Opposing war doesn’t make you a pacifist

“The only defensible war is a war of defense.”
– C.K. Chesterton

One of the most misunderstood principles of libertarianism is the non-aggression principle. The belief that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being for any reason whatsoever; nor advocate the initiation of force, or delegate it to anyone else including government is the very essence of the non-aggression principle. The misconception starts when we use the phrase “initiation of force.” People tend to focus on the last word and ignore or forget the first.

Most libertarians are not pacifists so our adherence to the non-aggression principle doesn’t mean we won’t defend ourselves. On the contrary, the right to self-defense is inherent in the concept of self-ownership. It is absolutely necessary for every individual to be prepared always to defend him or herself. Your life is too precious to trust it to the hands of strangers.

There seems to be similar confusion with the understanding of the theme of this exploratory campaign – stop all war. That theme was chosen based on the feedback and comments I’ve been hearing from Libertarians across the nation for the past several years. They are asking why the Libertarian Party isn’t out front in the anti-war movement. The questioning was particularly strong and passionate from many of the young people who were delegates to the 2010 national convention in St. Louis.

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Libertarian message is peace

by Thomas Hill

Since I signed on as the campaign manager of the Lee Wrights for President Exploratory Committee I’ve taken some heat from some of my radical and anarchist friends in the libertarian movement, people I love and respect, for getting involved in electoral politics. Some of them have even called me a statist, which is very hurtful.

Now I understand libertarians may have disagreements about tactics, and I understand that some in the movement refuse to participate in electoral politics because it’s based on force and violence. I understand and I agree with many of these views. But a true libertarian attitude is to respect each other’s choices, not condemn them.

I’ve chosen to become involved in the electoral process because I’m driven to do it. I’m driven to do it first because I love and respect R. Lee Wrights and what he stands for, and second because it’s a way to use the networking infrastructure of electoral politics to educate the mainstream about radical libertarianism, the heart and soul of libertarianism.

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Wrights takes ‘stop all war’ message to Arizona

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Jan. 31) – People are ready to listen to a presidential candidate who is committed to proclaiming the message to stop all war, Libertarian writer and activist R. Lee Wrights told the Arizona State Libertarian Party convention Saturday in Phoenix.

“This message resonates outside the Libertarian Party,” Wrights told the Arizona libertarians. “Look at what young people are wearing,” he asked them to observe. “I see peace symbols everywhere. I feel like I’m back in the 60s.”

Wrights said an e-mail from a Norwegian man he received just before coming to the convention reinforced this belief. The man thanked him for an op-ed, “The state of the union is still a state of war,” featured on Antiwar.com.

“He probably didn’t even know I’m thinking of running for president, but he thanked me for the message,” Wrights recounted.

“We’ve got to stop all war in order to bring this country back to a stable position, economically and morally,” Wrights said. He is considering seeking the 2012 presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war.

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State of the union still a state of war

What was glaringly absent from President Obama’s state of the union address night, as well as from the response from both the Republicans and the Tea Party movement, is an admission that the real state of the union is a state of war.

The president only mentioned Iraq and Afghanistan towards the end of his hour-long speech, and uttered the familiar shibboleth of “support the troops” as an applause line to gain the longest sustained ovation of the evening. Neither Rep. Paul Ryan, speaking for the Republicans, or Rep. Michelle Bachman, speaking for the Tea Party movement, mentioned these wars in their remarks at all.

Most of the president’s speech was a classic example of elected officials speaking out of both sides of their mouth. While on the one hand calling for a freeze in federal non-security, discretionary spending, the president also called for increased federal spending for a litany of non-security, discretionary items ranging from roads to high speed Internet. Except he doesn’t call it spending money, he calls it investment.

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N.C. withdraws from LNC region

On the heels of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina withdrawing from the Libertarian National Committee’s Region 1, the Texas Libertarian Party has directed it chair to seek the removal of the region’s representative Stewart Flood.

The regional representatives on the national committee are supposed to represent the interests of the states in the region. The regions are formed at the party’s biannual convention by the state delegations. Region 1 includes Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.

The number of representatives allotted to each region is determined by the number of party members in that region. Region 1 has three representatives: Doug Craig (Georgia), Flood (South Carolina), and Daniel Wiener (California). The three alternates are: Scott Lieberman (California) Guy McLendon (Texas), and Brad Ploeger (Georgia).

