Why I Am Libertarian

Craig Bowden for U.S. Senate


In light of recent party changes of a few higher profile, Libertarian Party candidates to the Republican Party, I wished to make a statement of why I choose to remain in the Libertarian Party and why I am not leaving.

It is true that if I were to switch my party affiliation I could possibly see greater success in running for office. The two major parties are well funded and have better networking. They have all the political power and use that power in efforts to keep challenges to the status quo at bay. So yes, it is easier to win if you are the nominee as a Democrat or Republican. That being said, there are many areas I cannot agree with from the Republican and Democrat parties, and their track record is all I need to avoid attaching an R or a D to my name.

You see, that…

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Are We Truly for Liberty?

the-10-best-country-songs-about-betrayalI have been involved in the libertarian movement for a number of years now, but recently, I have to wonder whether or not other members are going to truly step up and be for liberty or not. Recent events have me questioning if the people claiming they are about advancing liberty truly want to help achieve freedom in their life time, or if they are just in things because it’s a popular thing to say now.

I have commented on a couple of threads from recent events, but figured I would air my grievances in one article about the rot festering within the libertarian movement.

The first incident involved an activist from Texas, who nearly 20 years ago worked in a few adult films. Due to an online disagreement, another libertarian (term used loosely) evidently took this information learned and took it to her employer out of “concern” for children.

Seriously? This is beyond repugnant coming from someone who claims to be against authoritarianism, as they have now dictated what is deemed acceptable, and they did this with the intent to cause harm to another person. I have extreme issues with this coming from someone who claims to be in a movement for liberty.

In the first case against the reporting individual, who cares what she does in her own time? Who cares if she was doing videos currently? If she would have been voluntarily using her body for the entertainment of others, what business is that of yours? She is a free individual, is she not?

However, it gets worse. See, this activist who worked in these films was coerced into doing them by her significant other. After she managed to get away from that life, she went on to go to school, get an education, and become a very successful and impactful teacher in children’s lives. She is clearly not who was portrayed on the television screen. She is not in that lifestyle, so why does it matter what happened 16 years ago?

Another incident involving disagreements is when the Libertarian Chairman Nick Sawarck made a statement that he disagreed with a position of former Congressman Ron Paul. One individual became so outraged over the incident, that he released a private conversation between himself and Nick in order to expose ***gasp*** the use of recreational drugs.

Now color me shocked, but last I checked, the Libertarian Party actually advocates for personal choice in such matters. So why is it that another individual tries spreading a conversation around to others in regards to this, when we advocate its legality?

Both of these incidents have shown just how ugly people are. It shows there are some people who only pay lip service to what liberty means. Sadly, I think that there are many who are totally fine hurting others to get their way.

Politics is an ugly business, but you aren’t supposed to be stabbed in the back by those who are considered allies in our cause. When you take the knife and drive it into another person’s back, you are committing an aggression that is not necessary and shows you for the true colors you harbor inside. You are no better than a Democrat or Republican in dictating your own stance when you partake in actions like these.

If you are so thin skinned that a relatively minor difference in opinion pushes you over the edge to intentionally cause another person harm, you need to get out of this world. Either you are for liberty or you are not. If you are going to backstab someone over a minor disagreement, you do nothing more than dam our cause. In a time where the world needs adults to step forward, you are acting like petulant children. It’s disgusting.

Yes, There is a New President

505545764-republican-presidential-candidate-donald-trump-delivers-jpg-crop-promo-xlarge2No the world is not going to end.

As a libertarian, I have the point of view of never really getting what I would like to see elected to any significant office, and we are likely still years away from seeing even a member of the U.S. House come from the Libertarian Party. As such, I have seen that it doesn’t matter who occupies the White House. Things over the last several presidents have stayed roughly the same.

It is true that economic and civil liberties are just as likely to erode as they did when President Obama was in office, and President Bush before him. The main object of people in power seems to be that they wish to continue to consolidate that power.

Many of you who are on the left are starting to feel what people like me feel every day. The lesson from this is not to grow government when you have the reins, because someday, the other side will end up getting the seat that you grew. The power and abuses you ignored under President Obama are now under a different banner. The sad thing is that the Republicans who spent the last eight years bemoaning the power of the President under Obama, will now work to consolidate it under President Trump.

This cycle repeats regularly. It takes stepping back and looking over a much longer scope of history to see this. It really does require to look at more than a single presidency or even the last couple.  You need to look over the span of generations and it requires you to approach it in a different way. You need to approach things as objectively as possible to see the power pendulum swinging. You have to look at the reactions and bias of the groups on both ends as the transfer of power takes place.

