I’m writing this letter to explain the reasoning for my departure from the Libertarian Party. This is a bittersweet moment as I reflect on the starry-eyed child who genuinely believed that the Libertarian Party would free the American people from the dreaded two-party system. I now realize the immaturity of my thinking. My first two grievances will be ideological, and the remaining will be on strategy and intra-party relations.
The Libertarian Party refuses to defend the life of the unborn. The LP stance on abortion ostensibly caters to pro-life individuals, but in actuality does not. It grants that one can be a good person and still be pro-life, yet still permits a parent to kill her kid. Nor does it mention evictionism (the fact a woman has a right to remove the infant but does not have the right to kill the infant). For a justification of pro-life libertarianism, please read this article.
The Libertarian Party Platform has this to say on borders: “Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.” Simply put, open borders will never work and are not libertarian. For the Rest of this letter, I will explain why I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that the Libertarian Party is simply dedicated to losing.
Refusal to Accept the Left-Right Dichotomy
The Libertarian Party claims that libertarianism has no relation to the right-wing ideology nor the left-wing ideology. When I, or practically anyone else, ask why this is the case, we are met with the claim of setting up a false dichotomy. For a refutation of the notion that libertarianism is centrist, read here. For Hoppe’s explanation of the relationship between libertarianism and “the right”, click here.
Lack of Basic Respect
Whether it’s stripping naked on live television, denouncing the Pauls by comparing them to the Bushes and Clintons, quoting the Satanic Bible on the week of Easter, or calling members of the military and veterans murderers for hire, the Libertarian Party has continually conducted in insulting not only its adversaries, but also its own constituents. Don’t believe me? Look no further than the Facebook page of Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party, Arvin Vohra. This past May, Vohra made a Facebook post denouncing not only the military, but soldiers themselves.
In February 2015, the Libertarian Party denounced the Pauls on Facebook by claiming them no different from the Bushes and the Clintons.
Another example of disrespect within the Libertarian Party was when self-proclaimed mutualist (short term for crypto-communist) James Weeks stripped until he was almost naked on national television at the LP National Convention. Children watch C-SPAN. Voters watch C-SPAN. I also question why the Libertarian Party would allow a self-proclaimed leftist like Weeks into the Party despite its claim that libertarianism is neither right-wing nor left-wing, all the while waging war against right wing libertarians.
I have had more success in turning neocons against foreign intervention than I have had in getting leftists to read so much as a single article of mine. Liberty is naturally appealing to right wing individuals, as it takes the values conservatives hold most dearly (life, liberty, property, and freedom) to their logical conclusions. Whereas the right wing recognizes inequality as natural, leftists see equality as wholly necessary.
The Libertarian Party has dedicated itself to punching right, appealing to the Left, and “vouching for Mrs. (Hillary) Clinton.” The Libertarian Party is a classic example of the failed “Liberaltarian” strategy, in which a libertarian focuses on issues with which leftists usually agree on in order to gain the support of leftists. What people fail to realize, however, is that the Left will certainly use you as an ally towards legalizing drugs and gay marriage, but they will immediately call you a Nazi the moment you suggest reducing taxes and the welfare state. Even Brink Lindsey, former Research Vice President of the Cato Insitute, recognized this. His solution, however, is what I expect the Libertarian Party to do: claim libertarians and conservatives should not fight the welfare state.
Perhaps the most egregious example of this strategy was when Libertarian Party chairman Nicholas Sarwark attacked Tom Woods and the Mises Institute by calling them Nazis. Perhaps if Sarwark would read any content of the Mises Institute, he would see that he himself is closer to Nazism than the Mises Institute. In addition to calling the Mises Institute a think tank for Nazis, Sarwark has spoken out against racism, all the while tweeting articles about “white privilege”. (See “Saving The West and Libertarianism From Cultural Marxism” for a more thorough treatment of this tendency.)
The Libertarian Party not only refuses to market to the right wing, they actively attack them. They have attacked right-leaning libertarians in this week alone more than they have attacked Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders throughout the entire 2016 presidential cycle (in fact, a fundamental, and demonstrably failed, strategy of the Johnson/Weld campaign was to appeal to Bernie Sanders supporters).
