One of the most talked about---and praised--portions of the convention was the keynote speech delivered by Jacob 'Bumper' Hornberger, founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation, a libertarian think tank. He addressed the convention as a member of the Libertarian Party, however, not as president of the FFF.
The following are just a few excerpts from his keynote speech
entitled, 'Why you need to listen to the Libertarian Party.'
What an exciting time. What an exciting time to be a Libertarian. Just since our last convention, a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal talking about how the libertarians and the Libertarian Party are at the cutting edge of the political debate in America.
A front-page story in Investors Business Daily talking about how the Libertarians and the Libertarian Party are wielding ever increasing political clout in communities all across America.
A front-page story in USA Today talking about how the young people of the country-the Generation X'ers--are calling themselves libertarians...
But of course there is the horror story. A Democratic president, Bill Clinton, actually having the audacity to describe himself as libertarian. In his dreams.
Yes, my friends, it is terribly exciting to be a libertarian, and especially because of the times in which we live. Because everywhere you look, the beloved welfare state of the Democrats and the Republicans is in crisis. And that's exciting.
Social Security--busted...Medicare and Medicaid--busted...Public schooling, welfare for the middle class--busted...
There' s the beloved war on bigotry, that' s been a big winner...Let's look at the bright side of the war on bigotry...at least they have wiped out bigotry in Washington, DC. .. unless you are attending a Fourth of July barbecue this afternoon at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
And isn't it great to see Dole and Clinton up there anguishing and despairing on how they are going to fix their beloved welfare state and their beloved wars. You know, 'We're gonna have tax reform, we promise. Welfare reform, educational reform, regulatory reform.' It's the same old reform claptrap we get from these parties every single election.
This is what is so great about being a libertarian. Do we anguish, do we despair over the moral and economic bankruptcy of these beloved wars and this welfare state ? Not on your life. On the contrary, this is a time of great joy, of great celebration for us Libertarians. We'd be depressed if the whole damn thing had worked...
A bad tree will always bear rotten fruit, and you can tell the tree by the fruit it bears, and this is the fruit of the welfare state of the Remocratic and Depublican tree.
And they cannot say that we didn't tell them that this would happen. Because we did tell them so, and they know we told them. Fifty years ago, Friedrich Hayek wrote his monumental book, The Road to Serfdom ...Hayek, of course, was a libertarian. .. and he dedicated The Road to Serfdom to the socialists in all political parties, including the socialists in the Republican Party and the socialists in the Democratic Party.
And Hayek said to them, if you continue traveling this road that you have now embarked upon--the road to the socialistic welfare state, the road to serfdom---you're going to end up with the same mind set, the same policies as the totalitarians that you profess to oppose.
And what did the Democrats and Republicans say in response?... Don't listen to the libertarians.
1971. Twenty-five years ago. That year marked the rounding of our party--the Libertarian Party, the Party of Principle, the third-largest political party in America.
Recall the first presidential campaign, 1972, when John Hospers ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket When John was reminding us that the socialistic welfare state constituted an abandonment of the moral and economic principles on which our nation had been founded...
And still they said, don't listen to the Libertarians... [Recalls all LP presidential campaigns.] And still they said, don't listen to the Libertarians...
But what is really pathetic about it all is how they look for scapegoats on which to blame the problems that they caused. And, of course, their most popular scapegoat--for both parties, the Democrats and the Republicans- "dis" the immigrant. The person who is unable to defend himself.
"Oh, if we could only keep illegal aliens out of our society, our public schools, our public welfare, our public works, our public hospitals, our public roads, why we could save the beloved welfare state. Oh, build the walls around America, save us."
Have you ever noticed how it's only the public sector that complains about too many customers?
Did you ever think you'd see the day when Cuban refugees fleeing communist tyranny would spend a year and a half of their lives in an American penitentiary? Many of these immigrants, in that year and a haft, trying to climb over the American wall on Clinton's side of Cuba in order to find what they felt would be greater freedom back on Castro's side of Cuba ...
My friends, we've come a long way and we have a right to pat ourselves on the back for our successes. But what has distinguished us so much is the commitment to the purity of our principles. For 25 years, even among our enemies, we have been known as The Party of principle. And it is so vitally important that regardless of what the American people choose to do in this election--whether it is to exercise their free will in embracing the failed socialistic policies of the past, the policies of the Democrats and Republicans, or whether it is to join up with us--our message to the American people must be the same as it has been for 25 years.
This has indeed been a century of darkness. But when the history of the 20th century is ultimately written, the historians will undoubtedly record that there was one small beacon of light--a light of hope. And that that hope shone through you.
They will undoubtedly write that it was the libertarians and the Libertarian Party of the United States who led not just America, who led mankind, through the darkness, out of the socialistic morass, off of the road to serfdom, and up onward to the highest reaches of freedom ever seen by man.