Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 472, June 15, 2008

"Double or triple the price of gas, and that will
lock people down far more effectively than will
concentration camps and secret police."

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

This evening has been a bit disturbing. I had a long conversation by phone with someone who contacted me on Facebook seeking a phone call. Rather than talk about how he could help the Boston Tea Party, he wanted to recruit me to bring everyone back to the Libertarian Party, arguing that it would be more cost-effective.

Of course, I'm not part of the LP because the LP leadership betrayed the principles of the party and the ideals of liberty. Not recently, either. I was upset with their conduct toward candidates like L. Neil Smith in 1996 when it was clear that the national headquarters staff and the national committee, including the national chair, wanted Harry Browne to be the nominee. I left the party in 1998 when the corruption and scandals were too much for me to bear. I think that was close to the time when they moved the HQ to the Watergate complex, a place where scandal, back room deals, late night break-ins, rape, theft, and anything else seem to fit right into the overall Washington approach to running your lives.

The current deal with Barr that he won't run again in 2012 and the apparent deal to anoint Wayne Root as the presidential nominee in 2012 is part of that same tradition of betraying the individual, dues-paying members of the party. Obviously, members of the LP think that they get to have meetings of their local and state committees to choose candidates and delegates to represent them on the ballot and at the national convention. There apparently is a coterie of elitists in the party who think that they own the LP. So, instead of the delegates to the national convention choosing the nominee, the process is corrupted by back room dealing, by elitists making deals with other elitists, and by similar sleaze and filth.

This kind of thing has to end. It has to be exposed for the cesspool of indecency and corruption that it is.

Obviously, many people who voted for Mary Ruwart went to the national convention of the LP thinking that their votes mattered. And, to a considerable extent, right up until the fifth ballot when she was the leading vote recipient, they did. But, the sleaze and filth determined that it was in their best interests to have Barr the nominee this year, to have Root the VP this year and the nominee in 2012, and they cut a deal.

It isn't right that this kind of deal be used to determine who the nominee is. It isn't ethical to disenfranchise the members of the party in this way. And it is not just me that thinks it stinks to high heaven.

David Nolan, who co-founded the party, wrote a flyer seeking election to the LP's national committee saying that the party's membership was barely half of what it was in 2000. Why? Perhaps because the members feel betrayed—the feeling of betrayal I had when I stopped paying dues to the national party, the feeling of betrayal this phone conversation tonight brought up for me.

Nolan wrote, "The national staff and many members of the current LNC have been blatantly biased in favor of one particular Presidential hopeful. It's time for a change!"

Apparently, Nolan feels that this bias, this sleaze, this corruption, this filth, this back-room dealing, this disenfranchisement of the members of the LP is a problem. It is behavior inconsistent with the party of principle's claim to principle.

So, I want you to think about this kind of thing here in the Boston Tea Party. I want you to be angry about it, because it was happening here, too.

Tom Stevens deleted a poll which attempted to overturn an action of the national committee. Prior to doing so, it appears, to me, based on the investigation various members of the party have done, that Stevens and a small group of members organized three fake state affiliates with members not full-time residents of those states, and possibly without the national committee's desired five members. When these difficulties were exposed, Stevens called for the dissolution of the party here on this site.

So, I made an issue of it. I got nasty about it, to be perfectly candid. I was extremely unfriendly to Tom Stevens since last Thursday 5 June. I was unfriendly after he resigned to Rocco Fama, Mike Reid, and Alex Fitzsimmons. I believe that Fama's Tennessee affiliate was made up out of whole cloth. I continued to be unfriendly until these gentlemen also resigned.

Why? I believe we have to put a stop to political corruption, to fraud, and to abuse of power right here, right now. I'm in a position to be intolerant of it, and I mean to set an example. A few exemplary resignations were in order, and now we have them.

I don't believe I'm wrong about the Libertarian Party. I don't believe that I'm wrong about Stevens and his group. But it is entirely possible for me to be wrong.

