PostHeaderIcon Tossing My Hat

Regarding the “Stump Speech” below.

While I agree with much of what candidate Dave has to say in his stump speech, I have nevertheless decided to enter the race on the Libertarian ticket. Of course, I have no idea what district or even what state this virtual congressional seat is in, nevertheless, my hat is now in the ring (and just as well because I NEVER liked wearing hats).

MY QUALIFICATIONS

Apart from good intentions and strongly held principles, I have none. Still, this leaves me much more qualified than most candidates.

MY POSITIONS

Unlike Candidate Dave, I will make you no promise to always cast your vote in accordance with your wishes. I take this position for several reasons:

→ First, rarely will the people of this district communicate to their representative a clear majority position on any issue,

→ Second, your representatives are rarely given the time to give you all the details of an issue, pro and con, and get back your opinions,

→ Third, you-the-people are sometimes mistaken. Not out of malice but out of simple ignorance of the issues.

What I will promise you is that I will stand for a certain set of principles which will always guide my thinking, ergo my casting of your vote. These principles include a steadfast belief in personal liberty, free markets, free (international) trade, the use of military power only for defensive purposes in response to clear and present threats, states rights, limited government, and absolute compliance with the United States Constitution.

And, while it is impossible for me to tell you in advance how I will cast your vote on any issue, current or future, I can tell you the rules I will use in deciding how to vote on any proposed law:

→ I will NOT vote in favor of any proposed law that violates the strict wording and intent of our Constitution. Many will tell you there is simply no way, this far removed in time and circumstance, for anyone to know what the founders intended. This is bovine excrement. Those primarily responsible for the architecture of our Republic left behind a wealth of articles, letters, notes and other documentation. These leave little doubt as to their thinking and their intentions.

→ I will NOT vote in favor of any proposed law that tends to lessen personal liberty in any way, including well-meant attempts to improve our safety or security. I strictly believe in the adage that anyone who would trade essential liberty for the sense of security deserves neither the liberty nor the security.

→ I will NOT vote in favor of any proposed law that would cause the expenditure of funds in excess of tax revenues.

→ I will NOT vote in favor of any proposed law that would benefit any one citizen at the expense of another. That is to say, I strictly believe that all laws enacted by your government must apply equally to every citizen, including members of government, whether elected, appointed or employed.

→ I will NOT vote in favor of any proposed law that would relieve you of your responsibilities as a citizen of this Republic or as a member of the human race. While I do support private, local acts of charity when and where these are appropriate, I reject the view that government – at any level – has any responsibility to provide for your basic needs. I sincerely think that past attempts to do so have served only to weaken this Republic in a way that all of us will ultimately suffer for.

In addition to what I will NOT support, I will work with like-minded fellow members of government to rescind any and all existing laws that violate any of the rules and principles listed above.

Others might tell you they will work for the “common good”. I will tell you that, aside from protecting our lives, our liberty and our fairly-gained property, there is no “common good”. We are all individuals and, as such, should be left with the liberty, and such resources as we have fairly gained, to fulfill our own personal vision of “good”, so long as, in doing so, we do not prevent a fellow individual from doing the very same thing and at the very same time.

Others might tell you they will work to create jobs. I will tell you that I will work to eliminate as many jobs as I can – in the public sector. Creating private sector jobs is for the entrepreneurs among you. The best I can do in this regard is to work to eliminate the rules, regulations and other obstacles government has put in your way.

Others might tell you they will work to promote or discourage certain social mores (such as gay rights, marriage, a woman’s right to choose, the use of alcohol, tobacco or narcotics, any issue concerning religious belief or practice). I will tell you that such issues are none of the federal government’s business – nor are they any of mine. I will further tell you that I believe such matters should be addressed as near the individuals concerned as possible (or by the individuals themselves).

In summary, if you seek a candidate who will adhere to a strict set of rules and principles, explained to you in advance, while seeking to allow the absolute maximum of personal liberty to each individual, without qualification, then I am your candidate.

Please remember that when you elect a person to represent you in the halls of government, you are not electing a puppet or a robot. What you are doing is empowering an individual to represent your best interests, so long as those interests are consistent with our Constitution as well as with commonly held moral and ethical standards.

If any of my rules or principles violate your conscience such that you cannot vote for me, then I recommend Candidate Dave as you next best choice.

