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L. Neil Smith's
Number 573, June 6, 2010

"A sign of the tyrant is a failure to
distinguish between dissent and treason"

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Playfully Roguish
Fun & Games at the 2010 Libertarian National Convention
by Jim Davidson

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Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

arch — adj. — knowing or superior; playfully roguish or mischievous

The tallest national monument in the United States, the Gateway Arch monument in the Jefferson national expansion memorial is the icon of St. Louis. It is a fitting place for libertarians to get together, since it is the site of so much history. Jefferson violated the constitution, in his own words, by finding no power to purchase territory, and purchasing a huge amount anyway. The Lewis and Clark expedition to map parts of this territory and tell lies to various native Indian tribes was started near where the arch stands today. And the Dred Scott decision which would inspire John Brown to insane acts of reckless engagement with government involved the court house there in St. Louis. As you know, momentous events followed the Dred Scott ruling, including a war for the independence of the Confederate States which was not entirely successful. That war shed the blood of about one million and thirty thousand soldiers on both sides, including more dead than in all the other wars before and since fought by Americans going back to Jamestown.

So it is an historical site, bound up in the freedom and aspirations for freedom of hundreds of millions of persons. It is an historical site related to tyranny and abuse of power, corruption, and excuses about injustice. As any decent reflection on Dred Scott's circumstances would inform you, the excuse "it is in the constitution" is no excuse at all for injustice.

There have been many trips to St. Louis and vicinity for me since I was born. My grandparents lived there, my mother grew up there, my mother and father met there. Both my parents were involved in race relations in 1949. Dad was part of the "Student Committee for Accepting Negroes" or SCAN at Washington University in St. Louis which favoured and end to racial discrimination on admissions. Mom was part of the Committee on Racial Equality (CORE) which was in favour of ending other forms of discrimination.

One of the CORE protests involved the segregated lunch counters in down-town St. Louis. Many of these lunch counters were in pharmacies or department stores and would not serve food to black customers. Blacks were in many instances welcome to shop in these stores but not to eat there. To end this policy CORE would get together a group of people consisting of at least one black person and enough other people to fill all the seats at the counter. Shortly after the counter opened for service the black person or persons would take the first available seat, then the others would fill up the remaining seats. The counter staff would ignore the black customer or customers and attempt to serve one of the whites. But the white members of CORE would point to the black person and say, "He was here first, serve him." So no one got to eat, but a great time was had by all.

My mother's younger brother took up residence in a suburb of St. Louis. I remember that he had been stationed as an officer in the army (helicopter pilot) at Fort Leonard Wood for some time in my youth. I also know that he served more than one combat tours in Vietnam. I think he retired from the military as a lieutenant colonel. He later worked for Ralston Purina. After that he managed his own personnel agency. He's retired from all those activities now.

It was a familiar trip in late May of 2010 for me to drive across Missouri and arrive in St. Louis. Some playfully roguish person in the Libertarian party (LP) national headquarters team sent an e-mail in late April or early May suggesting that the exhibit hall would be open on Thursday night for set up. So I made plans to be there then. It would probably have been better to arrive Friday evening, since there were essentially no people in the exhibit hall during the day on Friday. Of course, I didn't know that would be the case.

Nor did I know that someone playfully roguish in the LP had assigned the hallway going toward the bathrooms for the exhibitors, although all the traffic would disperse into the other hallway at 90 degrees to that one giving access to the elevator and escalator to the rest of the hotel. Such playful rogues.

The exhibit was on behalf of the Individual Sovereign University which is now planning its own founding conference, convention, gathering, and celebration in early March in Kansas City, Missouri. It is an irony of long standing amongst Kansans that the very largest city in Kansas is actually in Missouri. We are expecting musical performers such as Poker Face and Aimee Allen, Downcount and Andrew Jackson, possibly among others. Also speakers such as Tom Knapp, Brad Spangler, Wendy McElroy, Gary Chartier, and others.

My time in the exhibit hall was not without incident. I thought it would be since the convention was under-attended. After failing to fill all of the thousand plus delegate positions in Denver in 2008, the LP bylaws scrutinisers went to work and pared back the available delegate positions to 750 and they still weren't able to fill them. I think the vote totals were based on a total seated delegate population of 538. With vendors and families there were possibly as many as 650 persons around the event.

Saturday was not more than twice as crowded as Friday in terms of visitors to our booth. So, expecting a poor showing on Sunday, I decided to shut down after the delegates left for dinner on Saturday evening. I had my co-worker for the event, Raymond Lady, who came in from Indiana for the occasion, help put all the merchandise in boxes under the table. We left a sign-up sheet and free flyers on top of the table. I carefully positioned the chairs we had rented with the booth space and table leaning forward over the boxes of stuff. You know how you lean a chair against a table when someone is missing, or to indicate that it is reserved? It is a way of indicating to all and sundry that the chair is in use. That's how these chairs were positioned. I then placed the easels with our poster boards of information on our project on either side of the table making it difficult to get into the booth.

The communists (as I gather from their words and behaviour) of the American Open Currency Standard (AOCS, aka etc.) were occupying the booth three tables down. Right next to the toilets, in fact, how appropriate. While I was in the Missouri LP's fund-raising event listening to Tim Slagle give an uproarious and very foul language ridden comedy presentation, the AOCS scum were having a radio interview for a handful of listeners on some Internet-mediated radio show of theirs. And their guest needed a seat. So, I gather at their suggestion, my chairs were pilfered for the purpose.

Naturally, I noticed my booth had been screwed with, my poster boards were out of place, and my chairs were gone, along with who knew what else. I was upset. The AOCS filth were bullying and arrogant about their rude trespass and ransacking of my booth. And for some reason Tamara Millay led her children out of the Slagle event to lay claim to having fucked with my booth for the sake of my chairs. I remain curious why she didn't also ransack my wallet. You know, because she needed something in it and I wasn't really using it at the time.

Anyway, I expressed my frustration and outrage at this usurpation, trespass, and theft of what I had rented on behalf of Individual Sovereign University. Apparently there is a video, taken by the laughing, bullying, arrogant, communist chuckleheads at American Open Currency System of me giving full voice to my concerns. Naturally, I take umbrage at the careful editing on their part which ignores the fact that they were involved in ransacking my booth for the sake of their radio show guest. It seems that many of the people watching the video think that it is best to blame the victim of outrage, trespass, usurpation, and theft. Which is fine, fuck them all.

It was sort of funny to hear Tom Knapp say during this altercation that whoever took my chairs should have known better than to do so. And then it turns out to be his wife. Heh.

Sorting that out meant going through our inventory, after which I packed all our property back to my hotel room. We had much less on hand during the event on Sunday and Monday because of my unwillingness to leave anything of value at the booth overnight. Apparently there were thieves about, which, as I think of it, shouldn't have surprised me. Neo-conservative war monger Republicans have been in the process of stealing the LP from libertarians for years.

My arch commentary now continues with a review of the activities of the 2010 national LP convention. It sucked. In addition to poor attendance by about two-thirds the expected number of delegates, the convention lacked enough principled libertarians to keep a lot of known neo-conservative, pro-war, violent intervention enthusiasts off the party's national committee. Also, there were about 12 hours on Saturday and Sunday morning devoted to minute by-laws inquiries.

My friend Gary Chartier was present for the event. I think he was even a delegate. He noted that there is a certain kind of personality you may have encountered in parliamentarians and college debaters who think that when they are engaged in revising the rules of an organisation they are actually getting something done. Of course, they aren't. What they seem to be doing is continuously laying ground work for future usurpations of the party to keep it out of the hands of committed and principled libertarians—using techniques like double and triple regions to reduce to a minimum the number of activist libertarians who can be regional representatives on the national committee. You see, the regional libertarians were frequently the most vociferous opponents of corruption, abuse of power, lies, and pro-war sentiments expressed by the nationalist socialist neo-conservative pro-war corporatist (fascist) Republicans seeking to keep the LP from being a beacon of liberty.

If you think about it, one person working eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, for three years would not have been able to put as many man hours into the minutia of the by-laws as the 538 delegates were forced to do by the head scum in charge, Bill Redpath. Or, anyway, if they didn't feel compelled to sit through this painful process, they weren't present in the delegate hall when more rules reducing their ability to control the national committee and national headquarters team were passed.

Further attempts were made to eviscerate the national platform of the party. I have not made an effort to calm my stomach enough to review the results from that part of the convention. I have done some work to review the election of officers and members of the national committee, including the few remaining regional representatives.

The election of the party's national chair got a lot of attention. Of course, I blame Bill Redpath for much that has transpired in his two terms in that office. I gather he encouraged Bob Barr to run for president and worked to pervert the process to benefit Barr. Among other perverse results you may remember from 2008 was a press release issued by the national LP attacking candidate for the presidential nomination Mary Ruwart. It is funny to recall that the press release called for more money to be spent by the national government—as much as it would take, of course—to end the problems perceived in the press release. How very odd. How reminiscent of actions taken on behalf of candidate Harry Browne in 1996 and 2000.

Among the candidates for chair were Mark Hinkle, Wayne Root, and Ernie Hancock. In the second to last ballot, it came down to those three, with Hinkle holding about 208 delegates, Root about 238, and Hancock 89. Ernie is, of course, the brilliant and talented dynamo activist from Arizona. He is an excellent and principled libertarian.

Hinkle I barely knew. However, Steve Kubby, a friend of mine from the 2008 convention and a Facebook friend, spoke very highly of Hinkle. A review of national committee shenanigans for the last two years by James Oaksun revealed that Hinkle was two things: not in the camp of the conservatives nor the radicals; about 83% voting with the majority. This seemed to me to be a negative, since coalition building is often done at the expense of principles. But the great attraction for Hinkle to me was: he wasn't Wayne Root.

I really cannot say enough bad things about Root. He's a vile used car salesman type in my personal experience of him, always glad handing. Friday morning I refused to shake his hand which he punished me for by pounding me on the back as though he had some property in my body that he wanted to bash out of me.

It is my view that Root has lied about Barack Obama. In particular, he disavows ever having met Obama at Columbia University, from which they both graduated in 1983. He also claims that he has never met anyone who attended Columbia who encountered Obama. Obama was a transfer student, so it isn't surprising that he didn't get to know everyone in his graduating class. Nevertheless, although I never met Root on campus, I did meet Obama. And Obama wrote an article after attending a meeting of a group I was in, Students Against Militarism. The article, which appeared in our campus magazine The Sundial was very anti-war.

Try these links to read it:

[Link #1]

[Link #2]

Snopes has commentary from Root about this matter here.

In 2008, and subsequently, Root has said, "I don't know a single person at Columbia that knew him, and they all know me." But I have told Root about my encounter with Obama, and that I knew who he was although I didn't know Root at Columbia. So it is very sad that Root continues to tell this lie. In dispelling the myth, Snopes indicates that Obama attended a senior honours seminar in American foreign policy. Maybe Root didn't get into that class?

My concerns about Root as a slimy person extend to his business dealings. I gather he was involved in a failed enterprise engaged in sports booking or sports bet arbitrage. It isn't clear to me from my review of that phase of his life that he was entirely well regarded by customers. It isn't clear to me that we even know his name, since he is a published author under the names Wayne Alan Root and Wayne Allyn Root. We do know that two of his books were written "with" other authors. Maybe "danger" is his middle name?

But my main difficulty with Root is his continuous determination to water down the party platform, ignore core principles of liberty, and refuse to talk about legalising heroin, ending drug prohibition entirely, and leaving Israel to its own devices. He demands that such open and honest talk about the issues of the day would "scare" people. As if the public isn't already terrified of crashing markets, oil gushers in the Gulf, and continuous threats of war and more war. In short, he seems determined not to talk straight with people, especially libertarians.

As you can imagine, even though Ernie's concession speech indicated no preference for either of the remaining candidates—which was very magnanimous as Ernie had been openly against Root for the last several months—the end result was that essentially all of Ernie's delegates either went to none of the above candidates or to Hinkle. And Hinkle is now chair. A good result.

A better result came later that afternoon when incumbent treasurer Aaron Starr was resoundingly defeated by more than a 2 to 1 margin as I recall the numbers, by James Oaksun. I think this result is vital, since Starr was such a poor sport and so deeply enmeshed in the attempt to oust Angela Keaton which ended with her resignation in December 2008. Starr was also a major participant in the scandalous attack on R. Lee Wrights in 2009 over a pretended failure to pay his dues. Starr also did a lousy job of fundraising—getting rid of Keaton was an idiotic move since she had been a major fund raising resource. Anyway, he's out, and the delegates at the convention made it clear that they also didn't want him on the national committee.

But they elected Mark Rutherford vice chair. Rutherford had run with Root on something of a ticket for chair and vice chair. I think Carolyn Marbry would have been much better. Rob Power was ignored for secretary and Alicia Mattson got that job. As you can see from Oaksun's analysis, Mattson is closely linked to the core group of scum led by Redpath and involving Starr, Flood, and several others.

In my view, the new face of neo-conservative Republican dominance of the LP national committee is Rutherford, Redpath, Root, Mattson, Flood, Sink-Burris, Karlan, Weiner, Knedler. You'll find that Knedler as chair of the Ohio LP invited Root to speak at their state convention for 90 minutes and refused to allow chair candidate John Jay Myers to speak for even 30 seconds. Redpath, Mattson, Flood, Sink-Burris, Karlan, and Weiner are on record as involved in the shenanigans with Keaton and Wrights, vote consistently together, and in several cases are violently pro-war. Weiner, for example, tried to get the national committee to pass a pro-war resolution in late 2008, as I recall.

There are a sensible six members of the national committee. These are Dianna Visek, Mary Ruwart, Rachel Hawkridge, James Oaksun, party founder David Nolan, and Doug Craig. I think all six have consistent ethics, a long history of activism in the party, and are able to take good choices.

That leaves three other members of the committee, Lark, Hinkle, and Olsen. I think James Lark is much like Hinkle in Oaksun's analysis, in that he doesn't seem to be aligned with the conservatives nor the radicals. Also similar, he is about 75% likely to vote with the majority, suggesting that he is a consensus builder. Which I've previously mentioned seems like a negative, in that principles may be sacrificed to frame a consensus.

Olsen isn't as clearly middle of the road, but I found only two essays on his blog. You may find out more.

But even if all three of the luke warm group were to unite with the sensible six, their total votes are nine. And so they would be able to tie with the evil nine.

No doubt this situation would be different if there were more regional representatives, but the by-laws aficionados have eliminated that possibility by combining regions. You know, in the name of a "more efficient" and more readily manipulated national committee.

If you go back to the attendance numbers, you find that of the roughly 100,000 people who have ever been members (according to a figure I was given by the late John Famularo) there were only about 650 or so people at this year's arch convention at the Arch. In other words, about six-tenths of one percent. The vast majority of libertarians have given up on the Libertarian party as a lost cause, a pointless exercise.

It has long seemed to me that the difficulties we have encountered from excessive politics including corruption, abuse of power, war, brutality, pigs on our streets and highways, lawlessness by those in office, bureau-rats, and insane regulations, are unlikely to be resolved through the application of yet more politics. It seems that most libertarians agree, and have gone with the South Park idea: bail.

So what's the point of starting a university to educate these people? It is my view that agorism is the path forward. Withdraw from the state, get off the grid, interact with the state as little as possible, give it no excuses to add more brutality, do not build it up by resisting it, but hide from it, avoid it, and engage in trade and commerce privately. Doing so is now possible in a host of new ways that allow for completely private trading. And what the state cannot detect it cannot regulate, prohibit, nor tax. So it will starve as we make these technologies more easy to use and get them more widely in use.

Remember that in the 38 years that the Libertarian party has been around the size and scope of government has expanded in terms of budget by about 18 times. It has also grown in number of agencies and number of employees. It currently takes up a greater percentage of the gross national product than at any time in history. Judging by recent economic news, the state may be failing—the sovereign debt crisis is going to spark defaults and currency crises. No one more richly deserves to suffer than those who have benefited from centuries of state brutality.

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Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, and anti-war activist. His 1990 venture to offer a sweepstakes trip into space was destroyed by government action as was his free port and prospective space port in Somalia in 2001. His 2002-2007 venture in free market money and private stock exchange was destroyed by government action in 2007. He's going to Mars if he has to walk. His second book, Being Sovereign is now availble from Lulu and Amazon. His third book Sovereign Self-Defense will be released for Kindle soon. His fourth book Being Libertarian will be available for free download as a .pdf, being a compilation of all his essays and letters in "The Libertarian Enterprise" since 1995. Contact him at or
He and his associates at Individual Sovereign University are planning a series of concerts and celebrations of freedom around the world. One of these events is in March 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri.


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