The first Libertarian Party candidate for president, who ran for the nation’s highest office in 1972, has issued an open letter to fellow party members urging them to vote for President Bush on Tuesday.

Besides running for the White House, Dr. John Hospers wrote what he calls the first full-length book on the libertarian philosophy, “Libertarianism.” He also wrote the party’s Statement of Principles at the first Libertarian national convention in 1972.

“I still believe in those principles as strongly as ever, but this year – more than any year since the establishment of the Libertarian Party – I have major concerns about the choices open to us as voting Americans,” he wrote in his letter.

“There is a belief that’s common among many libertarians that there is no essential difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties – between a John Kerry and a George W. Bush administration; or worse: that a Bush administration would be more undesirable. Such a notion could not be farther from the truth, or potentially more harmful to the cause of liberty.”

Hospers goes on to decry John Kerry and his policies, saying the Democratic nominee is part of the “International Totalitarian Left in company with the Hillary and Bill Clintons, the Kofi Annans, the Ted Kennedys, and the Jesse Jacksons of the world.”

The former candidate said if Kerry’s party wins the presidency it could spell disaster for the nation:

“The Democratic Party today is a haven for anti-Semites, racists, radical environmentalists, plundering trial lawyers, government employee unions, and numerous other self-serving elites who despise the Constitution and loathe private property. … They will attempt to enact ‘hate speech’ and ‘hate crime’ laws and re-institute the Fairness Doctrine, initiate lawsuits, and create new regulations designed to suppress freedom of speech and intimidate their political adversaries.”

Hospers continues his letter with more analysis of Kerry himself.

“Kerry, who changes direction with the wind, has tried to convince us that he now disavows the anti-military sentiments that he proclaimed repeatedly in the l970s,” he wrote. “But in fact he will weaken our military establishment and devastate American security by placing more value on the United Nations than on the United States. … In his 30-year career he has demonstrated utter contempt for America, national security, constitutional republicanism, democracy, private property and free markets.”

Hospers also hammers potential first lady Teresa Heinz Kerry, saying the leftist organizations she controls are “virulently hostile to America and libertarian principles.”

Turning his attention to Bush, Hospers criticizes several of this policies, but then adds, “His great virtue, however, is that he has stood up – knowingly at grave risk to his political viability – to terrorism when his predecessors, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton did not. On many occasions during their administrations terrorists attacked American lives and property. Clinton did nothing, or engaged in a feckless retaliation such as bombing an aspirin factory in the Sudan (based on faulty intelligence, to boot). Then shortly after Bush became president he was hit with ‘the big one’: 9-11. It was clear to him that terrorism was more than a series of criminal acts: it was a war declared upon the U.S. and indeed to the entire civilized world long before his administration. He decided that action had to be taken to protect us against future 9-11s involving weapons of mass destruction, including ‘suitcase’ nuclear devices.”

Hospers the lists what he considers Bush’s accomplishments: “Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for terrorists. Saddam’s regime is no longer a major player in the worldwide terror network. Libya has relinquished their weapons of terror. The Pakistani black market in weapons of mass destruction has been eliminated. Arafat is rotting in Ramallah. Terrorist cells all over the world have been disrupted, and thousands of terrorists killed. The result: Americans are orders of magnitude safer.”

Hospers hails Bush’s tax cuts, the first in 15 years, and reminds his fellow Libertarians that the president has as goals a revision of the income tax code and market-based reform of Social Security.

Concludes Hosper:

“Thus far, [leftists’] long-term plans have been quite successful. A Kerry presidency will fully open their pipeline to infusions of taxpayer-funded cash and political pull. At least a continued Bush presidency would help to stem this tide, and along the way it might well succeed in preserving Western Civilization against the fanatic Islamo-fascists who have the will, and may shortly have the weapons capability, to bring it to an end.

“When the stakes are not high it is sometimes acceptable, even desirable, to vote for a ‘minor party’ candidate who cannot possibly win, just to ‘get the word out’ and to promote the ideals for which that candidate stands. But when the stakes are high, as they are in this election, it becomes imperative that one should choose, not the candidate one considers philosophically ideal, but the best one available who has the most favorable chance of winning.

“The forthcoming election will determine whether it is the Republicans or the Democrats that win the presidency. That is an undeniable reality. If the election is as close as it was in 2000, libertarian voters may make the difference as to who wins in various critical ‘battleground’ states and therefore the presidency itself. That is the situation in which we find ourselves in 2004. And that is why I believe voting for George W. Bush is the most libertarian thing we can do.

“We stand today at an important electoral crossroads for the future of liberty, and as libertarians our first priority is to promote liberty and free markets, which is not necessarily the same as to promote the Libertarian Party. This time, if we vote Libertarian, we may win a tiny rhetorical battle, but lose the larger war.”

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