Sunday, August 23, 2009

Libertarians and The 9-12 Project

Being a member of the Libertarian Party puts one in an interesting situation.

We share a few values and beliefs with the stated goals and values of many Republicans - smaller government, 2nd amendment rights, property rights, a desire for lower taxes, and a distrust of the Obama administration. I've helped staff the Libertarian booth at many a Fort Worth Gun Show, and a couple of the Tea Party protests.

We also have some overlap with the stated goals and values of many Democrats - the right to privacy, a general suspicion of military adventures overseas, a desire for separation of church and state. We also see a need to reform drug laws. Like many Democrats, we distrust the Obama administration, but are free to be more vocal about it. I wasn't able to participate last year, but the Libertarians always sponsor a float in the Dallas Gay/Lesbian rights parade.

Then there's the 9-12 Project. This group was started by talk show host Glenn Beck, in an effort to get America back to the values we supposedly shared on the day after 9-11.

The Tarrant County Libertarians have been asked to participate in a 9-12 parade (to be held on, you guessed it, 9-12) in downtown Fort Worth. Since our enemy's enemy is our friend, we've agreed to participate. Here's how I see our points of agreement and disagreement on their 9 Principles and 12 Values, and I'm sure that other local Libertarians will give us their opinions soon:

The Nine Principles

1. America Is Good. I'm reminded of Mark Twain's quip about the phrase "My Country, right or wrong". Twain said "My Country, right or wrong" was like saying "My Mother, drunk or sober". If institutions or committees or countries can be good or bad, yeah, America is pretty good. But no country is always good. Not ours. Not yours. Not even neutral Switzerland. Not even the Vatican. This is, at best, a meaningless statement thrown in to dare the other side to deny it.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. Which God, or Gods? The 9-12'ers like to talk about the Judeo-Christian God, a being who went through some severe personality changes over the last 6,000 years, and whose Jewish and Christian devotees have some mutually exclusive claims about the afterlife. Do they mean Yahweh? Jesus? Allah? Zeus? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? And what does believing in God(s) have to do with opposition to The Teleprompter Jesus?
There's one other difficulty....I've never known anyone who had God as the center of their life. Not one.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday. Ok. A worthy goal.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. One small problem here, and that's Glen Beck's divorce. But I like the idea of the family unit being the ultimate authority.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
I disagree with this one. People could once make the claim that "Ignorance of the law is no excuse". But when laws are passed that have nothing to do with fairness, rights, or morality, but to provide benefits to contributors and cronies, then one can longer have an instintive knowledge of the law. (See section IIA of this link.) For instance, I should have the right to import whatever I want into this country, as long as it doesn't do physical harm to others. I should be able to break the regulations that prevent me from doing so. I'm above those laws because they were written by whores.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results. Yep. Well said.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. Agreed. I'm still waiting on somebody, anybody, to tell me what giving part of my income to a gang of Chicago Machine Politicians has to do with Christian Charity.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion. Agreed. Hence the existence of this site.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me. Yep. If it really matters to you who is elected President? Then the government has gotten too big. It should be no more important than choosing a lawn care service.

The 12 Values
* Honesty - No problem there.
* Reverence - Why should we automatically be reverent toward anything or anybody? It's like when Bush Jr. kept saying he had respect for Islam. If you have respect for Islam, you bow toward Mecca a few times every day, you abstain from eating pork, and you believe that The Prophet flew to Medina on a winged horse that had the face of a man. That's what it means to "respect" Islam. I don't respect it. You probably don't either. It's a belief system that isn't worthy of reverence.
* Hope - I wish they would replace Hope with Effort. Anyone can sit on the couch and hope.
* Thrift - Ok.
* Humility - Have you ever met a blogger with an excess of humility? I haven't either. Humble people usually don't ride in parades. Nix this one.
* Charity - Ok.
* Sincerity - Ties in with honesty, and is therefore redundant.
* Moderation - This one is ok, as long as I don't have to be excessive about it.
* Hard Work - Ok. Although some of the best work isn't that hard.
* Courage - Ok.
* Personal Responsibility - Ok.
* Gratitude - Ok.

I dunno how all the other Libertarians feel about it, but that's enough overlap for me to help with the 9-12 parade.
I still prefer the Libertarian 5 to the Beck 9-12. It's much more elegant and easy to remember.


Cedric Katesby said...

This group was started by talk show host Glenn Beck, in an effort to get America back to the values we supposedly shared on the day after 9-11.

I'm a foreigner so I don't have a dog in this hunt.
But I...
I mean...

(scratches head)

Well, as an outsider, I'd rather see America define it's own values.
Not forced to re-define itself out of fear or hysteria or outrage or anger.

