image00115Libertarian Crusader Diaryimage00314

Post 1996 Election Era

Published by Gary L. Fincher

Volume II, Edition III – January 7, 1998

Anchorage, Alaska

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Seattle…Not Exactly

 

In the last issue of LCD, I announced that Kay and I would be travelling to Seattle, Wash., to work on a civil rights initiative.  I also indicated that our enthusiasm for the issue was lukewarm, primarily because it addresses only how the state government (which we seek the abolition of anyway) does business, so we’d only be doing it for the money.  We like to think of ourselves as more than mercenaries, although, of course, one has to make a living and take the best of what work is available.

 

Less than halfway into the Seattle trek, however, we got a call from Alaska Libertarian activist Scott Kohlhaas, wanting to arrange for us to come to Alaska to work on more meaningful projects.

 

image0079Although it would definitely cost more money to make the drive to Alaska, we discovered that it would be a multiple-project endeavor (there was only one petition to work on in Seattle), which would probably make it come out about even in the wash.  There would be an initial financial setback because of a travel advance from Scott, in hopes that it would be more than offset by the additional income generated by the supplemental projects.

 

Of course, this meant that we’d be no-shows in Seattle, thereby forfeiting a free $300 travel voucher offered by the coordinator upon arrival.  The appeal of experiencing such an exotic locale as Alaska, coupled with the draw of working on purer libertarian issues was too much to resist.  So we turned north at Winnipeg and never looked back – knowing full well that we might be stuck in the Arctic till the spring thaws in April or May.

 

Kay and Gary’s Great Klondike Gold Rush of ’97-‘98

 

As soon as we found out there was gold (er, signatures) in Alaska, we set out for our own Klondike claim.  Sure, we confidently asserted, we’d brave the arctic chill and head out for the Last Frontier or bust.  After all, Kay and I had seen all 48 contiguous states and it was beginning to be old hat.  The allure of the Northern Lights, igloos and the Big Dipper beckoned our romantic souls to throw caution to the wind and attempt to navigate the wild and treacherous route to Alaska – in December, no less.

 

Having driven halfway to Seattle anyway, cutting a sharp northwestern turn aimed at Alaska was actually not out of the realm of possibility when the question was posed to us at a stopover in Winnipeg, Canada.

 

We checked all the indicators – the distance we’d have to drive, the time and cost involved, the winterization status of ourselves and our car and, last but not least, the question of whether or not we were psychologically up for a trip of that magnitude.  After a few minor touch-ups, it was “check” on all items.  From our “outpost” in Edmonton, Canada, it was decided that Alaska was a “go”.

 

We had already been in Canada for some time and would now not be seeing the United States for almost 2,000 more miles.  From Edmonton, we scooted over to Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to spend the night, regroup and fortify ourselves with a hot, hearty breakfast the next morning for the long haul up.

 

Dawson Creek is the southern terminus, beginning point, of the famed Alaska Highway.  On the morning of December 9, after coffee, eggs and bacon, we embarked on the first leg of our Alaska adventure.  We set out from Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway, venturing into some of the most beautiful scenic wilderness in the world.

 

Starting out at Dawson Creek, B.C.

Starting out at Dawson Creek, B.C.

 

 

 

 

Stunning Kluane Lake in the Yukon Territory

Stunning Kluane Lake in the Yukon Territory

On Day One we traversed mostly rolling hills covered with snowy, frosted evergreen forests while coming across a few exotic animals (pheasant, caribou, bobcat), and stayed in bitterly cold Fort Nelson, B.C., that night.  The temperatures were so cold we had to plug in our newly acquired engine block heater overnight to assure the car would start the next morning.

 

On Day Two, we crossed the northernmost reaches of the Rocky Mountains and into Canada’s beautiful and rugged Yukon Territory.  At frigid Watson Lake, we stopped for a few seconds to view the tourist attraction of Signpost Forest, a collection of over 20,000 town and city signs from all over the world.  After that, it was on to the picturesque town of Whitehorse, on the Yukon River, where we spent the night and readied for the “homestretch” into Alaska.

