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PART THREE OF FOUR ...

LIBERTARIAN CONVENTION ENDS IN UNITY DESPITE CONTROVERSIES

by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor.  [June 24, 2004]

 

 

* Libertarians for Christ

 

Christ and liberty go together, says D. Eric Schansberg, author of Turn Neither to the Left Nor to the Right.

Speaking to an audience off the convention floor, Schansberg chided both the Christian Right and Christian Left for using state power to advance their agendas, a practice he finds contrary to Christianity's pro-liberty essence.

"Free will is given by God," said Schansberg, "because He wants us to choose Him freely, not under threat of force." He added that Christians should focus on "changing hearts, not behavior," because the latter can only come after the former.

Schansberg believes that asking "What would Jesus do?" leads to libertarian answers, because Christianity promotes private ethics, not state force. While many fault the Christian Right for wanting to regulate people's bedrooms, Schansberg also critisized the Christian Left for promoting state socialism, saying that as a Christian, "I need to put my money up there first before I can take your money."

Christians should also reject statism because the Bible forbids idolatry, yet those seeking government solutions to problems become "idolatrous toward government," said Schansberg, citing Galatian 5:1. Ancient Israel relied on God, not government.

If Christians are serious about doing good, they must also be practical, avoiding "solutions" that don't work. "If the War on Drugs, or War on Poverty, causes more damage than it helps, then don't do it," said Schansberg. But the Christian Right is impractical, because it focuses on "specs" (such as other people's sexual behavior) while ignoring the planks of more serious wrongs. The Christian Left is impractical because it ignores "economic reality," as they worship government as an idol.

Schansberg also found fault with evolutionary theory, saying that the "problem of evolution is lack of selective choice."

Asked by the Investigator how Christianity's "turn the other cheek" ethic applied to the wars on terror and Iraq, Schansberg replied that while Christians were required to forgive wrongdoers, they need not stand idle if they saw someone else being attacked. It's OK to fight in self-defense or intervene altruistically to defend others, but not for revenge or profit.

Schansberg's Turn Neither to the Left Nor to the Right was available during the convention at the Alertness Books booth.

Schansberg and his publisher were not the only organized Christian presence at the convention.

Jean F. Douglas of Perfect Grace Ministries distributed FREE BOOKS, including works by Martin Zender and the Concordant Literal New Testament, while working the table with his friends, Tom and Charles.

"Tom and I consider ourselves libertarian," said Douglas exclusively to the Investigator. "Actually, Tom was converted as a result of the convention! He didn't know much about Libertarians prior to the event. Charles still considers himself a Republican.

"We met all sorts of people [at the convention] with numerous persuasions," said Douglas, "Folks asked what we had to do with Libertarianism. I regret not having material on why Believers in Christ should vote Libertarian -- it may have caught some eyes!

"We attend bible fellowship around the country. I usually take videotapes that I produce, and books and such. We're not part of any denomination. Some people call us "Concordant" since we use the Concordant version of the scriptures. We tend to be studious, and weed through all the traditional Christian bull.

"So the Libertarian convention, we were thinking, might be a good place to offer our material. Our friends have come from many denominations, because they are thinkers and tired of brainless garbage. Most Libertarians are thinkers too, having come from other parties -- namely the Democratic and Republican parties."

 

 

* Just a Heartbeat Away

 

Although the "major parties" defer to their presidential candidates' for the choice of running mate, in the Libertarian Party delegates select the VP candidate, their presidential candidate having but no control over the decision.

Of the three contenders for the LP's vice presidential slot participating in a Saturday night debate, Iowan university instructor Richard V. Campagna was regarded as the the most smooth-talking, media-savvy, and optimistic, his style likened to that of Nolan.

Campagna ran on his résumé, emphasizing his world travels, distinguished contacts, multi-lingual skills, and university-honed experience talking to young people.

Reading like a résumé, his campaign literature promoted his:

 

"B.A., M.A., J.D., PhD., ... Experienced in international business affairs and government ... Visited, resided in, worked in, conducted journalistic research or taught classes in over 150 countries on every continent of this world [even in Antarctica? - ed.] Most traveled and worldly candidate for national office in American history [!!!] ... Utilizes libertarian/existential principles and approaches in managing and leading private organizations and associations to new heights and achievement levels ... Has built an elaborate network of previously untapped constituencies (nationwide) as well as a unique set of contacts with print media, talk radio and university publications ... Has particular affinity with youth, college age voters, women, first time voters." 

