By Nancy Churchill
Running for Vice President in 1980 as a Libertarian was “debilitating,” David Koch confessed on MSNBC’s Morning Joe just last week. Voters just refused to buy what he was selling.
That platform, which might have been relegated to the dustbin of history had the Republicans not sneaked most of its provisions onto a wish list for future implementation, presaged many of the worst policies being advanced by Republicans today.
Having jumped hoops last year to acquire a copy of the 1980 Libertarian Platform from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, I can provide, verbatim, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
It assumes an air of entitlement, as if it’s a new constitution being imposed upon Americans without their knowledge or consent, the same sense of entitlement the Koch brothers adopt today in using their billions to undemocratically choose our next president.
It lays corruption at the feet of government, which it clearly wishes to annihilate. In this telling the private sector is completely above reproach, so long as no one violates the “rights” of others. Notably absent is any clarification about how, without government oversight, violators will be apprehended or brought to justice.
There’s some Good: the state may not oppress the LGBT community, but must accord them “full rights as individuals” (the private sector is exempted). Immigration should have no limitations, with full amnesty extended to anyone who has “entered the country illegally” (though the Immigration and Naturalization Service and Border Patrol should be abolished). Finally, miraculously, women should have the right to abortion.
There’s some Bad: the platform opposes all taxation, and all governmental involvement in mental health of any kind, including “psychiatric or psychological research or treatment,” including the use of taxpayer money for such services (apparently failing to grasp the irony that without tax revenue there is no “taxpayer money”).
It demands the repeal of all firearms legislation, “the immediate abolition of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms,” and “the repeal of laws banning the concealment of weapons or prohibiting pocket weapons.” Okay, done.
The National Labor Relations Act should be revoked, and all “attempts to regulate private discrimination, including discrimination in employment, housing, and privately owned so-called public accommodations. The right to trade includes the right not to trade — for any reasons whatsoever.”
The Sixteenth Amendment should be repealed, any tax rate increases or new taxes reversed, and, eventually, all taxation eliminated, along with all legal tender laws and all compulsory governmental units of account.
And there’s some very, very Ugly — the abolishment of: the Department of Energy; the Environmental Protection Agency; all so-called “consumer protection” legislation which infringes upon “voluntary trade”; the Consumer Product Safety Commission; the Food and Drug Administration and “particularly its policies of mandating specific nutritional requirements, and denying the right of manufacturers to make non-fraudulent claims concerning their products” (without addressing how to detect or penalize fraudulent claims).
Education should be privatized, except for “tax-credits for tuition and … other [education] expenditures” (yet, paradoxically, “the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit” would ensure there are no “tax-credits”!).
America’s railroads, all public roads and national highways should be privatized.
“[All] government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs” should be eliminated, along with the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
“[T]he fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system” should be repealed, and “the governmental Postal Service” abolished.
“We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission”; and finally, whatever land was seized by the U.S. government should be returned to its rightful owners (without grasping the irony that all land once belonged to the Indians!).
David Koch was surprised that voters in 1980 did not jump at this “opportunity” to eliminate government and turn it over to oligarchs like himself. How times change!
The writing is on the wall. Republicans seem intent on implementing much of this platform that will destroy America. Will electing Bernie Sanders for President save us? No. But electing him will help us save ourselves. Only we can do it. And we’d better get to it.