On a recent Sunday evening I was blessed with a visit to Cornell University here in Ithaca, by New York State Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate, Larry Sharpe. Sharpe, needless to say, should be something of a household name to The Glibertariat, as he has been involved in Libertarian politics for some time, including running for the VP slot within the national party in 2016, and losing to noted Council on Foreign Relations establishmentarian and Gungrabber, Bill Weld. Though I am legally prevented from voting or running for political office in America, as per the dictate of my status as a Permanent Resident, I am still a political junkie and ideologically pre-disposed towards those who would pursue smaller government and more peaceful solutions to society’s problems. Thus, it seemed only natural that I should avail myself the opportunity to meet Larry in person, and see what he has to say about letting the people of New York lead their own lives with minimal interference, and what solutions he has for the various problems created in New York after many years under the iron grip of The Cuomo Dynasty.
A Sunday evening is typically not a busy time on a University Campus, and it was doubly quiet at Goldwin Smith Hall, where Larry presented in a lecture room that looked like it could seat about 200+ people, but by the time the show started, only about 60 souls were in the room. Small potatoes, but Larry was here a couple of weeks ago, too, at a winery over on Seneca Lake (I couldn’t go); also of note that Tompkins County, of which Ithaca is the seat of government, is populated by only 105,000 people, all of whom seem to have Bernie 2016 Bumper Stickers still on their vehicles, and, Tompkins has the dubious distinction of the only county in Upstate New York to go Clinton in the 2016 election…a crowd of 60, given these circumstances, isn’t terrible.
I took a seat near the top of the room, after purchasing a bumper sticker and t-shirt, and not long after, Larry came by my seat and introduced himself. He did that for everyone in the room, and was pretty high energy and affable; not bad for a guy who has been touring the state relentlessly, sometimes making two or three appearances a day, as was the case on Sunday.
Larry has been on this tour with his running mate, an affable young fellow named Andrew Hollister, a native of Rochester. Andrew warmed up the crowd, so to speak, by waxing heartily about how much he loves New York State, and that despite the many economic reasons to leave, he wants to stay and raise a family here. He fully acknowledges the uphill battle it will be to move NYS up from it’s 50th ranking of all the states in economic freedom, amongst others. Our friends at CATO have a handy website which can show you each state’s rank over a number of different issues, and New York ranks at the bottom, or close to it, for most of them.
When Larry got on stage, he asked a few questions of the crowd, one of which stuck out to me as highly relevant, given the changing nature of the media, and recent events where social media platforms have engaged in the banning of non-Tribal narrative personalities and groups. “How many of you heard about me on TV?” he asked. No hands. “How many of you have heard me on a podcast.” Nearly everyone in the room stuck up an arm. Larry pointed out that both Presidents Obama and Trump made very effective use of social media, which helped to bring both of their campaigns to victory, and at this stage, Larry is one of the few politicos to have used podcast interviews and YouTube videos as effective and free advertising.
If you haven’t seen any of his appearances, click for his appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, his appearance on The Rubin Report, and his appearance with Glenn Beck. For a very warming feeling deep in the cockles of your blackened Libertarian Hearts, here Larry is speaking at Columbia University against both The War on Drugs and The War on Terror. If only a recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice had the principles required to see these ‘Wars’ for the phony bullshit that they are …. but Kulturkampf rules supreme around …. oh, nevermind.
Now that you have all of these videos/podcasts to look up, you don’t need me to give you any play by play of his policy position spiel, except that I might give you some brief highlights of what I thought were good and positive, and those parts of which I was skeptical, and required further elaboration and/or atonement.
Sharpe wants the budding (pun intended) movement for the legalization of marijuana to come to New York, and his analogy is that ‘weed should be regulated like onions’ …. as in, not at all. I asked Sharpe about removing the current NYS cartel system for hemp growers (I’ve been working part time at a hemp farm nearby the past few months, and the removing of the cartel would actually put my employers at risk from competition, but hey, PRINCIPLES) as at present, you can only grow hemp for the purposes of pressing CBD oil, and only 6 production permits for making CBD have been issued in the entire state. Sharpe indicated that under his administration, the cartel system would be dismantled and the free market would rule the day.
