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Libertarian Presidential Candidate Michael Badnarik Answers 1325

Last monday, you were given the chance to Ask Questions of the Libertarian Party's US Presidential nominee, Michael Badnarik. Today we present to you 15 of the most highly rated comments, and the answers from the man himself. Thanks to Mr. Badnarik for taking the time to talk to us. His answers are yours with just a click of the mouse below...

Re:Question (Score:5, Interesting) by celeritas_2 (750289) (#10237051)

How can we change the system so people have the choice between multiple candidates and not just two?

It's a long, hard, uphill battle. A lot of Americans don't know that until the 1890s, the government didn't print ballots at all. Voters wrote their own, or used pre-printed ballots provided by the party of their choice. The adoption of the "Australian ballot" gave the politicians control of what choices were put in front of voters.

Today, the Libertarian Party -- and other third parties, of course -- have to fight to get on the ballot. In some states, we have to gather enormous numbers of signatures. In others, we have to drag the state to court. We've been very active on this front. In 1980, 1992, 1996 and 2000, the Libertarian Party's candidates appeared on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This year, it's 48 states and DC -- we missed the signature requirement in New Hampshire and are in court in Oklahoma.

A better question, of course, is how do we offer the American people REAL choices -- choices they can vote for without fearing that their vote will be "wasted" on a candidate who "can't win?"

There are various alternative voting systems that address this problem.

Instant Runoff Voting allows the voter to assign a rank to each candidate; if no candidate gets a majority of "first place" votes, then "second place" votes are counted, and so on, until someone gets a majority. This allows people to choose a "third party" candidate as their first preference, but still get a vote between frontrunners if their candidate loses.

Personally, I prefer Approval Voting. In this method, each voter can select as many candidates as he likes -- he can vote for all the candidates whom he can live with. All of the votes are counted, and the candidate with the most votes wins. The result is that the winner is not necessarily "the most popular," but "the one that the most voters are okay with."

Of course, the "major" parties don't approve of anything that might threaten to break their shared monopoly on power. That's why they've instituted the Australian ballot and draconian ballot access laws. But we'll keep fighting them until we win.

timing (Score:5, Interesting) by j1mmy (43634)

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.

I guess my first response to that has to be that for a Libertarian to be elected to the White House right now would indicate massive social upheaval already. Yes, my ideas are radical -- but my election would prove that America is ready for radical solutions.

You're right, though. It isn't as simple as that. Stating my goals and what I'd attempt to do is not the same as stating what would happen. The presidency is an office of limited power, and I'd actually spend a good deal of time struggling with Congress and the courts to get my solutions implemented, giving Americans time to prepare for the changes.

Of course, with some of the changes I'm proposing, I've set a longer timeline on anyway. With American troops in more than 135 countries around the globe, I don't plan to just buy them all airline tickets and tell them to catch the next plane home. My plan for Iraq is a 90-day phased withdrawal concentrating on the physical security of the troops. For drawing down the US military presence in Germany, Korea, Japan and elsewhere, I've proposed a two-year timeline, with the first actual troop pullouts beginning at the end of the first year. That's quicker than George W. Bush's 10-year timeline, but it isn't unduly hasty.

My expectation is that if we eliminate the Fed's monopoly on currency provision, the Fed will continue exist -- it will just have to compete with other currency options on a truly level playing field without the government demanding that its currency be accepted instead of others. People can decide whether they want to hold their wealth in green pieces of paper backed only by seven trillion dollars in debt, or in currency coined of, or backed by, some scarce commodity. I'm not planning to haul Alan Greenspan and the Board of Governors off to Indiana for death by lethal injection or anything like that.

My job as a candidate is to articulate a vision of the changes I propose and to argue forcefully for their implementation. The checks and balances which our nation's founders wrote into the Constitution provide a framework in which those changes can be implemented with the minimum possible chaos.

How to reform Electoral College? (Score:5, Interesting) by code_rage (130128)

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)?

I have to tell you that I'm skeptical of electoral college reform at the federal level. Yes, the system has flaws, but I haven't seen any alternative proposals that don't have serious flaws themselves.

On the state level, I do advocate choosing electors by congressional district as Maine and Nebraska do, with the two non-district electors going to the overall winner of the popular vote. That would be more reflective of overall American voter sentiment.

Going to a straight popular vote would, perversely, represent the end of American democracy. Candidates would be inclined to cater to a few urban areas where they can buy the most votes for their buck (or their promise), effectively disenfranchising rural voters. To the extent that the presidency is a representative office, it should represent Peoria and Birmingham as much as it represents New York and Los Angeles.

"Should have gone to..." (Score:4, Interesting) DrEldarion (114072) (#)

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?

If the "wasted vote" argument ever held any water, it doesn't any more. The two major parties have moved toward a weird, non-existent "center" for the last 50 years, to the point where it's difficult to tell them apart.

We could argue all day about whether Bush or Kerry is the "lesser evil." The fact is that they both support the war in Iraq. They both oppose gun rights. They both supported the PATRIOT Act. They both support the war on drugs. They both support confiscatory taxation. They both support ruinously high levels of spending, huge deficits and increasing debt.

It's hard to tell them apart on the real issues. They spend their time scrapping over "swing votes" in the gray area of the "center" -- which means, in practice, "how do I not make too many people too angry to vote for me?" That's no way to do politics. Politics, in my view, should be as unimportant as possible -- but where it's important, it has to value freedom, remain rooted in principle and be forward-looking.

All I can tell the "lesser of two evils" folks is that if they keep voting for evil, they'll keep getting evil. If you don't like the way things are, how do you change it by voting for more of the same?

Ideology vs pragmatism (Score:4, Interesting) by Charles Dodgeson (248492)

Libertarianism certainly is an appealing ideology, but are you concerned that ideological based politics (whether yours or others) often precludes the adoption of pragmatic solutions to real problems?

I guess that depends on the ideology ;-)

Seriously, all politics is ideology-based. Unthinking majoritarianism, Machiavellian strategizing and centrist compromise are ideologies too. If they weren't ideologies 100 years ago, they are now, because they are the lodestones which guide our politicians' every action. And you see where that's gotten us.

I'm not an impractical man. I know that I can't snap my fingers and get the results that I want without consequence. I realize that my ideas will face resistance in implementation. The extent to which I am willing to compromise is that I'm willing to fight for what I can get, and wait for the rest only as long as absolutely necessary. What I'm not willing to do is abandon my goals or trade them away.

My approach is geared to a single criterion -- does this policy or that action serve freedom? I'm willing to be pragmatic in pursuing policies that affirmatively answer that criterion. I'm not willing to compromise that criterion away.

