Everyday Activism: Libertarian Letters to the Editor

Tired of no media coverage? Look in the mirror, and be the change you want.

When watching or reading news, do you feel like shouting at mainstream politicians and their misguided positions? Do you wish a reporter or TV program would have deigned to give a Libertarian viewpoint or cover a Libertarian candidate? Use that frustration to inspire productive action: write a letter to the editor or guest column. Libertarians get frustrated when the media doesn't cover our ideas or candidates, but most neglect to take advantage of the free opportunity most newspapers give to spread our ideas via opinion pages. Although frustration can inspire action, be sure to remember that the purpose of a letter is to try to persuade people. If an issue isn't time critical, it can be productive to step back from a letter for a day or two before re-reading it to be sure it makes a reasoned productive case. Imagine if even 1 out of 20 registered Libertarians in Colorado did a letter each month. That would be 1878 opeds submitted, and many of them would be printed. If you don't see Libertarian views in the local newspaper: look in the mirror and realize YOU are the solution. If everyone waits for another person to do it, it may never happen. Assume that if you don’t do it, perhaps no one will.

Venting your views can be cathartic and seeing them in print can provide a sense of accomplishment.Its good for your mental health, and the health of the Libertarian Party. Libertarians don't think a centralized government can create products as well as the distributed effort of all the collective minds in the public. The collective minds of all Libertarians working to spread libertarian ideas can do so more effectively than only relying on centralized Libertarian Party organizations with limited resources. Even if you don't usually read the local newspaper or subscribe to it, you can still consider submitting opinions for those who do read it.

In the age of the internet, writing for a newspaper opinion page may seem an outdated idea, but it is still effective and important. Although newspaper readership is declining, those who read newspapers are more likely to be better informed "influentials" aka "opinion leaders" who pass information on to less informed members of the public who rely on their views. In the age of partisan online media where people communicate within echo chambers, newspapers are one of the few places where people can be exposed to ideas from other political perspectives. Small newspapers often print most of what they receive, even if larger newspapers like the Denver Post can't. The more letters a newspaper receives on a particular topic, the greater the odds at least some of them will be printed. Editorial departments seem more willing to publish alternative views than news sections are to cover them. There is less incentive for those who hold mainstream views to bother writing letters since their views already get covered in the news sections, and by regular columnists and editorials and other people's letters. We have the potential for a disproportionate share of opinion pieces to be from libertarians since most of the public doesn't bother submitting letters. Its useful to keep up a steady stream of letters throughout the year from a libertarian perspective, not merely during election season. It will take time to get the public on our side, and the only way that will ever happen is by as many people as possible working to educate them as often as possible. Opinion pieces are one of the easiest for people to do since they can be done anytime.

Many people have never encountered libertarian ideas, and unfortunately many are skeptical of ideas they haven't heard of before. No matter how good the idea is, they may not take time to think it through to realize it makes sense. Unfortunately many people assume that if an idea were good, then they would have heard of it from the mainstream media or major parties before. Anything different is a "fringe" outlier they take less seriously. Advertisers pushing consumer products repeat their ads until people view their product as a credible option rather than viewing it as an unknown risky potentially fly by night choice they might regret. The more people see libertarian ideas in the newspaper, the less they will seem to be rare "fringe" viewpoints and the more seriously they will be taken. The more often reporters see libertarian views mentioned in letters, the more likely they are to realize they exist and to consider them worthy of mentioning in their news articles.

People who aren't very political drift often towards what they view as a safe "centrist" position on issues. Most only get a sense of what the public in general thinks via the opinion pages, so the more libertarian letters we get in the more we can shift the perceived "center" on issues in our direction. A libertarian-friendly Republican (we'll do him the favor of not disclosing his identity) once served on a non-partisan board where some Libertarians had managed to get elected. The more radical Libertarian positions made his less radical suggestions seem more centrist and viable and shifted the results in our direction, even if not as far as we'd have liked.

Choosing a topic, and writing it:

During election season people are more apt to pay attention to newspapers since they realize they'll need to decide how to vote soon, so obviously its best to focus on Libertarian candidates or libertarian positions on ballot issues. Often no other group is pushing the sort of argument a libertarian might make. Even if another letter has already made a libertarian argument and you can't think of a different one, its useful to repeat it. Not everyone reads every oped, but even if they do it can sometimes takes repetition before the public "gets" an idea. It may be that you've phrased it in a way they grasp better than a prior letter.

