Platform Criteria

In August and September of 2007 the prospective PlatCom members brainstormed criteria they would use to evaluate Platform proposals, and informally counted how many members subscribed to each. The results:

  • 12: avoids extremist/destinational language/rhetoric that makes our party and candidates easy to ridicule
  • 10: starts with a clean sheet of paper (i.e. not necessarily keeping any of the 15 current planks)
  • 9: is written to resonate with the views of the 16% to 20% of voters who polls show fall into the libertarian quadrant;
  • 9: should be silent on abortion
  • 8: focuses on 5 to 15 issues important to voters in the next election cycle or two;
  • 8: is ideologically broad enough for the vast majority of Libertarians to stand on comfortably;
  • 8: highlights the idea of decentralizing/defederalizing most federal programs
  • 7: focuses on policy initiatives that are feasible in the next 5 to 15 years;
  • 7: helps educate Libertarians in developing a comprehensive Libertarian philosophy;
  • 7: should be significantly shorter than recent Platforms;
  • 7: tries to state our positions in positive language about what we support, rather than in negative language about what we oppose;
  • 6: avoids laundry lists about what legislation, agencies, and court decisions we oppose;
  • 5: makes destination and transition implicit in broad principles explaining what the Bylaws mean by "a libertarian direction" in public policy;
  • 5: is written to resonate with the views of the most liberty-friendly 34% of voters;
  • 5: consistent with the major schools of libertarianism without endorsing one of them as best;
  • 5: is silent on issues on which more than 10% - 20% of Denver delegates would vehemently disagree;
  • 5: explains the justification and benefits of our positions in a way the average voter can understand;
  • 5: avoids echoing Republican-style rhetoric about the severity of the threat of Islamist terrorism;
  • 5: should not be silent on abortion
  • 4: has comprehensiveness approaching the pre-Portland Platform
  • 4: describes and advocates a society without any government coercion whatsoever;
  • 4: avoids expanding the Platform's description of our common ground with issue complaints, theoretical justifications, and marketing promises;
  • 4: avoids policy coverage gaps (e.g. abortion, RTKBA, GLBQT) that wouuld likely alienate Libertarian interest groups;
  • 3: includes formal sections for both ideal destination and transitional actions;
  • 3: confines itself to policy initiatives that are consistent with the Constitution (as properly interpreted) that our candidates are required to swear to uphold;
  • 3: includes specificity about what legislation, agencies, and court decisions we oppose;
  • 2: takes a stand against the threat to our liberty from Islamist terrorism
  • 2: avoids new language that could attract disagreement or quibbling from delegates;
  • 2: is written to resonate with the views of the most liberty-friendly 51% of voters;
  • 2: promotes innovative voluntary ways to reduce pollution;
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