Friday, June 15, 2007

Apology accepted, Dr. Kuznicki.

Thanks for saying,

You’re right.
You did not endorse Jefferson’s recommended punishment for homosexuals, which was castration. Intellectual honesty demands that I retract what I wrote earlier.

I hope we can now start making even greater progress. The damage may not be correctable, but more on that later.

I think, then, that you implied an approval by disavowing the death Penalty and then mentioning Jefferson’s punishment with neither a disavowal nor a suggestion of what other punishment you thought was appropriate.

I made no such disavowal or suggestion because I don't think any "punishment" is appropriate. Certainly not from the State. I thought I had made clear my opposition to all "punishments," but I guess it was only clear in my own mind. All I was trying to emphasize was that I was more libertarian than Jefferson was, and that someone who thinks homosexuality is a crime is more dangerous to homosexuals than someone who thinks it should only be considered sin.

But whatever. Implications and inferences are tricky things. This stuff sometimes happens, and I can live with that, as long as we all figure out where everyone stands in the end.

I think it would have been better if you figured out where I stand before you went to press. And while I appreciate the progressively cordial tone of our conversation, we still have lessons to learn. I know in my life it's been easier to form stereotypes about one's opponent and then come out swinging. Or "slinging." As I said, I've been guilty of that way too much. "Ready, Fire, Aim!" What I'm trying to teach myself is the meaning of love:

Love does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
( 1 Corinthians 13:5-7)

I try to assume the best about my opponent, construing her statements in the best possible way. I try to assume that we agree somewhere, or will someday. Disagreement is only temporary, or a misunderstanding.

It's a difficult exercise sometimes.

In my "response" to you I provided links that should have helped you form an accurate judgment of my position. You should have noticed my opposition to all the state's violence, which results in my opposition to all penal sanctions, including capital punishment for murderers. All those links were in that "response." On my home page I have a drop-down menu with links to my position on just about every conceivable political issue. I think I'll move that to the top of the page. (I'm about as good a "webmaster" as I am a "political candidate.")

Now you quote from my "homophobia" page, which begins:

Congress should:
* “Hate” homosexuality and homosexuals
* Follow God’s Commandments with respect to them

and you say,

Now, if you are an anarchist — as you say that you are — then I trust that you would abolish Congress, not give it advice on whom to hate. I know quite a few anarchists. They never ask Congress to do anything — except go home.

I can't abolish Congress single-handedly. Even though I have no real chance of beating the third-most powerful Republican in Congress, who has $3 million in campaign funds, I'm actually trying to present myself as a realistic, credible candidate for Congress [!] and so I suggest how a non-libertarian Congress can still make steps in the right direction. (My campaign is obviously an educational effort. I'm a propagandist, not a politician.) Only a few of my webpages call for pushing Leonard Read's button (even though that's what I would do), and nearly every one of my pages has a step-by-step call for action for Congress (originally based -- I should say, "plagiarized" -- from CATO's Handbook for Congress). My homophobia page is no exception. After the "Congress should," I explain why the Bible says to "hate" sin, and then I explain what God's requirements are. In a word: love. Justice first, but then beyond that, works of mercy.

Surely you've read enough (or at least some) from anti-homosexual pro-execution Christians to get a hint that I'm not exactly one of them. Why not "hope all things," and imagine that I don't want to castrate, instead of assuming that I do? Everything I have written reads just as sensibly with that assumption.

In this context I note with interest a website of yours, one to which you still link, where you make it clear that “public stoning” was to your mind an appropriate punishment for certain crimes. Whether the stoning is decreed by Congress or by a private entity seems beside the point to me. The point, by the way, is the protection of life, liberty, and property — from threats governmental or private. In this sense you are no libertarian.

Well, I won't accuse you of deliberately making a false inference on this point. I have a strange sense of humor sometimes, and if a person of your intelligence didn't get it, then I need to change that webpage. (And by the way, anytime you're looking through my webpages and you find a URL with "," you might remember that I'm switching all my webpages to a new host. Replace "" with "" and you'll have the latest edition of that page.) Please allow me to explain my program. You quoted these lines:

"Number one" means most important. Number three is less important. Then there follows this:

I italicized "zero" -- it means it's not on the list at all. That was my intended meaning, anyway. A large segment of my audience is pro-execution Christians. Did you check the linked pages? I'm sorry; I can see how just reading that line without looking at the linked pages might lead you to an erroneous inference. But the "public stoning" link goes to an anti-capital punishment page, and the "25-year prison term" link goes to an organization I volunteered with back in California, an anti-"3-strikes" group. Maybe nobody outside California is familiar with the idea of "3-strike" laws, so I should change that link to one like the page on my campaign site, where I try to make clear that I'm against prisons altogether.

But then, more recently, it seems you may have had a change of heart. You declare now that homosexuals and others whom your God dislikes shall be subject only to a boycott. You also declare, elsewhere in that jungle of broken links, that Christ’s execution should have been the last one on earth.

Here now an inference that I've "recently" changed my mind. Actually, I changed my mind on capital punishment before 1983, part of a major change in my thinking that got me excommunicated from the "Christian Reconstructionist" movement. The last thing I wrote that endorses capital punishment (I think it was the last) was published by Gary North in a series called Christianity and Civilization (volume 1, entitled "The Failure of the American Baptist Culture"). A non-pdf copy of my article is here. It was published in 1982, but written a year or two before that, originally for the Journal of Christian Reconstruction, but taken by Gary North when he left Chalcedon. I remember when it finally got published I was a little uneasy about being in print calling for capital punishment when I no longer upheld it.

Personally, I have no problem with any of this. I invite you to conduct your business and your family on your own property as you see fit, and I have a hard time seeing how the death penalty can be reconciled with the generally natural-rights and social-contractarian foundations that I find for government. I therefore incline against the death penalty in general.

All I can say is, this is my position since about 1982.

Yet you seem to have had a rather abrupt change of heart between these two positions, to say the very least, and I hope you will pardon me if I find it disconcerting, and for my troubles figuring out exactly where you stand.
(Mind you, I’m not losing any sleep over it, though, because frankly I’m not even sure you know where you stand.)

If you were passionately pro-capital punishment, and you wanted to make sure I was toeing the party line, I think you'd find my position clear -- and offensive. Certainly a lot of my ex-Reconstructionist friends have. I realize that "anarcho-theocracy" is a new concept for most people (!), but I think I'm ridiculously up front and clear for a political candidate on a lot of issues. I get flak from everyone, but usually based on accurate understandings of my position: Christians who don't like my anarchism, and secularists who don't like my Theocracy. You're the first person who has criticized me for endorsing castration!

And your characterization of me (based, regrettably, on an all-too-clear but politically unwise statement of mine) as wanting to let child molesters do their thing has resulted in more publicity in the blogosphere than I have ever received, all of it pathologically negative, which has fomented an organized movement among Libertarian Party bosses to deny me ballot access as a Libertarian in 2008. (In the last election, the LP denied ballot access to a white supremacist.) If I can't run as a Libertarian, my political "career" is toast. If I choose to run as an independent with no party support, I'll have to gather about 10,000 signatures across 7 counties where the largest city is only 150,000. That's more tanks of gas than someone who's as dirt poor as I am can afford.

Perhaps you'll be receiving a thank-you note from Roy Blunt. I'm sure I took thousands of votes away from him in 2006. I doubled my vote total over 2004, and I was planning on doubling it again in 2008.

Assemble a room full of your average Bible-believing Christians, and most of them will have an unfavorable reaction to libertarianism: "You want to legalize what?" Give me a few minutes to present the case from a Biblical perspective, and I absolutely guarantee a majority will have a favorable view of libertarianism. The more time we have for Q&A, the more favorable the view (just as continued conversation between us has, I think, been productive). I succeed because I do not attack their core values. They may not sign up, but seeds will be planted and they will be favorably open-minded from then on.

But it looks to me like the LP is going after the small "progressive, cosmopolitan" pro-homosexual demographic rather than the right-leaning Christian segment. I think it could have both, but it chooses to insult and reject the latter, a far larger demographic, sentencing the party to perpetual fringedom. Jason Kuznicki will be, I hope, an exception.

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