Liberty & Justice for the LPMI

By Joshua Jongema


The Libertarian Party of Michigan (LPMI) is experiencing a problematic cycle, and various members have a different idea of the cause and the solution. The problem is one of corruption and control, and the elements are truth, liberty, and justice. Individual and systemic problems each require different kinds of justice, and radical solutions are required where common solutions haven’t worked. The most just solution is one which recognizes the greatest truth, and which grants liberty to the greatest number of people.

Liberty & Justice

Liberty and justice are two sides to the coin of human cooperation. Many people know how to define liberty, but few know how to define justice, and fewer agree on how to implement it. Everyone has a different idea of what is just, what is expected of them, and what to expect from others. This is why it is so important to have open communication, a clear and simple set of rules, and for people to agree to keep those rules from the start. For LP members, the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) and the Bylaws are those rules.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines liberty as “the condition of being free from oppressive restriction.” Correcting violations of mutually accepted law is perhaps the only time when an imposed restriction is not an oppressive act. Until a violation is corrected, groups cannot continue to function effectively. If the law is not enforced, there is no law. So, justice is necessary for groups to continue to exist and function.

Some think liberty should only occur when justice is finished, but they are wrong. Justice is never finished, so by their logic liberty would never be allowed to occur. Liberty is always necessary to ensure people are acting of their own volition. Otherwise, they cannot logically be held responsible for their actions. So, liberty is the foundation of justice, and you cannot have one without the other.

Justice can only be granted when the aggressive party relents, admits fault, and gives something to make up for what they did. If they don’t choose these three acts of reconciliation voluntarily, they can be forced to relent, their wrongs can be revealed, and what they owe can be taken from them. It is natural for people who break rules to disagree that such a process is needed or just. They can resort to tricks such as whataboutisms, flipping the script, and muddying the water. Thus, it is in everyone’s interest to ensure that wrong is corrected swiftly through a standardized process, so that everyone can get back to what they were doing quickly. While people don’t always agree on what amount of recompense is appropriate, something is definitely better than nothing.

The Problem

Great truths are hard to see but can be recognized where clear patterns are set. In the LPMI there are numerous grievances between various individuals, and small groups have formed which seek control out of fear that failure to do so would result in the other group gaining or keeping that control. One group has bent the rules, and the other has outright broken them. The majority of members have no time to learn the truth of what has happened and are easily manipulated into choosing sides based on logical fallacies. More still have chosen to sit on the sidelines and wait until the conflict ends, but the cycle hasn’t ended. This destructive cycle sets a pattern which demonstrates that a deeper problem of a systemic nature exists.

Libertarians made a mistake when they took for themselves the practice of the parliamentary system. It is implemented from the top down and is easy to influence from the outside. Unfortunately, there is no truly neutral party in the LPMI, because of the way the system itself is designed. There is a way the system could be redesigned to be implemented from the bottom up.

The Solution

The solution to individual violations should be resolved through appeals to the Judicial Committee because the resulting action will be well-documented, open for all to see, and may lead to a further process of appeals. Political solutions tend to be hasty, unwritten, and obscured by the vast number of perspectives. The solution to the systemic injustice requires an embracing of the way groups tend to splinter. Rather than seeking to eliminate factionalism by ensuring a preferred faction wins and remains in power, the way the system operates could be reformed to ensure more factions exist- not less- and that one faction can’t have control over the entire state. The ideal solution would be for affiliates to have more of the power, and for the state party to have less.

The design of the system could be simple. Every chair of an affiliate could have one seat on a statewide council. State-level decisions should be confined to matters all affiliates share and cannot do alone and should be ratified by a majority of individual affiliates. Through a Double Majority voting system, the decisions at the state level would assuredly be in the interest of members at the affiliate level. Each faction would only ever get at most one vote and would no longer be able to stack the state level with their own members. Furthermore, the state party would be more secure from outside influence because external actors would have to take over the majority of affiliates to gain any serious sway.

Unless a radical solution to the problem of division is enacted, resentment, corruption, and control will continue. Cycles of violations will continuously remain unresolved. The state party will continue to be stopped from functioning while continuing matters of justice are sorted out endlessly. Odd-year conventions are the perfect time to make such radical changes.


Liberty for all means agreeing to disagree. Being part of a functional group means justly adhering to its Bylaws and focusing on the common goal. Individual violations should be swiftly resolved, but also the LPMI has a problem that is above and beyond the acts of individuals. A more judicial remodel for the system itself would secure increased liberty and justice for all members. The truth of the matter is, while liberty separates people, justice (re)unites them.

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