A Revolution Squandered: National Libertarian Events Show a Moribund Movement On Its Last Legs

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Back in 2013, Ron Paul had recently retired from Congress, and spirits were high. Libertarians felt that Ron Paul would be remembered as a historical figure after his Presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012 with his legacy lasting for generations to come. Optimism permeated through the movement, and it was widely believed that his son, Rand, would realize its full promise. His anti-drone filibuster was a huge hit to pretty much everybody, and the sky was seemingly the limit.

It took less than four years for all of those gains to be completely pissed away. All of the credibility, the respect, the momentum that Ron Paul built singlehandedly for libertarians was gone in a flash. It is almost like none of it ever happened. How could this movement fall to pieces so fast? The answer to this distressing question becomes self-evident when you pay attention to the actions of the Republican Liberty Caucus and the Libertarian Party. Both organizations held separate conventions this past weekend.

The bulk of each conference consisted of nobodies telling other nobodies how not to achieve any tangible success. Reminiscent of chickens running around with their heads cut off, it is difficult to fathom what value a libertarian could possibly gain from attending one of these conferences. There was no stir on social media about any of it either. Without a lively movement to parasitically leech off of, these groups now have to rest on their own organizational talents. The results are not pretty.

THE REPUBLICAN LIBERTY CAUCUS BIENNIAL CONVENTION

The RLC holds its convention every two years. With two years to plan, there is no excuse for having a dull, listless event. Nevertheless, the schedule was particularly underwhelming compared to the previous biennial convention held in 2015. That convention was keynoted by Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. This time, the only elected official on the docket was Congressman Ted Yoho. Yoho, a Freedom Caucus member, was presumably chosen because the organization did not have the resources to fly out-of-state public officials to the Orlando event. This obvious lack of resources and functionality in the RLC is due to the gross mismanagement of the organization by the entrenched leadership.

Of course, there was no change in the status quo for the RLC at this conference. In true libertarian fashion, nobody was held accountable and excuses were made for failed leadership. The same officials returned to their spots despite chronic malfeasance. Most shamefully, liberaltarian crybaby Dave Nalle was retained as an “At Large” board member of the RLC. Although he abandoned the organization and the Republican Party publicly last year, he was rewarded with a spot in leadership anyway. He brazenly worked to bleed the Liberty Caucus dry to support his “Republicans for Gary Johnson” organization, which, like all of Nalle’s endeavors, achieved bupkis for the cause of liberty.

The Gary Johnson Presidential campaign that was, of course, an incredible embarrassment that set the movement back immeasurably. It was the icing on the cake of an abysmal year for the liberty movement, and Nalle quite literally trashed the Liberty Caucus on behalf of this wretched campaign. So what better a time to take out the trash once and for all? Nalle has accomplished literally nothing throughout his decades of activism. He failed at growing the movement. He forged no alliances. He routinely makes utter fools of libertarians on social media. He alienates anyone with basic courage, and always gets down on his knees to serve any mainstream political hack willing to entertain him. That’s why he loved the latte-sipping Massachusetts leftist, Bill Weld so much. Nalle got a thrill up his leg for a couple of boring establishment has-beens because he realizes that the only way he will ever accomplish anything politically is riding on the coattails of a stronger man.

The RLC felt it necessary to reward Nalle with a position of power for his record of continuous failure, serial ineptitude, and selling out. There weren’t many pictures from the RLC’s national conference released publicly this year, and there was absolutely zero buzz about the event on social media. This is because the magic is completely gone. The allure of the Ron Paul revolution has totally faded. Nobody wants to see a bunch of boring losers pontificate about principles they cannot even come close to living up to anymore. The act rings hollow. It is no longer resonating. The productive folks of the liberty movement have already moved on to bigger and better things. All that is left is the afterbirth of a once-proud movement turned inside out.

As bad as the RLC may be, that organization still cannot hold a candle to the Libertarian Party when it comes to shaming the cause.

THE LIBERTARIAN STATE LEADERSHIP ASSOCIATION

The Libertarian Party held its Libertarian State Leadership Association this past weekend as well. This even is where the best and brightest, the cream of the crop, gather to share strategy and tips they have learned from the field. Keep in mind, this is not some ordinary event where any old Tom, Dick and Harry can just strut in and participate. These are the leaders from all throughout America. These are the folks who are fully responsible for shaping the LP into what it has become today. This is the heart and soul of the party. Always aching to put its best foot forward, here is what the official party posted on Twitter from the conference:

 I’m sure the alt-right is itching to join their ranks!
 Never fear, minorities! These white people are coming to save you.