Are some free trade restrictions necessary? (Score:5, Interesting) by toasted_calamari (670180)

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?

"Free trade," like any other term, is often coopted to mean something other than what it should. In the context of modern America and the globalization phenomenon, it is often used to refer to a web of regulations, restrictions, subsidies, government-created monopolies and privileges. That's not free trade.

First, let's look at the nature of corporations. They come into existence with the grant of a government charter. They sell stock under the auspices and pursuant to the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission. In court, they are treated as "persons" with "rights" -- and for purposes of liability, their stockholders are held harmless beyond the value of their stock itself.

A market in which single proprietorships and partnerships must compete against what are essentially mini-branches of government, with all the attendant privileges and immunities, isn't a free market. It's a rigged game.

I don't oppose growth or success. I support unrestricted trade across international borders, and I support companies developing themselves internationally. But the fact is that corporate growth today isn't natural market growth. It's growth encouraged and enhanced by government-dispensed privilege. It's artificial, and it distorts rather than serves the market.

We need to restore justice to the system. Stockholders are owners, and should be liable for the consequences of that ownership like any other owners. I have no doubt that the market will come up with "portfolio insurance" to protect the stockholders from ruinous claims, but that in itself will provide a market check on unrestrained, unaccountable growth -- companies which act irresponsibly will find that their stockholders can't buy, or have to pay unreasonably high, insurance premiums, and therefore aren't interested in having the stock.

Corporations don't have rights and don't face consequences. People do. Tinkering with that has been disastrous. It's time to get back to full responsibility for individuals instead of government privilege for corporations.

Intellectual Property (Score:5, Interesting) by geoff313 (718010)

As the official Libertarian party candidate 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?

I think the issue is moving too fast for true polarization within the Libertarian Party. Libertarians hold disparate views on intellectual property, but we also realize that it's an issue that will resolve itself as time goes on.

The Constitution empowers Congress to protect intellectual property with copyright and patent laws. Sans a constitutional amendment, they'll continue to grapple with the problems that the new technologies represent. And they'll probably make mistakes, like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

But, ultimately, the marketplace will decide how intellectual property is handled. The "file-sharing wars" are proving that. How much money have the older firms put into trying to pour new wine -- MP3s, CD burners, peer-to-peer networks -- into the old skins of copyright law? They've done some damage, but they've been completely ineffective in forcing the market into their preconceived notions of how it should operate.

I can't give you a more substantive answer about intellectual property. It's an issue that I've thought about a lot, but the only conclusion I've come to is that freedom will out -- and that we'll know what that freedom looks like when the smoke clears.

Induce our vote (Score:5, Interesting) by tod_miller (792541)

What are you views and hopes for privacy and security for the citizens of the internet age, and how do you proactively aim to safeguard and give back our rights that have been eroded away. (INDUCE act, PATRIOT act, et al)

I'm firmly on record as opposed to the PATRIOT Act and the INDUCE Act. As president, I'd veto those acts or renewals or extensions of them, and I'd direct the Justice Department not to avail themselves of their unconstitutional provisions and to fight them in court where necessary.

In the larger realm of privacy, it's already apparent to me that the good guys are going to triumph. Strong crypto, a robust movement to provide privacy solutions to ordinary people by the Free Software Movement and others, and ongoing resistance to invasions of privacy are winning the battle. It's just hard to see that right now, when there's so much blood on the floor.

As a politician, my job is to sign the surrender papers -- to get government to stop trying to ride roughshod over your rights. You're going to win either way. I'm just the candidate who recognizes that, who thinks it's a good thing, and who's ready to proclaim the ceasefire.

How do you enforce rights in an ownership society? (Score:5, Interesting) by zzyzx (15139)

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?

You seem to be referring to what we call "real property" -- land. There are all kinds of property. The Internet connection I'm using to post these answers is my property in the sense that I have purchased that part of the bundle of rights attached to it for the purpose of sending my answers over it.

Even in a libertarian society where all property is privately owned, there will be distinct incentives for its owners to allow, even encourage, free speech. It's not a matter of me owning an acre and telling you that you can't talk there.

If I want sell you a piece of pen and paper, will you buy it if I say "you can't write a political tract on it?"

Will you buy your Internet service from me if I prohibit you from pointing your web browser at Slashdot?

And if I do either of those things, do you think it unlikely that you'll be able to find someone else to sell you those things without those restrictions?

In a libertarian society, more people will own more things than ever before. But owning something doesn't reduce it to a static, unchanging quantity. Things are used -- they're traded on the market -- and the desire to profit from doing so is the best guarantor of all that property owners will encourage free speech. It's just good business.

PATRIOT act (Score:5, Interesting) by keiferb (267153)

What's your view on the Patriot act? What, if any, parts do you think need to be changed, and why?

The whole thing needs to be repealed.

The PATRIOT Act removes the "governor" from the engine -- it lifts needed restrictions on the use of government power. It makes law enforcement and the bureaucracy unaccountable for their actions.

In my view, the bounds set by the Constitution are entirely compatible with the powers that law enforcement legitimately needs. Letting government run outside those bounds doesn't enhance our security -- it just compromises our liberty.

Where are we headed? (Score:5, Interesting) by QuantumRiff (120817)

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?

David Nolan, the founder of the Libertarian Party, is fond of pointing out that history seems to run in cycles of 70 years or so. We rebelled against the British and set up our own nation. 70 years later, we fought the War Between the States. 70 years after that, the Depression and the New Deal. If Nolan is right, and I don't find any fault in his logic, we're about at the end of a natural societal cycle. Barriers are breaking down and new things are coming.

To put it bluntly, I don't think that sticking with "our current leadership" is an option. Look at the questions you're asking me. Do we ditch the electoral college? How do we handle intellectual property? What about globalization? How do we reform our method of choosing those who govern? Those are questions that reflect a society in the throes of change.

As my friend L. Neil Smith puts it, "a great explosion is coming." As a matter of fact, we're right in the middle of it and it's hard to see what shape things are going to take when the smoke clears.

I see the next decade or so as a time of change, whether we like it or not. If Americans try to stick to the old way of doing things, the dislocation will last longer, be more disruptive and possibly tip us over into totalitarianism or some other nightmarish societal paradigm. If they adopt the libertarian way of doing things, it will be shorter, not as disruptive -- and usher in a better era to follow.

The broadest step I've taken is to run for the presidency. With the support of my party, I'm offering Americans a chance to peacefully transition back to policies that served America well for more than a century -- free trade, a non-interventionist foreign policy, minimal government, minimal taxes, maximum freedom -- rationalized into the paradigm of the 21st century.

If I'm elected, I'll do my utmost to implement those policies.

