By Ron VandenBoom
Accumulated frustration over the two major political parties to address the concerns of some Hill County voters has prompted the creation of the Hill County Libertarian Party.
James R. Edwards, a professor of economics at MSU-Northern, is the newly elected chairman of the Hill County Libertarian Central Committee.
"Most people are simply frustrated waiting for the other political parties to act on principle," Edwards said, about his reasons for organizing a branch of the party.
Officers were elected at the second meeting of the local party on Friday, May 12.
"We want a return to less government," Edwards said in a telephone interview. "We base our philosophy on the principles of Jefferson and Madison."
Edwards said that both the Democratic and Republican parties have strayed from the political roots of Classical Liberal thinking describing modern day terms like liberal and conservative as being a "Jeckle and Hyde" of political thought.
He described liberal thought today as believing in social freedom while not believing in economic freedom. He then described conservative thought today as believing in economic freedom while not believing in social freedom.
"Libertarians are the only party that believes in both economic and social freedom," Edwards said.
Edwards added that he does not believe Libertarians to be the radical or maverick party that some people perceive them to be.
"It does not depart from the ideological beliefs of most people," Edwards said, noting that most people express frustration with the inability of the two major parties to identify and meet their concerns. "It's a return to our ideological roots."
Edwards said the party will hold monthly meetings and all party activities and decisions will be open to the public. No specific times or locations have been established for regular meetings yet, Edwards said, indicating that this too will come in time.
The current goals of the new party, according to Edwards, is to get the word out that there is a legitimate alternative to the two traditional parties and work to increase membership.
Edwards said that officially the local party will endorse current state and national Libertarian candidates for political office having come on the scene too late to offer any local candidates for election 2000.
"We do expect of offer candidates for local elections in the next elections," he said.
The Hill County Libertarian Party is affiliated with the Montana Libertarian Party and the national Libertarian Party.
The party, according to Edwards, is organized in more states than the Reform Party and has more local elected officials. Total membership has passed 205,000 nation wide.
No political dues are required for membership in the party and all financial contributions apply toward lifetime or sustaining memberships. A 30-day waiting period is required after joining before a new member has a right to vote on issues or for party officers.
Edwards said the next meeting will be held in June and anyone interested in knowing more about the party or attending a meeting is welcome to call 265-1742 for more information and for meeting locations and times.