Sunni and the Conspirators

...and they didn't even get the votes
February 6, 2006
3:18 p.m., MT

Yesterday the people of Costa Rica went to the polls to choose a new President, all 57 members of the Asamblea (congress) and members of the 81 city or county councils. Jacqueline has some good posts here, here, and here on the election overall.

The vote for President is too close to call. We will probably have to wait for the official hand count of all the votes to know who will form the next government. As both men have very different policies I will delay an analysis of what the new president will mean for libertarians looking to Costa Rica as a possibly freer destination.

To me, and many other libertarians, the performance of the Movimiento Libertario, the former Libertarian Party, is of great interest. As documented here and here the ML abandoned libertarian principles in favor of a pragmatic approach because, as Otto Guevara, the party's presidential candidate, said “we need to be more moderate and move closer to the Costa Rican people if we are going to gain power.” Does abandoning principle “work”?

To answer this question lets look at how the “radical” hard core ML performed four years ago. In 2002 the ML received 1.7% of the vote for President and 9.34% of the vote for the Asamblea, electing six Diputados (congressmen). To do this they spent a bit more than US$ 200,000 in privately raised funds, explicitly rejecting government funds as immoral.

This time around, they spent roughly US$ 1,900,000 and accepted state funds. For President, Guevara received 8.4% of the vote (86.9% counted). For Diputado, the ML has received 9.08%. It seems that they have elected six, but one has a razor thin margin, which may just disappear when all the votes are counted. So far 83.4% have been processed.

The source for the numbers above is el Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones. The TSE is the government body in charge of elections. The numbers on the web page are provisional. The official numbers will come out in about two weeks, after the hand count. A note on the web page: It can only be viewed in IE. I have tried Firefox and Opera, neither can read it.

Internally, the ML was expecting 20% for both President and the Asamblea. This was widely leaked. On the 5th of January Otto said in an interview that they were going to get 23% or 24% for President and 12 to 19 seats in the Asamblea.

Since changing direction they have gotten many public figures to join the party. Mostly from PUSC, which has self destructed (more on that below), and some from a couple of small moribund parties. The ML had a slogan “cada día somos más” (“every day we are more”). Well, yes, more of the same. More of the same tired old, corrupt politicians of always. And now they are in the ML. Instead of fresh new faces, with bold new ideas, they ended up with the same old, tainted faces, with a bunch of “moderate” (as they put it) proposals that sounded just like everyone else.

Guevara and his group expelled the hard core libertarians, or as he called them “radicals”, from the party, saying that they were responsible for impeding the growth of the party. He said that by becoming “moderate” they would move closer to the Costa Rican people, thereby gaining many more votes.

So, they abandoned ideology, purged the “radicals” from the party, spent 9.5 times what they did before, and came out slightly worse. Maybe significantly worse if the seat that is hanging by a thread is lost.

Add to this that one of the two major parties, in fact the one currently in power, basically imploded. PUSC has been plagued by corruption scandals and the current President is very unpopular. Their Presidential candidate only received 3.4% of the vote. For the Asamblea they only received 7.6%. Yet the ML did not benefit from PUSC's demise. Not a single seat. Can you imagine the Republican Party in the United States self destructing and the LP failing to gain anything from that?

This was a clear abject failure. So much so that last night Guevara did not talk to the press. He only made a 15 minute speech and then left the election night party. Today he is nowhere to be seen. Contrast this with the 13 other Presidential candidates, some who did much worse numerically. All of them are talking to the press, all of them are participating in the analysis of the results. All except Guevara.

What would have happened if the ML had remained hard core? We will never know the answer to this question, but I will offer a possible scenario.

In September of 2004 I saw the results of an internal poll which said that the entire Libertarian message was very popular with 25% of the population. Many positions were supported by the majority of the people. The main problem seemed to be that the ML had not effectively communicated the message. For example 70% of the population was opposed to government funding of political campaigns. Yet only 15% was aware that the ML did not accept state funds. When speakers would talk to small groups of people, communicating a hard core message, they would get enthusiastic responses, including offers of help. The big challenge was figuring out how to package the message into 30 second TV spots and getting the funds to take it to the people.

There were very creative people in the party. This problem was being addressed. If it had been solved, then a hard core ML would have elected 14 or 15 Diputados and been a significant force in the legislature. Possibly being able to advance Freedom a little bit. Sadly, we will never know.

Jorge

Comments: 46 people have contributed to the conversation


On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 3:56 p.m. Mountain time, Sunni said:

That is sad, Jorge. Thanks for keeping us informed on the nail-biters there.

On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 4:56 p.m. Mountain time, Larry said:

Hi Jorge,

Thanks for the update. I was expecting to read your impressions from the election and I was hoping the ML would come out with a better showing. Though I think it is better this way, at least if they would learn the lesson and comeback to the core libertarian principles.

Wonderful ideas as the libertarian philosophy should no be abandoned lightly just for the expediency of the moment.

I hope we -venezuelanlibertarians- can learn the lesson.

Best regards.

On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 5:23 p.m. Mountain time, Sunni said:

Hi, Larry, and welcome! Venezuelan libertarians, eh? Good luck with your efforts!

On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 5:23 p.m. Mountain time, Dave Warner said:

I disagree with your assertion. The problem with Otto Guevara isn't that he advocated moderate libertarianism, it's that he ran to the right. His platform isn't a typical moderate libertarian platform - it's a typical American Republican's platform. Had Guevera and the ML really adopted a moderate Libertarian platform, such as one of the ones put forth by the Libertarian Reform Caucus, things might have been better.

On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 5:49 p.m. Mountain time, Jorge said:

Which assertion was that? It is Guevara who claims to be a moderate. I say he completely abondoned principle.

But I also doubt that a "moderate" libertarian platform would have done better than the "radical" one was doing. The "radical" approcah was doing very well. It went from one seat (1998) to six (2002), with the real prospect of 14 or 15. Great growth anyway you look at it. Why change something that is working, and working well? Unless of course, you want a really fast short cut. Then you find that it isn't.

Larry, muy buena suerte!

On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 7:44 p.m. Mountain time, Bob Smith said:

A very sad story indeed. For many U.S. Libertarians, ML was an inspiration, and proof that principled positions are appreciated by voters. It's certainly not the first time that impatience has resulted in abandonment of principle. There are important lessons to be learned from this.

On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 8:02 p.m. Mountain time, Mike Linksvayer said:

I have followed the ML for a long time, but not at all closely. My prediction is that they will not take the results as a lesson. They will say they nearly quintupled their presidential vote and if they do that again, the next president will be under the ML banner.

Of course this is totally unrealistic, as were their pre-election projections, as is your projection of 14 diputados in response to a hard core message.

On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 8:15 p.m. Mountain time, Dr. Kim Henry said:

I was really hoping that Costa Rica would become a laboratory for Libertarian success.

