Misunderstanding "free speech" Posted by: McQ
on Saturday, August 02, 2008
Joseph Wendt makes the following claim concerning a Senatoral candidate in Kentucky that the LP dumped because of some things he said. As you'll see, Wendt gets it almost completely wrong:
Sonny Landham, a man who has worked hard to organize the efforts to get the ballot as a Libertarian has been forced to start over again as an Independent or a write-in when the Libertarian Party of Kentucky withdrew it's endorsement and told him he could not run as the Libertarian candidate. This is a man, whom left the Republican Party taking personal and political risk to become a Libertarian then was stabbed in the back by his new party. The reason for this back stabbing, he made the following statement: "We should go and bomb those camel-dung shovelers back into the sand, … I said ‘camel-dung shovelers.' Make sure you put that in the newspaper."
I have seen dirty tricks, but this is low. A party that advocates freedom of speech should at least show respect for his honest opinion, an opinion shared by many Americans. The Libertarians should change their slogan to the Party of Hypocrisy. Anyone who seriously believes in the LP platform, which I don't, can't say the LP doesn't believe in censorship. This is censorship, at least the GOP stands by it's candidates when they make questionable statements; just look at Pat Buchanan, Jim Coburn, Jim DeMint, and others. This is show the hubris and hypocrisy that runs the LP.
Mr. Wendt, his "free speech" rights were not abrogated. He obviously freely said what he said. I'm not here to defend or criticize what he said. Instead I'm here to point out that free speech isn't consequence free speech. MoveOn was free to publish the "General Betraus" ad. But once it did, criticism was swift, damning and well deserved. You are responsible for what you say.
Which brings me to the second point. When you say you represent a party, it is assumed you represent their ideals and principles. If I claim to be a Green Party candidate, I had better adhere to the Green Party's stance on issues or the Green Party is most likely going to disavow my candidacy. Funny how that works. A party has no requirement - moral or otherwise - to "stand by" anyone who wanders off the reservation.
Last point - this is not "censorship". Censorship has a very specific meaning, and in the case you cite, it isn't even in the ballpark.
I suggest you go look it up. You may want to edit your piece.
You are fully correct, and it’s important to point out that basically any party should probably disavow any candidate that says what he said. It was not only hateful and bad foreign policy, it was also a very anti-libertarian comment.
"The page you have requested does not appear to reside on this website anymore. There are two possible reasons for this:
1. It’s possible that this article was removed by the columnist who wrote it."
I can certainly understand why the author would wish to remove all traces of this article if the excerpt typifies the entire article. Quite embarrassing.
"This is a man, whom left the Republican Party taking personal and political risk" Aside from a grammatical error, which seems to be fairly common, just what personal risk does one take by leaving the Republican Party? Is it those pesky right-wing death squads again?
Has anyone ever considered that one possible reason we libertarians field such appalling political candidates is that libertarianism is actually a philosophy about devolving power, while political campaigns are essentially about acquiring power. There is a fundamental philosophical contradiction to any libertarian political candidacy, which may help explain why we poll so poorly despite being in a freedom-loving country, and also may help explain why so many of our candidates tend to be so extremist. Simply: our moderate libertarians understand that libertarianism is an intellectual movement, not a political movement, so, the libertarian moderates rarely run for office.
If libertarians—and neolibertarians—are to enjoy electoral success, we will have to craft a political message that: 1. plays in Peoria; and 2. resolves the contradiction between our moral philosophy and our counter-productive attempts at creating another ideology. Until we come to understand and correct our self-limitations and how best to make a philosophy, not still another ideology, into a political winner, we’ll be continually shaking our head in embarrassment at the caliber of candidates who self-identify as "libertarian."
There are several tens of millions of ’small-l’ libertarians in America; but the ’big-L’ Libertarians chase us into voting for less extremist candidates with less extremist views in the two major ideologically-driven political parties. We libertarians have the winning philosophy, but we simply give away the natural advantage we have with the American electorate by our constant efforts at trying to to pound a square peg into a round hole: by trying to make a new political ideology out of an enduring moral philosophy.
There are rational reasons why Libertarians only ever poll in single digits, and none of the miniscule numbers are the result of problems in the electorate. The ’problems’ are internal to libertarianism. If neo-libertarians identify and solve those self-limiting problems, they’ll win elections.
Where to begin? Begin with first principles: Think ’l,’ not ’L.’