Paul Grad for Oregon Governor: How I Voted on Oregon State Initiatives in the Libertarian Primary

The Oregon Libertarian Party’s Primary, paid for by the party and not the general taxpayer, is conducting a primary vote on the Oregon State Initiatives, Referendums, and Referrals measures (IRRs) that will be on the November ballot. In the interests of those voters who might vote for me in the Libertarian Primary, or later in the general election in the unlikely event that I win in the primary, I think it my duty to tell the voters how I voted on these issues and why, so that they can get a better sense of my brand of Libertarianism.

Firstly, there is IRR no.2, which would prohibit all payroll deductions from public employees to/on behalf of any public employee unions. This is a pretty easy one for Libertarians, so I voted yes. Of course, government should have nothing to do with funding any private collective group, whether it be a union or a corporation, and anyone in these groups is completely free to make that payroll deduction on their own.

That said, if I were a utilitarian, I would say that the cost to the state of setting up such an automatic deduction mechanism would be very minimal, and once set up, it would incur virtually no additional costs. In other words, automatic payroll deductions would cost almost nothing to set up and maintain, and would be a great convenience to those who wished to pay into that system. But obviously it is still not the responsibility of the State or the taxpayers to set this up, and the would-be union donor is still as free as a bird to donate money from his paycheck to the unions. It is his responsibility to make that payment, not the State’s or the taxpayer’s.

Since Libertarians base their decisions on Principle, not Utilitarianism, it is easy to decide that this issue requires a resounding “Yes” to prohibit such payroll deductions.

Moving on to IRR no.6, which would prohibit funds directly/indirectly for abortions, we did not vote, for we feel that both sides in the abortion debate are absolutely right. Listening to Murray Rothbard’s arguments for abortion, and Ron Paul’s arguments against abortion, it’s hard not to agree with both of them. Therefore I abstained from voting on this measure.

Moving on to IRR no.8, which recognizes same sex marriage, I again abstained, for I feel that the correct procedure is not to extend the unjust tax privileges that go with marriage, a religious institution, to yet another group of people, but rather to remove marriage altogether from the secular law books and government. Marriage, being a religious institution, should be completely cut off from government, the State, and the lawbooks, in my opinion. However, since this would indicate that I should have voted no on the measure, and I didn’t,  I did so because such a no vote would usually be interpreted as a vote against same sex marriage. Frankly, I don’t give a darn what people do in their private lives as long as there is no violation of the Libertarian non-aggression axiom, but I also don’t think that special privileges should be extended to certain collective groups of taxpayers which force all other taxpayers to pay a higher rate of tax. Instead of legalizing same sex marriage under the law, we should be eliminating all marriage from the law books. However, prejudice is unfortunately so great against gays and lesbians in our current society, that voting no on this measure could easily be interpreted as condoning that heinous prejudice, so I abstained.

Here, we should point out that Wes Wagner, the Libertarian Party of Oregon’s Chairman, made an excellent plea in our voter’s pamphlet, for voting Yes on this measure, pointing out that the Libertarian Party had vigorously opposed Measure 36, passed in 2004, which in effect outlawed same sex marriage. We agree with his arguments, and would have liked to have voted Yes, but Principle forced us not to do so.

Measure IRR no.21, which would de facto legalize cannabis, with a few exceptions, and with state regulation, was one we voted yes for, while holding our nose. The measure is excellent, and duplicates our own view exactly, except for its last part which gives the State the power to regulate, even tax, this powerful and medically-useful herb which is less physically addictive than caffeine. That latter part of the measure spoils it irreparably. The wording that permits “State regulation reasonably defining, limiting, regulating use, possession, production, sale, taxation of cannabis” is so blatantly anti-Libertarian, and so pro-nanny State,that I probably should not have voted for it, but on the other hand, the suffering and misery caused by the cannabis prohibitionists to our fellow Citizens is so great, that voting for this measure is better than voting “no”, and having that “no” vote interpreted as public opposition to the legalization of cannabis. Who is to define what “reasonable” is in this vague measure? Yet, of the three cannabis-decriminalizing measures on the ballot, this is the least Fascistic in my opinion.Cannabis should be completely legal and unregulated, save for delivery to minors, and reckless endangerment issues, and the public should not accept anything less, like a tax, or the government defining what a “reasonable” consumption rate is.

Moving on, we come to IRR no.22, which again would more or less legalize cannabis, but would set up a “cannabis commission”, another unnecessary-boondoggle bit of bureaucracy, with its accompanying huge salaries. I believe all State commissions should be eliminated, and their salaries returned to the taxpayers in the form of lowered personal income tax rates. So I voted “no”.

IRR no.23 puts forth a very important point that needs to be introduced into current law, that Natural Individuals have more Rights than corporations/governments, known as “artificial individuals”, and that  Natural Individuals can exercise an undefined privacy right. Obviously, since this is one of my proposals in my platform, that Individual Rights should be put before collectivist, notional, idea’s, known as corporations, so-called rights, I voted for this measure with gusto, despite its vagueness.

