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Old Hoosier Apologizes to Libertarians
Thread from yesterday ^ | 3-26 | TOH

Posted on 03/26/2002 7:30:11 AM PST by The Old Hoosier

Yesterday, I got into an argument with some libertarians. I promised to humiliate myself if they could answer the following question:

If I want to sell myself into slavery in order to pay off debts, why should the government be able to prevent me? Why should I not have every right to enter into an indissoluble contract surrendering my freedom--temporarily or permanently--to someone else in exchange for some consideration?

I hereby admit that I was wrong, because ThomasJefferson agreed that the government should have no power to prohibit voluntary slavery--a step that I did not think any of them would want to take. I hereby eat crow. (Tpaine and Eagle Eye still haven't given direct answers, but I'll mention it here when they do, and eat more crow.)

The relevant part of the long argument we had is here. TJ agrees to voluntary slavery at 374.


TOPICS: Free Republic; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: indenturedservitude; libertarian; sasu
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I welcome comments from any Libertarians who believe that the government should have the power to prevent me from signing this contract, and would like to explain why:

I, the undersigned, in exchange for $50,000, hereby promise, under penalty of corporal punishment to be administered by the payer (master), to perform all menial tasks he asks me to perform, every day for the remainder of my life. I permanently surrender my right to leave and work for anyone else, unless the payer chooses to dissolve this contract. I understand that this contract cannot be dissolved by me, the undersigned.

1 posted on 03/26/2002 7:30:11 AM PST by The Old Hoosier
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To: The Old Hoosier
From reading a bit of the original thread, I think the problem is that most people consider "voluntary slavery" to be an oxymoron. One can not freely enter into slavery.
2 posted on 03/26/2002 7:45:55 AM PST by KayEyeDoubleDee
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To: The Old Hoosier
On the other hand, I know people who think that merely being employed by another person is a form of slavery.
3 posted on 03/26/2002 7:47:08 AM PST by KayEyeDoubleDee
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To: KayEyeDoubleDee
It's called indentured servitude; it's how my ancestors came to this country.
4 posted on 03/26/2002 7:48:50 AM PST by JohnGalt
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To: The Old Hoosier
Bump of interest!
5 posted on 03/26/2002 7:51:51 AM PST by WyldKard
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To: The Old Hoosier
The only involvement the government should have is to enforce, if necessary, the contract you and the payer signed.

Simple.

6 posted on 03/26/2002 8:06:41 AM PST by RJCogburn
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To: KayEyeDoubleDee
Actually this is discussed in the bible. Since I don't have my bible here I can't give chapter & verse, but it refers to the year of Jubilee and having an ear nailed to a door post and some other rather gruesome things. But it was a way of paying off your debts and learning a trade. I guess if you were a complete loser you could always opt for permanance.

If anyone is interested I'll, gladly, get the chapter & verse. email me at bibarnes@yahoo.com.

7 posted on 03/26/2002 8:10:20 AM PST by bibarnes
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To: The Old Hoosier
If you're really a Hoosier, I would refer you to the Indiana Supreme Court case of Weaver v. American Oil for the notion that in cases where the disparity of bargaining power is so great that a contract isn't truly voluntary, the contract is unconscionable.

Even under wholly voluntary circumstance, contracts contrary to the public order and morality have been forbidden. I can't begin to recall the caption of the case, but the example always given in law school was the lottery among British shipwreck survivors to kill and eat one of there number as a way to sustain the remainder. At least they were well fed when hanged.

8 posted on 03/26/2002 8:11:56 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: The Old Hoosier
Two things are required to morally enter into contract. A statement of affirmation of the terms being agreed to, and comprehension of those terms, and their consequences.

As a libertarian, I recognize the right of consenting adult individuals to enter into contract to mutually agreed terms. But in order to qualify as a consenting adult capable of administering one's own rights, an individual must be of sound mind (otherwise the comprehension of terms and consequences comes into question).

