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DAVID NOLAN COMMENTS ON PRINCIPLE

David Nolan was far more gentle on Root than most of Root's critics. Nevertheless his message was clear regarding Root and other opportunists more interested in winning power than in advancing liberty.


...Now, more than ever before, the Libertarian Party must offer a coherent and compelling alternative to the stale policies of statism. People are ready to hear our message -- if that message is stated clearly and boldly. The success of Ron Paul's 2008 campaign and its outgrowth, the Campaign for Liberty, show that millions of Americans are hungry for real change.

And there is an important lesson to be learned from the success of the Paul campaign and the C4L. That lesson is that it pays to be bold. Notice that the grassroots uprising sparked by the Ron Paul campaign calls itself the Ron Paul REVOLUTION. Not the "Ron Paul gradual reform movement." They're calling for ending the Federal personal income tax, not just mouthing empty platitudes about "lower taxes" or "more freedom." (Compared to what? What we have now? Obama's proposals?) And they are gaining adherents far more rapidly than the Libertarian Party is; the C4L currently has five to ten times as many members as we do!

As I see it, the Libertarian Party has gone far astray from its original mission. Somewhere along the way, our commitment to being The Party of Principle was replaced by a shallow, opportunistic goal of "winning elections now" -- any election, anywhere. Principles be damned, according to the proponents of this vision. We should back off from "scary" positions, tone down our rhetoric, find out "what voters want," and tailor our message to what they want to hear.

The nadir of this mindset was reached in a "Monday Message" dated March 9, 2009. It carried the heading "The most important principle is winning."

I would be hard-put to come up with a statement more antithetical to our beliefs and purpose. Just for starters, "winning" is not a principle at all; it might be a goal, or a strategy for achieving our goals, but it's not a principle. And if it were, it's not our principle. This is pure opportunistic rubbish -- exactly what you'd expect from a Republican or Democratic party hack.

No, the most important principle, for libertarians, is the principle of self-ownership, as set forth in the Preamble to our Platform, and our Statement of Principles. These are the standards by which every policy statement and every campaign must be judged.  Anyone who is uncomfortable with this yardstick probably ought to be in another party  -- one where "the most important principle is winning."

My fellow Libertarians, our party is at a crossroads. Either we stand up boldly for liberty, or we lose all relevance. The voters who want real, meaningful, substantive change will direct their energies elsewhere, while opportunists who seek short-term electoral victories will support the Republican and Democratic politicians who offer a far better chance of "winning now."

I urge each of you to bear these thoughts in mind during your upcoming meeting.

Yours in Liberty,
David F. Nolan
July 17, 2009

Nolan included the Preamble to the Libertarian Party Platform and the Libertarian Party Statement of Principles


June 11-12, 2010 on David Nolan on Wayne Root's Facebook page
OK, as a long-time Libertarian who has run for Congress twice (and is running for US Senate this year) I have to say that the LP's stance regarding Israel almost NEVER comes up as a reason for not supporting our party or its candidates. Maybe in NY City, but rarely elsewhere. Common objections I've heard raised include our (relatively) open-borders position, our opposition to government-run education, concern that poor people will starve w/o welfare, and occasionally our opposition to the War on Drugs. But Israel? Almost never. I have spoken before thousands of people and talked to hundreds one-on-one. Perhaps three people out of all those hundreds have ever even mentioned Israel.  June 11, (2010), 2:28 pm

I do not recall making any statements about Israel that could even remotely be called "hateful." I have, however, spoken out clearly against sending American troops or tax dollars to that country ... or any other. That's the Libertarian position. June 12 (2010) 1:01 AM

June 22, 2010 David Nolan Comments on "Role of LNC Members" Resolution (Independent Political Report)
Regarding Nolan's LNC resolution reading:
(@38) RESOLUTION CLARIFYING THE ROLE OF LNC MEMBERS IN THEIR ROLE AS REPRESENTATIVES TO THE PUBLIC
    WHEREAS members of the Libertarian National Committee are viewed by the voting public as representatives of the Libertarian Party, its principles, and its policy stands, and
    WHEREAS the principles and policy stands of the Libertarian Party are clearly spelled out in our national platform,
    THEREFORE the Libertarian National Committee hereby instructs its members to adhere as closely as possible to the national platform when stating “the Libertarian position” on issues – especially when being interviewed by news media, civic groups, and others who have the ability to influence public opinion. LNC members should always clearly distinguish between their own personal views and the Libertarian Party’s stands whenever the two are not congruent.

5:30 pm: Nobody that I know of is trying to “muzzle” anyone else, or “force” them to take positions they are uncomfortable with. The resolution which I am submitting to the LNC (@38) simply requires LNC members to clearly distinguish between their own personal views and the party’s platform. Is that so hard to grasp? If someone on the LNC thinks we should deport all gay people to Iran and then bomb the place, then we can’t stop them. But we can require that they make it clear that this is a personal view, and not the party’s position.

6:28 pm Robert@79 – “I trust the LNC would also respond with that sort of wisdom when an individual obviously represented a grave threat to the party’s reputation.” And therein lies the rub. Some members (not yet a majority, but a substantial minority) already believe that WAR poses just such a threat. Right now, I do not agree with them. But he really needs to curb his tendencies to make personal pronouncements that create misimpressions. If he’d follow his own advice and talk ONLY about the “five key issues” he identifies, that would be a good start. It’s his observations on foreign policy and social issues that cause many Libertarians to tear their hair out.

6:56 pm: Wayne Root is not the enemy. He has an unfortunate tendency to backslide into the Republican Zone — “Ooh, I can be on a stage with SARAH PALIN!” — but he’s not the enemy, in that sense that Obama is (and Bush was). Like Glenn Beck, he’s a work in progress. He’s still a bit too fond of mucking around in other nations’ business, and a bit reticent about coming out for “scary” positions, but he’s not the enemy. (At this point, I’m more inclined to think that Phillies is the enemy, but that’s another whole topic.)

Note: eas

November 2010 David Nolan "Libertarian Principles" Resolution (Independent Political Report)

    “WHEREAS the Libertarian Party can grow only by attracting new members and supporters, and

    “WHEREAS libertarianism is a unique political philosophy, distinct from both contemporary liberalism and contemporary conservatism, and

    “WHEREAS we need the support of both former liberals and former conservatives who have come to realize that libertarianism and the Libertarian Party offer a better path to achieving a just, humane and prosperous society

    “The Libertarian National Committee hereby resolves that our party, its representatives and staff should always state clearly and unequivocally that we welcome individuals from across the political spectrum who now accept the libertarian principles of self-ownership and non-aggression.”

IPR article continues: Although no particular person or incident is mentioned in the resolution, the speculation has been that it was, like the recently passed Florida LP resolution to boot Wayne Root off the LNC and LNCC, precipitated by statements Mr. Root made in an interview with a Las Vegas magazine, such as: “I’m kind of re-creating libertarianism. I’m just not going to follow the traditional roots. I’m a Ronald Reagan libertarian. Traditional libertarianism mixes in too many things that are liberal.”

On November 21 David Nolan had a stroke while driving and died, the day the LNC meeting voted to support a slightly amended version of the resolution. They were unaware of his death at the time.