A Libertarian perspective on the 2nd Amendment

For my first blog post on the 2nd amendment I wanted to discuss the basics of pro-2nd amendment argument and the underpinnings of that argument. In order to keep this to a reasonable length, I won’t be going to deep into any particular aspect of the argument, and there is a lot to cover. The totality of the evidence clearly shows that the Framers of the Constitution were of a mind that closely dovetails with, if not outright matches, the Libertarian perspective on the 2nd Amendment, as well as the rest of the Bill of Rights.

The tl:dr is this: The 2nd amendment enumerates a natural, individual right to buy, sell, possess, transport, train with, and carry weapons, specifically firearms, specifically for the purpose of defense, both against deadly criminal threats as well as a tyrannical government, as well as any other lawful uses therewith.

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Ken Krawchuck Announces Ballot Access Money Bomb

Ken Krawchuk

ABINGTON, PA - Libertarian candidate for Pennsylvania Governor Ken Krawchuk announced in a campaign livestream Wednesday that he is launching a $10,000 money bomb to allow his campaign to petition for ballot access.

The last time Krawchuk ran for governor in 2002, he was required to collect 21,027 signatures to get on the ballot. Although he successfully collected 32,500 signatures and ultimately ended up in third place with 1.14% of the vote in a four-way race, Krawchuk stated that getting on the ballot in 2002 was “one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my entire life”. He also stated that the monumental effort required to get him on the ballot cost the campaign a lot of valuable time and money that could have been spent on outreach.

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Montco PA 2018 Election Opportunities

State Representative

One of the best ways for a Libertarian make an impact is to run for State Representative. Although the signature requirement to get on the ballot is unfairly high compared to that of the major parties, it is still achievable without having to pay signature collectors. Each state rep represents about 60,000 voters. This is big enough to get some attention, but small enough to be able to get your message out without having to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In Januray long time state rep Robert Godshall (R - Lansdale/Souderton) announced his retirement presenting an opportunity for a Libertarian to run and have an impact in a fresh field of candidates. The list of state representative positions up for election in Montgomery County in 2018 are listed here. Are you up for the challenge?

District Incumbent Incumbent Party Incumbent Since Location Signatures Required (2%)
26 Tim Hennessey R 1993 Pottstown 453
53 Robert Godshall R 1983 Lansdale 360
61 Kate Harper R 2003 North Wales 410
70 Mathew Bradford D 2009 Norristown 369
131 Justin Simmons R 2011 Pennsburg 428
146 Tom Quigley R 2015 Limerick 302
147 MarcyToepel R 2010 Schwenksville 401
148 Mary Jo Daley D 2013 Ambler 494
149 Tim Briggs D 2009 Upper Merion 448
150 Michael Corr R 2007 Collegeville 342
151 Todd Stephens R 2011 Horsham 408
152 Thomas Murt R 2007 Hatboro 430
153 Madeleine Dean D 2012 Abington 490
154 Stephen McCarter D 2013 Cheltenham 542
157 Warren Kampf R 2011 Upper Providence 383
166 Greg Vitali D 1993 Lower Merion 476
172 Kevin Boyle D 2011 Rockledge 323
194 Pamela Delissio D 2011 Lower Merion 460

State Senate

Every two years, half of the state senate seats are up for reelection. In 2018 there are four state senate seats on the ballot that touch Montgomery County. One of those is currently held by long time Senator Stewart Greenleaf who recently announced he would not be running for another term.

Senatorial District Incumbent Incumbent Party Incumbent Since Signatures Required (2%)
4 Arthur Haywood III D 2014 1561
12 Stewart Greenleaf R 1978 1007
24 Bob Mensch R 2009 838
44 John Rafferty R 2002 974

U.S. Congress

Running for Congress as a Librertarian in PA is not easy. The large signature requirement for ballot access imposed by the State Legislature unfairly discriminates against third party and independent candidates. Additionally major party candidates generally have large fundraising advantages gained from taking funds from the state parties as well as from unscrupulous wealthy donors and special interest groups seeking favorable treatment from government.

