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World's Smallest Political Quiz

World's Gayest Political Quiz at NYC Pride 2015

From ManhattanLP.org:

Despite the rainy start to the day, we gave Outright Libertarians‘ new “World’s Gayest Political Quiz” to over 250 people at the NYC LGBT Pride Festival.  When we ran out of those, we switched back to the standard “World’s Smallest Political Quiz” published by the Advocates for Self-Government.  As is usually the case at Pride events, the crowd split between the Left-Liberal and Libertarian quadrants, with a cluster of strong Libertarians due to the self-selection bias of who walks up to a Libertarian booth at a street fair.  As Outright Libertarians usually does in its Operation Politically Homeless booths, we used metal foil stars to indicate the quiz scores on the map, with Gold being Libertarian, Silver being Independent, Green being Green, Blue being Democrat, and Red being Republican.  While we had a run of Blue stars like usual at Pride, we used more Silver stars than ever.  Hear that, Libertarian candidates?  Independents are, politically, what they call “low-hanging fruit.”

A heartfelt thank-you to Alex, Richard, and Alton for volunteering at the booth.

 

Weaponizing the Jury for Queer Liberation

QTJThe fight for liberty for GSM (Gender & Sexual Minority) individuals has come a long way since the birth of the Libertarian Party in 1971. After the Supreme Court of the United States ruling last month, the GSM community and our Libertarian allies have been celebrating a hard-fought victory. Though the battle for marriage equality is won, the war against government involvement in marriage in far from over. And what of the other challenges facing the community? Jury nullification has been proposed as a possible solution.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of the Fully Informed Jury Association, many Libertarians are aware of jury nullification and the role of conscientious acquittal as a form of citizen’s veto over unjust law. What is far less well-understood is what a powerful tactic this can be for marginalized people, who are easy for prosecutors to demonize in front of a jury that is typically not truly their peers. Playing on stereotypes that arise from culture and class warfare - and together with the real-world impact of social stigmas and lived experience of disprivilege –totally harmless non-criminal people can find themselves incarcerated.

For example, trans* individuals know better than government what their needs are. A single trans* person or ally can use nullification to shield a defendant like Monica Jones from prosecution for the victimless crime of ‘walking while trans*'. This is just one of many examples of criminalized behaviors that disproportionately impact GSM people, for which repeal is unlikely to come soon. Until we achieve full abolition of institutionalized heterosexism, we can use nullification as a shield against the aggression of the state.

If you’re interested in learning more about this subject and its application in the context of LGBT liberation, Outright Libertarians and Fully Informed Jury Association have been working together for the past couple of months, putting together the material for an online discussion group entitled "Queering The Jury: Taking Back Decriminalization". Join us this Saturday, July 18, 2015 at 1pm Pacific to learn about this powerful tactic and why it's so important for liberation activists to participate as jurors.

Follow the instructions to RSVP on the Event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1091140057568195/

Additional details in these two videos:

Armed & Fabulous : Calling Out Cantwell

The disgusting underbelly of conservatarian populism has reared its empty head again. Join us for a closer look at the dying husk of paleolibertarianism and a discussion about why it's on its way out.

Check Out Entertainment Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Outright Libertarians on BlogTalkRadio

The Post-Marriage Equality Fight

Over at Reason.com, Scott Shackford asks if victory over marriage equality is where libertarians and the LGBTQ community part ways. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Outright has looked well beyond the day when marriage equality became a nationally guaranteed right. In fact, marriage equality is only the beginning. While Shackford acknowledges that there are still areas of agreement between Libertarians and the LGBTQ community, he omits far too many areas where government coercion is still harming our community:

 

·      Abolish mandatory gender binary tracking and remove gender from federal documents.
Shackford is correct that it shouldn’t matter to the government why somebody identifies as transgender. I will add that it shouldn’t matter to the government how and why individuals identify at all. Individual rights transcend gender and sexuality. It is an affront to liberty to be forced into an outdated and unscientific gender binary system.

 

·      Grant asylum to persecuted LGBTQ individuals.
We’ve made exceptional strides toward securing our rights here in the United States, elsewhere is a far different story. We cannot stand idly while our siblings fleeing countries such as Russia and Uganda are thrown in immigration detention centers or deported back to face their death sentences.

 

·      Prohibit forced interventions; such as gender conversion therapies for minors
Children have every right to self-identification just as adults do. Forced conversion therapy is a travesty to liberty, as well as fraud and medical malpractice. We must fight to ban such practices for minors, and allow the right of emancipation for children in non-affirming homes.