 

image0139On Day Three, we left Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and drove past some of the greatest mountain scenery we’d ever laid our eyes on.  Mo0mentary trouble befell us, however, shortly after leaving Haines Junction, as we overestimated our ability to climb the Kluane Ranges in a driving snowstorm.   Going up, we got stuck, had to get cold and wet while trying to push the car into better-tracked roadway, but in the end a snowplow came to save the day.  Like a fleet-footed running back behind a powerful, blocking offensive line, our little Dodge Colt cruised its way across the mountain behind the snowplow, which cheerfully pushed the white stuff out of the way as we went along.  After the minor delay, we were across the mountain in no time and were soon mesmerized by the stunning sight of Kluane Lake, glistening turquoise blue and surrounded by high, snow-covered mountains.  It was quite possibly the most gorgeous scenery ever witnessed by the human eye.  For the rest of the trip, we were completely surrounded by high, rugged mountains predominated with snow.  Finally, in the darkness of a December afternoon, we crossed the border and into Alaska, our 49th state.  It was biting cold, at least 20 below, as we worked our way toward the Fairbanks area and our waiting Libertarian hosts, Chuck & Lynn House.

 

Late on the night of December 11, after a full eleven days on the road from the East Coast, we rolled into (of all places), North Pole, Alaska (13 mi. SE of Fairbanks), where Chuck & Lynn provided temporary housing for us.

 

We established Alaska residency and became registered voters, then proceeded to work on our three projects:  a petition regarding term limits, a petition regarding medical marijuana, and Libertarian Party registrations.

 

Lynn and Chuck House in Fairbanks

Lynn and Chuck House in Fairbanks

 

 

 

 

 

nothing like the feel of the Great Northwest!

In Anchorage: nothing like the feel of the Great Northwest!

But the deadline for petitions is Jan. 11, and it’s still not clear at press time if there exists funding to completely execute the LP registration drive.

 

Why Term Limits?

 

Included in Kay’s and my résumé over the past few years are petition drives in several states for term limits on various politicians.  I’ve been doing these drives since 1992 and Kay has been doing them since 1994.  In fact, that’s how we met.  I was a petition coordinator sent into Wisconsin from U.S. Term Limits, Inc.  Kay answered an ad in the paper in her hometown of Appleton, volunteering to work with a term limits petition coordinator in order to get a local term limits question on the ballot.

 

The idea of term limits is not a new thing.  Thomas Jefferson called for a citizen legislature by employing a principle of “rotation in office” for early American government.  The 22nd Amendment of the United States Constitution limited the president’s terms of office.  And most state governors and many state legislatures have term limits.  But not Congress.

 

The idea is a simple and fair one:  after being in office several years, it’s time to step aside and give someone else a chance.  Sounds reasonable, but it’s surprising how much resistance, even hostility, that exists within the general population.

 

Our most recent Alaska term limits effort called for a vote on a voluntary pledge candidates for the state and federal legislature would be offered before running for office, promising to serve no more than a certain number of terms.

 

The voluntary pledge approach sprang from the fact that the courts (natural allies of the politicians, of course), have been moving toward striking down measures which sought to label term limits opponents right on the election ballot, in the same manner that opponents of women’s suffrage were labeled, resulting in a Constitutional Amendment.  By the same token, the “back door” labeling approach was made necessary because, even though voters in state after state had overwhelmingly approved mandatory term limits for Congress, five U.S. Supreme Court justices didn’t favor the idea.

 

The arguments against term limits don’t really fly.  The strongest and most cogent of those is that term limits is a violation of the rights of the voters to vote in the (Congressional) election.  But what about the “rights” of the voters who passed the term limits initiative?  Would not the same logic demand that throwing out the term limits vote violated their voting rights?  Term limits opponents like to spout “voting rights” as the linchpin of their argument, but those term limits mandates were not handed down as some arbitrary Royal Decree – it was voted on in an official election, one which term limits adversaries were invited to partake in as well.  Moreover, how can it be that term limits for congress is a violation of voting rights, but somehow term limits for president is not?

 

From a practical standpoint, the anti-term limits argument fails on another score.  It’s claimed that we can just “vote them out”, somehow implying that all forces are equal in elections and that the elections really are fair.  But this is not the case.  It doesn’t even need mentioning how much power and leverage incumbents have over challengers in congressional elections.  But even more importantly (and what all LCD readers might not even have considered), is the fact that the elections not only are not fair, but they are actually criminally rigged.  If this at first sounds preposterous, consider the presidential election.  How many candidates were running in 1996?  If the debates happened to be the only exposure you got to the race, then you might come to the mistaken conclusion that there were only two.  But there were actually about 10 candidates running in the general election, and there were actually six candidates who were on the ballot in enough states to have a mathematical shot at winning.

