Libertarian Party (United States)

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Libertarian Party (United States)
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Nicholas Sarwark (Arizona>AZ)| secretary = Will JosephAlexandria, Virginia 22314| membership_year = July 2017FIRST=RICHARDDATE=JULY 27, 2017ACCESSDATE=JULY 27, 2017, | position = Big tentPaul Gottfried, The conservative movement: Social movements past and present , Twayne Publishers, 1993, p. 46.Libertarianism in the United StatesMURRAY NEWTONTITLE=FOR A NEW LIBERTY: THE LIBERTARIAN MANIFESTOYEAR=1978Classical liberalismCultural liberalismEconomic liberalismFiscal conservatismIDEOLOGICAL THIRD PARTIES AND SPLINTER PARTIESREF=THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY SUPPORTS LAISSEZ-FAIRE POLICIES, SMALL GOVERNMENT, AND IS CHARACTERIZED BY BEING SOCIALLY LIBERAL ON SOME THINGS, BUT IN TRUTH THEY ARE CONSERVATIVE SOCIALLY BECAUSE THEY DO NOT SUPPORT TAX PAYER PROGRAMS TO HELP ONE ANOTHER THROUGH GOVERNMENT RUN PROGRAMS AND THEY ARE FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE. SOURCE: BOUNDLESS. "IDEOLOGICAL THIRD PARTIES AND SPLINTER PARTIES". BOUNDLESS POLITICAL SCIENCE. BOUNDLESS, JANUARY 6, 2015. RETRIEVED JANUARY 16, 2015Laissez-faireNon-interventionismLIBERTARIAN PARTY OPPOSES FURTHER INTERVENTION IN IRAQREF=THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY SUPPORTS A FOREIGN POLICY OF FREE TRADE AND NON-INTERVENTION., June 18, 2014, }}| international = International Alliance of Libertarian PartiesUnited States Senate>Seats in the Senate0hex={{Libertarian Party (US)/meta/color}}}}United States House of Representatives>Seats in the House of Representatives0hex={{Libertarian Party (US)/meta/color}}}}Governor (United States)>Governorships0hex={{Libertarian Party (US)/meta/color}}}}State legislature (United States)>Seats in state upper chambers0hex={{Libertarian Party (US)/meta/color}}}}State legislature (United States)>Seats in state lower chambers1hex={{Libertarian Party (US)/meta/color}}}}Governor (United States)>Territorial governorships0hex={{Libertarian Party (US)/meta/color}}}}Territories of the United States>Seats in territorial upper chambers0hex={{Libertarian Party (US)/meta/color}}}}Territories of the United States>Seats in territorial lower chambers0hex={{Libertarian Party (US)/meta/color}}}}Electoral history of the Libertarian Party (United States)>Other elected offices182 (2019)HTTPS://WWW.LP.ORG/ELECTED-OFFICIALS-2/ACCESSDATE=AUGUST 9, 2018, {{Libertarian Party (US)/meta/color}}|border=darkgray}} Gold-yellow150px)}}| country = United States}}{{Libertarianism in the United States sidebar}}{{Politics of the United States}}The Libertarian Party (LP) is a political party in the United States that promotes civil liberties, non-interventionism, laissez-faire capitalism and shrinking the size and scope of government.WEB,weblink Current Issues, Libertarian Party, May 5, 2015, yes,weblink" title="">weblink May 7, 2015, mdy-all, The party was conceived at meetings in the home of David F. Nolan in Westminster, Colorado in August 1971Martin, Douglas. David