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Dr. Hurd challenges the Libertarian Party's alleged "openness:"

Only a party which claims to allow a diversity of opinion amd philosophy would even accept the woefully misguided premises that Dr. Hurd exposes here.

Libertarians are the lowest forms of hippies out there. :pimp:

I wonder if Peikoff has persuaded Hurd to vote for Kerry.

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...It is entirely conceivable that a central government could formally embrace Objectivist principles but (because men are not infallible) provide services that are less than satisfactory or too costly... As I have previously explained, some provinces may be tax cows for the rest of the nation:  they would provide a larger portion of the tax revenue but not receive a proportionately greater amount of services... shouldn’t we uphold the right of the minority to form a separate, more cost-effective government?

You are not raising issues which are fundamental enough to justify secession. Such matters are very easy to handle with the election process and which will result in getting better people in. Some of it might also represent legitimate legal issues which can be resolved in the courts. So long as such mechanisms exist and the process over time proves to be effective, there is no justification (or need) for secession.

There are significant advantages to nation-states, if they can maintain and enforce peace and stability within its different regions or among its different states or provinces. So, in the United States, citizens can live anywhere and visit and trade freely in any state. There are no border guards or tariffs between the states. None of the states need maintain an army to defend itself against the incursions of hostile neighboring states. It has created something quite unique in history in that regard - with the exception of course of the Civil War which was an inevitable consequence of not dealing with the contradiction in the Constitution on the subject of slavery. However once that was resolved, peace and stability has reigned throughout the country despite wide and significant regional, ethnic, and religious differences within the population.

We also have thus been able to build a very prosperous and strong country more than able - when it has the will to do so - to defend itself against foreign aggressors.

Fred Weiss

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You are not raising issues which are fundamental enough to justify secession. Such matters are very easy to handle with the election process and which will result in getting better people in. Some of it might also represent legitimate legal issues which can be resolved in the courts. So long as such mechanisms exist and the process over time proves to be effective, there is no justification (or need) for secession.

Once again, I’d like to see some proof that secession is not a legitimate option when a given people are not being provided with the best form of government. All we have to go on is your assertion that electoral politics is a more “rational mechanism.” In fact, there is nothing rational about letting a numerical majority determine the fate of the minority. If the majority has certain interests which conflict with those of the minority, leaving the matter to 51% of the electorate is futile, as is placing it in the hands of a judge who serves the majority’s interests. The example I offered earlier about my county (where the northern residents pay disproportionately high taxes yet receive less police protection per tax dollar spent than the southern residents) is a perfect example of the futility of electoral politics. It is simply not in the self-interest of the southern majority to give North County more government for their dollar. Petitioning the state legislature for a separate county is the only practical remedy. As for my "raising issues which are fundamental enough to justify secession," what government service is more fundamental than police protection? -- and it is precisely this service that the North County separatists are not getting enough of.

There are significant advantages to nation-states, if they can maintain and enforce peace and stability within its different regions or among its different states or provinces. So, in the United States, citizens can live anywhere and visit and trade freely in any state. There are no border guards or tariffs between the states. None of the states need maintain an army to defend itself against the incursions of hostile neighboring states. It has created something quite unique in history in that regard - with the exception of course of the Civil War which was an inevitable consequence of not dealing with the contradiction in the Constitution on the subject of slavery. However once that was resolved, peace and stability has reigned throughout the country despite wide and significant regional, ethnic, and religious differences within the population.

We also have thus been able to build a very prosperous and strong country more than able - when it has the will to do so - to defend itself against foreign aggressors.

You have listed the merits of a large union. Fine. Why then shouldn’t the larger political entity, with its many advantages, use persuasion instead of force to keep a dissident territory from leaving? Isn’t persuasion a more rational mechanism than brute force? Another point: if the larger nation-state is better than the smaller nation-state, shouldn’t we Objectivists advocate the expansion of current U.S. borders? Why not take over Canada and Latin America-- or go at least as far as the isthmus? And, in the long run, why not One World, One Government?

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Once again, I’d like to see some proof that secession is not a legitimate option when a given people are not being provided with the best form of government.

The proof is that secession, per se, as a mere blank-check option leads to anarchism. I thought I showed that in my previous post. Where do you draw the line?

