Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
With only a few days to go to the inauguration, it is time in Washington to fix the wear and tear of the past administration. Three contractors were bidding to fix a broken fence left at the White House. One was from Minnesota, one from Tennessee, and the third from Tallahassee. All three go with the White House caretaker to examine the fence. The Minnesota contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil and says “Well, I figure the job will run about $900. $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.” The Tennessee contractor does the same measuring and says, “I can do this job for $700. $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.” The Tallahassee contractor doesn’t do anything, but leans over and whispers, “$2,700.” The caretaker says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?” He whispers back, “$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.”
I would like to thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to speak about the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party. I consider it a personal privilege to address as fine a group as the Kiwanis.
This may sound odd to some of you, but the purpose of Kiwanis epitomizes just one of many libertarian ideals; people banding together as they please to perform acts of charity to aid children, free from government interference as long as there is no force or fraud used. Odd how much government wants to control what you already want to do all on your own, and tax you to do it in the process.
As Chair of a local party this does make me think that half the problem with getting people to vote Libertarian is getting them to realize they already are Libertarian.
The libertarian Party has been around for a long time. If you don’t count the Independent Party, we are the third largest Party in Florida. I say “don’t count” the Independent Party because there is more than some testimony out there that many people register to vote and say “I want to be Independent”, and the local registrars puts them in the Independent Party artificially swelling their numbers. The Libertarians were created way back in 1971, by a man named Doug Nolan, and we have the distinction, among others, of having the first woman vice presidential candidate to receive an electoral college vote in the election of 1972 (It was Tonie Nathan, NOT Geraldine Ferraro). The famous Ron Paul was a Libertarian, as was Clint Eastwood for a while, as are Drew Carey and, of course, Gary Johnson. Dick Heller, of the famous Supreme Court case District of Columbia vs Heller, was the treasurer of the Washington DC libertarian Party who won a suit against the City for taking away his right to own a personal weapon. As a Party our star is steadily rising. In the 2016 Presidential election, the Libertarian party had ballot access in all 50 states, the only Party besides the major parties to have such access. Right here at home 4.09% of Okaloosans voted for Gary Johnson. 7.51% of people from Cinco Bayou, not far from here, also voted for GJ. As everyone knows, as goes Cinco Bayou so goes Crab Island.
But let’s move away from history, and talk more about the here and now.
Who are the Northwest Florida Libertarians? We are a locally organized Political Party with the purpose of putting people and money together to elect libertarians to public office. That’s important because we actively try to compete in the electoral process. We solicit funds, and we make quarterly reports with the State in accordance with the Florida Statutes. The NFLP covers the six westernmost counties in Florida that include Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes and Washington Counties containing about 1600 registered libertarians. Any registered Panhandle libertarian has automatic rights to run for NFLP office and to vote in our periodic elections (BTW, the next one will be by March 2017 for Vice Chair and Treasurer). We offer solutions to problems of governance that do not empty your checkbook nor trade away your rights for security. We will not bribe you with your own tax dollars, nor give America security by becoming a prison. We are the people who know that the most happiness, prosperity, and security comes from government that protects individual rights and property and is kept limited in its powers. Without a doubt, we are the political road less traveled, but we are sure it is the most enjoyable to drive with the least pot holes.
Figures that a Libertarian would talk about pot, right?
We do a lot. We write about issues on our website Libertarianpoc.org, in the social media, and in the local papers and blogs. We regularly have guest speakers such as Paul Craig Roberts (former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan), Karl Denninger (a well-known financial commentator), Lawrence Vance (a religious writer who is also a libertarian) and Kris Anne Hall, among others. We have supported many Libertarian candidates including Alex Snitker for US Senate in 2010, Paul Stanton for US Senate in 2016, Calen Fretts for US House in 2012, Adrian Wyllie for Governor in 2014, Etta Lawlor for Santa Rosa Commissioner, and Bill Fetke for Statehouse One. We supported Mark Wichern in his 2014 run for Congress when he was a no party affiliation candidate. As a Party we appear at public meetings, speak our minds on matters of public importance (such as the Mid Bay Bridge fiasco), attend parades, such Billy Bowlegs and the Pensacola Christmas Parade, and attend libertarian conventions both at the State and National level. In short, we get out and meet people. In the process, we like to have fun. This past May we held a meeting at a local Blue Wahoos game, and we are going to do more of that.
Our vision is one of a healthier America, more voluntary, less compelled by force, less expensive, more prosperous and a better place to let everyone reach their own greatest potential.
How do we think we are going to do that?
