A group of young libertarians from California who call themselves the “liberty kids” are making national news after winning control the executive board of the Los Angeles County Republican Party in December of 2012, and expanding its ranks to be young, diverse, and extremely politically active.
“All of us got started during the Ron Paul campaign, so a lot of our principles are very similar to the Ron Paul positions,” Noah Johnson, treasurer of the L.A. County Republican Liberty Caucus, explained on The Glenn Beck Program Tuesday. “Non-aggression, non-intervention, sound money. And we’ve done a lot to be really involved in the party, so we’re not just libertarians who take these positions and go on Facebook and argue all the time. … We actually got our hands dirty.”
“Each of us pulled papers and ran for central committee to be locally elected officials,” he said. “And we’ve since just been climbing the ranks through the establishment party.”
“You guys are so wicked smart for doing this,” Beck commented.
Amir Zendehnam, secretary of the L.A. County Republican Liberty Caucus, said: “I like to say that we’re trying to reclaim the American right. As libertarians, our principles stem from a very basic thing called the non-aggression principle, which is, do not initiate violence on others, and only [use violence] in self-defense. … And also self-ownership, which is, we own our body and we own the fruits of our labors.”
“What we’re trying to do is slowly interject these ideas into the Republican Party,” Zendehnam said.
Nick Hankoff, chair of the LA County Republican Liberty Caucus, said they aren’t trying to “make other people libertarian all the time.”
“That’s probably the first libertarian you run into, is someone trying to convert you or something,” he said with a laugh. “I think the first thing is just, making it fun to be around libertarians.”
Zendehnam said that when you abide by the non-aggression principle, you can come together even when you have profound disagreements.
“Noah [Johnson] is super religious, I’m not religious at all,” he said. “But we agree because we both adhere to the non-aggression principle. … I always tell people who are going at each other’s throats … if you guys aren’t hurting each other, you should be working together!”
“We are trying to really bring everybody together,” Zendehnam continued. “We’re trying to find common ground with people. We’re trying to work with people because, like I was saying, everybody keeps fighting in politics. We are trying to bring a new face to this society where we can actually be working together instead of jumping at each other’s throats, because one person thinks something about gay marriage and then the other person thinks that about gay marriage.”
Beck noted that there has been a rift between libertarians and people of faith, and asked more about how they see the two working together.
“I’m a Christian myself,” Johnson said. “Christ himself has a very libertarian perspective on the world — love your neighbor, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And when you look at his stance against the government — he actually stood against Caesar. He wasn’t killed for being just a pious man. He was killed because his principles undermined the authority of the state. If [you're] going to live for the kingdom of heaven, you can’t live for the kingdom of this world.”
“So I think that Christians and religious people, people of faith, but particularly Christians, have a strong ground to speak in a libertarian manner,” Johnson continued. “That people should be responsible for their actions and we should have a voluntary society where we work together, where charity doesn’t come from just government stipends, it comes from the heart. And the laws — abortion, gay rights, things like this — we have a very laissez-faire about it. But it’s not because we don’t care about those issues. I’m pro-life. But I think that unless the people’s hearts change, the laws aren’t going to mean anything.”
Hankoff concluded: “The way we do that in practice is through coalitions. I would recommend to people, when you go back home and you want to be politically active, pick an issue that’s really strong for you. In Los Angeles, we’re taking apart the NSA and the local parking politburo.”
“Whatever level it is, if you find an issue, you’re more than likely going to find people to come together with you,” he said. “The coalitions grow, and we can do that with libertarianism at the center.”
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