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  • markandrewc
    An Open Letter To Libertarians by John Hospers Dear Libertarian: As a way of getting acquainted, let me just say that I was the first presidential candidate
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 27, 2004
      An Open Letter To Libertarians
      by John Hospers

      Dear Libertarian:

      As a way of getting acquainted, let me just say that I was the first
      presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party back in l972, and
      was the author of the first full-length book, Libertarianism,
      describing libertarianism in detail. I also wrote the Libertarian
      Party's Statement of Principles at the first libertarian national
      convention in 1972. I still believe in those principles as strongly
      as ever, but this year — more than any year since the establishment
      of the Libertarian Party — I have major concerns about the choices
      open to us as voting Americans.

      There is a belief that's common among many libertarians that there is
      no essential difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties —
      between a John Kerry and a George W. Bush administration; or worse:
      that a Bush administration would be more undesirable. Such a notion
      could not be farther from the truth, or potentially more harmful to
      the cause of liberty.

      The election of John Kerry would be, far more than is commonly
      realized, a catastrophe. Regardless of what he may say in current
      campaign speeches, his record is unmistakable: he belongs to the
      International Totalitarian Left in company with the Hillary and Bill
      Clintons, the Kofi Annans, the Ted Kennedys, and the Jesse Jacksons
      of the world. The Democratic Party itself has been undergoing a
      transformation in recent years; moderate, pro-American, and strong
      defense Senators such as Zell Miller, Joe Lieberman and Scoop Jackson
      are a dying breed. Observe how many members of the Democrat Party
      belong to the Progressive Caucus, indistinguishable from the
      Democratic Socialists of America. That caucus is the heart and soul
      of the contemporary Democratic Party.

      Today's Democrats have been out of majority power for so long that
      they are hungry for power at any price and will do anything to
      achieve it, including undermining the President and our troops in
      time of war; for them any victory for Americans in the war against
      terrorism is construed as a defeat for them.

      The Democratic Party today is a haven for anti-Semites, racists,
      radical environmentalists, plundering trial lawyers, government
      employee unions, and numerous other self-serving elites who despise
      the Constitution and loathe private property. It is opposed to free
      speech – witness the mania for political correctness and intimidation
      on college campuses, and Kerry's threat to sue television stations
      that carry the Swift Boat ads. If given the power to do so, Democrats
      will use any possible means to suppress opposing viewpoints,
      particularly on talk radio and in the university system. They will
      attempt to enact "hate speech" and "hate crime" laws and re-institute
      the Fairness Doctrine, initiate lawsuits, and create new regulations
      designed to suppress freedom of speech and intimidate their political
      adversaries. They will call it "defending human rights." This sort of
      activity may well make up the core of a Kerry administration Justice
      Department that will have no truck with the rule of law except as a
      weapon to use against opponents.

      There are already numerous stories of brownshirt types committing
      violence against Republican campaign headquarters all over the
      country, and Democrat thugs harassing Republican voters at the polls.
      Yet not a word about it from the Kerry campaign. Expect this
      dangerous trend to increase dramatically with a Kerry win, ignored
      and tacitly accepted by the liberal-left mainstream media. This is an
      ominous sign of worse things to come.

      Kerry, who changes direction with the wind, has tried to convince us
      that he now disavows the anti-military sentiments that he proclaimed
      repeatedly in the l970s. But in fact he will weaken our military
      establishment and devastate American security by placing more value
      on the United Nations than on the United States: for example he
      favors the Kyoto Treaty and the International Criminal Court, and
      opposed the withdrawal of the U.S. from the ABM Treaty. He has been
      quoted as saying that it is honorable for those in the U.S. military
      to die under the flag of the U.N. but not that of the U.S. Presumably
      he and a small cadre of bureaucrats should rule the world, via the
      U.N. or some other world body which will make all decisions for the
      whole world concerning private property, the use of our military, gun
      ownership, taxation, and environmental policy (to name a few). In his
      thirty-year career he has demonstrated utter contempt for America,
      national security, constitutional republicanism, democracy, private
      property, and free markets.

      His wife's foundations have funneled millions of dollars into far-
      left organizations that are virulently hostile to America and
      libertarian principles. Not only would these foundations continue to
      lack transparency to the American people, they would be given
      enormous vigor in a Kerry administration.

      Already plans are afoot by the Kerry campaign to steal the coming
      election via a legal coup, e.g. to claim victory on election night no
      matter what the vote differential is, and initiate lawsuits anywhere
      and everywhere they feel it works to their advantage, thus making a
      mockery of our election process, throwing the entire process into
      chaos — possibly for months — and significantly weakening our ability
      to conduct foreign policy and protect ourselves domestically. Let me
      repeat: we are facing the very real possibility of a political coup
      occurring in America. Al Gore very nearly got away with one in 2000.
      Do not underestimate what Kerry and his ilk are going to attempt to
      do to America.

