Armstrong Resigns from LP Newsletter Position
May 25, 2002
Dear Colorado Libertarians,
I have had a wonderful time producing the past 21 issues of Colorado Liberty since the March issue of 2000. Now I believe it is time for me to move on to other projects. I hereby resign from my position with the newsletter.
Over the last two years, the newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Colorado has become arguably the best of any state affiliate in the nation. It is now archived by Denver's main library and the Colorado Historical Society. It is mailed to libraries, reporters, and legislators across Colorado. In addition, the web page contains hundreds of articles spanning the full range of Libertarian politics and ideas. I'm proud of those accomplishments.
I have been considering stepping down for a number of weeks, and I have changed my mind several times. Now I feel comfortable with my final decision. One central reason indicates why I have chosen to move on: autonomy.
I started the Colorado Freedom Report (www.freecolorado.com) late in 1998 in order to raise an independent voice for liberty. Before that, I was active in politics through other means. I have spent two summers working in Washington, D.C.: once for a U.S. Senator and once for the Center for Market Processes and Families Against Mandatory Minimums. My articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the Denver Post, the Rocky Mountain News, Liberty Magazine, and various other publications. Over the past several years I have spoken on numerous radio and television programs in Colorado.
I have attended summer conferences hosted by the Institute for Humane Studies, the Political Economy Research Center, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, the Objectivist Center, and the Center for Study of Public Choice. In college, I wrote libertarian columns for the school newspaper and studied economics and philosophy -- I even took an independent course in Austrian economics.
I am involved in libertarian politics because I believe libertarian theory is (basically) correct and because I want to help create a more libertarian society. My central goals pertaining to politics are to study, write about, and advocate libertarian ideas. At this point in my life, I believe I can best achieve my goals through means other than producing the state LP's newsletter.
Obviously, the newsletter of the state LP largely focuses on Libertarian politics. However, the Libertarian Party is only a political strategy, it is not an end in itself. I want to spend more time writing about political issues not directly linked to the LP. The party is an important part of the broad libertarian movement, but it is still only a part of that movement.
When I produced the newsletter as Publications Director -- that is, as a member of the state board -- I basically had sole editorial control over the newsletter. Unfortunately, I found that I simply could not continue to put in the massive amount of time necessary to produce a quality product without compensation.
The trade-off was that I lost editorial control. I still basically decided the contents of the newsletter, but I began to feel like my editorial decisions were open to challenge.
I also began to feel the tension of conflicting goals. I tried to balance the different goals of appeasing candidates, following the requests of the Publications Director, promoting the Libertarian Party of Colorado, and reporting the relevant truth. I didn't always succeed. I want to return to a simpler, more authentic role of reporting the news I think is important and writing the opinions I believe are warranted.
When Jim Vance was elected as Publications Director at the convention on May 18, I must confess I was initially appalled. After all, both Jim and his campaign supporter Robert Rapplean had publicly criticized my work with the newsletter, without cause in my opinion.
Last year, after he decided to run for governor, Jim left the Reform Party and joined the Libertarian Party. After that, he advocated a number of positions at odds with libertarian principles and the LP's platform. For instance, he once called for more government mandates for motorcycle insurers and an increase in one type of school tax.
Jim has become more libertarian in his thinking, and I respect the fact that he has chosen to stick with the LP and help it grow. During the evening of May 18, Jim and I spoke and I told him I would probably be willing to continue with the newsletter through the elections in order to assist the party.
Since then, however, I have concluded that I can best help the LP by working independently along side it. I want to be able to comment on Libertarian politics without feeling like I'm walking on the egg shells of conflicting goals. Of course, I will continue to be involved with various LP projects.
In addition, I mentioned to Jim that if I continued with the newsletter, I didn't want to be micro-managed. Since then, Jim has suggested which stories I should and should not cover and which articles I should include in the newsletter. I totally understand Jim's desire to get involved with the newsletter and make it his own. But I'm not in this to set type, and I need my own sphere of autonomy. Perhaps we can work out a deal by which I continue to contribute articles to the publication.
I hope that Jim will continue to explore libertarian ideas and writings. Anybody working with a Libertarian publication will have greater success when familiar with the ideas of Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Rand, Friedman, and other libertarian scholars and writers. I appreciate the contribution Jim has made to the LP by running for governor, and I wish him the best as he develops the newsletter and web page and grows in his understanding of libertarianism.
Fortunately, the next newsletter was not slated until June/July. Of course, the schedule is now up to Jim and the rest of the state LP board. I believe the newsletter should be mailed monthly to all paying members, libraries, legislators, and recent contacts. I think a different publication should be mailed to non-paying members every three months or so. The change should be made after non-paying members are notified about it. The board might consider whether it wants to pay somebody else to work on the newsletter and web page or try to get more volunteers to handle those jobs.
For the past few months I have contemplated what projects might be most fruitful for me to pursue. Now I will direct more of my attention to that matter. I look forward to sharing with you my new plans very soon.