Why do you assume that it would be exercised solely on the basis of some group - perhaps even legitimately - seeking a better form of gov't? What if it were exercised to install a worse form of gov't?

Look, we have to start with some assumption here and that assumption is the existence of a rational, laissez-faire gov't. If such a gov't exists - and that is already the best form of gov't - then there is and can't be any basis for secession from it except to install something worse.

You are right to this extent, one should not assume that we will ever achieve some kind of fairytale utopia where everyone is perfectly happy. Even in an ideal system there will be problems to solve and some people will not be happy with aspects of it. The question becomes then how to resolve those problems. In a potentially infinite regress of secession - or by a rational political mechanism of persuasion through election, court cases, legislation?

Fred Weiss

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You have listed the merits of a large union. Fine. Why then shouldn’t the larger political entity, with its many advantages, use persuasion instead of force to keep a dissident territory from leaving?  Isn’t persuasion a more rational mechanism than brute force?

Why shouldn't the police use persuasion instead of force against the Mafia?

Why shouldn't the North have used persuasion instead of force against the South to get it to abandon slavery?

Fred Weiss

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Another point:  if the larger nation-state is better than the smaller nation-state, shouldn’t we Objectivists advocate the expansion of current U.S. borders?  Why not take over Canada and Latin America-- or go at least as far as the isthmus?  And, in the long run, why not One World, One Government?

Because Objectivists don't advocate the initiation of force.

Fred Weiss

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The proof is that secession, per se, as a mere blank-check option leads to anarchism.

You have already listed the many advantages of a large union. Why must the government use force rather than the power of its arguments to keep people from breaking away from the larger state?

I thought I showed that in my previous post. Where do you draw the line?

Yes, precisely, where do we draw the line? If it is appropriate for a central government to use force to prevent a certain territory from leaving the union, why would it not be appropriate to use force to expand the union?

Why do you assume that it would be exercised solely on the basis of some group - perhaps even legitimately - seeking a better form of gov't? What if it were exercised to install a worse form of gov't?

On this point I agree with David Odden. I would not support any new political entity that diminished existing rights. But early in this thread I made it clear that I was addressing the matter of secession to *increase* liberty. I wrote: “The secessionists might argue, with good reason, that their own breakaway government would be more vigilant and effective in preventing crime. In such a case, there is no reason why the larger state should not wish to let the dissident territory go its own way. . .”

Look, we have to start with some assumption here and that assumption is the existence of a rational, laissez-faire gov't. If such a gov't exists - and that is already the best form of gov't -  then there is and can't be any basis for secession from it except to install something worse.

But I have already shown that it is possible to have an Objectivist type of government that, due to human fallibility, may have imperfect performance in protecting individual rights efficiently. This is not a matter of correctness of political theory or of rationality but of the natural inequality of individual abilities. Furthermore, it is conceivable that under an Objectivist government one part of the population may pay a disproportionately higher share of the revenues but receive fewer government services per tax dollar spent. No part of Objectivist political theory that I know of has spoken to the matter of whether or not this is just.

You are right to this extent, one should not assume that we will ever achieve some kind of fairytale utopia where everyone is perfectly happy. Even in an ideal system there will be problems to solve and some people will not be happy with aspects of it. The question becomes then how to resolve those problems. In a potentially infinite regress of secession - or by a rational political mechanism of persuasion through election, court cases, legislation?

But you have not shown what is rational about letting the electoral majority determine that political fate of the minority. Furthermore, why must union and the larger state be the default position for objective justice? If the people in the northern part of my county decide finally to stop sending money to the political majority in South County and to establish their own separate, free and cost-effective government, why should we side with the majority in South County? Is it your position that the South County police should invade North County, shoot North County’s policemen and jail their newly elected leaders? Who’s initiating force now?

Why shouldn't the police use persuasion instead of force against the Mafia?

The only conclusion that I can draw from this question is that you regard a group of citizens who peacefully establish a free and independent government for the protection of individual rights to be equivalent to a gang of murderers.

Charlotte: “Another point: if the larger nation-state is better than the smaller nation-state, shouldn’t we Objectivists advocate the expansion of current U.S. borders? Why not take over Canada and Latin America-- or go at least as far as the isthmus? And, in the long run, why not One World, One Government?”

Fred: “Because Objectivists don't advocate the initiation of force.”

