Peace is the Death of War – R. Lee Wrights

 

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BURNET, Texas (May 26, 2012) – When I began my quest for the Libertarian presidential nomination, my staff and I were committed to making the campaign about more than just winning the nomination. We determined that whoever was the nominee, the message of the Libertarian Party in 2012 would be “Stop All War,” and that message would be heard in all 50 states. To that end, we pledged 10 percent of all donations to insure ballot access, and began The Million Vote March project to achieve a historic first for the Libertarian Party.

As I have said from the beginning, this is not about Lee Wrights. It’s about the Libertarian Party and the libertarian message of peace, prosperity and progress. While the campaign for the nomination is over, the campaign to Stop All War, to gain 50-state ballot access, and to win one million votes for the Libertarian candidate for president continues. It must continue. Not only because it’s what my staff and I have pledged to do, but because it’s right for the Libertarian Party and it’s right for America.

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The Million Vote March Succeeds: “Washington: Take Heed!”

In late February of this year, Lee Wrights, Libertarian Party presidential hopeful, put up the Million Vote March website (http://millionvotemarch.com/). The idea was simple: if voters didn’t like either of the “establishment” candidates, they were encouraged to cast a protest vote for the Libertarian Party nominee and push his vote count to a record-breaking 1,000,000 votes.

As it turned out, Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, won the Libertarian Party presidential nomination in May. By that time, the two contenders had developed a respectful camaraderie. Both men told me that they became better candidates for having to “compete” with each other.

Consequently, when Mr. Johnson won the nomination, Lee Wrights began showcasing the former governor on the Million Vote March site. Wrights’ piece “Why I’m Voting for Gary Johnson” spread across the Internet through his strong presence on Facebook and his blog, one of the oldest in the movement (http://www.libertyforall.net/?p=8283). Johnson, for his part, came out strongly against the foreign wars, a position that Wrights had championed.

Rather than attack each other, these two presidential candidates kept their eye on the goal: enhance the credibility of the Libertarian Party, get voters to pull the Libertarian lever, and break through the “wasted vote” barrier to reach new highs. Instead of tearing each other down, they built each other up. The result was 1,139,562 votes (http://www.lp.org/blogs/staff/1139562-votes-for-gov-gary-johnson-record-setting-libertarian-party-presidential-vote ), more than double the 2008 vote count for the divisive Barr/Root ticket. Teamwork pays!

 

Read more via The Million Vote March Succeeds: “Washington: Take Heed!”.

 

No Shots Were Fired

Originally published at Million Vote March

No Shots Were Fired, by Lee Wrights

Here’s a news story you’ll rarely read in your local newspaper:

YOUR HOMETOWN (Today) – A masked man armed with a rifle entered a local school today, but left quickly when one of the teachers produced a revolver and ordered him to leave.

No one was injured and no shots were fired in the incident. The gunman is still at large.

Most newspapers, radio and TV stations still operate on the hard-and-fast journalistic rule, “if it bleeds, it leads.” You really can’t blame the news media for this. Most people like stories about conflict and action. That’s why the sports pages are so well read, and we have cable channels dedicated to every competitive activity and sport conceivable — even golf.

But there are hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of incidents where a firearm was used by a private citizen to prevent a crime or defend against a crime which are never reported to the police and never covered by the news. In a white paper “Tough Targets: When Criminals Face Armed Resistance from Citizens,” the Cato Institute looked at thousands of news reports over an eight year period. Their study found that the overwhelming number of self-defense cases involve situations where the gun is never fired.

These are some of the law-abiding gun owners who were able to save a life, or prevent a rape, burglary or other crime, and no shots were fired:

An 80-year-old pharmacist on duty in Missoula, Montana who confronted a masked man demanding painkillers. The pharmacist pulled out a pistol and told the criminal to leave. The masked man screamed and left the store. An unidentified bystander who saved Gracie Watson when her estranged husband stabbed her repeatedly, doused her with gasoline, and threatened to set her ablaze on a public street in Jackson, Mississippi. A Colorado woman who grabbed her .38-caliber revolver when she heard an intruder in her home and shouted, “Who’s there, I’ve got a gun.” The intruder fled, but tried the same thing at another house nearby — and was detained by another pistol-wielding homeowner.

Even the most vehement gun-control advocates admit Americans use guns for self-defense, the study notes. Yet no one really knows how often this occurs. Estimates of defensive gun use range from the tens of thousands to as high as two million each year. That high figure comes from a prominent studyby Gary Kleck and Mare Getz conducted in the 1960s, which also concluded that in 91.7 percent of the incidents of defensive gun use the criminal attacker wasn’t killed or wounded.