 

So why were there only two candidates presented to the public in the debate?  Could it have something to do with the fact that the two parties represented by the two hand-picked candidates are the same parties represented by those who chose the debate participants?  Does it sound like a fair election to you?  There actually can be no intelligent argument on whether the elections are rigged.  They simply are.

 

As for the “right” to vote to install a Congressman to Washington, allow me to suggest that there is no such “right”.  The Declaration of Independence spoke of an inalienable right to “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”, not of an inalienable right to rule over others.  Since Congressmen has no legitimate right to rule over others, then it follows that there can be no legitimate right to vote to install a congressman into such a population.  And the whole term limits question deteriorates into a matter of practicality, will we be better off with or without term limits?

Working the issues at Anchorage airport

Working the issues at Anchorage airport

Safeway on Northern Lights

Prized work location: Safeway on Northern Lights

From a libertarian perspective, we want to see any change that will make it easier for Libertarians to get elected, and anyone with any political knowledge at all knows that open seats (no incumbents in the race) are easier to run in.  Thus term limits are something that libertarians need to support because they would create an environment more conducive to getting Libertarians in office and thus effecting a free society.  Banning Democrats and Republicans would be another step in this direction.

 


Why Medical Marijuana?

 

This is the second time that Kay and I have worked on the issue of medical marijuana, and it looks like the issue may follow us to other states we might travel to.  The case for medical marijuana, and the rationale for our working for the issue, is even stronger than that for term limits.

 

The idea of the government dictating to individuals what and what not they can ingest in their own body is surely a repugnant one to anyone who cares about liberty.  The doctrine of natural rights (discussed in the Declaration as “inalienable rights”) demands that no one should be able to decide for another what to do with his or her own life or body.  The ingestion of drugs and other substances is no exception.  The government, then, has no proper role to play in an individual’s personal choice over whether or not to use drugs.  This is just basic common sense, a no-brainer.

 

image0255From a Constitutional standpoint, Prohibition (of drugs) fails the test on a variety of grounds.  First of all, it’s a blatant violation of the 9th Amendment of the Bill of Rights, which covers freedoms not specifically mentioned in the rest of the Bill of Rights.  In addition, Prohibition comes in conflict with the 4th, 5th, 13th and 14th Amendments.  And finally, there is the unresolved question of why alcohol prohibition required a Constitutional Amendment while drug prohibition is being enforced in the absence of one.  Further yet, drug prohibition provides an excuse for the government to lay waste to many more Constitutional Rights, as well as wanton disregard by government “authorities” of the public’s safety and well-being, and I cite asset forfeiture and its horrible consequences as a prime example.

 

Still, Constitutional Rights are not exactly the same as Natural Rights, and the latter supersede the former.  As Libertarians, we’re on the front line fighting to achieve the universal recognition of Natural Rights for all individuals.  Therefore, we’re always aggressively fighting to overturn Prohibition, or, if that’s not immediately possible, strive to implement measures that weaken Prohibition.  Medical marijuana is one of these.  If it saves one person from having to go to jail, it will be worth it.

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Our Green Bay Connection

 

Now that the Green Bay Packers have won the most recent Super Bowl and are headed to another, I can’t help remembering the summer I spent in Green Bay.

 

It was the summer of 1994 when I was sent to Wisconsin to work on term limits, and I was assigned specifically to work to enact term limits (on mayor and city council) in the city of Green Bay.  I was sharing housing with the Jacksons (David and Rosemary) of Oklahoma and Denise Kline of Maryland.  I had arrived in the Midwest from working on projects in New England.

 

The city of Green Bay has about 95,000 residents, and I got a chance to talk to many of them on the street while circulating the term limits petition.  Once, during an intra-squad scrimmage of the Packers, I got to go inside a packed Lambeau Field and ask fans in the bleachers to sign to get term limits on the ballot.

 

I got to know my way all around the city, as well as all the surrounding communities.  Our apartment was on Western Avenue in Green Bay, just a few blocks from the famed stadium.  I drove by and around the stadium, set in one city block surrounded by neighborhoods, almost every day.  Once, while driving north on Oneida Street in front of Lambeau Field, I had to brake quickly because a group of Packer players, including Reggie White and Brett Favre, were crossing the street to practice.

