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Principles, not Power, Must Remain Our Focus

(Chris Spangle has been asked to contribute to the UK libertarian magazine The Libertarian. This column originally ran here)

I will admit it publicly. For the first time since washing my hands of the Republican Party in 2007, I was actually proud of something a Republican had done. I watched Senator Rand Paul for many hours this past week as he railed against an administration unwilling to speak in support of the Constitution they took an oath to uphold. As a libertarian, it was nice to have one day where we had a win.

Being a libertarian isn’t easy. Often it becomes an exercise in measuring the anger and bitterness of our words and tone as America devolves in to an ever-expanding police state. The American libertarian movement took to social media to “dance in the streets” in the same way Egyptians danced in Tahir Square when Mubarak fell.

Now Republican reform is on the tip of every libertarian’s tongue: “Can the GOP actually become libertarian? Is this our Arab Spring?”

I’ve spent the last 4 years working for the Libertarian Party of Indiana full-time as their Executive Director (I recently left to take a job in advertising). I took this role after spending several years in the local media in my hometown of Indianapolis, IN. It was there that I saw the broken game of politics that is rigged against anyone that wishes to change the parties from inside. I officially stopped identifying myself with the Republican Party after  the removal of 300 state delegates, in a party rules violation, their seat at the Indiana Republican state convention in 2008. In 2012, we saw this repeated in states like Maine and Iowa.

Destruction of the harmful two-party system in America has been my aim for nearly 5 years now. If I worked within the Republican or Democratic Party, I’d abhor that I’d have to be silent or deceive others about my principles to gain acceptance by fellow party members as many did in 2012 to try to gain convention delegate status. I’d hate that I’d have to kiss the hind-end of some old white man for 10 to 20 years to possibly get my shot at running office. If I did win, concern over raising money to stave off primary challengers because of a lack of liberal or conservative “purity” would over-take commitment to principle. It’s why I feel frustrated when libertarians lose in a primary and their voice is silent from May to November. I have seen dozens of good libertarian candidates choose the GOP and lose the ability to affect change in public thought or in the party because of these concerns. The cold reality is that not everyone that runs will be Justin Amash or Rand Paul. They are once-in-a-thousand wins for libertarians.

This is why I’ve chosen the Libertarian Party as my vehicle for political change based on 10 years of constant contact with my local political climate. Both paths are extremely difficult because libertarians advocate changing the beliefs and behaviors of fellow citizens.

Does that mean I oppose anyone choosing to try to reform the old parties? Certainly not, and I welcome anyone that wants to move us away from statistism. I hope the “college kids” that John McCain referenced are successful. I hope our American political system in 50 years consists of three parties: A liberal party that fights for equality without government force and for peace, a conservative party that fights as free of a market as we can get, and a libertarian party that fights for all of those things.

The question is whether the youth of today can convince the old guard in the GOP of the key concepts of libertarianism as outlined by David Boaz in his excellent work Libertarianism: Individualism, Individual Rights, Spontaneous Order, The Rule of Law, Limited Government, Free Markets, The Virtue of Production, Natural Harmony of Interests, and Peace.

Peace is the hardest concept for most Republicans to embrace. I’ll paraphrase Boaz’s idea in Libertarianism: War disrupts production, natural harmony of interests, closes off trading partners from each other, expands the power of the government and ruling classes, perverts and clouds the rule of law, disrupts spontaneous order, undermines individualism in favor of collectivism, and robs human beings of dignity, life, liberty, and property.

We need to advocate for these principles in as many places and as loudly as possible. There is nothing wrong with participating in the political process. In fact, I think it’s mandatory if you think political change needs to take place. But you must know that participating in the political process is a constant struggle of integrity. You must stay principled while building connections and compromising.

Libertarians (small-L) must all agree that success is not that “our people” are the ones that take over the government. We must agree that success is when our principles, outlined above, are advocated by a majority of a nation’s citizens.

For this to take place, we cannot compromise on our beliefs to compromise and gain power. To do so isn’t a win. It’s just a smaller form of statism.

Spangle: A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work

I cannot properly type. I chicken peck with two fingers. I took one typing class in 7th grade.