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Blame Arizona shooting on the shooter

BURNET, Texas (Jan. 13) – It will be all too easy and popular to claim that the shooting in Arizona that killed six people was caused by the vitriol prevalent in American political discourse, but as usual the easy and popular explanation of this tragedy will avoid the truth, R. Lee Wrights, libertarian writer, activist and potential 2012 presidential candidate said in a statement today.

“As a father of two daughters myself, I am especially saddened by the murder of a 6-year-old girl, and I mourn the death of all those killed,” Wrights said. “I pray for the recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and all those injured.”

“I understand that in our grief it’s naturally for us to want to know why such a terrible thing happened,” Wrights continued. “So it will be easy and popular for people to attempt to explain this awful event by laying the blame on everything from so-called hate speech, to the rhetoric of the Tea Party movement and political talk show hosts.”

“Sadly, that won’t give us the true answer. Everyone will conveniently overlook the fact that this was the horrible act of one, very troubled individual,” Wrights observed. “No matter what other factors were present, no matter what pressures, ideas or words he was exposed to, one individual made the decision to commit this horrible crime.”

“We shouldn’t let grief, or political agendas, obscure the fundamental truth that the real culprit in this tragedy is the individual who pulled the trigger,” Wrights said. “Blaming this crime on anyone or anything else would be an unconscionable justification of his failure or inability to take responsibility for his own actions.”

“Unfortunately, it’s all too common in America today to justify bad behavior by blaming in on nebulous causes like upbringing, environment or society in general. No one is willing to take responsibility for their actions,” Wrights said.

“If the person who committed this heinous act has mental or emotional problems, that could mitigate his guilt, but should not excuse or justify his action,” Wrights said.

“I began this new year by resolving to cleanse myself of hate, resentment, and bitterness, and focus on using the tools of peace, love, mercy and forgiveness against the weapons of war, hate, vengeance, and cruelty,” Wrights resolved. “I also resolved to remain civil in my political discourse and treat all people I encounter with the dignity and respect that is their due as human beings.”

“This terrible act only increases my determination to keep those commitments. If we are going to put an end to violence in our nation, if we are going to stop all war, then we must begin by stopping the use of war-like words in our political debates,” Wrights reflected.

“Words did not cause this tragedy anymore than words will bring back the dead or heal the wounded. So, we must be ever careful to not allow the words of talking heads and political pundits to push America into another unnecessary war,” Wrights concludes. “Let’s not be drawn into a war against one of the most precious freedoms we Americans still enjoy… the freedom of speech.”

Wrights, a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party, is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 should be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. He has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.

The 52-year old writer and political activist was born in Winston Salem, N.C. and now lives in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.

Wrights 2012 press release

Wrights’ resolutions for 2011 a declaration of peace

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” (Benjamin Franklin)

BURNET, Texas (Dec. 31) – All libertarians should take time at the beginning of the new year to read and reflect on A Libertarian’s New Year’s Resolutions written by the late Harry Browne, said R. Lee Wrights, libertarian writer, activist and potential presidential candidate.

“Harry was gifted with an ability to communicate libertarian ideas and ideals in a clear, direct and concise way so that anyone could understand what libertarianism is all about,” said Wrights. “His New Year’s Resolutions are one of the best examples of this talent, a classic of libertarian thought.”

“What Harry wrote in 1998 is even more relevant today, and especially relevant to me as I consider seeking the 2012 Libertarian presidential nomination,” Wrights revealed. “So, inspired by Harry’s thoughts and words, and as a tribute to him, I offer these Wrights’ Resolutions as the standard by which I will conduct that effort and my life in 2011:

“First and foremost, I resolve to remain focused on the paramount issue facing the Libertarian Party and our nation – to stop all war. No matter what other issues are raised, I intend to keep returning to the central point that unless we stop all war, whether foreign or domestic, individuals can never truly be free.

“I resolve to remain committed to ensuring that whoever is the presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party in 2012, he or she is committed to proclaiming a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war; and be equally dedicated to carrying a solid, uncompromised, unfiltered, unequivocal, and unapologetic libertarian message to all 50 states.

“I resolve to cleanse myself of hate, resentment, and bitterness, and focus on using the tools of peace, love, mercy and forgiveness against the weapons of war, hate, vengeance, and cruelty.

“I resolve to keep from being drawn into arguments or debates on inconsequential issues, and to always remember that my purpose is to increase people’s appetite for liberty — not to prove that they’re wrong.