Of course I am sad to hear that the ML has accomodated itself to more "mainstream" political hackery. Being "moderate" in one's beliefs is so politically correct now.

Even more disturbing is that the results convince me that anywhere and everywhere, the majority of people value security more than liberty. As has been observed long ago, democracy is almost universally subverted by the desire of everyone to live at the expense of everyone else. The is the fatal flaw of democracy. 51% of the population can vote to expropriate the wealth and earnings of 49% of the population, and most politicians are just real eager to cooperate in the confiscation.

How can we convince populations to respect property rights, rather than pillage other people's property and income? That is the problem.

On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 8:32 p.m. Mountain time, Ricardo said:

Actually, Mike, there's a good chance that they would have gotten 12-14 Diputados, had they stuck by their principles.

Upon letting go of the "radical" faction, they also lost a large, hard-working group of advocates who put that same effort - and then some - into telling people what exactly the movimiento had become. And while Otto claimed on interviews that he was leading the "moderate" faction, having gotten rid of the radicals, that message never came across to anyone. Most people don't actually read newspaper interviews, and since it wasn't in their TV soundbites, it was thoroughly ignored. For many, the Movimiento was just as rabid as their worst impressions of Federico Malavassi.

After dumping the principles, Otto started ridiculing himself in TV ads claiming to put the political debt money good use, helping communities directly. For people in those communities, like what happened with his claim that they had solved the garbage problem in Tibás, those assertions were patently false - and then the ML had an even larger group going out to their friends, co-workers and acquaintances and exposing them, flat out, as liars.

By growing by absorbing as many PUSC people as they could, they closely associated with a party which was going down in flames, mostly due to their rampant corruption and their complete inability to run a government.

Arias' people grabbed all the previous issues and thrust them straight into the light on their newsletters and discussions (stopping short of making it a campaign issue, probably to not give them more airtime than necessary), exposing Guevara and the new ML as nothing more than a new face on the PUSC, which is currently costarrican for leper.

And even on the face of all that, they managed to con enough people into voting from them to get 5 or 6 diputados.

It's easy to see that, had they not opened themselves for attack on so many flanks, they would have done much, much better. They might not have gotten any closer to Arias and Solís in the presidential race, but they would certainly have swung a bigger club in the Asamblea.

On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 8:36 p.m. Mountain time, Jorge said:

Mike, have you been following politics in Latin America for the last few years? Radicals, with hard core messages, are sweeping elections. Those radicals are leftists, but the point is vaild. The people throughout Latin America are sick of the traditional political class and want a real change. The only people offering a change are on the left, which is why the left is winning. In Costa Rica we had a chance to be different. To offer a real change, a radical change, that was based in real Freedom, that wasn't left or right. That chance has been blown so we will never know if I was correct or not. But one thing is for sure, radicals are winning, and winning big in Latin America.

On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 9:56 p.m. Mountain time, James Babb said:

Don't give up yet. It's still a better situation than in the US. (Better weather too.)

On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 10:11 p.m. Mountain time, Hugh Jones said:

Jorge, I find it hard to imagine that you're closing down your inspiring e-mail program. You sound full of despair, whereas the real despair will rest forever with those who continually reject or never know Libertarian principles. I urge you to continue your pursuit of freedom. Forget Otto. He couldn't run the course with you and those like you. This is merely one more setback - and you'll have many.

Might I suggest you begin an internet campaign to stir a grass roots referendum among the people to make ONE major change in Costa Rica. Just ONE. It can be an idea whose time has come among the people, but which has resistance from the major parties there. Your party of freedom CAN bring it about, and you'll have a fresh cause to unite yourselves once more and move in the wonderful direction you've been going.

You can't imagine the inspiration you've given to many of us in the U.S. Please stay the course.

On Monday, February 6th, at approximately 11:24 p.m. Mountain time, Marjorie Clare said:

Jorge,
I agree that your messages have been insirational. I wish you would reconsider the demise of your database. If you are discouraged, just think of all of the rest of us that see no hope in the system because the real heart of it is constantly being eaten by the big dogs.
At least it has been good for me to see that Libertarianism is alive and trying to gain footholds on the global political arena. Too many times I hear that if it's not a D or R it can't win.
With the world shrinking and more ideologies being shared there may be a chance.
Best of luck to you always.

On Tuesday, February 7th, at approximately 1:31 a.m. Mountain time, Rick said:

I'm American, whom use to look eagerly upon Costa Rica as great potential among the political confusion that seems to plague Latin America. I would say that over time I've gone from a libertarian to a moderate libertarian conservative ie I have american conservative values, but I'm probably as libertarian as most of you...but not in the capital 'L' way.

I do think he made a mistake, because he lost his base of support. People depended on him to live up to the same expectation he first created. After all, it was his name all over the success, and it's his name all over the change.

Make your party change back to what it was. And here's a suggestion from an untrusting American: question everyone in power, especially those whom claim to be your friend. Because one day your party will serve you and the next day they'll put you on a cross.

On Tuesday, February 7th, at approximately 1:38 a.m. Mountain time, Andrew Bates said:

So what are you going to do? Will you abandon your world to the socialists, the centrists, the conservatives, the conspiracy or religious nutters, the pragmatist wimps?

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish and leave only frustration for the life you deserved, but never have been able to reach. The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours."

Ayn Rand (1905-1982), Atlas Shrugged

Harden up, mate. We Libertarians in New Zealand encounter soft-cocks who can't stay the course all the time. Does it stop us? No.

We've even had our fellow libertarians give cash gifts to a "free marketeer" who was about to install a universal minimum allowance. We've seen fellow Objectivists (TOC) undermine our struggle, pronouncing NZ the freest place on Earth and telling us what a symbol of freedom is the kiwi - that blind, flightless, near-extinct, sleep-all-day, evolutionary loser that is appropriately the symbol of the majority of voting New Zealanders.
See: http://www.freeradical.co.nz/content/twilight/index.php
and: http://www.freeradical.co.nz/content/36/36editorial.php

You need to decide whether to start a new party or try to reform the corrupted wreck that is ML. I suggest starting again with a completely different name. While it continues to exist, ML will act as an impediment to you. People will say "but that's been tried before and couldn't win votes" and to this extent the corruption of ML while have already have undermined and damaged your cause. For this reason, you must set down that yours is the party of principle, the party that spurs that which pragmatists call respectability and stands unswervingly for the uncompromised liberty of the individual. That yours is the party that looks to sell ideas, not buy votes.

"But to win it requires your total dedication and a total break with the world of your past, with the doctrine that man is a sacrificial animal who exists for the pleasure of others. Fight for the value of your person. Fight for the virtue of your pride. Fight for the essence of that which is man: for his sovereign rational mind. Fight with the radiant certainty and the absolute rectitude of knowing that your is the Morality of Life and that yours is the battle for any achievement, any value, any grandeur, any goodness, any joy that has ever existed on this earth."