 


Although Nolan stressed his optimistic message to the Investigator, Campagna's résumé described him as the "only candidate seeking national office involved in bringing an optimistic personal life style and philosophy into political discourse."

Campagna was indeed optimistic during the convention, repeatedly saying he'd be "very surprised and disappointed" if the Libertarian Party presidential candidate did not achieve "at least a million votes" in 2004, always adding that "two million votes is a realistic possibility."

Like Nolan, Campagna was regarded as the "party establishment" candidate, and both Nolan and Badnarik delegates praised Campagna in the days leading up to the selection. By contrast, Russo had called Campagna a "chickenshit" because he'd not endorsed anyone for president (according to Carol Moore).

Missouri activist and vp contender Tamara Millay was no chickenshit -- she endorsed Russo! Rumor was that Millay hoped for a return endorsement, but to no avail. Russo did not endorse any of the vp candidates.

Unlike the "respectable" Campagna, Millay promoted herself as an anti-establishment activist, having participated in "tax protests, NORML events, and antiwar rallies," her flyers touting her as a "civil disobedience arrestee."

During the debate, Millay offered an in-your-face libertarianism, without trying to make it "less scary" for non-libertarian ears.

Asked about environmental problems and the Kyoto treaty, the other candidates expressed concern for clean oceans or suggested free market solutions, whereas Millay retorted that it was not for her to assume power over other people's property. Of the three candidates, Millay's message was the least apologetic, coming closest to the infamous libertarian macho flash.

Despite her uncompromising libertarianism (which would include an individualist opposition to quotas and affirmative action), some suspected that Millay was trying to gain advantage from her gender. Her campaign flyer said: "Sometimes the best man for the job ... is a woman."

When someone in the audience suggested that Millay might be the tactically best candidate for vice president because of her gender, Campagna said, "It seems kind of weird and insulting to everybody to suggest putting a woman on the ticket [just for being a woman]. I don't think that way, in terms of picking people by gender or skin color or religion. It seems very bizarre to even ask to put a woman on the ticket [just because she's a woman]."

Her campaign material aside, Millay herself voiced no such suggestion.

Because Campanga appeared to have the backing of the LP establishment, plus the Nolan and Badnarik delegates, and Millay was favored by many activists and Russo supporters, the dark horse in the debate was Scott Jameson.

Jameson tried to run on experience, saying he'd learned many valuable lessons from his past mistakes running for office. Yet despite offering many examples of past failures (his ignorance of press dealings; his problems producing a video reel on short notice) his pitch failed to sell his candidacy.

Jameson was a poor speaker, uncomfortable on stage, his talk of experience sabotaged by looking much younger than his 37 years.


Jameson's high point in the debate came when he drew laughter and applause from delegates by calling Vice President Dick Cheney
"creepy," likening Cheney to a "king of the underworld" who "heads from shadow to shadow."

Jameson's stage presence worsened on Sunday when he addressed the entire convention floor. He appeared to be suffering as increasing numbers of delegates wandered about, talking during his speech. This was a repeated problem through many of the "slow periods," such that LP chair Neale had to request that delegates try and keep it quiet, so that the C-SPAN audience might hear the speakers.

After delegates chose Badnarik for their presidential candidate, it came time for the vice presidential pick, whereupon a delegate raised a Constitutional question: As both Badnarik and Jameson were from Texas, and an elector can't vote for two people from the same state, would this disqualify Jameson from the ticket?

Another delegate quipped that Jameson "can always pull a Dick Cheney and move to Wyoming," a statement that elicited much laughter among delegates.

It was resolved that the U.S. Constitution did not bar the LP from nominating two national candidates from the same state, that it would only become a problem in the (unlikely) event that the LP carried Texas in 2004. (In which case, each LP elector could only vote for either Badnarik or Jameson.)

However, this potential problem was avoided. Campagna won on the first ballot by a wide margin.  Millay posted a distant second, Jameson a very distant fourth. (Third place finisher Hayes did not participate in the Satruday debate.)

Final vote: Campagna 353, Millay 220, Hayes 36, Jameson 7. Jameson received only one vote from his own Texas delegation, presumably his own.

 

END OF PART THREE.  GO TO PART ONE, PART TWO, PART FOUR.

Copyright 2004 by HollywoodInvestigator.com

 

 

 

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