I didn’t always see things this way. I used to be a Republican who would do this same cycle I speak of. Only talking about Democrats being bad and excusing things Republicans did. It took me going to war in Iraq to wake up and see that Republicans aren’t exactly freedom loving or economically inclined. I personally hope that you don’t have to wait for something as drastic as going to war to see the writing on the wall of the need for power to be limited, not grown, in government.

I invite you to seriously consider looking at things in a different way. People like me are available to answer questions all over the internet and the nation. We know what you are feeling and we know ways to help make things better in the future. We have an opportunity to build things together. Ignore the people who are trying to tell you to riot or burn things down. They are just as power hungry as any other politician. Peaceful protests are more than fine, but we need to build, not destroy.

We are going to get through this if we are willing to work together in spite of government. We can bring about a more voluntary and loving society if we ignore the rhetoric and push to improve our lives and the lives around us. Our communities are where we make a difference. One man doesn’t change that. You have all the power required.

Lessons for Libertarians

LiberporcI don’t pretend to know everything there is to know about libertarianism. As a matter of fact, I advocate that you don’t follow any one person, but focus on principles. People can be corrupted and flawed, the principles themselves, cannot.  I do, however, believe that I have some advice that can apply to the Libertarian Party. I give this advice after nearly 21 years in the political world as a debater, author, campaigner, and candidate.  Please note, this is only advice, and do not wish to force change.

1. Speak more kindly

I cannot tell you how many times I have watched a discussion turn ugly both online and in the real world when differences arise between libertarians, or when someone new to the movement asks questions. In my capacities as Chair of my county affiliate, I have  participated in countless outreach activities. In the course of these outreaches, I have heard what people are saying why they won’t join. When the person is ideologically libertarian, they have told me they aren’t coming over because of how they were treated by libertarians.

We are pushing people out before they even have a chance to join. If we continue to be abrasive to others in their journeys, they will continue to find themselves somewhere else. We most definitely should mentor new members. Help guide them. What we cannot do is continue to treat everyone who hasn’t arrived on the same exact path we are as if they are the scum of the earth. With some of the comments I’ve seen, that is exactly what is being done.

2. Actually Admin your group

Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing. That being said, if you are utilizing a social media platform as an admin, you can and should moderate the content. I cannot begin to tell you how ridiculous we look when there is Libertarian in the title of a page and all I see is racism, bigotry, flat earthers, nationalists, etc. spewed across the pages. If you want to have a group for all political ideologies and theories, then name your group something that has to do with having multiple ideologies. If you want it to be about libertarianism, either the ideology or the party, you need to start getting rid of people who are utilizing our platform to advocate for things like genocide and segregation.

Some people are associating this as libertarianism, that these kinds of people are who we are. If you aren’t like that, police your site.  It isn’t violating anyone’s free speech when it is a group you created. Freedom of association also applies. If they want to spew their garbage, let them create their own group. Don’t let them use yours.

3. We are not Republicans

A lot of people seem to think we are nothing more than the farm team for the Republican Party. A lot of that has to do with the fact that a lot of libertarians continue to speak in the left vs. right, red vs. blue paradigm with more positive light toward Republicans. Stop. Republicans are just as bad as Democrats in government. You want to come to Utah and see what a Republican super majority looks like? Sure, the economy is doing well, but civil liberties are another story all together.

We need to be vocally calling out both sides of the aisle and explaining how we can do it better. Quit pandering to the Republicans. We aren’t left, we aren’t right, we are people who are fighting for civil and economic liberty. Neither major party, especially those at the federal level, are doing that.

4. It takes more than a keyboard

For all the time spent arguing about the minutia of libertarian philosophy, you could have been out in the real world handing out flyers, making phone calls, meeting people with questions, helping with leadership, or any other host of activities.  While we certainly must utilize social media in our outreach efforts, far too much time is consumed with petty infighting on Facebook than is spent broadening the movement.

Talk is cheap, so if you are sitting behind a keyboard flexing your finger muscles, and that is the limit of your activism, you need to be doing more. Politics is social. It involves people. Arguing online does nothing.

5. Yes, anarchists are libertarian too

I, as a radical in the Party, actually get quite fed up with the notion that if you aren’t a minarchist, you are somehow not libertarian.  The facts are that we fall in the same spectrum of thought, just going one step further to eventual abolition. There is nothing wrong with that. We are people who want to help fight for liberty and then be left alone. We are on your side.  We can debate how much government is an appropriate level once it actually starts shrinking.  Right now, we both agree that it is a monster.  We are going to need to fight it together.

