The following contribution is from Seattle-based independent journalist, David Malekar; who regularly publishes content to the WashCo Chronicle and other online publications. The interviewee, Logan Fleckenstein, is the former 60th's State Representative in Michigan as a Libertarian. You can follow Logan on Facebook for more information at facebook.com/LoganFleckenstein.
What happened to the widespread talk about the Militarized Police State from Libertarians as a whole? They were very vocal about it during the Bush administration but slowly faded into a halt after "Black Lives Matter" emerged.
LF: That's an excellent question. Honestly I've wondered the same thing myself. I think some of it has to do with the fact that many libertarians have been increasing hostile to anything that might even have the possibility of being SJW related. Of course this isn't to say police militarization is exclusively a social justice issue nor to say the hostility towards SJWs isn't for understandable reasons. I think topical issues get so ingrained into media that legitimate issues can get lost in all the information being blasted at us.
I will say as a side note many left leaning libertarians (and right leaning) I personally know care deeply about this issue.
DM: We have seen the number of LEO caused civilian deaths increasing during Obama's administration vs Bush. How do you propose we break the ice on this issue that is more out of control than ever? Again, Libertarians as a whole have become cold to the topic.
LF: Well one hope I have with the Trump administration is that the anti-war movement in general will be sparked back to life again. Maybe if President-elect Donald Trump is overall less hawkish than both Presidents Obama and Bush he will manage to get re elected. This is good in some potential short term reduction in hawkish policy. Also important is this inspires libertarian-Republicans and anti war progressives to join forces on foreign policy issues. If Trump doesn't reduce LEO caused civilian deaths this potential libertarian-go/anti-war progressive coalition will fight him on it. Also I don't see how someone already so disliked would be re elected.
DM: Do you believe the Libertarian Party as a whole understands how much ground it has/potentially has lost with those individuals who live in those secluded areas where local police corruption runs wild? Cities like Chicago, Baltimore or even states as a whole like California and Maryland?
LF: No I really don't think many do. I think there is a bit of an awakening since the exposure of some of the white nationalism going on in the alt right. Many Libertarians have a semantics problem.
Here's what they think.
>Identity politics = swj
>Any issue that involves any sort of identity is automatically identity politics
> civil rights is a dated issue and now only used as sjw propaganda for big government
The problem is that while SJWs rely on identity politics this doesn't mean all identity issues are illegitimate. Just because Timmy cries wolf too many times doesn't mean there isn't a wolf when Susan says there is one.
If a majority of Libertarians understood the potential they were losing with these urban folks they would be out there trying to connect with them. Libertarians need to realize that people in these areas are a prime example of the results of (leftist) authoritarianism.
DM: Why do you suspect the subject of the largest police backing organization, the Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) seems to avoid criticism despite being one of the large financial backings for Law Enforcement court fees, etc.?
LF: Honestly this is something that's puzzled me for a bit. If I had to guess I would assume it is because people working for the F. O. P know how to make sure the organization can avoid criticism. The political game is a nasty one and if you know how to play it you can have a lot of success at the expense of others. The way to beat them is to understand their tactics and counter them.
DM: There has been improvement with police body cams, but there have been some "technical difficulties" where devices "are off," etc. Do you believe that police body cams that can not be turned off or have their memory card remover once an officer's shift starts, will further reduce abuse from all parties involved?
LF: On paper I can see how that would work. I think it is certainly something that should be tried if feasible. Obviously avoiding "technical difficulties" as much as possible is ideal.
DM: If you could amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, what would you change, if anything?
LF: Yes, I want the Civil Rights act to focus on how government (or any business that gets government money for whatever reason) treats people and leave private businesses alone. Clearly the Civil Rights act hasn't solved many serious civil rights issues the government itself is involved in. I think by focusing where the civil rights applies it can become more effective.
DM: Mr. Fleckenstein, thank you for taking the time today to address a lot of different questions regarding civil rights on Martin Luther King Day. What closing thought would you like to add in regards to the future of Libertarian action for Civil Rights?
LF: Thank you for having me Mr. Malekar. Libertarianism is a perfect fit for the Civil rights movement. Libertarians not trying to build a bridge with that movement is wasting an opportunity to address many different issues like the war on drugs and militarized police, to name a few.