Document:LP News 1974 January-February Issue 18
LP Candidates are off and running!
Heartened by the success of the New York Mayoralty campaign last year, and determined to spread the libertarian philosophy even more widely in 1974, LP members around the country are already starting to announce their candidacies for this November's elections.
Altogether, between 25 and 50 LP candidates will be running for the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and various state legislatures this year, and we plan to cover all of their races in LP NEWS. Here are the first five to announce.
Sanford Cohen has been running for Congress in N.Y. State's 25th District ever since last January. To date, he has raised and spent several thousand dollars, and has achieved a great deal of publicity, partly as a result of a nude campaign poster he issued last year; he has been written up in many newspapers, interviewed on radio and TV, and was covered by PLAYBOY magazine. One of Sandy's main campaign planks is his advocacy of a "pay what you want" tax plan; he has also signed a contract binding him to keep his campaign promises, and has challenged his opponents to do the same. He describes his campaign as "going unbelievably well." Sandy is a member of the LP National ExecComm; his main opponent, GOP incumbent Hamilton Fish, has the dubious distinction of having the lowest Royce Report score of any Republican in Congress. Contributions should be sent to Citizens for Cohen, Box 1776, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.
Kay Harroff, our Ohio Chairman, is running for U.S. Senate in the Buckeye State. As of the time we went to press Ohio LP members had gathered the 5,000 signatures necessary to put Kay on the ballot; they plan to get several thousand more, just to make sure. Kay has been active in libertarian causes for over a decade; at one time she was Ohio Chairman of the Liberty Amendment Committee, and she currently serves as LP National ExecComm representative from Region 5. Kay reports that one of the strongest areas of support she has encountered to date is the gun-owning community, which has responded very favorably to her strong stand against anti-gun laws. Contributions should be sent to Harroff for Senate Committee, 204 Solon Road, Cleveland, OH 441465.
Bob Steiner will soon publicly announce his candidacy for Congress in New Jersey's 12th District. Bob, a Life Member of the LP, and our New Jersey Chairman, is an accomplished public speaker. He is also exceptionally knowledgeable on economic issues, and is becoming well known in New Jersey as a champion of the overburdened taxpayer. He has published two books, and plans a third, entitled "How We won," to be released after his campaign, which will draw on the talents of experienced libertarians from New York and Virginia, as well as New Jersey. The incumbent Congressman in Bob's district is a freshman Republican with a Royce Rating of 36, whom Bob says is "extremely vulnerable." Perhaps the most unusual event related to Bob's campaign so far is the unanimous endorsement has has received from "Alaskans for Independence," as a result of his support for Alaska's right to secede from the United States. Contributions should be sent to Bob Steiner for Congress, Box 112, Westfield, NJ 07091.
Karl Bray, a well-known figure in the tax strike movement, will be the Utah LP's candidate for Congress in that state's Second District. Karl, a Life Member of the Party has been an active LP supporter from our earliest days; he was on the Temporary National Executive Committee and the 1972 Platform Committee, and served as Utah's first LP Chairman. He is currently Vice-Chairman of the Utah Party. Karl has been harassed by the IRS because of his outspoken advocacy of tax resistance, and plans to make the tax issue a main element in his campaign. Current campaign strategy is for Karl to enter the GOP primary, in order to gain exposure, and then to run in the general election as a Libertarian. The incumbent Congressman in Karl's district is Wayne Owens, a Democrat with a Royce Rating of 27. Contributions for Karl's campaign should be sent to the Utah LP, Box `5506, Salt Lake City, UT 84115, and marked as campaign contributions.
Ken Kalcheim, like Karl Bray, is a leader in the tax strike movement; he is the editor and published off "Rip-Off Resistance" a monthly magazine containing material by tax fighters of both the far right and far left. Ken has announced for Congress in New York's 17th District, where he will be running against John Murphy, a Democrat with a Royce Rating of 6, a score equalled or surpassed in its atrociousness only by two other Congressmen's. Ken Kalcheim began his career in libertarianism as a conservative Republican, but is now associated with the extreme radical faction of the libertarian movement. He hopes to receive an official endorsement from the Free Libertarian Party of New York for his campaign. Contributions should be sent to Kacheim for Congress, 3459 East 65th street, Apt. C, New York 10021.
