Behind Enemy Lines: The Dangers of the Libertarian Party
By: Shane Radliff
July 10th, 2015
Consistent libertarians hold two philosophical axioms above all else. Those two are the non-aggression principle, which forbids all initiatory force, and the self-ownership axiom, which upholds private property rights and the ownership of one’s body. If one is going to call themselves a libertarian, they must put those two philosophies first or, in all honesty, they aren’t libertarians.
My conscience has made me realize that being involved in the political process at all is a violation of both of the principles that consistent philosophical libertarians like myself deem extremely important.
First off, the State is inherently anti-propertarian, because in order to allegedly “protect” our property rights, they must first violate our property rights. They express this in many ways, such as property taxes, their use of eminent domain and nuisance abatement, and the simple fact that they use force to deter us from putting substances into our own bodies.
Next, voting in and of itself is a violation of the non-aggression principle. When you enter into a voting booth and scratch shit on paper (or push a button), you are violently forcing your beliefs and preferences upon others; even if you’re voting for the most consistent, Liberty minded candidate, you’re still attempting to force freedom upon others.
As Samuel Konkin mentioned in his 1980 New Libertarian Manifesto:
“It is part of the statist mystique to confuse the necessity of ends-means consistency; it is thus the most crucial activity of the libertarian theorist to expose inconsistencies; but we have attempted and most failed to describe the consistent means and ends combination of libertarianism.”
The Libertarian Party was founded in December of 1971 and since then, they haven’t accomplished anything. Their stated goal was to educate the people about true freedom and winning elections was only a vehicle for spreading the message of Liberty.
Since their inception, we have only lost more freedoms, the government has only gotten bigger, and more Americans have become victims of democide and abuse. And their goal of education is almost a moot point, as they are teaching the gullible minarchists (that, is, minimal statists) that the political process and “restoring the Republic” are the only realistic ways to win back their freedoms.
But most of all, the reason the LP is dangerous, is because with its involvement in the political process, it is giving legitimacy to the most dangerous superstition: the belief in “authority” and “government”.
I mention these details about the LP because I have been going on political field trips these past few months. My first one was at a McLean County Board Meeting. Another trip involved dealing with the employees in the McLean County Government Center in order to cancel my voter registration. Next, I was coerced to serve on a jury, and the final field trip was when I spectated a few criminal court proceedings.
I figured that a good way to conclude my political field trips, was to attend a reformist meeting and experience those naïve folks who think they can infiltrate the KKK and turn it into the NAACP. So, on Tuesday, July 7th, I attended my first (and last) “Libertarian Party” meeting.
The so-called “business meeting” was at Buffalo Wild Wings at 6pm. I trundled on in and found the local LP chapter members on the back patio. There were 4 others there when I arrived, including Chris Michel, who is an aspiring political ruler. I took a seat, introduced myself, and then we began engaging in small-talk.
I was asked a few personal questions, one of which included if I had voted in the special election that took place earlier that day. I had to bite my tongue because I could NOT state that I had already cancelled my voter registration last April. If I would have told them that, then there would have been no reason for me to be there, and I did not want to invite suspicion as to why I had chosen to attend that evening. I instead replied with an answer along the lines of, “Nope, I wasn’t fond of any of the choices.”
Thankfully, that too, was the response of the gentleman that asked me—let’s call this person John for the sake of his privacy.
John noticed my Liberty Under Attack Voluntaryist shirt and said, “I see that you’re a Voluntaryist.” It was just an observation and from his reaction, I think he liked that fact.
At that point, the LP members started discussing their political failures and also those of the local GOP. As soon as I heard John’s name, I immediately remembered seeing his signs around town from a year or two back when he was the aspiring political ruler.
Nonetheless, I didn’t expect to be back in my high school cafeteria, only this time with an adult beverage, hearing the local LP chapter membership gossip about the GOP.
They were extremely into mainstream politics. They knew the imaginary titles of every successful and aspiring political ruler, and they even had titles themselves. John mentioned that his wife was the Chairman of the Second Continental Army of the Pacific Fleet, as well as the fact that she used to be Vice Chairman of the Lollipop Guild (I don’t remember their ‘official’ titles, so these parodies will have to do).
It is safe to say then, that they are fond of the partyarchy (which is the anti-concept of pursuing libertarian ends through statist means) that Konkin discussed back in the 80’s—we will return back to the “titles” momentarily.
