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Libertarian in High Office – Jeff Hewitt Pulls Away – He Can’t Lose

A Winning Race by Radical Libertarians in California is Now all but Decided. This may be the most significant WIN by the LP since it stole an Electoral College vote.

Zooming By

Libertarian Jeff Hewitt has pulled away further into the lead in his race for county supervisor in Riverside, California. “The world upside down,” is the only way to describe it. The Libertarian took a losing race against an establishment Republican and actually flipped the score, sending both major parties into a scramble. As of November 30th, Hewitt is over 2500 votes ahead out of over 100,000, putting him at 51.3%. Depending on how many of the remaining county-wide provisional votes count towards his race, it may now be impossible for him to lose.

Votes for Jeff Hewitt in the Riverside County 5th District Supervisor election in 2018 changed over time. Absentee ballots were counted in the same order voters sent them in over the nearly 2 months California allows. The trend in voters shows distinct and massive changes in voter propensity towards Jeff Hewitt.

Votes for Jeff Hewitt in the Riverside County 5th District Supervisor election in 2018 changed over time. Absentee ballots were counted in the same order they were sent in. The trend shows distinct and massive changes in voter propensity towards Jeff Hewitt.

The race he is in is for one of the most prized political positions in the country and easily among the top 20 most influential positions in all of California. The result will likely mean that for the first time in history, the Libertarian Party will have a solid member supervising a significant county seat. Riverside County is the 11th MOST populous county in the US and has a geographic area the size of New Jersey. The five person board decides administrative and enforcement policy for all law in their county and it controls an annual budget of over $5,000,000,000.

What few votes remain to be counted in this race are a tiny portion of the Vote-By-Mail ballots that needed extra verification and then also about 30,000 provisional votes cast on election day.  The remaining votes will not all be applied to this race. Because the counting has now prioritized precincts within this particular race, it is believed that there are only 2500 to 7000 votes left. The final results will not be certified until Dec. 6th, but only an impossibly improbable showing could make him lose at this point.

The Hewitt campaign didn't pull any radical punches. On tax day, people got a humorous and hard to ignore post card in their mail box.

The Hewitt campaign didn’t pull any radical punches. On tax day, people got a humorous and hard to ignore post card in their mail box.

County elected officials are reportedly calling Jeff Hewitt to congratulate him on winning. It is said that many have specifically complimented his campaign for a spectacular job moving voters. There is also apparently some level of having to admit surprise. Not a lot of the establishment politicos in the area had bet on the dark horse. To ensure that he can ramp up his office in time, the county has even issued Jeff Hewitt an exclusive access pin identifying him as Supervisorial Staff in administrative offices in the county seat.

A Full Tilt Assault by Libertarians

This was no “gimme” of a win for Libertarians. Jeff Hewitt’s campaign was a full tilt assault on traditional party politics. According to the campaign manager, Boomer Shannon, the approach was to do, “good ole’ fashioned politicking.” He says that the establishment parties have become so entrenched that they no longer know how to solicit votes; they only remain in power on the momentum of their “now broken machines.”

Another radical and hard hitting mailer questioned the voting record Hewitt's opponent had as a GoP hatchetman: Authoring bills that targeted immigrants and frustrated LGBT equal protection under the law.

Another radical and hard hitting mailer questioned the voting record Hewitt’s opponent had as a GoP hatchetman: Authoring bills that targeted immigrants and frustrated LGBT equal protection under the law.

The day following the election, Mr. Shannon reported to activists and observers at the campaign office the results of the night’s counting and predicted a win by 2000 votes. Though at the time they were still down several hundred votes, he pointed at the 56% performance at the polls and said this statistically represented, “the world turned upside down,” from the 44% of the early absentee returns. He felt that the Democrats and Republicans did not know what was coming and said that as votes come in, “there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Afterwards, I got a minute to ask Mr. Shannon what he meant by people not knowing what is coming, and what that meant to other libertarians.

This mailer warned that the other candidate, a true crony, was being sued by his own city for failing to build schools to code. This sir... we Libertarians call this a petard... up you go!