 

·      Repeal Federal and State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA), and allow freedom of contract between LGBTQ and religious business owners/patrons
Government should be no more or less inclined to burden religious liberty than it would other peaceful secular activities between private parties. The right of a business owner to deny service should not be limited to a religious basis. Religious freedom does not mean refusing to uphold one’s end of a contract.

·      Legalize sex work
Laws against sex work disproportionately affect our community. Every day, sex workers are locked up and thrown into prisons where they face abuse not limited to rape and murder.

·      Allow HIV+ patients any chosen medical care
This includes a full repeal on the ban against blood donations from gay men. Replacing a lifetime ban with a one-year waiting period is no more warranted and no less homophobic.

·      Allow hate victims to defend themselves
Many non-violent offenders are denied the right to own and carry a firearm. Minority communities such as immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ and sex workers are among the most affected. Liberty includes the right to self-defense, especially for the weakest among us.

 

Many other areas of government coercion against LGBTQ individuals still exist and often overlap with other libertarian priorities; For instance, we should allow the option of school choice for children who face bullying in the public school system. Also, there are still areas in the public sector that still have discrimination written into law, including but not limited to employment, housing, military service, and adoption. So no, this is definitely not where libertarians part ways with the LGBTQ community. Our long-standing tradition of radical liberation continues.

Onward, Freedom Soldiers!!

A quick note of celebration regarding today's #SCOTUS decision!! What a breathtaking transformation we have seen in American society since the first of us came out of the closet 40 years ago as a radical direct action, in hopes that their courage would one day have the power to normalize same-sex love to our neighbors, friends, families and coworkers. The fruits of that effort are apparent today, as the high court has ruled that our relationships are equal in the eyes of the law; and by a great margin the general public believes that our families are just as important building blocks of society as their own.

It cannot be overstated what an incredible step forward has taken place today.

At the same time, our imperative as Libertarians must always be to stay on the right side of history by looking 40 years (or more) ahead, as we have done since our founding in the era of Stonewall. Years ahead of our time, we called for abolishing the marriage bans which were struck down today. And today, we must continue to shine the torch of liberty toward the future.

A future where trans* individuals no longer face the threat of having their genitals inspected and compared to a marker on their identification cards, indeed, where none of us are forced to present papers on demand to agents of the state at all. A future where weddings in foreign countries are no longer bombed while Americans celebrate at home. A future where prisons are a barbaric relic of the past, and we are no longer raped and murdered in these institutions financed by corporations who receive 100% equality ratings from long since bought-and-paid for LGBT advocacy organizations. A future where our siblings fleeing persecution in countries like Uganda and Russia are welcomed immediately to the land of second chances, instead of being thrown in immigration detention or deported back home to face their death sentences.

In that bright and beautiful future, we are free to prosper alongside our siblings of every race and creed, unhindered by regulatory machinations, the dominance of a brutal central banking establishment, and a market controlled by coercive actors who cloak their fraud in the illusion of freedom while using their influence over our politicians to centralize wealth unto themselves. A future where every single human being is free to live their life as they choose, as long as they harm no other.

I  believe that world is possible, and much of it is possible in my lifetime. Every day I pour my heart and soul into the struggle for human liberation, and today I invite you to join Outright Libertarians in fighting that fight together. We have won a major victory today, but marriage freedom was only a battle - it was not the war. And that war is yet to be won.

Together, we can reach that bright shining future, and live finally in peace.

Onward, Freedom Soldiers!!

A quick note of celebration regarding today's #SCOTUS decision!! What a breathtaking transformation we have seen in American society since the first of us came out of the closet 40 years ago as a radical direct action, in hopes that their courage would one day have the power to normalize same-sex love to our neighbors, friends, families and coworkers. The fruits of that effort are apparent today, as the high court has ruled that our relationships are equal in the eyes of the law; and by a great margin the general public believes that our families are just as important building blocks of society as their own.

It cannot be overstated what an incredible step forward has taken place today.

At the same time, our imperative as Libertarians must always be to stay on the right side of history by looking 40 years (or more) ahead, as we have done since our founding in the era of Stonewall. Years ahead of our time, we called for abolishing the marriage bans which were struck down today. And today, we must continue to shine the torch of liberty toward the future.

A future where trans* individuals no longer face the threat of having their genitals inspected and compared to a marker on their identification cards, indeed, where none of us are forced to present papers on demand to agents of the state at all. A future where weddings in foreign countries are no longer bombed while Americans celebrate at home. A future where prisons are a barbaric relic of the past, and we are no longer raped and murdered in these institutions financed by corporations who receive 100% equality ratings from long since bought-and-paid for LGBT advocacy organizations. A future where our siblings fleeing persecution in countries like Uganda and Russia are welcomed immediately to the land of second chances, instead of being thrown in immigration detention or deported back home to face their death sentences.