And to radicals who are attacking the minarchists: for the same reasons outlined above, you too need to stop the fighting.  We have a common enemy.

I highly encourage you as the reader to look up the Dallas Accord, a way to keep the peace. We are on a train together, we just might have earlier stops than others. Not everyone is going to agree exactly how much is needed, but one thing is certain: we need each other to keep pushing things.  There are too few of us as it is right now. Quit trying to purge each other.

I’m Mormon and a Libertarian

round_lds_libertarian_sticker-r61564c5dda0b4cf3958447aaf505f1ba_v9waf_8byvr_324I wanted to get a little personal for a moment and talk about my spiritual side. It is true that I am a member of the LDS Church and also adhere to the principles of Libertarianism. Some may think that they are mutually exclusive including some who may be in the Church. However, based on the religious doctrines that I have studied in depth and the principles of libertarianism I have studied, there is far more in common between the two than what is normally perceived.

 In order to understand the first line up of the religious doctrine to libertarian philosophy, we must go before the world was created. According to our beliefs, in Heaven there was a great assembly of all the souls that would eventually inhabit the Earth. During this meeting our Heavenly Father laid out his Plan of Salvation. This plan would require for us to come to Earth, forgetting our Heavenly home, and come to accept God through prophets he would send. Because of this mortal state, we would make mistakes and would be considered unclean in the sight of God. In order for us to return to his presence and reunite with him after our passing, we would need a Savior to atone for the sins we commit.

 God’s plan required us to have agency, or the ability to choose to accept to come back to him. This is the first instance of free will.

 Another entity we believe as Lucifer, stood up to God and offered an alternative. This alternative was to force everyone to be righteous and then there would be no need for us to have this agency. There would be no need for a savior. Through Lucifer’s plan, all would be guaranteed to return to Heaven.

 The flaw with Lucifer’s plan was that without the ability to make a mistake, we could not learn beyond that which we already knew. We would not grow as spiritual beings in truly knowing the difference between right and wrong, suffering and pleasure, sorrow and happiness. We had to learn these things in order to become more like God. We had to understand things through experience.

 Ultimately the proposal from Lucifer failed, and we came to Earth with free will: our agency. This is 100% in line with the philosophy of libertarianism, as we believe all interaction must be voluntary without any force or coercion.

 The next doctrine I find that falls in line with philosophy is what we consider “Articles of Faith.”

The first one that I find aligning with libertarianism is the second article: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” This is saying that you can only be accountable for the actions you choose to take. You are the only one responsible for what you do, no one else.

The next one I find aligning perfectly with libertarianism is the eleventh article: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

In the Book of Mormon, taxation is linked with slavery and bondage of the people. One king was described as wicked for, among other reasons, a 20% income tax on the people, while another king is praised for his righteousness for levying no taxes whatsoever.

Doctrine and Covenants 134, a chapter in scripture prefaced as “A declaration of belief regarding governments and laws in general,” contains several verses which uphold the explicit right to private property. For example: “We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.” If you fall into the faction of libertarianism that believes a cornerstone of rights is the right to property, this is one that definitely aligns with our philosophy.

David O. McKay, the man who served as prophet of our church from 1951 until his death in 1970, stated the following: “A man may act as his conscience dictates so long as he does not infringe upon the rights of others.” On of the highest leaders of the Church in our history understood the importance of individual liberty.

Towards the latter end of the Book of Mormon, one of the books that serves as a doctrinal instruction and testament of Christ in the Americas, the prophet Mormon, who later compiled the record of scripture offers a stark warning to those who would eventually read the passages. He had documented how secretive groups of conspiring individuals brought down two strong civilizations by infiltrating the governments and imposing their  wills on the masses.

As members of the Church, we are counseled to “suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain” and commanded by God to “awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you.” Many members of the LDS faith thus are sensitive observers and tend to oppose corruption and conspiracy— especially within government, since our scriptures also document such groups usurp political authority in an attempt to further their lust for control and power over others.

One of the prophets in my lifetime, Ezra Taft Benson, regularly cited individuals like Hayek and Mises when delivering advice to members of the Church. He spoke often of freedom and liberty, both socially and economically.

These are just a few examples of places that we align. While some members of the Church come off as more authoritarian, we are not supposed to force our will upon others. We are supposed to have voluntary acceptance of our faith. Some who have garnered power have used it to enact spiritually based laws, which would negate why we came to Earth in the first place: to choose. We must remember that free will is why we are here, so I do encourage members of my faith to start reading into libertarianism.

