George Floyd - Murdered by Police
You have probably seen the news or maybe even the horrifying video showing George Floyd's agonizing death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. The officers involved have now been fired and an investigation is underway, charges may be forthcoming.
The issue though is that these types of murders by cops have been going on *forever*, and are probably much less frequent now than before. They were just swept under a rug of police lies. People in the targeted communities have always known this.
But now that everyone on the street is a potential video reporter, we live in an age where we can sit in our comfortable suburban homes, open up our social media app, and watch a video of a man being sadistically murdered by a gang of cops just a few hours after it happens. We, too, now feel the rage, sorrow, and disgust that such knowledge imparts to any normal person.
We need to reassess our whole concept of police work, and the institutions that foster the culture we just witnessed.
Libertarians are the only ones who understand that any law we ask our police to enforce, no matter how minor the infraction, opens the door to this type of travesty.
It is time for change. We all are responsible for allowing the laws that create these situations, for allowing the government to become oppressive to the point of literally choke its citizens to death.
Our deepest condolences go out to George Floyd's family. We hope they are the last family to ever suffer a loss in this way.
Read more at Reason.com ...
RCV petition drive goes virtual
In a surprising move, Secretary of State Bill Galvin has allowed the signatures for the second phase of the Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) ballot drive to be collected electronically. This drive is extremely important for the future of the Libertarian Party.
When Justin Amash announced his interest in becoming the Libertarian candidate for President, there was an immediate outcry from Democrats and Republicans alike, calling him a "spoiler" and claiming he would steal votes from their candidates. No matter whether Amash or any of our other worthy candidates is chosen at the Libertarian National Convention (now scheduled to begin online on May 22), this argument will eclipse all others, and our candidate will draw the wrath of the main stream. The widespread adoption of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) will eliminate this argument forever.
RCV has been used in several U.S. municipalities for many years, and was adopted statewide in Maine in 2016 and overwhelmingly in New York City in 2019. When Massachusetts passes RCV this November, it will trigger a cascade of success in other states. If timid liberty-minded voters are able to rank the lesser of two evils as a backup #2, worthy candidates will no longer consider the Libertarian Party a lost cause.
In order to earn RCV a place on the November 3, 2020 ballot, the people must submit a second round of 13,374 valid signatures by June 17. The campaign kicked off the signature drive on May 6th and we need thousands of MA voters to sign the RCV petition electronically from home.
As you may know, volunteers from Voter Choice for Massachusetts, the organization driving the RCV campaign, made history last fall when they submitted 111,000 certified signatures to the Secretary of the Commonwealth; the most ever by a Massachusetts ballot initiative campaign. The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts has supported RCV since 2019, and we are proud to be part of this historic effort to give more voice to voters.
We hope you will take a minute to sign the RCV petition right now by clicking here, and please share this URL with your friends and family (sign.voterchoice2020.org) on Facebook or via email. Nothing like this has ever been done before, but with your help we can make history together.
If you would like to get involved to help safely gather signatures from your friends and neighbors, the campaign has the tools and training to support you. Please sign up here, or contact Brian Bass, Organizing Director for the RCV campaign, at [email protected]
Protect Freedom in the COVID Crisis, End The Government-Forced Shutdown
The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts (lpmass.org) adopted a resolution calling for the protection of Civil Rights during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and for an end to the Government-forced shutdown.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a serious crisis and is threatening lives, especially of those with a weakened immune response and of the elderly. In addition, the reaction to the crisis has created a significant economic problem, putting the livelihood and, in some cases, the lives of many more at risk. On top of these issues, people are dealing with the sheer human impact of uncertainty, fear, and the loss of the ability to move freely or even see family, as well as the loss of loved ones. For some this is leading to some level of mental health challenges. Government regulation in general and the government response to the crisis in specific has in multiple ways contributed to worsening the situation. It will take a tremendous effort to overcome this challenge.
Voluntary social distancing and stay-at-home recommendations for those who have that option, as well as closure of schools and cancellations of mass-events have probably been effective tools in slowing the further spread of COVID-19 and the resulting potential overload of the health care system.