Good. Then I take it that no Objectivist government would use force against a certain province that peacefully establishes a separate, free and rights-protecting government?

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... I would not support any new political entity that diminished existing rights.  But early in this thread I made it clear that I was addressing the matter of secession to *increase* liberty.

But you are not bringing up examples that pertain to liberty. You are talking about "efficiency" or disparities in the dispersal of gov't funds, etc. Assuming a gov't premised on individual rights and "equality before the law", etc. that presumably would be a matter addressed in its Constitution and which therefore could be addressed by civil, legal means without the necessity of a step as drastic as secession. Furthermore, the specific example you keep raising - crime - is predominantly a local matter anyway and wouldn't normally pertain to the national gov't anyway (the primary focus of which is foreign threats).

Furthermore, there is an inherent contradiction in your position. If a gov't were sufficiently aware of the kind of potential problem you bring up and therefore would acknowledge such a "right of secession" for that purpose, it presumably would also be sufficiently aware and committed to the steps necessary to avoid it.

In addition, you have still not addressed my "infinite regress" argument. If, say, a state can secede on the assumptions you are bringing up, why can't a county for the same reason within that state? And then, a city within that county. And then a neighborhood within that city, etc. etc. down to someone's teenager and his room for the purpose of protecting his allowance against the "inefficiency" of the neighborhood in protecting him? (The LP Platform in fact endorses secession down to the level of the individual).

Fred Weiss

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But you are not bringing up examples that pertain to liberty. You are talking about "efficiency" or disparities in the dispersal of gov't funds, etc. Assuming a gov't premised on individual rights and "equality before the law", etc. that presumably would be a matter addressed in its Constitution and which therefore could be addressed by civil, legal means without the necessity of a step as drastic as secession. Furthermore, the specific example you keep raising - crime - is predominantly a local matter anyway and wouldn't normally pertain to the national gov't anyway (the primary focus of which is foreign threats).

On the contrary, since police protection is one of the fundamental services of any government, failing to provide such protection or providing it in a haphazard or costly fashion would have a serious impact on a citizen’s liberty. If a community of 1,000 homes could get 20 patrol cars for what it is currently paying for only 10, it could very well cut the rate of violent crime (i.e. loss of liberty and property) in half. However, if the ruling political majority uses that community as net tax producers, the majority would have no incentive to decrease the wealthy minority’s fees/taxes or to increase the minority’s services. Addressing the imbalance would simply not be in their self-interest. Furthermore, allotment of tax revenue on the basis of contributions while certainly just is decidedly not a matter of “equality before the law” and therefore pursuing constitutional remedies through the courts would be fruitless. (Neither the U.S. Consitution nor any libertarian or Objectivist revision I've seen holds that expenditures in an area be proportionate to revenues collected therein.) If you wish, we can apply the problem on a national scale. If a state with high per capita wealth, say, New Hampshire, contributes more in taxes (or fees) than it gets back in government services, it may do much better to go it alone than remain in the union. However, the states that are net tax consumers would see NH as a cash cow and likely resort to violence rather than let it go.

Furthermore, there is an inherent contradiction in your position. If a gov't were sufficiently aware of the kind of potential problem you bring up and therefore would acknowledge such a "right of secession" for that purpose, it presumably would also be sufficiently aware and committed to the steps necessary to avoid it.

That’s like saying that if a government acknowledged the right to keep and bear arms, it would be sufficiently aware of the right of self-defense never to attempt to restrict a citizen’s power to purchase and own certain weapons. Good luck with that!

In addition, you have still not addressed my "infinite regress" argument. If, say, a state can secede on the assumptions you are bringing up, why can't a county for the same reason within that state? And then, a city within that county. And then a neighborhood within that city, etc. etc. down to someone's teenager and his room for the purpose of protecting his allowance against the "inefficiency" of the neighborhood in protecting him? (The LP Platform in fact endorses secession down to the level of the individual).

But I have addressed it. I have pointed out that you have assembled an admirable list of reasons to have a large union. Those are powerful arguments the unionists could readily deploy whenever a chuck of territory (or an individual) threatened to secede. I don’t see why your government should have to resort to force, Fred, when you've provided it with so many dazzling appeals to reason! Therefore, what is your Objectivist government going to do when two-thirds of the people of New Hampshire want out of the Union? Is it going to send a team of Objectivist philosophers to talk them out of it? Or is it going to send in the Marines?

