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Author Topic: Ideas  (Read 5515 times)

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Ideas
« on: August 22, 2002, 03:51:08 pm »

This has probably been brought up before, but I'll throw it out anyway.  I wonder if FSP may be better off in the long run if a few things were more specifically defined:

1) Which state?

2) What exactly are the principles of the FSP?

Although this may scare away some people, it will also cause those who sign on to be much more committed.  It may also draw out a bunch of people who are uncertain at the present time.  

With respect to "which state?", I think it is a lot to ask to expect people to sign up to just uproot their family and move anywhere in the country.  If you said, "we are going to NH" though, then people can know with pretty good confidence if they could tolerate that or not.  Also, have we considered the drop-out factor?  People may sign on and say they'll go anyplace, but is the contract really going to be enforced if a bunch of people change their mind at the last minute?  I think the drop-out factor would be greatly reduced if people knew at signup time which state was selected.

Regarding a statement of principles, I think it is important for everyone to be on the same page.  What are the goals of FSP, specifically.  Are we anarchists, right-libs, left-libs?  Ideals aside, what specific changes do we want to make?  Is secession really in the cards?  Is legalization of crack really a top priority?  Are we proposing that local communities make their own rules, or do we want to force certain notions of libertarianism on everyone who isn't in a private gated community?

I don't think we can blow off these issues and just assume that as "libertarians" we all have common ground.  In all likelihood, even if FSP is amazingly successful, there will still be quite a bit of state involvement in peoples' lives.  What is our position on how that state power should be used?  I think we should have a position and not just assume everything will work out.

This relates to PR because I think a lot of people who come here (myself included) are unsure about where everyone really stands on these important issues.  More mainstream and right oriented libertarians are not really interested in getting involved with people who espouse radical positions.  If FSP is radical though, so be it.  Just make it public so everyone is on the same page.

Food for thought.

Charles
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Ideas
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2002, 07:20:06 pm »

I'm in favor of a swift reduction in the number of states under consideration, but deciding on a state right away would require a change in the whole gameplan.  We'd have to revise the Participation Guidelines and notify the membership, and I know some people would withdraw their consent if we made this change.  Also, I think not deciding on a state right away gives us some advantages.  It gives us some headway to build a strong organization before we begin the really strong publicity push (between getting 5000 and 20000 members we will likely be the highest-profile libertarian group in the country, and likely no more than a year will elapse between these stages).  It will allow us to take a tour of the states under consideration next year.  In the email group there has been a lot of discussion of where to hold our annual meeting next year (not so much here), and there's a feeling now that it might be best to hold 3 meetings: Delaware in April, Montana in July, New Hampshire in October for example.  The Montana meeting would allow people to check out Idaho & even Wyoming.  The New Hampshire meeting would allow people to check out Vermont as well - or if it is still in the running, Maine.  Having 3 meetings would mean no one could make it to all 3 meetings, but it would increase the chances that most FSP members could attend at least 1 meeting.  Holding these meetings in the candidate states will generate publicity and get people excited.

As to defining our principles more precisely, I am wholeheartedly and adamantly opposed to this proposal.  As soon as we define whether we are right- or left-libertarians, or whatever, there will just be more pressure to define our principles even more narrowly.  Ultimately, the FSP will only be open to orthodox but not completely conservative Protestant Christians who favor the ultraminimal state and Kantian philosophy, and who enjoy heavy metal music and Celtic philology.  In other words, I would be the only member left in the FSP.  Libertarians and classical liberals do agree on 95% of the issues, and the silly disputes over the remaining 5% should not be imported into our basic structure.  Those silly disputes will continue to take place among approximately 10 people on these forums, while 99% of the group steadfastly ignores them.  That's the way it should be.  Let the silly disputes take place, and I'll even participate in them sometimes, but let's also leave them in perspective.  They're not important.
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glen

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Re:Ideas
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2002, 03:26:37 pm »

If it can be assumed that ‘Libertarians and classical liberals do agree on 95% of the issues’ it should not be too difficult to determine what those issues are and to sum them up to better focus the debate.

So, what are they?

I think support of the original ten amendments to the US Constitution is one of them.