Thank you.

Troy Robinson

Atheist, Libertarian, Objectivist, Blogger, Gardener, and Lover of Truth, Beauty, Liberty and J9.

17 Responses to “Tossing My Hat”

  • ◄Dave► says:

    You would win my vote, Troy; but then I already agree with your general principles, and trust you to adhere to them. My speech was intended to be a bit more subtle, and encourage voters to rethink the whole notion of principled Party loyalty, and electing a ‘leader’ with a ‘vision’ for their future.

    One of the reasons Libertarians have such difficulty making inroads in the conservative community, is some of their unwavering principles on a few issues that are anathema to conservatives, particularly the drug issue. This is perhaps a good one to compare our campaigns on.

    Let’s say there is a bill on the floor to repeal Federal regulation of narcotics. I think we can agree that this wouldn’t be an emergency issue, where there was neither time nor the ability to learn our district’s majority opinion. I presume that on principle, you would enthusiastically vote for it, regardless of the consensus of your constituents.

    Now, let’s say I represent a very conservative district, where folks fear the violence and and other deleterious effects of the illicit drug trade, from which they expect their government’s protection. Isn’t such defense one of the few legitimate functions for which we establish a government?

    Now, here is where I get into so much trouble with John. Pragmatically, I would have no difficulty setting aside my own preference, which would concur with yours, and cast my vote as my constituents wished me too. Perhaps it is because I don’t use them myself, and am of a general mind that civilization would be the better, if intoxicating substances didn’t even exist; but I would prefer to save my share of perhaps forgivable errors in my neighbors’ minds, for more momentous issues.

    Please note, that this was just a convenient example of an agreement not to repeal a long-existing statute. A new one, intent on unleashing swarms of additional Federal agents about the land, in some sort of escalation of the so-called ‘Drug War,’ would be another matter entirely. In that case, I would probably expend a bit of effort to educate my constituents, as to why I thought this to be a bad idea. Failing that, I would have to fall back on my oath not to violate the Constitution. 🙂 ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      I totally agree with you that the drug issue is one where we Libertarians scare the poop out of folks who agree with much of the rest of our platform. I have even suggested to the Platform Committee (without success) that we drop this plank until such time as we have better educated the folken. Because the answer, as with most things, is education.

      It is really not all that hard to explain to conservatives that the essential question is not whether people who want drugs will get them — all experience has shown that they will, with loads of nasty consequences in the process. Instead, the question should be framed as WHERE will those who demand drugs get them? From legitimate, regulated, tax paying businesses or from bloodthirsty criminal gangs who will stop at nothing to deal with their competition and those who would interfere with them. It is also not all that hard to demonstrate how our failed attempts at drug control have actually laid the basis for a police state.

      I would vote for the bill to decriminalize then explain to my constituents that I voted to preserve their safety and liberty. If they disagree, they will send me home as of the next election.

      And this explains the real problem with our Congress — too many of our representatives vote to preserve their jobs and the power and privilege that comes with them without regard to the real effect on their constituents. In a word, they are moral cowards.

      Troy

  • Daedalus says:

    I think you will get my vote Troy. You are the “better of two goods.”
    A question on your Foreign policy. If a foreign power builds an army equal to or better than your own, and announces that they are planning to invade us, do you wait until you have suffered some physical damage before you take action?

    • ◄Dave► says:

      Superb question. I look forward to his response. 😉

      “better of two goods.” What a novel concept. I don’t recall such a choice ever existing in real-world politics; but it sure would be refreshing if it did. 🙂 ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      Dae… you asked:

      If a foreign power builds an army equal to or better than your own, and announces that they are planning to invade us, do you wait until you have suffered some physical damage before you take action?

      That is not the easy question it seems at first glance. My answer is that, if you think the threat credible, you must do what you can to defend against it. However, a nation must guard against being driven into national bankruptcy by excessive military spending to counter a bluff. This is pretty much what the Reagan administration did to the Soviets. The object lesson being that economic attacks can be just as deadly as military ones.

      Having said all that, I would first opt for better intelligence of the potential enemy’s true objectives and try not to be taken in by over-loud sabre rattling.

      I cannot imagine a scenario where I (as commander-in-chief) would order a preemptive first strike.

      If this answer costs me your support, so be it.