The rest of the year its useful to write about issues you care about and are knowledgeable about, e.g. a topic where you were frustrated at the media's lack of coverage of a libertarian viewpoint. Ideally it should be a topic the rest of the public cares about as well or they aren't likely to read what you wrote. You can get ideas from checking Libertarian Party sites for press releases and commentary, libertarian news sources like Reason.com or libertarian think tanks like Cato.org to see if there are any new ideas or data that haven't made it into the mainstream media to help spread. You don't need to wait for an ideal topic, its useful to just pick something periodically to get an opinion piece to keep putting libertarian ideas out there.

Its best when possible to try to offer people new ideas and arguments they haven't seen before, rather than persuading them to abandon an idea they already believe. For instance if conservatives seem to hold a particular policy view for moral reasons, then argue the utilitarian case that their policy won't achieve the goals they have despite good intentions. If liberals seem to hold a particular policy view based what they claim is supporting data, then see if there is a moral case you can use to argue that it doesn't matter if "the trains run on time" if its done in an immoral way. If you have competing data, then that point can be argued as well after you present other arguments.

For instance many people feel recreational drug use is bad. Some people try to persuade them that " no, it isn't as bad as you think" (most commonly used by those trying to say pot is less dangerous than alcohol), which may be like talking to a wall. Sometimes its more productive to avoid challenging their view, but argue that they should still support a different policy. e.g. "No matter how bad you think drug use is, the drug war isn't the way to solve the problem because...". Then if you have more time you can go back and also try to add evidence that you feel backs up your case that "no, it isn't as bad as you think".

You don't have to be a polished author to submit an opinion piece, as long as its written clearly enough for others to understand. If you aren't confident with your writing skills it can be useful to have others critique your work, and you can return the favor by critiquing theirs. Practice makes perfect, and you can practice writing by posting comments online as well. Although fewer people usually see online comments, the public is more tolerant of writing glitches in a real time informal medium and you can use a pen name for your less polished online posting while you work to improve your writing. Its important with any medium to check your facts and be sure your reasoning is sound before you post, even if your writing isn't polished. Libertarians should maintain a reputation for having good evidence based arguments, in contrast to the major parties.

Its important to remember the goal is to reach non-libertarians and not to "preach to the choir" by using arguments that appeal to those who already think the way libertarians do. Try to find arguments that would potentially appeal to liberals and/or conservatives. For instance, find principles liberals and conservatives where superficially claim to agree with us, but where they don't consistently apply those principles. For instance liberals claim to be "pro-choice" but don't follow through to be "pro-choice on everything" the way libertarians are. Conservatives often claim to be prefer smaller government, but then given in too easily when GOP politicians give in to increase spending. Establish common ground by pointing our how you applaud some goal a policy of theirs is meant to address, like a program "for the children", but that a libertarian solution would provide better results. Check your newspaper to see how often will publish letters from repeat authors. Although fewer people read comments and social media posts, those are also important to make since some people are only reached that way, and they also allow you to get feedback on your arguments (though beware that often you will merely get unrepresentative troll replies). Its also important to check the length limits for opinion pieces in the publication you are targeting. Most word processing programs will show a word count to let you work on tweaking your writing to fit within the limits. One way to get started is to forget about the length limits or polished text, and merely write out all the points you wish to make in some form. Then go through your writing and focus on finding the fewest words to best make each of your points, and removing any points you don't have room for.

Some publications allow you to submit longer "guest columns", but they print fewer of those due to limited space. There are ways to increase the odds they'll print a guest length piece. If a co-author represents a group, like a local Libertarian Party official, they are more likely to give extra space. You can try to find a co-author who has credentials indicating they are an expert in the topic, even if you do most of the work. Some libertarians don't wish to use their name on publicly printed opinion pieces. They may be concerned about expressing their political views publicly for fear of a backlash from their work or social circles, or value their privacy for some other reason. If you know of a well informed Libertarian who doesn't wish to submit opinions, ask for their help writing yours. If you don't wish to have your name in print but have ideas, see if any friends might let you help them do letters.

This was submitted by a Libertarian activist who wishes to remain anonymous. To see some published Letters to the Editor, please visit the LPCO website here. We will also be collecting some submitted language that you can use for your own. Please submit links to your published Letters to the Editor and any proposed language for general use.

Thank you for all you do for Liberty.

As an example, you can find the Denver Post Op-Ed guidelines here and letters to the editor guidelines here.

View our Letters to the Editor Page here.

