Brian Irving | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Brian Irving

Candidate for N.C. Senate, District 17


Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Brian Irving

Party: Libertarian

Date of Birth: January 2, 1949

Campaign Web Site:

Occupation & Employer: Freelance writer

Years lived in North Carolina: 21

1) What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?

My platform is short and simple: I support reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and oppose increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.

My top three priorities are to:

  • Stop municipal aggression by ending forced annexation, abolishing the power of eminent domain used to seize private property, and replacing zoning laws with voluntary agreements.

  • Improve public education through competition and choice, by giving parents the right to choose where and how their children are educated, offering tax credits or vouchers for use at any school, and raising the limit on charter schools

  • Restore free, fair and open elections to our state by tearing down the barriers erected by the democratic-republican duopoly designed to restrict ballot access and prevent independent and third party candidates from getting on the ballot.

2) Are there specific needs in your district that you would add to that list? How do you propose to address them?

Forced annexation and school choice. Cary is beginning the process for another round of forced annexation. The Wake Board of Education is reconsidering its controversial decision last year to impose year-round schools on some parents. These are two of my priorities.

3) What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the issues you've identified? Please be as specific as possible in relating past accomplishments to current goals.

While I have no experience as an elected public official, I have four years experience as an appointed official, including two as chair, on the Fayetteville City Planning Commission. During my first term, some members confided in me that they were initially apprehensive about my appointment because of my libertarian ideas. They changed their view, and respected my sincerity, thoughtful contributions and work on the committee sufficiently to elect me chair.

4) How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

I am an unabashed libertarian. I believe, as George Washington did, that "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

As a State Senator, I want to help construct the fireplace that will keep government power in its place and insure it's used only for the proper reasons.

5) The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. Please point to a specific position in your platform that would, if achieved, help further that goal.

A just community is one in which all people are treated equally, regardless of ethnic background, nationality, religion, gender, sexual preference, age ... or any other factor. All rights are individual rights. One person has the same rights as 1,000 people.

A just community is one in which each person is able to live their lives the way the choose, so long as they do not harm others, a community based on respect for our differences, a community where the unfettered, unimpeded creative potential of the free market is unleashed and allowed to bring prosperity to all.

6) Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

All of my positions are based on principle, and probably will cost me popularity among some group of voters. But I'm not seeking this office in order to be popular. I'm running offer voters the chance to vote for freedom for a change.

To cite some examples, I expect each of these positions will be unpopular in some quarters (including with some of your readers): remove the State's power to regulate marriage and personal relationships, other than as a part of enforcing contracts; repeal the state income tax, and end the "education" lottery; end the State's power to seize property by forced annexation and eminent domain; abolish the death penalty, and; revoke most regulation of gun ownership.

7) If these issues haven't been addressed above, would you please comment on:

a. Poverty: What steps, if any, do you advocate to lift up the poor in North Carolina?

Lower all taxes, especially the sales tax, and repeal sales taxes on food and other essential items. End corporate welfare. Lower the barriers and cut the regulation and red tape imposed on private entrepreneurs who want to open small business or operate home-based businesses. (Like beauty shops and craft shops).

b. Transportation needs in the state, including roads and transit in the Triangle?

The state's roads and transportation system is riddled with croniysm and corruption. The Highway Trust Fund is a huge "cookie jar" politicians use to win favor with their constituents, and reward donors, in order to get re-elected. We need private citizens, not politicians, developers and special interests, to determine where roads are built and to mange the Highway Trust Fund. Ultimately, the mass transit and roads can be better provided by the private sector.

c. Crowded prisons: Should we be moving toward more alternative-sentencing programs instead of prison time?

We need to replace the punitive justice system with a system of restitution and restorative justice. Imprisonment is a last resort, and should only be used to separate from civil society habitually violent offenders. Prisons should be humane and operate programs designed to provide inmates the discipline and skills required to become productive and law-abiding citizens upon release. For minor offenses, Libertarians support replacing prison sentences with less expensive and more just alternatives, such as restitution and community service.

d. Health care: What should the state do next to address the problem of adults and children without adequate health care or insurance?

The issue here is to make health care more available and more affordable. One way to reach that goal is to empower nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to make more decisions regarding their patients health care needs, without the unnecessary (and expensive) requirement for a doctor to "sign-off" on the treatment. State control of health and mental health care, is not the answer. In fact, it is primarily what is causing the problem.

e. Foreclosures: What more should the state be doing to help consumers avoid foreclosure and hold onto their homes?

People need to take responsibility for their own actions. If they knowingly purchased a home they could not afford, they only way they will learn to avoid such a mistake in the future is to suffer the consequences now. But, f a loan agency or seller committed fraud in providing the loan, they should be prosecuted for that crime, and the home buyer should not suffer. Again, state regulation and supposed oversight has largely caused this problem, because the special interests in the housing industry are major contributors to the Democratic and Republican establishment. Forcing taxpayers to pay to correct the problems caused by this corruption is wrong.

f. Energy: Do you support off-shore drilling in the state's coastal waters? Other state initiatives to reduce gasoline and other energy costs?

