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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
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

    **Primary Teachers Needed Urgently in Southport**

    £80 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Due to an increase in dema...

    SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

    £50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

    Nursery Assistant/Nurse all cheshire areas

    £7 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: We are a large and successful recrui...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    £50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London