This highlights the true intent and purpose for the Second Amendment which was written to protect the right to bear arms. Despite the rantings of gun-control advocates, the Second Amendment was never intended to justify the initiation of violence but to prevent violence. Guns don’t create crime, they stop crime. Guns don’t cause crime any more than pencils cause misspellings.

The Cato white paper also bears out this fact, concluding that when a gun owner uses a gun to stop a rapist or burglar “it is very likely that more than one crime has been prevented … because had the culprit not been stopped, he very likely would have targeted other people as well.” I have lived in both southern and northern neighborhoods throughout my life. All of them have been populated with gun owners and all of them have been the most peaceful places to live. There never was a need for gunplay in any of them. All those guns, yet no shots were fired. We were safe.

In my own life, I learned at a very early age that self-defense was the most basic instinct instilled in a human being. I also learned that self-defense cannot be trusted to the hands of others, especially to those in alleged positions of authority, who were never around when I really needed them. Police rarely prevent crime; they just show up after a crime has already been committed and pick up the pieces. We are not safe.

Gun control advocates claim that gun laws are for “our own good,” to prevent crime and accidents. Yet they frequently and conveniently ignore reality. The first reality is that criminals, by definition, don’t obey the law. A second and more fatal reality of gun control laws is that they are often deadly for the most vulnerable in society – the poor, minorities, women and children. Most crime occurs in poor neighborhoods were residents are largely ignored by those sworn to serve and protect them. If there’s any doubt that private gun ownership deters crime, drive through any neighborhood and count the number of “This Home is A Gun Free Zone” signs.

R. Lee Wrights is an editor, writer and political activist living in Texas. He is currently the Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party national committee. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Contact Lee at rleewrights@gmail.com.

No Number Greater Than One

Originally published at Million Vote March

 

 

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” – Ayn Rand

When it comes to individual rights, no number is greater than one. One person, one hundred people, one thousand people, one million people do not have any more rights than the individual. Nor are the rights of a group greater or more precious than the rights of an individual — because they don’t exist. All rights are individual rights. There is no such thing as “group” rights.

Thomas Jefferson called individual rights “self-evident truths.” Fredrick Douglas said, “One and God make a majority.” Some call this principle the sovereignty of the individual.

The late David Nolan, a founder of the Libertarian Party, called this idea self-ownership. In his classic essay “The Essence of Liberty,” he said “you own yourself” was the first of five “indispensable” beliefs held by all libertarians. “You own your own body and mind; no external power has the right to force you into the service of ‘society’ or ‘mankind’ or any other individual or group for any purpose, however noble,” he wrote.

Whatever you call it, the belief that there is nothing greater than individual rights is the fundamental philosophy of libertarianism. It is the foundational principle of the Libertarian Party. If groups of people have more rights than one person, there would be no such thing as individual rights. They vanish immediately, sacrificed on the altar of democracy for the mythical “greater good for all.”

Individual rights encompass everything a person is, does, and creates. Property rights are individual rights. As James Madison put it, “… as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.” And correctly understood, property rights embrace not just material possessions but whatever a person creates with their hands or with their minds. Just as no individual or group, not even government, has the right to use your material possessions without your permission, no individual or group, not even government, has the right to use your creative possessions, your spoken or written words or thoughts, without your OK.

Nor does any individual, or group, including government, have the right to do anything a single person does not have the right to do. No individual or group has the right to tell another what he or she can eat or drink or what they can do with their body. No one has the right to tell another how he or she can spend their money, or use the physical or intellectual property they have created.

Individuals are free to associate and cooperate with others, to work together, pool their resources and combine their talents and treasures to form a private organization to do whatever they like, so long as they do not harm or threaten to harm others. Whether these private groups are called corporations, political parties, or fantasy football leagues, the process is the same. People voluntarily join them, and by their own volition agree to abide by a set of rules while in the group. And they are free to leave at any time, if they don’t like the rules, no longer agree with the group’s goals, or for any other reason.

The belief that all rights belong to the individual, that you are born with them and that no power on earth can take them away from you, is the foundation of the Libertarian Party. This is what makes us different from the Republicans and Democrats, who differ only in the degree that they would have government regulate your lives, restrict your rights, and seize the fruits of your labor without your consent.

If you believe this as well, come be different with us. Join the Libertarian Party. In this election, be libertarian with us one time and help us be the difference that makes a difference.

“If mankind minus one were of one opinion, then mankind is no more justified in silencing the one than the one — if he had the power — would be justified in silencing mankind.” – John Stuart Mill


R. Lee Wrights is an editor, writer and political activist living in Texas. He is currently the Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party national committee. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Contact Lee at rleewrights@gmail.com.

Stop The War On Civil Liberties!

The Wrights 2012 team is far from finished. Here is our latest Million Vote March video…