If the current leadership continues in power, they'll continue their efforts to snuff out what remains of American freedom in the name of national security, health security, job security, social security. They're offering you the security state. I'm offering you freedom.

War on Iraq and other dictatorships (Score:5, Interesting) by philipdl71 (160261)

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?

If Iraq had posed a clear and present danger to the United States, and if Congress had declared war and thus empowered the president to act in the nation's defense, that would be one thing, although some of the corollaries to that action might still be problematic.

But Iraq didn't pose a clear and present danger to the United States. It didn't pose a danger to the United States at all. And the US has not, in fact, "liberated" the people of Iraq. They still have a dictator. For awhile, his name was Bremer. Now it's Allawi. And the US has the innocent blood of thousands of Iraqis and more than 1,000 of its own young men and women on its hands.

If you or I want to unseat or kill a thug like Saddam Hussein, we're morally free to do so. He's a tyrant and a murderer. We'd only be acting on behalf of his victims.

Once we bring other people unwillingly into the equation, it gets more complex. We don't have a right to kill the innocent. We don't have a right to pick our neighbors' pockets to finance the project. We don't have a right to conscript their children into our army, as some in Congress are now advocating.

As an aspiring president, my interests have to be the interests of the United States. As a Libertarian, my priority has to be pursuing those interests in a manner consistent with freedom and without initiating force -- against anyone.

One of the questions above mentions pragmatism, and this is an issue where it comes into play. From both a pragmatic and principled perspective, the best foreign policy is one of non-intervention: Refusing to interfere in the internal affairs of, or intervene in the disputes of, other nations. From a pragmatic perspective, it's the best approach for the security of the United States. From a principled perspective, it avoids violating the rights of others.

That doesn't mean that I have to like Saddam Hussein. It just means that the legitimate interests of the United states are not served, nor are the legitimate rights of Americans and Iraqis respected, by invading and occupying Iraq.

Nuclear proliferation (Score:5, Interesting) by SiliconEntity (448450)

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?

I think the nuclear issue is somewhat overblown -- no pun intended.

The nuclear cat is out of the bag. That's the way it is. The world is therefore a more dangerous place, but let's not lose our heads.

If you look at history, only one country has ever used atomic or nuclear weapons in war. That country is the United States.

The Soviet Union had nuclear weapons and considered itself the arch-enemy of the US. Yet they never unleashed nuclear weapons on us. Ditto for China.

Pakistan and India have a history of 50 years of conflict. They're both nuclear powers. Yet they haven't used those arms. Israel has nuclear weapons, is surrounded by enemies and has had to fight for its very survival, yet has not used them.

The fact is that becoming a nuclear power entails a certain "growing up" on the part of nations. They suddenly realize that the stakes aren't a transient gain or a temporary loss, but the destruction of their entire nation. And so they keep those weapons as a deterrent and those weapons are never actually used.

I don't see any reason to believe that North Korea or Iran will be exceptions. They'll rattle their nuclear sabres to enhance their influence in their respective regions. They'll hold them up as a deterrent to attack by their enemies. But they won't just start popping nukes because they have them.

The real proliferation problem is the possibility that terrorists will acquire nuclear weapons. And the best solution, although not a perfect one, to that is to not give marginal nuclear powers reason to fear us and to want to support those terrorists.

The Environment (Score:5, Interesting) by Sotogonesu (705553)

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?

Actually, there's a section on my web site which specifically addresses environmental concerns:


I also have a new position paper on these issues. It just hadn't made it up on the campaign site yet when you asked the question. Here's a URL for it at the League of Women Voters' site:


The short answer to your question is that I'd work to get the government out of the business of polluting, selling "rights" to pollute and protecting polluters from suits for damage. I'd also work to get wilderness lands into the hands of private groups who want to preserve them.

Privatizing Education (Score:5, Interesting) by EvilJello203 (749510)

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?

I don't think that a transition from government schooling to market schooling would be particularly disruptive in that respect. "Public" education has been such an unmitigated disaster that most children would almost immediately be well ahead of where they had been when the transition took place.

Ever since the inception of government schooling in the 19th century under Horace Mann, the US has been on a downward trend in literacy, numeracy and science learning. Sometimes that trend is briefly halted, but it always continues. To the extent that there might be some mild upheaval, it seems to me that the more quickly we exit the downward spiral, the shorter the climb back up will be.

What's your position on outsourcing/immigration? (Score:5, Interesting)
by Whatsmynickname (557867)

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?

We have two -- actually three -- separate issues here. I'll handle outsourcing first.

Capital migrates to where it is most profitably invested. That's just a fact of the market. If I can get a 10% return in Country A and a 25% return in Country B, you know where I'll be investing.

We can deal with that reality, or we can fight it. If we fight it, we'll lose. The future is not in trying to restrict trade or outlaw outsourcing -- it's in allowing innovation and competition, and in removing government impediments, like high taxes and expensive regulation, to keeping jobs here.

When a particular job or skill _does_ move offshore, all other things being equal, it merely frees Americans -- the most productive workers in the world -- to develop the NEXT job or skill or to come up with a more efficient, profitable way of providing the old one. And those innovations are make us the wealthiest country in the world. Instead of wondering where our jobs sewing soles on shoes went, we should be looking to what we can do that the sewing machine operator in Korea CAN'T do yet.

People also migrate to where they can make the most for their labor. Once again, that's just a fact of the market. One can hardly expect a Mexican agricultural laborer to work for $2.00 a day in Guadalajara when he can make $8.00 an hour in the San Joaquin Valley.

And, once again, we can deal with that reality or we can fight it -- and if we fight it, we'll lose.

Legal immigration is a net economic benefit to our country. The fact that workers come here to pick our crops, work in our poultry plants, -- even take coding jobs at computer firms -- lowers the cost of the goods and services we buy, and frees us up to pursue ever more profitable opportunities. That may be cold comfort to a particular worker who's just been sent home while an Indian on an H-2 visa sits down at his old workstation, but it's a fact. If that worker hadn't come to the job, the job would have gone to him via outsourcing -- or it would have gone undone because the profit margin was unattractive by comparison to other investments in labor.

I advocate lifting all restrictions on peaceful immigration. Immigration is not something we can stop. We might as well get the benefit of it instead of tying ourselves into knots fighting it.

This brings up the third issue: Borders. Some people believe that lifting immigration restrictions implies "open borders." That's like saying that an invitation to my house means it's okay for you to crawl through my bedroom window at four in the morning.

Immigrants should be welcome to come here -- as long as they're willing to come in through the front door. They should enter the US through a Customs and Immigration checkpoint, identify themselves, and let us verify that they aren't terrorists or criminals.