“I resolve to always acknowledge my good fortune in having been born an American, to refrain from dwelling on America’s defects and past mistakes, and to focus instead on how we together can realize America’s potential and promise.

“I resolve not to adopt the political campaign tactics of Republicans and Democrats, who use coercion, character assassination, evasions, fear, and intimidation in their unbridled quest for power. Rather, I resolve to remain civil in my political discourse and treat all people I encounter with the dignity and respect that is their due as human beings.

“Lastly, I resolve never to cease working to ensure that the Libertarian Party and our presidential candidate in 2012 is committed to proclaiming loudly, clearly and unequivocally – stop all war.”

Wrights is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 should be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. He has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.

The 52-year old writer and political activist was born in Winston-Salem, N.C. and now lives in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.

Wrights 2012 press release

Wrights pledges a ‘wise and frugal’ principled campaign

BURNET, Texas (Dec. 3) – In the four months since R. Lee Wrights began exploring the idea of seeking the Libertarian presidential nomination he has become even more convinced how critical it is for the Libertarian Party to be the anti-war party in 2012.

“The Democrats have not just completely failed to stop the ever expanding cycle of war, they continue to enlarge the cycle,” he said. “When the Republicans take control of the U.S. House, there will be no one left to speak for peace, no one but Libertarians,” Wrights said.

“When I announced formation of an exploratory committee on July 4, I said the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war.” Wrights said. “Since then many Libertarians have told me they agree, and some have signed on to the campaign to help make it so.”

Thomas Hill, of Charlotte, N.C. has known Wrights for 10 years. He agreed to chair the exploratory committee because he said Wrights has proven to be a consistent and principled libertarian.

“He has never been afraid or ashamed of the axiom of non-aggression,” Hill said. “A true patriot through and through, Lee loves our great country and sincerely wishes to not only restore our once great Republic but to guarantee all men and women are truly free to live their lives and pursue their peaceful and honest dreams.”

“You cannot lead a nation into peace and prosperity while constantly initiating aggression against other nations,” said Norman Horn, who signed on as webmaster. “War is the ultimate evil and must be vigorously opposed by all true libertarians.”

Other members of the committee include: Brian Irving, press secretary; Robert Butler, treasurer; Julie Fox, assistant treasurer; Sean Haugh, events coordinator; Zachary Smith, campus coordinator, and; Katie Brewer, social media coordinator.

Wrights said he intends to run a campaign that will mirror the way a Libertarian president would govern. “I plan on running what Thomas Jefferson would probably call a ‘wise and frugal’ campaign,” he said. “It will be professional and well-run, a campaign all Libertarians can be proud of, but we won’t waste money on frills and we will rely heavily on grassroots activists.”

He said he is determined that whoever wins the 2012 nomination is totally committed to proclaiming the message to stop all war. To that end, Wrights has pledged to commit ten percent of all donations to his campaign to gain ballot access in all 50 states.

The committee also wants to ensure the 2012 nominee is equally committed to running on an unequivocal libertarian platform. “We need a candidate who is not ashamed nor afraid to proclaim the true libertarian message of individual liberty and personal responsibility, without compromise, without watering down and without pandering to those who are afraid of freedom,” said Irving.

Wrights, a Winston-Salem native, is a writer and political activist living in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.

Wrights 2012 press release

Libertarians mourn death of party co-founder David Nolan

David Nolan
David Nolan

Libertarians are mourning the sudden death of David Nolan, party co-founder and author of the Nolan Chart, billed as the World’s Smallest Political Quiz.

Nolan died Sunday, apparently of a heart attack while driving near his home in Tucson, Ariz., just days short of his 67 birthday. He had just completed a campaign for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent John McCain.

“David’s importance to the liberty movement cannot be underestimated,” said state Libertarian Party chair Barbara Howe. “His sudden death is a shock to all of us in the libertarian community. I pledge to carry on the work David helped get started.”

“I am saddened by the news of David Nolan’s death,” said LP national chair Mark Hinkle. “He not only helped found the Libertarian Party, but remained active and helped to guide our party for the last forty years.”

“David was a champion of the libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party,” said R. Lee Wrights, a Winston-Salem native and editor of the online magazine Liberty for All. “Throughout his years of activism and leadership, he never wavered in proclaiming the libertarian message without equivocation, explanation or moderation. He never once apologized for his philosophy, our philosophy… the superiority of individual rights.”

