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Libertarians disturbed by 'leftists who hate America'

by Bill Winter Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:06 AM
hq@lp.org

As Libertarian Party news editor, I too am disturbed that Libertarians are linked with leftists who hate America, and who would cheerfully repeal the freedoms we work so hard to defend.

Explaining why LP News takes an anti-war stance

by Bill Winter, Libertarian Party News Editor, May 2003

As I write this column in early April, the shooting war in Iraq has been going on for three weeks. The debate among Libertarians about whether the party should support or oppose that war has been going on much longer.

As editor of LP News -- and author of the "10 reasons why the U.S. should not attack Iraq" news analysis in the March issue -- I've been getting some heat about how the newspaper is responding to the war. So, I'd like to take a moment to answer some common questions.

1) There is disagreement among Libertarians about whether the LP should support the war. Why does LP News favor the anti-war viewpoint?

As editor, it's my responsibility to ensure that LP News reflects the LP Platform's view. On military issues, the LP Platform is resolutely non-interventionist. In fact, there are more than a dozen specific policy prescriptions in our Platform to curb American military activities in foreign nations.

And if there's any confusion, the Platform states: "We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid, guarantees, and diplomatic meddling."

In the absence of an attack on the U.S. -- or the immediate, grave, and unequivocal danger of an attack -- the Libertarian Party's position must be to oppose the invasion of another nation.

I believe a vast majority of Libertarians supported military action in Afghanistan because it was against a regime that sheltered and supported the al Qaeda terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11. I believe a vast majority of Libertarians oppose military action in Iraq because Iraq poses no credible threat to the U.S., and because there is no credible link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

That said, I think there is always room for discussion. That's why LP News has printed letters in support of the war, and ran a point/counterpoint about the war in the February Forum.

2) In the January Pulse column, 45% of the respondents said they support military action against Iraq. Isn't this proof that the LP is really split down the middle on the issue?

No. Every month, the Pulse points out the unscientific nature of the column, but I'm not sure readers grasp how unscientific it is. In a typical Pulse column, only 20 to 40 LP News readers contribute. That's a response rate of about 0.1% -- or one out of every 1,000 readers. So, that 45% represents the opinion of perhaps 10 to 20 readers.

The Pulse is entertainment. It's an opportunity to see what a small number of vocal Libertarians think. It does not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of most LP members. In fact, most of the time I suspect it doesn't, since one side of the issue -- usually the one that sees itself in the minority -- tends to be more motivated to write in.

3) Why do you give so much coverage to Libertarians who participate in anti-war marches with leftists and socialists?

Libertarians in more than a dozen states have participated in organized anti-war activities. As editor, I think it is important to report on the political activities of LP members, even if we don't like the company they keep. In news articles, I always try to explain the reasons why Libertarians oppose the war, so their viewpoints aren't confused with the foolish arguments of the left.

As a personal aside, I, too, am disturbed that Libertarians are linked with leftists who hate America, and who would cheerfully repeal the freedoms we work so hard to defend.

However, I understand that some Libertarians think it is crucial to publicly protest the war. In doing so, they are willing to make a one-time common cause with people who don't share our freedom-loving agenda.

4) Isn't LP News just echoing the viewpoints of leftists when it opposes the war?

No. LP News has made Libertarian arguments against the war, using points made by the (non-leftist) Cato Institute and (non-leftist) Congressman Ron Paul. Opposing a war with Iraq on the grounds that the conflict is not necessary for the nation's self-defense is a Libertarian position.

Based on the number of times I've been asked this question, I get the sense that some Libertarians support the war simply because they can't stand being on the anti-war side with the likes of Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, the Dixie Chicks, France, and those nitwits who organize "vomit-ins" and carry signs that say "No Blood for Oil."

I sympathize. However, the fact that foolish people (and France, but I repeat myself) also oppose the war (for different reasons than we do) is irrelevant to our principled Libertarian stance.

By the time you read this, the war could already be over. U.S. troops might have toppled Hussein and liberated the Iraqi people from tyranny. That would be good. Or we might still be engaged in a protracted, bloody guerrilla war. That would be bad. But neither possible outcome changes the fact that this war was not necessary for the the self-defense of the United States.

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 67 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Philosophy and such Libertarian Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:35 AM
Libertarians are full of shit mediawatcher Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 12:34 PM
I love Libertarians Corporate CEO Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 12:37 PM
Such substantive comments - NOT! Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 12:55 PM
Politics and such Libertarian Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 12:59 PM
What's wrong with this picture: daveman Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 1:02 PM
Don't be stupid... Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 1:03 PM
Politics and such Libertarian Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 1:05 PM
Gosh I am worthless... Leftist Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 1:07 PM
^ Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 1:08 PM
Diegenes, Die! social darwinism Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 7:13 PM
Oh, spare me, Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 8:03 PM
gee Diogenes I guess I had you pegged all wrong... Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 3:03 AM
wtf? ?? Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 4:19 AM
"About half of the articles and comments are written by fascistoids." Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 5:03 AM
Hmmmm Sheepdog Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 5:10 AM
Why don't you explain the difference sheepdog Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 5:23 AM
Mr. Har Sheepdog Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 5:27 AM
From Websters Unabriged Thesaurus Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 5:32 AM
try again Sheepdog Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 5:47 AM
My 2 Cents Diogenes Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 6:20 AM
sheepdog needs a newer dictionary... Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 6:44 AM
Eric Trent Lott Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:10 AM
Personally... Diogenes Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:12 AM
Rush is right dittohead Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:14 AM
Let's not get into again, Diogenes. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:26 AM
Eric dittohead Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:27 AM
I agree. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:32 AM
I agree. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:32 AM
and how many people... Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:36 AM
Eric dittohead Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:38 AM
Eric CONSERVATIVES ARE MORONS Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:39 AM
Yep. think I'll head down to the nicoderm rehab Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:47 AM
Eric CONSERVATIVES ARE MORONS Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:53 AM
Why does this idiot persist Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:56 AM
Eric Bush Admirer Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:01 AM
you really need some new material Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:18 AM
Eric's specialty Scottie Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:23 AM
I also specialize... Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:24 AM
Eric Atheist Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:25 AM
IMC boardops Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:26 AM
Eric Atheist Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:28 AM
garbage in Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:30 AM
Eric Anti-fascist Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:34 AM
tell us why you think so Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:37 AM
Eric Dr. Sigmund Fruit Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:49 AM
Has anyone ever told you... Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:58 AM
Eric Antifascist Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 9:24 AM
Eric Anti-fascist Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 9:28 AM
Yew are sooooo boring... Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 9:39 AM
oh mah bad. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 9:41 AM
Help Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 9:41 AM
yep Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 9:45 AM
Bore. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 9:50 AM
Hello Eric Concerned Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 9:55 AM
yes I do. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 10:00 AM
how do you know he is talking to himself Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 10:01 AM
or maybe it's a conspiracy Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 10:03 AM
Eric KOBE SBM Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 10:10 AM
How many people... Eminem Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 10:10 AM
Eric is more than an individual. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 10:12 AM
Eminem is God Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 10:13 AM
Did you know... Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 10:18 AM
Eric Barry McCafferty Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 10:21 AM
No dude. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 10:23 AM
Eric Diet Cokehead Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 10:25 AM
woof erics dog(pansy) Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 12:17 PM

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