People who come across our borders at remote locations under cover of darkness, when they were free to enter through the front door, aren't immigrants. They're invaders. Illegal immigration creates an industry of "coyotes" to guide people across, and it provides cover for the non-peaceful -- terrorists and criminals -- to enter the country.

The border is a national security feature. I propose to treat it as such. In tandem with lifting immigration restrictions, I'd free our military to defend the border against invaders. And those invaders would no longer have a place to hide among real immigrants, or an underlying infrastructure of support for getting them across, because the peaceful immigrants would be entering legitimately.

Thanks for the chance to respond to Slashdot's members. It's been a pleasure!

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Libertarian Presidential Candidate Michael Badnarik Answers

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    • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:36PM (#10299763)
      I would love to see a debate between Bush, Kerry, and Badnarik.

      It would be interesting to hear Bush and Kerry make real answers to real issues instead of fingerpoint and talk about "terrorism" all the time.
  • Whether or not... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tekiegreg ( 674773 ) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:21PM (#10299592) Homepage Journal
    I support all his views (I don't) or would vote for him (still thinking about where my vote is best placed), there is definitely some well thought out answers to these questions. Is it just me or does he sound better than either Bush or Kerry? Though I suppose he has to, being the underdog means being the one that needs the louder voice to be heard...
    • Of course (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:24PM (#10299637)
      Unlike Kerry, and even unlike Bush-- Bush at least had a couple of years in a weak governorship-- Badnarik has no political experience whastoever, only two failed attempts at running for the Texas State House of Representatives.

      This is the general problem with third party candidates. They tend to offer amenable political views, but no solid evidence of leadership, capability to serve in a political office, or past track record we can use to judge how they actually act when in political power.

      But then again seeing as Badnarik won't concievably be winning this election, I guess how he'd actually do in office shouldn't factor into your decision whether or not to vote for him... right?
      • by l4m3z0r ( 799504 ) <kevin@noSpAM.uberstyle.net> on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:48PM (#10299909)
        Badnarik has no political experience whastoever, only two failed attempts at running for the Texas State House of Representatives. This is the general problem with third party candidates.

        I think this is the general problem with politics today. We seem to think its the norm to have a career politician. I think the founding fathers would have intended a baker, a butcher, a sailor, and a bank owner to all be equally feasible politicians. These individuals don't like something so they say their ideas and if people like what they say the office selects the person. The way we have it now, the politician(which is a valid "career") looks around for offices that he/she is likely to win and they go for it.

        Example: In the old days Americans,"founding fathers" decided that George Washington would be a good president. Washinton wasn't really interested in the position but support for him to become president was just so overwhelming that he was forced to take office. This is how we find a good president someone who gets the position not because they dog it relentlessly in order to gain power and influence but a person who solemnly accepts it because Americans demand that this person have the job.

        This notion that experience matters is utter crap what we are doing is just facilitating the current power structure and making it harder and harder to affect meaningful change. If you want someone to continue giving us the status quo with no innovation and no passion for the position continue to select someone with "experience" I however will not.

        • by rycamor ( 194164 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:34PM (#10300542)
          Thank you, yes!

          It continually steams me that a person who has never held a regular job (such as Clinton), would be considered the person who best serves the needs of all those people out there with regular jobs.

          Yes, political experience is good, but a politician with no other experience is NOT to be trusted. I will add that politicians whose only "regular" job has been as a trial attorney or some such is almost as suspect, because they deal in the same currency as politicians.

          When the experience of the incumbents is simply a lifetime of learning how to trade more and more of our rights for power, then I agree that experience is crap.
        • by autumnpeople ( 218378 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @04:37PM (#10301169) Homepage
          Many of us have thought that all along, that the only people fit for office are those smart enough to know they don't want the job in the first place. I tend to vote for the people who have real jobs and have to pay the bills. Why would we ever want someone who only does politics running the country? We talk about how screwed up the system is, then turn around and re-elect all the same people for another term. If we want change, we should probably start with those representing us and not their careers...
      • Re:Of course (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:48PM (#10299911) Homepage Journal
        Kind of a Catch-22, isn't it? You can't get elected without experience, and you can't get experience without getting elected ...

        I've thought for a long time that third parties that want to have a chance in hell of ever getting anywhere in national politics need to start by, for now, pouring their resources into small local elections in which a) there's a lot less money involved, and b) there are a lot fewer voters, so changing just a few people's minds has a reasonable chance of getting your guy elected. If there are a bunch of Libertarian | Green | Reform | Socialist | whatever city councilmen and county commissioners and school board members and ... okay, it's not the same thing as having one in the White House, but it's a place to start. This election, start at that level; in a couple more election cycles, maybe pick up a state legislator or two; etc.

        And it does matter. Here in Colorado, we have a Libertarian sheriff, in one of the sparsely populated but very large mountain counties, who has made a real difference by pulling his people out of the War On (Some) Drugs. This isn't the same as, say, bringing the troops home from Iraq -- but it's a real action, which has had a real effect on the lives of real people.
        • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorris@NOSPAM.beau.org> on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:45PM (#10300663)
          > okay, it's not the same thing as having one in the White House, but
          > it's a place to start.

          More importantly, it is the proper place to start. Like the guy said, just getting elected would indicate the sort of groundswell of revolution that would indicate it was time to make the radical changes he advocates, Which won't happen until we have a People fit to govern themselves as their forefathers once did.

          You lead by example. The average person no longer knows what it means to be Free and frankly, the idea scares them. We need Libertarians who have the "people skills" for it to get out and run for local offices, then start making a difference. Those of us who lack the skills to be a successfull pol can provide support. This will show the more mainstream voters that:

          1. Libertarians aren't just drug legalizing notcases. This factor should not be underestimated. Those tend to be the loudest voices and the mainstream press makes sure they are the ones the average voter sees.

          2. Libertarian policies can actually be implemented in the real world. (Although truthfully, a lot of what passes for "libertarian" thought won't actually work, but weeding that stuff out is a lot less painful in a county government setting than a governor or national office going off into la-la land.)

          3. It builds a bench to recruit candidates for higher office from. Where do you thing the Dems and Repubs get most of their candidates? Yup, by watching for new young talent to emerge down in the lower offices.

          4. That chaotic Libertarians can actually form a Party. This is important. Regardless of how effective one politician is, it means nothing without a party. See Ross Perot and the Reform Party. Once Ross tired of playing the Reform Party disintegrated because it wasn't a real party, just a cult of personality that couldn't agree on anything, because the only belief they shared was a blind faith in Ross Perot.
      • Re:Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:57PM (#10300025) Homepage Journal
        This is the general problem with third party candidates. They tend to offer amenable political views, but no solid evidence of leadership, capability to serve in a political office, or past track record we can use to judge how they actually act when in political power.