      Troy

  • ◄Dave► says:

    Well, well, well… my worthy opponent has only been a politician for less than a week, and he has already mastered the art of equivocating, when asked a direct question. He would seek “better intelligence?” Now, where have I heard that dodge before? Not only that, he reveals his abundant ambition to advance beyond this petty job of representing our District. He hasn’t even won his first election yet, and he is already fantasizing about being our Commander in Chief! 🙂

    Permit me to take a shot at John’s question. First, I assume that since he was asking it of a candidate for the House of Representatives, he meant to get a response from the perspective of that office. This would imply that this foreign power had essentially declared war on us, and Congress was deliberating on a reciprocal Declaration of War, to empower the CinC to take the necessary action for the defense of our nation. Let’s further stipulate that it is considered an emergency, requiring precipitous action, with no time to fully consult my constituents.

    Now, I am just a country boy, unschooled in diplomatic falderal; but I have had some little experience with bullies. Yes, they enjoy posturing and taunting their victims, just to watch them squirm, or turn tail and run away. It is not hard to discern this sort of ‘saber rattling’ and bluffing; but in my experience, once he comes right out and announces that he is going to whip your butt, he is fixin’ to do it.

    At that point, the smaller fellow has but one chance to prevent it. That is to get in the first lick, make it a good one to rock the bully back on his heels, and follow up with such a merciless uninterrupted flurry of rapid punches to his bloody nose, and kicks to his aching groin, that he never regains his footing, and eventually has to cry, “Uncle.” The cool thing is, this usually only has to be done once, to acquire instant immunity from that or any other potential bully, who watched it.

    Thus, I would vote for immediate war, with the caveat that it be fought swiftly, at maximum possible intensity, with no other purpose (and no other acceptable conclusion), than utterly vanquishing the foolish enemy trying to bully us. Then, when finished, I would demand that we bring our troops home immediately, to a well deserved victory parade, and leave that miserable country to cleanup and rebuild their own soiled nest, using whatever is left of their own blood, sweat, and treasure – not ours. ◄Dave►

  • Troy says:

    I do not aspire to be anything in chief or even in the legislature. I did not quite know in what context to take the question so I responded to the most telling (IMHO) one I could think of. I did not intend to equivocate but I truly think the question cannot be accurately answered with only the information given.

    I make no apology for the fact that I think war should always be the very last resort because I don’t believe any war can be truly “won”. The best one can hope for in a war is to merely survive. However, if given no other choice but to engage in a war, it should be fought with the single goal of total annihilation of the enemy. Police actions, slaps on the wrist and other such playing at war only serve to guarantee there will be yet more wars. In a word, war should be so terrible that no sane person would ever think to start one.

    If we want to apply this discussion to the real world, let us discuss Iran. Should we (or Israel) send the whole lot of them to enjoy their grapes/virgins or whatever they actually get from dying?

    Before you answer a quick yes, stop for a moment and consider that the vast majority of Iranians are not anti-everything and that they not only dislike the regime, they are the ones who suffer the most from it.

    For my part, I certainly do not want some Muslim blowing me to kingdom come because they are angry over the acts of some of my so-called”leaders” over whom I have absolutely no influence and whose conduct I would change in an instant if I could.

    Given my own choice, I would do all in my power to convert every would-be enemy into a trading partner. Simply consider our past relationship with China when we tried to isolate them, then consider the contrast once we began to trade with them. Today, they would be insane to attack us. It would be the equivalent of blowing up a factory in which you have made a significant investment (insurance fraud not withstanding). On this same line, I haven’t the slightest doubt that Cuba would have been free of the Castros years ago had we simply lifted that insane embargo.

    Troy

  • Greg says:

    I take it this is a mock election? Fascinating. I certainly agree with Dave in that Troy is equivocating. That being said, here’s a question for you, Troy: One of the problems in American politics is that, when a candidate takes a pledge, they are pidgeonholing themselves and locking themselves into something that, though it may seem right at the time, may need to be changed at a later date due to circumstances. To draw a parallel to Obama, I imagine a lot of those promises he made were quickly erased in his mind once he realized it wasn’t that easy to do what he wanted to do and promised. To ask my question simply: Are you rigid in your belief system above (I will NOT vote to…) or are you flexible and willing to explain yourself if and when your position changes?