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Colorado Libertarian Registrations Outpace Republicans and Democrats


DENVER, CO:  The October 2016 Voter Registration statistics have been released, the number of registered Libertarians in the State of Colorado grew over 26% since January 2016.  In contrast, the Republicans only grew by 4.25%, and the Democrats only grew by 7.09%.  State Chair Jay North commented:

As the fail rate of government intervention has become obvious with the realization that the country cannot continue along this path, people are starting to look at new solutions, and the common sense pro-individual, pro-freedom stance of the Libertarian Party has struck a nerve.   The fact that the old parties have nominated two of the most disliked candidates in American history has certainly helped.  The system is broken.  Liberty is the answer.

The Libertarian Party of Colorado welcomes all persons from all backgrounds who now accept the Libertarian principles of self-ownership and non-aggression. 

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Caryn Ann Harlos at 561.523.2250 or email at CommunicationsDirector@LPColorado.org.

Register or re-register Libertarian NOW.

View printable copy of Press Release here.

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Interesting County Statistics


Congratulations to Kiowa County, they have a 200% increase in registered Libertarians since January 2016.
Congratulations to Dolores County, they have a 100% increase in registered Libertarians since January 2016.
Congratulations to El Paso County, they registered 1361 Libertarians since January 2016.
Congratulations to Denver County, they registered 1072 Libertarians since January 2016.
Congratulations to San Juan County, they have 2.5% registered Libertarians.
Congratulations to Clear Creek, they have 1.49% registered Libertarians.
Congratulations to El Paso County, they have 5757 registered Libertarians.
Congratulations to Denver County, they have 5597 registered Libertarians.
Jefferson and Arapahoe are trailing with just over 4,000 registered Libertarians. The Libertarian Party has 40,518 registered members which is an increase of 26.02%. 1.088% of the registered voters are Libertarians.
The Democratic Party grew by 7.09% and the Republican party grew by 4.25%.
The following Counties grew faster than the LPCO Party:
Adams 29%
Alamosa 50%
Arapahoe 26%
Baca 50%
Broomfield 32%
Cheyenne 33%
Conejos 50%
Crowley 44%
Dolores 100%
Douglas 29%
El Paso 31%
Elbert 29%
Grand 35%
Gunnison 38%
Jackson 40%
Jefferson 26%
Kiowa 200%
Larimer 28%
Las Animas 32%
Logan 28%
Mesa 29%
Montezuma 29%
Phillips 40%
Pueblo 35%
San Juan 31%
Sedgwick 50%
Teller 35%
Weld 33%
Yuma 43%
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Proposition 106 - Medical Aid in Dying - Minority Report

The Official Position of the Libertarian Party of Colorado is to support Proposition 106.  Our position can be found here: http://www.lpcolorado.org/ballotissues

This minority report was authored by David Aitken.  In order to fairly represent dissident views we have offered this space for expression.


If the purpose of government is to protect life, liberty, and property, this proposal fails the first test by opening the door to prematurely killing people. It is also inconsistent with the Party’s position on the death penalty. See http://www.lpcolorado.org/platform.

 Insurance companies may use this proposal to deny coverage for expensive treatments. See http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=5517492&page=1.

 Violates the Hippocratic Oath, part of which reads “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath.

 One of the witnesses in this ballot issue may be related to the patient, a beneficiary of the estate, or a representative of an insurance company or health provider and may have influence over the other witness. (2)(a)(III) There is no requirement that neither witness may have any knowledge of the other or be capable of judging that the patient is “mentally capable” of making this decision. There is also the possibility of witness shopping. Who chooses the witness?

 The Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause does not provide a “fundamental liberty interest” in physician-assisted suicide. (Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997)) and in Vacco v. Quill, 521 U.S. 793 (1997), the Supreme Court held that a New York statute criminalizing assisted suicide did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

 See also this policy brief from Colorado Christian University: http://www.ccu.edu/centennial/brief/suicide-by-doctor-what-colorado-would-risk-on-the-slippery-slope-of-physician-assisted-suicide/

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Press Release: Electoral Hypocrisy Runs Rampant in Denver Chamber of Commerce