Good luck. I suggest that a press release upholding freedom of speech and of the Danish press to ridicule any system of thought would be a good way to announce the new party, especially if ML has respectably endorsed Kofi Annan's "freedom of speech, so long as it's respectful" stance.

On Tuesday, February 7th, at approximately 4:22 a.m. Mountain time, Tomás said:

"A note on the web page: It can only be viewed in IE. I have tried Firefox and Opera, neither can read it."

Actually, I can read it in Mozilla 7.12 on a Mac with OS X just fine - I pulled the plug on IE long ago.

Don't give up the fight. I was in CR in 2002 when the elections were going on, the ML supporters were great people. Naturally I am disappointed that the ML seems to be "purging" those who contributed the most in terms of core principle. And I'm VERY disappointed in Otto for allowing that to happen, and supporting it. But I agree that something needs to be done - either take the party back in a very loud and public way, or form a new one.

On Tuesday, February 7th, at approximately 5:39 a.m. Mountain time, Kirsten said:

A question for those arguing the take-back-the-party-or-form-a-new-one schtick- what would prevent the exact same thing from happening yet again to a taken-back or new party?

On Tuesday, February 7th, at approximately 9:35 a.m. Mountain time, Slim said:

A libertarian political party.?!! Sounds like an arsonist fire department.

I don't need poiticians. Do you, really?

Ciao,

Smiles
A.K.A. Slim
(Slim Richey)

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

See a short Web presentation on natural rights and self-ownership:

http://www.isil.org/resources/introduction.swf

Voluntaryism is the idea that human relations should be based on voluntary cooperation and natural law, to the exclusion of any political compulsion.

A journal is published based on this idea: The Voluntaryist. See also Voluntaryist.com

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/voluntaryism

Try this address for a different look on voting, "our most precious right".

http://www.sobran.com/columns/2004/041026.shtml

smile

On Tuesday, February 7th, at approximately 10:13 a.m. Mountain time, Jim McIntosh said:

Jorge;

I want to add my thanks for keping us up to date on the progress of the libertarian movement in Costa Rica. I also want to add my voice to those asking you to continue with your communications and not delete your database.

It is most unfortunate that Otto has gone to the dark side. I hope that this is not further evidence that power corrupts, or that getting close to power causes one to abandon one's principles.

On Tuesday, February 7th, at approximately 3:22 p.m. Mountain time, Jorge said:

I want to thank all of you for your kind words. Rest assured that I am not giving up on Liberty.

The email I sent to the old ML English newsletter list will be the last I send to that list. It can be argued that I should not have retained the list in the first place. I did so for a specific reason. Namely to inform those who were still interested in what was happening with the ML. That task has been accomplished. The ML is no longer a Libertarian party and they reaped what they have sown. As Ricardo said "How I love it when there’s an actual price to be paid for betraying your principles." Anything else that is left to say in this area I will say on this site.

Sunni has been kind enough to give me this forum. I will continue to use it. Over the next few weeks I will be talking about what the elections mean to libertarian oriented folks who view Costa Rica as a potential destination. Along with living free, raising free children, cooking, and any thing else that attracts my attention. I hope all of you visit frequently to read what Sunni and all her conspirators have to say.

For those who want to contact me directly my email address and PGP key can be found here.

On Tuesday, February 7th, at approximately 8:50 p.m. Mountain time, Juan Carlos said:

Jorge,

Your "analysis" about the ML and the elections is ridiculous. It's a shame that after all these months you continue to throw trash to the people who work for liberty in Costa Rica. Yes, the ML no longer believes in giving toy guns at schools or allowing kids to buy cocaine at candy machines. I guess this is selling out to you, but to me it seems to responsible approaches to being a libertarian and not a cultist.

It's funny, but I've realised that people like you are detrimental to the promotion of liberty in Costa Rica. After all, I bet you can't come up with a single anti-libertarian vote from our Congressmen in the last for years, or with an anti-libertarian proposal in our platform. Is there a single instance where we promoted increasing the size of government? Despite being the party of liberty, you guys were ruling for a bad performance of the ML, which means a good performance from the other guys. So much for liberty...

You anarchist, it's black or white, and the problem with that approach is that black prevails all the time.

You fail to mention that Otto was polling 15% one month ago, higher than ever before, when we were "radicals." The election polarized in the last couple of weeks, and that explains our numbers. Other candidates disappear like Alvarez Desanti. Was it because he sold out to his socialdemocrat principles? No, people voted for the guys who had the most chance.

So Jorge, just stop misinforming about the ML. You ain't doing liberty any favor.

JC

PS: By the way, what happened to Marta Angulo, the only candidate that the "radicals" got to nominate? A bureaucrat charged with corruption? So much for your radical approach and your "nut libertarianism" as you put it before.

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 5:36 a.m. Mountain time, Pagan said:

I think this is a lesson for all of us.

Stop expecting the Libertarian Party -- anywhere -- to represent libertarianism.
It doesn't!
It can't!

As soon as it becomes a "Party", it stops representing ideals, and starts representing issues and answers -- and that takes political action to put into effect; political action that some people have decided other people must conform to.

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 7:45 a.m. Mountain time, Jorge said:

Juan Carlos,

You say "Is there a single instance where we promoted increasing the size of government?"

Unfortunately more than one. Lets start with accepting state funds for the political campaign which adds a line item to the budget. If the funds had not been accepted the amount of state spending would have been less.

In the party's Plan for Government (the party platform) we find the following Promoveremos el programa "ATREVETE a decir no a las drogas y a la violencia" en todas las escuelas del país para disminuir la cantidad de personas víctimas de la droga. Para los adictos impulsaremos un programa agresivo para rehabilitar a esas personas y alejarlas de la adicción. Para los comerciantes de la droga, aplicaremos mano dura. Implementing a D.A.R.E program in all the nation's schools will not increase the size of government? Implementing a Hard Line against drug dealers will not increase the size of the state?

In an interview Otto promised to build more jails. This will not increase the size of the state?

The party is no longer Libertarian. Not even close. It is now a standard Latin American Liberal party. The new Diputados will demonstrate that over the next four years.

Note that every prediction that I made in my post of June 28, 2005 has come to pass. Your comments to that post have proven to be mistaken.

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 9:52 a.m. Mountain time, Juan Carlos said:

Jorge,

You skilfully avoid answering my comment on Marta Angulo. What happened to the only candidate nominated by the hard cores and that you defended in this blog? Why don't you share that with your readers? You've been very selective when it comes to the information you use.