Measure IRR no.34, which puts equality of rights for both sexes into the State Constitution, following on a  decision of the Oregon Supreme Court, is long overdue., so I voted “yes”. This should have been the law since the time of the French Revolution, when the State of Oregon didn’t even exist.

IRR no.52 is a very important measure, and one that I believe violates Federal Law. It gives business an exception from anti-discrimination laws for “religious belief”. I voted against it, because it violates the Federal guarantee, printed on every Federal Reserve Note, that that note is legal tender for all debts, private and public. Now, it seems to me that when you advertise a price for a good or service, either in your store window, or in a public advertisement, then what you’ve done is offer an implied contract, which says that you will exchange the good or service offered for a fixed quantity of Federal Reserve notes. Thus, to suddenly discriminate against someone, based on whatever reason except those which pertain to every single Citizen (like “shirt and shoes required for service” in a restaurant), is to violate a business contract that is guaranteed by the Federal Government, a serious Federal Law offence.

Therefore, since it violates Contract law, it should be voted against, and I did so vote.

IRR no.53 is a horrendous cannabis issue, that already has the state creating all kinds of complex rules, red tape, and huge taxes on cannabis. It’s just as bad as the cannabis commission creating bill, perhaps even worse. But voting against it, again might be construed as wanting to keep cannabis illegal, so we obstained from voting on this one.

IRR no.54, which would lead to only two candidates on the final ballot, is a bipartisan Fascist measure if there ever was one, designed to eliminate our elective choices down to the two “main” parties. The mainstream media, and the two behemoth political parties, would like to have you think that politics is a football game between only two political ideologies, Liberalism vs. Conservativism, with George McGovern and William F. Buckley as head coaches. They certainly don’t want the public thinking in third or forth directions, like the total state ownership of everything under Communism, or the wide-ranging freedom of a Free-market, laissez-faire, Capitalist society under Libertarianism, where government interference in life would be very minimal, except to restrain violent criminals. This bill would attempt to institutionalize that restriction of our political vision, by giving us only a final choice between a Democrat big-government supporter, and a Republican big-government supporter.

After all, if this bill had already passed, I couldn’t be on the ballot in November. So I voted “no”.

Measure IRR no.301, which would issue “drivers cards” to anyone, without having to prove legal residence in the U.S., is another one of those utilitarian measures which should be rejected on Principle. There may be pragmatic reasons for driver testing illegal immigrants, to make sure the roads are safer, and we think they would be, but that does not overlook the fact that we are enabling people to live comfortably in America, when they haven’t gone through the long, tortuous process that Naturalized American Citizens have gone through to become U.S. Citizens. It seems to me that this unfairness to those who followed the law would warrant a “no” vote on this measure, even if it has real, pragmatic effects that would argue for its passage. I think the immigration laws should be obeyed, although one wing of Libertarianism to which I adhere, feels that immigrants are a great boon to a Capitalist society, and that anyone who comes here and contributes his skills and labor to our economy, as long as he obeys the Libertarian Non-Aggression Axiom, is an asset to be encouraged, not moaned about. There was very little discussion about “illegal immigration” at the time of the American Revolution, when foreigners came to help.

Last amongst our list of measures, is the horrendous IRR no.402, which would amend the Constitution to require creation of a fund for Oregonians pursuing post-secondary education, and authorize State indebtedness to finance the fund. This is just another measure to aggrandize Government schools, and keep loads more people out of the competitive labor market for many more years, as well as financing the cushy lifestyles of the college and university intellectuals and bureaucrats, who live in a completely different world from the minimum wage earner, the roofer, and the barber. (Just look at the immorally high salaries of our university presidents, personnel managers, investment fund advisors, and athletics coaches. Since when has football had anything to do with education? College sports are entertainment boondoggles — modern forms of Roman Circus, paid for at the taxpayer’s expense.) Many of these intellectuals couldn’t make a cent in the free-market if it weren’t for their State subsidization, although in a Free-Market for education, that rid us of these horrendous government schools and the financial albatross they tie around our necks, the talented amongst these intellectuals would soon find positions at privately-financed schools, or as tutors. Our Government Universities should all be closed, except for slowly phasing out the medical-teaching facilities, and their buildings should probably be used as temporary homeless shelters for all the hobos and homeless young mothers who have been impoverished by the Minimum Wage Laws, and the massive bipartisan monetary inflation that is being carried out under Bush-Obama, which has impoverished so many of those who voted Democratic. Housing the homeless thusly would save the State welfare departments a small fortune in housing allowances.

In brief, I voted “no” on IRR no.402.

Hopefully, this discussion will give you a glimpse into my interpretation of Libertarian doctrine vis-a-vis these political issues.

The Libertarian Primary is now underway, and results should be announced around June 6th. I thank the Party for giving those of us who registered as Libertarians a chance to voice our opinions on these very crucial political issues, (and a chance to run for office without having to collect thousands upon thousands of signatures). The Libertarian Party of Oregon has done a Good Deed.

Libertarians can vote for me on the Libertarian Primary Ballot. Democrats, Republicans, and Communists can write me in.

Paul Grad,





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