Yet I mastered cursive writing, and as soon as we weren’t required in HS to write in cursive, I forgot it. I can’t do it. Yet I am able to communicate with the world (mostly through typing)…

Government-run education is inefficient because some non-teacher bozo values conserving old things that don’t matter by passing or preserving laws instead of giving the flexibility to good educators that would be more efficient at preparing our children. Look at this video… The world is changing fast.

Spangle: I wish Phyllis Klosinski Had a Cute Deer on Her Side

As I watch the Dani the deer story unfold in Indiana, I can’t help but think of Phyllis Klosinski in her fight against the Sweetwater Conservancy district. The district ordered that Phyllis Klosinski and her husband Mike dig up the septic system at their Brown County home to have it inspected. There was no problem that prompted this action, so they refused to comply. Through the fight, they discovered that the Sweetwater Conservancy district had exceeded their authority.

The Indiana Ct. of Appeals issued Opinion No 07A01-1008-PL-429 on April 12, 2011. The most important line of this decision came on page 10 of the opinion.

“We do not read the District’s purpose so narrowly.  In fact, Indiana Code Section 14-33-23-6 provides that the article regarding conservancy districts “shall be liberally construed to accomplish the purpose of creating districts by which local water management problems can best be solved”.  The District’s purpose does not limit its ability to regulate the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage to establishing a public sewage system.  Rather, the District has the ability to regulate all collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage, even the collection, treatment, and disposal through PRIVATE septic systems.”

As Phyllis writes, “The approved purpose of this District statutorily is:  “IC 14-33-1-1-(5) Providing for the collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage and other liquid wastes.” When do regulations over PRIVATE septic systems equal PROVIDING for?”

Unlike the Dani the deer story, the fight of Phyllis and Mike Klosinski’s undermines the property rights of every Hoosier. Despite this, the Klosinski’s could not find a reporter, a state legislator, local government officials, neighbors, the Department of Local Government and Finance and the Governor, or the Indiana Supreme Court that would help champion her cause.

The Libertarian Party of Indiana was the only group to provide coverage and help. Even our efforts fell of deaf ears. Listen to our interview with her here: LPIN Podcast Season 2 – 002: Phyllis Klosinski’s Fight for Property Rights

Phyllis wrote about her experience here: Are you really the King of your Castle?.

Please take a moment to listen to the podcast and share this. Maybe we can take this moment to shine a light on the efforts of a couple that did so much to protect the property rights of every Hoosier at great personal costs, even though they did not win in the end. Maybe their story will inspire others to fight for Constitutional principles as they are.

News Roundup – January 27, 2013

Click Read More to view this weekend’s news roundup.

News Roundup for January 25, 2013

This is the news roundup for January 25, 2012. Click to read more after the jump. (We’re working to improve the format to be a little easier to navigate! Hope it helps. If you have issues with Storify loading, then click reload.) Reload if you have issues with Storify loading.
[View the story “News Roundup – January 25, 2013” on Storify]
News Roundup – January 25, 2013
In this Issue: Commentary, Libertarian Party News, News – Another School Shooting, Iraqi Protest, and the second anniversary of the Arab Spring turns deadly.

Storified by Chris Spangle

News Roundup – January 24, 2012

Click Read More to see today’s news roundup.

[View the story “News Roundup – January 24, 2013” on Storify]

News Roundup – January 24, 2013

Storified by Chris Spangle

News Roundup – January 23, 2013

The News Roundup for January 21, 2013. Click read more!
[View the story “News Roundup January 23, 2013” on Storify]
News Roundup January 23, 2013

Storified by Chris Spangle

News Roundup – January 21, 2013

News of the day for January 21, 2013

[View the story “News Roundup – January 21, 2013” on Storify]

News Roundup – January 21, 2013

Storified by Chris Spangle

Spangle: News Roundup 1-13-13

[View the story “News Roundup 1-13-13” on Storify]
News Roundup 1-13-13

Storified by Chris Spangle

Spangle: Reason and Cato Videos on Gun Debate

Reason and Cato have released two excellent (per usual) videos on the current gun discussion.

First up, Reason.TV presents 5 Facts About Guns, Schools, & Violence:

Next is Cato with The Second Amendment in 2013:

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