2020 Is a While Yet

Elections AheadIt seems to be never ending. Now that one election cycle has ended, I have seen the myriad of Libertarians asking “Who should we run in 2020?” To be honest, it is time to stop asking that question. It is time we start focusing on building a foundation instead of starting with the spire of the tower.

I certainly understand the drive for getting someone solid advocating on a national scale for what I also believe in. However, when we continue to focus on the Presidential election, we put the cart before the horse. All too often it becomes a former elected official from one of the major parties swooping in every four years with promises of their notoriety getting us to the top. We accept their grandiose claims, nominate them, lose the election, then complain about running someone better for the next four years only to have the cycle repeat itself.

While we certainly should run a top ticket each cycle, we shouldn’t wait four years to take action. Our focus needs to be cheetah intense at the local level every year. There are many down ballot positions that come available each year, whether it is a city council position or state House member. We need Libertarian County Commissioners. We need Libertarian City Councils. We need Libertarian legislators.

This gives us a record to run on in the future. This makes it so that we don’t have to borrow from one of the other parties to run a reputable candidate. We would now have the ability to showcase what we have done in practice instead of speaking in theory.

People would be able to take us more seriously when we field someone from within our own ranks that fought for decreasing government at lower levels before stepping up to the big time. We need to stop pipe dreaming about the Presidential Election, especially before the newly elected individual has been inaugurated. We need to identify the people who are ready to lead their communities. We need to donate and volunteer to get those foundation candidates elected.

If we ever want to be taken seriously, we need to start acting serious. This means that we don’t focus on the top before we have a record to run them on;

Take my advice Libertarians, from a former candidate who won a county position: we make our best efforts when we worry locally before we put people up for top dog. There are hundreds of races that are unopposed in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Let’s get some people in there and winning.

Let’s get the forgotten 47% of America their voices back. Let’s fight for liberty at every level. The change happens once we start to change our focus.

Do Libertarians Have What it Takes?

Third_Parties-matterEarlier today, I saw an article posted by a friend that crossed my timeline essentially taking the stance that the Libertarian Party tends to run a bunch of inexperienced individuals for office.

“I think and this is sad, that most Libertarians don’t give a damn about winning an election. The people inside the Libertarian Party are so immature that some nobody with no money, no resume, no experience, and no skills, calls himself a Libertarian and says that want to run for a seat in Congress and the party says: “Ok cool, there you go”

This is not how things go.

The author has looked at a couple of examples and used a broad brush to paint us in a bad light. It is a common theme that libertarians are used to, but here are the facts that we found about the candidates who ran for Federal office this year from the 120+ races:

  •  There were dozens of business owners who stepped up to run. These are entrepreneurs who know what small business needs to fix a broken system.
  • There were many with prior military experience. The average time we were able to find was 6.5 years of service in the Armed forces between those with verifiable time in.
  • At least one Congressional candidate in the race had actually been elected to a county policy board.

This is not an all inclusive list of the many experiences and talents that candidates brought to the table. The other thing that needs to be noted is that there were a total of 602 candidates recognized by the National Party.

We ran candidates for City Councils, County Commissions, Railroad Commissions, Governors, Attorney Generals, State Houses, State Senates, School Boards, and so many other positions.

The author also ignorantly states that the candidates just approach the Central Committees and say they want to run and are given the go ahead to do so. This is not the case according to the bylaws of nearly every affiliate in the United States. What is done in most cases is that a State Convention is held. These individuals who are running for office must state their case and qualifications to the body of voting members, in some cases hundreds of individuals. Even if the candidate is running unopposed in this Convention Process, they must still in most cases receive a 2/3 majority support in order to receive the nomination. Further, each candidate must face the opposition of “NOTA”or None of the Above.

These are vetted individuals in almost all cases, and most of the candidates are professional in what they attempt.

These individuals put in a lot of time, effort, money, and shoes wearing out to do what they do. There are plenty of critiques to be had in order to help make things better. This article was nothing more than a hit piece against the people who are doing more work than most in the fight for the author’s liberty.

Beyond the 2016 Election

libertarian-leade-2So here we are. The 2016 election has been decided and while the Libertarian Party had some great gains, we didn’t really win any seats. Does it show that we are starting to break through to people? You bet. But there is so much more that we need to do.

