I made my first speaking appearance of my campaign and, more significantly, of my life, in Princeton on Thursday night.
The venue was the Unitarian Church (home turf). The audience was the Gay People of Princeton. The occasion was a Congressional candidates night that included yours truly and the Democratic contenders - Rush Holt and Carl Mayer. The Republican incumbent, Mike Pappas declined the invite. I wonder why?
I was invited by the distinguished Hunterdon LP organizer Rob Tannnen while our candidate for Princeton Town Council, Tom Abrams turned out to lend moral support. Thanks, guys.
The format was that each of us got a few minutes for opening remarks and then we answered questions from the audience. The text of my remarks are at the end of this note.
I was a little worried going in but let me tell you - it was big time fun. The two Dems were heavily credentialed but had nothing to say and a program for everything. I tried to focus on social tolerance, individual initiative expanded choice and limited government. I wanted to respect this audience without pandering to them. I think that I did OK. Tom, Rob and my son Lou gave positive feedback. I hope that they were honest.
As an aside. Meyer has a really bitchin’ campaign vehicle. It’s an old school bus decked out on the inside and out like an old diner. He gave me a tour and seems like an OK guy. I hope that he gets his party’s nomination so that I can use the line, “It’s only fitting that my Democratic opponent represents himself with a diner - so he can serve up the pork.” Unfortunately I was too slow witted to think of that while I was there.
One awkward moment for me came when someone remarked that Murray took some heavy contributions from the Christian right and then asked if I knew that that this was true or false. I replied honestly that I did not know but made clear that the Libertarian social vision was not consistent with extreme Right’s bigoted agenda.
And that’s the way it is.
And now the text of my opening statement:
Thank you for inviting me here to speak with you this evening. I am sure that most of you are unaware that this is my first political speech.
I’ll make it brief.
It is my first speech because like most of my libertarian brothers and sisters, I am a political amateur.
As amateurs, we do not feed at the public trough. We are everyday people, mostly employed in the workaday world of the private sector. We do not use taxpayer dollars to grant favors, curry influence or to reward supporters.
But “amateur” has an even deeper and nobler meaning. Like the Olympians of old we do what we do for love. For passion.
We are Libertarians, not because we wish to associate with a machine that efficiently raises money and delivers votes. We are Libertarians because we love the principals of freedom and liberty that this nation was founded upon. We are passionate about a philosophy that embraces:
- The equality of all people.
- Respect for individual expression, enterprise, initiative and creativity.
- The right to live one’s life as he or she so chooses so long as that person does trample upon the rights of another.
- The right to manage and dispose of one’s personal resources as one so chooses.
- Reward for risks taken and a job well done.
- Personal responsibility for one’s transgressions and failures.
- The right of other nations to conduct their own affairs as they see fit.
Libertarians endorse a very limited form of government - a government whose role is confined to:
- Protecting our lives, bodies and property from criminal behavior.
- Enforcing contracts and mediating civil disputes.
- Defending our borders from foreign invasion.
This limited form of government is often called “negative” government. This is to distinguish it from the activist government that employs “positive” action to advance the agendas and causes of special interests at taxpayer expense.
Although Libertarians favor a negative form of government, libertarianism is far from a negative philosophy. In fact, it is very positive.
It is positive in that it is a philosophy of individual empowerment - a call to arms for all adults to take charge of their lives and to accept the rewards and consequences of their actions.
It is positive because it is a doctrine of faith. Faith in the notion that people will do great things and exhibit extraordinary creativity when given the freedom to do so.
It is positive because it implies a bond of trust and respect. This is the trust that if we respect others who choose to live their lives differently than us, that they will, in turn, respect our choices and be good neighbors - not threats.
It is positive because it emphasizes cooperation over coercion. People who voluntarily cooperate in commercial or in community activity, learn to respect each other and to live peacefully because it is their mutual interest. When, behavior is coerced, no matter how lofty the aim, the outcome is always resentment and recrimination.
This is why I am a libertarian and proud to represent the Libertarian Party in this election.
I thank your for listening to me. I look forward to hearing your questions and responding to your individual concerns.
No matter how you choose to vote, I applaud each of you for being here tonight and taking an interest in the issues and an active role in your government.
It is the American way.
The questions included:
NATO expansion - I explained that George Kennen, the father of the Cold War “containment” policy was against it because it will only alienate and isolate Russia at a time when they need friends and support. Additionally, I pointed out the enormous cost to taxpayers and turned to Libertarian ideas such as limiting our defenses to protecting our borders and using free commerce and cultural exchange to win friends and build peace rather than armed confrontation.
Anti discrimination legislation - The answer was that I’m against all discrimination based upon race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. That said, I am also opposed to more laws that interfere in the workings of our lives. I believe that we can combat this problem though exposing the offenders in the media and by bringing pressure upon them in the marketplace. Additionally, people need to learn that the only hurt themselves when the refuse to hire the best talent because of prejudice.
Where did my money go? - I pointed out, that many politicians run on the promise of a variety of programs that sound attractive to narrow interest groups. These cost money. To pass them, they need to cut deals with other polls to approve their bills that cost money. This allows the poll to appear like he is bringing home bacon while he’s picking their pockets via increased taxes with his other hand.
Someone asked about airplane noise - Beats the hell out of me.
Note: This document was edited by the Webmaster. Any inaccuracies in it are accidental and not attributable to the candidate.