Sunday, October 21, 2012

So I’m a libertarian voter

Yes. It’s true. I’m a libertarian (notice the small L). I’m also an incrementalist. I believe that any movement, even small steps, towards libertarian political objectives is a good thing. I’ve tried to connect with big “L” libertarian establishment here in California over the last decade. Let’s just say I’m not a good fit, especially since the rise of the Tea Party nutballs. I’ll write more on this in the future, but for now I want to concentrate on one thing. I’m a libertarian voter. I want to know how I should vote in the 2012 election? Where is the official Libertarian voters guide?

Is there a voters guide posted at the LPC website? The answer is no (I looked hard too). You can waste a lot of time looking for it, but ultimately, you won’t find it because it does not exist. And that my friends, it just plain sad. There are 11 propositions on November's ballot. An inquiring libertarian wants to know what the LPC’s position is on all of these propositions? To find anything, I had to look in other places, like the up or down guide at LPLAC.

Take Proposition 34 for example. The LBC website has no articles on proposition 34. If you want to find the libertarian position, you must Google it and read the positions of the various county organizations (good luck in crazy land). All of the county positions I read call for libertarians to vote yes, which is good since that is my position. I want more though. Why should we vote yes. the why is important. What is the principle at stake here? What do we gain by supporting a repeal of the death penalty? Eager minds want to know.

I believe libertarians should vote YES on prop 34. The reasons are simple. The death penalty is morally wrong (I realize morality is not a libertarian thing). The state should not have the power to execute its citizens. And finally, eliminating the death penalty will save California tax payers billions of dollars and reduce the size of government.

I do have problems with prop 34 though. It calls for creating a fund of "100 million dollars to help solve more homicide and rape cases. I don’t see how ending the death penalty is in any way related to solving more crime, but given the potential savings, 100 million dollars is chump change. Remember, I am an incrementalist. Movement in the right direction is a good thing. Ending the death penalty is a step in the right direction. So I support it.

The Libertarian Part of California will never provide this service. Instead they offer this superficial tripe:

Libertarian solutions are the most practical and workable for strengthening our economy and governing our state. If they had been employed during the last decade, our state would be strong and not in a deficit. Thus, Libertarians work to:

  • Reduce government spending;
  • Reform public employee pensions, which are bankrupting cities, counties and the state;
  • Promote private business development, which will create jobs;
  • Privatize government services that are best delivered by cost-effective providers;
  • Guarantee equal treatment under the law for all Californians;
  • Regulate marijuana like wine for adults, thus making it less available to minors; and
  • Adopt a part-time Legislature.

The Libertarian Party has candidates who will make these reforms, such as our Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, but first they need your support in this upcoming election.

Libertarian Party of California
Kevin Takenaga, Chairman
770 L Street, Suite 950
Sacramento, CA 95814-3361
(916) 446-1776, Extension 6

I’m sure Kevin Takenaga means well, but seriously. What does this have to do with proposition 35? Which is: California Proposition 35, Ban on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery (2012). I’m told by the LPLSC guide that I should vote no. I would like to know why. I’d also like to know why this guide is not on the Libertarian Party of California’s website… Just saying.

Regarding prop 35. I was inclined to vote yes, but then I read the text of the proposition. I have a couple of rules on issues regarding crime.

First: Does it create a source of income for law enforcement? If the answer is yes, then I vote no. My reasoning is simple, if law enforcement agencies receive increased funding from arresting people, they will arrest people to keep their funding. In this case, fines levied against human traffickers will be split between law enforcement and victims. The cops will have an incentive to arrest people under this ordnance, which means the husband of a woman who chooses to work as a prostitute (a consenting adult with a consenting adult), could find himself arrested under a broad interpretation of the new law because he received financial benefit from his wife’s work.

Second: Is the initiative an unfunded mandate? The answer here is yes. There is no provision for offsetting the cost of increased prosecution at the state level and no funding for increased law enforcement training and procedural changes.Plus, no funding for increased incarceration in already overcrowded prisons.

Third: Is the proposition actually doing what it is purported to be doing. Again, in this case the answer is no. It adds language for the distribution of offensive material which would make any person distributing said material subject to prosecution as a human trafficker.

After thinking about it, I’m voting no. It is a good idea, but executed poorly.

Now, back to libertarian la la land. Where is the leadership? Where is the good advice? Where is the analysis? Why is it that we manage to act like kooks promoting all manner of oddness at a time when real issues need attention. We fail at all levels here. When  presented with something as simple as a well-designed website with good content, and a voters guide, we can’t seem to get it done.

I found this in on a blog post from September 24th.

Your California LP is hard at work preparing not only for the November 6th elections, but also getting Prop. 14 overturned, supporting our candidates, deciding our stands on the propositions, and getting our voter registration numbers up to meet ballot eligibility requirements.

I can’t see the results of the “hard work." There have been two blog posts since the one noted above. Neither have any content about the election.