Saturday, December 22, 2007

Defiant Till the End: Terry Liberty Parker

August 2007: Terry Liberty Parker is diagnosed with a brain tumor.

October 2007: Medical treatment provides enough temporary relief to allow Terry to once again demonstrate his uncompromising dedication to freedom for all without compromise.

In response to a stroke victim asking me what is the libertarian prescription for healthcare:

Wes says:
I'm going to forward your email to Terry Liberty Parker and ask him to respond to one question. Note that Terry Liberty Parker has a severe condition, was recently given a dire prognosis though he's fighting it heroically and he may not be able to respond.

Nevertheless, Terry, please tell us now if you can, given that you've spent much of your life fighting for freedom for all, and given that you're fighting for your life today, and that what you say today could have a long-lasting effect on the freedom movement, what's your long-term prescription for health care in America today?

a) more government b) less government

Terry's response is:

(c) No government.

The full conversation:

Terry Liberty Parker was a 10-year host of the show "Live & Let Live" and first invited me to appear as a guest on his show in 2002. It was my first live television appearance, I was nervous as heck, and also offended quite a few people. Terry let me know that, but in a supportive way and with plenty of constructive criticism. As libertarians often do, we occasionally butted heads in our future political activism. Terry was as stubborn as they make 'em and I will never forget him and will always consider his unwavering support for freedom to be an inspiration to me.

I hope this excerpt from the final "Live and Let Live" show before his passing shows how much Austin libertarians appreciate all that he did.

From the Austin American Statesman:

Terry Liberty Parker

Terry Liberty Parker Terry Liberty Parker, longtime Austin Libertarian activist, passed away peacefully on December 17, 2007 after a short but valiant fight against aggressive brain cancer. Terry was born on October 26, 1944 in New York City. For over 30 years Terry was a vocal and passionate champion of Libertarian principles. In the early 1970s, Terry gained worldwide fame for establishing a clothing-optional apartment whose tenants signed a "non-aggression pact" whereby "they were free to do whatever they want as long as they don't aggress physically against one another." He was active in the Libertarian Party during the 1980s and once served as Travis County Libertarian Party Chair. For 10 years, Terry hosted "Live and Let Live," and for the past two years he co-hosted the "Jeff Davis Show," both on Austin's local public access television station. In the 1990s, he began using the Internet to expand his Libertarian voice by establishing himself as moderator of the Libertarian Yahoo Group and provided the valuable service as archivist for televised Libertarian programs. Terry was most admired for his unwavering commitment to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and his unconditional love for his friends and family. Terry's survivors include beloved daughter, Clare Burchfield; cousin, Mary Partlan (John); loving life-mate, Rita Gonzalez; and numerous lifelong friends. A private memorial will be held in Austin to celebrate his exceptional life. Obituary and guestbook online at

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bill Redpath, Please Run for Reelection to LNC Chair

Bill Redpath,

After years of a scarily downward slide in membership, candidates, officeholders and contributions, plus a high DC headquarters staff turnover, at the 2006 Portland Convention you stepped in and seized the office of Libertarian National Committee (LNC) Chair with the overwhelming support of delegates (64.3% versus 23.1% for Ernie Hancock, 9.1% for George Phillies, and 3.5% for None of the Above). You provided inclusive stability and dignified leadership in a divisive and unstable environment when the Libertarian Party (LP) needed you most.

You served as Treasurer for the LNC for two terms and have run for office as a Libertarian three times including Governor of Virginia in 2001 as one of the first Libertarian candidates for statewide office to be on the Virginia ballot.

In addition to your various other roles, most Libertarians know of you as the de facto Ballot Access Champion and petition organizer for the Libertarian Party.

Having volunteered full-time at my own expense for six months for the successful 2004 ballot access drive in Texas which garnered over 82,000 raw signatures, I know how difficult and unpredictable these petition drives can be.

While well-meaning people can disagree on the funding priority that ballot access should receive, I believe some people have either mistakenly or for political reasons questioned your handling of ballot access. I also believe you have been criticized at times for circumstances beyond your control: specifically, for previous LP headquarters staff’s inability to provide a detailed accounting of ballot access expenditures which they were responsible for doing.

You hung in there time and time again, at times making mistakes, nevertheless achieving incredible results when no one else was willing to step up to the plate and take on this enormous responsibility.

At the recent Charleston LNC meeting, you said you would announce your future intentions regarding running for LNC Chair again soon and before you did that I wanted to do my best, if you are willing, and if the Libertarian Party were to be so fortunate, to persuade you to run for Chair again in case you hadn’t made up your mind yet.

The Libertarian Party needs you again in 2008.

The only other current LNC member I could support for LNC Chair is the well-respected Emily Salvette, currently the Region 3 LNC Representative from Michigan, the Convention Credentials Committee Chair, and a former Michigan LP Chair.

If neither you nor Salvette are willing to run for LNC Chair, I’d run for LNC Chair myself.

Serving as LNC Chair might cramp my style and take away from other valuable projects I’d prefer to focus on and would if I were confident the Chair’s position was in good hands.

Nevertheless, I would campaign vigorously for LNC Chair just as I plan to campaign vigorously for Vice Chair of the LNC if neither you nor Salvette agree to run for Chair in 2008.

Wes Benedict for Vice Chair

Libertarian Party members,

No one asked me to run for the Region 6 Southwest LNC Representative position in 2006. In fact, people asked someone else to but I took it upon myself to run and win because I was concerned that the performance of the National LP was impeding my State of Texas and allowing other states to decline. I believe I earned the support of delegates based on my resume of business and well-known Libertarian Party activism as was presented here:

I have a proven track record of helping the Texas LP that was once in a state of chaos:
And bringing it to a much higher level of performance:

No one asked me to run for Vice Chair but I plan to do so even in the event Redpath or Salvette or anyone else preferred I didn’t. I would not be surprised to hear from critics that I might be trying to ride someone’s coattails into the Vice Chair position.

I don’t care.

I enjoy vigorous campaigns both for internal LP positions and in my four campaigns for public office. I have stood up to some of the biggest bullies within the Libertarian Party like M Carling. Occasionally when necessary I’ve successfully defended myself and others against innuendo and fact distortion.

While showing signs of improvement, the National LP remains at a much lower level by most measures than where it was just a few years ago and many of the current LNC members (including Redpath and Salvette both of whom I deeply respect) served on the LNC during that period of decline.

If the National LP and most state parties were growing like gangbusters, then I’d feel comfortable stepping off the LNC and getting out of the way and letting whoever was currently on the board continue to serve and lead.

But, that’s not happening now so let this be my announcement that I’ll be running like gangbusters for LNC Vice Chair or Chair, though my first choice for Chair is Redpath and second choice is Salvette.