I don't think it's a healthy idea to base "values" on the (perfectly natural) naked, horrified national reactions to a murderous attack by religious maniacs.

Don't re-wind the clock back to 9-12.
Re-wind it back to 9-10.

I like the America of 9-10.
I know it wasn't perfect.
Yet it was defined by Americans themselves.
Not in reaction to some outside force.

When the last member of religious extremism is smacked on the back of the head with a shovel and buried with it, I like to think that America will go back to those values.

Dr Ralph said...

Glenn -freaking- Beck? Are you kidding me?

The problem with the Libertarians (IMHO) is they'll make pretty good sense then come up with something that screams whackjob (like this).

(Warning: Godwin's law about to be broken.)

Would you have put together a similar list of pros and cons for the National Socialist Party?

Trains run on time -- I can suppport that.

Genocide -- we have some areas of disagreement.

I'll be avoiding the remainder of this discussion.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Good to see you chiming in on something other than, well, you know....

I agree with about 75% of what you're saying.

Please allow me to re-phrase your question, now that Godwin's Law lies shattered on the ground.

Stalin's Russia had a far higher body count than Hitler's Germany. Yet when we were attacked by Germany, we held our noses and allied ourselves with the worst mass murderer in history.

Overthrowing the czars - I can support that.
Death Camps in Siberia - I don't like them.
Pogroms - Don't like 'em.
No civil liberties - Don't like that either.

But we found a way to justify fighting side by side with Uncle Joe, and FDR and Churchill called him. Sent him guns and ammo and food.

Had the roles between Hitler and Stalin been reversed, would we have gone the other way with who we suported?
I don't know.

A lot of people are now persuaded that the folks in charge in D.C. are stark, raving nuts, and are willing to use any legal means necessary to slow them down.

Flee said...

A lot of people are now persuaded that the folks in charge in D.C. are stark, raving nuts, and are willing to use any legal means necessary to slow them down.

So aligning yourself with the big nut is going to help? Good luck attracting supporters to the libertarian party with these bedfellows. You are giving independents a good reason to not take your party seriously. But hey, have fun.

Gar said...

I can't stomach it. When number 2 says give your life to a friend that you can't see and can't prove, how far away are you from letting the government run your life.
If you believe in God then you believe he gives you free will. He doesn't want to be the center of your life. You should be able to get along fine without Him.
Nope, number 2 is a deal breaker.
The rest of it is garbage because of number 2.

But for fun, you misquoted number 4. He's not saying the family is the ultimate authority. He's saying he and his spouse are. I don't like that.

It's all garbage.

Some of it is common sense espoused by a crazy man.

A wise man once said, "Why would anyone follow a religion where one of the commandments is 'Thou shall not kill'? Isn't that common sense?"

This list kind of reminds me of that.

Browncoat Libertarian said...

"Moderation - This one is ok, as long as I don't have to be excessive about it."

Sorry Dude, the 9/12ers are just repackaged Repulitards who want a bible-thumping theocracy that brings back those iron chastity belts you see at the torture museum at Medieval Times.

They, like the Republicans, talk a good game regarding smaller government and fiscal responsiblility, but get those jokers in office and it'll be nothing but a Bush redo.

No thanks.

Browncoat Libertarian said...

...and don't even get me started on that wack-job Glenn Beck.

Also, I'm with Gar, #2 is the absolute deal breaker...if these folks were truly in favor of church/state seperation, why would they feel the need to include their imaginary friend in the equation?

I'm also with Cedric, I much prefer the pre-9/11 America to the scarily Orwellian post-9/11 America.

Tim Lebsack said...

Everyone's Invited.

If you've never ridden a parade float holding a torch, a pitchfork, and a Rahr, You haven't really lived.

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

A few things... if you watch Glen Beck he seems to think he is a preacher. Or worse he comes across as a complete nut. Some of the 9/12 types I have encountered via the tea party movement are cultists and a bit mad.

I studied his list and have a problem with some of it, you seem to agree. Good examination of the list and useful in convincing that its all a bit much, if well intentioned.

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

My thought is this... there aren't enough outlets for actual libertarians and other small government types. Therefore, a few actual libertarians will be mixed in with the crowd here. I want to poach these people! Not necessarily align with the 9-12'ers.

I don't want to shoo them away either. I've talked to several of these guys and I always tell them that there's a few items we are not going to agree on. For example, separation of church and state. Plus, I tell them, they have a religious test, which is an anathema to Constitutionalists! They say, "Hey, don't worry about it, if we're at 75 - 80%, we're all good!"

I'm not as enthusiastic, but again, I think this is shooting fish in a barrel as far as finding people interested in getting involved with libertarian activism, and don't really dig all 9 and all 12. I'm shooting for the 7 or 8 - 9 to 11'ers. By the way, participating in these guys' rally isn't aligning with them if we make our beliefs known.

