Liberty Rises Again
in the
Last Frontier
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Dial back to October, 1982.  A brash, four-term State Representative from Fairbanks was seeking the governorship of Alaska, Dick Randolph.  In a State renowned for political characters, Dick Randolph held a first and only and still does: He was the Alaska statewide candidate who offered a full-fledged liberty agenda to the Alaska people.  Some opinion polls had Randolph ahead of the Republican and closing on the Democrat. 

Randolph’s message was consistent from the time he first started campaigning for office in 1970.  Let others lead their lives as they choose, practice tolerance if not approval.  Keep the government out of the economy almost entirely.  Move away from the State monopoly in education.  Keep a firm lid on the powers and revenues for the State government and for localities.  Allow the people, not the government, to own Alaska’s natural resources.

 Randolph was also the first person elected to high office in the United States to proudly carry the Libertarian Party label.  Dick Randolph put the National Libertarian Party, founded in 1972, on the map for the first time.  His journey though was not a straight line. 

Frustrated as a Republican, Randolph quit the Legislature in 1974 after two terms saying there were virtually no important differences in the big government agendas of the two major parties.  In 1978 he returned to his legislative seat to try to lead a revolution in freedom in Alaska largely on his own.  He famously claimed the Libertarian caucus in the Alaska House met in a phone booth.

The needed accommodations grew to a closet in 1980 when Kan Fanning, also of Fairbanks, joined Randolph in the Alaska House.  The Anchorage Libertarian Party in 1980 had 350 active members and several quite feisty candidates.  Roger Pickles was in and out of jail for a year while the courts dealt when his refusal to disclose his income to the City of Anchorage.  Randolph even slayed APOC in a way: by publicly shaming his legislative colleagues in 1982 to tame the beast, at least when it came to the ALP.

Randolph’s political achievements are primarily legislation though, surprisingly.  Randolph with Fanning teamed with varying coalitions of Republicrats to become a true force in the Legislature.  The people of Alaska can thank Dick Randolph, he is still in Fairbanks, for the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend and for the abolition of the Alaska income tax. 

 After a savaging in the liberal press and an alarmist Republicrat campaign, Dick Randolph lost the 1982 campaign for Governor to Democrat Bill Sheffield.  Many of Randolph’s ideas endured, however, even in the Alaska legislative chambers for a time.   The Permanent Fund legislation was not secure until 1984.      

Here, thirty years on, the bright prospects of the Alaska Libertarian Party in 1982 has been a distant dream.  The State party lapsed into irrelevance not long after Randolph’s departure from the Legislature.  The National LP has yet to make a name for itself again, over all of these years.  Even in this period of US implosion from  excessive government, the LP has not been a  factor in actually advancing freedom’s agenda.  The fact the singular leader of the liberty movement in the United States, Ron Paul of Texas, feels the need to stand for office as a Republican, rebel though he is, is telling over the recent fate of the National LP.

Though the Libertarian Party was on the sidelines for the 2010 Alaska Senate race, that election’s consequences may prove to be the greatest on the ALP, the Party of Principle.  The cause of authentic liberty is suddenly on the rise because its imposters are finally being rejected. 

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The divisions within the Alaska Republican Party have grown way beyond certain policy differences alone.  Many, many conservatives are saying they do not know what the word conservative means in a place like Alaska.  Those who supported the Republican nominee for Senate, Joe Miller, feel betrayed by fellow Republicans here and in Washington, D.C.  They feel strongly the best candidate in a generation was undermined by establishment Republicans all along the way.  The allegation is barely denied by the accused.  Evidence abounds that the Republican Party ground effort last year was hijacked by the Murkowski/Bernanke camp.

Many of those disaffected voters, many of those activists, are ready for a firm change of course.  Their limit has been passed.

The Tea Party movement has been a success in that way.  Tea Partiers (like your editor) have hit a rich chord with their message of less government and fewer taxes.  But the Tea Party’s achievements so far toward a true correction, and the prospects for a workable course led by the Republican Party, are modest at best.  That is the case in Alaska as it is in the lower-48, all of the way to Washington D.C.  Even the most effective advocacy alone seems to fall on deaf ears in the end of things.

People realize it is past time for a truly revolutionary agenda back to economic liberty in Alaska and beyond.  Creeping socialism mixed with monetary fascism has not proven to be a successful path at all and never could.  That is all Dems and Reps really have to offer.  Alaska may have won the game of pork-barrel in Washington, D.C. for fifty years, but those days are mostly gone for good.  It is a long, long way back to a free economy.  Tiny steps are no solution.

More people than ever by far realize there is not a dime’s worth of true difference between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans when it comes to the fate of the nation.  On a proper political scale, with anarchy on one end and totalitarian government on the other end, the Democrats and Republicans are right next to each other, if not occupying the same space overall.  The Republicrat Party has marched together for two generations now to forge the ever expanding Welfare/Warfare State.  Liberty philosophy, America’s founding principles and the only salvation today, is at least halfway distant from the Republicrats on that proper political scale.  It is far too wide a gulf to possibly compromise.

So, the objective observer for Election 2012 with a conservative tinge finds a new political party is the only avenue toward fundamental improvement, an actual way forward. 

An Alaska political activist with the very revolutionary vision needed is now leading liberty’s agenda in 2011.

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Mark Fish, a lifelong Alaskan, is a career military man and a long time soldier in the freedom movement.   Mark retired from Army National Guard active service in 2003. 

  Mark has lived and worked as a Republican lo all of these years.  He presently serves as a member of the Alaska Human Rights Commission.   Mark was the ground commander for the statewide Joe Miller campaign.

 Mark Fish feels betrayed by the party he has always supported.  He feels he can no longer trust the Alaska Republican Party to allow the interests of the common man, liberty, to influence the party.  Mark has good reason to reach those conclusions.

Therefore, in a contested race of his own, Mark Fish defeated longtime Chairman Scott Kohlhaas at the May 7th ALP Convention.  Fish has pledged to bring effective activism to the party.  He plans to attract new members to the party who can truly lead a way forward.  He pledges to concentrate on economic liberty in these times, while always defending forcefully the civil liberties contained in the US Bill of Rights and the Alaska Constitution. 

 Fish recognizes that liberty’s agenda, at least in pieces, can be attractive to every sort of person, even the full agenda with time.    It is a complete package as known to Jefferson and Bastiat, two of Fish’s heroes.

By the end of June, the ALP will hold a membership meeting that will be unique to Alaska politics.  It is a sign post along the road to liberty in Alaska. 

One can only hope that Randolph, Jefferson and Bastiat are listening.  Editor

(Disclosure: At the same May convention your Editor was drafted by a majority of delegates to serve as Secretary/Treasurer for the ALP: grudging tasks certainly.)