However, the COVID-19 crisis has also led to another push for more executive power on every level of government. The fear of the pandemic has also paved the way for an unprecedented support for even blatantly unconstitutional measures. The lockdown and the practice of government officials making arbitrary decisions on ‘essential’ businesses - sometimes as in the example of firearms retailers driven by an ulterior political agenda -, or the attempt by the Department of Justice to allow unlimited detention are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The fining - and in some cases apparently arrest - of citizens for alleged violations of distancing or stay-at-home orders without a concrete risk to others, are an unacceptable government overreach - they are just more victimless ‘crimes’.
This is happening after the failure of government to address the problem before it became a crisis and even its direct contribution to the problem. Examples are government red tape preventing private initiative to develop appropriate testing capabilities, or the now rescinded guidance to not wear masks in public. Bureaucratic control and mismanagement has hampered progress, limited individual initiative, and caused suffering beyond the government apparatus. The many cases of medical workers being punished for taking initiative to mitigate the shortage of protective equipment are a saddening example of that. However, only the government is claiming a monopoly to actively prevent others from solving problems. And government measures of expanding reach and undermining civil rights in a crisis have a habit of sticking around and developing a life of its own. The fact that the Patriot Act was just renewed in Congress almost two decades after the horrific terrorist attack of September 11 can serve as a reminder of that.
Any infringements on individual rights need to have a solid reason. However, there is an increasing amount of data suggesting that voluntary social distancing, cancellation of mass events, and enabling the vulnerable to self-protect has been effective to slow the spread of COVID-19, while the government forced lockdown of the economy has likely contributed little beyond those effects - at tremendous cost. The Robert Koch Institute (roughly the German equivalent to the CDC) has pre-published a study that visualizes that clearly:
This shows that new infections dropped significantly after cancellation of mass events and social distancing recommendations 03/09, continued to fall after cross-state guidelines were agreed in Germany on 03/16, but that it leveled out even before the economic shutdown was put in place for Germany on 03/23. This study is likely suffering from the same challenges of incomplete data as most, and there are significant regional and local differences calling for local decision making based on the concrete situation in a specific area.
The public is well advised to be wary of the expanding government reach, surveillance, and erosion of civil rights, as well as the long-term impact of the unprecedented forced lock-down orders.
Many are taking a moralistic approach to the debate, citing the Pandemic of 1918 as an example to warn against relaxing successful measures too early. While that Pandemic indeed should serve as a warning, at the same time, the Great Depression and its contribution to the Rise of Fascism and World War II should also serve as a reminder that an extreme economic downturn has a very real human cost. And the effects of the full shutdown are already being compared to the Great Depression by economists, putting lives at risk in 2020 and beyond.
Individual responsibility is the basis of any successful effort to address this crisis. Libertarians support voluntary social distancing to ‘flatten the curve’ of the COVID-19 spread and mitigate its potential to overwhelm the healthcare infrastructure. The position of the Libertarian Party is that any response must be scientifically justified and not based on speculation; that the response must respect and protect civil liberties and balance its long-term effects.
Overall, the urgently needed improvement of the situation can best be achieved by removing bureaucratic hurdles and supporting local and private initiative in combination with a focused containment and protection strategy. Most importantly it must be focused on voluntary compliance with social distancing and self-isolation based on a positive test or on proven exposure to the infection.
The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts calls for an end to the government mandated shutdown of the economy and to the curtailing of civil liberties, as well as and the discriminatory treatment of businesses that might not be politically in favor. This should be replaced with a more efficient and just approach, that builds on voluntary social distancing, targeted isolation of the infected, as well as on enabling the vulnerable to self-protect. Key to that is broad availability of testing to the general population in order to identify the infected and the part of the population that has had previous exposure and, based on the current scientific consensus, is likely to have at least temporary immunity. This also implies the continued cancellation of mass events and mandatory government programs such as schools, or for example signature petition requirements for elections.
The Libertarian Policy Institute has put together a deeper exploration of these options.