Nolan, 66, Is Dead; Started Libertarian Party, New York Times, November 22, 2010.WEB,weblink David Nolan Reflects on the Libertarian Party on its 30th Anniversary, Colorado Freedom Report, and was officially formed on December 11, 1971 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The founding of the party was prompted in part due to concerns about the Nixon administration, the Vietnam War, conscription and the end of the gold standard.BOOK, Michael Patrick, Murphy, The Government, 555, iUniverse, 2004, 978-0-595-30863-7, The party generally promotes a classical liberal platform, in contrast to the Democratic Party's modern liberalism and progressivism and the Republican Party's conservatism. Gary Johnson, the party's presidential nominee in 2012 and 2016, states that the Libertarian Party is more culturally liberal than Democrats, and more fiscally conservative than Republicans.NEWS, Gary Johnson: I'm More Conservative and More Liberal Than Both Parties, Julie Ershadi,weblink Roll Call, April 30, 2013, Current fiscal policy positions include lowering taxes,WEB,weblink Taxes, Libertarian Party, October 13, 2013, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), decreasing the national debt,WEB,weblink Platform, Libertarian Party, July 29, 2016, allowing people to opt out of Social SecurityWEB,weblink Social Security, Libertarian Party, October 13, 2013, yes,weblink" title="">weblink October 3, 2013, mdy-all, and eliminating the welfare state, in part by utilizing private charities.WEB,weblink Poverty and Welfare, Libertarian Party, October 13, 2013, yes,weblink" title="">weblink October 5, 2013, mdy-all, Current cultural policy positions include ending the prohibition of illegal drugs,WEB,weblink Crime and Violence, Libertarian Party, October 13, 2013, yes,weblink" title="">weblink October 3, 2013, mdy-all, advocating criminal justice reform,WEB,weblink Crime and Justice, Libertarian Party, September 9, 2018, supporting same-sex marriage,PRESS RELEASE, June 10, 2011,weblink Libertarians say marriage equality only one step toward ending legal discrimination, Libertarian Party, ending capital punishment"2016 platform". and supporting gun ownership rights.WEB,weblink Gun Laws, Libertarian Party, October 13, 2013, yes,weblink" title="">weblink October 8, 2013, mdy-all, While it is currently the third largest political party in the United States by voter registration, it currently has no members in Congress, or governorships, and over the past decade, has had less than 10 members elected to state legislatures or other state office. There are 511,277 voters (0.46% of total electorate) registered as Libertarian in the 31 states that report Libertarian registration statistics and Washington, D.C.WEB,weblink August 2017 Ballot Access News Print Edition,, The Libertarian Party was the party under which the first electoral vote was cast for a woman (Tonie Nathan) for Vice President in the 1972 United States presidential election due to a faithless elector.WEB, David, Boaz,weblink First Woman, Cato @ Liberty, Cato Institute, August 29, 2008, David Boaz,