DENVER CO: The Denver Chamber of Commerce is hosting a U.S. Senate Debate on October 17, 2016 and has unilaterally excluded the Libertarian candidate, Lily Tang Williams, despite Williams having overcome another venue’s arbitrary threshold of 1% of the state’s registered voters being affiliated with the Libertarian Party.  When Ms. Williams inquired why, she was told the equivalent of “Just because.”  Our electoral system is broken and rigged to benefit the old party power brokers to the exclusion of alternate voices.  If 1% of our population contracted an illness, dropped out of society, or were otherwise affected en masse, there would be an outcry.  Yet 1% of Colorado registered voters are routinely told that we do not matter—only Republicans and Democrats do.  Stunningly, the Denver Chamber of Commerce is a supporter of Propositions 107 and 108 calling for force-funded “open primaries” in which private organizations would be required to allow non-members to vote in their internal candidate selection process unless they opted-out through a state-imposed process dictated to their governing boards. Basically, the Denver Chamber of Commerce supports forcing others to allow non-members to control their nominations in the name of “choice and fairness” yet when they themselves operate, they arbitrarily exclude… just because.  In the face of this hypocrisy, Libertarian Party Chair Jay North made the following statement:

Vote NO on Propositions 107 and 108, not only because they are vile amendments, but also because one of the LARGEST supporters of the amendments WANTS to limit whom Coloradans can vote for.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Caryn Ann Harlos at 561.523.2250 or email at CommunicationsDirector@LPColorado.org.

View and print PDF of Press Release here.

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Lily Tang Williams Endorsed by Well-Known Colorado Activist, Kanda Calef



Press Release from the Lily Tang Williams Campaign:

After Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado, Darryl Glenn, attacked the Republican Presidential nominee, activists have stepped up to call out the hypocrisy of his statement.  Kanda Calef, having been a critic of Darryl Glenn’s voting record, prior to the primary, has come out in support of Libertarian candidate, Lily Tang Williams.

“We constantly hear from the establishment of both parties, ‘We have to Unite!’  Yet, that statement only seems to apply when their purchased candidates are the ones whose names are on the ballot, as can be seen by Glenn’s wishy-washy stance on his own Party’s nominee,” stated Calef.  “When the Republican Party elites were backing Trump, Glenn was more than willing to associate with him at events.  Now that McCain and his ilk are against the nominee, Glenn jumps on board the hypocrisy wagon.  It is time for Americans to wake up to the reality that both the Democratic and Republican Party elites are not interested in what is best for the people of the United States, but are interested in power plays and politics.  Lily Tang Williams has seen what happens when power and politics are the driving force in a country, having lived through Communism in China.  We need leaders like her who will crack the stranglehold that the wealthy elites have on the political system in this country.”

A Colorado native, Kanda Calef (kcalef@gmail.com) holds her Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Denver.  Upon graduation, she became a state-renowned community organizer and political activist.  She is currently an elected member of the El Paso County Republican Party Executive Committee and a Republican Precinct Leader.  She was the former President of the Colorado Springs Republican Women.  She ran for Colorado Springs City Council in 2015 and lost after several developers united to spend over $100,000 to defeat her.  Her platform was grounded on full transparency of the city’s budget, which threatened those who benefit from backdoor deals with politicians.  Her dynamic personality, well-reasoned policy arguments, and genuine desire to help Coloradoans to prosper have rendered her very influential in Colorado politics.


Lily Tang Williams

Colorado Libertarian Candidate for U.S. Senate
State Director of Our America Initiative
Advisory Board Member of USPIE (USPIE.org)

Cell:		(303) 217-0265
Fax:		(720) 842-0430
Email:		lily4liberty@earthlink.net
Website:	www.lily4Liberty.com
Facebook:	Lily4Liberty
Twitter:	@Lily4Liberty


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Press Release: Protest the Rigged System

image001.gifDENVER, COLORADO: On September 26, 2016, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) will host the first of its series of debates which will be missing a critical voice:  Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. While professing to be non-partisan, it is in fact a tightly controlled BI-partisan private organization that wields an obscene amount of power to exclude alternate voices.  Recent polls have indicated averages of over 60% of respondents favoring the inclusion of Gary Johnson.  The current criterion is that a candidate must receive an average of 15% or more in polls selected by the CPD.   However it is a classic chicken and egg scenario. A candidate cannot poll high unless they are mentioned and covered, and they will not be covered or mentioned until they poll high. Despite these obstacles, Governor Johnson has polled higher than the old party candidates amongst Independent voters, and in one of the approved CPD polls, 18-34 year olds—the demographic more likely to support Governor Johnson—was excluded entirely.  It is the Libertarian Party’s position that any candidate that has theoretical ability to win enough electoral college votes to win the election should be included.  Governor Gary Johnson will be on the ballot in all fifty states and thus should qualify. The Libertarian Party of Colorado will be staging at protest at the Colorado State Capitol on the night of the debate in order to give support to Governor Johnson and speak for those who have been denied a voice. 


