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Letters to the Editor • Media: Radio

A letter to ClearChannel's Phoenix Station KFYI

From: Lyndon O
Date: Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 9:40 AM
Subject: "The Libertarians" and the VFW rifle stunt

Hi, Michele...

You and Barry are making some excellent observations on a variety of subjects this morning, but I must take exception to the repeated cheap shots at "the Libertarians" on the matter of the recent rifle publicity stunt at the VFW Convention.

I\'m sure that you and Barry are strong supporters of Second Amendment gun rights, and you weren\'t comfortable with having your position on that issue "represented", so to speak, by this stunt, even though the people behind it share your convictions on gun rights in general.  Likewise, please realize that not all libertarians, either with a small or a capital "L", thought it was a wise move either.  And the stunt was arranged by two individuals, acting on their own, who happened to be libertarian activists; it was not an official act of the Libertarian Party.  Why is it wrong for the mainstream media to exploit this stunt to link Americans who support gun rights with racists and loonies, but it\'s perfectly OK for you and Barry to use the same stunt to suggest that "the libertarians" are all out to lunch?

It\'s a marvel of hypocrisy that KFYI hosts in general, and Limbaugh and Hannity in particular, have been delivering daily anti-Obama commentaries, eloquently extolling the principles of free enterprise and limited government, but these same individuals treated Ron Paul as a non-person while he was running for president, even as a Republican, and Ron Paul was actually walking the walk, not only making even more eloquent speeches for limited government but matching that with his specific proposals and his own track record in congress.  Apparently, on conservative talk radio, it\'s fine to talk in general platitudes about free enterprise and limited government, but not to put any of that seriously into practice, and even the word "libertarian" is not to be mentioned unless it can be done in a context that deprecates all who use the term to describe themselves or their political philosophy.

What is the thinking behind ignoring libertarians 99.9% of the time, and devoting the remaining .1% to patronizing overgeneralizations?  Why are you less offended by eight years of Bush and Cheney making a mockery of your "limited government" principles than by those who live up to those principles but do so outside of the mainstream hierarchy of the Republican Party?  If you really have principles and you\'re driven by them, why not give credit--and criticism--where it\'s due when it comes to those principles?  If you disagree with Libertarians as a group or as a party on particular issues, that\'s fine, but why the systematic kid-glove treatment of hypocritical mainstream Republicans and the consistent, snide dismissals of the people who practice what you yourselves preach?

Thanks for considering these observations...

                                                                             Lyndon Olson

Editors Reply

(This was the note that accompanied the email sent to the Radio Station)

I thought you might want to read the e-mail I just sent to Michele Larson, Barry Young's co-host on his KFYI morning show, addressing their comments about your recent political "statement" at the VFW convention.

For whatever it's worth, I was one of the founders of the Arizona Libertarian Party in 1973, and I've been a registered Libertarian since I was first able to vote, with the exception of a brief stint as a nominal Republican in order to vote for Ron Paul in last year's primary.  I drifted away from Libertarian Party activism a long time ago, when party meetings consisted mostly of spending money for a meeting place, listening to boring reports that never affected the outside world, and breathing the secondhand smoke of ten Ayn Rand devotees who considered cigarettes to be an essential political statement.  (And the fiasco in 2004 with Arizona having its own government court-appointed presidential candidate, whose entire platform apparently consisted of self-indulgent ramblings about matters of great public significance like "Watergaters" in the national LP office, certainly didn't inspire my return to the front lines.)  I'll at least give you credit for recognizing the importance of publicity, but it's probably not true that all publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right.  There's a difference between a feel-good stunt and actually promoting one's cause effectively, and I'm not sure that this difference was well-considered in this case...But that's a separate e-mail...

Anyway, I used the negative feedback about your event as a springboard to get in some digs at the KFYI crowd about their disdain for libertarians; I hope you enjoy my mini-rant...Unfortunately, I've never gotten any reply from Michele on anything I've ever sent her; I'm not sure that everything that challenges them doesn't wind up in the delete file, but I have fun sending copies to people who actually do read their e-mails...

Thanks for your principles and your good intentions, even if I don't always agree with your tactics...Looking forward to your next venture...

                                                        Lyndon O