As for taking tax-payer money for campaigning, yes we did, and you know I oppossed that. Now, when we rejected that money 4 years ago, did government spending decrease a single colon? Did we stop government from growing? No, the government kept getting bigger. That money was spent in other things. Knowing this, if I had to vote again on whether to take money from government for campaigning, I'd probably say yes.

As for the drug issue in our plan. Come on Jorge, wake up and smell the coffee. Even if we win the elections with a super majority, you know we can't legalise drugs as long as the U.S. is waging a War on Drugs and other Latin Americans fight drug trafficking. Costa Rica would become a heaven for drug trafficking, as it is even happening now to the Netherlands. Costa Rica can't legalise drugs unilaterally, even if we want to. So what are we doing with drugs in a Libertarian government? Turn a blind eye to drugs? No, prevention is the answer, and in our platform prevention through educational programs prevails over repretion for drug users. I rather this approach, don't you? Your words sound like if currently we don't have a war on drugs and we want to make them ilegal, that's not the case. Did you mention here that Otto said publicly that he would legalise marihuana for medical purposes? Of course not, that would hurt your case.

As for building new jails, we need more! Right now we have an overpopulation in jails accross the country, which leads to many dangerous prisioners are freed before their time. I don't know about you, but I think that providing security is one of the few responsibilities of governments (oh yeah, I forgot you're an anarchist), and I do not see how building more jails or hiring more cops increases the size of government, if we decrease spending in other areas, as we said in our platform.

Also, you fail to answer how come, if voters "spanked" us for abandoning principles, Otto was polling 16% one month ago and we were to elect up to 12 Congressmen. This is way after we "abandoned" principles. The voters didn't seem to care much, don't you think?

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 9:52 a.m. Mountain time, Sunni said:

Juan Carlos wrote, You anarchist [sic], it's black or white, and the problem with that approach is that black prevails all the time.

Nice example of black or white thinking itself. But when the question is, "Who's best at running my life?", you're damn right the answer is clearcut. The distant people who make up local, state, and national governments don't have the information and context needed to do that successfully, as is demonstrated time and time again.

Once they're out of my way, though, the issue is not even remotely black or white. My goal, and I suspect it's similar to that of many other anarchists of my acquaintance, is to go about my own business peacably, and not interfere with others doing likewise. If some folk wanted to set up some kind of government, as long as all involved consent to it, that's their business, as long as they don't try to force me under that thumb. In fact, I'd quite like to see a test of Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age scenario play out.

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 11:26 a.m. Mountain time, Ricardo said:

I was originally writing a longer post, but suddenly I realized a line from Juan Carlos explained all.

This is way after we "abandoned" principles. The voters didn't seem to care much, don't you think?

The Movimiento took money from the government and believes the voters didn't care. As far as the numbers go, they feel they got away with it. Nevermind that older polls, before Otto claimed on TV ads to be solving the garbage problem in Tibás, which anyone who lives there will tell you was patently false and nothing but a publicity stunt, were twice as high as what they actually got. Nevermind that the numbers they got in the polls steadily decreased as time went on - it wasn't a surprise jump in election day. Since the numbers went up from the last election, it's because the voters didn't care about abandoning the principles. They got away with it.

I look forward, four years from now, to more cases of the "voters not caring". Because in the end, that's all that matters: if they vote for you or not.

Nevermind financing your campaign with money that was taken from other people. It's all for the greater good.

Nevermind them pesky libertarian principles.

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 11:37 a.m. Mountain time, Billy Beck said:

You people need to read this.

And think hard about it.

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 12:13 p.m. Mountain time, Juan Carlos said:

Ricardo amazes me because he claims to be the Libertarian Ayatollah and yet I don't remember him getting involved with the ML 4 years ago when we were "hard cores" and before we "abandoned principles".

You keep bringing up the subject of taking tax-payer money to finance our campaign, but as Jorge mentioned earlier, less than 15% of the voters knew that we rejected the money in the first elections, and out of those who knew it, a majority thought we were getting money from "bad sources". So it was actually hurting us.

I’m just going to copy/paste my analysis of the campaign that I wrote for Jacqueline’s blog:

“The election became too polarized around the figures of Oscar Arias and Ottón Solís, especially when the latter started climbing in the polls in the last couple of weeks. I know friends who voted for Solís just because he had the most chances of defeating Arias. I have friends who were going to vote for Guevara but voted for Arias because they were afraid of a victory by Solis. We got trapped in that game and nevertheless managed to survive a very unusual election. Remember, most of the vote is not rational.
Look at what happened to Antonio Alvarez Desanti. He was polling 8% a month ago and ended up with just 2% and not a single congressman. Was it because he sold out to his social democrat principles? No, he and the other candidates were victims of this polarization of the election.
Did we make mistakes? You bet we did. Did we run a perfect campaign? You bet we didn't, but if we hadn't adjusted our approach to politics--without selling out in principles (I'm still waiting for you to point out a single anti-libertarian proposal in our platform), we would've probably had the same faith of Alvarez Desanti.”

Ricardo, as a political analyst, you're an excellent computer programmer.

And please, Jorge and Ricardo, explain to the people who read this blog the Marta Angulo issue. The “gut libertarian” that Jorge defended so much in this blog.

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 12:24 p.m. Mountain time, Jake Witmer said:

The people in Costa had / have the right idea. They've got more success under their belt than the Libertarians in the US. Unfortunately, it seems they didn't have rock-solid planning from beginning to end. This hurts, but is not inescapable.

For some reason, the emails from Jorge were going to my junkmail inbox in hotmail. I have since moved away from Alaska because I can see that my plan requires more money to achieve.

Right now there are only a few areas where freedom can possibly succeed in the US. I am unfamiliar with Costa Rica, but will omment on the US. The Size of the State Legislature in New Hampshire, (and the difficulty of coming up with uncompromising AND camera-friendly libertarian candidates) dooms the Free State Project to failure or Second-tier success status.

Alaska is the place it needs to happen in the US. There are a few places in AZ that are unbelievably promising, unfortunately the leadership there is afraid to put themselves on the ballot. This may change, given time -although the opportunities there are fast being eliminated.

Alaska would be 100% libertarian already if "the Troika" from Detroit was based there. The leadership of the AK party is a problem. They don't pander to the statists or the compromizers.

As anyone knows, the libertarians who get elected in the US speak in Ronald Reagan generalities on most subjects and hardline on pro-liberty issues that the public supports (IE: pro-gun in the west, anti-emininent domain, anti-absurd-regulation). They use the language of the Bill of Rights, and wrap themselves in the flag like every other politician. The great task is in determining who will run BEFORE even moderate success is achieved (So you don't allow parasites to infiltrate your structure). If you have smart people you can trust and verify lined up (and willing to do the RR generality public dance, who also are camera-friendly) -you have 90% of the battle won.