Earlier tonight, trying to correct what I saw was an error in my response to Elf Nino's Mom on the presidential nominating thread, I deleted my comment. Oops, when a comment is deleted, so are its replies. Didn't know that. So, I apologized to the gentleman whose replies were deleted by my error. This is a fairly trivial example of where I've been wrong— I was wrong to trust the LP leadership with my membership dues in 1996 and at other times.

My request of the other members of the national committee is that you help keep things on track. Watch me for errors and abuse of power. Watch each other. Watch your own step. My request of the members of the Boston Tea Party is the same. Keep an eye on things we're doing.

Because the precedent of corruption in the LP is not one that I think we ought to bother repeating. If the Boston Tea Party is not going to be a beacon of liberty, decency, individuality, free expression, and ethical behavior, why bother?

I mean, the same is true of the LP. If you don't mind sleaze, corruption, filth, back room dealing, elitists running everything, and so forth, why not join one of the major parties that actually have the power to cut deals and work with each other? If expedience is all you care about, why pretend to have principles? It only sells more books if people buy it, and if you keep sleazing out, they won't.

What do I mean about elitism in the major parties? I read back in 1996 that the average American's income was around $36,000 per year. That is the gross national product divided by the population, so two government agencies each guessing at a number. The truth is, lots of people avoid being counted by the census takers, and lots of the economy is underground where it cannot be easily measured. But, that was the reported figure.

The people who attended the Republican national convention that year made an average of over $400,000 a year. The people who attended the Democratic national convention that year made an average of over $250,000 a year, as I recall the figures. Clearly, these people were not representative of the population.

And how did they get those fat paychecks? Not by working hard, not by having ethical business dealings, but by scamming the taxpayer. A little sleaze here, a little corruption there, and a big contract lands in their lap. Build some bombs to blow up children in the Middle East, or have exclusive rights to lay waste to several hundred thousand acres of government controlled land. Maybe create a new law to make illegal the form of product that their competitors sell, not exactly a bill of attainder, but the next best thing.

Is that what you want? Is that what serves your ideals best? Then go. Be a part of the parties that seek to corrupt, to deal, to sucker, and to defraud the American people of their tax dollars. Or be a part of the LP, which wants to use the same tools and somehow serve the cause of freedom and the purposes of private property.

In his phone call, this gentleman I spoke with indicated that he saw nothing wrong with it. He likened the LP's leadership to the CEO of a company—who does what he pleases with company assets. To be sure, until a minority lawsuit with criminal allegations puts him in jail.

But, of course, there is a difference between a political party which claims to represent the interests of individual members and a company which represents the purpose of making a profit for the investors. Investors put up with quite a lot, often very high CEO salaries, and all kinds of perquisites and benefits for the sake of those profits. Deliver profits and you can have a really nice life. Don't deliver, and you have to find a job somewhere else.

But that is why so many LP members feel betrayed. You feel betrayed because you have been betrayed. Your input is disregarded. Your serious grievances are set aside. You know that Bob Barr is a law enforcer, a patriot, opposed to Wiccans, opposed to gays, opposed to individual liberty, incompatible with the principles of liberty that used to be featured prominently in the LP platform, and the people who think they know better than you don't care.

I say again, they don't care. They don't mind if you feel betrayed. Because it is more important to them to be on the side that is winning, briefly, in, say, Denver, than to be on the side of righteousness, truth, justice, integrity, honor, decency, liberty, private property, or the fiduciary obligations that an agent has to those who paid him for agency.

This essay first published at

Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, and freedom activist. He has campaigned for individual liberty in Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa. His transition term as chair of the Boston Tea Party ends on 24 October 2008. You can read more about him at his sites and or at Wikipedia. He invites you to buy a computer at Jim was recently asked to help the Liberty Dollar team with their federal case against the violent seizure of their gold and silver.


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