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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

California Libertarians Help Craft LPUS Platform Recommendations

The 2010 Libertarian Party Platform Committee met in Las Vegas on Dec. 12-13 and adopted a relatively modest set of 24 recommendations to the current "greatest hits" platform that the LP assembled in 2008 from language chosen from nine previous LP platforms.  That complete overhaul in 2008 came on the heels of a revolt by the delegates to the 2006 Portland convention, in which they deleted 46 out of the 61 planks of the 2004 platform and left the platform with massive holes necessitating the 2008 reconstruction.

The meeting seemed to confirm that the LP's platform wars were ended by the 2008 "Denver Accord".  That unofficial agreement transformed the Platform from 2004's detailed 14,000-word recipe for abolishing government to a 2500-word declaration of Libertarian policy principles that neither mandates nor precludes the complete replacement of government with markets.  There was in Vegas no effort to revert to a radically detailed abolitionist platform, nor did the PlatCom recommend adding any new language asserting a proper role for government.

Another sign of platform peace was in the roll-call voting.  Brian Holtz was the editor of the 2008 Platform draft that was chosen in Denver over the detailed radical platform offered by Rob Power, and both Californians are back on the 2010 PlatCom.  In Vegas they voted the same way on 22 out of the 25 platform roll-calls for which both were present.  On one of their three disagreements, Holtz in fact cast the lone "radical" vote (against language to "phase out" Social Security rather than "replace" it).

2008 Chair Alicia Mattson was elected Chair over Power, 16-1, after Power had declared the election a referendum on whether PlatCom can use teleconferencing for formal meetings (despite the absence of any Bylaws authorizing them).  Holtz was elected Vice-Chair with 12 votes to Power's 3 (and 2 for Adam Mayer).  M Carling was elected Secretary by acclamation.



2008 LP Vice Presidential candidate Wayne Root spoke during the public comments period the first morning, after inviting PlatCom to his palatial home the previous evening for cocktails. Root said that if elected LP Chair in 2010 he will position the LP to take advantage of the Tea Party movement and the growing interest in libertarianism in mainstream politics.  LPNV Senate candidate Jim Duensing was also on hand to pass out 9/11 Truth literature and discreetly show the surgical scars from his recent shooting by the LVPD.

PlatCom recommended rewrites for four planks: Personal Liberty, Rights and Discrimination, Energy and Resources,  and Free Trade and Migration.  The first two rewrites mention "self-ownership" and replace an unqualified parental "right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs" with the declaration that "unlike adults, children realize certain rights as they mature and develop the ability to understand and accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions".

The Energy and Resources plank was so extensively edited from Adam Mayer's original proposal that he joined the losing side of the 8-5 vote adopting it. It talks about energy being "needed to fuel a modern capitalistic society", and says "our current dependence on carbon-based fuel has led to our involvement in wars throughout the globe".

The Free Trade and Migration recommendation qualifies the current immigration screening language to only "credible" threats to health, security, and property. It also says "We invite those not requiring public assistance to come to our country to embrace the American dream."

No changes were recommended on abortion or foreign policy.  The clause in plank 1.2 about drugs was moved unmodified to plank 1.5.  Opposition to "legal tender laws" was qualified to opposing "unconstitutional legal tender laws".  Deletions were recommended for subjective language about "moral values" in education, about "bigotry" being "irrational and repugnant", and contrasting "sensible use" vs. "misuse" of natural resources.

The 24 Recommendations, if not modified by PlatCom at their pre-convention meeting, must be separately approved by 2/3 votes of the delegates to the May 2010 convention in St. Louis.  Most of the recommendations are standalone, but a few may need to be disentangled.  The recommendation to add the drug language to 1.5 will surely be ordered before the recommendation to remove it from 1.2.  A simple recommendation to delete "unrestricted" from the immigration plank might be dropped in light of the subsequent rewrite that seemed to assume inclusion of that word.  Separate recommendations to append individual sentences to the Health Care plank will need to be ordered, if not combined.

PlatCom also voted, over Power's lone dissent, to endorse the Bylaws Committee's recommendation about plank retention voting.  The proposal is that plank retention voting by delegates will only happen upon the request of either 4 PlatCom members or 10% of the delegates to the previous convention.

If all of the PlatCom's Vegas recommendations are adopted, the Platform would be modified like this: http://libertarianmajority.net/2010-lp-platform-vegas.

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