        Unfortunately, neither of the two major candidates have any solid evidence of leadership, capability to serve in public office, or a decent past track record either. If this is what "political experience" gives us, save us from those with political experience!
      • Re:Of course (Score:4, Insightful)

        by maxpublic ( 450413 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:08PM (#10300171) Homepage
        This is the general problem with third party candidates. They tend to offer amenable political views, but no solid evidence of leadership

        On the other hand, our current career politicians have made it quite clear to us that most of them lack any leadership skills whatsoever. Including both candidates for the presidency.

      • Lizards (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sbowles ( 602816 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:56PM (#10300763)
        All I can tell the "lesser of two evils" folks is that if they keep voting for evil, they'll keep getting evil. If you don't like the way things are, how do you change it by voting for more of the same?

        Makes me think of the Douglas Adma's So Long and Thanks for All the Fish ...

        "The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
        "Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
        "I did," said Ford, "it is."
        "So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"
        "It honestly doesn't occur to them. They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates the government they want."
        "You mean they actually vote for the lizards."
        "Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."
        "But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
        "Because if they didn't vote for a lizard, then the wrong lizard might get in."

    • Well thought out? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ahfoo ( 223186 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:56PM (#10300017) Journal
      I don't know. He seemed to avoid the issues presnted to him in a couple of places.

      This question:
      How do you enforce rights in an ownership society? (Score:5, Interesting) by zzyzx
      Was right to the heart of things and well placed as just a few questions ahead Badnarik had just spoken rather ambiguously about his position on copyright.
      Badnarik went from saying it was too early to say what was right in the copyright game to switching around and talking about how important intellectual property was comparing it to the importance of real property as though the latter was a minor point in comparison. Then, to top it off, instead of addressing this glaring issue about how a Libertarian government would protect free speech, he trails off talking about how the market will take care of it. Huh?
      Then a few questions later he says that literacy in the US has declined dramatically since the nineteenth century. Wow. I wonder where he got that statistic. Whodda thunk?
  • by sailboatfool ( 178278 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:21PM (#10299604)
    Definition of a Democrat

    Walking along a beach he sees a man drowning 20 yards off shore. A democrat will throw a 20 yard line to the man and walk away to do another good deed.

    Definition of a Republican

    Walking along the same shore, throws the man a 10 yard rope and holds the end. Expects the man to after all save himself!

    Definition of a Libiterian

    Same shore. No rope. Dives in to help.
    drowns both of them.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:26PM (#10299665)
      Definition of a Green Party member

      Walking along a beach he sees a man drowning 20 yards off shore, so he immediately drops whatever he was doing to protest the ocean
    • by vxvxvxvx ( 745287 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:15PM (#10300275)
      The democrat has to first check whether the drowning man is on the list of approved minorities.
    • by Dr. Transparent ( 77005 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:49PM (#10300697) Homepage Journal
      I think you've got it slightly wrong.

      Runs to the shore, takes $5 from everyone's wallets, then buys a line. Ties the line to a post, then swims out to save the man. Realizes he can't swim and drowns on the way out.

      Republican (Neo)
      Takes out a loan by selling sand to the people on the shore, then buys a line and throws it to the man.

      Isn't walking on the beach because it was privately owned by the drowning man. Didn't anyone teach you to always swim with a buddy?

      Gathers everyone on the shore together to hold arms to make a chain to save the man. When they get there they realize the man was in 3' of water and could have walked back himself. A $5 toll is charged for participating in saving the man. 3 people get eaten by sharks.

      The communist gets his SKS and shoots the man. This is a public swimming area afterall and we can't let western media see people drowning.

      • by Boing ( 111813 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @01:09AM (#10316231)
        Republican (Neo)
        Takes out a loan by selling sand to the people on the shore, then buys a line and throws it to the man.
        Not quite right... remember the tax breaks? It's more like:
        Republican (Neo)
        Takes out a loan by selling sand to the people on the shore, then buys a line and throws it to some people in a nearby yacht, under the assumption that the rope will get to the drowning man by natural market forces.
    • by Jherico ( 39763 ) <bdavis@nOSPAM.saintandreas.org> on Monday September 20, 2004 @05:03PM (#10301495) Homepage
      I quite dislike these analogies. People will look at them and laugh at the mocking of opposing ideologies, shrug of the mocking of their own, and come away with the reinforced idea that opposing political views are stupid because they don't come up with the 'common sense' solution to any given problem. This actually detracts from the real situation.

      Politics and governing isn't some giant set of easy to solve problems with common sense solutions. Its a bunch of very hard problems, some with extremely counter-intuitive solutions. And what might seem like a good solution for a problem on day 1 might turn out to kind of suck on day 1000 when you find out you've starved 20% of your population. Whoops!

      Take communism for example. Everyone thinks of the soviet union when they think communism, but the USSR wasn't a communist state in much other than name. That's not to say they didn't try to be communist. But what the Soviet Union became was what you get when you try to actually implement communism.

      I suspect what you would see with an implementation of libertarianism would be a return to things like child labor, wage slavery and the obliteration of the large middle class. When you place the ideal of the free market above everything else and assume it will naturally shape itself to solve all problems, you rapidly discover that the free market serves not the will of the people participating in it, but the will of the free market. People should be able to see this in the mis-behavings of large corporate entities today. Libertarianism only strikes me as taking off whatever shackles currently restrain corporations from totally ass-fucking everyone they can to improve their stock price. If any company on earth could double their stock price merely by clubbing the last baby seal of earth, nothing could keep them from finding a way to do so. That's corporations, no matter if 99% of the employees are saints.

      The only way you're going to see the quality of life improve for the majority of the population is when you make that your goal. Not by abandoning the difficult task to some high minded concepts like 'free markets'.

      I don't disagree with Bardonik on everything. I think the war on drugs is a counter-productive failure. In fact I agree with him on a lot of social issues. But the libertarian free market ideal, while it might even make the economy grow, would do so at the expense of the citizens.

      • by GileadGreene ( 539584 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @06:24PM (#10302382) Homepage
        The problem with your argument about free markets is that the "ass-fucking" corporations exist only by government fiat in the first place. Libertarians wouldn't remove the shackles from said corporations, so much as make it impossible for such corporations to exist in the first place (you did RTFA about removing liability shielding for shareholders didn't you?)

        I'll also point out that your statement to the effect that "That's corporations, no matter if 99% of the employees are saints." could apply equally well to governments. Except that the guys running governments have far more power than corporations. If you don't trust corporate power why would you trust government power?