The road didn’t come to a dead end on November 8th. No, it just took a detour and there are still miles ahead. So what are we to do now that the election is over? Do we go back to sleep and hope that there is another candidate in four year? Should we hedge our bets on some personality stepping forward to follow?

My answer is no.

What I would like to offer you are a few things you can start doing as we lead up to something even more impressive four years from now. It is going to take some work. It is going to require more than being on Facebook in a Libertarian group arguing whether anarchy or minarchy is superior. Dust of your jacket, lace up your shoes, and get ready to build.

  1. Live libertarian. The first thing you need to do is to live by example. This is probably one of the most underrated and least discussed thing among libertarians from what I have encountered. We need to step up and truly be the change we want to see. This means that we need to be the ones acting without government. So it’s time to organize a food drive, attend a cancer run/walk, do a coat drive for the homeless, gather blankets for the women’s shelter. We talk about the need for people to step up and do these sorts of things without government coercion. So it’s time that we all start doing what we can, so that when people see us running for office, they know we are putting our time and money where our mouths are.
  2. Pay your dues. Make sure to pay your state and national dues. We can’t do much without money to help candidates. There are still states that haven’t secured ballot access, and a lot of the funds raised go into those efforts. Other affiliates are using the funds to pay for things like filing fees to get candidates on the ballots in their states. We need to make sure that these sorts of things can be paid for so that we can focus on more important things like running a campaign.
  3. Outreach, outreach, outreach! There are opportunities every day for you to recruit people in your community. Whether you sign up to volunteer to run the Nolan chart at a community festival where your state party set up a booth, or talk to your co-worker at the water cooler, take the opportunity to try to get people involved in the party. Everyone can find a way to be a spokesman for the party. Find out how you can get communicating with other people and get them showing up.
  4. Help candidates. We cannot wait to help out in 2020. There are local elections in 2017. Let’s get some candidates running and elected into city councils, county boards, maybe even a couple Mayors. It is 100% possible to get great people into office in these levels. This gives credibility should that candidate seek higher office and gives people in the community a sense of what can be achieved by libertarians once they are elected. So help identify races, run if you can, support those who step up with your time (and money if you can).

Just a few things you can start doing right away to help the movement. We need to stay active, vigilant, and grow our ground game. Things will continue to get better so long as we stay dedicated.

My Final Electoral Thoughts of 2016

LiberporcTo the Members of the Libertarian Party:

The 2016 election has ended. It ended much the way that I expected it to. What I am about to say will apply to many of you. There are some who this doesn’t apply to because I know there were efforts taken by those willing to do the hard work it takes to make a difference; most you did not. If you think I am writing about you after reading this memo, it likely is about you, and if the shoe fits, it’s yours to wear.

First off, it is beyond clear now that the so called “pragmatic approach” so many elected to take at the National Convention has failed once again. What could have been a prime opportunity to truly embrace our unique identity as libertarians was white washed by Hillary praising and half measures by Governors Bill Weld and Gary Johnson.  While certainly the most government experience present as candidates, when it came to what opportunities were available to the duo, they fell short.

One could argue that they were trying to be more centric to appeal to people, one can even claim that we may not have garnered the media we did in the election. What these claims ignore is that the mountain we must climb as a third party is already a high bar, so we should remain as consistently principled in our approach as possible. We are not centric in our ideology. We are not a grab bag of Democrat and Republican ideas. We are a totally separate option. We also wasted the opportunities with the media with several praises of one of the other candidates in the race.

From experience speaking with many people in my area, I witnessed the disappointment from many voters first hand. I saw so many people come up to me as I did outreach throughout the season telling me that they considered supporting our ticket, but couldn’t after either not sticking to principles or praising Clinton. It is one thing to keep a campaign clean and above the mudslinging, it is quite another to make statements about another candidate being the most qualified in the race.

For all the promises of debates, hitting at least 5%, and possible electoral votes, these all fell flat as this ticket floundered all the way to election night on so many chances.

I personally could have far more tolerated the ticket without Governor Weld. Because of him on the ticket, I had to hold my nose to cast my ballot for the Libertarian ticket this year. The only reason I placed that vote was to help my state preserve ballot access for future candidates like myself, and possibly you the reader, to run.

I argued against Governor Weld because of his history. What I learned on the campaign trail further solidified my disagreement with him being the Vice-Presidential nominee. I held my tongue to stay out of the constant arguing amongst libertarians, but I regret this decision. I should have brought this to light when I first overheard it. I owe everyone an apology, and it is something that will likely haunt me.