File:NolanwithNolanChart1996.jpg|thumb|David Nolan, founder of the Libertarian Party, with the Nolan ChartNolan ChartThe first Libertarian National Convention was held in June 1972. In 1978, Dick Randolph of Alaska became the first elected Libertarian state legislator. Following the 1980 federal elections, the Libertarian Party assumed the title of being the third-largest party for the first time after the American Independent Party and the Conservative Party of New York (the other largest minor parties at the time) continued to decline. In 1994, over 40 Libertarians were elected or appointed which was a record for the party at that time. 1995 saw a soaring membership and voter registration for the party. In 1996, the Libertarian Party became the first third party to earn ballot status in all 50 states two presidential elections in a row. By the end of 2009, 146 Libertarians were holding elected offices.“History.” Libertarian Party of Kansas, Nathan, running as the Libertarian Party's vice presidential candidate in the 1972 presidential election with John Hospers as the presidential candidate,WEB, O'Grady, Jane, John Hospers obituary,weblink The Guardian, 20 August 2016, 13 July 2011, WEB,weblink John Hospers, RIP, Reason, April 29, 2013, June 13, 2011, was the first female candidate in the United States to receive an electoral vote.The 2012 election Libertarian Party presidential candidate, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, received the highest number of votes—more than 1.2 million—of any Libertarian presidential candidate at the time.Libertarian Party buoyant; Greens hopeful. UPI. 2012-11-08. Retrieved 2016-10-04. He was renominated for president in 2016, this time choosing former Massachusetts Governor William Weld as his running mate. Johnson/Weld shattered the Libertarian record for a presidential ticket, earning over 4.4 million votes.Libertarians pick ticket, slam Trump. CNN. 2016-05-29. Retrieved 2016-10-04. Both Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein received significantly more news coverage in 2016 than third-party candidates usually get, with polls showing both candidates potentially increasing their support over the last election, especially among younger voters.For Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson Is a Juicier Target Than Jill Stein. Mother Jones. 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2016-10-04.Though the party has never won a seat in the United States Congress, it has seen electoral success in the context of state legislatures and other local offices. Three Libertarians were elected to the Alaska House of Representatives between 1978 and 1984 and another four to the New Hampshire General Court in 1992.WEB,weblink The Third Party Myth, Young Politicians of America, January 1, 2001, December 10, 2013, yes,weblink" title="">weblink January 4, 2008, mdy-all, Neil Randall, a Libertarian, won the election to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1998 and was re-elected until 2002, which marked the last time to date a Libertarian was elected to a state legislature.WEB,weblink Libertarian Republican, Libertarian Republican, June 13, 2009, January 29, 2016, Rhode Island State Representative Daniel P. Gordon was expelled from the Republicans and joined the Libertarian Party in 2011.WEB, Cassidy, Austin, Our Exclusive Interview with Libertarian State Representative Dan Gordon of Rhode Island,weblink Uncovered Politics, June 16, 2015, In July 2016 and June 2017, the Libertarians tied their 1992 peak of four legislators when four state legislators from four different states left the Republican Party to join the Libertarian Party: Nevada Assemblyman John Moore in January,PRESS RELEASE,weblink Nevada State Assemblyman John Moore Joins Libertarian Party, Libertarian Party, WEB,weblink Nevada Assemblyman John Moore joins Libertarian Party, Independent Political Report, Andy, Craig, January 8, 2016, January 8, 2016, Nebraska Senator Laura Ebke (although the Nebraska Legislature is officially non-partisan) and New Hampshire Representative Max Abramson in MayNEWS, Nebraska state senator leaves GOP, registers as Libertarian,weblink KETV, June 1, 2016, June 1, 2016, WEB,weblink New Hampshire Legislator Changes Registration from 'Republican' to 'Libertarian, Ballot Access News, July 29, 2016, and Utah Senator Mark B. Madsen in July.WEB,weblink Utah State Sen. Mark Madsen Switching Parties from Republican to Libertarian, Endorsing Gary Johnson for President, July 25, 2016, Reason, July 29, 2016, In the 2016 election cycle, MadsenWEB,weblink Utah State Senate District 13 2016 Election Results, and Abramson did not run for re-election to their respective offices while Moore lost his race after the Libertarian Party officially censured him over his support of taxpayer stadium funding.WEB,weblink Libertarian Assemblyman John Moore of Nevada Censured by the Libertarian National Committee, November 4, 2016, June 21, 2018, Ebke was not up for re-election in 2016. New Hampshire Representative Caleb Q. Dyer changed party affiliation to the Libertarian Party from the Republican Party in February 2017. New Hampshire Representative Joseph Stallcop changed party affiliation to the Libertarian Party from the Democratic Party in May 2017.WEB,weblink Libertarian Party,, June 21, 2018, New Hampshire State Legislator Brandon Phinney joined with the Libertarian Party from the Republican Party in June 2017, the third to do so in 2017 and matching their 1992 and 2016 peaks of sitting Libertarian state legislators. After being re-elected in 2018, Abramson again changed his party affiliation to Libertarian in June of 2019, making him the only currently serving Libertarian legislator in the country.WEB,weblink Representative Max Abramson,, June 30, 2019, In January 2018, sitting New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Aubrey Dunn Jr. changed party affiliation from Republican to the Libertarian Party, becoming the first Libertarian statewide officeholder in history.WEB,weblink Dunn switches to Libertarian Party, Oxford, Andrew, NMPoliticalReport, January 28, 2018, February 2, 2018,

