hope the problem goes away (which it won't), or do you intend to maintain or increase our strength so that when the enemy comes, and they will, we are able not just to defend ourselves on our own soil, but are ready to go to where the enemy is and neutralize them preemptively?

    A corollary to my first question: What is your policy regarding our dependence on outsiders for energy? For far too long, we have been beholden to the middle-east for the bulk of our energy supply. Furthermore, oil cartels have politically interfered with development of alternative fuel sources for a very long time. I don't believe that global warming is caused primarily by burning of fossil fuels, but I do believe it's important that the US get away from fossil fuels so that we can become self-sufficient. While Hydrogen fuel cells for cars are a long way off, we already have things like ethanol, biodiesel, and other means of generating fuels that can be transported by the existing infrastructure and used in existing vehicles. [2] Do you have any plans for averting a future energy crisis by disconnecting us from those that could ruin our economy by cutting off our fuel supply at any moment?

    Foot note [1]: Aside: As someone who strongly respects both Islam and Christianity, I would rather be under the tyranny of those who pretend to be Christians here in the US than be under the tyranny of those who pretend to be Muslims in the middle east.

    Foot note [2]: The government pays many farmers NOT to grow as much food as they possibly could. This is stupid. If the government is going to interfere AT ALL, the surplus food should be bought and turned into fuel.
  • by creideiki ( 668740 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @05:43PM (#10240256) Homepage

    If I had to place my ideals under a specific label (though I hate political labels which are often used to avoid thinking about issues), I'd have to say I'm a progressive libertarian.

    I'm with Mr. Badnarik 100% on most of his core stances (kudos too for recognizing state's rights in the drug war too). I'm a vehement believer in The Constitution (not that there aren't parts I don't agree with; I'd just prefer we obey it as written OR amend it - not pretend it says something else.) However, I'm curious about your stances on several things.

    A stable dollar

    You state, "The Constitution delegates the power to coin money to Congress. As your president, I'll insist that they discharge that responsibility instead of fobbing the job off on an external entity like the Fed. And I'll veto legislation for any such operation that doesn't meet the true test of money: It is either made of gold or silver, or can be redeemed for a fixed amount of gold or silver."

    I take issue with the last sentence.

    Money doesn't need to be redeemable for something in finite supply (in fact, as population increases, that's a bad thing) to be stable, it simply needs to be equally hard to earn. Tying the value of a dollar to a consumer price index or, even better, the population might be wiser.

    It is also important to note that The Fed is not the external entity coining money. When banks and other lending institutions practice fractional reserve lending, they reduce the value of the dollar. [An explanation of this phenomenon can be found at []]

    Would you propose or stand behind legislation to eliminate fractional reserve lending?

    The social safety net

    Centralized government programs have the net effect of making people less personally responsible. I think a lot of resistance to libertarianism comes from the feeling that they want to cut all the safety nets before something (private charity, LVT, whatever) is in place. Regardless, it would be disastrous to move immediately from a society in which the government has taken responsibility away from citizens to one where everyone is fully responsible for himself or herself.

    What are your plans for migrating from one model to the other?

    Government funding
    The Federal Income Tax is clearly constitutional (yeah, I know Ohio wasn't a state until 1953), but it still is a tax on labor, which is deleterious. The same goes for a sales tax. Other ways to fund the valid functions of government include a "head tax" and recovery of the rental value of things such as land [], the electromagnetic spectrum, pollution permits, etc.

    New Zealand and Australia are experimenting with LVT while Iceland is experimenting with pollition permits and citizen's dividends. I think there is room to be U.S. to be more progressive and foster more equality while adhering to the basic tenets of libertarianism.

    What is your plan for funding government while remaining consistent to core libertarian principles?

    Intellectual property

    Clearly patents and copyrights are government-granted and, therefore privileges but are necessary for a technologically advanced society. It seems that lately things have been getting out of hand leading in part to some of the problems you site as issues (such as the cost of medicine.)

    What are your feelings on the current length of intellectual property claims and the veritable "patent mill" that the USPTO has become? How would steer intellectual property back toward the constitutional concept of "for a limited time?"

  • by McSmiley ( 769028 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @06:00PM (#10240443) Homepage Journal
    Mr. Badnarik, during your recent visit to Tucson, you are quoted [] as saying
    " Say you want to protect a salamander that's on my land. Well, get your own piece of land, and put the salamander there."
    You imply that an ecological system can be subdivided as finely as property, and furthermore that any part of such an ecology has no intrinsic right of its own. Do you truly believe that we can prevent further environmental degredation with the view that what you kill on your property has no bearing on what may live on my property? Or do you believe that there is no value in nature beyond that which we define as capable of being owned?
  • Paradigm Shift (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kylow ( 581998 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @08:07PM (#10241750)
    As we all know, liberals favor freedom in social issues and control over economic issues while conservatives favor freedom in economic issues and control over social issues. However, increasingly it seems that both liberals and conservatives are tilting toward authoritarianism. Bush has signed into law various entitlement programs, as well as trade tariffs, and Democrats rarely criticize the War on Drugs any longer.

    Do you think this shift toward authoritarianism by both major parties will result in a paradigm shift in the country where we no longer discuss liberalism vs. conservatism but rather, authoritarianism vs. libertarianism, and if so, would this allow the Libertarian Party to finally get the recognition it has worked hard for over the past few decades, or are we stuck with this conservatism vs. liberalism battle for ages to come?
  • Top Three Priorities (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sjanich ( 431789 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:31PM (#10247777)
    What would be the top 3 priorities of a Michael Badnarik presidency?

System checkpoint complete.