This year Washington Libertarians gathered at the Phoenix Inn in downtown Olympia for their annual convention on May 21st. The event kicked off in the morning with opening remarks from Larry Nicholas, Chair of the Convention Committee and David Wordinger, the party’s Vice-Chair.
Brandon Houskeeper, Policy Analyst & Director of WashingtonVotes.org, from the Washington Policy Center discussed this year’s legislative session and how we could expect things to turn out.
Following Mr. Houskeeper Diana Moore from Olympia’s Freedom Foundation addressed issues related to online education and election integrity and problems with the proposed National Popular Vote Amendment that is being promoted nationally.
Closing out the morning’s speaker was Dr. Jonathan Wright, of the Tahoma Clinic who spoke about a number of issues related to how medical problems are handled today and some of the lower cost, healthier alternatives that are readily available to us in today’s marketplace. Of particular interest to Libertarians should be HR 1364 the Free Speech about Science Act that would address the Food and Drug Administration’s censorship of information.
Larry Nicholas was elected as Chair and Michael Donahue as Vice Chair. Jim Culbertson was elected Treasurer, Miles Holden as Secretary. Elected as At large Representatives were Tom Spanos, Stan Lippman, Gene Hawkridge, Sarah Rittenhouse and Michael Wilson.
LPWA New & Views June/July 2011
Thank you Rachel and David
As we begin a new election cycle the LPWA has a number of issues to deal with, but before we forget we wish to extend a BIG THANK YOU! to Rachel Hawkridge who has stepped aside as Chair. Being Chair of the LPWA and working with the national committee takes a lot of time and effort and not to mention it can be very frustrating at times. As a long time activist Rachel has proved to be a benefit to the party. Whether it was collecting signatures for a campaign or attending a legislative session in Olympia she was in the front of the effort and she was a voice for staying true to the mission in her post on the Libertarian National Committee. Rachel is not going away and will continue to help with preparing the news letter for mailing.
To say that David Wordinger has been a big champion of our efforts would be an understatement. He has spoken at public events and been a voice for the movement in the Spokane area, most recently at a Tea Party event a few weeks ago. Anyone who has driven from Spokane to the western side of the state as often as Dave has in all kinds of weather and paying for it out of his own pocket to attend conventions and state committee meetings deserves some special praise from the rest of us.
Below is a speech Dave gave recently at the Tax Day Tea Party Rally in Spokane.
In a free market no person or company can force you to buy their products. If their product is unwanted or too expensive, it doesn’t get bought. In contrast, Government can force us to purchase high priced unwanted products; permits to work on your own house, licenses for jobs or to operate a business, bridges to nowhere, and Amtrak are a few examples. Unfortunately we do not live in a free market economy. If a company finds nobody is buying its products, it can buy a few legislators and have them pass laws mandating the use of their products, or legislating against competition. Some pollution controls, mandated use of biofuels, import quotas, and subsidies are examples. Politics is often described as a zero sum game since a gain by any individual or group necessitates a loss by another individual or group.
Whoever has the upper hand in government can impose their choices on others. Since government has granted itself a monopoly on the use of force, those in power can use the threat of imprisonment or even death to force others to act in the “correct” manner.
What if you developed a millimeter wave porno scanner you called a security device and nobody wanted it because it is expensive and ineffective at detecting threats? Well if you can get the director of Homeland Security to impose a requirement for them at airports you can make a lot of money. And so can the former director of Homeland Security if his company, Chernoff Group is paid to shill for Rapiscan, the manufacturer of the otherwise worthless product. Israel and other countries with an active terrorist threat don’t want it. It isn’t used in embassies around the world. Our military doesn’t use them to secure their bases. But Rapiscan and Chernoff were able to use the coercive power of government to force taxpayers to buy their product.
Gun control laws are another example of people misusing government force to control others. These laws are obviously unconstitutional both federally and here in the state of Washington. These constitutions do not grant rights, but affirm preexisting rights. Even without the Second Amendment, Article 1 Section 8 does not grant the federal government power to restrict ownership or use of firearms or any other weapon. This lack of authority is emphasized by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.
In 2003, while the Clinton gun ban was still in effect, a federal review of the nation’s gun control laws by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found no evidence the laws reduce firearm crime. A year later the National Academy of Sciences issued a report showing no link between gun control laws and
LPWA News & Views June/July 2011
gun violence, crime or accidents. You may not have heard about these studies. Since they reached the wrong conclusion they didn’t get much dissemination. I chose to mention these two because they were made by gun control advocates and were unable to justify restrictions on our constitutional rights. Other studies have actually shown increased crime with more gun control laws.