I hope that refusing to use logical fallacies to further an argument would be another.
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Elizabeth

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Re:Ideas
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2002, 03:51:06 pm »

From our front page:

Quote
The Free State Project is a new strategy for liberty in our lifetime.

We don't want to wait decades for most citizens in the U.S. to realize that the nanny state is an insult to their dignity. For those of us who already understand the debilitating effects of a government bent on reducing liberty rather than increasing it, the Free State Project aims at liberty in a single state.

What do we mean by liberty? We believe that being free and independent is a great way to live, and that government's only role should be to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud. To quote author L. Neil Smith, we believe that "no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, or to advocate or delegate its initiation."



There you go.
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glen

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Re:Ideas
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2002, 09:04:54 pm »

Hello Elizabeth

You are right in keeping the focus at the level of principles which is what Charles was concerned about in the first post.

My interest in issues (application of principles) is, in effect, what the entire forum is for.  
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admin

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Re:Ideas
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2002, 11:37:22 am »


From our front page:

Quote
The Free State Project is a new strategy for liberty in our lifetime.

We don't want to wait decades for most citizens in the U.S. to realize that the nanny state is an insult to their dignity. For those of us who already understand the debilitating effects of a government bent on reducing liberty rather than increasing it, the Free State Project aims at liberty in a single state.

What do we mean by liberty? We believe that being free and independent is a great way to live, and that government's only role should be to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud. To quote author L. Neil Smith, we believe that "no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, or to advocate or delegate its initiation."


There you go.


I think this represents the ideals of libertarians.  The thing that's missing is how to apply this to a wide range of real world cases.  Also, as I have pointed out numerous times before, we will never achive a state of freedom from government intervention.  How do libertarian principles apply to the case where certain elements of the political environment cannot be removed?  

Short of full anarchy, we will still have questions to answer about how, exactly, the government is to wield its power.  Thus we have "left" and "right" libertarians, anarchists and minarchists, etc.

I thought it would be wise for us to define where FSP stands so there is no ambiguity.  I understand that Jason is firmly against this idea.  It is possible for us not to have a position on every issue though.  For example, we could propose that issues be pushed to the county level and that our ideal free state would have almost no (specified) state level governmental powers.  

It just seems to me that we should either specify positions on issues or specify the manner in which positions can be defended in the manner most consistent with libertarian principles.   Saying we are against the use of forceful coercion, when we know it is unavoidable, leaves a lot of things up in the air.  IMHO

Charles
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Solitar

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Re:Ideas regarding detailed position platform
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2002, 08:15:24 pm »

There are issues that challenge the best of our libertarian councilmembers to find an LP position that will work. You can discover these in your own community by attending four out of five meetings of every local governing and taxing entity in your community! If you skip the hospital or sanitary sewer board meetings, then you likely won't know what "positions" to take regarding issues affecting those services. Each candidate state needs to be researched to find out what issues the Free Stater's "libertarian" agenda will run up against.

Without experience (and I'm a mere greenhorn myself) there is absolutely no way any academic, philosophic bunch such as the LP or, to a lesser degree, the FSP can understand the issues well enough to formulate postition planks. The Libertarian Party and many, if not most, of its single-issue members have little experience in actually implementing or dealing with their planks from elected legislative positions. Thus they are like deer caught in the headlights when faced with the realities of multiple issues and details of legislative office.

Look at this site for an example of how to establish a less detailed  "platform" of principles.
The Constitutionalist Party Platform
http://home.earthlink.net/~jmarkels/cp/platform.html
(If the entire line above is not "active" or "hot" as a link, then copy and paste it into your location or address box of your browser. Apparently the tilde symbol is interpreted by the software as a break in the link.)

Then look at the LP's site for how detail can be carried too far.
Note too that the LP platform has precious little that applies to local or even state political decisions.
http://www.lp.org/issues/platform/platform_print.html
« Last Edit: November 30, 2002, 09:25:14 pm by Joe »
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glen

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Re:Ideas
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2002, 11:19:08 pm »

Given that we do not have a specific state to study in the kind of detail as Solitar recommends, perhaps we can start ‘transition committees’ in a open debate kind of way. I guess the main problem will be that someone will need to act as moderator for each of the different topics.

