Steve G.

Archive for September 8th, 2008|Daily archive page

Keaton Agonistes

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Media, Politics on September 8, 2008 at 7:45 pm

I am not an activist, and by many definitions, I’m not much of a libertarian, either.  I have an essentially libertarian outlook — “freedom’s just another word for get the f— out of my face,” as a Bureaucrash poster puts it — but I’m more interested in expanding personal and economic freedom than in reducing government.  I know the two go hand-in-hand, but the point is, no one would call me a purist.  (If I ever get around to finishing my book on my political outlook, ya’ll can read it and then disown me.)

I know very few Libertarians in person, having been only briefly active eight or nine years ago, and then having come back just half a year ago.  I know a lot of you online, though, and I’m happy to say there are few Libertarians I don’t like, and most seem to like me well enough.  I don’t count myself as a member of any faction.  I’m in an odd situation in that I find myself often with the “reformers” on ideology but not at all on tactics, and I find myself with the “radicals” on issue focus and internal LP politics.  I backed Dr. Ruwart for the presidential nomination this year even though her ideas are very different from mine, because I think she has the right focus and right approach toward selling our heterodox ideology.

But again, I am not an activist.  This is in part because of my other commitments and in part because it would conflict with my profession, but really, a lot of it is that I just don’t wanna.  That’s selfish of me, I know, but I’m not going to lie about it to folks I like and respect.  I’m too much of a misanthrope to go out petitioning or to try to run a local party.  I would make a pretty crappy candidate, too.  (If I ever do run for office, I’m sure that will come back to haunt me, but just tell Future Me that it’s as true for him and he should stick to the background.)  I have never been an LP convention delegate, and I’m only a lowly sustaining member.  This is all a long-winded way of saying nobody really needs to care about what I think.

But if you do care, what I think is that the LP is going insane.  If not for the fact that I’ve just returned and I’m sensitive to (completely fair) charges of being politically flaky, I’d consider heading back out the door again.  I do not support Bob Barr for president, though I am glad he is in the party; I hope he will stay.  I think his political evolution is basically sincere, and I give him credit for being honest about where he stands, rather than pretending to be more libertarian than he is.  But he’s not the guy for me.  I like Wayne Allyn Root more than a lot of folks in the LP seem to — he has a libertarian outlook on life, if not a truly libertarian political perspective.  I was quite impressed — and personally touched — that he issued a statement denouncing the imposition of first-ever regulations on homeschooling in the District of Columbia after I contacted him and asked him to say something.  (For those who don’t know, the Roots homeschool their children, and if Dakota Root’s remarks at the LP convention are any indicator, they do so quite successfully.)  But Root’s recent insinuations about Barack Obama’s college days, and other odd statements, make it hard for me to support him, either.

But this was just one ticket, I thought, and after November we could move on — hopefully richer for the media attention Barr and Root had received.  I still think that’s true, but after following the misadventures of the Libertarian National Committee over the weekend, I see the problem runs much deeper than the nomination of an unpalatable national ticket.  I only know what Angela Keaton, Chuck Moulton, and a few others have been able to report, so I do not want to make any assumptions, but it seems like the LNC used a large amount of its valuable meeting time to try to censure and censor an elected representative of dues-paying party members.  If what I have read is correct, the LNC did not decide to prevent Ms. Keaton from liveblogging the meeting in the first place — which would have arguably been a reasonable action, though I wouldn’t have voted for it if I was on the LNC — but instead tried to silence her after she wrote things they did not like.  The two things are very different — the difference between a politician refusing to grant an interview and using his pull to censor criticism after the fact.

So, what do we do?  There is the newly revived Boston Tea Party.  I participated in the BTP’s online convention in June, but then stopped being active because I was not sure I could fully endorse the party’s agenda.  I have worked out this conflict for myself and rejoined this weekend after the LNC hullabaloo.  I am staying with the LP as well, and will keep paying dues for now.  As I said elsewhere on LFV, I am hedging my bets.  (Neither the LP nor the BTP is on my D.C. ballot, so I will either write in the BTP ticket or someone else.  I may write in Dr. Phillies.)