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Dr. Hurd on the Libertarian Party:

http://capmag.com/article.asp?ID=3877

Dr. Hurd's objection to the Libertarian Party is directed only at what he believes to be a pacifistic foreign policy.

He has a valid point if we are talking about how a Libertarian president would address the issue of terrorist threats under current circumstances, but I disagree with his accusation that the LP blames the victim here and is sympathetic to the terrorists is absurd.

I don't see anything wrong with acknowledging foreign policy mistakes that the U.S. has made in the past half century. To what extent U.S. foreign policy has contributed to the current threat of terrorism is arguable, but should not be so politically incorrect as to become a taboo subject and those who take it up be branded as terrorist sympathizers.

Our foreign policy has had consequences. Terrorism MAY be one of them. Wether or not it is an inevitable consequence of the world's largest free society just trying to prosper in accordance with its system of government is also arguable. Trying merely to understand is NOT 'blaming the victim".

IF the terrorist threat is not an inevitable result of our mere existence then questioning our past foreign policies may be necessary in order to understand the reasons for today's threat. I don't accept Hurd's simplistic argument that they simply "hate' us. I would expect more from such a competent psychologist. People should be able to address the question "why" without fear of being labeled terrorist sympathizers.

Better understanding of the reasons for today's terrorist threats may allow us to make changes to our policies in the future that don't involve the use of force and which might diminish such threats.

The major mistake the LP is making is in not accepting the fact that regardless of the reasons for the terrorist attacks, THE U.S. IS UNDER ATTACK NOW, and that military force IS required NOW in order to diminish the threat before we start focusing on what foreign policy changes we should make in the future.

It's too easy to say, "if only we had a more libertarian form of government and a more non-interventionist foreign policy we wouldn't be having all these problems over all these years" (as many libertarians seem to believe; mistakenly or not). Too bad. THIS is where we are today and THIS is the new starting point from which action must be taken.

Until libertarians accept this fact, AND come up with a cohesive set of ideas to deal with today's threats (which DOES require military force) they will have trouble getting the average american to take them seriously as a legitimate entity and will fail to get anyone else to listen to their ideas on other issues as well.

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It's too easy to say, "if only we had a more libertarian form of government and a more non-interventionist foreign policy we wouldn't be having all these problems over all these years" (as many libertarians seem to believe; mistakenly or not).  Too bad.  THIS is where we are today and THIS is the new starting point from which action must be taken. 

Interesting how the Libertarians take the time-worn "Monday-morning-quarterback" approach here, huh?

America had no choice but to intervene after 9-11. America is justified to intervene anywhere it believes its self-interests MUST be defended. The Libertarians' attempt at diversity here does not allow them to accept this premise.

Until libertarians accept this fact, AND come up with a cohesive set of ideas to deal with today's threats (which DOES require military force) they will have trouble getting the average american to take them seriously as a legitimate entity and will fail to get anyone else to listen to their ideas on other issues as well.

True.

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Dr. Hurd's objection to the Libertarian Party is directed only at what he believes to be a pacifistic foreign policy.

I am perhaps not the best person to defend the LP, but the suggestion that the party has a pacifistic foreign policy is rubbish. It is no more pacifistic than the U.S. was under President Washington. The LP National committee explicitly endorses the use of military force to defend the U.S.:

While the Libertarian Party has been a consistent voice against reckless foreign interventionism by the U.S. government, we support action against the perpetrators responsible for the terrorist attacks. The vicious and barbaric attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which bin Laden allegedly masterminded, cost 5,000 innocent Americans their lives. Such horrific crimes cannot go unpunished.

A fundamental role of the United States government, as defined in the U.S. Constitution, is to protect American citizens against foreign attack. Therefore, it is proper for the government to take forceful action against terrorists who have already killed thousands of Americans, and who have threatened to kill more. Such criminals must be rooted out and destroyed before more innocent people die. Their training camps and weapons must be eliminated. Their supply infrastructure must be shattered.

http://www.lp.org/press/archive.php?function=view&record=540

This sure doesn't sound like pacifism to me.

It's too easy to say, "if only we had a more libertarian form of government and a more non-interventionist foreign policy we wouldn't be having all these problems over all these years" (as many libertarians seem to believe; mistakenly or not).  Too bad.  THIS is where we are today and THIS is the new starting point from which action must be taken.

