Lower taxes and, er, yogic flying

Californians will have the chance to vote NLP

As top US politicians begin jostling for the 1996 elections, few can claim the lofty ideals of the Natural Law Party - global prosperity, perfect health and, most incredible of all, conflict-free politics. This is not a party limited by internecine squabbling.

"You could call us the human-potential party," says NLP's Harvard-educated presidential candidate, Dr John Hagelin. "We seek to harness the full creativity and intelligence of the American workforce. We are very pragmatic - we are always looking at innovative, scientifically tested solutions designed to bring our national policy more into harmony with natural law," says vice-presidential candidate, Mike Tomkins.

While some NLP ideas might seem far fetched - Hagelin believes mass meditation at US bases could reduce political infighting in Congress - the party remains highly focused in its US campaign. Last week, on the same day as Ross Perot's Reform Party announced it had collected enough registrations to be placed on the California ballot, the NLP also announced it would be a golden state contender, having collected more than 100,000 party registrations.

The US branch of the NLP, formed in April 1992 - only months before the November election - managed to make its way on to ballots in 32 states that year. But while the party has raised $250,000 for its presidential bid thus far, it still has a long way to go to reach its goal of $40-$45 million by the time the US goes to the polls a year from now.

The NLP traces its roots to the transcendental meditation movement and the teachings of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - the Indian guru who gained worldwide fame after the Beatles made a pilgrimage to his Himalayan retreat in 1968. However, party officials like Hagelin, who meditates twice daily, are uneasy with the party's association with meditation and the Maharishi.

"We see transcendental meditation as important, but no more so than many other programmes we endorse," says Hagelin, who says that fewer than 5 per cent of supporters meditate regularly.

The party's other programmes include sustainable farming techniques discouraging farmers from using pesticides; preventative health care; lower taxation; tough environmental safeguards and, er, yogic flying. The party claims that mass meditation and yogic flying (where meditators bounce up to four feet in the air while in the lotus position) can lower crime rates by reducing stress.

In just three years the NLP has spread to more than 40 countries including virtually every European nation, Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Thus far it has won only a single parliamentary seat - in Croatia - but it claims growing dissatisfaction with traditional parties will become the basis of support in years to come.

The US is a particularly difficult proving ground for new parties. The campaign process is lengthy and expensive. Major presidential candidates are expected to have a war-chest of at least $40m and presidential debates are controlled jointly by the Republicans and Democrats. Historically, few third parties have managed to make any long-term impact on the political scene.

The NLP's platform booklet is the thickest of any party - running to 176 pages and referring to scientific journals and treatises. For many supporters this is the party's greatest appeal. Says San Diego organiser Bill Harper: "We have to come back to that higher idealism and turn to great ideas again - the old ones don't seem to be working."

RICHARD KELLY HEFT

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine