02 September 2008

The Presidential Candidates: Charles Jay

Jay doesn't appear on the Project VoteSmart list of presidential candidates, so I wasn't aware of him until I found him debating Frank McEnulty in an internet radio debate. At first, I thought the "Boston Tea Party" meant that Jay's was a joke campaign, but he seems to be in earnest. In any event, he has another endorsement from the Personal Choice Party, whose candidate he was in 2004. Marilyn Chambers, the erstwhile porn star, was his running mate then. Today, Thomas L. Knapp, founder of the BTP, is his vice-presidential candidate.

The BTPs are dissident libertarians. They were already dissatisfied with the direction of the Libertarian Party as of 2006, when the party was formed. They became more so when the Libertarians nominated Bob Barr for president this year. "The party you worked with for years is gone," Jay writes, "And it’s not likely to make a comeback." He believes that, by nominating Barr, the LP sold out to the religious right and betrayed its principles on drug legalization, homosexual rights, freedom of religion, etc. He claims that Barr's words of praise for the late Jesse Helms betray his fundamental racism, while Knapp warns that "Dixiecrats are not Libertarians." You can see more on Jay's campaign site.

I might as well give you the BTP platform in full: "The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose." It will implement its principles by initiating a "complete and unconditional withdrawal" from Iraq, repealing the "Patriot" Act and the REAL ID Act, and legalizing marijuana and hemp.

Jay expanded on his personal vision when he accepted the Personal Choice nomination:

I want to promote an America where I can do as I wish, as long as I am not violating the rights of others.
I want to promote an America where my lifestyle is not subject to the review of the majority.
I want to promote an America where I can keep what I earn.
I want to promote an America where I am not only protected from the invasion of foreign governments, but from my OWN government.
I want to promote an America where no one decides what I can see, what I can hear, what I can read, or what I can ingest.

I want to promote an America where the objective of government is not more power and control, but LESS power and control.
I want to promote an America where the platform of every politician is the Constitution of the United States of America.

How this differs from anarchy, apart from the invocation of the Constitution, is unclear. The complete denial of any notion of a common purpose distresses me, but there clearly are areas of personal existence that shouldn't be "subject to the review of the majority." Libertarians like Jay have no interest in improving the human condition unless it can be done purely through individual initiative with the incentive of individual enrichment. They fail to see that any nation dedicated primarily to protecting haves from have-nots, no matter how readily it allows anyone to become a have, is bound to become some kind of police state. Their dreams are doomed to failure because the losers in life's lotteries will never simply disappear conveniently enough for them. But I'm sure there isn't anything malicious in their views. They're idealists and would probably like to see everyone succeed on his or her own, but they never question the necessity or justice of competition for existence. Each of them is alone in his own little world, which makes their failure to form a mass political movement unsurprising.

It's inevitable that libertarians, like anarchists, will turn on each other and accuse each other of selling out or deviating from core principles. While not as dogmatic as Marxists, they share a sectarian tendency that will always limit their effectiveness in a large-scale democratic republic. After a while it becomes difficult to distinguish the People's Front of Judea from the Judean People's Front. But at least the BTP is a movement and not just one man, though that fact may just mean that most of the candidates on my list are more libertarian than the libertarians.

Since neither the BTP nor the PCP has any video presence online, I'll refer readers to the listing for Frank McEnulty, which links to the radio debate in which Jay participated along with the Socialist Party candidate.


crhymethinc said...

I'm not sure that any of these nutcases understand what the point of a government is. A government should be as big as it needs to be in order to function properly. It should be as lean as possible (no excess aides, secretaries, underlings, sycophants, etc.), and it should provide gainful employment for those whom corporate America has decided to put out of work.

I do agree with a limited number of Libertarian platforms (their stand on drugs, prostitution, etc.), but their view on the size oand role of government and their insistence that taxation is thievery is abhorrent to any cultured person who enjoys living in a civilized society.

hobbyfan said...

Their stance on "taxation is thievery" sounds like they're trying to justify naming their party after a significant event in American history. Instead, they're insulting our founding fathers.