by Nathan Barton
This weekend was the last straw. Enough is enough.
I first heard about it from my wife. It turned my stomach. As it had hers.
When her normal news feeds reported from Florida the LP meeting this weekend, she saw a year’s worth of slowly introducing concepts of individual liberty and responsibility, of teaching people in her new home region about free markets and reducing government (not eliminating it, yet: one step at a time) crash into ruins. And YEARS of work dealing with family and long-time friends and business associates. And e-mails soon confirmed it. Libertarian equals Libertine. You want THESE people in charge? What next? (I’ll explain more about her situation in a side note.)
But we actually saw a quarter-century of work on our part, in both electoral and non-electoral political efforts, finally and completely washed away. Years of teaching (yes, and preaching) and paying in time and money to promote people and issues that would, even a wee bit, increase liberty and restore freedom in our regions: in South Dakota, Colorado, and surrounding areas. Trashed.
It wasn’t just one thing there in Florida: there was the usual squabbling, and the name-calling and booing and worse was just that – I think worse than in past conventions. Yeah, I know that a LOT of people think that with Johnson and Weld on the top of the ticket, the LP has sold out to GOP-Lite. Maybe. It is a factor. But the LP has squandered the best chance it has had to get a good SOLID showing since the post-Nixon foofahrah. And a big part of that was that clown, that idiotic, egotistical, juvenile, disgusting, gross madman who did his strip-tease on national television. And the failure for anyone to make an effective response to this sick display. It confirmed the suspicions, or beliefs, of 95-98 percent of the electorate that the LP is a joke, that Libertarian DOES equal Libertine, that it is the party, NOT “of principle” but of potheads and meth addicts and porn stars and disgusting and gross perverts who want to watch and fondle children and do sick things to small furry animals.
As I said, though, it is the LAST straw: the handwriting has been on the wall for some time. I could go into detail from 2000 on and especially for the last four years. But it doesn’t really matter and I won’t bore you with my recitation of all the things that the party has done wrong, time after time, squandering time and money and slices of people’s lives, not for the cause of true liberty but for infamy and shock and literally throwing the baby out with the bathwater: decadence and selling-out and all the causes (from government-mandated same-sex marriage to government-controlled cannabis to political correctness trumping free speech and free association to the latest bathroom tempest). The LP is just as sick and just as corrupt as the old parties now. Indeed it seems as though the collective mind of the party said “Let’s go for the most counter-cultural, in-your-face, disgusting stand on as many positions as possible.” As society has decayed, so has the LP, just maybe faster. My family and I see it as, in sum on all kinds of issues, being told, not “this is a bad thing that we have to tolerate because of the damage to everyone’s liberty if we don’t” but rather, “see, this is GOOD and it for things like THIS that we need liberty.”
I am a free-market anarchist, because I am a follower of Christ Jesus. (Yeah, I know that religion turns a lot of people off. Too bad.) As a follower of Christ, a “Christian,” I believe that God has NOT given me the authority to stop people from doing stupid, evil, sinful things, except when those things directly hurt someone physically (which includes economically but NOT emotionally or “esteem”). But just because people are free to do those things does NOT mean that I have to like and accept and endorse what they are doing. Just because I don’t want to see something made illegal does NOT mean that I do not consider that thing immoral. But too many people, including the leadership of the LP, do not agree: I must embrace that immorality to be acceptable to them. I cannot any longer give any indication that I support their words, much less their actions. Nor can I understand them. The LP is either confused or hypocrites (or both), shown by nominating conservatives (who demonstrate their own pusillanimous nature, by tap-dancing around the issues) at the same time as they parade their rejection of all too much that is good in society for an extremism of behavior and speech that is truly disgusting. The Libertarian Party is no longer functioning in any way which is worth supporting.
Back to Florida: If someone had stood up, someone with some smidgen of recognition, of moral authority, of party prestige, and spoken out against this idiot with the thong, for his crude and lewd and totally inappropriate behavior, I’d not be writing this. But no one did. Years of effort by tens of thousands of people has been not just negated but made foolish in retrospect. The LP COULD, here in 2016, have made a bold stand for sanity and liberty in contrast to the moral, legal, and ethical debauchery of the Democratic Party and the spineless GOP; but instead has chosen to imitate the worst characteristics of both of those parties.
I am going to continue to comment, now and then, on news, and I will continue to do so from the perspective that I always have: as a christian, a supporter of the free market, an advocate of self-government (anarchy), an engineer, a military officer, a husband and a father. But I expect to be even more harsh in my criticism of those who are unable or unwilling to take a stand for liberty, for the principles of freedom, of responsibility and who believe that freedom means license, and that people are free to be stupid and evil without being responsible for their actions, either now or in the future.
It is, perhaps, appropriate that I write this on Memorial Day, when people remember their dead. For I DO mourn the loss, the death of the Libertarian Party as an advocate for liberty, even if it is at its own hand. But I do not think that the cause of liberty is lost: I firmly believe that we SHALL be again free, living our lives in liberty, taking and accepting responsibility for our own actions as self-governors and liberated from the tyranny of those who would usurp God to rule over their fellows.