Other libertarian candidates whose plans we have heard of include Paul Pferdner, who is running for state legislature in Oregon, and John James, who plans to run for congress in Colorado's First District. Stories on these and other campaigns will be carried in LP NEWS as information becomes available.
SPOTLIGHT ON STATE PARTIES
ALASKA LP now has its own newsletter, called ACTION, edited by Paul Beaird. ALP Chairman Grant LaPoint was recently down in the "South 49," and planned to stop by National HQ, but the Denver Airport was closed by a blizzard. Perhaps Grant brough his state's weather with him?
ARIZONA LP has been distributing literature at the University of Arizona, and staged a tax protest on December 17. Several new members have joined as a result of "letters to the editor" by State Chairman Ken LaFave. This can work for other state LP groups, too; keep your letters brief and calm, and ask that the newspaper include your address.
CALIFORNIA LP, which finished out '73 with a stupendous total of 552 members, remains active on many fronts. Tom Palmer has been appointed to handle campus activities, and most of the state's 20 regional LP groups are busy holding public seminars, and getting spokesmen on radio and TV stations. LPC plans to have its '74 state convention in Berkeley, with over 200 expected to attend. John Hospers continues to stump the state, in response to speaking invitations.
CONNECTICUT LP continues to grow under the dedicated leadership of Fran Moore, who has produced an attractive brochure summing up the case against gasoline rationing, based on material from an article in the National Observer. Connecticut LP will be distributing the brochures through gas stations.
FLORIDA LP held a formal state organizational meeting on November 17, and elected Charles Breeden as Chairman, with Jordan Keathley as Vice-Chairman. FLP, long dormant, is now blossoming forth and has over 50 members.
HAWAII LP plans to usher in the New Year by launching a four-month-long anti-tax effort in co-operation with several other groups, and also is supporting the Hawaii Free Speech Council, an outfit fighting censorship. HLP hopes to get the necessary 4,000 signatures to achieve ballot status this year; their efforts will be aided by the regular radio appearances of State Chairman Don Smith and others.
LOUISIANA LP will hold its state convention this month, and plans to field at least two candidates for public office. LPC's members in the 4th Congressional District have been active in a fight against a school tax proposal in Bossier Parish.
MARYLAND LP, which began organizing only this summer, is now the 5th-largest state LP group, yet describes its situation as "just beginning to pick up momentum." A tax protest planned for December l8th had to be postponed until January 15th because of weather; over 100 people outside the party's membership had replied favorably to the announcements for the December l8th scheduling.
MINNESOTA LP held a dinner on December l6, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party; speakers included Michiel van Notten of Holland, who spoke on the progress of the libertarian movement in other countries.
NEW HAMPSHIRE LP has sent a petition to the State Legislature condemning censorship, and is supporting an effort by Nashua School Board member Alan Thomaier to make Nashua schools independent of Federal aid/control. NHLP also plans to campaign against US involvement in the MidEast War.
NEW JERSEY LP's 1973 gubernatorial candidate, John Goodson, received over 3,000 votes, despite diversion of a major portion of the NJ members' efforts to the NY Mayoralty race. Goodson ran 4th out of 10 independent candidates, and two other independents who ran on tax-cut or tax-repeal platforms pulled another 4,500, indicating enough potential support to make NJLP the state's third-largest party, after the Dems and GOP. Bob Steiner is confident that he can handily defeat American Party candidate Howard Freund in his upcoming Congressional race; Freund is the AP's top gun in NJ, so a Steiner victory over Freund would be highly significant.
NEW YORK'S Free Libertarian Party has reported final results on last November's campaign; top vote-getter was Fran Youngstein, who got 8,8l8 votes, or 48% of the total for the five small parties (eat your hearts out, Marxists!). Gary Greenberg ran close behind, with 8,301; he was on the ballot in Manhattan only. Gary's share of the Manhattan Attorney General's race was 3.65%, and he pulled better than 6% in some districts; in two of the city's 13 assembly districts, Gary outpolled the Conservative line. In other races, Tom Avery pulled 5,903 votes city-wide for Comptroller, and Bill Lawry got 2,898 for City Council President. Lou Sicilia got 2,507 in Manhattan, running for Borough President, and Paul Streitz received 1,480 for Councilman at Large from Manhattan. FLP sent out a press release on the anniversary of Roger MacBride's historic Electoral Vote last year, and is now gearing up for '74; membership has grown from 160 to 270 since last May.
