Dallas Accord

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Dallas Accord was an implicit agreement made at the 1974 Libertarian National Convention to compromise between the larger minarchist and smaller anarcho-capitalist factions by adopting a platform that explicitly did not say whether it was desirable for the state to exist.[1][2][3]

The purpose of the Dallas Accord was to make the Libertarian Party of the United States a "big tent" that would welcome more ideologically diverse groups of people interested in reducing the size of government. Therefore, the 1974 platform, including a "Statement of Principles," focused on statements arguing for getting government out of various activities, and used phrases such as "where governments exist they must not violate the rights of any individual." The previous version of the Statement of Principles adopted at the party's first convention in 1972, in contrast, affirmatively endorsed the minarchist perspective with statements such as "Since government has only one legitimate function, the protection of individual rights...."[4] It was agreed that the topic of anarchism would not even be on the table for discussion until a limited government was achieved.[3][5][6]

During the following years the number of anarchists in the party was estimated to have dropped by about half and more conservative-oriented and constitutionalist members joined.[3][7] Denunciations of equating the Libertarian Party with anarchism have persisted throughout the party's history, from John Hospers, the party's first presidential nominee in 1972, to Judge Jim Gray, the party's 2012 nominee for Vice President.[8][9]

During the 2006 Libertarian National Convention delegates deleted a large portion of the very detailed platform. They added the phrase "Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property."[10] This development was described as the "Portland Massacre" by its opponents. Some took this as meaning the Dallas Accord was dead.[3] Delegates tried in 2008 to restore the platform, without success.

Anarchist libertarians continue to work in the party and run for office.[7] Anarchist philosophies of no monopolist government are, they contend, referenced implicitly in the current platform planks, one of which describes the "right to alter or abolish government."

Whether such an agreement remains in effect, and if so whether it should, or what limits it places on the party's public statements or candidates, all remain disputed. [11][12] The party's Statement of Principles also states support for "the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others," and "the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation." The platform states in its Criminal Justice plank, that "[t]he prescribed role of government is to protect the rights of every individual including the right to life, liberty and property."[13]


  1. ^ Mike Hihn, "The Dallas Accord, Minarchists, and why our members sign a pledge", Washington State Libertarian Party, August 2009.
  2. ^ Paul Gottfried, The conservative movement: Social movements past and present , Twayne Publishers, 1993, p. 46.
  3. ^ a b c d Less Antman, The Dallas Accord is Dead, Lew Rockwell.com, May 12, 2008.
  4. ^ "Statement of Principles - LPedia". lpedia.org.
  5. ^ Watner, Carl 1; Bilzi, Paul (November 1984). "What's Next in the Pursuit of Liberty" (PDF). The Voluntaryist.
  6. ^ "A letter from Murray Rothbard - WendyMcElroy.com". www.wendymcelroy.com.
  7. ^ a b Knapp, Thomas, "Time for a new Dallas Accord?", Rational Review.
  8. ^ http://johnhospers.com/articles/anarkisttemperament.pdf
  9. ^ Distract The Media (15 December 2014). "Anarchism vs Libertarianism w/ Judge Jim Gray" – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "2016 Platform - Libertarian Party".
  11. ^ "Libertarian Party debate: Asymmetry and the Dallas Accord". 1 August 2009.
  12. ^ "The Dallas Accord Is Dead - LewRockwell LewRockwell.com".
  13. ^ "2016 Platform - Libertarian Party".