      • by dh003i ( 203189 ) <dh003i@gmCURIEail.com minus physicist> on Tuesday September 21, 2004 @12:00AM (#10305112) Homepage Journal
        For one thing, child labor is a great thing in the places where it exists. It allows children to escape what would be their other options -- begging, starvation, stealing, or prostitution -- in those circumstances in which they'd engage in child labor.

        "Wage slavery" is marxist crap. For something relating to this, see this set of notes [mises.org].

        A strong respect for property rights is the only thing that makes living standards rise. That is what allows people to save up capital, causing cime-preferences to be lowered, and eventually time-preference schedules -- this leads to the process of civilization. But when you start engaging in systematic thievery (taxes, inflation, wealth-redistribution), this systematically lowers time-preferences, causing de-civilization.

        You understanding of the USSR is also flawed. It is not just that the USSR wasn't socialism -- it is that socialism, as defined and understood by Marx, Engels, and the other socialists of the time, is impossible. [mises.org] The USSR's worst disasters, however, occured when they tried to implement socialism as fully as possible (by eliminating money). The socialist system is impossible because of the calculation and information problem. (Hence, to say it is "impractical" because of the "incentive problem", also a problem, is not correct). For another analysis of the problems of socialism (in this case, "anarchist" socialism), see The Anarcho-Statists of Spain. [gmu.edu]

  • by gordgekko ( 574109 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:22PM (#10299607) Homepage
    At the risk of Slashdotting my own web site and appearing like a traffic whore, my magazine is running an interview with Michael Badnarik this week as well. You can find it here [enterstageright.com].

    Interesting chap, I'll give him that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:22PM (#10299610)
    I'd also work to get wilderness lands into the hands of private groups who want to preserve them.

    Because those groups would pay so much more than those would would drill for oil, or dump garbage, or build massive hotels, etc.

    Thanks for the laugh!

    • by chill ( 34294 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:41PM (#10299824) Journal
      Like the Nature Conservancy [nature.org]?

      Get a grip. Yes, some would be auctioned off for their natural resources. How is this different from today? Montana has been the bitch of the mining industry since day 1, and now we're talking about drilling in ANWR. Oh, how the gov't protected us there!

    • by Snocone ( 158524 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:45PM (#10299867) Homepage
      Errrrm, sorry to disturb your prejudicies with reality, but yes, they do, actually.

      Compare and contrast the results of the completely private, voluntary, and market-based wetlands preservation effort of Ducks Unlimited, which buy up wetlands so that ducks have comfy places to hang out and get shot at, with all the public, involuntary, rule-based efforts of the feddle gummint to preserve those same wetlands.

      Now, how is it that what you think is a "laugh" is a precise and exact description of reality in this instance, and in every other instance of market-based preservation in actual reality, as well?
      • by theantix ( 466036 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @04:31PM (#10301122) Journal
        Uh, your reality needs a shake.

        The "natural" value of the land that Ducks Unlimited purchased was limited because of government regulations. You probably couldn't have purchased that land to do oil drilling or pave it over for a parking lot or industrial complex. Thus Ducks Unlimited had an "unfair" advantage, because they could derive more legal value from the land than could the corporations.

        Absent government regulations, as the libertarians propose, non-profit groups couldn't stand a chance in the bidding for most land.
    • by Edward Faulkner ( 664260 ) <ef@alum.mit.eEULERdu minus math_god> on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:58PM (#10300041)
      The bulk of corporate pollution occurs on publicly owned land, because neither the government nor the corporation has any incentive to maintain the value of the property.

      Wilderness areas owned by private businesses (such as the paper industry) are typically far better cared for than public land that the government allows them to work on temporarily.

      This is documented, for example, in the writings of Mary Ruwart.
  • Support (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alatesystems ( 51331 ) <chris AT chrisbenard DOT net> on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:22PM (#10299615) Homepage Journal
    I fully support Badnarik, and I even placed a banner(even though I hate flash) on my site supporting him. The best thing we can do is promote something other than the 2 party system and Mr. Badnarik is what America needs.

    He wants to government out of our lives as much as possible and that is what we need. Our nation was started with a system of checks and balances, and the last 2 administrations(2 different parties) have stripped away many of the liberties we used to enjoy under the ruse of "protecting intellectual property"(dmca) and "terrorism"(patriot et al).

    Please vote for him. We need the percentages to go up to convince people to vote outside of the 2 party system. He may not win this time but if he gets more and more and more, it may become a 3 party system.

    Don't look at it as throwing away your vote, but rather as placing your vote with the person that you agree with. It's not a horse race; you don't have to bet on the winner, but rather choose who you would like to see in office the most and let the counts fall where they may.


    • Horse race (Score:5, Funny)

      by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:01PM (#10300080) Homepage Journal
      I agree it's not a horse race. The top 2 are both jackasses!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:26PM (#10299667)
    that they're not on the ballot in NH. Wasn't that their proposed "free-state" that they were to (or are?) colinize?
  • by ortcutt ( 711694 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:27PM (#10299675)
    I'm sure a lot of Republicans have more in common with Badnarik's "The market can and will solve all problems" approach than the the Bush administration's combination of big-spending on unnecessary conflicts, corporate welfare for drug companies, and violation of our individual liberties. I would encourage those of you who are Republicans to take a good look at Badnarik.
  • by pexatus ( 216363 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:28PM (#10299695)
    Arrow's Impossibility Theorem [wikipedia.org], says that runoff voting will necessarily be unfair in one of 5 different ways. However, just about any runoff voting scheme would be more fair than the Australian ballot, which by design keeps anyone from voting for a third party.
  • Emoticon (Score:5, Funny)

    by CGP314 ( 672613 ) <CGP@noSpAm.ColinGregoryPalmer.net> on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:29PM (#10299701) Homepage
    I guess that depends on the ideology ;-)

    You have to like a Presidential candidate who uses a winkey smiley.

    -Colin [colingregorypalmer.net]
  • by here4fun ( 813136 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:29PM (#10299705) Homepage Journal
    Today, the Libertarian Party -- and other third parties, of course -- have to fight to get on the ballot. In some states, we have to gather enormous numbers of signatures. In others, we have to drag the state to court.

    It has been this way forever. We have two parties, and they don't want any competition. My feeling is anyone who can get X signatures on a petition should be put on a ballot. In some ways, getting on a ballot should be just as important a right as the right to vote, otherwise we are like China when they have free elections, but only one candidate.

    Having said that, I would never vote for a libertarian. They fail to see one aspect of humanity. Power corrupts. There is greed. If left unchecked, the powerful will enslave the rest of us. It is human nature. For example, around the time of the revolution 1% of the USA population owned 10% of all wealth, today that 1% owns over 40% of all wealth. There is something wrong when wealth can be concentrated into so few people, that the rest of the USA is left with less. Someone mentioned earlier that the previous generation could survive with one income. Today many families need two incomes to make ends meet.

