Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Passing of a Giant

Sadly, today we learn that Milton Friedman has died. From the AP report in the Indy Star:
His theories won him a Nobel Prize in economics in 1976.

A believer in the principles of 18th century economist Adam Smith, he consistently argued that individual freedom should rule economic policy. Outspoken and controversial, Friedman saw his theories attacked by many traditional economists such as Harvard's John Kenneth Galbraith.

In an essay titled “Is Capitalism Humane?” he said that “a set of social institutions that stresses individual responsibility, that treats the individual ... as responsible for and to himself, will lead to a higher and more desirable moral climate.”

Friedman acknowledged that “pure capitalism” did not exist, but said that nations that cherished freedom must strive to keep the economy as close to the ideal as possible.

This is the passing of a giant. I always had an innate sense of the benefits and justice of capitalism, but Milton Friedman gave me an academic means for expressing it and backing it up beyond mere feelings.

Friedman was extolling capitalism's virtues at a time when academia had turned from capitalism and embraced Marx- incorrectly. He stood against this fad and led the reversal, and for that I am grateful. He is one of those most responsible for inspiring me to work to reverse course back towards capitalism, and to become a Libertarian activist.

I am deeply saddened at his passing.

There is a statement on the webpage of the Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation concerning his passing.

Reason Magazine has a tribute and links to many articles. has at least three blog entries memorializing Friedman.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Post-Election Notes, Part 2

A couple things have kept me from writing more reflections- the surgically repaired right hand that is useless for typing, and the sting I feel when I look at the numbers and reflect on the realities.

Call that last bit pride. I knew that the odds were greatly against me for a victory, but I did have plenty of secondary objectives.

2%. That was the bottom line. I got this, so the Libertarian Party maintains automatic ballot access for the next four years statewide in Indiana. That's no small victory, especially when we recall the failure of the Greens to achieve it this year.

10%. That would have put us into the primaries. Opinion within the LPIN was divided on this. Many did not want to be part of a taxpayer-funded process that only really is political party business. My belief was that the Ds & Rs would remain true to form and would try to change the rules if I reached this figure. Doing so would have made us a player in a very worthy discourse about the nature of funding these events, which I really was hoping for. Alas.

2nd Place in any County. That would have made us eligible for positions on appointed boards and commissions, such as the Elections Boards. We deserve a place on them anyway, and no better way to make the case but to displace the Rs or Ds- after all, the law only provides for two parties to participate. It would have been a delight to give them a taste of their own medicine. Alas, my best showing was in Wayne County, with more than 8%, yet still in 3rd.

Increased Statewide Percentage. If you can't win, my objective was to at least improve upon past performance. I thought this was a slam-dunk. The public was more upset with both parties this year than in 2002. I made close to 200 appearances in 35 counties- all new bests for LPIN candidates. I was getting new support on issues like opposition to forced annexations and smoking bans, which I thought should translate into votes, election day staffing, and contributions. Boy, was I wrong there, but more on that later. The numbers:

2002: 60,937 votes received, 4.12%
2006: 53,459 votes received, 3.33%

The 2006 numbers are not official yet, as incredibly, not all precincts are counted even still. My vote totals may go up, but the percentage is unlikely to change much.

I am at once embarrassed by my showing and perplexed at the realities. I just can't get my arms around doing so much more resulting in fewer votes. Ame tells me that the 2002 returns might have been better because we had a female candidate, and some women will vote for any woman regardless of party. Others tell me that having Steve Osborn on the ballot for US Senate at the top of ticket may have sucked up any sympathy/protest votes we would take. I really think that I could have had one public appearance or a thousand and it would not have made a bit of difference. Unless I had at least a minor statewide saturation of TV ads to begin getting real name recognition, the average Hoosier voter wasn't going to violate their traditional old party choice.

Strong Showing at Home. I had hoped to finish 2nd here in Hamilton County when I began the campaign. As time passed and I was travelling across the state, I slowly revised my hopes downward, but I never thought I would do worse than we had in 2002. Alas, again.

2002: 1,630 votes received, 3.70%
2006: 1,773 votes received, 3.02%

This is really disappointing. Between the 3 years working at the County Surveyor's Office, the public defense of the Geist, Homeplace, and Southwest Clay property owners against forced annexations by Fishers and Carmel, and the myriad appearances in the local papers with countless letters and quotes from statements at town or county council meetings, the result was nil. While I never really expected huge numbers to change parties and vote straight ticket Libertarian, I thought that by standing up for people, they would at least throw support behind me at the ballot box. This didn't happen at all.

This is the toughest thing to swallow. A candidacy is unfortunately something of a test on those around you. I didn't set out for it to be, but as a candidate, you find yourself looking around for those you can count on. There were so many times that I was turned away by those I thought I could count on, either directly or by evasion. I'm not the kind of guy who tries to avoid finding out these things, but the knowledge doesn't bring any particular comfort.

So, I'm glad I got the baseline 2% for continued ballot access. That's about all I'm pleased with right now, and that's not much of a feeling when reflecting back upon two years of my life.

I'm really glad to wrap up this process. I'm really enjoying helping Alex with his homework and making Isabel's dinner five nights a week. I'm enjoying getting back into the work and making money and looking forward to playing poker, and once the hand heals, hockey.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Weekend Wind-Down

After two years of campaigning and general hyper-activity, the Koles and friends took off for the hills of Kentucky for a weekender of family hiking and cabin lounging.

We were at the Red River Gorge and the Natural Bridge parks areas. Not much I care to report on, but some fun pictures to share:

Isabel casts a glance back on the approach to the Natural Bridge.

Jay & Ella take in the expansive view from atop the Natural Bridge.

This was fun enough, but I'm really looking forward to a nice little vacation with Ame!