But factionalism troubles me.  As you may know, I write for Independent Political Report, where I get a front-line view of the many socialist and communist parties in the U.S. today.  When it is suggested they work together, they angrily state that each has a irreconcilably different perspective.  There’s some truth to that.  But more often, these parties ruptured years ago over issues of internal politics and personal conflicts.  The LP took quite a hit along these lines in 1983, and I worry another split would be fatal.  The Libertarian vote base is small enough as it is.  I really do not want to see the Libertarian Party, Libertarian Freedom Party, Freedom Libertarian Party, Free Libertarian Party, Party for Freedom and Libertarianism, etc. etc., each drawing a couple thousand votes in each national election from now until the statists blow up the world.

I think the best thing to do is to elect a true reform slate at the next LP convention — one based not on reforming the party’s policies but its internal workings, one that wants openness and transparency in national operations.  Failing that, decentralization and the formation of a network of state and regional parties may be more effective than the current structure.

I have gone on too long here, but if you are still reading: While I am not an activist, there are ways I want to help.  I would be interested in assisting any credible Libertarian media enterprise as a writer and editor — what I do for a career — as well as taking part in Libertarian broadcasting and media.  If you think I can help, please contact me at peter [at] peterorvetti [dot] com or here.


A message from Angela Keaton

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics on September 8, 2008 at 2:54 pm


After my first night of more than four hours of sleep, I have a little, a wee little, clarity. I’m also more objective now that I have a little distance and some protein. In the meantime, I have agreed to nothing but to listen and contemplate the advice of others.

That said, I have much fondness and appreciation for all of you. Each of you should do what is best for your activism. You were included on this thread because you are champions of anything peaceful. I will be fine. We should be laughing. Our detractors are clowns. As I am fond of saying, getting kicked out of the LP is like fired from a titty bar. It doesn’t go on your permanent record. No one in the outside world cares.

Mush over, now back to matters at hand:

Everyone needs to take a step back and evaluate the whys as much as the what. We are in an ideological and structural meltdown. While it is fun to speculate which mommy issues M Carling might be laboring under or what went so wrong in Aaron Starr’s potty training, this is about whether we are part of the libertarian movement or merely an adjunct to the GOP death machine.

We will never have peace from those who wage war. When my support is coming from unexpected places like Admiral Colley who said he wanted a resolution like Hogarth’s since Atlanta, we need to be reminded what is at stake. Among my high crimes is my refusal to raise money for a ticket which includes a mildly repentant war monger, initials Wayne Root.

As to the events of yesterday:

Have not been able to keep up with volume of emails and blog post generated by the LNC meeting. Everyone has a version of events, usually self interested or representing a collective concern. Particularly among those who are now eyeing what may be empty seats on the LNC. No plans to respond to every claim of “factual error” since the level of posturing and feigning “fairness” is getting silly even with my taste for the absurd. People can see that for what it is. Further, I was not allowed to see the last set of proceedings so I have nothing to go on but my impressions of the credibility of those reporting. Still quite unclear about much of it.

After the meeting adjourned, agreed to listen to Ruwart, Hawkridge, Wrights and Fox in a private lunch yesterday. They have certain concerns, not the least of which is losing my vote on the LNC. This is serious since Haugh (who has been very fair to me) pointed out that if I leave, Mattson is likely my replacement. That weighs heavily on me. Mattson is a conservative with all the baggage that term carries as suggested by Rockwell’s brilliant speech at the Rally for the Republic. (I’m dropping the term “Christian Right.” It’s offensive to our many libertarian Christian brethren.)

While this is not confirmed, Mattson is the sixth place finisher and I am the “weak link.” It would be nearly impossible to knock Ruwart off the LNC without a mass exodus from the LP. If I’m gone, they have gotten rid of one pesky anarchist without alienating authentic libertarians who will hold their noses and vote for the ticket.

