for Libertarian Party Candidates and Activists
pledge that, in addition to explaining the undesirable consequences
of the coercive actions by the State, I will also make the moral
case for liberty and the rights of individuals to their person and
pledge never to call for an increase in the size or scope of government.
I will not advocate more government intrusion in one are
while calling for less in a related area. I will never imply
that liberty is not desirable immediately.
pledge not to contradict the Libertarian Party Platform in prepared
statements and promotional materials. If I hold a position that
contradicts the Platform, I will, in response to questions, always
present the Party's official position before my own position.
pledge that whenever possible, I will widen the scope of debate
to the larger issues of our time: war, loss of personal freedoms,
and oppressive laws and institutions. I will not miss a chance,
even in local races, to point out that my opponents are members
of political parties that have created these manifestations of tyranny.
How to publicly take the Rothbard Pledge
Watch this space for a small banner to paste into your website.
See the bottom of this page for an email address at which to contact us.
is the rationale behind the Rothbard Pledge?
approach to strategy can be summed up as follows:
is the highest political end
The best foundation for Libertarian action is a passion for justice
should not advocate positions incompatible with a totally free
Libertarians should be abolitionists, calling for liberty as soon
Libertarians should address real-world issues, adopt priorities
and make transition demands
Libertarians should enter into single-issue coalitions to increase
their leverage and recruit others
this basic framework we add the following observation: Libertarian
Party candidates who contradict the Platform are, at best, confusing
the public about what the Party is about, and, at worst, moving
us in a direction away from liberty.
it is a fact that most party members disagree with the Platform
in at least one aspect. In this sense, the Party is a coalition
of individuals with similar, but not identical views.
it is unrealistic and unworkable to ask that LP candidates and activists
adhere to the Platform in every utterance. We therefore ask only
that candidates not contradict the Platform in prepared statements
and promotional materials. When asked about issues where they hold
positions contradicting the platform, candidates and activists should
explain the Party's official position as expressed in the Platform
before stating their own position.
note that the Rothbard Pledge has the potential for quelling the
endless debates about who is a Libertarian and who should not stay
in the Party.
position on this question is simple: anyone who advocates reducing,
and never increasing the size and scope of the State belongs in
the LP. There can be honest disagreements about particular government
policies and actions. Those debates belong inside the party and
can be expected to continue for all time. But for public consumption
the Platform represents the Party's position and candidates and
spokespersons should not contradict the Platform in prepared materials.
Should they hold a position contradicting the platform, they should
always give the Party's position as well as their own.
do we take this position? As radicals (and make no mistake, Rothbard
was as radical as they come), one might expect that we would push
for the most radical candidates and spokespersons. We might be expected
to be "extremists", at the fringe of our party heckling
those who propose transition measures that only go part way to abolishing
take this moderate position on who has our approval to be a candidate
because we have absorbed Rothbard's strategic insights; strategically,
We want to see the Libertarian Party grow
while remaining a Party of (Libertarian) Principle. To oppose those
who do not take radical positions would be counterproductive. We
want the party to be inclusive of all who favor more liberty, not
an exclusive "club" of the purest.
reason not to "read anyone out of the movement" is that
there are issues upon which even staunch libertarians disagree.
The most basic issue is the legitimacy of the State itself. Again,
calling upon one side or the other to leave is needlessly divisive
and counterproductive. We can go our separate ways after abolishing
the 99% that we agree on. The Rothbard Caucus therefore upholds
the "truce" between anarchists and minimal statists adopted
by the Party at its 1974 Dallas LP convention.
of this is to imply that we, or anyone, should not have preferences
among those seeking to be candidates. We prefer the candidate who
most strongly defends a foreign policy of non-intervention and a
domestic policy opposing the various "wars" (on drugs,
terror, immigration, poverty, etc.), and the Rothbard Caucus can
be expected to endorse candidates meeting these criteria. See the
for a succinct list of our
each Libertarian can be expected to have his or her own preferences
and priorities among the many attributes that comprise a candidate
and a campaign. The Rothbard Pledge simply describes the minimum
commitment (backed by deed of course) that might earn our endorsement.