This mailer warned that the other candidate, a true crony, was being sued by his own city for failing to build schools to code. This sir… we Libertarians call this a petard… up you go!

“They have gotten worse than lazy,” Mr. Shannon said about the major parties. “They are indolent in representing the people that vote for them. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are attracting new voters because the generations following the Baby Boomers have completely lost faith in them.”

Hewitt's opponent called himself a Regan Republican and then took over $650,000 from public employee unions. He did not have a cartoonist on staff, but Jeff Hewitt did and this Republican targeted mailer generated a LOT of phone calls... not only to the Hewitt's campaign, but reportedly some angry ones made it to GoP leadership as well.

Hewitt’s opponent called himself a Regan Republican and then took over $650,000 from public employee unions. He did not have a cartoonist on staff, but Jeff Hewitt did and this Republican targeted mailer generated a LOT of phone calls… not only to the Hewitt’s campaign, but reportedly some angry ones made it to GoP leadership as well.

“Over the last 15 years that we have been doing street level activism in Southern California we have seen a significant shift in the way people approach society. It is testimony to the decades of education work the party has done. When we canvass people with an OPH (Operation Politically Homeless) kit, the results today are striking. In parts of Los Angeles that trend towards Democrats, there is a swing. The little red dots we put on the graph have shifted up on the Republican side towards Libertarians. Conversely in more Republican areas like where Jeff is running, we see the registered Democrats shifting up into the Libertarian quadrant.”

Libertarians using OPH kits are seeing surprising yet telling shift in public attitudes towards self-ownership.

Libertarians using OPH kits are seeing a surprising yet telling shift in public attitudes towards self-ownership.

Operation Politically Homeless is a long running education tool invented by the much revered and missed David Nolan. Once known as the Nolan Chart, the device is a small ten question test that inquires on a respondent’s view on some hard hitting freedom issues. Five of the questions are on “personal freedoms”; the rest are about economics. The chart is purported to correctly identify which political alignment a person has. The alignment is based not only on the familiar Left to Right axis, but also on a up-down scale of Libertarian to statist. An organization called The Advocates for Self Governance makes pre-printed tests of the World’s Smallest Political Quiz and display ready scoring posters available online. These kits are a regular gift among Libertarians to new activists.

“What this shift means to us is that on each side of the pseudo-divide between the two major parties, the side that feels disempowered, sees Libertarian thought as the solution. But that is not the strongest sign we see. What we get really excited about, the thing that seems to be the most significant change in those charts, is the fading away of the red and blue dots.”

“When I first started doing activism using the OPH kit, the respondents were a different sort. Most people who took the test were registered in one of the big parties. The chart would just have a smattering of yellow stickers we used for people registered in a 3rd party or had declined to state a party preference.”

Over six weeks over a dozen workers knocked on over 22,000 doors, talking to voters and soliciting sign placement.

Over six weeks over a dozen workers knocked on over 22,000 doors, talking to voters and soliciting sign placement.

“Gradually, and then significantly, those dots began to change. Each year, and universally across the various neighborhoods we canvass, red dots and blue dots began to be replaced by independent voters. Now nearly half of the respondents to the World’s Smallest Political Quiz we talk to are independents.”

“What is interesting is that the change isn’t just a replacement. We are getting a lot more people to stop and talk to us, take the test, and discuss society. Younger voters, who were once disenfranchised, are taking ownership and an interest in the political process. And let me tell you, they are a cynical lot too!”

“In areas that are Progressive strongholds in Los Angeles for instance, we get a lot of voters that understandably trend on the left side of the chart. The blue dots push far over, but the independents and Republicans score strongly Libertarian. When we talk to these guys, they still tend to be most interested in the issues that their neighbors and old progressives traditionally held up as ensigns like social justice and the environment. What we found though, is that they do not trust government to do these things. Until they talked to us, they just didn’t have any idea that these problems might be solved without ‘pointing guns at people.’ They tend to agree that government is not the right solution for society’s most important problems.”