They were all genuinely nice people and I did enjoy their company, even though I despised the fact that they were there to vet an aspiring political ruler to see if he was a potential candidate that the LP could endorse.
After being there for about half an hour, someone closer to my age entered and sat down. He was there to try to find other like-minded people and he was very interested in joining the LP, which was evident, since he drove 45 minutes to attend.
At that point, the aspiring political ruler, Chris, stood up and gave his speech. He mentioned that he was a small-business owner and enjoyed the freedom that it gave him, in comparison to being a corporate slave. [Author’s choice of words]
He went on to do the thing all politicians do and emphatically stated, “I want to be YOUR CANDIDATE.”
All I could think, while looking up at him, was, “Sit the fuck down, already”. It wasn’t simply the fact that he was standing up, it was because he wants my support to throw his weight around by way of government coercion.
I did throw up in my mouth a bit at that statement, but I maintained my composure and kept my ears open.
At that point, three other members of this LP chapter showed up. There was an older married couple and one committed, over-enthusiastic, reformist Uber employee.
At that point, it was question time for Mr. Michel. John asked first and of course it was the cliché, “Why should I vote for you?” question. I don’t remember the answer verbatim but Michel responded with a cliché, vague answer, talking about how much he loves freedom and wants others to be free.
John’s wife then brought up the subject of social issues. I knew this was going to be interesting. The first one brought up was abortion.
Michel took a page out of the pro-life, Christian conservative handbook and proselytized about life beginning at conception. He believes abortion is murder and should be treated as such. I was taken aback and I think a couple of the other LP chapter members were too.
I think it’s important here to point out an inconsistency in Michel’s previous statement. If we look at the LP Platform, in section 1.5, we can see that he contradicted the party platform:
“Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.”
Instead of it being a personal decision left outside the realm of government, Michel would be happy with government intervention against a medical procedure, at least in this regard.
To make matters worse and more confusing in trying to get a handle on this guy, the next topic was homosexual marriage, in regards to the recent Supreme Court ruling.
Michel believes that the government should have nothing to do with marriage and people should be left alone to do as they wish in the privacy of their own homes.
Obviously I agree, but if that personal decision should be left out of the realm of the State, then why not abortion too? Well, I think I have an answer. Michel isn’t being consistent with the libertarian axiom of self-ownership or even with his supposed policies either. He isn’t judging his beliefs off of the twin axioms of libertarianism. Rather, he’s being arbitrary and is basing it all off of how he “feels”, maybe even upon the political expediency of the moment.
At that point, Michel continued on and stated that in the last election, he ran for the Secretary of State for Illinois and lost miserably, as well as mentioning his “slogan” for his campaign. He calls it “Five for freedom”, and what he was suggesting is that everyone give him $5 so that he can go off to D.C and send libertarian shockwaves through the federal government. As if that has ever worked.
Another question was asked and it was, “If there’s one thing that you could change if you were elected, what would it be?”
This may have been the only answer I genuinely liked from the man, although, his inconsistencies and ambition to be my political ruler makes that almost a moot point.
He said that it would be prison incarceration, as that would be a multi-faceted victory. He mentioned the war on drugs and firearms regulations, as well as self-ownership for the second time that evening.
At that point the Uber-ambitious gentleman stood up and started talking. As with most of these reformists, he loved making people aware of how important he was since he is the Chairperson of the Goat Herding Division for McLean County. (Titles of nobility, much?)
After his stint of braggadocio, he started to talk about all of the ‘successes’ of the LP since he took over his role. It was at this point that I knew for sure that these people weren’t serious and that the LP was just a social club.
The ‘successes’ described consisted of walking in parades, designing floats, setting up booths at social events, and going to state fairs. So, not only, do they think they can “infiltrate the State,” but they also think they can win back our freedoms through social gatherings, somehow. The naiveté was nothing less than astounding.
I took a list of 7 questions with me and prior to that point, the LP was digging themselves a deep hole without me even having to bring up anything. I decided I would ask one question.
“Mr. Michel, how do you feel about intellectual property and the copyright clause found in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution?”
That was the only real question that was asked that evening and the LP chapter members, including Michel, were taken aback by my question. Michel mentioned that the question was so direct and to explain further.