Off-shore drilling is not the solution to the energy "crisis." It's a gimmick, a red-herring used by politicians to obscure the truth.

g. The mental health crisis: Everyone agrees it's a mess. Now what?

First, those responsible for deaths should be prosecuted. Then we must phase out all State-run mental health facilities. And as with heath care, the solution is to increase availability and affordability through deregulation.

h. Taxes: Given the needs, are they too high? Too low? Too regressive? What direction should the state be taking on the revenue side?

North Carolina taxes are too high, and are being wasted. Libertarians favor abolishing most taxes, reducing all others and replacing many with user fees.

i. School vouchers: Should the state provide vouchers to parents who choose private (K-12) schools for their children? If so, for what amount?

We need to give parents more control and more choices for their children's education. We can improved publish schools through competition. I support the proposal by Mike Munger, Libertarian candidate for governor, to offer vouchers to parents to be used at the school of the choice. Money for these vouchers would come from the state "Education" Lottery. Middle and high income parents already have the financial ability to make school choice. Vouchers will empower low-income parents to take their children out of failing government-run public schools.

8) What is your position on capital punishment in North Carolina? If in favor, will you support a moratorium on executions while the question of whether the death penalty can be administered fairly is studied by the General Assembly?

A General Assembly "study commission" is just a shame, an excuse for legislators not to make a decision. There's ample evidence the death penalty is unjust. It should be abolished.

9) What is your position regarding LGBT rights? Please address whether gay marriages or civil unions should be made legal in North Carolina; also, whether sexual orientation and identity should be added as a protected class under state anti-discrimination laws, including state personnel laws.

The idea that governments should give "license" or permission for marriage is inconsistent with the principles of liberty. A person's union with another is none of the State's business, except for the purpose of establishing next of kin and enforcing contracts. Marriage is a private relationship, which should be properly governed by religious institutions or through private contracts.

I will oppose a "gay marriage" amendment to the NC Constitution and work to repeal all laws making distinctions between the rights and privileges afforded to individuals based on their state of marriage. For the same reason, I will not support any law granting special rights or "protected" status to any group

10) Do you support women's reproductive rights, including the "right to choose" as set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade? Given that North Carolina has the ninth highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, do you support medically accurate sex education that includes information about birth control?

This is a very difficult question for many people. It is for me. Abortion is a moral decision, not a political issue. While I personally believe ending the life of an unborn child is wrong, for any reason, I do not believe it is moral to use force (the law) to prevent a woman from making that very personal decision herself. This is a matter of changing people's hearts, not the law. If faced with the situation in my own life, I would employ all my powers of persuasion to convince a woman not to have an abortion. But I would not force them to obey me.

Nor do I believe it is right for the government to use tax dollars to pay for abortions, or to fund birth control programs. While I personally believe I

Sex education should be handled by parents, not by the schools, because it deals with personal and moral choices and views. The views of all parents should be honored and respected.

11) Should public employees have the right to bargain collectively in North Carolina?

No. State employees should not be allowed to bargain collectively or to strike. They voluntarily choose to work for the State -- and therefore the people. Their salaries are paid for by taxes taken from the people. The primary issue, though, is that they voluntarily seek such employment, and are responsible going into the job for knowing the restrictions. Once State government is reduced to its proper functions -- protecting life, liberty and property -- it will be essential to maintain these functions without disruption or interruption.

12) One of the most controversial issues in this election year is illegal immigration. Recently, several N.C. counties—including Alamance, Johnston and Wake—have employed the 287(g) program, which streamlines local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement. What is your assessment of the success, or failure, of these programs?

They are a failure, because they do not address the real issue and trample on fundamental human rights. Immigration is one of the few powers specially granted to the Federal government, and it has failed miserably in this area.

The sad truth its, the politicians in the Democratic-Republican duopoly are not interested in solving the problem, so long as they can use it as a shibboleth to beat their opponents over the head.

First, there is a very large economic dimension to the problem,both in the United States and in Mexico and Latin America; movement across boarders is a world-wide phenomenon.

We need a general overhaul of U.S. immigration policy..

13) Despite the Department of Homeland Security's finding that admitting Illegal Immigrants to college did not violate federal Immigration law, the N.C. System of Community Colleges ruled to maintain a moratorium on admitting Illegal Immigrants to degree-granting programs. How will you vote on legislative proposals to either ban, or permit, Illegal Immigrants attending college In North Carolina?

Anyone who contributers to the NC community college system should be able to use it. Again, politicians deliberately avoid two very important facts:

First, these illegal immigrants who want to attend community colleges were brought here as children. They have committed no crime. Moreover, many work and therefore pay taxes which support the community colleges. So they should be allowed to use what they are paying for.

The second fact is that it is better to have an educated and trained population than an uneducated and unskilled population. That is what will attract new business and industry to North Carolina.

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