On August 6th, the Johnson/Weld campaign held a rally at the University of Utah. I had originally been scheduled to speak at the rally, however, in the “wise judgement” of the campaign management, I was excluded in favor of Republicans, a Bernie Delegate, and someone who had only been in the party a couple weeks as a recently converted State legislator from the Republican Party to Libertarian.

Despite this exclusion, I decided to show unity even though this would have helped propel my own campaign for the U.S. House and it hurt to schedule work off to attend. I was allowed into the green room, got some photos and one on one time with both governors. Things were going well, all things considered.  As the speakers started filing out, and Governors Weld and Johnson moved over to the door, I overheard a quirk that should have sent me ringing the alarm bells.

Though a joke, I’m sure, I don’t consider this a joking matter in the least. Governor Weld stated to Gary that things would be so much easier if they could just get rid of the 5th amendment in regards to opposition. The worst part wasn’t even just that Bill Weld stated something like this, it was that Gary Johnson agreed with him and laughed about it. Therefore, I regret staying silent so long. Due process is something that we need to defend and it is not something to quip about. This in combination with so many bad stances taken should have been enough for me to speak out more boldly. While I certainly corrected the record on libertarian stances when the ticket went off script, I neglected to speak about this issue.

I can tell you this much, if I am in a position as a delegate again, I will never support another Republican cross over candidate. It is one thing to come to learn and leave the old ideas at the door as you learn about and advocate libertarian principles; it is quite another to have a whopping three weeks’ time in the party and run for Vice President. Thankfully, I never voted for Weld in Orlando, but I should have fought harder to get someone like Larry Sharpe on the ticket.

This is the revelation I have on the top of the ticket from this election. The rest of this writing applies to some issues I observed in my own race and races across the country.

Where was the same level of motivation and dedication to down ballot candidates that you all had for Gary Johnson and Bill Weld?

This obviously doesn’t apply to everyone, as there are many dedicated volunteers who have helped us out, but the clear majority focused at the top instead of also helping build the foundation for a future of the party. The number one reason why individuals argued for the ticket we got was experience. So answer me this libertarians: how the hell do we advance things if we don’t get people into positions to get that experience? Are we just supposed to keep having former Republicans and Democrats come over and use our ballot access while promising the world? Or doesn’t it make sense that you build a foundation so we can make greater strides?

When are we going to stop bringing over the Welds, Barrs, and Roots? Are we ever going to learn our lessons about them?

To further illustrate this point about top down instead of bottom up, I have seen over thirty different polls online asking who we should run in 2020. Why are we focusing on 2020 when there are local elections in 2017? What about the midterms in 2018? We shouldn’t wait four years before we start getting people into office. We need to be supporting those principled individuals to get into the ground work and start implementing libertarian policies!

I get it. It is elating to feel a part of a Presidential campaign. However, there are so many people running to represent you across the board that need your help. We need people to help phone bank. We need people to donate if they are able. We need people to door knock. We need people to help man outreach booths. We need people to hold signs in parades. We need people to help hand out material at public events.

Most of you jumped at the chance to do it for the top ticket, but forgot about the state legislative candidate. You left out the Senate candidate. You left behind that County Commissioner candidate. You let down that Congressional candidate. You could have done so much more than what you did in races that could have made a huge difference.

There were at least 16 federal elections with only the Libertarian and one major party candidate that could have used the help. There was a myriad of two way races at the local and state levels that could have used your support. Is it great you help Gary? Of course, however, you failed the people who could have made the biggest impact on the political climate where you are most affected: your community.

For the record, this is not me complaining about my own run either. I had some wonderful supporters who regularly helped me out and it reflected in the results of 5.59% and over 11,000 votes which set a record for the party in my state and put me with only two other third party candidates in my district’s history. Some of Gary’s volunteers even did double duty with me. Don’t think this is a blanket for everyone, but if the shoe fits, you had better wear it and accept the bed you made.

The only two disappointments I had in my own run was when I was so close to being in the debates in October. I let people everywhere know the polling was going on. I asked for support, and in a moment I could have used it, too few stepped forward. I ended up excluded over .5% in the polls. If I could have gotten more support, I know without a doubt I would have been on that stage. The second disappointment I had was when I asked for support to protest the exclusion only four people showed up to support me outside of the venue. This was heartbreaking beyond measure. If you followed the campaign at all, you saw how much I put into it. I was not a placeholder.