      George Bush has been criticized for many things – and in many cases
      with justification: on campaign finance reform (a suppression of the
      First Amendment), on vast new domestic spending, on education, and on
      failing to protect the borders. No self-respecting libertarian or
      conservative would fail to be deeply appalled by these. His great
      virtue, however, is that he has stood up — knowingly at grave risk to
      his political viability — to terrorism when his predecessors, Ford,
      Carter, Reagan, and Clinton did not. On many occasions during their
      administrations terrorists attacked American lives and property.
      Clinton did nothing, or engaged in a feckless retaliation such as
      bombing an aspirin factory in the Sudan (based on faulty
      intelligence, to boot). Then shortly after Bush became president he
      was hit with "the big one": 9/11. It was clear to him that terrorism
      was more than a series of criminal acts: it was a war declared upon
      U.S. and indeed to the entire civilized world long before his
      administration. He decided that action had to be taken to protect us
      against future 9/11s involving weapons of mass destruction,
      including "suitcase" nuclear devices.

      Indeed, today it is Islamic fundamentalism that increasingly
      threatens the world just as Nazi fascism and Soviet communism did in
      previous decades. The Islamo-fascists would be happy to eliminate all
      non-Muslims without a tinge of regret. Many Americans still indulge
      in wishful thinking on this issue, viewing militant Islam as a kind
      of nuisance, which can be handled without great inconvenience in much
      the same way as one swats flies, rather than as hordes of genocidal
      religious fanatics dedicated to our destruction.

      The president has been berated for taking even minimal steps to deal
      with the dangers of this war (the allegations made against the
      Patriot Act seem to me based more on hysteria and political
      opportunism than on reality). But Bush, like Churchill, has stood
      steadfast in the face of it, and in spite of the most virulent hate
      and disinformation campaign that any American president has had to
      endure. Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for terrorists.
      Saddam's regime is no longer a major player in the worldwide terror
      network. Libya has relinquished their weapons of terror. The
      Pakistani black market in weapons of mass destruction has been
      eliminated. Arafat is rotting in Ramallah. Terrorist cells all over
      the world have been disrupted, and thousands of terrorists killed.
      The result: Americans are orders of magnitude safer.

      National defense is always expensive, and Bush has been widely
      excoriated for these expenditures. But as Ayn Rand memorably said at
      a party I attended in l962, in response to complaints that "taxes are
      too high" (then 20%), "Pay 80% if you need it for defense." It is not
      the amount but the purpose served that decides what is "too much."
      And the purpose here is the continuation of civilized life on earth
      in the face of vastly increased threats to its existence.

      Bush cut income tax rates for the first time in fifteen years. These
      cuts got us moving out of the recession he inherited, and we are all
      economically much better off because of them. 1.9 million new jobs
      have been added to the economy since August 2003. Bush has other
      projects in the wind for which libertarians have not given him
      credit. For example:

      (l) A total revision of our tax code. We will have a debate
      concerning whether this is best done via a flat tax or a sales tax.
      If such a change were to occur, it would be a gigantic step in the
      direction of liberty and prosperity. No such change will occur with

      (2) A market-based reform of Social Security. This reform, alone,
      could bring future budget expenditures down so significantly that it
      would make his current expenditures seem like pocket change. Kerry
      has already repudiated any such change in social security laws.

      The American electorate is not yet psychologically prepared for a
      completely libertarian society. A transition to such a society takes
      time and effort, and involves altering the mind-set of most
      Americans, who labor under a plethora of economic fallacies and
      political misconceptions. It will involve a near-total restructuring
      of the educational system, which today serves the liberal-left
      education bureaucracy and Democratic Party, not the student or
      parent. It will require a merciless and continuous expose of the bias
      in the mainstream media (the Internet, blogs, and talk radio have
      been extremely successful in this regard over the past few years).
      And it will require understanding the influence and importance of the
      Teresa Kerry-like Foundations who work in the shadows to undermine
      our constitutional system of checks and balances.

      Most of all, it will require the American people — including many
      libertarians – to realize the overwhelming dangerousness of the
      American Left – a Fifth Column comprised of the elements mentioned
      above, dedicated to achieving their goal of a totally internationally
      dominated America, and a true world-wide Fascism.

      Thus far their long-term plans have been quite successful. A Kerry
      presidency will fully open their pipeline to infusions of taxpayer-
      funded cash and political pull. At least a continued Bush presidency
      would help to stem this tide, and along the way it might well succeed
      in preserving Western civilization against the fanatic Islamo-
      fascists who have the will, and may shortly have the weapons
      capability, to bring it to an end.

      When the stakes are not high it is sometimes acceptable, even
      desirable, to vote for a `minor party' candidate who cannot possibly
      win, just to "get the word out" and to promote the ideals for which
      that candidate stands. But when the stakes are high, as they are in
      this election, it becomes imperative that one should choose, not the
      candidate one considers philosophically ideal, but the best one
      available who has the most favorable chance of winning. The
      forthcoming election will determine whether it is the Republicans or
      the Democrats that win the presidency. That is an undeniable reality.
      If the election is as close as it was in 2000, libertarian voters may
      make the difference as to who wins in various critical "Battle
      Ground" states and therefore the presidency itself. That is the
      situation in which we find ourselves in 2004. And that is why I
      believe voting for George W. Bush is the most libertarian thing we
      can do.

      We stand today at an important electoral crossroads for the future of
      liberty, and as libertarians our first priority is to promote liberty
      and free markets, which is not necessarily the same as to promote the
      Libertarian Party. This time, if we vote Libertarian, we may win a
      tiny rhetorical battle, but lose the larger war.

      John Hospers
      Los Angeles, CA
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