  • on the environment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i_should_be_working ( 720372 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:30PM (#10299720)
    I'd also work to get wilderness lands into the hands of private groups who want to preserve them.

    That sounds like government intervention. Who decides which private group really wants to preserve a wilderness? What if they are just lying about wanting to preserve it? What if the private group that does not want to preserve it offers the most money for it?

    Looks like really preseving a wilderness area would require government intervention and regulation. Which goes against this party's policies.
  • PoliticalCompass.org (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BReflection ( 736785 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:34PM (#10299749) Homepage
    See the Political Compass [f2s.com] for a visual representation of where Michael Badnarik actually stands. Their quiz [f2s.com] will also place you visually, and from reading their FAQ [f2s.com] it really sounds like they have an appreciation for statistics, be that what it may.

    Also found in the FAQ is an interesting tidbit about Americans and our seemingly skewed idea of just what a libertarian is (they are Brits):

    You can't be libertarian and left wing

    This is almost exclusively an American response, overlooking the undoubtedly libertarian tradition of European anarcho-syndicalism. It was, after all, the important French anarchist thinker Proudhon who declared that property is theft.

    On the other side of the Atlantic, the likes of Emma Goldman were identified as libertarians long before the term was adopted by some economic rightwingers. And what about the libertarian collectives of the mid-late 1800s and 1960s?

    Americans like Noam Chomsky can claim the label 'libertarian socialist' with the same validity that Milton Friedman can be considered a 'libertarian capitalist'.

    The assumption that Social Darwinism delivers more social freedom is questionable. The welfare states of, for example, Sweden and The Netherlands, abolished capital punishment decades ago and are at the forefront of progressive legislation for women, gays and ethnic minorities - not to mention anti-censorship. Such established social democracies consistently score highest in the widely respected Freedom House annual survey on civil liberties. Their detailed checklist can be viewed at http://www.worldaudit.org/civillibs.htm . Similar social developments would presumably be envied by genuine libertarians in socially conservative countries - even if their taxes are lower.

    Interestingly, many economic libertarians express to us their support for or indifference towards capital punishment; yet the execution of certain citizens is a far stronger assertion of state power than taxation.

    N.B. The death penalty is practised in all seriously authoritarian states. In Eastern Europe it was abolished with the fall of communism and adoption of democracy. The United States is the only western democracy where capital punishment is still practised.
  • by Rorschach1 ( 174480 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:35PM (#10299756) Homepage
    Since your name is Badnarik, I'm assuming you're not George W. Bush. Is that correct?

    Yes? Ok. You've got my vote.
  • by Facekhan ( 445017 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:36PM (#10299769)
    I was planning to vote for Kerry or Alfred E Neuman (whats the difference?). I want Kerry to win over Bush but being in MD, its pretty likely that Kerry will murder him here so I may as well vote my conscience.

    I was not too sure about you since I had not seen any Ads and have not been very active in watching the LP as opposed to last election when I voted for Spear Lancaster for governor.

    Your views on the unnecesary protection afforded to corporations is a 100% match for my view on the matter. In fact your words were almost precisley the same that I wrote in an essay recently arguing that corporations are by nature unnaccountable sociopaths.

    I will be voting Badnarik for President.
  • by aaronhurd ( 630047 ) <slashdot@DEGASaa ... om minus painter> on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:37PM (#10299781) Homepage
    I think that Mr. Badnarik's agenda is not correct for this (or any) country.

    Certainly there needs to be some sort of structure implemented by the people to govern themselves. While I do believe that both the Democrats and Republicans are (for the most part) greedy, corrupt and power-hungry, I don't think that a radical Libertarian agenda is correct. What we need is enlightened leadership, which acts in the interest of the people.

    Let's face it; our society has many, many problems, not only with education, but with outsourcing, distribution of wealth, government invasions of privacy . . . anyone could go on for hours. The simple fact is that this country needs leadership which is interested in working hard to solve those problems.

    The Democrats won't do it, neither will the Republicans, but I'd rather see a slightly stronger government that imposes some regulation and control over corporations, rather than a government that is so powerless that it cannot act in the public interest (which is what I believe would be the case under a Libertarian leadership.)

    In the end, it's all about balance.
    • by maxpublic ( 450413 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:31PM (#10300488) Homepage
      What we need is enlightened leadership, which acts in the interest of the people.

      The problem here is that what you think is "in the interest of the people" is almost certainly different that what I think is in the interest of the people. The very fact that you used that line pretty much convinces me that we'd be diametrically opposed on most issues.

      And I don't want you using the government guns to force me to act (or not act) in a certain way to fulfill your ideas of what 'should' be done any more than I want the DemoRepublicans to do it. The only solution that doesn't involve one of us seizing control of the government and using it against the other is to make the government so weak that no matter who has control it can't be used to stomp all over the rights of everyone else.

  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:39PM (#10299799) Journal
    I have only ONE beef with the libertarian party (not going to mention it here), however, this guy's well thought our responses are a clear indication of WHY he will not be invited to the debates. George Kerry, and John Bush wouldn't have a clue how to respond to thoughtful answers.
  • Yikes... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tickenest ( 544722 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:39PM (#10299804) Homepage Journal

    One of the questions above mentions pragmatism, and this is an issue where it comes into play. From both a pragmatic and principled perspective, the best foreign policy is one of non-intervention: Refusing to interfere in the internal affairs of, or intervene in the disputes of, other nations. From a pragmatic perspective, it's the best approach for the security of the United States. From a principled perspective, it avoids violating the rights of others.

    There is definitely something to be said for this approach.

    Unfortunately, it allows things like the genocide going on in Sudan right this minute to continue.

  • Ballots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:48PM (#10299912) Homepage
    Of course, the "major" parties don't approve of anything that might threaten to break their shared monopoly on power. That's why they've instituted the Australian ballot and draconian ballot access laws.

    Not entirely. The Australian ballot is important in order to have a secret ballot. In the age of party-printed ballots (where you would put the party's ballot into the box), you could be observed putting a ballot that was clearly belonging to one party or another into the box.

