Thursday, November 19, 2009

Libertarians Knee Deep in Smoking Fight Again


Here we go again. The Libertarian Party has spent, at minimum, lots of man hours into getting the comprehensive air ordinance (public smoking ban) defeated at the City-County Council level when it comes to a vote November 30. On Tuesday, the LPMC Party Chair, Tim Maguire, in the words of the Indianapolis Star, "urged" Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi to investigate Smoke Free Indy for critical comments against the LPMC on a blog connected somehow to the organization. The LPMC claims that since Smoke Free Indy receives money from the Marion County Health Department that it cannot launch "political attacks."

Here is the offending blog post in question.

"The Libertarian Party of Indiana violates its own stated principles articulated in its by-laws with its position opposing comprehensive smoke free workplace laws that protects all workers.

Check out this portion of the LPIN bylaws from the organization’s website below [the highlighting is my addition]:



http://www.lpin.org/node/57

Libertarian Party of Indiana -- By-Laws

ARTICLE II – STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND PRINCIPLES


Section 2. Principles. The LPIN affirms the following principles:

a. That all people possess certain unalienable natural rights, and that among these are rights to life, liberty, justly acquired property, and self-governance.

b. That the only moral basis of government is the preservation and protection of unalienable natural rights.

c. That no person or institution, public or private, has the right to initiate the use of physical force or fraud against another person, and that all people are bound, without contract, to abstain from infringing upon the natural rights of other people.

[Approved at State Convention May 1999; As Amended at State Convention April 2001; As Amended at State Convention April 2004; As Amended by Central Committee October 2005; As Amended at State Convention April 2006]


The Libertarian Party of Indiana chooses to defend the last two inalienable rights listed under Article II, Section 2 a—property rights and self-governance—at the expense of the first two inalienable rights –LIFE and LIBERTY. Secondhand smoke is a cause of death, and to defend the status quo where workers continue to health their health jeopardized by exposure to secondhand smoke, the LPIN threatens those workers’ rights to life and liberty. Not only is the health of workers seriously threatened by secondhand smoke [infringing on the inalienable right to life], but it also infringes on when secondhand smoke is present in the air because it takes away everyone’s liberty to breathe air free of secondhand smoke.

But really, the most egregious betrayal of the LPIN’s own principles and purpose by opposing comprehensive smoke free workplace laws is made clear in Article II, Section 2[c]. Libertarians say one key principle is that “all people are bound, without contract, to abstain from infringing upon the natural rights of other people.” Unfortunately, by opposing comprehensive smoke free workplace ordinances, Indiana’s Libertarians were active parties to ensuring that some people will continue to infringe upon the natural rights of other people [continuing to smoke inside an enclosed workplace or enclosed public place and risking the life and liberty of those occupants].

Normally, I wouldn’t spend time analyzing the bylaws of a 2% fringe political party, but since they have inserted themselves so visibly and vocally into the dialogue about whether Indianapolis should protect all workers from a known and preventable occupational health risk, I thought it would be worthwhile to see what they’re supposed to be about. It looks like they’re about picking and choosing which inalienable natural rights they want to defend and which ones they think it’s okay to trample on."


This isn't a political attack; it's a political beat down. Game set and match Smoke Free Indy. The point has been made whether or not Carl Brizzi looks at the case. Libertarians have brought this on themselves.

The LPMC specifically is very involved in the fight. As previously discussed on this blog, the "Save Indianapolis Bars" group has a website at www.saveindianapolisbars.com. If you click on the link, it goes right to the Libertarian Party of Marion County's website where you can listen to the ads that have run on local radio under the heading "Listen to Our commercial."

Need more evidence? Brad Klopfenstein, a former Executive Director in the Libertarian Party, is referred to in media reports as the leader of Save Indianapolis Bars. From GoDaddy.com, the registration information for the saveindianapolisbars.com web address:

Registrant:
Libertarian Party of Marion County

133 W Market St #159
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
United States

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: SAVEINDIANAPOLISBARS.COM
Created on: 12-Oct-09
Expires on: 12-Oct-10
Last Updated on: 12-Oct-09

Administrative Contact:
Schultheiss, Michael webmaster@indylp.org
Libertarian Party of Marion County
133 W Market St #159
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
United States
(317) 372-6436

Technical Contact:
Schultheiss, Michael webmaster@indylp.org
Libertarian Party of Marion County
133 W Market St #159
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
United States
(317) 372-6436


Chris Spangle, the current Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana, denies any real involvement with Save Indianapolis Bars beyond helping them build a website (that happens to link back to the Libertarian Party of Marion County's site). I think the evidence proves that the Libs have more than just a passing involvement with the group. The party seems to be its biggest advocate.

I think Smoke Free Indy's criticism was right about the Libertarian Party's selective choosing of sides on this issue. Whether the organization goofed or not in its critical blog post is up to Carl Brizzi to figure out. The Libertarians definitely are not standing up for the rights of non-smokers and seem to only care about the smokers in violation of its own party rules and policies. It seems to me that this is more about opportunistic self promotion of the Libertarian Party than about a passionate defense of the rights of the people.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, they seem to use it as a tatic to gain members. I don't think they care much about the smokers.

Anonymous said...

They are a fringe group with many good intentioned people but there seems to be an element in their small party that is bitter, hostile to everything and just generally very unhappy people.

Wilson46201 said...

Sadly, the LPIN fights for the right to smoke in public while at the same time opposing the Wishard Referendum.