However, all is not lost. The 2018 election cycle is shaping up to be a good one for Pennsylvania Libertarians to make an impact. In January the PA Supreme court found Pennsylvania's Congressional districts to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered and ordered all of them to be redrawn. If the ruling stands, the resulting congressional districts should be more competitive between the two major parties, at least in theory. This is mostly good news for Libertarians. Districts with an even split of Democratic and Republican voters are more easily disrupted by third parties and independents. This effectively gives the Libertarians more power and makes it harder for the major party candidates to ignore a Libertarian candidate screaming from the sidelines. Here are the opportunities in Montgomery County PA to run for US Congress. 

Congressional District Incumbent Incumbent Party Incumbent Since Signatures Required (2%)
8 Bryan Fitzpatrick R 2016 4146
6 Ryan Costello R 2014 4150
7 Pat Meehan R 2010 4514
13 Brendan Boyle D 2014 4787
2 Dwight Evans D 2016 6451

Interested in running for one of these positions? Contact us. We are here to help.  

I believe it is wrong to hurt people

Why I became a Libertarian

I am a Libertarian for one very simple reason. I believe it is wrong to hurt people, and non-aggression lies at the very core of Libertarian philosophy.

Liberals and Conservatives will never say this. They can’t. They both believe that under the right circumstances pertaining to their particular agendas, it’s acceptable to hurt people. Unfortunately, this almost always has unintended consequences.

So many people who find libertarianism unpalatable begin their arguments with something like:

“Well, I don’t know much about Libertarian philosophy, but…”

Or:

“I got into an argument with a Libertarian the other day, and …”

Or:

"I once knew this Libertarian and he was a jerk."

I’m 56. I’ve considered myself a Libertarian my entire adult life. I have subscribed to Reason Magazine. I have read almost every book by Ayn Rand. I have read and re-read the Libertarian party philosophical stances, and dozens and dozens of essays and articles. I (apparently) know the philosophy better than almost everyone I know.

I have also read progressive and conservative writings over all that time, and all the arguments pro and con. I subscribe to the New York Times, and I listen to NPR. I read Michael Harrington's The Other America, and my first vote for president went to Jimmy Carter.

But like I said, at the end of the day, I believe it is wrong to hurt people. People left to their own devices will usually do good things, but like everyone, we basically want to be left alone and free to make our own choices.

This doesn’t mean I am anti-social. Quite the opposite. No one enjoys meeting friends and doing things in the world more than I do. I help my neighbors and friends when I can, and I’m involved in my local community. I don’t live in the woods, but in a densely populated traditional suburb outside of Philadelphia. My neighbor’s house is 20 feet away. We talk to them all the time. I couldn't survive without associations with others.

No, I don't always agree with other Libertarians, and yes, I often find some of them too strident in their tone. If I'm in the room full of people I agree with, I tend to take the contrary position just to make things interesting. I consider myself more pragmatic than some. Meanwhile most of my friends lean to the liberal side, but many lean right as well.

But to address some just a few of the points from those less studied:

No, Libertarianism isn’t corporate freedom or pro-corporate welfare. We hate corporate welfare. In fact, we probably hate it more than social welfare, because we dislike concentrated power of any kind. It is the biggest threat to individual liberty there is.

No, Libertarianism won’t leave starving people homeless in the streets. We genuinely want the truly destitute to get help and Libertarians will help them. Libertarianism will further encourage the spread of better managed and more effective private efforts to help people. Will there be failures? Well, after trillions of dollars of taxpayer money spent on social programs since the New Deal, aren’t there failures now?

If you want to solve a problem, a Libertarian will first ask you, "How can we do that without hurting someone?" If your solution in any way involves the use of force against a law-abiding citizen, you will not get a Libertarian’s approval. That’s why it’s called LIBERTY.

When it comes to hurting people, there are no “yes, buts…” You are either in favor of violence to advance your agenda, or you are not.

And by the way, to address those who wonder where our water will come from or who will provide fire protection: Our water, like our other utilities, already comes from a private company. Our fire companies are private non-profit entitles contracted by the Borough. And I live in a very blue part of Pennsylvania.

And yes, government built the roads, but they built them through many of our major cities, destroying neighborhoods wholesale, displacing hundreds of thousands, and caused enough economic damage to those places to make Hitler cringe.

Before government built the roads, private companies did. We called them RAILroads, and they did great until government decided to get into the transportation business, taxing and regulating the railroads to near extinction.

But hey, we went to the moon.

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Montco LP

Montgomery County Libertarian Committee
PO Box 294
Jenkintown, PA 19046

Email: contact@montcolp.org
Web: www.montcolp.org