Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Parties and Pledges

After I started this blog, I became aware of a couple of other blogs written by people who live where I do (Allen County, Indiana) and who are active in the local Libertarian Party organization. I've been reading their blogs with a certain morbid fascination. This one is written by one Mike Sylvester, who is the chairperson of the Allen County LP. In this lengthy post, he reports on the national LP convention from which he recently returned. Mr. Sylvester is enthused about a group which wants to "reform" the LP by (among other things) getting rid of a pledge that apparently is currently required for party membership:

I certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.

Mr. Sylvester referred his readers to the web presence of a group within the LP who want to either get rid of this pledge altogether, or change it to:

The Libertarian Party will always stand for more liberty and less government on every issue. As a member of the Libertarian Party, I will NOT attempt to change this.

I'm not here to offer the LP any unwanted advice on whether to retain their historic membership pledge, or modify it, or dump it altogether. I have nothing to do with political parties, other than to make fun of them whenever possible, which is pretty much all the time. But it did seem odd that the county chairperson of the LP would write:
I have always and am still 100% against this pledge. I am a Constitutionalist. We have a right to keep and bear arms for a reason, just like our Founding Father's. I am 100% in favor of changing or removing the pledge.
Well, I thought, I don't see how you can get to be a county chairperson in the LP without being a real, official-type member. So I asked, in the comments attached to the post, whether Mr. Sylvester had taken the pledge to which he has always been one hundred percent opposed. His reply: "I refused for several years. IN 2004 I signed it..."

It's amazing, how casually people will admit to dishonesty. "I certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force ..." How can a person sign such a statement, knowing that he in fact believes in and advocates exactly "the initiation of force?" I could understand and sympathize if he said he'd changed his mind, or had signed this pledge without truly understanding it. I myself have pledged allegiance to the U.S. flag in the past, before I woke up to a real appreciation of just what I had been saying, and repented of it. But no: Mr. Sylvester says he's always been completely opposed to the LP pledge ... and then signed it anyway.

It occurs to me that if I were in the LP, and someone like Mr. Sylvester signed off on the new-version pledge, I'd have to wonder what that was worth. If a man takes one pledge falsely, why not a second? And a third, and so on? What's it worth?

The Libertarian Party's national website claims that the LP is "the party of principle." Yeah, right. About like the others -- except not as successful.

1 comment:

John Good said...

(golf clap) Well said, sir.