Politics is about People

Boomer Shannon explains that these observations about the trajectory of political interest in voters was strong in shaping Jeff Hewitt’s campaign. The campaign sought to distance itself from politics as usual by throwing out the bold and blocky style now universally recognizable as political signs.

Warm desert colors and a confident smiling face got voters to look and then pay attention to Jeff Hewitt's campaign.

Warm desert colors and a confident smiling face got voters to look and then pay attention to Jeff Hewitt’s campaign.

“A leader in the GoP here in Riverside called us ‘gutsy’ for putting Jeff’s face on our print media. Like most politicos, he has no clue what marketing looks like. As part of our volunteer army we had Hollywood PR and design people advising us and a staff artist. We knew that what we needed to do was set ourselves apart from politicians in general. We used warm desert colors in our advertising and plastered Jeff’s smiling confident face all over the county. It was friendly. It felt very personal and Jeff was very well received.”

“We have a saying around here that guides our attitudes: ‘Politics is about people; and the number one skill is making friends.’ Jeff and his amazing political track has represented the epitome of this. We would never have had this level of success if Jeff had not first volunteered for the planning office in his hometown, ran for the city council and then been promoted to mayor. His reputation was the foundation the campaign was built on. When we walked into a forum, as outsiders we were always walking into what normally would have been enemy territory. But it didn’t matter if it was a liberal church, a hispanic business coalition or a conservative club of GoP regulars, Jeff had a friend welcoming him and making introductions.”

Activists, a very large majority under 30 years old, flocked to Riverside to help the Hewitt campaign. Not only did they help with the ground game, IT services and media generation were also largely volunteer efforts.

Activists, a very large majority under 30 years old, flocked to Riverside to help the Hewitt campaign. Not only did they help with the ground game, IT services and media generation were also largely volunteer efforts.

“With this ability to make friends, our outreach became a funnel for people to meet Jeff. We had a dozen people canvassing neighborhoods, knocking on doors and making friends. People would see Jeff’s face on the extended literature and say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen him,’ and the rest was easy. Our number one goal was to put Jeff in front of people on a personal level, the second was to get signs on lawns. If they showed some active interest we set them up for coffee with Jeff. Jeff wound up drinking a LOT of coffee. Campaigning was two shifts a day for him – seven days a week.”

“Not only did we get a lot of positive feedback for the personal contact, we littered the district with thousands of signs. You would drive around town, and at busy intersections there was [the opponent’s] sign nailed to a pole where a signage company was hired to put them up. Ours were there too, but when you turned into the side street of a neighborhood, it was all Jeff, Jeff, Jeff. The GoP doesn’t know how to play a ground game. For them it is all about the party approved vendors.”

The Failure of Parties

Boomer claims to have studied the art of political persuasion, “before Tammany Hall,” when violent enforcement of party lines became prevalent. He says he can identify concretely where the Republicans and Democrats are failing. Their model is still based on control they no longer have. He also says he knows how to exploit that weakness and that it is easy to illustrate so that Libertarians do not make the same mistake. It is his theory that the major parties are no longer really political parties.

A very busy office run by millennials moved the vote over 12 points propelling a Libertarian to victory.

A very busy office run by millennials moved the vote over 14 points propelling a Libertarian to victory. They set up IT infrastructure to rival a tech startup, wrote custom software and even produced the campaign’s media all in-house.

“This is hard for some, especially the establishment, to understand. For over a hundred years, politics has been monopolized by teams on a playing field that is completely corrupt. Look,” he said, “a political party, by its organic nature is the opposite of a control structure. Political parties are actually defined by a set of people, having a common social goal, coming together to realize it in the electoral process. You wont find any actual social goals except as window dressing in the establishment parties. The purpose of the their parties is completely manipulated to maintain access to graft. People know it and they hate corruption. What they need to know is that Libertarians are different, that we are sincere. That means being bottom up and decentralized as a movement and as a party so that activists and candidates stick around, and it means being locally relevant and radical in our messaging so that people hear us with definition.”