UTAH LP is beginning a program whereby every member will (hopefully) write at least one "letter to the editor" every week; this is one of the best ways to get our ideas out, and to gain recognition for the LP.
WASHINGTON LP was another of the many state LP groups which staged anti-tax demonstrations at IRS offices during the December 16-18 period; theirs was preceded by a press conference on November 27, to assure good media coverage.
NO NEWS about LP activities in your state this time? Then send us some! We can't print it if we don't get it.
"BIG THREE" MEMBERSHIP TOTAL PASSES 1,000
LP membership in our three best-organized states passed the 1,000 mark at the end of 1973. Congratulations are in order to California (552 members), New York (270) and Texas (l82). If all states had equivalent per-capita membership, our national total would be 4,000+.
The LP National ExecComm met in Denver on November 24th, with eleven of the 17 voting members present; about a dozen observers also attended. Affiliation petitions were accepted from LP organizations in Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Washington State, bringing the total of affiliate state parties to 28 (we've since lost Missouri, bringing the number back down to 27, plus four states still awaiting affiliation).
National Vice-Chairman Ed Clark was chosen to head the Platform Committee at the '74 Convention, with National Treasurer Pipp Boyls chosen PlatComm Vice-Chairman. Bill Westmiller was appointed to head the Constitution, By-Laws & Rules Committee. National Secretary Georgiann Trammell was confirmed as Credentials Committee Chairman; Winston Duke will serve as Co-Chairman. Texas LP's appointment of Guy Story Brown as Convention Arrangements Chairman was ratified.
Finance Committee Chairman Bob Meier spoke on fund-raising possibilities; he will present a comprehensive report on possible Special Projects--including a film about the LP--at the meeting of the new ExecComm this June. $200 was appropriated to finance legal research by Gary Greenberg, to find out more about election laws in every state. $100 was appropriated to Scott Royce, to use in fighting Federal financing of elections. $900 was appropriated for magazine advertising.
The quasi-libertarian Progress Party pulled 15% of the vote in Denmark's national elections last December 4, but the country is still overwhelmingly socialistic in its political preferences; that's the situation in a nutshell.
Before the election, five parties were represented in the Danish parliament; after the dust settled, the total had risen to ten, with the five "new" parties capturing over one-third of the vote. But many of the changes were little more than illusory, as parties across the spectrum were rent by schisms.
Biggest gainer was the Progress Party, which gained 28 seats, making it the second-largest bloc in the new Parliament--but much of their gain came at the expense of the Conservative Party, also anti-socialist, which dropped from 31 seats and second place to 16 seats and fifth.
Before the election, the Conservative Party had held 17% of the seats, with 83% being held by four parties of a socialist nature. Afterwards, the anti-socialists' share had risen to 28%.
The new anti-socialist bloc consists of the Progress Party (very loosely equivalent to the LP) with 15%, the Conservative Party (roughly equivalent to the GOP) with 9%, and the new Christian Party (somewhat similar to the American Independent Party in this country) with 4%. In addition, the Social Democratic Party (socialist) lost its more conservative wing to the new Center Democratic Party (about like our Dems), which picked up 8%.
But, while the anti-socialists now hold 28% of the seats in the Danish parliament, with "middle of the roaders" holding 8%, the socialists and super-socialists still hold 59%, with 5% being held by parties whose views we have not been able to determine.
So while the gains of the Progress Party are slightly encouraging, they are no cause for loud hurrahs. The grim fact remains that even in a country where the people are far more heavily taxed and regulated than we are, and a multi-party system is accepted, a libertarian-leaning party with a nationally famous figure as its leader was able to pick up only one-seventh of the vote, and half of that was at the expense of the only other anti-socialist party previously in existence.