No question about it. The government is charged with protecting us from foreign aggression -- for whatever reason it originated. The problem is: the current administration is repeating the same errors that in the past have contributed to making the U.S. and its forces overseas sitting ducks for "blowback," i.e. strikes at the U.S. in retribution for support of foreign dictatorships.

Until libertarians accept this fact, AND come up with a cohesive set of ideas to deal with today's threats (which DOES require military force) they will have trouble getting the average american to take them seriously as a legitimate entity and will fail to get anyone else to listen to their ideas on other issues as well.

I believe I have a cohesive set of ideas to deal with the threats. It involves having our federal government put America's interests first above all other nations. It involves protecting our own borders first. It involves devoting tax money to our own defense instead of the defense of any other foreign power. (If the welfare state is wrong, how can we justify international military welfare?)

I've seldom had trouble getting "average Americans" to accept these principles.

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On the contrary, since police protection is one of the fundamental services of any government, failing to provide such protection or providing it in a haphazard or costly fashion would have a serious impact on a citizen’s liberty. 

But this is a local, not a national, issue - and hardly constitutes a basis for seceding from the country. I also consider it unlikely that the wealthy would have any less influence in a laissez-faire society than they do today and likely they would have more. For one thing, since there would be no restrictions on the amount of money that could be spent on political campaigns, they would have far greater influence on the candidates who got elected.

Furthermore, since "taxes" would be far, far less than they are today, the wealthy would be far more able to supplement their protection with (appropriate) private security services.

One of the reasons I find it tedious to argue about such issues is because we are discussing speculations about a society which has never existed. When you throw in your anarchist fantasies on top of it, it all becomes even more disconnected from reality. Look Charlotte, these are relatively trivial issues which we will not have to deal with for decades at minimum, if ever. I would be happy to see our society reach a point of a general consensus for a much reduced gov't and much greater economic freedom. That will be tough enough to reach without having to deal with the anarchist fantasy which (hopefully) will never happen anyway.

Fred Weiss

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...the suggestion that the party has a pacifistic foreign policy is rubbish.

That is not consistent with the stated LP Party Platform which states:

"We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid, guarantees, and diplomatic meddling. We make no exceptions."

http://www.lp.org/issues/platform/execsumm.html

Incidentally on the subject of secession, it states:

"We recognize the right to political secession by political entities, private groups, or individuals."

So, your sarcasm regarding my "infinite regress" argument was misplaced. They themselves push the reductio ad absurdum right in your face.

Fred Weiss

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... The LP National committee explicitly endorses the use of military force to defend the U.S.: ...

This sure doesn't sound like pacifism to me. ...

It does to me.

The excerpt you cited from the LP platform confirms my fear of the LP's pacifism. The latter term is ambiguous. Sometimes it means using no force whatsoever. But most modern, leftist "pacifists" use "pacifism" to mean not engaging in war between states. (Note that even the most consistent of the leftist pacifists are still advocates of mass aggression in the form of taxation and regulation.)

The passage you cited says nothing about states. It touts only an energetic form of international police action.

The topmost issue is how best to destroy the states which sponsor (through direct support or even mere tolerance of) anti-American attackers. The LP offers only interstate pacificism plus police action as its solution.

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If anybody was still seriously considering voting for or supporting any libertarian candidates, that party's recent attempt to use 9/11 as a day to show opposition to the US government should have served as a reminder of what that movement is all about.

This kind of action is not a recent development, nor is it inconsistent with what the Libertarian Party has done in the past. This is the same party, for example, whose governing body passed a resolution in the early 1980's calling for the US to dismantle all of its land-based ICBM's. (The resolution was presented alongside a call for solidarity with leftist groups who were also calling for various forms of US disarmament. It also included a statement that the US was a greater threat to world peace than the Soviet Union was. The author of this resolution is still prominent in the libertarian movement. People like this make even John Kerry seem patriotic by comparison.)

Peter Schwartz, in Libertarianism: the Perversion of Liberty, identified some fundamental, philosophical, things that were wrong with the libertarian movement and the Libertarian Party. These were not isolated positions that were taken by libertarian "extremists" that were not representative of the movement - he analyzed statements of prominent libertarians who were active in their party and movement. And he identified the essence of the movement as subjectivist, nihilistic and anti-American. (Anybody who has not read this booklet should buy a copy and read it. It is full of documented examples and accurate philosophical reasoning.)