I mentioned the DMCA claims on YouTube and how copyright is being used as censorship. I also explained that, as a journalist, YouTuber, and radio show host, I have to be careful, because even with the Fair Use Doctrine, people have still been outright censored, such as Christie Aphrodite of Soul Journey’s Radio.
He admitted that he didn’t know anything about what I was explaining and pulled a lame answer out his ass: “Well, I think if you create something, you have the rights to it.” That was pretty much the extent of it.
I wasn’t surprised that he was completely unaware of one of the more important aspects of the Constitution that he wants to restore, being a Libertarian Senatorial candidate. Expecting consistency and competency is completely irrational when it comes to reformism; it doesn’t matter which of the various flavors of reformism it is.
This also brings up another worrisome point. Most political rulers that swear an Oath to the Constitution don’t even know what the document says. They don’t know what the limits to their own powers are. That would be safe to say when it comes to Michel as well.
It would be wise for Michel to know the document, simply because it is the basis of the LP Platform, but additionally, if Michel is running for the U.S. Senate, he needs to know the ins-and-outs of the federal constitution, something he surely doesn’t. Overall, it’s just an issue of competency and Michel is incompetent.
After I asked him that question, Michel and I began talking. He asked me about what I did and this is the point where I dropped some of my vagueness and told him. He was interested in checking out my work so I gave him a business card.
The other adult my age also asked for a business card and joined in the conversation. I told them the type of things we discuss on LUA radio, minus the “anarchic” topics of course.
The adult my age started talking about radio hosts, authors, and philosophers that he enjoys. He mentioned Bob Murphy from the Mises Institute, Stefan Molyneux, and a couple of others, which surprised the hell out of me—he’s certainly been looking around for a proper libertarian education, something he surely won’t learn from the LP.
Of course, Michel didn’t know of any of those folks and I recommended Samuel Konkin to him, more specifically, the 1985 debate between Konkin and Robert Poole, the founder of Reason magazine, titled, “What is a Libertarian?” Maybe then, he would learn that he isn’t truly a libertarian.
I stuck around for about a half an hour longer and the meeting came to a close. John came up to me and invited me to their upcoming events and asked if I would be back to another meeting. Since they were all nice people, I was civil and just said, “I think you will.” Don’t get me wrong, it was an outright lie, but I wasn’t necessarily in the mood for conflict or a debate.
Larken Rose wrote an article in September of 2010 titled, “Libertarian Party: Worthless”. In this article, Rose states:
“The Libertarian Party has ceased to be libertarian. They don’t dare to bluntly describe what libertarianism entails, because that would scare too many potential voters, who have been thoroughly indoctrinated into the cult of state-worship. Instead of speaking about succinct, specific principles, Libertarian candidates and spokes-folk muddle around in more publicly acceptable generalities. They want less of this and more of that. Less than what? More than what? Where is the ultimate goal? What is the underlying principle?”
As I mentioned in the introduction, libertarianism is the synthesis of the non-aggression principle and the axiom of self-ownership. As I have also emphasized, consistency is everything. If one is going to call themselves a libertarian, then their actions most coincide with the overall philosophy of libertarianism; and if they don’t, then they are hypocrites and are more than likely, members of the anti-libertarian Libertarian Party.
In the two hours I met with the local LP chapter, I heard them mention self-ownership twice, but there wasn’t a single mention of the non-aggression principle.
Now, I’m sure some will think this is rather harsh criticism and you might even want to accuse me of “hurting the movement” (as some have been accused of in the past), but I am compelled by my conscience to call out inconsistencies, hypocrisies, and everyone must recognize the LP for what it is: dangerous. The only way the State can exist is through hallucinatory tendencies, such as being involved in the political process or by the belief in the myth of ‘authority’ at all.
The LP is only furthering the hallucination by giving it legitimacy, in addition to all of their massive failures since its inception.
There is also an opportunity cost issue here. If they would re-allocate all of the time and resources they dedicate in the political process into other things that actually work (or at least have a much higher possibility of working), then maybe we could regain our freedoms in more timely manner, such as through the economic means.
From my experiences with LP members in the past and from this political field trip experience, it is safe to say that the Libertarian Party is libertarian leaning, and even then, only on a good day.
I will leave you with this quote by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, which succinctly sums up their actions:
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”