XIV. FEDERAL CAMPAIGN FINANCING--A PLAN TO FEED GOLIATH AND STARVE DAVID
Public financing of election campaigns is not a new idea--Teddy Roosevelt proposed it--but it is a dubious and dangerous one. Passage of public financing legislation would mean that our tax dollars would be turned over to political candidates to pay for their cam- paigns. In other words, we would no longer be forced to support only the winners and the bureaucratic morass they have created, we would be stuck subsidizing the election antics of all the politicians. The fright- ening thing is that such legislation is already--in part—on the books, and that the Senate overwhelmingly adopted a major public financing proposal recently.
On November 27, Sen. Kennedy and some 35 cosponsors brought to the floor an amendment to the Federal Debt Ceiling bill that would have done the following things: 1) expanded the $1 income tax form check-off, and created a special fund in the Treasury for money received as a result; 2) employed this money to finance the campaigns of candidates for federal office, including presidential primary contestants, presidential candidates and Congressional candidates in the general election; 3) paid for any deficit between allocations to such candidates and checked-off funds by direct appropriation from the Treasury; 4) discriminated between candidates of "major’' parties and those of "new" or "minor" parties in setting the formula for allocation of funds under the Act; 5) banned virtually all private donations to candidates, except to candidates in Congressional primar- ies, candidates for presidential nominations (here public funds would be allocated on a matching basis after receipt of $100,000, no donation to be larger than $100), "minor" and "new" party candidates, or to state or national party committees (the total any such committee could receive or expend was also limited under a set formula); 6) set spending limits for each type of federal campaign in each state; 7) provided stiff penalties for violations; 8) provided that these provisions would go into effect beginning with the 1974 election.
The amendment was attached to the bill on a series of votes. An attempt to kill it drew only 36 votes, with 59 opposed. Several of those 36 Senators opposed the measure not because they were against public financing, but only because they disagreed with various provisions of the bill or felt that it went too far, too quickly. The Kennedy amendment was stricken from the bill a week later—but only after a courageous filibuster led by Sen. James Allen (D-Ala.). Even then, had the authorization for the present federal debt level not expired during the filibuster, threatening the government with bankruptcy, the amendment would probably have passed.
Well, you might say, if public financing was voted down, what have we got to worry about? The problem is that part of the deal made when the amendment was stricken from the debt bill was that it would be duly considered and reported to the floor by spring. The monster is not dead, it is only sleeping. And,separated from the complex Debt Ceiling bill situation, it will pass unless public opinion can be mobilized against it. Fighting public financing ought to be a project of every state party this spring.
Why should the Libertarian Party be particulary concerned about this legislation? First, public financing is a serious abridgement of rights guaranteed under the First Amendment. Prohibiting virtually all private donations violates the right of free political expression. Even Sen. Stevenson, a supporter of public financing and a cosponsor of the Kennedy amendment, recognized this during the debate. Speaking on an amendment he offered which would have softened prohibitions on individual donations, he stated:
It would not be constitutional to say to every individual in this country, ’You cannot contribute one cent or $1, or $5.’ At some point it becomes constitutional (to limit contributions). That is the cause of my quarrel with the amendment introduced by Senator KENNEDY, which prohibits all individual contributions except under limited circumstances. That is unconstitutional. (CONG. RECORD, p. S 21211)
I would be inclined to contend that any limitation on an individual’s right to contrib- ute infringes his right of free political expression, but certainly the sort of prohibitions that Kennedy and his supporters are urging violates the First Amendment.
As taxpayers we should be upset at the potential cost of such legislation. Sen. Kennedy modestly estimates that his plan would cost $300 million over the four year election cycle. Others are inclined to view this as a far too conservative guess. Furthermore, once such legislation is instituted, there is nothing to prevent Congress from raising the possible allocations. After all, Congressmen these days seem notoriously fond of increasing their salaries and benefits. There is every reason to believe that $300 million, even if an accurate cost estimate at present, would be only the beginning.
We should be concerned, too, because public financing will have a real impact upon the Party’s chances of winning elections. The Kennedy plan, which has the most support on Capitol Hill, and most other such plans all discriminate in setting allocations. Major parties automatically receive a large amount of public funds, while smaller parties and independents—if they want such money—are entitled to only limited amounts. Thus, non- established contenders must still use large amounts of time and effort in locating funds, while the established opposition moves ahead with the campaign. Such discrimination will open up additional avenues for a constitutional challenge, of course. But should such a law be upheld, once it has been in effect for some time it will become harder to solicit money or to win with such money, since private contributions will be severely limited in size and will tend to become suspect. Furthermore, the Kennedy plan is drawn in such a way as to benefit incumbents.
