80 Listen as Alumnus Marrou Brings Libertarian Presidential Campaign to MITBy Sarah Y. Keightley
In an appearance notable for its lack of the stereotypical pomp and grandeur of today's campaign speeches, Libertarian presidential candidate Andre V. Marrou '62 spoke to a relatively calm audience of about 80 people in 6-120 Wednesday evening.
Marrou was an Alaskan state representative from 1985 to 1987. Most recently he was a real estate broker in Nevada, according to Mark Montoni, staff assistant at the Libertarian party's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Marrou graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering, and even showed the crowd his Brass Rat.
Marrou's running-mate is Dr. Nancy Lord, a physician and attorney in Washington, Montoni said. She has no past political experience, though she ran for mayor of Washington in 1990, he explained. The Marrou-Lord ticket is the sixth different Libertarian candidate to appear since the 1972 campaign. There has been a Libertarian candidate in every subsequent election.
Marrou began his speech with some general facts about his party and some light humor. About 200 Libertarians have been elected to office, and currently there are about 50 in office, he said. Libertarian politicians are popular in New Hampshire, Alaska, and to some extent in California, he said.
Marrou then listed what he thought to be the major problems facing the United States today. He said that this country charges high taxes, is in the worst recession in 50 years, has the highest number of people in poverty in 30 years, and has the highest national debt in history. He described the Los Angeles riots of this spring as the worst in the country since the Civil War. Also, the United States participates in a war or raid almost every year and has the highest imprisonment rate in the world, he said.
He attributed these problems to "too much government." Libertarians want to maximize individual liberty by trying to cut government power, he said.
His platform includes repealing the personal income tax and abolishing the IRS, rescinding excessive regulation and taxation, and ending tax subsidies, such as those for cigarettes. He also wants to cut bureaucracy by allowing federal bureaucrats to retire or leave without replacing them, and to privatize education and "charitize health care."
Moreover, he wants to restore full gun ownership rights, to limit Congressional terms, to bring troops that are currently overseas back home, and to propose a fully-informed jury amendment.
"We are main-streaming the party," he said. In previous years, Libertarians have been known as white male computer nerds, he said. "I look forward to the day when the average Libertarian will be a truck driver or a waitress."
Marrou noted that he won the first county, Dixville Notch, to vote in the New Hampshire primary. Of the 63 candidates on the ballot, he received 11 of the total 31 votes cast. Bush came in second with 9 votes.
Marrou answers questions
After his speech, Marrou fielded questions from the audience.
One person asked Marrou how he planned to cut the $4.2 trillion deficit if he also planned to eliminate the personal income tax. Marrou responded that he would cut the government faster than the taxes. He also said he would bring overseas troops home and sell government land. "We estimate we can [cut the deficit] easily in eight years," he said.
Someone asked Marrou if he agreed with past Libertarian politicians who have expressed a desire to repeal anti-discrimination laws. It was the Democrats and the Republicans who created quota laws and discrimination laws, he responded. Libertarians are the "original" non-discriminatory people, but liberty includes the right to discriminate, he said. He compared this to choosing an item on a menu in a restaurant, where one chooses one dish over the others. However, he said he would not support discrimination in the workplace.
Marrou said he would repeal the mandatory education laws. "It's morally and fundamentally wrong to force someone to do things against their will," he said.
Marrou answered other questions about his environmental policy, his plans for welfare and education, and about Social Security.
One person asked how it was possible that only 15 states allow voters to register as Libertarians. The Democrats and Republicans "will do anything to keep power. They'll do anything to get elected. They don't care. ... Only the Mafia shares this morality," he said.
In order to get on the ballot in all 50 states, Marrou said he had to get 800,000 signatures. "Bush and Clinton don't have to get any," he said.
Students respond to speech
Glenn R. Berry '92, who saw Marrou speak, said he is currently registered as a Republican, but is considering voting for Marrou. The meeting "made me a lot more informed, though I am leery of privatizing education and bringing the overseas troops home."
"I've always favored the Libertarian philosophy," said David A. Martin G. He added that he "came to hear specific ideas" because he is debating whether to vote for Marrou or Clinton.
Matt Taylor, chair of the Suffolk County Libertarian party and a student at Swarthmore College, was the chief organizer of the event. Counterpoint, an MIT student publication, was the co-sponsor. Former Counterpoint Publisher Avik S. Roy '93 said that Taylor asked his group to help sponsor the meeting on short notice, which is why there was not much publicity for the event. Still, Roy said he was pleased with the turnout.
Before Marrou spoke, Roy announced to the audience that due to MIT policy, Marrou would have to restrict the content of his speech to Libertarian ideas. However, the audience could ask questions after the speech, Roy said. This restriction stemmed from MIT's status as a tax-exempt corporation.