Now, before someone wants to jump in and start blaming libertarian “purists” or throwing out accusations my way, or to others, we are not the reason why the race was low. We were not the ones who failed to show up. This may be anecdotal, but from what I experienced, it was radicals who were showing up for outreach, it was radicals who were donating, it was radicals fighting tooth and nail in tons of races. There were radicals all over the place pushing for the most libertarian direction possible.

Most of the donations I personally received in my race were from radicals. Even though I wasn’t endorsed by the Libertarian Radical Caucus, several of their members stepped up to help with their time and money, seeing that while I wasn’t as far down the path they had traveled, I was sincere in what I was doing and truly believed in the principles I spoke about.

This brings me to my final point: I am sick and tired of feeling like we aren’t welcome in this movement. There are constant attacks against anarchists in the party and it needs to stop. We fight for liberty as hard as we can. We are out there doing ballot drives, manning outreach booths, running effective campaigns, and even when we didn’t get our choice in, we gave Gary Johnson and Bill Weld a chance. Many of us still volunteered to help the campaign. Some of us donated. It wasn’t until they continued to go against principles, including against our platform, admitting such on national news, that we started correcting the record and dropping support.

But seeing as how we are one of the smallest minorities in the country as radicals, we are not the cause of this. It falls square on you for choosing them. I don’t know what would have happened with a different ticket.  We had a chance to have someone advocate for libertarianism in a way not ever presented before, as the two most horrible people possible stepped up for the major parties. As of now, we also see that all the excuses of government experience are now thrown out the window, as President-elect Trump has none.

To further illustrate the point, look at Evan McMullin’s results in his home state of Utah and compare them to Gary Johnson’s results in the state of New Mexico. Evan McMullin, basically a nobody at all, garnered 20% of the vote at home. Gary Jonson in contrast as the former Governor of New Mexico only managed to get 9% of the vote. We literally could have nominated just about anyone and focused on stopping the electoral college 270 minimum to force the House vote and possibly had success.

I’m done accepting promises from former Republicans swooping in to run and being accepted with open arms almost immediately with their lofty promises. For all the promises made, none of them happened. We didn’t get into the Debates. We didn’t get 5% of the vote. If this continues, there is no real party of principles, because the people we are running end up lacking principles, yet we continue to accept hand me downs looking for the ballot access we fought for. Where were they during these efforts?

I am not giving up on the efforts of liberty, but I hope what I have stated today helps to take stock of your part in this campaign season. I hope that if you were one of those who could have done far more, you take it to heart and do what you can going forward.

I will personally take about two weeks of time away from most things political. After that, I get back to work on the movement for liberty. As a Chairman of a County affiliate, my work doesn’t end after a Presidential cycle; I hope your own contributions don’t cease and you work to help grow the party and educate people about the philosophy of libertarianism. I sincerely hope that you don’t go to sleep for another four years until it’s time for another Presidential race.  We have elections in 2017, 2018, and 2019 before we get to the National Convention in 2020.

We need tomorrow’s leaders to step up to run. We need volunteers to man those booths as we do outreach. We need people helping man the phones. We need people to door knock and hand out flyers.

Will you step up?  Will you do your part? Will you help truly grow libertarianism in the world?

I will be there. I will be in the trenches with you if you’re willing to help dig in. Will you join me? Will you prove me wrong from 2017 up to 2020 about what I saw this year?

It is your choice libertarians.

In Liberty

Craig Bowden

In Response:Wisdom vs. Reality

LiberporcRadicals in the Libertarian Party were challenged to respond to an article written on LibertyPoint.org entitled Wisdom vs. Reality: Libertarian ‘wisdom’ vs. ‘real’ politicsAs a radical, I decided to offer my two cents to the issue in response. I do this independently of the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus, though I am a member. These thoughts are my own and should not be used in an official format as a response from the caucus.

The very first rebuttal I wish to convey is to the following statement within the article:

Unfortunately, as with all too many revolutionary movements, this devotion, dedication and adherence to our tenets sometimes ignores reality.

There is no reality to ignore when adhering to the core of libertarianism. We believe things like taxation being theft, which by definition, it is. You can try to rationalize the “need” for taxation all you want, but when we apply definitions to terms we find that even the dictionary agrees.

From Merriam-Webster’s:

the act of stealing; specifically:  the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it

Just because a group voted to steal, instead of breaking into your home and taking it themselves, doesn’t change the fact that your property was taken as the rightful owner.

Another core tenet of libertarian thought is that we believe in the non-aggression principle, which means that we believe the initiation of force against a person is wrong. This is the most basic reality that exists. Every one of us was taught since early developmental years that we don’t hit people, break other people’s things, or take what doesn’t belong to us. Libertarians simply take it a step further and say that just because the majority voted to do so, doesn’t mean it is right.

