L. Neil Smith's

Number 20, December 15, 1996.

America Has Had a 'Third Party' Since 1972. Why Weren't You Told?

By Vin Suprynowicz

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

         The Democratic party earnestly claims to be the "party of less government and lower taxes," even as the post-election wish lists of its traditional constituencies for new government interventions grows longer.
         Meantime, the "radical" congressional Republicans happily endorse further wage controls and federal interventions in the health insurance business, while solemnly vowing to indefinitely continue looting enough additional taxes to "keep safe and secure" the bankrupt Ponzi schemes of the Farley-Roosevelt New Deal.
         As the two incumbent parties thus busy themselves trying on each other's frock coats for size, is it any surprise voters are tempted to widen their gaze in search of someone who might offer some straight talk?
         It is in that context that the considerable press coverage of Ross Perot's Reform Party convention in Long Beach, Calif. the week of Aug. 11 -- even though it conflicted with the Republican National Convention down the coast in San Diego at the same time -- must be understood.
         Unfortunately, the manipulative nature of the feisty "just get under the hood and fix it" Texan immediately surfaced.
         Mr. Perot, who made his first billion negotiating plush computer service contracts with the government -- yes, it was all tax money - loves to assume the pose of the modest, foot-shuffling lad, willing to take us to the dance only if we ask him real nice.
         This spring, Perot was back playing coy again, saying he didn't know if he would run for his own party's presidential nomination.
         Making the mistake of accepting this at face value, former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm threw his hat in the ring on July the ninth. Suddenly Mr. Perot's feigned reluctance evaporated, as he forcefully informed his faithful followers in Long Beach Aug. 11, "I want to be your president."
         Perot is welcome in the race, of course. But if Americans are looking for a well-thought-out and radically different platform, and a support structure of congressional candidates to keep a new-party president in the game should another ever be elected (Abe Lincoln was the last), they were far more likely to find it in the nominating convention of the Libertarian Party in Washington D.C. July the Fourth, than in Long Beach in August.
         Despite the usual panoply of colorful charts and graphs, Bill Stall of the Los Angeles Times reported in a masterpiece of understatement that "Perot offered no detailed solutions to any of the problems he raised," in Long Beach Aug. 11. "Nor did Lamm, whose speech focused on ... campaign and governmental reform, fiscal 'sanity' and immigration reform."
         Oh, fine. Blame it on the Mexicans.
         Meantime, accepting the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination in Washington July 6, financial newsletter author Harry Browne said: "We have to get rid of all the gun-control laws that leave our citizens defenseless in the face of armed criminals. We have to get rid of the asset-forfeiture laws that motivate law-enforcement agencies to conduct raids because of the property to be seized rather than because of any crimes committed. ...
         "The only way we will reduce drug use in this country is to take the criminal profit out of the illicit drug trade by making drugs completely legal. ...
         "I will submit a budget for the fiscal year 1998 ... cutting the federal government in half immediately and repealing the income tax. ...
         "In the Libertarian administration of Harry Browne, every government employee will respect the Bill of Rights or pay the consequences. ... Any government employee found guilty of violating the Bill of Rights will be censured, dismissed, or even prosecuted.
         "This is America, not the Old World. In America, it is the government that must bow down to the people -- not vice versa. We are not the raw material for the reformers' grand schemes. We are not statistics in the Gross National Product. We are not to be toyed with by federal bureaucrats, like mice being tortured by cats. We are sovereign. It is the government that should obey us, not vice versa.
         "In The Libertarian administration of Harry Browne, things will change. As Thomas Jefferson said, we will bind down the politicians with the chains of the Constitution."
         Here is America's third party -- the 24-year-old Libertarian Party that the Big Three networks and the big statist dailies of New York and Washington and Los Angeles don't want you to hear about it.
         How else to explain their endless insistence on describing as a "third party" the Potemkin-Village outfit being constructed as a personal plaything by a hermit Texan playing several beans short of a full burrito, while conveniently failing to note that America's real third party has been on the ballot in all 50 states for years ... and has fielded a presidential candidate in every election since 1972?

Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The web site for the Suprynowicz column is at http://www.nguworld.com/vindex/.

A Juror's Creed: As an American juror, I will exercise my 1000 year old duty to arrive at a verdict, not just on the basis of the facts of a particular case or instructions I am given, but through my ability to reason, my knowledge of the Bill of Rights, and my individual conscience.
-- L. Neil Smith

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