“However painful David’s death may be, his untimely passing makes me even more committed and determined to restore and preserve the vision of the Libertarian Party he and a dedicated band of visionaries first articulated in his Denver living room so many years ago,” said Wrights, a potential candidate for the 2012 Libertarian presidential nomination. “I am determined that David’s vision will never die, that the Libertarian Party will never be afraid to challenge the State and always, always defend liberty loudly, boldly and without compromise.

Nolan describes himself as having been born a libertarian, even though he was born in Washington D.C. He grew up in the Maryland suburbs, reading the science fiction of Robert Heinlein and the novels of Ayan Rand.

In the 1964 presidential campaign, as an architectural student Nolan was a founder of the M.I.T. the Students for Goldwater. The Goldwater campaign attracted nascent libertarians, since there was then no formal libertarian organizations let alone a political party. Although Goldwater lost, Nolan was active in the formation and leadership of several libertarian groups spawned by the campaign, including Young Americans for Freedom and the Young Republicans.

During Richard Nixon’s presidency, the Vietnam war, crackdowns on civil liberties and increasing restrictions on economic freedom led Nolan and other libertarians to became increasingly convinced that the Republican Party held no promise for freedom lovers. The break came when Nixon announced he was taking the nation off the gold standard and imposed a freeze on wages and prices, which Nolan denounced as “economic fascism.”

In 1971, Nolan wrote an article for a libertarian magazine entitled “The Case for a Libertarian Political Party.” Now living in Denver, he and a group of his friends began to expand on that idea and contacted libertarians around the country. On December 11, 1971 the Libertarian Party was born in Nolan’s living room.

During this same period, Nolan was working on the other accomplishment for which he is famous, the Nolan Chart.

“I kept scratching my head and wondering why people like us agreed with conservatives on a lot of things, but obviously had fundamental disagreements with conservatives on a lot of other issues,” he said “And why were there areas where we could see that liberals made sense – especially opposition to war and draft?”

Combining his architectural training and his political activism, in 1970 Nolan drew a new map of the political world that has all but replaced the old-fashioned left-right linear model. Later, Marshall Fritz, founder of the Advocates for Self-Government, refined the Nolan chart into a diamond shape to produce what the now well-known and popular World’s Smallest Political Quiz. Millions of people have taken the quiz online, it is referred to in over a dozen leading textbooks, and has been used in hundreds of classrooms around the world.

Nolan is survived by his wife Elizabeth.

Read David Nolan’s profile on Libertarianism.com.

One million Americans voted Libertarian

The most significant impact of the 2010 elections is neither a mandate for the Republican Party, nor a rejection of the Obama Administration, but in the continued growth of the Libertarian vote at the local, state and national level, said potential Libertarian presidential candidate R. Lee Wrights.

“The Libertarian Party continued its record of putting up more candidates than any other third party in America, more than 800 this year,” Wrights said. “More than one million Americans voted for Libertarian candidates for the U.S. House and 15 of those candidates polled better than five percent of the vote in a three-way race, a substantial increase from what we’ve achieved before.”

Wrights said he was also proud of the accomplishments of the party’s two U.S. Senate candidates who earned more than four percent of the vote while challenging the Democrat and Republican party nominees. “It’s clear that the Libertarian message is reaching an increasing number of Americans, who are beginning to realize that not only is government part of the problem, but so are the Democratic and Republican parties,” Wrights said.

He noted that Libertarian candidates nationwide drew more than one percent of vote total for its House candidates, something no third party has done since the Progressives Party in 1948.

Unlike some Libertarians, Wrights said he doesn’t care to speculate on what the election results mean for the Republican Party. “I’m only concerned about what the results mean for the Libertarian Party and the libertarian movement,” he said. ”

One of their own candidates, Marco Rubio, warned that Republicans would make a grave mistake if the believed the election results were an embrace of the party,” Wrights said. “Rubio said it was a ‘second chance’ for the party to make good on its promises.”

“I can’t argue with the idea of giving anyone, or any party, a second chance,” Wrights said. “But the Republicans and Democrats have had many second chances — and third chances, and fourth chances — yet still continue to grow government, increase spending, raise taxes, limit freedom and expand our nations wars.”

“The question is, at what point do you say enough is enough, and stop voting for political parties who simply do not do what they say they are going to do,” Wrights said.

Wrights is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 should be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. He has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.

The 52-year old writer and political activist was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and now lives in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.