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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Caryn Ann Harlos at 561.523.2250 or email at CommunicationsDirector@LPColorado.org.


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13886312_10207869849078071_5664127767823492317_n.jpgGuest post by Mike Shipley:

So self-ownership says, I am sovereign over my own self. Nobody else has a greater right to make my choices than me. Basically because my brain is literally attached to my body. I am the moral agent of its actions.

It follows, then, if no one else has agency over me, then I do not have agency over them either. That is how we arrive at non-aggression.

I may not initiate coercion over another person to take away their agency and substitute it with my own.

Self-defense says if either one of us *does* try to violate that personal boundary, the other one of us justified in refusing, resisting, or repelling by force if necessary.

Individual rights are then arrived from that basis. My freedom of speech is based on the idea that my voice is connected to my brain, I have agency over speaking with it, no other human may control my speech but me ... Same with all the others. They are several steps away from the first principle of self-ownership but all still very closely linked, logically. All are implied merely by the fact of existence. This is why they are called "natural" rights. They are by virtue of nature .... our very being.

Then it follows, if those things are true at the individual level, they are also true at the sociopolitical level. Groups of people can't ethically do anything that they could not as individuals do. We may not vote away another person's right. Majorities may not coerce the minority just because there are more of them.

And so .......... We arrive at libertarianism as a set of policies that make individual liberty possible at the level of large groups of people. We have a framework for ethical relations that preserve the rights of the people.

If another group of people cross our political boundaries and initiate force on us, we may then defend ourselves against that attack. But if we were to initiate the attack on them, we would be wrong in doing so and they would be justified in self defense.




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An Open Letter to Nicholas Morse, Republican Candidate for CO Congressional District 2

Dear Mr. Morse:
It has come to the attention of the Libertarian Party of Colorado that you admire our Party and principles as demonstrated by your proud use of the word “Libertarian” on your campaign page. Please know that you are not alone. Many other Republicans are becoming very dissatisfied with the direction of their Party and particularly with their Presidential candidate, and some of them have actually taken the step of fully embracing Libertarian ideals, leaving the Republican Party, and joining us. Please consider this our formal invitation for you to take this brave step, learn the solid principles of the Libertarian Party, and perhaps seek the official nomination from our delegates at Convention for the next District election. In the meantime, the endorsed candidate of the Libertarian Party of Colorado for CO Congressional District 2, Richard Longstreth, looks forward to the opportunity to provide the Libertarian alternative and principled Libertarian solutions this election. Thank you for spreading the word about our Party.
In Liberty,
Jay R. North, Chair Libertarian Party of Colorado
You can view a printable version of this Press Release here.
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Libertarian Excluded from Debate over Fraction of a Percent

DENVER, COLORADO—During an election season where voters have expressed unprecedented dissatisfaction with their choices and over 30% of Coloradan voters are unaffiliated, Club 20, a “non-partisan coalition” has excluded Libertarian Party Senatorial Candidate Lily Tang Williams from their debate forum scheduled for September 10, 2016. In a statement to Williams, Club 20 has stated its Bylaws require any included candidate to represent at least 1% of registered voters “within the district” and that since the Libertarian Party held .977% of registered voters, she would be excluded over a mere and petty .03%--effectively silencing all but the Republican and Democrat perspectives. LPCO Chair Jay North issued the following statement:
Club 20 claims to be non-partisan yet is failing to give adequate representation to third-party and independent voices while similar non-partisan groups, such as Action 22 in Pueblo, have no such Bylaws requirements. The significant numbers of Coloradans who have made clear statements by their refusal to affiliate with either of the two old parties deserve to have an alternate view heard. The electoral system has become a joke where minor party and independent voices are suppressed by exclusion from debates, polling, and coverage creating the classic chicken and egg scenario: meet arbitrary litmus tests in order to be included, and yet without being included in polls, coverage, and debates, it is nearly impossible to meet these conditions—and this is by design. There are over 35,000 Libertarians in Colorado that have just been told that they don’t matter—and specifically, there are about eight western counties in the area covered by Club 20 in which registered Libertarians do in fact exceed 1% of registered voters.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Caryn Ann Harlos at 561.523.2250 or email at CommunicationsDirector@LPColorado.org.
A printable copy of this Press Release can be found here.
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