As I write this, we are approximately half way through both the LP & BTP National Conventions with one party poised to continue growing and another at a crossroads.
One party is standing firm on principles of small government and the other needs to decide quickly if it will stay a party of principle or become a “big tent” for people that may not be “libertarian” at all.
The Boston Tea Party is standing firm as THE party of principle by adopting a program that states:
1. End the Wars of Aggression: The U.S. should withdraw all forces from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, South Korea, Germany, Japan, and all other occupied nations.
2. End the Fed: The U.S. Congress should audit the Fed, allow for competition of currencies, repeal the income tax, abolish the IRS, and refuse any further ‘bailouts’ of corporations in any industry. Furthermore, all federal regulations covering every aspect of the private economy, including those individuals who seek self-employment, should be repealed across the board. All FICA and withholding taxes levied on employers and employees should be eliminated entirely.
3. End the War on Drugs: The federal government should repeal all laws against the use and trade of “controlled substances.” The states and local communities should also permit people to freely choose what substances they wish to consume without government intervention.
4. End the Abuses of Liberty: Congress should repeal the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act & FISA Acts and abolish the NSA, TSA, CIA and any other federal agency that infringes on individual rights. Congress should review and revoke the emergency powers granted to the President in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks. The U.S. should restore privacy by forbidding warrant-less wiretapping of phone and internet communication. The U.S. must restore habeas corpus, allowing all detainees, foreign and domestic, a speedy and public trial. No physical or environmental discomfort should be used to influence the interrogation of suspects for any crime. The U.S. government must respect the rights of all people, regardless of place of birth, status of citizenship, or suspicion of criminality.
5. End the Immigration Fiasco: Rather than suddenly decide to enforce long-ignored immigration laws, the U.S. should open the borders to trade and travel. We should loosen restrictions on citizens and visitors alike, allowing people of many backgrounds and cultures to coexist in a society of social and economic freedom and prosperity. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol agencies at all levels of government should be abolished and dismantled immediately.
And adopting “Liberty Amendment” resolution:
Whereas the 16th Amendment gives the Federal government a direct claim on the lives of American citizens by enabling Congress to levy a direct income tax on individuals. Until the passage of the 16th amendment, the Supreme Court had consistently held that Congress had no power to impose an income tax. And,
Whereas Income taxes are responsible for the transformation of the Federal government from one of limited powers into a vast leviathan whose tentacles reach into almost every aspect of American life. Thanks to the income tax, today the Federal government routinely invades our privacy, and penalizes our every endeavor. And,
Whereas the Founding Fathers realized that “the power to tax is the power to destroy,” which is why they did not give the Federal government the power to impose an income tax. Needless to say, the Founders would be horrified to know that Americans today give more than a third of their income to the Federal government. And,
Whereas Income taxes not only diminish liberty, they retard economic growth by discouraging work and production. Our current tax system also forces Americans to waste valuable time and money on compliance with an ever-more complex tax code. The increased interest in flat-tax and national sales tax proposals, as well as the increasing number of small businesses that question the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) “withholding” system provides further proof that America is tired of the labyrinthine tax code. Americans are also increasingly fed up with an IRS that continues to ride roughshod over their civil liberties, despite recent “pro-taxpayer” reforms. And
Whereas The Liberty Amendment states that the Federal Government shall not operate business-type activities unless they are specifically authorized by the Constitution. And,
Whereas the Liberty Amendment provides a three-year period for selling or liquidating more than 900 agencies and business-type enterprises presently operated by the Federal Government without constitutional authority. Sale of these enterprises will bring in enough money to substantially reduce the national debt. Annual budget spending by the government could be reduced by more than fifty percent. Revenue from excise taxes on goods and services, and on corporation incomes, will increase at least twenty percent, without increase of tax rates. And,
Whereas the Liberty Amendment will stop these three types of taxes, at the end of the three-year period.
Be it resolved, the Boson Tea Party calls upon the Congress of these United States of America to pass and 2/3 of the States to ratify the “Liberty Amendment” which states:
`Section 1. The Government of the United States shall not engage in any business, professional, commercial, financial, or industrial enterprise except as specified in the Constitution.
`Section 2. The constitution or laws of any State, or the laws of the United States, shall not be subject to the terms of any foreign or domestic agreement which would abrogate this amendment.
`Section 3. The activities of the United States Government which violate the intent and purposes of this amendment shall, within a period of three years from the date of the ratification of this amendment, be liquidated and the properties and facilities affected shall be sold.
`Section 4. Three years after the ratification of this amendment the sixteenth article of amendments to the Constitution of the United States shall stand repealed and thereafter Congress shall not levy taxes on personal incomes, estates, and gifts.’.
and a “Columbian Intervention” resolution:
Whereas, the Columbian government pays fighters for killing alleged FARC insurgents;
Whereas, the Columbian army did not follow proper protocol when burying 2,000 alleged guerillas in secret;
Whereas, a recent “false positive” scandal in Columbia involved the killing of civilians and dressing of them as armed guerillas to earn government funds;
Whereas, the United States has given $6 billion to Columbia in foreign aid, 80 percent of which is military;
Whereas, over 10,000 Columbian soldiers have received training at the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia;
Whereas, the abuse of U.S. aid by killing civilians directly links the U.S. to a massive human rights violation; and
Whereas, a growing conflict between Columbia and Venezuela includes military buildup at the countries’ border and calls to “prepare for war;”
Be it resolved that the Boston Tea Party calls on Congress and the President to immediately end all foreign aid to Columbia, including military training and all funding to military and non-military programs, to close the School of the Americas, to begin a rigorous evaluation of all foreign aid to Latin America and the rest of the world, and to withdraw aid to all foreign nations. The Boston Tea party supports a foreign policy based on free trade and open discussion, not welfare, subsidies, tariffs, regulatory treaties, threats, or aggression.
While one party stands on non-aggression and smaller government, the other has a chair candidate that advocates foreign intervention and an “immigration reform” policy that seems to advocate a “national ID”.
It will be a few more days before we know the final outcome of the two conventions, but one party obviously has an 800 pound elephant in the room.