Sharpe is also the only candidate who plans to completely repeal the NY SAFE Act. As my collection of weaponry still resides in Canada, due in part to avoiding the tender mercies of The King’s Men here, this is music to my ears.
A peculiar law recently passed in NYS has to do with the allowable amount of window tint on your vehicle. NYC cops have wanted a serious reduction in allowable tint on vehicles in Gotham City, and for whatever reason, they got their wish at the beginning of 2017; yet the regulation applies statewide, not just in NYC. Sharpe is big on decentralization, and indicated that he would favour removing this regulation and instead having people with tinted windows be compelled to roll their windows down immediately, if pulled over by the cops in NYC. Not really a good enough answer for me, because my vehicle is my vehicle, and does not belong to the motherfucking government, but alas, I suppose this is what they mean by ‘pragmatism’, if Sharpe is to try and keep the peace with the constabulary.
A young woman and I asked similar questions regards what to do about the many non-violent drug offenders currently incarcerated in NYS, and again, Sharpe gave an answer that failed my purity test and smells of ‘pragmatism’. His plan would copy a program in Massachusetts whereby non-violent offenders would be analyzed for their likelihood to re-offend, and would have to complete a sort of societal re-entry program, rather than just be let out of prison. His rationale comes from speaking to corrections officers (yeah, like we should be trusting them) who claim that most non-violent inmates *become* violent as part of their stay in prison …. which sounds like some circular logic to me. If a person can be thrown into the slammer head first and survive, seems to me that giving them their freedom back should not be nearly as hard. I guess agreeing with state welfare parasites in order for them to further their employment trumps principle here. Colour me unimpressed, though I am glad that Sharpe acknowledges the problem, which is more than can be said of Cuomo or Sacrificial Republican Lamb Guy.
One of Sharpe’s more notable education reform ideas includes making attendance in school optional after 16 years old, and expands the various tracks students can take for their final two years in The Gulag ….. I mean high school. Those tracks would include intense academics, like a prep school, or trade school, or a STEM track. This also includes privatizing the entire system, and issuing vouchers to any kid who wants to pursue those tracks, which happen to be good for 7 years; so if you end up taking a year off to go and work or otherwise engage adult life, you can come back afterwards within this time frame. Sharpe claimed that this system could be done at a cost of 10k per student per year, far less than the current cost of 22k per student per year of secondary school education. He gave no indication of how this cost would come down, at all, or especially that much, except in the standard libertarian explainer that privatization always makes things cheaper; he also didn’t mention that the public school teachers unions would probably fight this tooth and nail, nevermind any ideas on how to take them on. I like the idea of getting kids prepared for the world in faster and more robust fashion than is currently offered to them, but it would have been nice if more details were provided, especially given the hills he would have to climb in order to implement this system.
The rest of Larry’s policy proposals and ideas can be found here.
Throughout all of his discussion about these and other policy ideas, Sharpe remained upbeat and optimistic, and drove the point home that many of his ideas would save the state money, not require any further taxation, and spur more employment and investment. He told the crowd about a marijuana industry investors conference he was asked to speak at in NYC several weeks ago, and how he was extremely disappointed that the many millions of dollars being pledged to investment were going everywhere but New York – California, Oregon, Colorado, Canada, etc. It seems that he really does have an eye for helping the fortunes of people who live in New York, and is not resigning himself to further economic ghettoization of this state by The Cuomo Dynasty and the do-nothing state Republican Party.
And it also seems, at the time of writing, that Cuomo remains steadfastly opposed to debating Sharpe, or any of the other gubernatorial candidates, bar Mark Molinaro, the Sacrificial Republican Lamb. Cuomo, even though he seems more interested in running for President, feels so entitled to his grip on power in Albany, that he won’t even deign to acknowledge any contenders.
In conclusion, I will leave it to the good judgment and sensibilities of those fellow Glibs whom also are subjects of King Cuomo, to choose wisely in this coming election. Every now and then I have to trade my anarchist hat for my practical reality hat, and given the chance, I’d pull the lever for Sharpe. Maybe you would consider Sharpe as well.