Local Groups, Local Issues

The Massachusetts LP has as one of its priorities this year to start up local groups all over the state, and I think that is a good thing. 

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A big weird tent

For newcomers to the party, the "big tent" formed by libertarian principles can seem pretty strange, especially compared to the old political divisions. The major parties are simple. You are either a lefty liberal or a conservative on the right. After of decades of conditioning, for many voters, the labels practically apply themselves and people continually act out their role in defeating the other. Even when they both actually want the exact same things.

With libertarians, there is a mix of conservative gun ownership and liberal non-interventionist peacemaking, liberal drug laws and fiscal conservatism. Across just about every issue our principles break the molds used by most Americans to size one another up. So by conventional standards libertarianism is just plain weird, but if you are honestly objective, it is also the most rational.

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Massachusetts Liberty

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What is the true state of liberty in our society today? The most honest answer is, "it depends."

Whether along economic, social, or political lines, for a select few the freedom to do whatever one pleases is almost without limit. For most of us, however, freedoms are being eroded more and more with each passing day. As the newly appointed Executive Director, I need to know what you think the Massachusetts Libertarian Party can do to help reverse this trend. What does homegrown liberty look like to you?

Regardless of past political affiliations—independent, republican, democrat, or libertarian—as citizens we all know that our nation is capable of so much more. The desire to make America great again is real, but what makes America great is not one group having the authority to impose its will upon others. What makes America great is the balance of authority that protects liberty for everyone equally. Instead of a government that is the guardian of liberty, we have let it become the instrument of those in power. That is why I believe the Libertarian Party—the party of principle—is crucial to restoring liberty in Massachusetts and across the nation. By taking away the majority from both parities, we can become the fulcrum upon which balance is restored.

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Local Groups are Forming

Local libertarian groups in various stages of formation are springing up across the Commonwealth. These include the MetroWest group, which meets monthly at the Horseshoe Pub in Hudson, and new groups in Boston, the Greater Worcester area, Cape Cod and the Islands, and the Franklin area. We are still looking for volunteers to start groups in other regions, including (but not restricted to) North Shore, South Shore, Lowell area, Fall River and New Bedford, and Western Massachusetts.

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Executive Orders and the Constitution

When President Obama used executive orders, Republicans clamored they were unconstitutional. And indeed 12 of Obama’s actions were reversed by the the Supreme Court. I’m now being asked by my liberal friends, who slowly waking up to the fact that authoritarian government is always bad, which an executive order is unconstitutional. Here’s what I tell them:

Most important truth #1? Almost everyone is a hypocrite. The Democrats could solve world hunger and the Republicans would say it was unconstitutional. The Republicans could propose a bill be read aloud before members voted on it, and that would be opposed by the Democrats.

To get into specifics though, It depends on what an executive order covers. We have our basic separation of powers. On some issues the President is specifically empowered by the Constitution to act has he sees fit, while on others only Congress can act. When an executive order crosses that line, it becomes unconstitutional.

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Ranked Choice Voting

By Adam Friedman 

As the nation was thrown into a tailspin with the upset victory of Donald Trump, Maine provided a glimmer of hope for our fragile democracy. Voters there passed Question 5, making Maine the first state in US history to institute ranked-choice voting (RCV) for all federal and state elections.

Why does ranked-choice voting matter? Because our current voting system is rigged against anyone who isn’t a Democrat or a Republican, and RCV is arguably the best way to break this duopoly. Ranked-choice voting allows you to rank your candidates in the order you prefer them -- 1, 2, 3 -- and would allow to vote your true values, say by ranking Gary Johnson as your first choice, and then the more tolerable major-party candidate as your second choice. If your first choice gets eliminated in an instant runoff round, your vote transfers to your second choice. You can even rank as many candidates as there are running, and express your preference thoroughly and honestly. The fear of the “spoiler candidate” is a thing of the past. This means more votes, more legitimacy, and more power for Libertarians.

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What do Libertarians do Now?

Now that Donald Trump has avoided a coup of faithless electors, and has officially taken the oath of office, he is now the 45th President of the United States. It would have been so much better to have had Gary Johnson take the oath of office quietly in some back room at the capital, but alas, I am a Toby Keith fan, so I guess my extorted tax dollars paid for some good entertainment. 

The question now is, “What Do Us Libertarians Do?” As a third major party, we have the ability to put our candidate on the ballot in all 50 states without having to collect millions of signatures, so as long as we choose wisely, our candidate will appear on the ballot alongside Donald Trump, whomever the Democrats select (probably Cory Booker) and whomever the Green Party nominates (probably Jill Stein) in 2020.

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The National Popular Vote is a Fake News Story

If you are talking about the popular vote as something real, you are helping to spread fake news. I'm not a Trump supporter. I'm not trying to justify the Electoral College. I don’t dispute that if if you add up all the votes cast for all 18 candidates on the ballots in the combined 50 states, Hillary Clinton’s total is higher than any other candidates.

I'm asking you to look at the reality of how our elections work. Whether you like it or not, the Electoral College is how the winner of the election was determined and that's the ONLY race the candidates were trying to win.

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Convention Report

The Libertarian Association of Massachusetts held its annual convention on October 1, 2016, at the Doubletree Hotel in Westborough, MA. There were 110 attendees who came to participate in LAMA business, and hear from our featured speakers, which included Arvin Vohra, Vice Chair of the national LP; Executive coaching and consultant, Larry Sharpe; investing consultant and Bitcoin Association founder Bruce Fenton; decorated Iraq War veteran, liberty activist, and talk show host, Adam Kokesh; Second Amendment supporter, Brent Carlton; Medical Cannabis advocate Nichole Snow; Lori Kenschaft, activist against mass incarceration; and Thomas Simmons, Libertarian candidate for the 1st congressional district.

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Libertarians Organize Ahead of November

Members of the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts met in Westborough over the weekend to mobilize ahead of the presidential election. The Party of Principle, a moniker they’ve adopted in this tumultuous election cycle, saw one of its largest Massachusetts based conventions in years, with activists flocking to hear from big players in Libertarian circles and set goals for the future.

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