That's politics folks. In a ten day span, I will have met with a US GOP Congressional staffer, GOP TX Member of the House, and a Democrat State Senator... and later with the 9-12'ers. Doesn't mean I'm going to align with all or any of them!

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Yeah ! What HE said.

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

Also, re: Moderation... Ben Franklin said "All things in moderation. Including Moderation."

Gar said...

I like what you say Mr TLG, but I can't get past number 2 no matter how hard I try.

It would be like going out with a group of guys on Saturday. They like drinking, they like playing pool, they like oogling pretty women, they like singing karaoke, and at the end of the night they like to take out an axe and behead someone.

Well we're 80% the same.

Browncoat Libertarian said...

What HE (Gar) said.

Flee said...

Definitely what Gar said!

The Whited Sepulchre said...

All of you people are full of Number Two.
I would respond at length, but I gotta go Number One.

Cedric Katesby said...

Good to see you chiming in on something other than, well, you know....

I "lurk" far more than I post.
As a non-local, I try to avoid commenting on U.S. politics.
(Nobody likes a back-seat driver.)
However, as a friendly ally, I sometimes feel obligated to throw in my two cents worth.

Hope the "you know what" research is proceeding apace.

John Jay Myers said...

Glen Beck is no doubt one of the biggest douches the world has ever known.
BUT, for all the folks that are poo pooing the idea of us doing the parade.
What do you have in line for us to do? Another meeting where two people sit in a room and agree about how America is going to heck in a hand basket?
Well... let's get out there, let's capture some of these people who have just woken up, and wake them up to the Libertarian Party.
I can't stand the Tea Party much more than the 9-12 ers, but folks... these people that show up.... ARE PEOPLE WHO SHOW UP... people who vote. Maybe we can sway a few of them.

Going to this event does not insenuate approval, especially if we go loaded for bear, and get our message out.

So as a conversation piece it's fun to say 9-12 is a bunch of republicans... true... but as a matter of what we need to do?.... ANYTHING... GET UP OFF THE COUCH AND DO SOMETHING!

Now let's go to these parades and get the message out.

december hawk 88 said...

I've seen some of this before. Like around the time Clinton was elected. I also have been noticing similarites in the Doomsday Mongering and Wall Street BS that was around during the Carter Recession general fears of Government Control during Reagan, fears of Government Control and the end of civilization as we know it during the Clinton administration. And amazingly the lack of concern when everything really WAS going into the toilet during the junior Bush administration.

It's amazing how quickly people forget things. Glen Beck and his current ilk remind me of the Posse Comitatus followers that I had to deal with in North Dakota ( as a whole harmless) and really remind me of the very dangerous anti-government types I had to deal with in southern Utah ( including some federal employees who answered to a "higher authority"). These same people also pushed the "natural families" ordinances in southern Utah where THEY defined what a family was and tried to deny or delay services to those who didn't fit the bill ( yes this really did happen in southern Utah you had to be there to understand it).

Is the US government the big bad axis of evil? No. As a general rule it's made up of people who actually are trying to help others. As a federal employee ( currently former) I had to swear an oath to uphold the Constitution and to to be fair and objective in all of my practices. Which I did. Which most of the rank and file did. Some of the higher ups with political ambitions did not. I was a civil servant an employee of the public. All of the public. Not any given special interest group.

What people are failing to realize is that as the US role in the world increases and as the population increases we DO need a relatively large central government to oversee such things as international trade, treaty rights, management of public lands for all members of the public, dealing with various interstate issues such as water from the Colorado, Mississippi and other Rivers, pollution ( which tends to cross state boundaries) etc, etc.

People are so afraid of everything these days they are refusing to realize that this is one country dammit! Not an amalgamation of city states. What people do in one town, or county, or state can affect what happens in another town, or county or state. We don't live in bio-domes.

If we follow this crackpot Glenn Beck we could fall into a system like that of feudal Europe. But maybe that is the real thing to fear. Radical media trying to scare us into self imposed isolationism. To get us to a point where we stop trying to find out the truth and follow only what THEY say. Do what THEY want us to do. Or allow anarchy. Only responsible at a family level? That is beyond the wildest aspirations of the most rabid Posse Comitatus type. If anarchy gets to that level then someone can blame the current administration, overthrow it, claim there is an emergency and declare martial law. How's that for an Orwellian nightmare ( and I was thinking of writing a book along those lines but figured it would be too far out to be a plausible plot!).

I know many people don't like him but wasn't it Franklin Roosevelt who said " The only thing to fear is fear itself"? Haven't we learned anything?