Given this identification, it is a big mistake to ask if, nevertheless, the party should be supported anyway. If one has identified a philosophical evil, it is not then proper to do some kind of cost-benefit analysis to see if there is maybe something pragmatic that would outweigh this evil.

An organization deserves to be judged in much the same way a person would be. Forgiveness is not to be given lightly, if it is given at all.

But what of the question: has the libertarian movement changed since Schwartz wrote his essays?

For there to be any meaningful change, the philosophical essence would have to change. The movement would have to reupdiate all sorts of its past, so much so that I question why anyone would still want to identify it as "libertarian". Anything else would just be window dressing.

In case one thinks that the libertarian party or movement is any better than 20 years ago, I offer the following:

1. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, their then-most-recent

presidential candidate started writing about how the attacks were

the fault of the US because of our "interventionism". And

the Libertarian Party propaganda of the time also blamed the

attacks on the US government's aggressiveness.

2. Their platform (when I last looked) still advocates things such as

"personal secession" and disarmament of the US "down to police levels".

3. A survey done several years ago by a libertarian publication identified

something like 30% of libertarians as anarchists. And there are plenty of

libertarians who are not anarchists, but who nevertheless regard their

disagreement with the anarchists as merely a legitimate difference of

opinion.

4. Over the past decade, I've run across several local Libertarian Party

newsletters. And they were debating such things as whether it was OK

for child molesters to have sex with young children. (Perhaps most

libertarians do not advocate that this is OK, but it is illustrative

that this kind of thing would even be debated.) Another article I

saw advocated reaching out to members of the Christian

Right who felt alienated from the Republicans (!).

I am sure other people could enumerate more examples. My point here is just to give some concretes. It would be wrong to make lists every few years of the positive and the negative aspects of libertarianism and decide on that basis whether "this year" the movement is worth some support. These concretes are not some isolated extreme positions; they are present in libertarianism precisely because they are consistent with its essence.

(Nor is voting for them to "send a message" a valid idea. The problem with this idea is: you don't get to say what "message" you are sending. Your vote could just as easily be interpreted as a vote to not fight back against terrorism.)

Schwartz's analysis will never become irrelevant due to the passage of time. No decent person should support a movement that welcomes advocates of anarchy, the "rights" of child molesters, and disarmament of the US, even leaving aside deeper philosophical considerations. If you don't want to help these people gain more prominence, then don't vote for them!

People need to realize that there are no shortcuts to establishing a free society; any real progress has to be based on sound philosophical underpinnings. Some people may be attracted to the Libertarian Party because they have an urge to "do something" and are impatient, but this desire for action will not change the fact that supporting the libertarians will not do any good and will only harm the cause for freedom.

And to someone who understands Objectivism, it should be clear that for fundamental reasons, the libertarian party and the movement are flawed so badly that changing it is not possible unless one threw the whole thing out and started over.

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But this is a local, not a national, issue - and hardly constitutes a basis for seceding from the country.

It can be and historically has been a national issue. I have already provided an example of a state (New Hampshire) that may find itself an unwilling net tax producer and that therefore would see its interests better served by independence. Let me also remind you that while you have repeatedly thrown up your arbitrary "rational basis for secession," you have not once offered any proof for it.

I also consider it unlikely that the wealthy would have any less influence in a laissez-faire society than they do today and likely they would have more. For one thing, since there would be no restrictions on the amount of money that could be spent on political campaigns, they would have far greater influence on the candidates who got elected.

It's nice to think that the reason New Hampshire would never become a tax cow to the rest of the nation is because the wealthy folks in the state would be free to spend whatever mega-fortune it took to influence the makeup of the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House and the Presidency. Of course, this fantasy must necessarily ignore the power of net tax consumers in the other 49 states to influence elections, too. Consider, Fred, that net tax consumers were implementing social welfare legislation that ran contrary to the interests of the productive class decades before campaign finance laws went into effect. Consider, for example, the legislation of the pre-income tax “Progressive” Era.

Furthermore, since "taxes" would be far, far less than they are today, the wealthy would be far more able to supplement their protection with (appropriate) private security services.

