For lack of a better term, I call myself a libertarian with a small-l. I do not, despite this term, feel much allegiance to the formal Libertarian Party. I tend to like their platforms more than those of the major parties, but many of their candidates seem unserious to me.
Today I got my first press release from the local LP candidate for Governor. And what is it about? The LP candidate jumps into the fray on the Arizona 9/11 Memorial:
Libertarian nominee for Governor, Barry Hess weighs in on the only
thing Democrat Janet Napolitano and Republican Len Munsil can find to
disagree about - the great Arizona 9-11 memorial debate.
When asked for his input, Mr. Hess replied, "It doesn't surprise me
that this is all they can come up with to distinguish themselves as a
reason to vote for them. The problem is that neither one of them ever
seems to posses the ability to go to the root of the issue. The very
first thing they should have determined is, what is it? Is it a
tribute to the innocent lives lost on 9-11, or is it a memorial of the
If it is a tribute to the innocent
dead, then the politically-charged slogans are clearly misplaced and
should be removed. If it is a monument memorializing a tragic event
that is surrounded by a multitude of dubious official explanations of
what actually happened when innocent lives were caught up in something
bigger than them and lost in a politically-induced inevitability, then
the outrage expressed in the slogans is well, and rightfully placed.
Why didn't the Republican or the Democrat first establish what it is
supposed to be? Because they are both just using it as a soapbox, and
it's shameful they would each use it in an attempt to garner votes.
The public really should reflect on the fact that if these are the best
candidates the Republican & Democrat parties could come up with,
maybe neither is their best option for Governor."
When I read the first line, I thought Mr. Hess was going to rightly criticize the major party candidates for focusing on trivia. But no, he jumps right in himself. I'm not a big fan of how the memorial turned out, but while the memorial was officially sanctioned by the governor, it was at least all privately funded. We seem to have many other issues in a state where the government is building the new Berlin Wall that I would think a good libertarian would be more concerned about.
Here would have been my response:
"While the major party candidates focus all their attention on the content of a single
piece of privately-funded sculpture in downtown Phoenix, Warren Meyer criticized both
candidates for their support of a government-funded half-billion dollar monument to
mediocre football and corporate welfare out in Glendale."
Postscript: By the way, this government-funded facility is used for its core purpose just 11 days out of the year (Fiesta Bowl, 2 pre-season games, 8 regular season games) which gives it an occupancy of 3%. Supporters will argue that it is used for other events (e.g. a home and garden show) but these events could be held at existing facilities costing 1/10 the amount of Glendale Stadium. To somehow take credit for these other events is disingenuous, because their move to Glendale likely cannibalizes the revenue of some other government facility, like the convention center. Most of the cost of the stadium -- visitor amenities, locker rooms, sliding roof, sliding grass floor, seats, etc -- are for football only. More about why I hate the public funding of stadiums here.