Saturday, November 25, 2006

Rex Bell Writes About the Benefits of Electing Libertarians to Local Office

Wayne County Libertarian Chairman Rex Bell posted this comment to an earlier post that is very much worthy of repeating:

". . . When Susan Bell took office, she cut about $2000.00 worth of frivolous spending out of the Town Court annual budget. I believe that once Conley Tillson and Steve Coffman take office, they will do as much as an Advisory Board can do to control spending. Frugality and fairness are as much as is possible from most non-legislative lower offices. Certainly a Town Court judge can't overturn a higher court ruling, and advisory boards are limited on programs that they can eliminate. I think one of the most important aspects of electing Libertarians to these local offices is that it gives us a chance to show that we can work within the system, and instill enough confidence in voters to support us when we strive for higher, legislative offices where we can work to move government more in our direction. We may never be able to put a hard answer on how much good it does to put Libertarians in lower offices. Just like when we write letters to the editor, or opinion columns, we always know that they might not influence anybody. But we keep writing because we know that one of our attempts might influence one person, or a few people, and then it will be worthwhile. We have a long, hard road ahead of us, and we need all the help we can get, from whatever method we can get it. . . "


Debbie said...

Okay, thanks Rex and Mark, this is a great start!

But it's just a start, because it doesn't give any specifics to understand how any principles are being applied to decisions.

Saying someone "cut about $2000 worth of frivolous spending" is nothing different than voters have been hearing for decades.

What is "frivolous spending?" As we all know, if a person liked the cuts, then they agree it's frivolous, but if someone disagrees with the cuts, then it wasn't frivolous.

So citizens need some specifics. How can you explain the thinking behind these cuts and why the spending was indeed frivolous, and at the same time show how the continued spending on other items is not frivolous.

Were the cuts made by applying any specific principles? If so, then talk about that. This will then help people to see how it's the application of principles, not politics, or favortism, or whatever, that causes libertarians to take action.

If something like this is not done, then there is no reason for people to look away from the other two parties, because they are hearing the same thing from everyone, things like "cutting frivolous spending," without defining what frivolous means.

Mark W. Rutherford said...

Good comments Debbie. I hope Libertarian office holders, candidates and party officials are taking these to heart.

Rex Bell said...

When Susan Bell took office, she refused the cell phone that was furnished for the previous judge. She also cancelled $750.00 worth of magazine and newspaper subscriptions that the court was paying for. The court no longer furnishes donuts and pastries for the police officers who attend the court, and Susan pays her own way to the conferences and seminars that she is required to attend.

I don't know if any of these actions are seated in some deep libertarian philosophy, or merely an exercise in fiscal responsibility. I do know the previous Republican judge could have made the same cuts, but she didn't.

As I stated in an earlier post, a Libertarian town court judge doesn't get to overturn any errant Supreme Court decisions, anymore than a township advisory board member can abolish the current welfare debacle.

But we did elect a Libertarian judge in Hagerstown, and the system didn't collapse.

And when a Libertarian ran for State Representative, he won 6 precincts in the Hagerstown area.

I don't have any hard proof, but I believe the gains we are making in Wayne County are at least in part due to Susan's efforts in the court, and when we start winning legislative offices, it will at least in part be because of the way our elected officials and board members have conducted themselves while serving their terms.

Just my opinion, of course.

Mike Kole said...

I haven't seen any Republicans or Democrats make any cuts, 'frivolous' or otherwise. So, this is progress.

I think we'll mostly agree that the cell phone was frivolous.