My party is about to blow it again.
In 2008 Bob Barr ran for President. He was a well-known former federal prosecutor and member of the US House, and was well-known to have strong Libertarian principles. Among other “bona-fides” he serves on the board of the National Rifle Association.
The Libertarian Party polled under 1% with him on the top of the ticket.
During the rather-infamous toilet bowl protest that FedUp USA and The Market Ticker pulled off during the summer of 2008 in Washington DC the Freedomworks people (of which Dick Armey and Bob Barr claimed affiliation) came out to talk to us. They were not very interested in the issue of frauds upon the people, which of course was what we were protesting.
It’s unfortunate, because this is a winning position, and one that is entirely-consistent with Libertarian principles.
This poor showing at the polls is not an isolated incident.
The Libertarian party has never materially exceeded 1%; it’s highest showing was in 1980 with Ed Clark and David Koch at 1.1% of the vote. Ron Paul, who I personally voted for in 1988, got 0.5%. Since 1980 the showing has been between 0.3 and 0.5% every single election cycle; Bob Barr got 523,000 votes for 0.4%. In every year since 1972, the Libertarian candidate has received zero electoral votes.
The definition of insanity, according to Albert Einstein, is repeating the same acts over and over and expecting different results.
Libertarians have failed because they have refused to take the distinction that we have and turn it to our advantage by appealing to the most-important issue Americans have, which is entirely-possible to do without compromising Libertarian principles one iota.
Let me remind everyone that in order to be a Libertarian one must, in writing, swear or affirm to the following oath:
I do not believe in the initiation of force as a means to achieve social or political goals.
The Libertarian Party stands alone among serious political parties in the requirement of this oath for membership. You can be a Democrat or Republican while believing that naked aggression is a perfectly-legitimate social and political tactic.
You cannot be a Libertarian under that circumstance.
Fraud, ladies and gentlemen, is the initiation of force.
Consider the bare facts — fraud is, in the essence, theft. Theft never happens without the initiation of force of some sort. If there’s no force it’s not theft, it’s a charitable contribution, otherwise known as a gift.
We cannot win as a party by being, as is often said as a slur, Republicans who like to smoke pot.
Not only is there no evidence that Libertarians are no more or less interested in smoking pot than the rest of the population at large (you’d be shocked at how many people among your acquaintance do smoke every now and again) but we are definitely not Republicans.
Because we don’t believe that there is an inherent right to use force to achieve political or social goals, and both Republicans and Democrats do.
The drug war comes out of this belief by the Republicans and Democrats, just as did the temperance movement in the early 1900s that led to the disaster of prohibition.
The problem Libertarians have is that historically the party wants to basically run on this as a platform plank. It’s a loser, simply because while plenty of people smoke pot it’s not an issue that people will vote on to the exclusion of others.
The party needs that exclusion issue if it is ever to break the 1% barrier.
More to the point, if the party is ever to gain national relevance it must break the 5% barrier, because it is at that point that federal election funds become available, and suddenly the Libertarian Party goes from having almost nothing to having literal millions to spend on a Presidential Campaign.
Fraud is that exclusion issue, and the party can either adopt it now, in this election year, or consign itself to another 40 years of sub-1% performance.
This is an issue on which the Libertarians have no competition. Neither Democrat or Republican candidates will stand up and say “Stop the looting and start prosecuting!” for one simple reason — both of those parties are beholden to deficit spending. Without the banksters who have committed these frauds over the previous decades there is no bond market open to the major politicians to execute their deficit spending plans, and thus they need to protect Wall Street.
But Libertarians don’t believe in big government. We don’t believe in deficit spending. We don’t believe in wars we can’t pay for. We don’t believe in handouts, believing that de-consolidation of power is the better path, and that through de-consolidation we pass power back down to the States and The People. We, among all the political parties, want to return the Federal Government to the boundaries it is supposed to live within as defined by The Constitution.
As a result we do not need to protect those have committed and continue to commit fraud.
Now consider this: Five million homes have been lost to foreclosure since 2006, and that’s just completed foreclosures! Estimates are that one million more will be completed in 2012.
What percentage of those have some element of fraud in the process?
Most of them. That’s right, most of them. The frauds include:
- Fraudulent origination of loans. 80% of one major bank’s production of loans in 2007 was known by the bank to not meet its own quality guidelines, yet they sold those loans on anyway. These are houses that people could not have bought, and thus could not be foreclosed out of losing everything they had paid in, but for the fraudulent origination.
- Fraudulent conveyance and/or assignment. Huge percentages of the loans were never properly conveyed to the MBS trusts. We know this to be factual at this point in time, especially among private-label loans. Many were sold more than once and even more have hidden clouds on the title. A recent study of 400 foreclosures in California showed that nearly half of the foreclosure sales were conducted by someone who appeared not to own the property and 84% of the files contained the appearance of clear violations of the law.
- Destruction of private property rights. MERS and everything associated with the “slicing and dicing” of mortgages has severely damaged private property rights throughout America. Private property rights are not only a huge part of what makes America great, it is also a core principle and belief of the Libertarian Party.
And this is just foreclosures and housing. But the frauds don’t end there.
Wachovia was busted for running drug money. Now as a Libertarian I believe that drugs should be legal. But the fact is that they’re not, and that Wachovia got caught running hundreds of millions of dollars that were then used to buy both planes and one presumes guns used to murder people both in Mexico and America. They “paid a fine”, making this a “cost of doing business.” Murder is the very definition of initiation of force.
If you think this is an “isolated incident” you’re wrong. I’ve documented more instances of apparently fraudulent behavior than I can count — in fact, you can’t swing around a dead cat by the tail in my Tickers without reading about another outrage. One of the Tickers worthy of reading again on this point is found here, which shows a chart of some of the serial fraudsters who swore at the time they got caught the first time to never do it again — but they did.
The point at hand here, and the point that Libertarians and the Libertarian party must take note of, is that there is a voting base of literal tens of millions that have been screwed in some form or fashion by these crimes.
These are not mistakes, they are crimes that any Libertarian would agree should be crimes and in many cases they’re not just allegations they’re admitted felonies — crimes for which you or I, not so politically connected, would be rotting in prison for — and justly so.
So here’s the question to the Party, and to candidates running under this party banner:
Do you actually want to win an election or not?
Because if you do actually want to win here’s the issue that brings you that victory. It is the issue that touches damn near everyone in America, the issue that has literally screwed five million people out of their house, has screwed millions more out of their jobs, has killed people (when the fraud touches the drug companies) and has dispossessed millions more of thousands, tens of thousands, or their entire life savings. It is the issue that people will vote on above all others because the harm they have suffered is real, it is tangible, it is raw and it is an issue we can win on without compromising our principles in any way, shape or form — in fact, it plays precisely to what Libertarians stand for from the bottom up.
This is the issue that lifts the Libertarian Party out of the 0.5% election return numbers and posts up solid double-digit numbers, to be followed in the next election cycle by actual victories, and that assumes you don’t win outright — and you just might.
The author is an EC member of the Florida Libertarian Party, a state party delegate at the conventions of both 2011 and 2012, and active at both the state and county levels. The opinions expressed herein are his own.