I would consider any contract entered into by sane consenting adults to be morally binding. I think a good case could be made however, questioning the sanity of an individual who would surrender their life and their perpetual labor for $50,000.

9 posted on 03/26/2002 8:28:20 AM PST by OWK
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To: The Old Hoosier
Crow is best as an entre when served without garnishment.

But here goes....

You say: ...why should the government be able to prevent me?

Many conservative would hold that the Constitution was a written document doing many tasks in establishing our Republic. One of these tasks was preserving ordered liberty. Our Constitution was a practical tool, not an ideological construct or philosophy-made-whole.

It contained the practical tools of politics, including a method of Amendment for prudent political purpose.

Seeing that a great war had been fought, greatly devestating the nation in all regions, the XIII Amendment was passed to permanantly remove one of the underlying issues that fostered the conflict. As contract law and philosophy were insuffient to resolve the issue, save by warfare, and insufficient to resolve it in the future, practical and prudent politics (political force) was utilized by a set process to place an issue outside of the realm of arising again.

Now, were temporary imbalances between the victor and the vanquished in place to foster the super majority necessary for this amendment? Surely. But it happened and we are better off for it.

So, in answer to your question, as the Constitution outlines:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
It would be hard to say that the passage of the Thirteenth at that time didn't meet the critera in bold. Furthermore, our national imputus was outlined in the Delaration of Independence and the following shows the reasonableness of alterations for due cause:
..and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--
The framers determined an Amendment scheme, not based upon a rigid philosophy, ideology, theology or dogma, but instead based upon a prudent written prescriptive method, meant to allow the Republic to free itself from the "Object" mentioned in that paragraph, however it might arise.

There are methods of Contract Law that could concievably produce what amounts to a voluntary servitude as opposed to involuntary, but people of more extensive legal background that I will need to illuminate how common law principles of "employment at will" interface with Contract Law without a "time certain" in the contract. I think that is a red hering for debate as your question centered around what government should be allowed to do, not what marginal constructs are possible that simulate the state of slavery.

10 posted on 03/26/2002 8:30:48 AM PST by KC Burke
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To: JohnGalt
BINGO! You got it correct.

The only difference was that indentured servitude was for a specified length of time after which the indentured one was free to leave.

11 posted on 03/26/2002 8:32:35 AM PST by jimkress
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To: The Old Hoosier
I think your "owner" would not be able to use the power of the government to enforce the contract due to the Thirteenth Amendment.

Should you wish to voluntarily fulfill the terms of the contract, then there shouldn't be a problem.

12 posted on 03/26/2002 8:32:55 AM PST by Ken H
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To: JohnGalt
I thought it was called marriage?
13 posted on 03/26/2002 8:34:07 AM PST by Joe Driscoll
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To: Ken H
Excellent point made in two short sentances.
14 posted on 03/26/2002 8:36:07 AM PST by KC Burke
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To: Joe Driscoll
Spewing LOL
15 posted on 03/26/2002 8:36:16 AM PST by RGSpincich
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To: RJCogburn
The only involvement the government should have is to enforce, if necessary, the contract you and the payer signed.

And as the nation, at that time, wanted no artifical constructs of Contract used to continue the institution of slavery, they passed the Thirteenth to thwart statute, contract, civil or common law being used to produce artificial constructs of what they wanted prohibited for the ordered liberty of the nation

16 posted on 03/26/2002 8:40:23 AM PST by KC Burke
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To: JohnGalt
I think there is a LARGE difference between indentured servitude and slavery.
Slaves are property, period. They have no rights to enter into a contract. They can be bought or sold at will and can be bred like cattle and their children will likewise be slaves.
An indentured servant has rights outside the relationship with a master. An Indentured servant can contract his services for a lifetime but cannot likewise (from a libertarian perspective) contract others without their permission.
So, the situation you describe is indentured servitude and not slavery. You can sell yourself into servitude but you cannot sell your children into slavery.
17 posted on 03/26/2002 8:40:34 AM PST by Scarlet Pimpernel
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To: The Old Hoosier
As an aside, anyone able to lay their hands on Forrest MacDonald's study of the intellectual origins of the Constitution, Novus Ordo Seclorum should read the pages he devotes to the discussion of the colonial nature of slavery and the probable perception of the populace and framers. He makes some very interesting observations about the comparisons available to the colonials between existing europeon serfdom and colonial slavery, more benign then than later.

