On Saturday, August 8, 2009, Dr. Tom Stevens, Founder & Chair of the Objectivist Party, was the Guest Speaker at a joint meeting of the Objectivist Party of New York and the Libertarian Party of Queens County held at Bohemian Hall in Astoria, Queens. The topic of his speech was the History of the Objectivist Party.
Dr. Stevens informed those in attendance that the Objectivist Party was founded on February 2, 2008 on Ayn Rand's birthday and that the party seeks to promote Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism in the political realm. He mentioned that the Objectivist Party held its National Convention on May 25, 2008 at The Buckhorn Exchange in Denver, Colorado and that he was nominated to run as the party's Presidential candidate while Alden Link was nominated to run as the party's Vice-Presidential candidate. Dr. Stevens mentioned that the Objectivist Party was able to obtain ballot access for its national candidates in Colorado and Florida.
Dr. Stevens mentioned that the Objectivist Party currently has 27 chartered affiliates which include the following:
New York (June 7, 2008)
Pennsylvania (June 8, 2008)
New Jersey (June 9, 2008)
Florida (July 2, 2008)
Texas (July 17, 2008)
Illinois (July 20, 2008)
Maine (July 21, 2008)
Massachusetts (July 22, 2008)
Kentucky (July 23, 2008)
Vermont (July 25, 2008)
Arizona (July 26, 2008)
Colorado (August 6, 2008)
California (August 9, 2008)
Connecticut (August 12, 2008)
North Carolina (October 1, 2008)
Indiana (October 10, 2008)
Michigan (October 11, 2008)
Utah (November 11, 2008)
Tennessee (November 12, 2008)
Washington (November 21, 2008)
Ohio (November 26, 2008)
Georgia (November 27, 2008)
Virginia (November 29, 2008)
Nevada (December 10, 2008)
Alberta, Canada (January 1, 2009)
Montana (February 7, 2009)
Tyre & Wear, U.K. (May 4, 2009)
He also mentioned that the party celebrates the following holidays:
AYN RAND'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
FREE TRADE DAY
SPACE EXPLORATION DAY
SKYSCRAPER APPRECIATION DAY
INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS DAY
Dr. Stevens discussed the following Statement of Principles that is posted to the party's website:
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
I. INDIVIDUALS HAVE A RIGHT TO LIFE
We believe that all human beings have an individual right to life and are born with freedoms based upon this right. These freedoms include one's right to free thought, free action and the freedom to keep what is produced. It is the role of government to protect these rights, but to never encroach upon them. Living in society benefits man only if that society recognizes and protects these rights and freedoms.
II. INDIVIDUALS HAVE A RIGHT TO THEIR OWN THOUGHTS
We believe that all human beings have a right to their own thoughts and have the potential to use reason to realize their rational self-interest and to live productive lives. It is the role of government to protect an individual's right to think or act against the initiation of force by others.
III. INDIVIDUALS HAVE A RIGHT TO THEIR OWN PROPERTY
We believe that all human beings have a right to their own property and to keep what they produce. This includes the right and responsibility to decide what to do with all that is created. All individuals have a right to trade freely with others. No government should interfere with any transaction or trade involving individuals.
IV. INDIVIDUALS HAVE A RIGHT TO PROTECT THEMSELVES
We believe that all human beings have the right to protect themselves from any initiation of force against their rights or liberties. To enhance this individual right, citizens entrust to their government the right to protect them from domestic and foreign threats. As a result, it is a proper role of government to protect a nation's borders and to protect a nation's citizens from other people and/or governments.
Dr. Stevens used the following Platform adopted by the Objectivist Party of New York to discuss some of the policy implications that flow from the party's Statement of Principles:
OBJECTIVIST PARTY OF NEW YORK
VICTIMLESS CRIMES – We believe the government has no right to criminalize conduct consensually agreed to between adults that cause no direct harm to others. We believe in people taking responsibility for their own lives and oppose paternalistic government. As a result, we seek the immediate decriminalization of marijuana, prostitution, pornography, gambling and other victimless crimes in New York State.
MONETARY POLICY & TAXATION – We believe the government has no right to cause inflation and devalue our currency by permitting the Federal Reserve to "print money" or by borrowing money in order to balance the budget. We also oppose the large percentage of people's earnings the government takes through taxation. As a first step toward the goal of drastically reducing taxation on a federal, state and local level, we support the institution of a 10% federal flat tax and the elimination of the New York State income tax and all local property taxes.
GAY ISSUES – We believe the government should not discriminate against anyone on the basis of that person's sexual orientation. On a federal level, we support the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and the military's policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". On a New York State level, while our ultimate goal is to get the government out of the marriage business, we support full recognition of gay marriages so long as the government continues to issue marriage certificates to heterosexual couples.
IMMIGRATION - We support the right of all countries to control their own borders and to set the conditions immigrants must meet in order to obtain permanent residence and citizenship. We would give New York State law enforcement officials the power to enforce immigration law and to deport illegal aliens. We would grant immigration preferences to those with special skills; to those who would create jobs; to those who ideologically support free enterprise and respect for individual rights; to those who are committed to the use of science and reason instead of faith and mysticism when evaluating and discovering objective reality; and to those who believe in self-reliance and the pursuit of productive and purposeful lives.
DEFENSE – We believe one of the primary purposes of the federal government is to provide for the national defense. Toward that end, we would support expanding the incentives offered to encourage citizens to join the military and the National Guard. However, we oppose any form of involuntary servitude including the reinstitution of a draft.
CIVIL LIBERTIES – We believe the government must respect the individual and constitutional rights of all citizens including the right to keep and bear arms. We oppose all forms of censorship and invasions of privacy. We believe in the strict separation of church and state and believe "In God We Trust" should be removed from the country's coins and courtrooms.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP & MONUMENTAL PROJECTS – We believe the entrepreneurial spirit should be encouraged by reducing corporate taxation and bureaucratic regulation. We support the identification and development of privately financed grand scale monumental projects that can inspire citizens to lead heroic lives and to contribute more to their civilization.
Dr. Tom Stevens also discussed the governing structure of the party and why the Objectivist Party has avoided the internal infighting present in many other new parties. He spoke for about 40 minutes and then took 40 minutes of questions. The discussion was lively and the presentation was well-received. Dr. Stevens handed out a fact-sheet to all who attended.
Many Libertarian Party members in attendance expressed their view that the Objectivist Party had the potential to attract more women than the LP because the founder of Objectivist philosophy was Ayn Rand. They also expressed their belief that the Objectivist Party may be on track to becoming a unifying force for all seeking to promote liberty in our nation.