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Libertarians in New York

Can all the Libertarians in New York fit inside a phone booth? No, but they can fit inside a relatively small banquet hall, and yesterday that's just what they did. I accompanied Richard Bey, and sometime Pennsylvania Libertarian candidate and office-holder Rich Piotrowski to the New York State Libertarian Convention in Manhattan.

A fine time was had by all. We heard a speech by Gary Nolan, likely LP candidate for president. He was a little slick, but a compelling speaker, who rallied the party faithful to formulate a positive political message and ride it to victory. Being pro-freedom, Nolan says, is a more compelling message than being simply anti-government.

The keynote speaker was Justin Raimondo of antiwar.com. Mr. Raimondo spoke, in part, to balance the national party's controversial decision to invite pro-war small-l libertarian Neal Boortz to speak at the 2004 convention in Atlanta.

Mr. Raimondo made some good points (although I didn't agree with all of them), and was well received by the audience. The majority of those in attendance were stridently anti-war, so I tried to keep a fairly low profile. Even though I might part company with them on certain national security issues, I'll grant them this: had our nation governed its foreign policy according to libertarian principles during the past few decades, the current War on Terror may well have been unnecessary. Still, I'm certain there were many present yesterday who would anathematize me for my hawkish views (as I heard Mr. Raimondo do to Glenn Reynolds in a sidebar), but I still find I have more in common with them that with either of the major parties. Every time I take that silly little quiz that the LP always has on hand, it always puts me squarely in the libertarian quadrant, so what am I to do?

Well, here's one potential answer. This year, for the first time, New Yorkers will have the option to register to vote as a Libertarian. I am considering officially changing my registration. It's not like New York Republican primaries are very exciting anyway.