Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Election Reflection....

I've spent a couple of weeks catching up on work and paperwork that had been neglected during my campaign for District 54 Representative. I've also spent a lot of time reflecting on just what the outcome of my campaign meant.

After a disappointing loss, I started looking for positives to draw from the experience. As I posted earlier, we did recieve 23% of the vote in Wayne County, and 14.4% district wide. We also won 6 precincts in the district.

More positives? Conley Tillson was elected to the Clay Township Advisory Board in Wayne County, and Steve Coffman was elected to the Liberty Township Advisory Board in Henry County. Combine those wins with the fact that Susan Bell is the Hagerstown Town Court Judge, and we have three elected Libertarians within spittin' distance of my front door. Not many Libertarians can say that, no matter how good of spitters they are.

More positives? Kenn Gividen put these numbers together from races around the state:

"A substantially higher percentage of voters chose Libertarian candidates in 2006 compared to 2002.

In two way state House races:
12.23% in 2002 compared to 14.49% in 2006; an 18.48% increase

In three way state House races:
2.85% in 2002 compared to 6.15% in 2006, a 116% increase

(without Rex, 4.58% in 2006, a 60.7% increase)

In three way state Senate races:
2.01% in 2002 compared to 4.68% in 2006, a 132% increase

In US House Races
2.68% in 2002 compared to 3.98% in 2006, a 49% increase

The Secretary of State race lost ground, however.
4.12% in 2002 compared to 3.33% in 2006, a 19% decrease

Fewer Libertarian candidates on the ballot likely contributed to the decrease in the Secretary of State decrease.

There were no two way state Senate races in 2006."

So we didn't just make gains in Wayne County and District 54. The LP made gains across the state, and maintained ballot access for the next 4 years.

We have Libertarians appointed to various commissions and boards in Wayne and Henry Counties, and the campaign caught the attention of some people in Randolph County that are interested in starting the LP in their county.

There will no doubt be people who believe that we aren't progressing fast enough. I feel like that myself sometimes. But it would be hard for anybody to truthfully say that we aren't making progress, progress towards a limited government.

That's a definite positive.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Where there's smoke, there's a nanny-stater....

The Smoking Ban debate is heating up in Wayne County again. Proponents continually hammer the point that if smoking is unhealthy, it should also be illegal. And many seem to have a hard time finding the distinction between public and private.

I wrote this a couple of years ago. It explains why I believe government enforced smoking bans on private property are wrong. BTW, I don't smoke, and we don't allow smoking in our home or business....

The recent uproar over certain pharmacists’ refusal to provide “morning-after” birth control pills due to moral objections showcases the misconception of rights that many people have. Does a pharmacist have the right to refuse to sell a product he or she finds morally objectionable, or does a woman have the right to purchase a drug that the FDA has approved for sale? The answer to both questions is yes.

Oddly enough, many of our elected officials seem unable to grasp the concept of rights. In California, legislators are drafting legislation that would require pharmacists to provide any lawful drug, regardless of their moral or religious beliefs. Apparently they believe they can give someone the right to force someone else to do something that person finds objectionable. At the same time, legislators in Washington are drafting legislation that would require employers to make allowances for their employee’s religious beliefs. Apparently they believe they can give an employee ( perhaps a pharmacist), the right to refuse their employer’s orders, (perhaps an order to sell birth control pills), without a fear of repercussion, so long as the refusal is made on religious grounds. So what happens next? Does the pharmacist go to jail for not providing the drug, or does the pharmacy owner go to jail for forcing him to make the sale or firing him for not making the sale?

Maybe the solution lies in the realization that government cannot grant rights, that every person in the world is born with the same natural rights, regardless of the type of government they live under.

Every person has the right to purchase what someone else wishes to sell. If your pharmacist decides he will sell Bayer Aspirin but not Tylenol, you have the right to get mad, you have the right to walk out the door and find a pharmacist that sells Tylenol. You don’t have the right to force the offending pharmacist to sell Tylenol.

When an employee goes to work for an employer, they come to an agreement. The employee agrees to perform a service in return for benefits. The employer agrees to provide benefits in return for services provided. When they can no longer agree on services and benefits, they have the right to part ways in search of other employers and employees. This is our system of free enterprise and contract law. It works well with minimum government intrusion. Government has no reason to step in until someone tries to forcibly prevent you from going to another pharmacy, or until an employer defrauds an employee, or until an employee defrauds an employer.

Your rights cannot conflict with someone else’s rights. If something you decide to do requires or leads to the initiation of force against another person, then it isn’t a right.

Yes, you have the right to join with any number of people and pool your resources for your retirement. No, you don’t have the right to force someone to join your group.

Yes, you have the right defend yourself against violence. No, you don’t have the right to initiate violence.

Yes, you have the right to donate to any cause or charity you choose. No, you don’t have the right to force anybody else to donate.

Yes, you have the right to seek an education. No, you don’t have the right to take someone’s home if they decide they don’t want to pay for your education.

Yes, you have the right to own and control your property. No you don’t have the right to control someone else’s property.

Yes, you have the right to prevent people from smoking on your property. No, you don’t have the right to prevent people from smoking on their property.

Rights belong to individuals. While every person in a group has rights, belonging to a group does not give you more rights than a single person.

This group of people that is our government needs to realize they cannot grant or take away our rights. They can only protect those rights, or prevent us from practicing them. I’d prefer a government that protects them.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


First of all, let me thank you for your support in my campaign for the Indiana District 54 House of Representatives seat. Needless to say I am disappointed that we didn’t win, but someone who was a lot smarter than me once said that all things are relative, so I decided to examine the outcome of the election in that light.

Obviously we didn’t do as well as the 33% an earlier poll had predicted for us. The poll was based on decided voters, and perhaps the undecided voters were persuaded by the $150,000.00 that my opponents spent the last week of the campaign. It could be that the poll didn’t include a diverse enough cross-section of the district, or it could be that people in voting booths often revert to old voting habits at the last minute. We have a couple of years to figure out what went wrong and how to correct it. Right now I’d like to examine the positives.

In Wayne County, we received 23% of the vote. We won 5 precincts, and finished 2nd, ahead of the Democrat, in 3 precincts. We also won a precinct in Henry County.

Our total for the district was 14.4%, up over 10% from our 2004 showing in this particular race.

One of the most positive outcomes was the amazing amount of support we received from around the country. The moral and financial support that came in was just amazing. It truly is a great time to be a Libertarian, and it gets better every election.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Habits of old....

I started smoking when I was eighteen. I’ve never really figured out why, but it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. After a few years I gave some thought to quitting, but decided it probably wasn’t worth the effort.

After I was married, and decided that it might be worth the effort to quit, I began to realize just how hard it was to break an old habit. I tried several times, and I failed several times. Then came my three children, and breaking the habit became a little more important, if not easier. In fact, just about every event in my life made breaking the habit more important. When the importance of quitting outweighed the difficulty of quitting, I finally managed to stop smoking. But it still wasn’t easy.

We have an election coming up next week where the stakes are pretty high, and a lot of old habits are going to come into play. For years people have been walking into the booth and voting for Republicans and Democrats. Even when both parties have repeatedly broken their promises of property tax relief, or smaller government, or lower taxes, or when their programs have resulted in runaway healthcare and education costs, voters continue to vote the way they have for years.

We know it’s a hard habit to break, but we also need to realize the importance of once again taking control of our government and it’s spending. This November, please cast your vote for the Libertarians, the party that truly supports lower taxes and less government.

I know it won’t be easy, but I know you can do it, because it is important.