If one claims to be right-wing and a libertarian, the Libertarian Party will stop at nothing to ruin his credibility. In other words, the Libertarian Party is dedicated to making the perfect the enemy of the good. One can look no further than the examples of Rand Paul, Ron Paul, the Mises Institute, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, the Property and Freedom Society, Augustus Invictus, Chase Rachels and Radical Capitalist, Tom Woods, Liberty Hangout, Walter Block, and many more people who have dedicated their lives to fighting for liberty (in many instances, the right wing libertarian the LP attempts to ruin has a legitimate desire to fight for liberty by means of growing the LP. I, myself, was one of those people. Thank God I chose to leave the Party before they led an organized effort against me as they so clearly have against the aforementioned people and publications (two of which, I am affiliated with in an official capacity)).
Refusal to Recognize the Concerns of the Common Man
It does not take much for one to see that the Libertarian Party is becoming ever more ready to change its name to the Libertine Party. For elaboration, a libertine is one who has no morality or sexual barriers. A libertine is a person who simply wants to do whatever he or she pleases. In essence, a libertine is an extreme hedonist.
Jeff Deist of the Mises Institute warned against such action in his speech, “For a New Libertarian.” Rather than take Deist’s words of warning, the libertines and especially the Libertarian Party loyalists labeled Deist and the Mises Institute as Nazis. Why are they Nazis you might ask? Well, the last line of Deist’s speech (which is about decentralizing the State as a means to achieving freedom, by the way) follows as such: “In other words, blood and soil and God and nation still matter to people. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance.”
Rather than heed this warning and reconsider their marketing strategy, the Libertarian Party has chosen to attack blood (family), soil (origins), God (faith), and nation (civil society). If one actually reads the speech (I encourage you to do so; I sat in the front row of this speech. Consider it a criticism of the Libertarian Party because everything Deist mentions applies), it will be obvious that it was not a Nazi dog whistle and that it is a common sense speech on how one can make liberty win.
The Chairman of the Libertarian Party Does Not Understand Libertarianism
Nicholas Sarwark does not understand libertarianism. In the following response to my initial reaction to Sarwark’s tweet (in which he attacked Rothbard and Tom Woods) he demonstrates this:
Oh yeah, you “shredded” me. 🤣Political decentralization is orthoganal to freedom. Libertarianism is about the relationship between the individual and the state; not about what level the state is organized at. If a state gives me more individual freedom (e.g. Colorado cannabis laws), it’s libertarian. If a country gives me more individual freedom (e.g. SCOTUS striking down interracial marriage provisions), it’s libertarian.One size fits all is for chumps.
Sarwark outed himself as a legal positivist with this comment. Legal positivism maintains that law is a social construct rather than a natural aspect of human nature. In other words, the Law is whatever man makes it out to be. A classic example of legal positivism is the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes and the legal positivists claim that the legitimacy of the Law is no concern so long as the law itself exists. They are heavily reliant upon the social contract. In an even better twist, the alt-right is heavily influenced by Hobbes and legal positivism.
This is one of the greatest differences between the alt-right and libertarianism. The alt-right is Hobbesian, positivist, and follows the idea that order must be created and maintained. Libertarianism stems from the natural law tradition, which dictates that law is a part of human nature (which is discerned to be self-ownership and therefore compatible with liberty by means of argumentation ethics), and follows the concept of spontaneous order which stems from human cooperation. In this context (and therefore every context, arguably), Sarwark is closer to the Nazis than any libertarian could ever be.
Sarwark fails to realize that the State cannot give personal freedom to me. The State can only take away personal freedom as it is simply a monopoly on violence. The State cannot be libertarian as it violates the fundamental principle of self-ownership and non-aggression. The State transforms all private property into fiat property, to be revoked whenever it so chooses.
Sarwark also claims that libertarianism is about man’s relationship with the State. This is a complete misunderstanding of libertarianism. The State and libertarianism are diametrically opposed. As the State becomes more localized, the State comes closer to abolition. In this sense, decentralization and freedom are not orthogonal. They are directly related. At best, Sarwark is confused. At worst, Sarwark is a libertine (or perhaps Hobbesian) attempting to hijack libertarianism.
In other words, the liberty movement needs more private property, and less degeneracy; more Mises Institute, and less Cato, more Property and Freedom Society, and less Niskanen Center; more activism, and less virtue signaling; more Ron Paul, and less Gary Johnson; more Thomas Massie, and less Bill Weld; more Hoppe, and less Sarwark; more marketing and less attacking;
To all my friends who are on the fence, avoid the Libertarian Party like the Plague. My criticisms above should make it clear. To all my friends who will remain in the Libertarian Party to reform it and will not consider leaving, I wish you Godspeed.
Managing Editor, Liberty Hangout
Contributor, Radical Capitalist