Dick Randolph started out as a Republican (Later won reelection to AK state-legislature as a Libertarian). But the others who trailed him started as libertarians. There is already a friend of libertarianism elected to the AK state legislature. His name is Vic Kohring. He is hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned in the legislature, but him being there means we need to win 1 fewer seat for a majority, and can already expect support for bills that level the playing field there.

If all that Sam Adams and the other Founders of the US had to do was win election by pandering to a majority of idiots, do you think they would have chosen that path or violent rebellion? I think they would have trounced the King's candidates. Yet, time and time again, in an unending cycle, we lose to blithering idiots who have mastered pandering. How smart are we then?

We are not serious enough. It is life and death for the disenfranchized blacks who are sitting in jail for private property possession.

Tell the voters what they want to hear. This is possible without contradicting yourself. Just speak in generalities. George Bush himself sounds libertarian when he's talking about immigration (halfway-pandering to some of the new voters). He actually said "protectionism" was a problem!!!!!!!! Funny how it's only a problem that can be spoken of in general terms -so long as they target huge voting blocs! We can run candidates who really mean it...

Ballot access for us is the one thing the Ds and Rs are afraid of. Historically, we've done ballot access totally WRONG. The people talking to the crowd understand that most people are a mish-mash of contradictions, and can only be spoken to with X amount of honesty. Every petitioner for ballot access is a profiler. Most of them are not dressed "conservatively" (blue button-up shirts in the US, or suits). They do not do the basics people expect. Many times they are paid hacks who aren't even libertarians.

I was paid to do this for a while. I chose this over being a State Chair / fundraiser, because it put me in control of disseminating the message. From that vantage point all of the LP's problems became crystal clear.

I also realized that the LP "leadership" does not care to really understand or correct the things that are wrong with it.

This means: The strategy for liberty in my lifetime is this: 1) Make money. 2) Move to either Wyoming or Alaska and elect people there where there are at least enough people who believe in gun rights to elect them. 3) As the ATF is ruthless in these areas, and will only grow moreso rather than be defunded, that is OUR WEDGE. The ATF ALONE could grant "well spoken, good-looking, mainstream" candidates success there. 4) Good looking young women get higher vote totals than men do, especially if they are running against two men, bearing an obviously feminine name.

--This last point, more than any other, lets you know why we are losing our liberty. Nothing more than an unwillingness to give the voters what they want: A friendly face that speaks in nice generalities that lets them feel patriotic without pointing out that patriotism is pro-individual freedom.

Sure, the "American" public is a repeat of Weimar philosophical slovenliness. We should use that to our advantage though, because the alternative is to let them have their dictatorship, and our lives with it.

As I stand now, I have all the answers and no money. In 5-10 years, I'll be back in Alaska or Wyoming with my money, and then I'll just do it, instead of talking about it. WY is the worse choice, because the federal government's logical move is a blockade and violence. Any game in which a future abject loss is likely and predicatable should not be begun until that threat is defused or negated. There is no way to do this in WY, and the leadership of the movement would need to be more adept there.

Email me if you want to discuss any of this.

Jake Witmer

jcwitmer@hotmail.com

"North, to the Future!"

PS. The NTTF website will be upgraded to a very professional looking one by the end of 2006. I am on schedule to return there by 2010. [Semi-solicitation and other person's contact information -- presumably posted without her consent -- removed. Commenting should be limited to the issues at hand, not used for promotion. If you want to advertise to folks who frequent this and similar places, please see the ad rates and guidelines for Sunni's Salon.]

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 2:17 p.m. Mountain time, Ricardo said:

Oh, Juan Carlos, I never claimed to be an ayatholla, though I do give you props for the choice of wording. And indeed, But you know, you've made the point quite clear. People didn't know that the Movimiento wasn't taking money from the government, so it wasn't an advantage.

However, I remember that the reason that Movimiento originally gave for not taking it was that it was immoral, not that doing so sat well with voters. My mind must be failing from all that darned programming

As it regards four years ago, we probably weren't introduced. I was in Heredia with the group that watched the presidential debate, and spoke to Otto after the wine and offered my services as a volunteer. Given that I didn't get a call back, I went to the office that was near Plaza de la Democracia, left my card again, and again didn't hear back. After a lot of chasing around I managed to speak to Otto a final time, which also bore no fruit. When I told Otto and Raúl this story in the ML offices over a year ago, they both nodded and said, "yes, we were very disorganized back then". I suppose I should have forced the Movimiento to accept my volunteer services, since I considered that was best for them.

Sure, personal attacks are easier to make than arguments (the path of least resistance is certainly practical). It's OK. Please do keep on making the pragmatic point - the thing that matters is getting presidential votes. While you are at it, I invite you to explain why taking tax money from the government was immoral until August, but it's currently not.

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 4:42 p.m. Mountain time, Scott Bieser said:

I think both Juan Carlos and Jake Witmer deomonstrate clearly, however unintentionally, why liberty will never be achieved by voting "the right people" into power.

With extremely rare exceptions, only those demonstrating Carlos' and Witmer's sneering contempt for moral principles can be successful in such endeavors. Once successful, such people can be counted on to rationalize away their last vestiges of "libertarianism" (they'll call it "growing up" or "learning how the real world operates"wink and continue growing a state which has "improved" because they are now in charge of it.

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 4:44 p.m. Mountain time, Scott Bieser said:

By the way, Jake, you're right about one thing. Wyoming is not the place for you to start a "libertarian" movement. Please look elsewhere.

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 10:04 p.m. Mountain time, Juan Carlos said:

Still waiting to see Jorge and Ricardo explain the story about Marta Angulo, the only candidate the hard cores got to nominate... What is it guys? It doesn't fit with your hard core speech?

On Wednesday, February 8th, at approximately 10:07 p.m. Mountain time, Juan Carlos said:

And yes Ricardo, getting votes matters. Otherwise it wouldn't be a political party but a cult or social club.

On Thursday, February 9th, at approximately 12:20 a.m. Mountain time, Ricardo said:

Marta Angulo, since you insist. I'm afraid I've never met her personally - hence why I hadn't touched on the subject. But to be honest, after the party went the way it did I wasn't surprised at anything that might happen with the candidates who remained. Either they joined the organization for political and personal gain or for the values. If they joined for personal gain, what happened is not surprising. If they joined for the values, and chose to remain in an organization after it compromised on some of what they claimed were their core beliefs, that means that they are the type for whom compromises are easy.

And once a person starts compromising, they often don't stop.

Jorge thought she was a "gut libertarian". Her behavior showed he was wrong. Clearly we've made mistakes in judging people's character before - for instance, the thought of Otto Guevara leading the party into what he did wouldn't have crossed my mind.

And definitely, votes matter. The question is: are they the only thing that does? Do they matter at any cost? That seems to be the case for the party, if they turned on a dime on something they had decried as being immoral.