“As soon as the parties became centralized, they stopped being… Parties. After nearly 100 years, their unyielding grip on government is slipping because they do not know how to talk to the public. In those hundred years, they became Leviathan, and now under the weight of their own narcissism, they are collapsing. The massive swelling of voters who do not choose a party, to me is a plowed field ready for planting. We will use the rotting corpses of the old parties for fertilizer as we sow seeds of Liberty and irrigate it with the tears of broken and destitute bureaucrats.”

“Republicans and Democrats settle your mortal affairs. Jeff is just the beginning. The Libertarians are coming.”

 

Disclosure:
As a So Cal Libertarian, I was naturally very invested in seeing Jeff Hewitt win this election from a number of angles. I helped on the campaign as a volunteer anywhere I could, and more. I was not alone and have a great love and appreciation for the dozens of fellow Libertarians that similarly took massive amounts of their free time and valuable skills and devoted them to this race. I pretend no lack of personal bias in this blog post. I am really proud of what those guys did.

The post Libertarian in High Office – Jeff Hewitt Pulls Away – He Can’t Lose appeared first on Alive Free Happy.

Vermin Supreme – The Nation’s Funniest Presidential Candidate

The man’s name is Vermin Supreme and every moment in his presence is pure living theater. He has run for President several times, with each election cycle he gains more attention. He promises to implement a system of uniform dental hygiene laws, to revolutionize the world with free energy from zombies, and he extols the virtue of a combined pony based economy and federal identification program (you must have your pony with you at all times.) I got to talk to Vermin Supreme behind the scenes and see him in action in several venues. It feels like an experience worth sharing for the fun of it but also because for me, it forced some pondering on what success in politics really looks like.

An Introduction

Vermin Supreme made himself an Internet sensation in 2012 with this performance at the Democratic Party Primary Debates in New Hampshire. I invite you to watch it, all five minutes of it are a riot.

Not just a perennial wacky satirical Presidential Candidate, Vermin Supreme is a true showman, a professional; and as I have had the pleasure to find out, he is serious about his mission. I first saw the above video in 2012 while watching the race, rooting for Ron Paul to make the biggest splash he could. It cracked me up and so it did to many people. The YouTube video went viral and was even the feature of attention in several large forums.

If you are older than 35, you may not have heard much about him, but a lot of college aged kids sure got exposed to his plans for pony poop recycling. That video alone got over three million hits. A search on YouTube brings up a lot of material, all with decent showings. Vermin loves performing and has successfully kept an loyal internet following together between campaigns with interviews, biographies, and a string of political stunts. One video is of him playing with ponies, dancing and singing to his own autobiographical composition: “I’m a Meme“.

Dinner with a Meme

It was a set of interviews Vermin Supreme had scheduled in Los Angeles that gave me the opportunity to meet him in person. An activist here had contacted him, and arranged for him to be the host of a dinner fundraiser for the local Libertarian Party. In return, the activist (a young freedom fighter named Boomer Shannon) shuttled him around to his interviews, appearances, and street theater demonstrations for the week he was in town.

A Nice Restaurant on the Beach

The fund raiser, which I quickly bought a ticket to, was a small private dinner at a swanky place on the beach in Santa Monica. Chez Jay’s is a landmark, festooned on it’s outside with bright colors, cartoony underwater murals, flashing lights, and a giant concrete clam shell once part of a set that graced Santa Monica Boardwalk’s entrance. Looking inside it is crowded with two rows of tables between booths and the bar. All of the patrons all have designer shirts, many with ties; the ladies are bejeweled.

Vermin Supreme – The Nation’s Funniest Presidential Candidate

The setting is hard to describe. Chez Jay’s was one of the West Side’s swanky “dive bars”, an exclusive place where Los Angeles elite would dine and drink on the beach and party through the night. A wooden ship’s wheel stands in the entry. forcing people coming and going to squeeze between it and the crowded tables and booths. It seems to be giving the bartender and staff time to monitor guests coming and going. Over the bar hangs a decent sized tuna, the first fish that Gen. George S. Patton ever caught.