A Libertarian Approach to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global health crisis with a significant threat to human lives and the government response has created an additional economic problem, that threatens to change the world for years to come. In the face of the COVID threat, fear has led to irrationally broad support for an authoritarian response to the crisis and massive expansion of government reach despite clear evidence of government failure contributing to the severity of the crisis. The response has been both politicized by the extremists on either side of the mainstream political spectrum and is being used by both sides to push their pre-existing agendas, such as gun control in Massachusetts and abortion bans in Texas.
The increasing number of restrictions are expanding the reach of government into everyday life. While the government of Massachusetts has focused on disrupting businesses and advisories for individual behavior, some towns have begun to impose fines to micro-police their citizens' behavior.
A Libertarian response to the crisis would look very different: A decentralized focus on private initiative and individual responsibility, while protecting the rights of all. Limiting the reach of government and permanently reducing bureaucratic regulations that stand in the way of solving problems as opposed to the forced shutdowns and temporary relief packages.
It is important that Libertarians voice their opposition to the extreme measures and rights violations and call for a rational approach based on scientific evidence, not fear and speculation. Speak up in your community.
The Libertarian Policy Institute has put together a deeper exploration of these options.
COVID and Voter Choice Suppression in MA
Governor Baker, protect lawful firearms owners!
The combination of discriminatory regulation, the government shutdown, and ideological instrumentalization of the crisis is creating a very concrete risk of serious legal problems for lawful firearm owners in Massachusetts. Massachusetts requires firearms owners to be licensed, however license renewals are currently not being processed and the government of the Commonwealth has not put any emergency extension in place. Furthermore, some local licensing authorities are reportedly providing misleading information to license holders who are attempting to renew.
The Republican Governor Baker, has not only pushed an anti-2nd-Amendment agenda by declaring firearms retail and training facilities "non-essential" - explicitly against Federal guidelines. His administration is directly creating a situation in which law abiding citizens may become criminals overnight simply due to the government refusing to acts on its own regulation. This is an unacceptable situation.
Call or email your representatives to voice your concerns. You can find their information here.
Firearms owners with an expiring license need to pay close attention to the required steps in order to protect themselves. Find out more from the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts.
LP Mass to GOP Governor: Respect the 2nd Amendment
The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts calls on the Baker Administration to respect civil liberties in the Commonwealth, particularly the rights enshrined in the 2nd Amendment, and to acknowledge firearms retailers and shooting ranges as essential businesses.
The Republican Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, continues to use the COVID-19 crisis to advance an anti-2nd-Amendment agenda: After initially adopting the updated Federal guidelines on essential businesses, which includes firearm retailers and shooting ranges as essential, on March 31 the guidelines on the state website were changed to exclude these firearm businesses.
“The Democrat-dominated Massachusetts political establishment has for a long time been hostile towards the constitutional rights of lawful firearms owners in the Commonwealth.” said Don Graham, Chair of the Libertarian Party in Massachusetts. “Singling out firearms businesses that serve the law-abiding civilian firearm owners and selectively shutting them down is just another example of that bias. That it is a Republican Governor pushing an anti-2nd-amendment agenda, demonstrates that the GOP only pays lip service to our individual rights. The Libertarian Party is the only major political party to unwaveringly support the 2nd Amendment along with the whole Bill of Rights. Voters who support the 2nd amendment should remember that in November."
Libertarian Presidential Debate at the LAMA 2020 Convention
Watch a recording of the Libertarian Presidential Candidates' Debate at the LAMA 2020 State Convention (virtual) on March 22nd:
The following great candidates participated:
Moderator: Dan Fishman (former LAMA Chair and current Executive Chairman of the Libertarian Party at the national level)
Massachusetts Primary 2020
The Massachusetts primary is March 3, 2020. If you are registered as Unenrolled (independent) or Libertarian, pull a Libertarian ballot and support one of our candidates.
- Arvin Vhora
- Vermin Supreme
- Jacob Hornsberger
- Samuel Robb
- Dan Berhman
- Kim Ruff
- Ken Armstrong
- Adam Kokesh
- Jo Jorgensen
- Max Abramson
For more information please see the Massachusetts Libertarian Party website.