In that bright and beautiful future, we are free to prosper alongside our siblings of every race and creed, unhindered by regulatory machinations, the dominance of a brutal central banking establishment, and a market controlled by coercive actors who cloak their fraud in the illusion of freedom while using their influence over our politicians to centralize wealth unto themselves. A future where every single human being is free to live their life as they choose, as long as they harm no other.

I  believe that world is possible, and much of it is possible in my lifetime. Every day I pour my heart and soul into the struggle for human liberation, and today I invite you to join Outright Libertarians in fighting that fight together. We have won a major victory today, but marriage freedom was only a battle - it was not the war. And that war is yet to be won.

Together, we can reach that bright shining future, and live finally in peace.

Queering the Jury: Taking Back Decriminalization

memeOne of the biggest opportunities for modern libertarianism is broadening the scope of liberty for middle class white christians to one that insists on liberty for ALL. It's not that our philosophy is inherently heterosexist, quite the opposite; we have the correct solution to issues of privilege. It's just that over the years, Libertarians have seen small government conservatives as a natural fit for recruitment - the easy way out of navigating a more difficult dialogue with liberals about the way normative culture expectations are woven into the legal system.

The success of this strategy has been both a blessing and a curse. I have nothing but joy for the fact that we have seen an explosion of interest, particularly in the past 10 years, in the philosophy of liberty. Now, as we enter the post-Paul era of Liberatarian advocacy, and the pendulum swings toward the anti-authoritarian left in terms of where our greatest opportunity for recruitment exists, Outright Libertarians is in the fortunate position of having an expertise in issues of GSM liberation, just when the liberal left has run out of ideas for coopting our movement.

You see, the state has always been the instrument of oppression; it has never been our friend. Normative institutions like monogomous marriage have their place in the egalitarian tradition; of course we should be equal under the law. But the question of whether those laws should be there in the first place - and how they serve to reinforce conservative institutions - is a much more interesting one for libertarians; and one the old parties cannot ask without calling into question the very nature of their own ethics of power and control.

We have a long way to go as far as abolishing the actually quite long list of ways in which the state continues to initiate coercive force and fraud against GSM individuals in our everyday lives. In all the fuss over marriage, these issues have taken backstage for the mainstream movement, while those uninterested in assimilation and conformity have been pushed to the fringes. There is fertile ground here to advance abolition, but it's a long uphill battle.

What can be done TODAY, right now, to protect our people?

Jury nullification has a long and powerful tradition of empowerment for the conscientious juror. In most states that have unanimous jury requirements, a single juror who recognizes the injustice of a law can judge the case based on that injustice itself. A juror, for example, can block the prosecution of a sex worker, be they cis- or transgender. They can block the prosecution for consensual BDSM behaviors that face conviction under antiquated "obscenity" laws, and they can protect an HIV patient who has been charged with murder. The list of opportunities for conscientious acquittal is quite long, and the injustice of the law itself is only one reason.

There is a moral imperative to weaponize the jury for self defense when one realizes that GSM identities become entangled in the legal system not only because the law itself exists, but because of stigmas and normative assumptions by law enforcement. And once an individual becomes ensnared in the system, their incarceration has a much higher likelihood of exposing them to rape and physical abuse behind bars. Indeed, even when they are isolated for their own protection, the very act of being confined in solitary is under most circumstances considered a form of torture. The harm done to what is essentially an innocent human being convicted of a victimless crime can't be overestimated.

Outright Libertarians has partnered with the Fully Informed Jury Association (a juror education organization) to put together an educational online discussion based on a paper entitled "Queering Jury Nullification" and centered on the experience of GSM individuals both as victims of state violence and as active participants in civil society through the exercise of our rights as jurors. We are please to invite you to join us online on Saturday, July 18 at 1pm Pacific / 4pm Eastern. Space is limited, so please RSVP on the Event page here.

Meet Steve Kerbel, Libertarian Presidential Candidate

Last month I wrote about why I would support Gary Johnson if he received the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2016. I explained how I could support a Libertarian candidate such as Johnson without being branded a “purist”, however, I overlooked the fact that there are other principled, non-dogmatic Libertarian candidates in the race for 2016 who deserve a spotlight. This month, I would like to shine a spotlight on one of those candidates: Mr. Steve Kerbel. I had the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Kerbel this week. We discussed Kerbel’s strategy for 2016 and touched on a variety of issues, including those that are very important to Outright Libertarians.



