Brad Hessel

  • commented on 2017 Bylaws Committee Report 2017-07-31 11:35:39 -0400
    Heartfelt thanks to the committee for dedicating so much time and energy to this commendable effort! With one exception, the proposed recommendations appear reasonable and will enjoy my support next month at Lake Lure.

    However, of course, I am constrained to address the one exception: recommendation #7, “Amend Membership.”

    Currently, a resident of North Carolina can become a member of the LPNC in any one of four ways:
    1. Register to vote as a Libertarian
    2. Be a member of the national LP
    3. Be a current dues-paying member of the LPNC
    4. Take the NIOF pledge
    The proposed change would take one of these paths—the NIOF pledge—and at once [a] promote it into being a REQUIREMENT for LPNC membership and [b] demote it to no longer be a sufficient condition for membership.

    Fundamentally, I oppose this proposed change on two grounds: philosophical and practical.

    Let me say right up front that I love the NIOF pledge! Indeed, I am one of 83 people on record with the LPNC as having committed to it. I fervently believe that if every human on Earth hewed to non-initiation of force as a guiding light in her or his life, we would be much, much better off. And it’s a great shorthand way to communicate libertarian principles, right up there with “don’t hurt people and don’t steal their stuff.” Having it as a path to membership in the party sends a wonderful meta-message, on both moral and propagandistic levels.

    Having said that, I am well aware of the shortcomings of NIOF as an absolute principle. Namely, as such, it doesn’t work. There are numberless real-world examples where a particular act would harm some folks but doing nothing—as a strict interpretation of NIOF dictates in such a circumstance—would harm more. Or actions that might save the lives of a sizable minority by minorly harming the majority—also not allowable under a strict constructionist view of NIOF. Consequently, some principled libertarians object to NIOF as inherently unviable, and would never agree to pledge to uphold it. While I do not agree with these folks that the shortcomings of NIOF as an absolute principle render it worthless, philosophically I am not prepared to kick them out of the LPNC over the matter. Which is what we will be doing if we approve this recommendation.

    Actually, approving this recommendation would kick the baby out along with the bathwater, practically speaking. Currently, we there are approximately 35,000 members of the LPNC:
    1. Registered Libertarians: 33,174 (as of 29 Jul17)
    2. Members of national LP (not registered as Libertarians): 1,433
    3. Dues paying members (not registered as Libertarians): 319
    4. NIOF pledge (not registered as Libertarians): 51
    The first number comes from the NCSBE website; the other three from the LPNC’s NationBuilder database. The total is approximate as there are undoubtedly a few dupes among the last three listed categories.

    As I mentioned, there are currently 83 individuals who have taken the NIOF pledge. However, 40 of those have not fulfilled any of the other three conditions. Therefore, if we approve this bylaws change recommendation, we would be kicking them out, along with the other 34,900+ current LPNC members who have not taken the NIOF pledge…effectively reducing the number of members of the LPNC from 35,000 to 43. If the recommendation were approved and took effect immediately, most of the delegates who voted for it would likely no longer be eligible to serve as delegates to this convention. :-)

    Doubtless dozens or even hundreds would hasten to take the pledge—you can easily do so on the LPNC website—but practically speaking, we would never get back most of the registered Libertarians in the state. Indeed, we’d be lucky to get 10% of them. With the party just now breaking the one-half-of-one-percent threshold statewide, is throwing most of those folks out really a smart move? If there are countervailing advantages to doing so, I would be most interested to learn of them.

    Furthermore, this change would degrade the value of the NIOF pledge itself. The way things are now, if you meet someone who has taken it, you know the odds are good he or she is sincere, because it’s voluntary. Creating a flood of folks who don’t really care either way but take it because it’s a mandatory box to check—or worse still, secretly disagree but check it out of expedience in order to be eligible to run for party office or impress a romantic interest or whatever—serves no beneficial LPNC interest that I can fathom.

    (BTW…venturing back to philosophy for a moment…is pressuring folks to sign the NIOF pledge consistent with the NAP?)

    And finally, there are about 700 donors in the database who have not taken the NIOF pledge. Not all of them are paid members (defined as having contributed $25 or more to the LPNC in the past twelve months) but most of them are. If we approve this recommendation, would we then contact each of those paid members and—as technically, they have been evicted from the party—offer them a pro-rated refund for the remaining portion of the membership they purchased but we have rescinded (if they refuse to take the pledge)?

    For all these philosophical and practical considerations, I urge a vote AGAINST recommendation #7.

  • commented on 2016 Convention Passes Two Resolutions 2016-05-02 01:46:01 -0400
    Thanks once again for your comments, Mr. Bell. I didn’t really see anything in your latest that is different from what you said before, so I don’t have anything to add to my response.

    I should clarify that I don’t consider the resolution passed by the 2016 LPNC Convention “a mistake.” I did stipulate that there would have been advantages to including explicit criticism of ordinance 7056 in the resolution but there were also material advantages to not doing so and, on balance, I agree with the latter choice.

    Also, with respect to the person who is confused about the LPNC position on the rights of private property owners here is the pertinent portion of our platform: “The LPNC calls for the repeal of all zoning ordinances. In their place, we uphold the rights of private owners to use and develop their property as they see fit, and the rights of their neighbors to be protected from any direct harm caused by such use. We call for the elimination of all laws that dictate to homeowners how they will build, inhabit, or use their property, and of all regulations that increase the costs of housing. We encourage people to establish private contractual relationships that promote harmonious land use and development.” Perhaps your good deed for the day could be to pass this along to your acquaintance and ask if he or she has any suggestions for improving it so it is more clear.

  • commented on Preamble 2015-12-04 17:45:30 -0500
    WOW…outstanding!

    However, we should consider an amendment to the third sentence. The senior North Carolinians among us—comprising over 100,000 of our fellow citizens (more than there are registered Libertarians)—trace their roots here back well BEFORE those with colonial roots. Not to mention, they were the first to feel government suppression.

  • donated 2015-02-17 23:02:48 -0500

    LPNC Convention

    Technically, any purchase of 2015 LPNC Convention tickets from us by you is classified as a “contribution” from you to us by the North Carolina State Board of Elections. You will get a receipt that shows you total purchase as a “donation”…but which clearly states that you have registered for the Convention. By pre-registering, you will save time: when you check in at the convention desk, your credentials will be ready for you to pick up.

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  • commented on Hessel Accepts ALS Ice Bucket Challenge 2014-08-28 23:45:42 -0400
    …and thanks also to ace videographer Brian Irving who stole enough time away from packing for his annual pilgrimage to Gettysburg to capture all the action, upload it to YouTube, and post this article. :-)

  • donated 2017-10-22 13:12:29 -0400

  • commented on Vote in Libertarian US Senate Primary 2014-05-05 17:39:52 -0400
    If you can, vote as early in the day as possible to “break the ice” and ensure that your precinct is prepared to service Libertarian Primary voters.

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