Our event was in the back, in a small room that once allowed celebrities to party it up in privacy long after last call. Rumor has it that Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedys would use that room to meet when the boys were in town. The hall to the restroom has an impressive array of photos showing Hollywood stars, politicians, and other celebrities partying it up.

The decor is the same as when it was first built. The seat covers are a little worn, but the city will not allow them to be replaced as they had once held some historically notable behinds in their cushions. The red leather benches run down each side of the wood paneled room we ate in, a long set of tables runs down the center. In this compartment eight excited guests, half of whom where under 30, and Vermin Supreme drank wine, dined on steaks, shrimp and enjoyed an appetizer made by the chef especially for the event: Cajun grilled octopus steak with shrimp on an etouffee to die for.

A Clown With a Boot on his Head

Vermin, in character the whole time, extolled the virtues of harnessing zombies for power, made serious demands about the promotion of oral health and sold us on the necessity for the country to adopt a pony based economy. In short, he proclaimed that this country can only be led by a friendly fascist prepared to grab problems by the gum line and floss them clean.

Vermin Supreme – The Nation’s Funniest Presidential Candidate

You have to imagine what the setting is like to understand the surreal nature of this dinner fundraiser in a restaurant within one of the most expensive parts of Los Angeles, literally on Silicon Beach. From standing in the park that surrounds the restaurant to the back, you can throw a stone and hit the any of thirty public tech companies, game design labs and the several of the world’s most elite sound production studios. The customers of the place have money, the food is not cheap, and in the back is a raucous party going on.  Hosted by a guy wearing eight ties under his long white Santa beard, a leather vest, sport jacket and a rubber boot on his head, a room full of people rolling in laughter, there is a party going that has clearly gone out of bounds. He entertains them and the entire establishment with a showman’s voice that echos from the doorway of the back room, over the crowd, and into the street – sardonic zany irreverence in every word.

You would think the management would be ready to toss these loud, imposing jokers out on the street. The staff was all smiles though. The big room out front picked up its own volume, laughter and giggles filled the establishment for the show going on. The tinkling of glasses and cheers demonstrating that happiness is contagious, and the Los Angeles elite love a good show as much as the next guy. Vermin Supreme was a hit, and the maître d came in with a bottle of a lovely Cabernet compliments of the house. “That was nothing you should have seen the outrageousness that Steve McQueen would conjure up,” he would tell us later. Indeed, on the restaurant’s web site there is a picture of Steve McQueen passing a joint to the owner, taken back in a time when that bit of marijuana was worth 6 years in a California Penitentiary.

Never out of Character

Vermin Supreme did not break character once all night. After dinner, a break for the smokers, and then desert, we lingered together in the parking lot.  The energy did not dissipate. Vermin kept up the show, entertained the valet, signed autographs for new fans, diners leaving the restaurant posed for pictures with him as we did.

Vermin Supreme – The Nation’s Funniest Presidential Candidate

Everybody had a great time and Vermin Supreme helped the Libertarian Party of Los Angeles raise a bunch of money for their part of a co-hosted activist conference in January. Even with tickets at a couple hundred bucks a piece, the fund-raiser sold out in just two days. Limited seating meant people missed out if they didn’t answer their phone and had to call back. I was really impressed with the experience, the food, the organization, and especially the entertainment. I wanted to find out more about Vermin Supreme and arranged some time with him at a private party two nights later and got a few minutes to talk. I learned a lot from him that evening, mostly delivered through his quickness of wit.

Even in personal circumstances, with no cameras or microphones around Vermin Supreme rarely drops his character. Talking to him is a conversation of sound bites but through it, I got to see the fascinating person behind the fascinating personality.

The Meme is a Man

I learned some interesting things about his campaign. Vermin Supreme has been doing this shtick for 24 years. His first run was in 1992. He was a clown candidate (really… He has formal training) and did not get a lot of attention at first, but persistence has paid off for him. From the spark of internet memedom, he has been doing interviews and franchising his universe. He has worked with comic book artist Digger Mesch who is publishing a series with Vermin as it’s base. He is even writing a novel set in the Dystopian future that exists after his election. Vermin read from the novel for a group of young freedom fighters at the party. I also got to learn a little about the man behind the beard himself.