Name and symbols

(File:Libersign - TANSTAAFL.jpg|thumb|upright=0.7|Original TANSTAAFL logo)(File:Libertarian Party.svg|thumb|upright=0.7|A recent logo of the Libertarian Party)In 1972, "Libertarian Party" was chosen as the party's name, selected over "New Liberty Party".WEB, Winter, Bill,weblink 1971–2001: The Libertarian Party's 30th Anniversary Year: Remembering the first three decades of America's 'Party of Principle', LP News, yes,weblink May 25, 2017, mdy-all, The first official slogan of the Libertarian Party was "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" (abbreviated "TANSTAAFL"), a phrase popularized by Robert A. Heinlein in his 1966 novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, sometimes dubbed "a manifesto for a libertarian revolution". The current slogan of the party is "The Party of Principle".WEB,weblink What is Libertarianism?, May 5, 2015, yes,weblink" title="">weblink October 19, 2013, Also in 1972, the "Libersign"—an arrow angling upward through the abbreviation "TANSTAAFL"—was adopted as a party symbol. By the end of the decade, this was replaced with the Lady Liberty until 2015, with the adoption of the current "Torch Eagle" logo.NEWS,weblink LNC selects new logo, July 19, 2015, Independent Political Report, December 11, 2016, In the 1990s, several state Libertarian parties adopted the Liberty Penguin ("LP") as their official mascot.NEWS, Drake, Kerry, Laramie Libertarians adopt 'Liberty Penguin', Casper Star Tribune, July 26, 1996, ;, NEWS, Libertarian picks penguin representation, Fort Myers News Press, November 11, 1997, ;, NEWS, Pragmatic penguin just the ticket for Wyo. Libertarians, Denver Post, September 6, 1996, Associated Press, ;, NEWS, Libertarians Adopt County Artist's Design, Grainger County News, April 22, 1999, Grainger County, TN, Another mascot is the Libertarian porcupine, an icon that was originally designed by Kevin Breen in March 2006 and inspired by the logo of the Free State Project (FSP)."Libertarian Porcupine". Retrieved September 27, 2012.(File:Libertarian Party Porcupine (USA).svg|thumb|upright=0.7|A modern version of the Libertarian porcupine, styled after the original by Kevin Breen)

Structure and composition

The Libertarian Party is democratically governed by its members, with state affiliate parties each holding annual or biennial conventions at which delegates are elected to attend the party's biennial national convention. National convention delegates vote on changes to the party's national platform and bylaws and elect officers and "At-Large" representatives to the party's National Committee.{{citation needed|date=March 2016}}The National Committee also has "Regional Representatives", some of whom are appointed by delegate caucuses at the national convention whereas others are appointed by the chairpersons of LP state affiliate chapters within a region.{{citation needed|date=July 2015}}

Libertarian National Committee

The Libertarian National Committee (LNC)Libertarian Party National Committee {{webarchive|url=|date=October 11, 2007}} is a 27-member body including alternates, or 17 voting members and is currently chaired by Nicholas Sarwark.WEB,weblink Libertarian National Committee (LNC) - Libertarian Party,, June 21, 2018, The LNC is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of the Libertarian Party and its national office and staff. Wes Benedict is currently the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, October 28, 2012, Carla Howell, Political Director, May 5, 2015,

State chapters

The Libertarian Party is organized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each state affiliate has a governing committee, usually consisting of statewide officers elected by state party members and regional representation of one kind or another. Similarly, county, town, city and ward committees, where organized, generally consist of members elected at the local level. State and local committees often coordinate campaign activities within their jurisdiction, oversee local conventions and in some cases primaries or caucuses and may have a role in nominating candidates for elected office under state law.


Since the Libertarian Party's inception, individuals have been able to join the party as voting members by signing their agreement with the organization's membership pledge, which states that the signer does not advocate the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals. During the mid-1980s and into the early 1990s, this membership category was called an "instant" membership, but currently, these are referred to as "signature members". People joining the party are also asked to pay dues, which are on a sliding scale starting at $25 per year. Lifetime membership is granted with a $1,500 donation in one calendar year. Dues-paying members receive a subscription to the party's national newspaper, LP News.{{ISSN|8755-1373}} Since 2006, membership in the party's state affiliates has been separate from membership in the national party,Help the LPAR « Libertarian Party of Arkansas {{webarchive |url= |date=February 21, 2012 }} with each state chapter maintaining its own membership rolls.Most rights to participate in the governance of the party are limited to "bylaws-sustaining members" who have either purchased a lifetime membership or donated at least $25 within the past year. Most state parties maintain separate membership, which may be tied to either payment of dues to the state party, or voter registration as a Libertarian, depending on the state's election laws.WEB,weblink Bylaws, 2016,,