End note: About my wife and her efforts for liberty:
A year ago, she took on a job in an entirely new state, in a community through which we frequently traveled, but knew little more about. It turns out her workforce, and her board of directors, and most of her clientele, are Tranzis: the kind of people who are GLAD that Bernie Sanders is pushing an openly socialist agenda, and whose main reason for not loving Hillary is that she is not radical enough, and that she and her husband have “sold out the cause.” Oh, and she doesn’t endorse Bernie. The kind that WANT to give (have stolen) more money for government, who believe that they themselves, much less their neighbors and strangers, are incapable of living decent lives without constant monitoring and control by democratically-elected government officials and their appointed/hired toadies. Oddly enough, many of the tourists which these local Tranzis support are “conservative” (neo-con, natch) and many are downright redneck. But enough are tree-hugging Greenie types to make serving the cavemen (and their downtrodden wives and girl-friends) bearable: that and taking their money so that the locals can pay more taxes to Massa. And in a state that micromanages business and local government to an insane degree, with the understanding this is done with the Mandate of Heaven.
She has been and is my encouragement, my best friend, my greatest confidante, and always my support in all things. I feel her frustration and pain in this, and know that like me, she will not let this end her own fight for liberty, which she has passed on to our sons. She will continue to win people to the cause of liberty, in any way we possibly can.
Mama’s Note: I’m sorry for your loss, but I came to that conclusion many long years ago – and we’ve talked about it many times. There is NO political solution to our current problems, and never has been. I always did understand the sincere desire to do whatever was possible to find a peaceful solution to this mess, even if it meant trying different forms of “working within the system.” But I always knew that was futile.
I feel your pain, truly, because I worked hard for the Libertarian Party for many long years there in California before I could accept that the LP was absolutely no different than any other political party, whatever they said. Now they’ve proven it to the world.
I have a suggestion for the name of your column here: Individual Liberty.
For over 20 years I supported the LP. I ran for public office, fought and gave money to get the LP on the ballot in NC, did everything I could to help and they did not once support me when I was running for office. I left the LP years ago. NO REGRETS. They have become what the others are and a complete joke.
This has to be a painful time for many genuine liberty lovers — like Mama, I came to the conclusion years ago that the political process (including, and even especially, the LP) was ineffective at best, and (at worst) a black hole for the energies of countless passionate and engaged volunteers. That said, I recall how devastating the realization was — it took months for me to process it, and move on with my life from there. Speedy healing for you and your wife, Nathan — that’s something I can pray for. 🙂
That said, I’ll second Thomas on all counts: The web is littered with critical comments on that ill-advised performance. Most thoughtful critiques mainly focus on the latter issue — why is a silly striptease so important, when the LP chose Johnson/Weld as its “Libertarian” candidates? Any one of the other candidates might be more libertarian, and more fun to boot. Money, credibility (with whom?) and polls . . . that’s the ticket. So much for principle. 😦
Bear, I’ll also second your notion, headlines lately all sound like something out of The Onion. 😉
Can’t actually speak for Nathan, obviously, but he seldom comments here. So much more going on in his life right now, and I can easily see why this would be the last straw for him. I think he and I have been in fair agreement on this for a long time, so I’ll dare to explain. It didn’t matter in the least who the LP “nominated” for political office. The relative merit of the candidates is immaterial.
The real (and only) problem is that the LP abandoned their principles, non aggression and individual liberty, for politics… however convoluted. And this happened in the 70s and 80s, becoming full blown in the 90s. The LP has not been relevant to liberty in a long time. So, I have to assume that the descent into indecent behavior – important to Nathan as a Christian – was simply the spark that brought about his (and his wife) final disillusionment.
I’m very glad that Nathan has finally come in out of the cold… and look forward to his future columns free of that “Libertarian” ghost. We will have no trouble advocating for individual liberty, non aggression and integrity without it.
I do feel for Nathan and his wife, and hope that came through clearly in my comment above. Sincere apologies, if it did not.
The striptease was a pretty tasteless act — some sort of a dare, reportedly (wonder who put him up to it, and WHY?) … but, foolish as it was, I also feel kinda bad for the guy (James Weeks, I think) who’ll now have to live with it the rest of his life.
Haven’t we all made stupid impulsive mistakes, and regretted them later? What was he thinking, or was he NOT thinking?
So many things about that convention just smell wrong. (I was not there, just watched a lot of coverage online.) It feels eerily as if some subliminal chicanery was at work — nudging a few candidates to yield to dumb, reckless impulses. Like Gary J. throwing away Austin’s gun, apparently in sight of others who promptly retrieved it. I’m no fan of Gary Johnson, but can he possibly be that out-to-lunch?
It’s hard to know what to think; those events seem tailor-made to make libertarians appear ridiculous, and alienate others. You are right about the LP, Mama — no argument from me — but it’s a shame to see the hearts and spirits of so many liberty lovers hurt in the process of acquiring “more funding” and “access to polls” at the cost of principle. 😦
“If someone had stood up, someone with some smidgen of recognition, of moral authority, of party prestige, and spoken out against this idiot with the thong, for his crude and lewd and totally inappropriate behavior, I’d not be writing this.”
Odd, since more than one such someone did exactly that, and yet you are.
Anyone who’s more upset about some guy dancing for a few minutes than about the nomination of two authoritarian Republicans to represent the “Libertarian” Party in this presidential race is overdue for a strong re-examination of priorities.
“with Johnson and Weld on the top of the ticket, the LP has sold out to GOP-Lite.”
They did that back in the ’90s when they started talking about getting matching federal funds. And Harry Browne. Then again with the Barr/Root ticket. Then the 1st Johnson run.
As for the strip tease act… That sort of thing is why I can’t tell whether or not the “Johnson threw away the flintlock” is real or not. It would sound like something out of The Onion, but so does the actual LP.