An Anarchist of the Far Left Sort

“I am a socialist,” Vermin said with a voice that was not his normal showman’s delivery. His face had gone serious. He had also indicated that he was a “very libertarian person” with the same tone of firmness. After a pause to let it set in he said, “I believe in mutual aid.” Then he was right back into character. A little while longer, one of the young people present asked him if he might run as a Libertarian. He indicated that he was not opposed to the idea. He intended to run under several parties already. He said that if he did run as a Libertarian, unlike Harry Browne, he would likely take matching funds and to promote his campaign to the fullest.

Vermin Supreme – The Nation’s Funniest Presidential Candidate

Vermin Supreme is one of those far left anarchist types. The Rainbow Family outing attendee is perfectly happy living in New Hampshire among other independent minded people. He loves his privacy, and his individualism, but he also loves people. He is not wealthy by any stretch of the word except in friends. He believes in and loves community, but only the voluntary sort, and only the free sort where participation or non-participation is up to the individual and one where goodwill drives public interaction. People like him for his earnestness, they trust him and that translates into real political effect.

Like the Pied Piper of Hamlen Town, Vermin rallied and led the kids at the game night party on one of his missions the next morning. Up early blinking a short night’s sleep out of their eyes, nearly a dozen young activists met up early, downed a couple of pots of coffee and caravan-ed out to the beach a few miles north of where Vermin’s fund raiser was two nights before.

Freedom in the Sun

Venice Beach is at the north end of swanky Santa Monica, just south of the $25,000/month mansions that run along PCH and the exclusive beach cliffs that run up to Malibu. It is a piece of Los Angeles history, a place that was once run by a street gang known as V13. It was where the muscle builders hung out and as Santa Monica gentrified it remained wild, untamed and relatively impoverished for the surrounding area. It was a neighborhood of artists and musicians, junkies and surf bums.

Vermin Supreme – The Nation’s Funniest Presidential Candidate

During the weekend, the boardwalk in Venice has been and still is a carnival. Some things have changed there compared to when I hung out as a kid. The character of the place has not changed much per se. The same people are there doing the same stuff, artists on blankets selling their stuff, street performers juggling flaming bowling balls, drum circles chorusing complicated rhythms, dancers shaking, splitting and synchronizing to various styles of music. I once made a couple hundred dollars a day getting petitions signed on the boardwalk; which is how, personally I got turned on to the Philosophy. I was recruited to registering to vote as a Libertarian over 25 years ago by a guy with horned rimmed glasses and a Nolan Chart whom congratulated me on my 100/100 score with a voter registration form and a pen.

One thing has changed. You used to buy weed in Venice in a back alley. Now you walk into a store front. The Green Doctors was one of the first medical marijuana doctor’s offices in the state to blatantly hang out a shingle after proposition 215 in 1995 changed the law in California. Not at all typical of the practice in the state where most prescriptive recommendations are in traditional doctor’s offices. The Green Doctors is typical Venice, bright paint, bold psychedelic sign, and nurses in short uniforms. You can’t buy the weed there, but on the other side of the boardwalk from them is muscle beach and waiting along the chain link boundary of the weights area, there is a couple of people who happen to know where the closest dispensary is. The boardwalk, as it always has been, is packed with people gawking and shopping.

Vermin Supreme – The Nation’s Funniest Presidential Candidate

Here Vermin is among his kind of people. The denizens of Venice and tourists alike eat him up. His clowning gathers crowds. He makes people look and listen with his uncompromising professional delivery and powerful engagement. He entertains and he resonates. Everyone that hears him walks away laughing and thinking. The world is his stage and he commands it with his performance.

Since the Dinner, a few weeks ago, Vermin Supreme has officially entered the race for President in 2016. I am looking forward to see what he does but it does raise a question for me. One that is looming larger in importance the more I consider it.

