An interview with a candidate!
[Disclaimer: this interview does not constitute an endorsement of this candidate.]
Kelly: James, tell my readers a little about yourself and how you got involved in the Libertarian Party in Texas.
James: I am a stay-at-home father with two sons. One is 16 and the other is 20 years of age. I currently home school my youngest. I have been a professional for most of my life, however, with 15 plus years experience working in college admissions, and much more than that working in databases and in the computing field. I am married to a wonderful lady who is also a professional, and we make a great team as well as being a great couple.
My first exposure to a serious Libertarian occurred while I was working at the University. I had long been dissatisfied with the Republican party of the 90's since they had dropped most of what Reagan had built while at the same time calling themselves conservatives.
This gentleman was, himself, not a contributing member of the LP at the time, but he talked a great game for what the LP stood for and how they were actually a serious party. I did more research, and I discovered that I identified with a great deal of the National LP Platform. I have been a contributing member of the party for many years now in both the National LP and the Texas LP.
Kelly: What do Libertarians stand for? What is their platform?
James: The LP stands for freedom. It stands by the by-line that it is the party of principle, and indeed it is. The LP believes that the role of the federal government is carefully described in the Constitution, and that it therefore has no role in monitoring and controlling our private lives. I cannot go into every detail of the platform here, but anyone that is interested can go to http://www.lp.org/ for a more involved reading. Let me start here, though.
"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.
We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.
Consequently, we defend each person's right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power."
The platform states:
"Individuals must be free to be aggressive competitors and form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association in the market place, and must enjoy no state-sponsored advantage. Those who best supply a good or service in the market will enjoy natural dominance only as long as they continue to benefit consumers. Subsidies and government-granted monopolies protect the non-competitive from market forces."
"Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. We must accept the right of others to choose for themselves if we are to have the same right. Our support of an individual's right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices. We believe people must accept personal responsibility for the consequences of their actions."
There are other issues that the LP feels strongly about, but these serve to illustrate the general principles of the LP.
Kelly: How do you feel about those who do not take personal responsibility for their actions?
James: Freedom is a precious commodity, and at the same time, it is a dangerous commodity. Benjamin Franklin once observed that "those that would surrender their freedom for security deserve neither." Those that do not take personal responsibility to the extent that they violate the rights of others are breaking the law, and that is the territory of the police and the courts.
Those that otherwise harm no one else have the ability to choose how to live. If they live recklessly, then they have chaotic and uncomfortable results. If, on the other hand, they choose to live wisely and take care of themselves and their families, then they will have better lives.
For example, do I really need the government to tell me that I must wear a seat-belt? I do that on my own, but I know the consequences if I get into an accident and I do not have mine on. Similarly, do we really need the government to tell local businesses who can have a smoking establishment and who cannot? Interfering with the free market disallows businesses and individuals to make personal choices that otherwise harm nobody.
Kelly: Now, for the easy ones....
Kelly: A few months ago you were asked to represent the TX LP party as one of their candidates. What went through your mind when the idea was presented to you?
James: That was a funny thing. We had company that night, and I received a phone call from the chairman of the Texas LP asking me to run. I thought to myself "why not?" MY Uncle thought it was a great idea as "long as they could still speak to me after my head grew three hat sizes." In all actuality, I took it very seriously, and it is a daunting task. However, having the opportunity to talk to people about the LP and tell what it really stands for is a great opportunity. The two major parties have painted us as "kooks and weirdoes" at every opportunity. In reality we are calling a type of government that made this country grow into the greatest country that has ever been.
Kelly: Did you have any reservations about running?
James: I had several, of course, and not the least of which is that I do not have a big money-machine party supporting my candidacy. The LP has a weakness in that we have not been around long enough that we monetarily support candidates. I am not a rich man, after all. Another consideration is that you open yourself to personal attacks, and you have to be willing to take those. I have no problems with that. I can fight with the best of them, but I do not want my family to be unjustly scrutinized. Thirdly, the Republican incumbent is well entrenched here, and that is going to be an up-hill battle even if I had a huge war-chest.
Kelly: What does one have to do to run for office?
James: In the LP you have to first file with the State of Texas, and you have to fill out a form that examines your finances for possible conflicts of interest. That was, naturally, not a problem for me, as our finances are very pedestrian. The next step is that you have to go through a "vetting" process at the County LP Convention. That was actually a lot of fun. As you can tell from this interview, I do not mind talking. The Convention either then votes you in as an official candidate, or it does not. In my case I received a 'unanimous' positive vote. The next step is to talk to as many people as possible. I am building a web site for this and I plan on getting some flyers out and do some door-to-door advertising.
Kelly: What was it like going to the LP convention as a candidate? Were you nervous?
James: I was nervous, of course, because I knew I was going to have to go up before a camera and answer some tough questions. But I have a lot of experience as a teacher and as a college recruiter in talking in front of people. I was at ease once I got the microphone, though, and could have talked longer if we had had the time.
Kelly: How supportive has your family been?
James: My family, my friends, and business acquaintances have all been very supporting. My oldest son has been out talking to all of his friends of voting age to get out there and vote for the LP. It amazes me still how many young people are not just dumb participants. Many of them are distrustful of the government and they see through the lies and misinformation put out there by mainstream media and the main political parties. It has been this show of support that has made me believe that the LP has a great future ahead of it.
Kelly: Why do you think someone in your area ought to vote for you?
James: Let me put it this way: if you are satisfied with the way that the Texas legislature has handled issues like education, taxation, the Trans-Corridor Highway, and the prison system, then you should most definitely NOT vote for me. If you would like a change that is real and has substance, then you should not only vote for me, but you should also support and vote for the Libertarian Party.
Kelly: Is there anything else you would like to add?
James: Well, first let me thank you for giving me an opportunity to present the LP in my own words. There are a great many people that are becoming disenfranchised with both major political parties. The Republicans have done everything besides control spending and reduce the size of the federal government. We also have a Democratic Party that desires to create what would be a socialist state. The LP is fiscally conservative, and it is socially liberal. The old meaning of liberal was one of a person that believed in the rights of the individual to worship in freedom, to conduct business in freedom, and to live without the fear of government intrusion into their bedrooms, their living rooms, into their businesses and finances, into their children's education, and most importantly into the very thoughts that we are allowed to express. The LP is a call to return to a better, and more humane, government. Vote LP!
Kelly: James, thank you for the interview. It has been a pleasure to have you here today. Good luck on the campaign trail.
James: I am more than happy.
* Correction (previously said, "I would point out that those that are taken care of by government agencies and those that are taken care of by relatives and charitable organizations fare much better than those that are ‘incarcerated’ in government establishments.")