There seems to be a lot of confusion among libertarians on how to handle the issue of marriage equality from a uniquely libertarian standpoint. Some suggest that the struggle to remove government from our personal lives requires more than equal marriage rights for same sex couples – I agree with them. Others adopt the all-or-nothing approach of opposing marriage equality now in favor of abolishing state marriage altogether – I disagree with these people.
I want to point out the historical point addressed by this meme: an ideological critique to the notion of inherited power in what is supposed to be a merit-based individualist society. Having power pass from father to son was the legacy of aristocracy and monarchy … It’s impossible to be a Constitutional conservative and want to be ruled by an aristocracy.
The error in reasoning which leads people to believe that Rand must surely be like his father, is the same one which led humans to submit to hereditary transfers of power for thousands of years, and which leads people to believe that entire families of evil human beings named “Clinton” or “Bush” must be great ideas for President!! Confronting that core idea is totally fair game for libertarian activism within the context of a constitutional republic which our founders absolutely never meant to become anything like what they fought to overcome.
The fact that this escaped nearly everybody who saw the meme is just proof of how far we’ve strayed from one of the most important concepts that fueled the revolution that led to our founding. Go read the Federalist/Anti-Federalist documents if you aren’t aware of what a huge thing that was to both sides of the question – all were agreed that aristocracies were to be avoided no matter what; that power should no longer be passed as inheritance, but that it must be earned by merit.
I believe it is very clear, Rand has not earned by merit the loyalty he claims through his father, and a dialogue about that is useful not only against Rand, but against the Clintons and Bushes as well. The thing they have in common was really important to our founders … It should be important to us, too.
Our Chair appeared on the Libertarian Party's official podcast today. Listen in to the second half hour and hear about Outright's "cutting edge activism", our Spirit of '69 fundraising effort, and local efforts in Arizona to decriminalize homelessness and relegalize all drugs.
The whole "get government out of marriage" thing is a bit overblown. The government in fact does have a role in enforcing private contract. So it will continue to be called into disputes which question whether a particular relationship meets the state definition.
For example, you contract with an insurance company whose partner benefits are linked to the existence of a marriage agreement. Let's say you and your same-sex male polyamorous lovers are bound by a three-way contractual union. And then let's say your insurance decides it does not want to split the payout between your two surviving spouses, because Leviticus says wives not husbands.
The court will be asked to determine and set precedent as to whether that contract meets the standard and must be upheld ... those precedents will become a new version of the same old reflection of social norms: some relationships will meet the standard, and some won't, and this is true whether we have a state monopoly on justice or whether we have a polycentric system of NGO providers.
That catchphrase slogan makes good red meat for the libertarian base, but it's kind of meaningless in practice. We can abolish marriage licenses, but the state - or its equivalent - will never be out of marriage.
This past weekend, I attended the 8th annual International Students For Liberty Conference in Washington, DC. I have always felt that Students For Liberty does a great job positioning itself at the ideological center of the libertarian/classical liberal movement. They have routinely featured left-libertarian, conservative-libertarian, as well as anarchist writers and speakers in their materials and speaking engagements. The big-tent approach has obviously worked well for SFL, as they have reached the status as the world’s leading libertarian student organization in only eight years. However, bitter disagreement was still prevalent amongst members of the conference, none more exemplified than by one particular controversy involving former Congressman, Dr. Ron Paul.
You may be familiar with the traditional libertarian outreach tool, the World's Smallest Political Quiz. Well we've got something even more fabulous!! Introducing the World's GAYEST Political Quiz - coming soon to a Pride near you!!
Answer: Agree / Maybe / Disagree
- LGBT migrants from countries where they are persecuted should be given asylum in America.
We are currently raising funds to get some of these WGPQ kits made for Pride season to be utilized as outreach at booths. They are going to cost $50 to $100 each to create a quality display including the full-size quiz, stickers and explanatory printed materials - we would like to place at least one in each of our most active states. Please consider a one-time donation at http://outrightusa.org/joomla25/membership.
Since the founding of Outright Libertarians in 1998, our mission statement has included this line: “To monitor the Libertarian Party’s continuing support for equal rights for everyone including GLTBQ individuals”. The critical message that exists herein became my inspiration leading to the creation of a new subcommittee within our organization. We are the “Watchdog Committee”.
Members of Outright are already aware of the Libertarian Party’s long history supporting equal rights for LGBTQ individuals. Our commitment to the liberation of queer persons, as well as the abolition of all victimless crimes, has been reflected by The LP’s platform since the party’s inception. However, to say that our history is sufficient in attracting LGBTQ members to our party would be a falsehood.
My involvement in Outright Libertarians as National Vice Chair came from a growing concern about the LP’s friendliness toward LGBTQ issues. I knew that our platform and history spoke for themselves, but I also knew that the influence of a conservative faction within the party could change it. In 2008, The LP nominated Bob Barr, the principal architect of The Defense of Marriage Act, as the Libertarian Party candidate for President of the United States. Granted, Barr was required to denounce his own law and promise to repeal it should he become President. However, he eventually changed his tune following his nomination.
The few years since the Barr/Root campaign have seen a pendulum swing in a noticeably radical direction. The Libertarian National Committee has issued press releases supporting marriage equality and the repeal of DOMA, and has allowed Outright’s content to appear periodically on LP social media accounts. Other “small l” libertarian organizations, such as Student For Liberty, Cato Institute, Reason Magazine, and Libertarianism.org, have consistently produced pro-LGBTQ content, adding to the existing plethora of pro-LGBTQ libertarian perspectives.
Conservative members of The Libertarian Party tend to believe that individual rights pertaining to others but not themselves should be dismissed as unimportant. They also believe it is outside of the Libertarian Party’s purview to address matters beyond the scope of the state. This fundamentalist approach to liberty cannot work. The Libertarian Party’s support for individual rights and full equality under the law will never be taken seriously if the party fails to even mention these issues. Consider the words of the late Nathaniel Branden:
The Libertarian Party should no longer leave the initiative up to the leftists. Right now, the LP has an opportunity to take an unapologetic stand for LGBTQ people and against the state-sponsored forces that bring down our community. Issues like gender-specific licensing laws, treatment of LGBTQ prisoners, draconian HIV-diclosure laws, criminalization of sex-work, and a FULL lift of blood donor bans on gay men are a top priority for Outright Libertarians. But if the Libertarian Party is to follow our lead, we need to prepare for a pushback.
This is where the Watchdog committee finds its role in Outright Libertarians. We will monitor The Libertarian Party’s continuing friendliness toward LGBTQ people and our issues. We will screen LP candidates for anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policy positions. We will present a positive image to our community, one that reflects our radical, humanitarian roots. Please join us by following our new Watchdog group page and attending Outright’s monthly hangouts.
Outright Libertarians is a very lean organization -- no paid staff, no office rental, and tiny communications overhead to give us a face to the world. But we do need paid memberships and donations to keep us out of the red.
To that end, the Executive Committee of Outright Libertarians has appointed a Fundraising Committee, temporarily chaired by the Treasurer.
If you have experience with fundraising for a very lean organization (we can't afford be one of those groups that spends $20k on a campaign to net $2k) and would like to help us with web, email, and small postal mail campaigns, please volunteer by contacting Outright Libertarians Treasurer Rob Power.