A topic on which, by the way, I await with bathed breath for your enlightening explanation. You seem to have given it a lot of thought, since you state that if I had to vote again on whether to take money from government for campaigning, I'd probably say yes.

Is taking tax money from the government suddenly not immoral anymore? If it is, what separates morally you from PLN, PUSC and all the rest? And if taxes are suddenly good, why is what they do bad?

And please, if at all possible do go further than Otto's "once we're in power, we'll abolish deuda política". I've heard campaign promises before.

On Thursday, February 9th, at approximately 6:54 a.m. Mountain time, Jorge said:

Juan Carlos,

I did not avoid the comment on Marta, skillfully or otherwise. I simply did not have time yesterday to respond to everything in your comment so replied to what I considered to be one of the more important questions, namely did the ML advocate an increase in the size of the state. I gave several examples of this, which you then dismiss. You do not claim that what I say is false, simply that it does not matter.

Given your statement that you would now support taking state funds for political campaigns I retract my previous statement where I acknowledge that you are 100% Libertarian. You are, like the rest of your party, a run-of-the-mill Liberal.

Unfortunately I don't have much time today either, but I will respond to the issue you seem to feel is the most important. Possibly this is important to you because, despite Otto's nomination, the party's assembly select Marta instead of you as the forth place candidate for San Jose. Maybe they made this choice on the basis that Marta had a eight year history of effective organization and hard work, all as a volunteer, in the party. As oppose to someone who claimed they couldn't do work because they were only paid half-time. Then there might have been the little detail that she was actually going to be in the country at the time of the election as opposed to attending university in the US. Leaving that aside, first to correct a minor detail: Three candidates support by the "hard core" where were selected, not one. One resigned shortly after the June 25 convention. Marta was one of the two who decided to stay with the party.

Here are the facts we know from the newspapers:
1) Marta works for MOPT (the department of public works).
2) She used up all here vacation time campaigning.
3) She requested and was denied an unpaid leave of absence to continue working on the campaign.
4) In January she called in sick and instead of staying home worked on the campaign.
5) This was a violation of her work agreement and has resulted in MOPT starting the process to dismiss her. She has not been accused of corruption.
6) According to the polls she had no chance of being elected.

If you have more information please add to this.

I suppose there are many ways of looking at this, but here is one:
Otto convinced Marta that staying with the party was the best thing to do. She worked hard on the campaign, even when it became clear, via the poll at the beginning of December which you have referred to, that she did not have any chance of winning. In January, when the maximum effort was needed by everyone, being unable to take a leave of absence she decided to do what a lot of government employees do. Namely abuse the system. Lets assume that she knew this was wrong, and that she knew what the potential consequences were. She had no chance of winning, yet she put her job on the line to support the party. And now will pay the price of losing that job. In my view very poor judgement on at least two counts. First and foremost staying within the party. Secondly valuing her loyalty to Otto and the Party above her livelihood.

What is your interpretation of the facts?

Regarding prison overcrowding, a Libertarian approach would be to release everyone incarcerated for victimless crimes, such as drug dealing and drug possession, then workout a scheme to release all other non-violent offenders providing they make restitution to their victims. But hey, it will take work to sell this to the people. Much better the simple "solution" of building more prisons, which, coincidentally, increases the size of the state.

Regarding "misinforming", I stated several verifiable facts and then my interpretation. Which of those facts is inaccurate? How do you interpret a 9.5 fold increase in spending to stand still? This is a victory? Check with your friends at the Asamblea, see how they feel these days.

I have already pointed to positions in the platform and in interviews that would increase the size of the state. Anti-libertarian votes? Well, technically no. Since the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which was co-sponsored by one to the current Diputados, never made it to a vote. Also the Italian dry dock issue never made it to a vote, and I could list a lot of other things where one or more of the Diputados were going to vote against a Libertarian position. But you are correct, in the current legislature, no anti-libertarian votes.

Now that ideology has, with your approval, been abandoned, do you think that will be the case in the next one? Are you a betting man? I will start a new post within a few days and stick my neck out by making some predictions, I'll also say why I think that way. And I'll be willing to back those predictions with a bet.

Regarding your analysis of the election. What you write can only apply to the race for President. While I have a few quibbles with it, let it stand. It says nothing of the dismal performance for the legislature. With respect to this my analysis stands, and is strengthened by the fact that Solis received 40+% of the vote for President but PAC received 26% for Asamblea. If the people had bought the "new" ML's message there would have been a lot more Diputados elected.

Least we forget, The ML spent 50% more than PAC to receive 60% less seats in the legislature and 80% less votes for President.

Finally, "allowing kids to buy cocaine at vending machines". I love it. An old, trite and standard neo-con attack on Libertarians. What can I say? Thank you for showing your true colors.

If I have missed anything, I'll address it later.

On Thursday, February 9th, at approximately 1:54 p.m. Mountain time, Juan Carlos said:

Well Jorge, when I heard you were leaving the party I felt pretty bad. I always held you in high regard and I still do, believe it or not. But you’ve shown me a dark side of yours I didn’t know. Few weeks ago, when the Marta Angulo scandal broke, I told David Vargas that I wanted to send you an email (in friendly terms) asking you about your thoughts on your “gut libertarian”. David, someone who doesn’t have you in high regard, persuaded me. He said, “Forget about it. Just leave him alone. Don’t act with bad blood”. I thought that David was totally right. But it seems that you were the one with the bad blood. This posting confirms that.

I'll address your personal references first: Yes, I was defeated by Marta Angulo, but that doesn't have anything to do with my insistence on the subject. If you knew the whole story, you'd probably know that I never wanted to be nominated in the first place. You were there. Did you see me defending my candidacy in strong terms? Did you see me lobbying people to vote for me? No, because I didn't want to. Why did I run then? Because the night before Otto convinced me of running. I did it as a personal favor to him. When they asked me publicly if I was going to campaign or come to the U.S. for graduate school, I said "I don't know, I’ll figure it out". That showed the level of commitment I had to that nomination. Why Otto wanted me to run? Because I was obviously, and still am, more libertarian that Marta Angulo. Don't you agree? It was funny watching the hard cores celebrating the triumph of someone who probably don't know who Ayn Rand is. And just as a note: This is the first election she participates with the party, and didn't have "a eight year history of effective organization and hard work, all as a volunteer, in the party" as you claimed. I don't remember seeing her 4 years ago, do you? The reason I used her story has nothing to do with personal reasons, but with the hypocrisy of the hard cores.

