9 Days to the Maryland Libertarian Party Convention!

Posted on Updated on

Only 9 Days Left Until the Most Electrifying, Thought-Provoking, Paradigm-Shifting, Freedom-Powered Event on the East Coast: the Saturday, April 5th Maryland LP Convention

Speeches that Powerfully Change the Way You Look at Liberty, How You Think and Talk and Feel about Liberty, and What You Can Do to Advance and, perhaps, Achieve Liberty in Our Lifetimes

Speeches You Can’t Stop Talking About.

Skeptical? Think this might be Exaggeration or Hype?

Just Look at What’s Happening! Read the rest of this entry »

Liberty Quotation of the Day: The Harm Principle

Quote Posted on Updated on

John Stuart Mill“The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion.  That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection.  That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.  His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.  He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right.  These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him, must be calculated to produce evil to some one else.  The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others.  In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute.  Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty [1869]

A Few Questions for the Maryland Megamillions Jackpot Winner

Posted on Updated on

MegamillionsThis morning we learn that one of the two winning tickets in last night’s Megamillions drawing was purchased in Maryland.  It wasn’t necessarily a Maryland resident, but it’s certainly likely to be a Maryland resident.  I don’t want to pry, but there are a few questions I’d love to ask, if anyone can put me in touch with the lucky winner: Read the rest of this entry »

News from the Shawn Quinn for Governor Campaign

Posted on Updated on

Quinn FloatShawn Quinn, Libertarian candidate for Governor of Maryland, along with Lorenzo Gaztanaga, Libertarian candidate for Lt. Governor, participated in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Annapolis on March 9th. According to Shawn, “Green coats and the pursuit of happiness abound in Annapolis. It truly is about people.” You can see more pictures of Shawn and Lorenzo at the parade on Shawn’s Facebook page (which I encourage you to ‘like’). There is also an independent Marylanders for Quinn Facebook page.

Shawn will meet with a Cumberland Tea Party group today (March 16th at 2 p.m.) at the Woodman of the World Lodge in Cumberland. Shawn then moves on to a Meet and Greet in Southern Maryland, on March 22nd at noon, at the Calvert Library Southern Branch, 13920 HG Trueman Rd. Solomons, MD 20688. Joining them will be Peggy O’Donnell (seeking the party nomination for Calvert County Board of County Commissioners) and Leo Dymowski (seeking the party nomination for Attorney General). Then on March 27th, Shawn will participate in a Town Hall forum with other candidates at Morgan State University, at the Murphy Fine Arts Center, beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Please consider attending events that are close to you, as our candidates need your support.

To keep up to date about Shawn and Lorenzo’s campaign, you can visit their website at http://citizen4quinn.org

Who guards the guardians themselves?

Video Posted on Updated on

This age-old question of political philosophy is raised once again by Radley Balko’s latest column in the Washington Post.  As Balko reports, South Carolina Supreme Court Justice Donald Beatty has admonished state prosecutors not to engage in witness tampering, selective or retaliatory prosecution, or suppression of evidence, and the prosecutors in South Carolina are outraged. Believe it or not, they think Justice Beatty’s remarks make him unfit to judge criminal cases in South Carolina.  I should have thought that outspoken opposition to witness tampering, retaliatory prosecution, and suppression of evidence would be right up there among the very most important qualities we want in judges who hear criminal cases.

Balko writes that this story and the others he reports in the same column all fit into a single theme of prosecutors being opposed to accountability in any form.  He’s right as usual, but it seems to me there is another lesson here as well:  Instead of giving speeches that put prosecutors on notice that their misconduct will no longer be tolerated, judges should just start throwing the book at the bad actors.  If they object to the warning, don’t warn them. Read the rest of this entry »

SB 1032: Good News for Maryland Voters and Maryland Taxpayers

Posted on Updated on

Richard Winger of Ballot Access News reports that Maryland Senate Bill 1032, a bill to straighten out one of the stranger wrinkles of Maryland’s elections laws, will get a hearing next week before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.  The text is available here or here, but really it’s very simple:  Current law automatically renews a political party’s official recognition (and the ballot access that goes with it) if more than 1% of the state’s registered voters choose to affiliate with that party.  SB 1032 would replace the 1% threshold (which equates to about 37,084 voters right now) with a threshold of 10,000.

This is great news, and not only for smaller or newer political parties.  SB 1032 is also great news for Maryland voters who will enjoy more choice at the polls, and for Maryland taxpayers who will no longer have to pay for the enormous waste of state resources that our current election law requires.

To understand the importance of SB 1032, it helps to know what happens to a recognized political party that fails to reach the 1% threshold at the end of any four-year election cycle.  That party can regain its official recognition by filing a petition signed by 10,000 registered voters, regardless of party affiliation.  Collecting 10,000 signatures is a lot harder than it sounds, because state law requires voters to print and sign their names in very specific ways that often do not match the signatures or names they use in daily life.  For example, “Martin O’Malley” on a petition would not qualify as a valid signature; it would need to be “Martin H. O’Malley,” even though the Governor doesn’t even need to use that middle initial when he signs legislation.  That and other traps for the unwary mean that, in practice, a small political party may need to spend $50,000 to collect enough “raw” signatures to be sure that at least 10,000 will be deemed valid.  And state and local elections officials don’t particularly enjoy flyspecking the petitions for compliance, which of course they do at substantial cost to the taxpayers.

But apart from the waste of time and expense, consider the situation of, well, the Libertarian Party of Maryland, with 13,313 registered voters as of January 31, 2014.  Under current law, because we have fewer than 37,084 registered Libertarian voters, we would need to collect signatures from 10,000 registered voters who support the Libertarian Party’s right to exist.  But the state’s own records already show that 13,313 support our right to exist so much that they themselves registered as Libertarians.  Asking us to circulate a petition to prove that we have the support of at least 10,000 voters is just silly when the state can press a button and print out a list of 13,313 registered voters who have already told the state they support us.  And because the 10,000 signatures can come from voters of any party affiliation or no affiliation at all, a petition signed by 10,000 voters of whom relatively few will be Libertarians actually demonstrates far less political support within the state than our 10,000 registered voters do.  Requiring the petition under these circumstances isn’t just wasteful and pointless; it’s a wasteful and pointless obstacle to voting rights.  It’s the kind of wasteful and pointless obstacle that might well be unconstitutional.

So hats off to Bill Ferguson, the State Senator from District 46 who is the primary sponsor of SB 1032, for correcting this untenable situation.   Give him at attaboy by email hidden; JavaScript is required or call him toll-free at 800-492-7122, ext. 3600.  Better yet, e-mail the whole committee to express your support.  If you can get to Annapolis for the hearing next Thursday, March 13, at 1:00 p.m., here’s the Committee’s schedule with instructions for how you can testify in favor of the bill.

(By the way, if you’re wondering who represents you in the General Assembly, you can find out here.)

Southern Maryland-Meet & Greet the Candidates

Posted on

Libertarian ticketShawn Quinn, the Libertarian candidate for Governor and Lorenzo Gaztanaga, Libertarian candidate for Lt. Governor, will hold a meet and greet in Solomons on March 22 at noon. Joining them will be Peggy O’Donnell, who has announced her candidacy for the Board of County Commissioners of Calvert County. If you are in Southern Maryland, this would be a great chance to meet the candidates, ask questions, and show your support.  The meet &  greet is being held at the Calvert Library Southern Branch, 13920 HG Trueman Rd. Solomons, MD 20688 (the library is not sponsoring the program). For more information on Shawn’s campaign, you can visit his website at: http://citizen4quinn.org