I was reading that this last week and while it is not at hand, it has some real insight into how these framers could allow the practice to become intitutionalized.

18 posted on 03/26/2002 8:47:05 AM PST by KC Burke
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To: OWK
I would consider any contract entered into by sane consenting adults to be morally binding. I think a good case could be made however, questioning the sanity of an individual who would surrender their life and their perpetual labor for $50,000.

The author posted a link to my comment which is a good thing because although he got the main idea correct, he talks about slavery in the example on this thread and the original concept was voluntary servitude. That was the basis for my comment and it is in agreement with your point entirely.

19 posted on 03/26/2002 9:11:12 AM PST by Protagoras
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To: JohnGalt
It's called indentured servitude; it's how my ancestors came to this country

It was a great thing that people were allowed to make that contract without government interference, otherwise we would be missing your good counsel.

20 posted on 03/26/2002 9:14:32 AM PST by Protagoras
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To: KC Burke
I took the question at hand to refer to the relationship of man to government in the ideal, not specifically relating to the US Constitution.
21 posted on 03/26/2002 9:49:00 AM PST by RJCogburn
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To: The Old Hoosier
Libertarians would support the legalization of peonage, indentured servitude and some other forms of slavery outlawed by our Thirteenth Amendment.
22 posted on 03/26/2002 9:53:56 AM PST by Roscoe
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To: RJCogburn
One of the problems of looking at "government in the ideal" or in the theoretical sense is that such models are soon deemed worth of application when they have no merit for same. Makes for interesting debate but little else.

I took ol' Burkes statement about the merits are always in the particulars to heart in my analysis. I think both are equally worthy of being included in the thread.

23 posted on 03/26/2002 10:05:04 AM PST by KC Burke
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To: Roscoe
Crawl back into your hole you moral midget.
24 posted on 03/26/2002 10:06:51 AM PST by Protagoras
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To: ThomasJefferson
Libertarians would support the legalization of peonage, indentured servitude and some other forms of slavery outlawed by our Thirteenth Amendment.

They reject the morality of the 13th Amendment.

25 posted on 03/26/2002 10:33:16 AM PST by Roscoe
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To: The Old Hoosier
I, the undersigned, in exchange for $50,000, hereby promise, under penalty of corporal punishment to be administered by the payer (master), to perform all menial tasks he asks me to perform, every day for the remainder of my life. I permanently surrender my right to leave and work for anyone else, unless the payer chooses to dissolve this contract. I understand that this contract cannot be dissolved by me, the undersigned.

Well, I'm not a libertarian, but I wouldn't prevent you from signing it (unless you have children).

Seems like you're selling yourself cheap, but, maybe not.

26 posted on 03/26/2002 11:00:15 AM PST by Taliesan
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To: Roscoe
They reject the morality of the 13th Amendment.

Another lie from a world class liar.

They reject immoral buffoons like you.

27 posted on 03/26/2002 11:06:32 AM PST by Protagoras
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To: ThomasJefferson
Mr. Justice Miller, delivering the opinion of the majority of the court, after observing that the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth articles of amendment of the constitution were all addressed to the grievances of the negro race, and were designed to remedy them, continued as follows: "We do not say that no one else but the negro can share in this protection. Both the language and spirit of these articles are to have their fair and just weight in any question of construction. Undoubtedly, while negro slavery alone was in the mind of the congress which proposed the thirteenth article, it forbids any other kind of slavery, now or hereafter. If Mexican peonage or the Chinese coolie labor, system shall develop slavery of the Mexican or Chinese race within our territory, this amendment may safely be trusted to make it void.
(169 U.S. 649) UNITED STATES v. WONG KIM ARK. (March 25, 1898)