Finally, public financing is a direct contradiction of what the Libertarian Party is attempting to accomplish—the liberation of America from the grasp of the traditional politicians. The public itself seems to be moving away from them now in the light of Watergate. A mid-September Gallup poll showed that some 33% of the American people no longer identify with either of the two established parties. And only a few percent of those who paid taxes last year used the $1 check-off—an indication that the taxpayers are less than eager to be forced to pay for the politicians' campaigns.
Public financing abolishes the right to refrain from participation in politics, the right to participate or not participate in the political marketplace of ideas. At present individuals can refrain from donating to the depressing established candidates. Under public financing we will be forced to subsidize the balloons, empty leaflets, and smiley-face commercials of them all.
No one likes the present political corruption, but the answer to it is not in further "campaign reform" legislation. Corruption will continue as long as the government holds the power to tax, regulate, and dispense favors. As long as there is Big Government there will be interests which will attempt to use it to their advantage. The solution is to cut back the size and authority of government, not to impose new regulations. At worst it would be better to place our trust in a skeptical public and the investigative reporting of an unrestricted press than to impose panaceas which will further erode American liberties.
Public financing is a road away from, rather than toward, freedom. It is incumbent upon us as libertarians to oppose it with all the resources at our command.
-/- Eric Scott Royce
IS HARRY BROWNE B.F. SKINNER IN DISGUISE?
"Living your life as you want to live it" (P.5) might be a formula for independence or integrity, but it is hardly a definition of freedom. In his latest book, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, Harry Browne takes those two virtues BEYOND FREEDOM AND DIGNITY and morality.
A reader might charge Browne with fraud, for he barely touches on freedom (i.e.: the absence of coercion or restraint), and instead discusses an assortment of "Traps", which he conclusively admits, "are paper chains. And the individual who sees them for what they are will know that it was his choice to be enslaved..." (P. 146). Most of the "Traps" are unchecked premises which lead to altruism, dependence, dishonesty and repression. All of which seem to be aimed at someone who isn't a libertarian.
However, Browne does address himself to libertarians—and implicitly the Libertarian Party--in the chapter entitled "Freedom from Government". A paradigm of amorality ("...it is ineffectual to insist upon moral conduct...") (P. 95) and resignation ("...you can't change the fate of a nation.") (P. 106) leads Browne to conclude that it's a "waste of time" (P. 23) to oppose government enslavement. "Its employees are simply doing what each thinks best for himself..." (P. 168). It is simply their "misguided" (P. 102) way of seeking happiness!!
Browne assumes that any opposition to injustice requires each individual to deal with a million issues and burden himself with "... a responsibil ity to right the world's wrongs..." (P. 111) and form an "ideal society" (P. 101). He resigns himself to the observation that a simple statement of truth will not be sufficient to make other people change their ways, and opts for retreatism (in Canada, you don't have to worry about U.S. laws).
The greatest fault in How I Found Freedom...is the contention that moral claims (rights) are not universally valid. The consequence is a consent to the violation,particularly if the violation is by "an accepted agent of coercion" (P. 86). Browne does not value liberty, nor political freedom.
The sole redeeming factor in the book is that Browne doesn't confine himself to discussing his philosophical skepticism. The latter chapters of the book (17—33) contain a variety of interesting procedures for developing the virtues of independence and integrity. Though these techniques are worthy of consideration, the reader should not expect to Find Freedom in this $7.95 guide. The price of liberty is higher than that, but not nearly so high as Browne imagines.
-/- Bill Westmiller
Renew your membership!!
BITS & PIECES
ASSOCIATED PRESS DOES STORY ON LP
Without any prompting from us, the Associated Press sent out a national newswire story on the LP, which was carried in newspapers across the country December 27th. The story was generally accurate, stating our major stands correctly, and noted that the LP has grown substantially since Roger MacBride cast his Electoral Vote for Hospers and Nathan in '72. John Hospers and Ed Clark were quoted in the story, which ran approximately 650 words.