But now let's go to the point: Otto Guevara forced Marta Angulo to campaign despite she didn't have any chances of being elected, so, in order to comply with the big boss' orders, she called in sick and went to campaign for the party instead. Now she's in the process of being fired. Poor Marta. Evil Otto. Did Otto also force her to lie about the nature of her position in MOPT, where she is a secretary and not a unit director as she claimed? Did Otto also force her to steal property from MOPT several years ago, something she was found guilty of doing? Otto must be a pretty mean guy, although in what I consider one of the biggest mistakes of the campaign, he stood by her during the scandal and didn't kick her out of the party, despite she had no chances of being elected. What a cruel way to stand by someone you didn't support in the first case.

Why candidates for Congress didn't do better that 4 years ago. That's something to be analyzed, but I wouldn't rule out that this whole scandal about a Libertarian candidate for Congress being involved in improper conduct could've hurt the ML. After all, Channel 7 ran several news stories on prime time TV on that.

As for the guys who got elected not being libertarians, that's funny, of the 6 elected three were supported by the hard cores: Luis Barrantes, Carlos Gutiérrez and Mario Nuñez. What is it? They're not libertarians anymore just because you say so? I guess that's the case, because out of the blue I've been downgraded to being a "run-of-the-mill Liberal". Ouch! As far as I know the libertarian test we distribute has several questions, and it's not a you-miss-one-you-fail-all kind of test.

But well, now you know my "true colors". Poor Earth, one more statist out there. I guess you'll say soon that I have blood on my hands.

On Thursday, February 9th, at approximately 2:03 p.m. Mountain time, Juan Carlos said:

Ricardo, votes don't matter at all cost. If tomorrow I see the ML pushing for tax increases, defending state-owned monopolies, defending gun control, persecuting drug users harshly, I'd definitely leave the party. But as I've said before, I still have to see one single anti-libertarian vote from our Congressman or one single anti-libertarian proposal in our platform. So far, none of that.

Taking tax-payer money is definitely a controversial measure, and as libertarians you have all the right to question it. Does it make us less libertarians for doing it? Probably. Does it turn us in bad-spirited statist? Definitely not. Unfortunately you guys don't seem willing or capable of doing that distinction.

Finally, are taxes immoral? I think so. However, great libertarian luminaries believed that taxes were necessary, including Hayek and Rand? Were they sell outs? You judge.

On Thursday, February 9th, at approximately 2:20 p.m. Mountain time, Sunni said:

Gentlemen, please keep the conversation here focused on ideas and issues, not individuals, or take it elsewhere.

Juan Carlos, I'm curious about something: where, in your view, does persecuting drug users cross a line from being non-harsh (and therefore okay, it would seem you're saying by implication) to being harsh, and therefore not okay? Doesn't a position of calling for more prisons go beyond "defending state-owned monopolies", and into the realm of supporting them?

Any punishment of a drug user whose actions harm no one seems harsh to me, as well as nonlibertarian. Same with giving a state the power to toss people into boxes (jails).

On Thursday, February 9th, at approximately 3:31 p.m. Mountain time, Ricardo said:

It was funny watching the hard cores celebrating the triumph of someone who probably don't know who Ayn Rand is.

That's really priceless. A few months ago you wrote about there being more to libertarianism than reading Rand.

Speaking of her, I like the Great Thinker non-argument. Ayn Rand considered taxes necessary. Thomas Jefferson wrote harshly against slavery but kept slaves himself, so I suppose a classic liberal could use Jefferson as a defense for enslaving others.

Not to mention, it wasn't Ayn Rand running for president and calling them immoral before.

You should probably read Jorge's examples above for issues where the ML was pushing on things that are at odds with liberty. As for persecuting drug users harshly, could you define harshly? Because depriving someone of his freedom for a victimless crime certainly sounds harsh to me. It's not like the ML doesn't have a position - Otto told himself to La Nación that they would run regular drug police operatives on communities.

Now, he wasn't specific about what they meant to do with the drug users they rounded up, but given that it was on the same note where he said that we needed more jails, I doubt they were going to get a short lecture.

But yes, some distinctions escape me. You do state that you believe taxes are immoral. The Movimiento ran funded by immoral means. I don't see how that is, somehow, worth supporting.

One thing is clear: we are not going to see eye to eye on these topics, so I'll leave it here. Good luck in your studies.

On Thursday, February 9th, at approximately 8:56 p.m. Mountain time, Jorge said:

Juan Carlos,

Despite Ricardo's good example I will press on. However I will join him in wishing you well with school.

Marta: I asked you to provide another scenario that fit the facts. You did not give one, simply attacked mine, and mischaracterized it in the process. Please go back and read what I wrote. I never said Otto forced Marta to do anything.

I could be mistaken on the eight year figure, but I recall Otto using it. One thing for sure, five weeks before the June 25 assembly Otto was all for Marta. I was in a meeting where Otto said he and Raúl only disagreed on three candidates. He went though a list of names that he said were good people they agreed on. Marta was one of them.

That Otto convinced you to run by telling you that you are more Libertarian I do not doubt. But his other nominations that day suggest that was not his real reason. There were at least four "more libertarian" candidates which Otto did not support. In some cases he actually nominated the least libertarian of the choices. If his concern was to have the most libertarian candidate, things would have come out very differently. At best you were a pawn.

Regarding her alleged theft, are you saying that Otto was aware that she was a criminal and yet kept her as a candidate? I have done a Google search using the terms "Marta Angulo Movimiento Libertario" and do not find anything. I do find the news stories which contain the information I listed. This is the first time I have heard this accusation. Please provide a reference. Also explain why Otto and the executive committee of the party, knowing this, would have allowed her to remain as a candidate.

As far as you being more libertarian, you certainly know the theory better. The few times I spoke to her she struck me as a person who had her heart in the right place but was weak on theory and therefore likely to make mistakes. Back when we were all on the same side, I thought she would be ok if surrounded by people who were well grounded. But one thing she did tell me after the January convention was that she was willing to be bound by a financial pledge, which to me, indicated true commitment to principle.

We know she took sick leave and used it to campaign, propose a scenario as to why.

Interesting that you view the failure to get more seats as possibly Marta fault. That is giving her a lot of power, or admitting that the ML's message was very weak. If one negative incident could derail US$ 1.9 million worth of campaign advertising and all the work by all those dedicated volunteers, it couldn't have been that attractive a message. But as you say, it needs to be analyzed.

Regarding who was elected, and how they will act, as I said before, I will cover that in a separate post.

I really am flabbergasted that you do not consider a D.A.R.E. program, which is in the platform, to be anti-libertarian. A salient feature of the D.A.R.E. program is "turn in your parents for smoking pot." How can turning children against their parents for a peaceful, non coercive activity possibly be classified Libertarian? If you can accept this you can accept just about anything. Since you have rationalized this away you will rationalize everything else away as well.

And the penny just dropped. Ricardo is right. Best to stop here. Good luck with school.