But surely we can make this very argument now. Since the government does not take *everything* belonging to the wealthy citizen, that citizen can still afford to buy a handgun, an alarm system, or a security patrol service. The problem with this line of reasoning is that it assumes that the government is justified in taking a portion of an individual’s wealth (and misallocating it) as long as it leaves a certain amount untouched.

One of the reasons I find it tedious to argue about such issues is because we are discussing speculations about a society which has never existed. When you throw in your anarchist fantasies on top of it, it all becomes even more disconnected from reality.

On the contrary, provinces and communities seeking independence to advance individual freedom are real world facts. The Republic of Biafra would have been a far less corrupt, less tyrannical country than its present day ruler, Nigeria. And in my own community, an independent North County would engage in far less wealth redistribution than the present unified county. Imagine, Fred, if Taiwan had not become independent of mainland China, following the 1949 communist revolution.

Look Charlotte, these are relatively trivial issues which we will not have to deal with for decades at minimum, if ever.

Fine. If New Hampshire secession is a trivial matter, then I’m sure you won’t consider it worth fighting a war over, right?

I would be happy to see our society reach a point of a general consensus for a much reduced gov't and much greater economic freedom. That will be tough enough to reach without having to deal with the anarchist fantasy which (hopefully) will never happen anyway.

What you are ignoring is that secession is an issue entirely separate from anarchism. I’ve named three real world secessionist movements that have nothing whatever to do with anarchism.

Incidentally on the subject of secession, it states:

"We recognize the right to political secession by political entities, private groups, or individuals."

So, your sarcasm regarding my "infinite regress" argument was misplaced. They themselves push the reductio ad absurdum right in your face.

Actually, Fred, my response was not intended to be sarcastic at all. If a community of individuals decides peacefully to sever its connection with the greater state in order to advance human freedom and form “a more perfect union,” you have three possible responses: 1) you can do nothing, 2) you can use persuasion, or 3) you can use force. In response #48 above, you said, when asked why the U.S. should not take over the rest of North America, “Because Objectivists don't advocate the initiation of force.”

Now here’s where we need some clarification: if it is immoral for the government to use force to *expand* its borders, why would it be permissible for the government to use force to prevent those borders from contracting? In both cases, government would be initiating force against people who were peacefully providing for their own political arrangements.

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...  if it is immoral for the government to use force to *expand* its borders, why would it be permissible for the government to use force to prevent those borders from contracting?  In both cases, government would be initiating force against people who were peacefully providing for their own political arrangements.

You mean the decision to secede is unanimous or that those who oppose it can secede from the secession and stay with the union, so that you have some people in the state seceding and others not? Or that those who oppose it are forced to go along with it?

Fred Weiss

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You mean the decision to secede is unanimous or that those who oppose it can secede from the secession and stay with the union, so that you have some people in the state seceding and others not? Or that those who oppose it are forced to go along with it?

As a thoroughgoing individualist, I favor the right of each citizen to determine which government he owes his allegiance to. If 60% of all New Hampshirites want separation, there is no reason why the other 40% must be dragged along kicking and screaming.

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Please, someone enlighten me as to what the Libertarian party platform has to do with secession  ;)

From Libertarian Party Platform:

Secession

The Issue: People are forced to be subject to governments and to participate in their programs, usually as providers of financial support, regardless of their wishes to the contrary.

The Principle: As all political association must be voluntary, we recognize the right to political secession. This includes the right to secession by political entities, private groups or individuals. Exercise of this right, like the exercise of all other rights, does not remove legal and moral obligations not to violate the rights of others.

Solutions: We support the right of political entities, private groups and individuals to renounce their affiliation with any government, and to be exempt from the obligations imposed by those governments, while in turn accepting no support from the government from which they seceded.

Transitional Action: As a transition step, we support the right of political entities, private groups and individuals to renounce their participation in any government program, and to be exempt from the obligations imposed by that program, while in turn accepting no benefit from the program from which they seceded.

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As a thoroughgoing individualist, I favor the right of each citizen to determine which government he owes his allegiance to. If 60% of all New Hampshirites want separation, there is no reason why the other 40% must be dragged along kicking and screaming.

So, what happens then? Does or doesn't New Hampshire secede?

Fred Weiss

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