Sunday, June 10, 2007

A note from the sausage factory


Earlier today, I moved approval of the following resolution by the executive committee of the Missouri Libertarian Party:

Whereas the platform of the Missouri Libertarian Party advocates 75% voter approval as the minimum standard for all tax increases or new taxes, it is the sense of the executive committee that local ordinances which:

a) Are passed by representative councils or appointed rulemaking bodies rather than by the voters, and

b) Levy indirect taxes on business owners by requiring them to act as proxies for government law enforcement agencies at their own expense;

are contrary to the platform of the Libertarian Party and are therefore not entitled to the support of the party or the party's members, supporters, candidates for public office, or elected or appointed public officials.


The motion died for lack of a second.

In offering the motion, I sought to discharge my duty to the Missouri Libertarian Party by offering it the chance to distance itself -- quietly, gently and without undue controversy -- from a particular piece of bizarre anti-libertarian nonsense with which the media has associated it, by the mild expedient of endorsing its own platform.

In declining that opportunity, the executive committee has implicitly indicated that it prefers that the matter be handled other than quietly, gently and without undue controversy. While I consider that preference to be a regrettable error, I now reluctantly comply:

I have known Doug Burlison for ~12 years. He was one of the most valuable and appreciated volunteers in my own 1997 campaign for a seat on the city council he now serves on. I have always considered Doug a friend, and a fine libertarian, and I still do.

BUT:

The Libertarian Party does not support requiring business owners to act as government law enforcement agents.

The Libertarian Party certainly doesn't support requiring business owners to act as government law enforcement agents at their own expense above and beyond their regular tax bill, and under threat of fines and ultimately business closure should they fail to satisfactorily comply.

I do not know how it came about that Doug Burlison fell under the sway of an anti-libertarian, anti-free-market, anti-business hate group (the "Minuteman Civil [sic] Defense [sic] Corps") to such an extent that he would attempt to write their agenda into law at the expense not only of that group's victims of choice (immigrants), but of the fellow citizens who elected him to protect them from such depredations.

I do, however, know that the ordinance not only does not represent, but is in irreconciliable conflict with, the platform of the Missouri Libertarian Party -- and I am ashamed that that party's executive committee declined to even weakly state that obvious fact in its own self-defense. I apologize to my fellow Libertarians, and to the people of Missouri, for my inability to dissuade the executive committee from this failure of responsibility.

I hope that Doug Burlison will reconsider both his associations with domestic terrorist organizations and his sponsorship of this rephrehensible legislation. And I pray that the Missouri LP's chosen leaders will choose, in the future, to defend the party when it is attacked, rather than cower in silence as they did today.

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