Contract slavery, such as peonage and indentured servitude, is illegal.
28 posted on 03/26/2002 11:18:10 AM PST by Roscoe
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To: JohnGalt
Graduates of Law School are required to go through the "articling" process and pass a bar exam before being allowed into practice. "Articles of Indentureship" is the formal name for the process. It used to be that Law grads were not even paid during their articles. They are paid now, but considerably less than a lawyer who is licensed to practice before a State Bar.
29 posted on 03/26/2002 11:24:02 AM PST by Melinator
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To: The Old Hoosier
I understand that this contract cannot be dissolved by me, the undersigned.

Any such contract would not be enforceable in its strictest form. If you violate the terms of a civil contract, you are liable for civil penalties -- namely money. If you break the contract and have no money you could declare bankruptcy.

I believe there is another clause in the Constitution prohibiting imprisonment for debt.

Such contracts are frequently signed by artists and performers -- not lifetime, but it probably seems like it. they are also frequently broken.

30 posted on 03/26/2002 11:31:33 AM PST by js1138
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To: Joe Driscoll
I thought it was called marriage?
Marriage, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.

-- Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary.


31 posted on 03/26/2002 11:40:20 AM PST by dighton
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To: Roscoe
Contract slavery, such as peonage and indentured servitude, is illegal.

And your point to me is???????

32 posted on 03/26/2002 11:54:23 AM PST by Protagoras
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To: Roscoe
If Mexican peonage or the Chinese coolie labor, system shall develop slavery of the Mexican or Chinese race within our territory, this amendment may safely be trusted to make it void.

I guess it never did. The contracts that people made with one another were never defined as slavery, either by the participants or anyone else of importance.

(people like you don't count, you're not important)

33 posted on 03/26/2002 11:58:22 AM PST by Protagoras
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To: ThomasJefferson
BTW, no one was discussing legality on this thread. It is irrelevant to this conversation. As are you.
34 posted on 03/26/2002 12:00:41 PM PST by Protagoras
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To: ThomasJefferson
The contracts that people made with one another were never defined as slavery, either by the participants or anyone else of importance.

Indentured servitude was by contract. It's illegal now.

35 posted on 03/26/2002 12:02:54 PM PST by Roscoe
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To: OWK
I think a good case could be made however, questioning the sanity of an individual who would surrender their life and their perpetual labor for $50,000.

So should the government step in or not?

36 posted on 03/26/2002 12:12:49 PM PST by AppyPappy
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To: AppyPappy
So should the government step in or not?

Only for the children.

37 posted on 03/26/2002 12:15:28 PM PST by Taliesan
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To: Roscoe
Libertarians would support the legalization of peonage, indentured servitude and some other forms of slavery outlawed by our Thirteenth Amendment

Certainly I am viewed as no adherent to the Libertarian cause but I would say that your characterization is unfair and needlessly contentious.

Libertarians have issues of contract making ability that are central to their political view that are very compatible with a conservative's, or Old Whig's, view of a land of Laws and not of men. A land of limited government with assignment of issues of Order always going to the smallest societal or governmental unit that can deal with it are issues of broad agreement amongst many conservatives of all stripe.

Lastly, both sides are in harmony that Equality-before-the-law is the only true equality that bears on political systems, and no labeling of Libertarians as overly friendly to issues of cash-payment as being central to society would let one envision libertarians promoting schemes of slavery.

38 posted on 03/26/2002 12:18:24 PM PST by KC Burke
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To: The Old Hoosier
I, the undersigned, in exchange for $50,000, hereby promise, under penalty of corporal punishment to be administered by the payer (master), to perform all menial tasks he asks me to perform, every day for the remainder of my life. I permanently surrender my right to leave and work for anyone else, unless the payer chooses to dissolve this contract. I understand that this contract cannot be dissolved by me, the undersigned.

You want to be a 'Personal Assistant' to Rosie O'Donnell?