Let me make this clear. Libertarians know there are legitimate functions for government. These include defense, dispensing justice, and controlling things like nuclear power that simply cannot be done by the private sector. The question about government, throughout the ages has always been how to keep those who want power over others in check as they increasingly use government to compel you to follow their orders for what they say is your own best interest. Both Republicans and Democrats see government power as fundamentally benign. Libertarians see it for the threat that it is, as our forefathers did. For example, what veteran ever fought for what we have today, fewer rights, massive debt, and endless war?
We are against initiating force, but we are not pacifists. To join the Party we ask people to take the pledge “I will not advocate the use of force to achieve social or political goals,” but defending with force one’s life, liberty or property is morally justifiable, in our view. Criminality must be met with force. No one defends second amendment rights as stringently as a Libertarian.
Libertarians are for personal responsibility. If your actions harm others expect to have the book thrown at you. If not, you should be left alone to personally deal with the consequences. You should own the fruits of your victories without the government taking them from you as much as you must account for your own defeats without the government subsidizing you. You own your own body, no one else.
Libertarians are for competition. Monopolies, politically rigged games and cronyism riddles everything citizens have to deal with nowadays. How can it be that in the USA there truly are entities that are too big to fail, and too big to jail? 2008 saw the biggest financial meltdown in history with documented trillions in mortgage fraud, yet no financial CEO went to jail. John Corzine, former New Jersey Senator, Governor, head of mega bank MF Global, and noted Presidential supporter within the past ten days was finally fined $5,000,000 for illegally taking billions from segregated accounts at his firm. A colleague of mine who managed segregated accounts said if he did the same thing he wouldn’t see daylight for twenty years. Corzine received no jail time. In our own state there are still laws that discriminate against third Party competition, such as the “365 day” rule (you cannot run on a Party ticket unless you’ve been a member for at least 365 days prior to the candidate qualification date). There is a law that allows Republican and Democrat Party Committeemen to be elected on the public ballot while specifically excluding third Parties. Such things happens by the bad habit of lawmakers using the law to get special privilege for one of their benefactors over another. We oppose State monopolies in general as being inferior in quality and expensive, such as the State monopoly in education. Common Core could not be the potential threat it is if education were not centralized under government control.
Libertarians do not agree with the left/right paradigm or the Liberal/Conservative cookie cutter view of the world. Both mindsets enhance State power at the expense of common people while claiming to do the opposite. For example, it is not liberal to take away the protections of the Constitution in favor of who is in charge at the moment, nor is it conservative to build public debt into the mountain it is now. I will remind everyone that a Republican Congress just this past week voted to increase the debt ceiling of our Country 9.7 trillion dollars. That is not conservative.
Libertarians are about privacy, which has practically vanished from the American way of life through the destruction of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. It is a fact that citizens need permission from the government to travel in the USA by public conveyance, and TSA inspections make us give up our Fourth Amendment rights to do so. A society under surveillance can never be a free society.
Libertarians cherish the way of life that the one rule of law for all, respect for property, respect for individual rights, competition in a free market, and a government limited in its powers produced in this country. These Libertarian principles produced the most happiness and prosperity for the greatest number of people. That is the formula that made us great, not overwhelming government power. Other countries have tried that way across the globe for millenia. In our opinion, the dominant Republican and Democrat Parties routinely make laws that attack these principles while saying that they are for them. As a result we have the sad situation today where there is not one amendment in the Bill of Rights that hasn’t become seriously proscribed, limited, or regulated into something less than what it is. It is said that the United States is one of the few places left today where the inherent rights of people are protected by a Constitution and the rule of law. Yes your rights are protected, but that is only if you don’t actually want to use them. It’s almost as if our own government has become afraid of people actually having rights
Libertarians are not afraid of a society made up of individual choice; of our fellow citizens doing what they want as long as they do not use force or fraud on others. The best economy is one that is the result of millions of individual, voluntary decisions, and not a top down command economy run by government. The Affordable Care Act is a classic example of top down economic management. Without a doubt the single biggest player in the US economy is the Federal Reserve which is a government sanctioned cartel of major banks that price fix the cost of money. Instead of controlling the voluntary, non-violent actions of our neighbors, we look forward to the real, sustainable world of people doing what they want, free from the threat of force by government in all its forms. We want the USA to be the land of the free, the home of the brave, and every child to have the chance to be President based on the limits of their own abilities.
Some of our opponents liken us to a conspiracy, and I must confess this is true. We are conspiring to take over the government, and then just leave you alone.
On that note, I will leave you alone. If you are interested in being a libertarian, please talk to me, take a look at our Facebook page, our website, Libertarianpoc.org, or attend one of our meetings. If you care enough to donate, I’d be happy to accept them. Our next meeting will be at Ace’s restaurant, 6350 Caroline Street (hwy 90) in Milton, Wednesday 18 Jan at 6:30 PM. It is open to the public, and I hope to see you there…