The World Needs More Showmen (and Less Suits)

For me, politics is about people. The philosophy is not politics. Anarchism and Libertarianism are social ethical constructs. But, the effort to inculcate those mores in society is all about politics. It is not merely about elections or government. Politics is about connecting with people and getting them to consider society in new ways, to motivate them to join in a change. Elections demonstrate some aspect of present social trajectory. Politics is the effort to change that trajectory by engaging your fellow man.

On the front of engagement, the Libertarian Party was once a fun group to be a part of. They were the party party. It was among the freaks and geeks of Venice Beach that I was hooked as a college kid. My environmental club’s sponsor exploited us for signature gathering and thanks to him and his side business, I became dedicated to Freedom. Registering to vote put me on a mailing list and I liked the radical stuff I read from the LP as a young man. I had known the truth of liberty all my life, but here were people putting it down in plain language and actually engaging the system, throwing themselves on the gears of the machinery in a sense. From there I read Ayn Rand and Robert Anton Wilson and I loved every word of it as i graduated to Lysander Spooner and Larkin Rose.

Vermin Supreme – The Nation’s Funniest Presidential CandidateThe old LP was full of Vermin Supremes, back when we had 10 times our numbers. That is a significant thing to understand. The people who really make other people look and get socially involved, they are a mixed bag of nuts. Not all of them run for President. Some do, but many are artists and engineers – people who live creating new things – free thinkers. Societies producers, the ones that Ayn Rand illustrated in her novels were not suit wearing normal people. They were self defining people who rejected imposed ideals from all institutions.

Today the party, in an effort to look more mainstream on one hand, and in an effort to maintain “purity” on the other has gutted its soul. I try to imagine what it might be like for someone like Vermin Supreme to be a part of the Party today and it is not pretty. LP conventions are run by people who learned politics from the GOP, there is not a lot of fun going on on the floor.

The Libertarian Party used to be a place where the wild people went. Our conventions were booming and costumes, laughter and pot smoking in the hall was common place despite the hazard of far stricter laws. The artists and communicators used to flock to the party bringing their wide audiences with them, but the Party is devoid of their boon now. Once the people of Venice Beach, the Burning Man throngs, the agorists, the voluntaryists and the anarcho-whichevers all called themselves Libertarians and the party was larger by an order of magnitude.  Where are they now?

The post Vermin Supreme – The Nation’s Funniest Presidential Candidate appeared first on Alive Free Happy.

McAfee and Libertarian Party Appearances

Should the Libertarian Party be looking only at electable candidates,
or are colorful public figures like John McAfee good for the effort?

McAfee Runs For President under the LP Banner

McAfee Antivirus inventor John McAfee’s announcement that he will run for President as a Libertarian has sparked a lot of conversation in some large media properties. Many of the comments, interestingly enough seem to criticize the LP for being on the sidelines with guys like McAfee.

When poked, it is my experience that these detractors are largely not in the LP, but in the GOP and are just doing their routine sniping. It brings me to ask the question: Are we really sidelined when we run colorful characters in the LP?

Here are some posts regarding McAfee’s announcement and other sites useful for research:

https://mcafee16.com/ | http://www.whoismcafee.com/ | Wikipedia

Reason Article | Newsweek Article | Gizmodo Article

Even with all of this reading, at this moment I do not know much about the guy. I do not know if he would well represent the philosophy and spread it, but I do know something about how the LP operates, and “from the sidelines” is where the LP thrives for now.

The LP on the Game Field

The LP does operate from the sidelines. It seems to me that it is only allowed to exist because the powers that be, have to maintain an illusion of the principles encoded in the first and strongest constitution based on freedom ever written. It would have been easiest to simply outlaw the LP, and today that effort seems to be gaining traction under the guise of National Security but it has been hard to do and not get exposed. Instead they just change the rules of elections whenever there is a gain by any independent movement. By the rule of law, the sidelines is where the LP must play.

As I can foresee, it will be that way until one of two things happens:

1) We change our system to be more parliamentary in nature.

2) One of the corrupt so-called parties, falters in it’s ability to turn out even the tiny minority they need to keep their power and it collapses.

The first option is too foreign to people in the US and is not supported in the Constitution. Most people seem to agree with me thinking that this is not likely going to happen without a catastrophic crash of the economy and political structure.

The second option, however, is looming.  Both parties are ruled far from the voters and in controvert to the wishes of their base.  The Republicans are nearly defunct. This is especially obvious in states like California where they are no more than a zombie institution locally, and an ATM machine for the east coast masters of the party. They have been rigid and exclusive for decades, pushing out all who disobey. Goldwater scared the crap out of them.

The Democrats are far less rigid than the GOP keeping their leadership in place in a complex of winks and nods. Their structure is more tolerant of converse movement at the top as the base is allowed to move more or less on its own.  Control happens through less direct routes than in the GOP. But that same structure makes flexible makes them more prone to pieces breaking off on their own.

Political Change

The LP is on the sidelines and fighting the good fight. One day there will be a shake-up; likely shattering the GOP. At the same time an influence vacuum will form that will detach large pieces of the Democrat’s base as the people on top, fat with power, eschew the need to cater to the inconvenient. At this time, a new “team” will try and form to take the field.

Some think that this change is imminent in just two presidential cycles. I think that a Donald Trump could make it happen in one. One thing is for sure: A minority of people in the US are eligible to vote; a minority of the eligible bother to register; a minority of those registered go to the polls – and elections are won with tiny percentages of the population. The sham is actively falling apart… right now.

Success or Ruin

It will be after this time that the LP has it’s chance. People will be seeking “genuine” and “honest” representatives like people who are attracted to Bernie Sanders exemplify. If the LP has maintained their “pure” message the “kookiness of dissent” becomes “the wisdom of the people” and society will move forward toward freedom.

The other outcome that might happen is that we become a single party system officially. What is really scary is that this is our current trajectory as I see it. The GOP and Democrats are already shells for the same interests. Those interests have no want to have to keep paying twice the “cost of influence.” There will be a lot of pressure to keep the GOP extant but tiny as the token “minority party” institutionalized in the constitution and legislative processes.

Politics is About People

We are unprepared. The LP was at its strongest when radicals were out front and making noise.  Where is the Doctor Demento’s of the 21st century in the LP? Where is the Church of the Subgenius and the other such counter culture groups?McAfee and Libertarian Party Appearances

I can tell you. They were chased out by people who were afraid of statements like “peanut gallery” – suits, who following the examples of the dragon they once fought, took a page from the GOP vs. Goldwater and started purging the “unseemly” activists and “povertarians” from the party. In effect they chased out 90% of the party.

So, I would recommend that we embrace every colorful character that will sell the philosophy; that we “own” the sidelines with an excellent show. We need people like McAfee to fill the roles of the likes of Aaron Burr, George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin. People with the courage to stand up are often people who have colorful pasts. People who know how to make waves do not learn that skill by having led an unassuming life. Look up George Washington’s early career for instance or Thomas Jefferson’s constant battle with solvency.

People Love the Circus, and Hate the Opera

We need showmen and risk takers, and men with views askew that highlight truth. We need people to look, to remember our name and the earnestness behind it. We need people who want to join in the circus that is an insurgent movement, we need to make it fun, and we need to make it effective in one thing: Winning people over to liberty and building our base. From that base, everything else naturally follows including elections.

If we do not do this duty; if good liberty loving people do not get on board and start making noise along with us; if they give into irrational fears of not getting elected; if we reject the unsightly or unseemly and lose their support: The fascists will immanentize their single party strategy and true liberty will be lost from its first and last vestige on Earth.

 


Several questions worthy of discussion are raised and I invite your comment: Is McAfee someone who will represent the philosophy? Do colorful people spoil the chances of the LP getting elected. Does the LP need to better embrace the strange? Can the LP be effective for liberty even when it does not take offices? I invite your comment!

 

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