L. Neil Smith's
Number 360, March 26, 2006

A Paper Manuscript

Transition of Greatness to Greatness: From Amanda Phillips to Varrin Swearingen
by Alan R. Weiss

Special to TLE

I have been "out" of the Free State Project's mainstream information flow for about a year now. Focusing my attention on restoring my health (now excellent), transitioning my business from the EEMBC Certification Laboratory to Synchromesh Computing (successfully), and in general letting others step into the breach to bring fresh ideas to the Free State Project.

I therefore learned of the retirement of Amanda Phillips as President of the FSP like most of you—via the Internet, rather than a personal phone call, personal email, or, for that matter, tin cans and string. Like many, I wondered, "sic transit gloria mundi?" [Thus passes away the glory of the world?].

Then I learned that Varrin Swearingen will become President of the FSP, and I was not only relieved, I was joyous. Not, mind you, at the passing of Amanda Phillips. You see, I was lucky enough to be, for a very, very short period of time, Vice President of the FSP (perhaps the shortest period in political history! Et tu, John Tyler!) and hence had the luck to see Amanda work from the inside.

Brilliance, dedication, and determination combined with poise and a sense of humor only begins to touch on this individual's talents. She has not been the FSP's only President, but she took over during a crucial period and helped build the media image so necessary in today's bitstream-drenched gestalt that it seemed as if she was everywhere at once, the spokesperson not only for the FSP but for a revival of Young People Doing Great Things. She represented the FSP well.

An odd coupling of leaders indeed: the extroverted and undeniably attractive Amanda Phillips, anarcholibertarian, atheist, and sweetness, with the Founder, Dr. Jason Sorens, he of the minimalist-libertarian, profoundly Christian, spiritual, and quiet nature bent. The FSP is full of these seeming contradictions: the brash, outrageous, generous lawyer Tim Condon (Christian) with the introverted, evangelical Christian Douglas Hillman (like myself, another former VP). And yet—no problemo, vaya con dios, all for one and one for all; mix your metaphors as easily as we all mixed together, for that is the genius of libertarianism itself, and the FSP in particular. I say it again: that is the secret.

Amanda Phillips will be missed; the King is Dead, long live the King! sounds so puerile given that no one in the FSP would want, nor need, an earthly King. Yet it seems fitting to quote shibboleths like these, for the FSP is blessed with talent and an orderly transition, two key ingredients in any organization's success.

Varrin Swearingen, whom I have also met and worked with, is undoubtedly the right choice to take over as the new President of the FSP. Varrin is an airline pilot (multiengine behemoth jets), and a dynamic, inspiring leader with steady hands and a steady heart. The FSP of New Hampshire is in good hands between him and Jason.

So what of this? Well, first, a thank you to Amanda, who has richly deserved one for so long as to make me giving her one absolutely insignificant in comparison to her deeds, her words, and her efforts. Second, a hearty and hale welcome to Varrin, no stranger he to the FSP, nor to hard work.

The FSP is also the Volunteers, and the Participants, who like Moses' and Aaron's people wandering through the desert of our age as they prepare the way for the Promised Land of Liberty, the repository for liberty in Eastern America, the very belly of the beast. We are nothing without the Volunteers! To the barricades, as Brother Tim Condon is fond of saying.

I talk too much.

Alan R. Weiss is Special Features Editor of NetPlanetNews.com, a former VP of the FSP, Founder and Organizer of The Ceres Project and The Ares Alliance, CEO of Synchromesh Computing, and in general A Pretty Busy Guy. He can be reached at: alanrweiss78726@yahoo.com or on his company's website.


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