39 posted on 03/26/2002 12:18:32 PM PST by Cogadh na Sith
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To: KC Burke
[Libertarians would support the legalization of peonage, indentured servitude and some other forms of slavery outlawed by our Thirteenth Amendment.]

Certainly I am viewed as no adherent to the Libertarian cause but I would say that your characterization is unfair and needlessly contentious.

But it's true.

40 posted on 03/26/2002 12:42:01 PM PST by Roscoe
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To: Roscoe
Libertarians would support the legalization of peonage, indentured servitude and some other forms of slavery outlawed by our Thirteenth Amendment.

When will you ever get over your irrational hatred of libertarians?

41 posted on 03/26/2002 1:18:21 PM PST by ActionNewsBill
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To: OWK; Roscoe;
The Ideologue Party would have no issue with people selling their organs or limbs. Furthermore, they would outlaw the discouragement of entering into the slavery of drug addiction. The self-abrogation of inalienable rights is big on their list of so-called 'rights' and they would support any designer drug whose use thwarts free will and successful self-governance. Perhaps the Ideologue Party wants to call slavery to drugs as some sort of 'freedom.' Perhaps it is in an Orwellian sense.
42 posted on 03/26/2002 1:33:20 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: ActionNewsBill
I think it was Richard Nixon that said that you can't really hate those you have no respect for.
43 posted on 03/26/2002 1:35:54 PM PST by Roscoe
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To: Cultural Jihad
Libertarians would contend that freedom includes the "right" to own slaves, though the operation of peonage or indentured servitude.

Contract über alles.

44 posted on 03/26/2002 1:41:17 PM PST by Roscoe
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To: Roscoe
But it's true.

"You can't handle the truth"

And you certainly have no ability to tell it.

45 posted on 03/26/2002 1:46:06 PM PST by Protagoras
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To: Ken H
I think your "owner" would not be able to use the power of the government to enforce the contract due to the Thirteenth Amendment.

Right, I'm aware that the law exists, but I wanted to see a libertarian give reasons why government should have this power. In a sense, I'm very surprised that some libertarians are ok with this. In another sense, I'm not so surprised.

46 posted on 03/26/2002 1:47:35 PM PST by The Old Hoosier
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To: ThomasJefferson
"You can't handle the truth"

Irony.

47 posted on 03/26/2002 1:48:46 PM PST by Roscoe
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To: The Old Hoosier
Good lord man, how can you still be denying that Eagle & I didn't answer your silly questions this morning? Your last post to me on this AM's linked thread is here, with my answer from minutes later. - You said:

Why should the government be able to stop me from entering into any contract I want?
411 posted on 3/26/02 8:36 AM Pacific by The Old Hoosier

To: The Old Hoosier

Because such a contract violates the constitution. - #415 tpaine -

-------------------------

Yet here you are hours later, on a thread to which you didn't even have the courtesy to flag me, pretending as though you didn't scuttle away without reply to that last comment.

You have no honor, sir, or credibility.

48 posted on 03/26/2002 4:06:47 PM PST by tpaine
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To: The Old Hoosier
"Tpaine and Eagle Eye still haven't given direct answers, but I'll mention it here when they do, and eat more crow."

I answered directly at # 410 on that thread, and you did not challenge that answer. -- Instead you asked another silly question, which I answered in turn. -- Then you left to post this bit of bull, based on your lie above.

For shame. You should have to eat your own BS, not crow.

49 posted on 03/26/2002 4:20:27 PM PST by tpaine
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To: Roscoe

Shortchanged
Nina Ungureanu, 40, sold her kidney to finish construction on her house in the village of Minjir. Promised $3,000 for the organ, she received only $2,000. And although she says she's healthy, she's concerned about the postsurgery dizzy spells she now experiences when she works outside. Nonetheless, Ungureanu has many people coming to her home to ask her how they, too, can sell their body parts.

All with the imprimatur of the Libertarian Party, whose motto is: "So what? Who cares? Too bad!"
Source: http://www.msnbc.com/news/603127.asp

50 posted on 03/26/2002 4:34:17 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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