The preamble outlines the party's goals: "As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others. [...] Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands". Its Statement of Principles begins: "We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual". The Statement of Principles is foundational to the ideology of the party and was created specifically to bind the party to certain core principles with a high parliamentary burden for any amendment.WEB, Ann, Caryn,weblink D. Frank Robinson, The Libertarian Party Statement of Principles, Independent Political Report, December 28, 2015, June 25, 2016, The platform emphasizes individual liberty in personal and economic affairs, avoidance of "foreign entanglements" and military and economic intervention in other nations' affairs, and free trade and migration. The party opposes gun control. It calls for Constitutional limitations on government as well as the elimination of most state functions. It includes a "Self-determination" section which quotes from the Declaration of Independence and reads: "Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty". It also includes an "Omissions" section which reads: "Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval".The party favors minimally regulated markets, a less powerful federal government, strong civil liberties (including LGBT rights, with the party supporting same-sex marriage), the liberalization of drug laws, separation of church and state, open immigration, non-interventionism and neutrality in diplomatic relations, free trade and free movement to all foreign countries and a more representative republic.WEB,weblink Libertarian Party: Platform, Libertarian Party, June 6, 2012, The party's position on abortion is that government should stay out of the matter and leave it to the individual, but recognizes that some "good-faith" opinions on this issue are different.WEB, Platform,weblink 1.4 Abortion, Libertarian Party, March 8, 2013, Ron Paul, one of the former presidential nominees of the Libertarian Party in 1988, is strictly pro-life. Gary Johnson, the party's 2012 and 2016 presidential candidate, is pro-choice, as were most of the party's past nominees other than Paul.The Statement of Principles was written by John Hospers.JOURNAL, Journal of Libertarian Studies, 13, 2, September 1998, 153–165, A Libertarian Argument Against Open Borders, The Libertarian Party's bylaws specify that a 7/8ths supermajority of delegates is required to change the Statement of Principles.Article 3, section 1 Any proposed platform plank found by the Judicial Committee to conflict with the Statement requires approval by a three-fourths supermajority of delegates.Rule 5 Early platform debates included at the first convention whether to support tax resistance and at the 1974 convention whether to support anarchism. In both cases, a compromise was reached.JOURNAL, Burns, Jennifer, O Libertarian, Where Is Thy Sting?, Journal of Policy History, 19, 4, 2007,

Size and influence

{{refimprove section|date=November 2016}}

Presidential candidate performance

File:GaryJohnsonLPConvention2012.jpg|thumb|Former Governor Gary Johnson during the 2012 election ]]File:Libertarian party 1972 2016.png|thumb|The presidential election results for all Libertarian Party candidates from 1972 to 2016.]]The first Libertarian presidential candidate, John Hospers, received one electoral vote in 1972 when Roger MacBride, a Virginia Republican faithless elector pledged to Richard Nixon, cast his ballot for the Libertarian ticket. His vote for Theodora ("Tonie") Nathan as Vice President was the first electoral college vote ever to be cast for a woman in a United States presidential election."WEB,weblink Faithless Electors, Center for Voting and Democracy, July 25, 2006, MacBride became the Libertarian nominee himself in 1976. This was the last time that the Libertarian Party won an electoral vote until 44 years later, in the 2016 presidential election, when Texas Republican faithless elector Bill Greene, who was pledged to cast his vote for Donald Trump, instead cast his vote for Libertarian Party member and former congressman Ron Paul for President.Texas electors cast 36 votes for Trump, 1 for Kasich, 1 for Ron Paul. Texas Tribune (December 19, 2016). Retrieved December 19, 2016.During the 2016 presidential election, Gary Johnson and vice presidential candidate Bill Weld received a record percentage of 3.28% of the popular vote (4,488,919 votes),WEB,weblink Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, David, Leip,, June 21, 2018, getting 9.34% in New Mexico, where Johnson had previously been elected Governor. In the 2012 presidential election, Johnson and running mate Jim Gray received 1,275,821 votes (1%).WEB,weblink 2012 election, Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, June 25, 2016, {|class="wikitable sortable"!Year!Presidential/Vice presidential candidate!Popular votes!Percentage!Electoral votes1972 United States presidential election>1972 John Hospers/Theodora Nathan3,674

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