A Greener Shade of Brown
I just today (well, yesterday by the time I'm writing this) came across the website of Lance Brown, who's already running for the LP nomination in 2008 (the first presidential election in which he'll be old enough to be eligible). It's the first I'd heard of him, but then I don't generally follow LP politics terribly closely (apart from my one stint as a delegate in '96) so I'm probably behind the curve.
In any case, after spending some time perusing his website (actually a vast network of websites) I'm favourably impressed; on the basis of what I've read so far, he seems more like"my" kind of libertarian than were any of the three candidates for the LP nomination this year. In other words, he's a Rand-reading computer geek with a left-friendly, feminist-friendly, labour-friendly, Green-friendly approach.
That's basically the approach that characterised the libertarian movement in the glorious 19th century, before the rise of state socialism scared libertarians into their long and ugly 20th-century alliance with conservatives. One of Brown's many websites is called GreenLiberty.org, advertised as being dedicated to"pursuing Green values using Libertarian principles"; I was particularly curious to have a look at it, but it seems to be out of service for now. However, for Brown's general outlook see his article The Essential Hurdle for Libertarians, which says the things that libertarians should be saying more often.
I'm a bit grumpy, though, over his admission that he isn't"very well-read" in Austrian economics. Come 2008, he'd better have read up on the Austrians if he's going to be answering the hard economics questions. That's especially true if he wants to reach out to the left; those constituents will be wanting to know why they should vote for a free-marketer like Brown rather than for Nader or the Green candidate. Perhaps he should start with Gene Callahan's Economics for Real People. (As long as I'm grumping: Brown also has a fondness for keeping pronouns in the subjective case regardless of what this does to the grammar of the sentence. Argh! Still, I bet he can pronounce"nuclear" correctly.)
Anyway, Brown looks like a breath of fresh air, at least to us bleeding-heart libertarians who would like to see the movement lose its right-wing image and extend its appeal to the anti-authoritarian left. He's definitely a candidate worth watching.
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Roderick T. Long - 7/22/2004
> Please don't use the term "a breath of fresh air"
> when describing somebody. It is cliched and it
> really bugs me! :-)
So you would really find it a breath of fresh air if people didn't use it?
M.D. Fulwiler - 7/22/2004
Please don't use the term "a breath of fresh air" when describing somebody. It is cliched and it really bugs me! :-)
Otto M. Kerner - 7/22/2004
I sense a certain amount of arrogarnce in Brown's "Essential Hurdle" article. The "liberal" goals that he describes -- aren't those what everybody wants? I would think that almost any well-intentioned person would meet his definition of liberal. Therefore, by imputing a difference in ends to conservatives, he implies that they are not well-intentioned. His suggestion, "Painting that picture -- clearly, vividly, and credibly -- is absolutely essential for Libertarians," I would have thought was obvious. Who is he saying does not do this already? Rockwell? Perhaps, but Rockwell has a very specific angle that he works and he's not trying to run for president. The LP? If so, that can only be because of sheer incompetence.
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