Steve Kerbel views his non-existent political track record as an asset as he seeks the Libertarian Party’s nomination for President. While other career candidates spend half their time defending themselves against attacks, he looks forward to spending most of his time attacking Democrats and Republicans for their combined failures. He recalls his past excitement about watching the returns on election night. “That all changed by about 2000”, Kerbel says about when he began to notice just how similar both parties were in their abandonment of Constitutional principles. It was around this time that Kerbel discovered the Libertarian Party, which he describes as a “natural fit” for a believer in individual freedom and fiscal responsibility such as himself. Kerbel also describes himself as an opportunity seeker, but not an opportunist. Having been diagnosed with a life-threatening disorder at a very young age, to developing a  “never say die” attitude that has lead to his great success in the business community, he has learned to take opportunities as they come and achieve them. He questions fellow running opponent Gary Johnson’s commitment to the nomination and his ability to spend 5-6 months traveling the country and promoting his campaign. Kerbel, on the other hand, says he is ready now more than ever to take up the task.

Prior to our conversation, I noticed something unique about the “Road To Reform” page on his website. Unlike most Libertarian candidates, Kerbel provides an outline that states each issue, his first step towards reform, followed by the ultimate Libertarian goal. This is profound considering the libertarian tendency to support sweeping reforms without a step-by-step plan of action. For example, Kerbel explains that while most Libertarians would like to see a day when the Federal Reserve Bank is no more, we need to step back and consider the volatility our global economy. “Ending the Federal Reserve overnight would create a global financial catastrophe”, Kerbel says as he acknowledges the complexity of the Fed as well as the time-consuming process of reining it in. What is his first step? “Begin building a replacement framework backed by the free market that serves to provide stability in our financial market, and the international financial markets that follow ours”. This attitude shows that Kerbel’s campaign is not simply a reflection of his disenfranchisement with the current political system, but rather a serious candidate with ideas that command attention.

Kerbel applies a similar pragmatic approach to LGBT issues such as marriage equality, sex worker’s rights, and state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. When asked about his thoughts on LGBT issues in general, he is quick to criticize those who obfuscate the line between church and state in their attempt to deny rights to LGBT people. Kerbel begins our conversation on this subject by referencing Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, in which Jefferson clearly describes the tenants of the free exercise clause as a “wall of separation between church and state”. Kerbel says that our country’s long division on social morality issues is largely due to a failure to understand the original intent of the First Amendment. He has no idea why same-sex marriage and sex-work are criminalized, and believes that consenting adults should be allowed to do with their bodies as they please. On the issue of marriage equality, Kerbel understands that government has no authority to license, define, or regulate personal relationships, but rather than simply “getting the government out marriage”, Kerbel wants to deregulate marriage licensing to the point that government would only serve as a record keeper for purposes such as taxes and inheritance.  He says that legal same-sex marriage is a great step towards deregulating marriage, and he supports the fight for equality unambiguously. Kerbel’s reasoning becomes a little more complicated on the issue of state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that have become a national conversation recently following the Indiana state legislature. Kerbel says that he hates discrimination, but also hates the thought of the government telling people what they can and can’t do regarding themselves and their property. He described the RFRA as “band aid” legislation, meant to soften the ills of previous bad legislation as opposed to fixing the issue at its core. On this issue, Kerbel says he would like to return to the Bill of Rights standard, which allowed for freedom for all, as opposed to passing legislation clearly designed to placate certain citizens over others.

Last month, I expressed my frustration with conservatarian charges of “purism”, by explaining how Gary Johnson presented a viable, pragmatic Libertarian approach as opposed to the outwardly anti-liberty agendas of current Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates. Without seeking information on any other Libertarian candidates, I mistakenly assumed that Gary Johnson was a shoe-in for the nomination. As it turns out, Steve Kerbel has the chance to give Johnson a run for his money. Not only is Kerbel well versed in his articulation of Libertarian solutions for our country, he is also charismatic and relatable in his speech. In other words, he is Presidential. Kerbel cited Ross Perot’s 1992 Presidential run as an example when the American public was galvanized by a charismatic individual who sought to cast out division, challenge the status quo, and return to a government that kept its citizen’s best interests first. With the backing of an established political party, Kerbel believes he can do even better. Without a doubt, I would proudly support Steve Kerbel if he were to receive the Libertarian Party’s nomination.

Find out more about Steve Kerbel and his presidential candidacy at his website.