    If you want a secret ballot, then they can't be distinguishable. This does present a problem of ballot access (since now we have the government printing the ballots, and therefore, determining who will be on it when it comes time to print them), but I think that this can be rectified without compromising secrecy. For example, we could merely have a deadline, which was the last possible date to go to press and print enough ballots, and let anyone on who who was eligible, if they filed prior to the deadline (probably in October). And permit write ins for anyone that missed the deadline.
  • Other interviews? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thesupermikey ( 220055 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:49PM (#10299921) Homepage Journal
    Is there any plan in the works for interviews with other 3rd party or major Candidates?
  • by MarkedMan ( 523274 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:54PM (#10299988)
    I flirted with libertarianism when I was in college, but soon realized the fundamental problem with it: all success is predicated on people behaving a certain way, a way which 10,000 years of human experience shows is antithetical to human nature. (This by the way, is true of many ideologies - communism, facsim, etc.) As an example, the libertarian view on pollution (in a nutshell) is that government should not be involved. The marketplace will triumph because people collectively will boycott companies that pollute, and individually sue companies that pollute their specific air or land. But how does word get out that a specific company is polluting? Easy enough to make sure newspapers and television that do this kind of investigative reporting don't get ad dollars - under libertarianism there would be nothing to prevent corporations generating a blacklist of media outlets to kill. And if a multibillion dollar corporation says, "hey, my twenty highly paid scientific experts say that pollution didn't come from my drainpipe", how does a $30K/year individual marshall a lawsuit against them? Especially if it is legal for the corporation to call in favors from other corporations and have that individual fired, their mortgage forclosed, their health insurance dropped, and their kids kicked out of school. Public approbation? How does the individual talk to "The Public"? If a few people do get wind of it, the polluters will run some happiness-and-fluff commercials about how they really care about the environment and are working hard every day to protect it, and any tiny disturbance in their bottom line will be reversed (anyone else remember those bizarre 1970's era commercials that showed a thoughtful, intelligent Mom making sure her kids got only the nutritionally best snacks: Hostess Twinkies"?)

    Bottom line of the libertarians: "Well, if people aren't willing to fight for something, then the market has decided, and they have to accept the consequences." The problem with that is the little guy did figure out a way to fight the big corporations without having to spend all day every day monitoring and coordinating. A strong representational government. But the first thing the libertarians want to see killed is that government.
  • Free Trade (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:00PM (#10300069) Journal
    Unfortunately, what the LP (of which I am a member) seems to gloss over, is that the Constitution mandates certain restrictions on trade. Specifically, Copyright and Patents and government issued and backed monopolies on certain goods, methods and properties.

    Also, it is quite difficult for "free trade" unless ALL parties participate. We can't have free trade with the likes of China, because of massive subsidation. Not to mention other, less developed markets would not be able to trade "freely" with us because until those markets develop (with gov't subsidation) they would be crushed out of existence.

    "Free" isn't going to be "fair", though there is no law in nature about "fair". The bigger guy almost always wins.
  • by MadMorf ( 118601 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:20PM (#10300343) Homepage Journal
    When a particular job or skill _does_ move offshore, all other things being equal, it merely frees Americans -- the most productive workers in the world -- to develop the NEXT job or skill or to come up with a more efficient, profitable way of providing the old one.

    The myth that American workers are the most productive (Per Capita GDP) persists...

    Actually Luxembourg has the highest PCGDP, nearly 1.5 times the US PCGDP...
    The US is nearly identical to Norway, a Social Democracy with universal heatlhcare...

    http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ran ko rder/2004rank.html

    Cool graph at this one:
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/eco_gdp_ cap&in t=-1

    This one's good too, Most Educated:
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/edu _sch_lif_ex p_tot
    US comes in at 14...We should be ashamed...
  • Darn... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Paulrothrock ( 685079 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @03:26PM (#10300421) Homepage Journal
    He didn't answer the question I most wanted answers: What happens to the losers in a Liberitarian society? What will happen to the people who, through no fault of their own, can't find a job or become productive members of society? Or those who become invalids?

    Two examples: My fiancee worked hospice care for mentally disabled adults. One of them was a guy who got blindsided by an SUV while he was on his motorcycle. He went from being a well-paid metal worker to a grown man with the mental skills of a two-year old. Would the burden of his care be placed on his family, or the family of the person who hit him? Neither of them could support his care.

    My future brother-in-law has muscular dystrophy, and has gone from walking around and caring for himself to a wheelchair and complete dependence on others in six months. He gets some help from MDA, but without government assistance my future mother-in-law could not afford treatments for him that could extend his life so he could be cured in the future. Does he deserve to die because he was born with a congenital disease? And I don't trust that a donations-funded organization could provide for him. What happens when they have a bad year? Would his medication be cut? Would his therapy and school aid be dropped because they can't afford it?

    • Re:Darn... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wynler ( 678277 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @04:54PM (#10301387)
      Charity! Libertarianism advocates taking charity out of the hands of the government and putting it back into the hands of the people. United Way, Childrens Miracle Network, etc. Americans aren't as selfish as popular opinion would have you believe. Personally 15% of my income goes to charities of my choice, and a lot more of it would if I wasn't taxed so heavily.
    • Re:Darn... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by KevinJoubert ( 161224 ) on Monday September 20, 2004 @06:27PM (#10302415)
      All you really need to ask with any question of this nature is.. What did people do before the Federal Govt did it for them?

      Just because I believe the Federal Government should live within the limits of the constitution and I call myself a libertarian doesn't mean I am an anarchist.

      What did we do before there was a Deptartment of Education? What did we do before there was Medicaid and Medicare?

      Did you ever see the TV show, "Little House on the Prairie"? Who paid the doctor when he delivered a baby? Who paid the school teacher to teach the kids? Maybe it was the members of the community? Maybe the "town" did? I don't know, but the fact is, this country BECAME GREAT before it had this much federal government involvment in our daily lives and its losing its greatness everday we allow this involvement to continue.

      Just because I don't think the federal govenment can't effectively manage education or medical care at the national level, doesn't mean that all levels or government are the same. Just because a Federal Department of Education or some form of Healthcare is unconsitutional and doomed to failure doesn't mean that something at the local, city, or county level would suffer the same fate. Maybe one state or city would be completely privatized by choice, maybe another would be marginally, maybe another not at all. Then the market could determine what is successful and what gets adopted. Liberals could live where they wanted and conservatives where they wanted.. and the federal government could be expected to live within the boundaries of the document that provides its power and framework.. the Constitution.

      Look... what is supposed to be going on here is one school, one neighborhood, one community, one city, one state is supposed to be able to compete against the others to be a more desireable place to live/study. The state of Maine is supposed to be able to say "Hey, if you guys want private education and public healthcare, move here, thats what we have" and the state of Colorado is supposed to be able to say "If you want private healthcare and public education move here". But none of that happens today. We have NO CHOICES, because federal government enters every aspect of our daily lives.

      It shouldn't even matter to half the people in this country WHO gets elected president. It shouldn't matter because it shouldn't affect most people's daily lives... BUT IT DOES.. and thats wrong and its a clear indication of how overreaching the power of the Office of the Presidency is.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI