Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Farewell Tea Party Dover DE

My son Will spoke today at the Farewell Tea Party in Dover, Delaware.  He is the chairman of the Kent County Libertarian Party and a candidate for State Representative in Delaware's 32nd District.  The Farewell Rally was sponsored by the Diamond State Tea Party to mark the conclusion of Delaware's 2010 legislative session.  They hosted over twenty speakers this afternoon.  Way to go Diamond State Tea Party.  Here's Will's presentation.  Hopefully Will's video guy (also his dad) is a better campaign manager than he is a cameraman.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SB293--The Parents Right to Know Act

SB293, the Parents Right to Know Act, is struggling to make it's way through the State Legislature despite the support of a very vocal and committed constituency including the Delaware Family Policy Council (DFPC).  You can read the bill here.  It's quite short.  You can get some background here at the 912 Delaware Patriots website.  Here's the synopsis.

This Bill would require schools to notify parents of information being taught to their children relating to human sexuality issues, sexual acts, profanity, violence, drugs and/or alcohol. Such policy would ensure parent/guardian notification no less than 48 hours prior to introduction or instructional use. Such policy would afford parents or guardians the flexibility to exempt their children from any portion of said curriculum or materials through notification to the school principal.

As a Libertarian, I have some reservations about the bill. I believe it's intent is honorable, but it strikes me as a means to facilitate yet one more special interest to control the agenda, in this case school curricula, by introducing still another layer of bureaucracy.  I understand the goals and share some of the concerns of the sponsors, but I am unhappy that they resort to adding more check boxes to be filled in by school administrators.  Here are some of my thoughts on the subject.

Parents have valid concerns with liberal special interests trying to force their agenda through the schools.

I know of no evidence that schools in Delaware are not already responsive to parents wishes without adding another layer of bureaucracy. (If anybody wants to cite some examples that I am unaware of, please reply to this post).

Libertarian principles would suggest that action at the school board level would be more appropriate where parents can get involved with their childrens' schools directly.

To take it further, Libertarians believe that government should not be in the education business in the first place other than perhaps to administer a voucher system where parents can choose religious education, arts oriented education, vocational education, traditional college prep education or even Satanic education if that's what they want.  OK, so maybe not Satanic education.  But pretty much anything the market can provide that parents want for their kids.  No more fighting the bureaucracy.  Don't like the curriculum?  Vote with your feet.  Choose a school run by people who share your values.  The market will sort this out.

We won't get from A to C over a single summer vacation.  That is, we won't go from where we are now, to Libertarian Nirvana overnight, but why not start now with a pilot voucher program, and grow it as it's success evolves?  Maybe a government school should always be an option for parents who want that.  That would be OK.

What are your thoughts?


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Get Active

I spent an hour at Legislative Hall this afternoon. I went to distribute copies of a couple of blog articles that my son Will and I had written in opposition to HB 198, the National Popular Vote bill. The bill passed the house last session and was on the Senate agenda today. Each of Delaware's twenty one state senators got a copy of the articles in an attempt to persuade them to defeat this bill. As it turned out, the bill was moved to tomorrow's agenda, so hopefully there's a chance that my efforts may influence some thinking on the subject.

I was a little bit anxious when I got there.  I definitely felt a little out of my element.  But I remembered something I heard Earnest Hancock say at the Libertarian National Convention this past Memorial Day.  "If your activism doesn't make you at least a little bit nervous, you're not radical enough".  I think Ernie Hancock is a very wise man.  What I did today was pretty tame stuff.  But I feel I pushed my own personal envelope.  And I'm not done pushing yet!

Last year, I would have sat at home frustrated that my government ignored me, and I would have been resigned to accepting anything they threw my way.  Not any more.  Thank you Ernest Hancock.  And thank you, Russ Murphy and the 912 Delaware Patriots for setting the example, and giving me and others like me, the courage to stand up and fight for what we believe.   Six months ago, I couldn't spell political activist.  Today, I are one.  Wake up America!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Meet Michael Badnarik--A Wake Up Call to Libertarians

This is Michael Badnarik, 2004 Libertarian candidate for president, speaking some harsh truths to fellow Libertarians at the Memorial Day Weekend Libertarian National Convention in St Louis. It was a very moving speech. I was there, and far from feeling depressed and demoralized, I came away inspired to do whatever I can to promote the principles we stand for. In the words of an ancient Hebrew adage: If not me, then who? If not now, then when?


Sunday, June 6, 2010

California's TopTwo Ballot Initiative: Possibly The Most Frightening Assault on Liberty in Our Lifetime

This Tuesday,  June 8, California voters will decide on Proposition 14, a ballot measure commonly referred to as Top Two.  The proposition calls for a single, open primary in which all candidates compete regardless of party affiliation, and all voters are eligible to cast a ballot.  Then, only the top two vote getters compete in the general election.  Proponents of Proposition 14 claim it will reduce partisanship, and increase voter participation.  Opponents dispute those claims citing results in Louisiana and Washington state where Top Two systems have been in effect.

Clearly, the worst feature of Proposition 14 is one that its advocates fail to mention at all.  If only the top two candidates go on to compete in the general election, third party candidates will essentially  be eliminated from general elections.  This proposal does not reform the election process as it claims.  It undermines it by reducing choice.  It may arguably expand primary participation, but only at a cost of extinguishing healthy, democratic competition  in the general election; the one that counts. 

The driving force behind this ballot initiative is collusion between the two major parties, the Republicans and the Democrats.  It is a shady deal with the goal of stifling debate and cementing the power of the major parties.  It is a shameful attempt to muzzle the potential voices of real change so that only the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum views of the major parties can be heard in the debate.

What are they afraid of?  If they have better ideas, why try to stifle competition?  The answer is they worry that the public has had enough of business as usual.  Instead of competing fairly on an open field of ideas, they want to stack the deck in their favor.

And since incumbent politicians are responsible for Prop 14, they get to write the ballot summary that goes out to potential voters.  Here's how those politicians, greedily pursuing their own self interest, have described the ballot proposal:

Ballot title and label: "Elections. Increases Right to Participate in Primary Elections." Reforms the primary election process for congressional, statewide, and legislative races. Allows all voters to choose any candidate regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference. Ensures that the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes will appear on the general election ballot regardless of party preference.
Official summary: Encourages increased participation in elections for congressional, legislative, and statewide offices by reforming the procedure by which candidates are selected in primary elections. Gives voters increased options in the primary by allowing all voters to choose any candidate regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference. Provides that candidates may choose not to have a political party preference indicated on the primary ballot. Provides that only the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes in the primary will appear on the general election ballot regardless of party preference. Does not change primary elections for President, party committee offices and nonpartisan offices.

What they do tell you sounds pretty good on the surface.  What they don't tell you constitutes the greatest threat to our liberties and the democratic system that I have seen in my lifetime.  This has got to be the most egregious example of Orwellian Doublespeak I have ever heard. 

I urge those of you in California to vote NO on Proposition 14.  For those of you who are not Californians, beware.  What has been proposed in California could be coming to your state next.

For more information, go to StopTopTwo.Org, or go to Ballotpedia.Org.