Now, I will only be allowed to stay if I tender an apology on the narrow action of writing about Carling and Redpath’s statements during the executive session with a promise that I never reveal anything said in executive session again. I violated a rule that I think is unjust. I don’t know how sincere I can be but if Wrights, Ruwart and Hawkridge need me in a plan to return the party to the movement, I will consider taking one for the “libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party.” Besides, as party stalwarts like Gene Hawkridge and Ernie Hancock have said, the best one can do is object to executive session before the session and on the record.

Also, Hawkridge asked that I write a detailed but non inflammatory statement about the various forms of harassment sexual and bullying from Carling and Starr. Need to run this by Doherty, my mother and our lawyer first.

Now for the “shocker.” Cory has a very different version of his conversation with Carling as well as his take on charges by Starr and Carling that Cory and the Barr campaign have not cooperated with the LP. There is a dispute between what is the former Root campaign and the Barr camp over donor lists and access. I’m merely a prop in this drama. Very likely, Cory and I will speak man to man this week in DC. If he did not make those statements to Carling, Cory is the one who deserves the apology from me for not extending the courtesy of at least asking him whether he made such statements.

Meanwhile, don’t let the minor differences amongst us to divide us. Sullentrup has not only slandered Knapp repeatedly but is actively encouraging a schism. Don’t allow such a little man a great victory.



LPMass Resolution: Leave LSLA, encourages removal of Stephen Gordon as LSLA head

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Politics, Protest on September 8, 2008 at 9:32 am

The following is a resolution from the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts

Whereas State Chair Phillies received an apparently legitimate advertisement “We’re giving away 100,000 signs to support every campaign in America”, and

Whereas State Chair Phillies out of the generosity of his heart took time out of his busy schedule to forward this opportunity to his fellow State Chairs via the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance (LSLA) email list, assuming that the average Libertarian candidate could find out how to divert this opportunity to her or his own benefit, and

Whereas without giving an opportunity to defend himself, LSLA State Chair Stephen Gordon took punitive action against Phillies, and

Whereas the nature of the complaint and the identity of the complaintant have been kept secret so that there was no opportunity for Phillies to defend himself against the unknown complaint, and

Whereas, contrary to the false claim of Gordon, a claim that would have been refuted if Phillies had been given a chance to defend himself, Phillies as of this writing as a result of Libertarian National
Committee action is the National Party’s choice of candidate in Massachusetts, then

Be it resolved that the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts State Committee in accord with its authority under Party Bylaws orders and directs that all ties of LPMass with the LSLA are severed, and furthermore

Orders and directs that its officers under their ex officios may not invoke their ex officios to join or participate in the LSLA, and

While recognizing that each individual Libertarian is free to do what they see as best for the Libertarian Party, nonetheless encourages individual party members to seek activism opportunities otherwhere than the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance, and

Encourages the State Chairs remaining in the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance to seek, forthwith, the removal of Stephen Gordon as their head, and

To the extent useful, the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts will operate on its web site a forum for State Chairs and State Party leaders to participate and communicate at no cost to them.

Resolution passed 4-1, State Chair Phillies not voting.

LNC Alternate, Scott Lieberman, do the math for us regarding Keaton

In Libertarian on September 8, 2008 at 12:45 am


Scott Lieberman

Scott Lieberman

Previously you presented your reasons for opposing an Iraq Withdrawal Resolution on another blog. Part of your reasoning involved the amount of person-hours spent on it:

2. There were approximately 40 people in the room when this motion was considered during the Feb 17, 2008 LNC Meeting. The original agenda stated that we would give this agenda item 5 minutes, but we spent at least 10 minutes debating this motion plus related secondary motions. That means the debate regarding this resolution wasted over 6 person-hours of LNC member’s time and the audience member’s time, to pass a resolution that will get zero publicity outside of libertarian blogs.

Can you provide similar calculations regarding the efforts to kick Angela Keaton off of the LNC at the recent meeting?