We do not have the power to give authority to someone, if we do not have the authority to do so on our own. Since I cannot steal from my neighbor, I cannot give the authority to someone else to steal from him. When we do this without “government approval,” once we face a court of law, we are still guilty of conspiracy and held at the same level of accountability as the person who actually took the action we asked of them. Why is it different when we ask government to do it?

The next portion the author goes wrong is in the following excerpt:

One of the leading examples of this is the belief that “most people are libertarian but don’t know it yet.”

Reality is somewhat less appealing. Libertarians who’ve been involved with any municipal planning or zoning process know “it ain’t so.” The reality is that, in the United States, in the 21st Century, “most people” have come to expect government to do certain things.

Most people expect local government to pick up the garbage, maintain the streets, provide water and sewer services and police and fire protection. They expect zoning regulations and local ordinances to prevent their neighbor from building a 24-hour convenience store in his back yard.

Evidently, the author seems to think that only the city does trash pick up, providing of water/sewage, police, and fire. I would have to assume that the author has never hired private security to guard assets, has never heard of a volunteer fire department, and never lived in a Home Owner’s Association that does trash pick up. It is also apparent that the author has never lived in a rural community, where there is no sewage system and you maintain your own septic tank. Examples already exist where people have demonstrated that they can do these sorts of things without municipal planning groups. All you have to do is experience things beyond a narrow world view.

Not everyone has city utilities on the grid. Not everyone has to rely on subsidies on farmed food. What utter chaos there must be in the non-incorporated areas around the nation.

The reality is that individuals like the author are just too lazy to do things on their own, or in voluntarily associations. It takes a lot more work to make sure things get done, but why bother when city councils and state legislatures can just do it for you?

The author paints things as there being a dependence on government as a “modern reality,” yet for anyone who lives in a rural area, reality is very different. The vast majority of things are done through voluntary association and personal responsibility. Want power? Better make sure the windmill is in good repair. Want heat? Better make sure to order that propane. Want indoor plumbing? Better make sure the septic system is in good order.Want fire put out? Put on your boots and gear up, because all that’s available is volunteers.

The next passage is one I believe you will find an immediate contradiction between the two statements:

Self-government, however, may have another meaning if you consider that man is a social animal. While rugged individualism is an American ideal, and has and does exist in our society, most people also need and seek community. Even in the “frontier days,” when a man was striking out on his own, family in tow, other individuals came together in voluntary association to help him build his barn.

In other words, wherever two or three are gathered, there will be government in the midst.

Notice how the author is speaking about voluntary association and adhering it to meaning government. There is nothing voluntary about government. You pay taxes or go to jail. You cut your grass or be fined. You want salt? Too bad, it’s banned. 32 oz. soda? Too much sugar for you. Want to choose cannabis as a medical treatment? Too bad, jail time for you. There is nothing voluntary about what is going on. It is put in place with authority that never existed.

Most people are social creatures, but there are miles of difference between voluntary exchange and forced compliance to societal norms defined by a majority.

The reality of the situation is that while it may currently be accepted by the majority, we must always speak the truth boldly and plainly. Watering things down does no one any good. Is it ok if you are elected to a city council to vote in favor of a partial tax decrease? Of course. Take what you can get now, but never settle for more than absolute liberty in all things. As soon as you vote yes, the very next day you should be right back on the offensive in decreasing taxation more.

When we water down things to fit society’s current status, we get lost in all the noise. We must be bold in our approach and show exactly how libertarianism is different. Give examples of ways to improve and always strive for the highest amount in all areas of civil and economic liberty.

In my own candidacy for the U.S. Congress in 2014 and this year, I didn’t cut corners in what I placed in my platform. In 2014, I doubled the Libertarian vote in my district and set the highest polling third party for federal office in Utah since the 90’s. In 2016, I have polled even higher than 2014, and the election is still a month away.

I didn’t say to cut taxes; I said eliminate them. I didn’t say legalize medicinal marijuana; I said all prohibition must end. I didn’t say cut foreign aid to our enemies; I said it isn’t our business to be involved in other nations at all. I didn’t say that we should only go to war with Congressional approval; I stated that war must end and violence is only a means through defense.  I spoke the truth. I didn’t take half measures. In the end, a new record will be set in Utah because of it.

The reality is that pragmatists like this author cannot do anything without radicals speaking boldly on principle so that people can see the difference between us and the two major parties.