One topic for which there seems to be either a lack of guiding principle or perhaps a confusion of principles is how to remove government environmental controls without causing market chaos and a frenzy of lawsuits.

Forming ‘transition committees’ appears to have the advantage of:

1) Helping to workout what the principles and issues are that most FSPers can or should agree on,

2) Figuring out the most moral and least painful ways to transition, and

3) Trying to figure out what the consequences are.

This does have the disadvantage, as Solitar pointed out:

Without experience (and I'm a mere greenhorn myself) there is absolutely no way any academic, philosophic bunch such as the LP or, to a lesser degree, the FSP can understand the issues well enough to formulate position planks.
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z0rr0

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Re:Ideas
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2002, 12:04:59 am »


With respect to "which state?", I think it is a lot to ask to expect people to sign up to just uproot their family and move anywhere in the country.  If you said, "we are going to NH" though, then people can know with pretty good confidence if they could tolerate that or not.  

Seems a little early in the game to pick at state.  Seems like FSP should just take a deep breath and relax.  This project is just starting to get the word out.  Watch the demographics of those who join.  When 5,000 members have joined and a majority of the folks are from the east coast, then picking a east coast state would make sense.  It wouldn't make sense to ask thousands of folks to move from the east coast to west, because a state was selected too early in the game.  Once word of project really starts gaining steam, I imagine there will be clear geographic pockets of liberty minded folks appearing.  Remember 5,000 is only a quarter of the folks required for the move.  The remaining 15,000 will be coming to the project with the confidence that a state has already been selected.  If we select a state now and then decide to backtrack because the decision was made to early, the project looks indecisive and wishy-washy.  I think it would be prudent to stick to the original game plan.  What if a charasmatic personality really backs the project and can get a state with more that 1.5 million to join in?  What if instead of 20,000 members, the project is able to get hundreds of thousands members?  Could a state like Maine or NH digest such a large immigrant population?Seems too early in the game to try and make such definitive decisions.

Regarding a statement of principles, I think it is important for everyone to be on the same page.  What are the goals of FSP, specifically.  Are we anarchists, right-libs, left-libs?  Ideals aside, what specific changes do we want to make?  Is secession really in the cards?  Is legalization of crack really a top priority?  Are we proposing that local communities make their own rules, or do we want to force certain notions of libertarianism on everyone who isn't in a private gated community?

I really like this idea.  Doesn't seem like there is any reason why the project cannot take some state's existing state laws as a template and create a set of state laws that the FSP would strive for once the move has taken place.  It might ease a lot of folks minds about what the project really stands for and what a society under the project might look like.  Plenty of years to do this type of research and a lot of the hard work has already been done.  Pick the state laws of a fairly reasonable state, and strip out the excessive.
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Dex Sinister

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Re:Ideas
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2002, 12:38:18 am »


Look at this site for an example of how to establish a less detailed  "platform" of principles.
http://home.earthlink.net/~jmarkels/cp/platform.html

Then look at the LP's site for how detail can be carried too far.
Note too that the LP platform has precious little that applies to local or even state political decisions.
http://www.lp.org/issues/platform/platform_print.html


Can you compare a couple of the planks from the different sites, and give a better idea of exactly what you mean, and where you think the LP platform goes too far?

[BTW, you need to go back and edit your original post so that the CP link works - it only linked to "...earthlink.net"]


Dex }:>=-
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antayla

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Re:Ideas
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2002, 04:38:40 am »

I motion that the first action of the free state party be to work to negate the US PATRIOT Act in our chosen state :P
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Kelton

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Re:Ideas
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2002, 12:26:36 am »

Joe,

Almost thou persuadest me to be a Constitutionalist.  I think a standard of compromise on strategy but not principle, as the Constitutionalist party seems to be doing is the only way libertarian principles are ever going to become political reality or the FSP a success, for that matter.  

After all,  it was political compromises on issues such as slavery and trade that allowed that marvelous piece of paper to ever come out of Independence Hall in Philly over two hundred years ago.  
« Last Edit: November 11, 2002, 01:59:37 am by exitus »
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