You might think the lack of any legal foundation or statistical evidence of any benefit might deter those wanting to restrict other peoples’ freedom. Exercising their property rights, they can prohibit firearms in their house or on their property, but that is not enough for them. Since they personally can’t impose their wishes on you, they go to government and try to have laws passed forcing you to comply with their wishes.
After every tragedy involving a firearm, politicians and bureaucrats propose more gun laws supposedly to deter people who do not obey laws.
We Libertarians have a better idea. If you don’t like guns, don’t buy one. Sigmund Freud said, "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Guidance for these immature individuals is provided by the NRA’s Eddie Eagle, who says, “If you see a gun: STOP! Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.
Another issue is the war on drugs. The individuals in support of the drug war can’t directly control others, but they can get laws passed to use the power of government to try controlling them. I say try, because, like gun control laws, they don’t work. Like the criminals who use firearms to commit crimes, people who want to abuse drugs are doing so.
Marijuana or Cannabis is a natural herb with proven medicinal benefits. Yes, like many other things, it can be abused, but many people who have used cannabis recreationally have not become addicted and have voluntarily quit using it for one reason or another. Perhaps for some, the reason for quitting was being elected president of the United States.
Last month the National Institute of Cancer published information about the cancer fighting powers of cannabis. It’s been well known cannabis has the benefits of appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep, but now the government has finally admitted there is evidence cannabis kills tumor cells and protects nontransformed cells.
The anti-tumor properties of cannabinoids were documented at least as early as 1975. Our government is just now recognizing this while still proclaiming cannabis has “no accepted medical use.”
Why is a substance with the beneficial properties of cannabis illegal?
William Randolph Hearst owned millions of acres of forest which he used to make paper for his newspapers. The hemp industry was becoming a threat to the wood pulp industry and threatened to cost Hearst a lot of money. At this same time DuPont was developing new plastics that had to compete with hemp. Unable to compete in the free market, Hearst and DuPont went to the government and worked to get hemp outlawed. Like early gun control laws, there were also racial reasons for making cannabis illegal. Cannabis was being used by poor immigrants to relax after a hard day’s work in the fields. Xenophobes and bigots didn’t like seeing minorities using cannabis, so they used the coercive power of government to control other peoples’ lives.
In the last legislative session there were a couple laws to make life easier for users of medicinal cannabis. Some of our state congresscritters claimed to support medicinal use of marijuana but were concerned these bills would might allow others to use cannabis. Let me translate that from politician speak to common citizen talk. They don’t care if your mother is suffering terribly while wasting away from terminal cancer, it’s more important to keep you from smoking. Some people must lie awake at night worrying that someone somewhere may be enjoying something. I have a suggestion for those people. If you don’t like cannabis, don’t use it. If you see any cannabis:
LPWA News & Views June/July 2011
STOP! Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.
I recognize drugs, including cannabis are not entirely benign, but if you are honest you must recognize drugs don’t cause as much harm as the government’s failed war on drugs. This is recognized by doctors like Dr. Ron Paul, by law enforcement like Sheriff Richard Mack and the members Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and true conservatives wanting smaller less intrusive government like William F. Buckley. Some people say we must enforce laws against drug use because that is the law. Yet they have a different opinion on gun control laws. How many of these people were calling for the prosecution of Bernhard Goetz when Mr. Goetz used an illegal handgun to defend his life on a New York subway?
In 1949, Ludwig von Mises wrote, “Opium and morphine are certainly dangerous, habit-forming drugs. But once the principle is admitted that it is the duty of government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments. A good case could be made out in favor of the prohibition of alcohol and nicotine. And why limit the government's benevolent providence to the protection of the individual's body only? Is not the harm a man can inflict on his mind and soul even more disastrous than any bodily evils? Why not prevent him from reading bad books and seeing bad plays, from looking at bad paintings and statues and from hearing bad music? The mischief done by bad ideologies, surely, is much more pernicious, both for the individual and for the whole society, than that done by narcotic drugs.”
Some of you may have noticed I support my Second Amendment rights and after this talk may suspect I use some form of illegal drugs. No, I have never used cannabis, opium, LSD, or any other illegal drug. But the shirt I’m wearing is made of hemp. The shirt is imported since this is another industry our government has chased offshore.
I am not advocating anyone engage in any self destructive activity. I’m only asking that you do not use the coercive power of government to force others to abide by your standards. Tolerance of actions that hurt no one else does not mean you accept or condone those actions. But recognize people cannot make the right choice if they are not allowed to make a choice. If you are not willing to grant choice and freedom to others, don’t be surprised when your actions are turned against you to limit your freedom.
I would like to close with a quote by Chief Joseph. “Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think, and act for myself--and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty.”
Authored by David Wordinger 2011