On Thursday, February 9th, at approximately 9:04 p.m. Mountain time, Juan Carlos said:

Just to close up:

I wasn't clear enough when talking about persecuting drug users harshly. I meant that the government shouldn't persecute drug users unless they pose a risk to others. (When driving, etc). We have to come to terms with the idea that Costa Rica cannot legalise drugs unilaterally, thus, some alternatives have to be implemented. I think that focusing on prevention and leaving persecution only to drug dealers is the best alternative under the current scenario. Gradualism is important.

Now Ricardo, I didn't understand your Thomas Jefferson comment. I said that Rand and Hayek believed that taxes were necessary. Does that make them sell outs? I have no idea what Thomas Jefferson actions have to do with this.

As for Rand, well, I'd expect that someone who gets support from the hard cores knows at least who she was. That's why you're the hard cores.

Finally Ricardo, thanks for your best wishes. Maybe I never mentioned it buy I graduated from the Universidad Nacional, and even when I refused to get a scholarship, my higher education was heavily subsidized by the government. How is this different from what the ML did by taking tax-payer money? I think that taxation is immoral, yet I benefited from tax-payer money. Also, I'm just arriving home from classes, and I took the heavily subsidised metro to get home. Am I immoral for doing that?

Peace,

-JC

On Thursday, February 9th, at approximately 9:14 p.m. Mountain time, Juan Carlos said:

Yeah Jorge, let's leave it here. I'm just going to provide you the reference to the Marta's Angulo theft:

http://www.teletica.com/archivo/tn7/nac/2006/01/20/2390.htm.

You can read there: "Otro de los cuestionamientos a esta candidata a diputada por San José, fue la sustracción de una plantilla eléctrica del ministerio. A ella inicialmente se le encontró culpable, junto a otra persona más; sin embargo, su caso prescribió y no recibió ninguna sanción".

Found guilty. And yet, to me that was Otto's biggest mistake of the campaign, even knowing this he kept her as a candidate.

As for D.A.R.E, I would never support a program that encourages kids to turn over their dads. This has to be adjusted to the libertarian approach of targeting demand (through education) and not supply (through coercion).

On Friday, February 10th, at approximately 5:49 a.m. Mountain time, Rieben said:

Jorge wrote:
Does abandoning principle “work”?

Jorge, THAT is the key question ...

Ricardo wrote:
...once a person starts compromising, they often don't stop.

Spot-on, Ricardo.

There is something essential about "party" politics that people seem to miss - and Jake's contribution to the discussion explains it rather well, albeit unintentionally. If you are going to have principles, then you must forsake personalities. If you are going to have personalities, then you will forsake principles. And that is the nature of party politics. Principles CAN win without even trying to go after the votes. But once you think that you need votes or numbers, then you will start betraying principles. And the end result will be to lose the votes (or to win votes, having become just another corrupt party). The US LP sold-out a long time ago - for votes. Part of the problem is that many libertarians are used to viewing the promulgation of political principles as a market concept - they believe more in marketing than in having a good product. This is especially true amongst libertarians ... and perhaps there are more hucksters in such associations to begin with.

Jorge wrote:
Unless of course, you want a really fast short cut. Then you find that it isn't.

It's the nature of the beast, Jorge. The conventional business methods of making a "fast-buck" DO succeed in the modern corrupt mixed market - more often than not - and party politics is inherently a corrupt process (not to mention democracy itself). Libertarians are committed to pragmatism instead of principle (which was the primary point of contention over which Rand disassociated herself from them). Because libertarians are "market-driven" in a mixed market (either political or economic), they will always compromise principle - and shoot themselves in the foot.

You are correct that if you have a good principle (product), it will, over time, succeed. It's not a fast performer, but you need to focus on the product - ignore the competition - avoiding fly-by-night marketing techniques - and believe in the value of the product (principle). Most people sell-out. Pragmatists (libertarians by-and-large) sell-out faster than most. And they can rationalize this six ways from Sunday and make it sound like a REALLY good idea.

Party politics (government generally) is inherently corrupt and participating therein is unavoidably corrupting. However, if you have a good product (principle), then you cannot play the same game that everyone else is playing. Yes, you do need to advertise - but it is a completely different animal.

The libertarian principle is a radical one. (radical: fundamentally different from the slave state - not from normal humanity) Because of this, adherents of this principle believe it needs to sold in some flashy feel-good way, even if it slightly misrepresents the principle, thus focusing on personality rather than principle - undercutting/undermining the principle .... and doing all of this on the basis of "sound" marketing strategy (in a corrupt market). In other words, it turns into more of the same.

It would be a different advertising concept to focus on the principle (product) and not try to "sell" it, just stick to the facts, informationally. Hucksters never stick to the facts, and they believe (at heart) that ends justify means - moreover, they believe that the voters (people) are fools and NEED to be fooled, cajoled, deluded, led (and RULED - later on). They are being pragmatic. And they shoot themselves in the foot. Reality trumps wishful-thinking every time!

On the other hand, it is probable that this was intentional sabotage ... it happens more frequently than you would imagine.

Although I do not support party politics as a way to effect meaningful change in fascist states, I believe it could be beneficial in more moderate cultures, regardless of their "politics." However, in either case, I think Zorro is more effective overall.

Nonetheless. You are engaged in something you believe in. - Hang in there. (For the long haul.)

Richard

“These words, 'temperate and moderate,' are words either of political cowardice, or of cunning, or seduction. A thing, moderately good, is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle, is a species of vice.” - Thomas Paine, 1792

On Friday, February 10th, at approximately 9:14 a.m. Mountain time, Jorge said:

Juan Carlos,

I do apologize for continuing this, but it seems I was mistaken, there was at least one anti-libertarian vote from the existing Diputados. Diputados suben tributo para obras sociales en Puntarenas (registration required). A tax increase no less.

So there is one example for you.

On Sunday, February 12th, at approximately 11:15 p.m. Mountain time, Robert Noval said:

In response to:
Friday, February 10th, at approximately 5:49 a.m. Mountain time,

Rieben :

Some of us involved in the USLP appreciate the significance and meaning of principle:

The Everybody Trap

http://www.smallgov.org/?page_id=3

The Principles of Nature, and the Nature of Principles.

http://www.smallgov.org/?p=110

After being banned from the LP's blogs for his criticism of the LP management and their socialistic Iraq exit strategy,Greg Dirasian started the Small Government Blog.

I was also banned for my concurring criticism.

Subsequently, Greg invited me to join him and together with a few others, we endeavour to bring the LP back to being the party of principle, and back under proper management.

Greg keeps a keen knowledgable eye on the inner workings of the party.

You can read his regular reports, along with our commentary on the major events of the day from our rationalist libertarian perspective at our blog:

www.smallgov.org

The turn of events in Costa Rica are unfortunate. But they don't surprise us, as they are indeed the inevitable consequences of abandonment of principle.

---The Bikemessenger
(AKA Impeachasaurus Rex)


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