"THE ONLY FLOURISHING VEHICLE FOR LIBERTARIAN ORGANIZING. . . "
That’s what Murray Rothbard called us in the November Libertarian Forum, adding that "no other libertarian organization is making a comparable record, which makes anti-party sentiment among libertarians look all the more sectarian and futile." Keep that one handy to lay on your critics, next time the lunatic fringe of the movement starts sounding off.
AND NOW, FOR THE ANARCHISTS IN THE CROWD...
We'have the ever-popular Libersign lapel pin in black enamel, as well as goldplate. Only $1.95; goldplate $2.95. Use the order form to get one of these elegant, tasteful pins that let you show your commitment to libertarianism in style, by wearing the most widely-accepted emblem of the movement. Great for starting conversations with the uninitiated, who will say "Whazzat?" when they see it, thus giving you the opportunity to lay some LP material on them. Besides which, we make money selling them to you. Buy a bunch.
AND SPEAKING OF PINS...
The world-famous Hospers/Nathan button was prominently featured on the cover of the November issue of The Investing Professional, a magazine for people who buy things which have high potential for appreciation in value. H/N buttons are already selling for upwards of $10 in some places; now don't you wish you'd bought them when they were 35¢? (No, we don't have any left.)
NATIONAL CHAIRMAN CANDIDATES, PLEASE NOTE...
We will be carrying writeups on all candidates for LP National Chairman, in our May/June issue. There's no requirement that you announce at any particular time in order to run, but if you want to be included in this roundup, we'll need your biography and photo by May 1. To discourage frivolous announcements, there will be a $10 fee for inclusion in the roundup, although there is no fee for entering the race.
SO YOU WANNA CHANGE THE NATIONAL PLATFORM
Then send your suggestions to Ed Clark, the Platform Committee Chairman, and Ed will see to it that the other PlatComm members are clued in. Ed's address is 2373 Kenilworth Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90039.
To Life Member William Fischer of Michigan, for mis-spelling his name in our last two issues. To err is human...
NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD MEN (AND WOMEN)
To come to the aid of the Party, especially if you live in a state where there is currently no LP organization. This is an election year, so wherever possible, we should be getting it together. Interested in being a pioneer? Then write to National HQ, and volunteer to get things going where you live. Or how about running for office? Nothing like a campaign to build public awareness of libertarianism; ask the folks in New York City.
EQUITARIAN ASSOCIATES CONFERENCE
On March 28 thru March 30, Equitarian Associates will be holding a conference in Macatawa, Michigan, in conjunction with the Midwest Society for Philosophic Investigations. Speakers will include John Hospers, Eric Mack, Tibor Machan, and many other leading libertarian intellectuals. For info, write Doug Den Uyl, 3049 W. Sunnyside, Chicago, IL 60625.
HUMOR WITH A LIBERTARIAN FLAVOR
Woody Allen's latest film, Sleeper, is one of the funniest movies in years, and has definite libertarian overtones. Woody plays a born loser who wakes after 200 years to find himself in a future ruled by a mysterious "Leader" (who looks vaguely like Robert LeFevre), and gets co-opted by an underground group trying to overthrow the government; at the end, he tells the heroine that "political solutions don't work," and says that if the rebels succeed, it would be necessary to overthrow their leader in six months. A lot of hilarious one-liners, and some truly sidesplitting sight gags. A completely non- sensical movie, but great fun.
ADVISE AND CONSENT, PART FIVE
The fifth novel in Allen Drury's Advise and Consent series is out, and in the introduction, he reveals that the sixth is not a sequel,but an alternate ending to the series. Inthis one, the bad guys win, and if you canput up with Drury's fairly heavy-handed propagandizing, it's not a bad novel, and not unfrightening. To get the most out of it, read the earlier books in the series first.
A NOTE ON MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS, ADDRESS CHANGES
Once again, may we remind you that when you renew your membership, you will not receivea new card; your old one is still good. And, please, when you change your address, notify us in advance, if possible, and don't bury your notification in a letter on on the back of an order form. Use a separate postcard, or we may overlook the information.
LP NEWS is published bi-monthly by the National Office of the Libertarian Party. Items of interest to LP members are welcome. David F. Nolan, Editor. Subscription: $3/6 issues; $5/12 issues.