 

 

 

 

Rare view of Green Bay Packers practicing during training camp, Green Bay, Wisc., in July 1994
Rare view of Green Bay Packers practicing during training camp, Green Bay, Wisc., in July 1994

 

Another time I was at Lambeau Field for a preseason game between the

Packers and the New England Patriots handing out campaign literature to tailgaters for James Dean of Oshkosh, Libertarian for U.S. Senate.

 

At the end of the petition drive in Green Bay, the city manager, Paul Jancquort, personally called me to verify my circulator status.

 

I was living in Green Bay when a friend of mine from Maine, Becky, flew into town and toured Green Bay and Wisconsin during Labor Day Weekend.

 

And of course it was 30 miles away, in Appleton in late summer of that same year, where I met my present wife Kay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Libertarian Party is the only political party in America that strictly adheres to the principle of libertarianism.  The word “libertarian” comes from the root word “liberty”, and it simply means “one who advocates liberty of thought and action”.

 

Along these lines, libertarianism holds that all individuals are created free and should be free to live his or her own life however he or she chooses, as long as he or she respects the equal rights of all others to do the same.  When the natural rights of another are not respected, when force or fraud is initiated against another, aggression occurs.  Aggression is the only legitimate crime libertarians recognize, i.e., the initiation of force and fraud.  As far as libertarians are concerned, if a person has not initiated force or fraud against another, he should be left alone and never be put in jail.

 

A major problem in our present society is that a lot of people are being put in jail who never initiated force and fraud.  Libertarians want to stop this.  Moreover, libertarians understand and realize that it is the government that is the most prolific initiator of force and fraud.  Since the government in this way operates incongruous with libertarian principles, libertarians and the Libertarian Party want to force the government to cease and desist from all aggression.   The Declaration of Independence stated our case well when it said:  “all men (and women) are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…that when any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right and duty of the people to alter or to abolish it.”

 

This is where we come in:  abolishing it.  Kay and I, as Libertarian Crusaders, are modern-day abolitionists working to set the whole of the population free.  But we’re not alone.  It’s estimated that almost 30% of Americans consider themselves to be politically libertarian.  People like Clint Eastwood, Dave Barry, Tom Selleck, Dwight Yoakam, John Larroquette, Bobbie Gentry and more.  The Libertarian Party has doubled its membership in the last couple of years and the LP presidential candidate is always on the ballot in all 50 states.

 

Because the LP holds to its libertarian principles, we: 

 

·         Oppose taxation because working forcibly for the government is slavery

 

 

·         Support the right to bear arms because peaceful ownership of property is not initiation of force

 

 

·         Oppose Drug Prohibition because attacking peaceful drug users is initiation of force

 

 

·         Oppose Social Security because its taxing nature is slavery and forcing compliance is, again,

 

       initiation of force; plus, the system was fraud to begin with

 

 

·         Champion the separation of school and state because tax-financing is wrong and compulsory

         attendance is slavery and aggression

 

 

·         Oppose military draft registration because it’s slavery

 

 

·        Oppose anti-discrimination laws aimed at the private sector because it interferes with people’s         freedom to associate with whomever they choose; free association doesn’t involve initiation of force or fraud and should be treated accordingly.

 

      image0332As you can see, Libertarians want to 1) stop the use of taxation as a fundraising scheme; 2) stop the passage and enforcement of measures that make certain behaviors compulsory; and 3) stop the passage and enforcement of measures that seek to prohibit activity that is peaceful and honest.  Thus, the goal of Libertarians is a world devoid of any initiation of force or fraud – a world without aggression.  Now, who can say they aren’t a libertarian?

 

LCD Special Still in Production

 

Production of the forthcoming special to LCD is being delayed due to strategic and quality concerns.  In its original title it reflected the fact that Kay and I had been to 48 states, but this trip to Alaska has raised that number to 49.  Since the article’s well-roundedness will depend on a full report on the 49th state, completion of the article necessarily depends on our exit from the state.  Look for it to hit your mailbox sometime this spring or summer.

Next Edition (June 13, 1998):

https://libertycrusader.wordpress.com/libertarian-crusader-diary/archived-back-issues/june-13-1998-lcd/

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