    • Troy says:

      Greg, First, thanks for commenting. What I tried to enumerate were a list of principles rather than positions. And, yes, I am rigid about my principles. For instance, I cannot foresee the situation in which I suddenly think ignoring our Constitution is perfectly fine. In my mock campaign brochure, I carefully avoided promising to do any specific thing other than an attempt to get the federal government back within the confines of our Constitution. If my “pigeonholing’ or “locking” myself into adherence to our Constitution offends or disturbs you, then I suggest you never support any candidate with principles similar to mine.

      Troy

  • Greg says:

    Let me give you a better example of what I am talking about: Let’s say you decided to do what Ron Paul wanted, and gut a certain department of the government. Any department will do for the example (generic department A for purposes of this). And let’s say you put out a statement explaining why you did such a thing. 2 years later, and all of a sudden, the department that you got rid of, now needs to be created again. Would you explain this as well?

    Or, here’s another example: Let’s say you sign a pledge not to do x. Three years later, you wind up having to do x. Would you explain it thoroughly, or just dismiss it when I ask again?

    I just read your speech again. For some reason, I thought you were talking about the above (What I just wrote). My bad. Those principles that you wrote about seem fair and just. I had to double-check to see why we were on different wavelengths, and now I understand. Sorry.

    Greg

  • Greg says:

    Oh! And one question: Can you elaborate on why you think there is no “Common good?”

    At any rate, this post has been thoughtful and informative and has really made me think! Good job!

    • Troy says:

      Greg, In the strictest sense of the term, there can seem to be examples of “common good”. Things such as national defense, certain kinds of infrastructure and the like can benefit most of us, more-or-less equally.

      Even making this allowance, the kinds of examples I cite may not be “good” for all. For instance, if your family farm is seized, under eminent domain, to provide land for some of that infrastructure or to build a military installation, you may not agree that the resulting “good” is “common” to you and yours. Likewise, if you are made to pay a tax burden that deprives you of some of the necessities of life in order to fund projects that are of no personal benefit to you, again you may well argue that the resulting “good” is not really “common” to you and yours

      However, this is not the way the term is used by the progressive movement and it is their use that I most protest. In their parlance, “common good” all too often means “we elites know better than you common folk what is good for you, and further, whatever is good for one of you must must be good for all of you simply because we say so” — thereby justifying all manner of intrusions on personal liberty in the process.

      Again, thanks for the comments. Writing this is far more rewarding when you know someone is reading it — whether they agree with my thoughts or not.

      If you are new to this blog, I might explain to you that I did not descend God’s mountain with stone tablets that have all the answers on them. Indeed, I suggest to all readers that they believe nothing I say without applying their own rationality. In other words, my intent is not to inform so much as it is to challenge others to think.

      Troy

  • Greg says:

    And I am intellectually curious! I find the more I pick someone’s brain, the more I learn about their positions. In fact I’m going to migrate a group I have on FB over to a blog I run, myself, that is going to be discussion-based, filled with prompts to write about, news events to respond to, etc. And I know there’s a character limit on my blog, but… you can post your responses to my prompts/discussion material here, and link to it.

    Would you like the link to my blog?

    To your response, I think I understand you now. “Common good,” as you define it, is actually subjective. I feed the starving guy on the end of the road, he gets fed, good for everyone. I feed a whole block of homeless people, my own family goes without food. This is bad for my family. Is that sort of what you are getting about?

    • Troy says:

      Close but not exactly. In both your scenarios you are doing something of your own free will. I get more exercised over a “common good” that is imposed on us without our express consent.

      No problem linking to your blog — other than the fact that I don’t know how to do it.

      Troy

  • Greg says:

    Okay, so if I have a government program that mandates you give bread to every homeless person in America–which, in turn makes you unable to feed your family, you would say that violates “common good?”

    • ◄Dave► says:

      No, the Progressives would claim that to be a ‘common good.’ What it violates is the natural right of an individual to do as he wishes with the fruits of his labor. If he wishes to be charitable, he is free to do so; but nobody has the right to stick a gun to his head and demand that he feed someone else. ◄Dave►

  • Greg says:

    Right. That’s what I was driving at when Troy up there says this:

    We are all individuals and, as such, should be left with the liberty, and such resources as we have fairly gained, to fulfill our own personal vision of “good”

    In other words, if common good is truly subject to interpretation, then we shouldn’t shove our own version of it down someone else’s throat, now should we?

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