LP members, it is time for a reality check. The organization is already doing a good enough job of keeping people out of the party. That is the last thing the LP needs to focus upon. Nobody with any dignity or self-respect wants to be anywhere near your clown show. Nobody wants to organize with repulsive, awkward gadflies who possess no charisma, no serious plan of action, no original ideas, and no vision. Nobody wants to contribute to an organization with no conceivable prospects for success in the foreseeable future. None of these alt-right bogeymen are ever showing up. They are already part of an interesting and vibrant movement that is gaining steam, so why would they ever want to trade down to some laughable freak show? It just doesn’t make any sense.

Really, this is just another exercise in futility by the nobodies of Libertarian Party to feign relevance. They like to imagine that they are taking on big bad Nazis. They like to LARP that they are fighting the alt-right, but in actuality, they aren’t on anyone’s radar screen that matters. The alt-right (and alt-light) are emerging as valiant warriors fighting the good fight against the totalitarian left in the streets. They don’t care about political correctness, only taking the fight directly to the enemy. This is the kind of leadership that appeals to the American public. Americans want brash, strong, fearless leaders with the gall to lead them back to freedom. They don’t want to be led by neckbeards, bookworms, and morbidly-obese degenerates with questionable hygiene. Unfortunately, that’s about all the LP has to offer. Next time, they really ought to just save the trouble and not even bother booking the always shabby, second-rate convention center to conduct its pointless event.

While there were certain people at these conferences who do substantiative work such as podcaster and historian Tom Woods, Tenth Amendment Center founder Michael Boldin, and Angela Keaton of Antiwar.com, they were far from the norm. Sadly, worthwhile libertarians like these folks are losing momentum for their important work because of hapless organizations like the LP and RLC. A serious re-evaluation is clearly in order for the libertarian movement at this moment, but is it even worth trying at this point? With the populist right taking off to the stratosphere, perhaps it is best to leave the libertarian movement as it is. There is no crying over spilled milk, and it just might be time to slam the door shut on this failed movement for good. Liberty-minded folks would be wise to start seeking out greener pastures.

Shane has been an activist for liberty-related causes for over 10 years. He is the Media Relations Director of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Michigan, State Director of the Michigan Tenth Amendment Center, and County Coordinator for Michigan Campaign for Liberty.

  • nunyabizness71

    “Liberty-minded folks would be wise to start seeking out greener pastures.”
    And where would that be? Certainly not the Republican, Democratic, Green, or Constitution parties.
    So where then Shane? Hmmmmm?

    • TexLiberty

      I assume Shane is going to spearhead some new nationalist socialist movement.

      • nunyabizness71

        sounds like it with the way he’s talking up the “alt-right”…

      • Shane

        Nope, I reckon I’ll be leading the liberty movement long after your worthless old ass is inevitably purged.

    • Shane

      On the populist right. It’s stated in the final paragraph. Looks like you’re about as good at reading comprehension as you are at political organizing.

      • nunyabizness71

        so in other words shane… just give up on liberty then… pound sand ya douche…

        • Shane

          Enjoy wallowing in irrelevance and obscurity in that case. You’ve really earned it, pal.

          • nunyabizness71

            if you think you are going to find liberty from the “populist right” then you are dumber that you look. good day.

          • Shane

            It has worked for Kyle Chapman. Sounds like you’re just a dull, ineffective activist with bad ideas on how to spread the message. No wonder the LP is so attractive to you.

          • nunyabizness71

            what are you 25? you think you know so much? so young…so dumb…you’ll learn. Reality will hit you hard in the mouth one day…hopefully you’ll be bright enough see it. I doubt it though…

          • nunyabizness71

            oh, and this will be the last time is visit this worthless rag.

  • June Genis

    Having now read several articles at this web site I am convinced that its primary goal is to steer liberty minded conservatives (i.e. those who do not also believe that it appropriate to use government force to implement a conservative social agenda) away from the only true liberty party — the Libertarian Party.

    • TexLiberty

      To be fair it also wants to undermine liberty republicans as well. Personally I like the way they can have commentary on an event from a person who didn’t even attend it which is inaccurate even on minor details.

      • Shane

        What’s inaccurate about the commentary, Dave? Be specific.

    • Shane

      You guys are doing a good enough job keeping people away from your party on your own.

      • GeorgeDance

        Yet LP, voters, membership, and registrations are at an all-time high. Perhaps if YAL and the Campaign for Liberty focused on something a bit more positive than trying to leech members from the LP, you might achieve similar results. Just a thought.

  • >being surprised by this
    A period of introspection will do the movement good whilst it watches the far left and right wage war for control of the world’s states.

  • We just need to sound populist that’s all.

  • @nsmartinworld

    The movement is run by ignorant ninnies. The day when intellectuals held sway in the libertarian movement is past, and it is now controlled by people who limit themselves to Twitter and a few magazine articles. Institute for Liberty does more good for liberty than the rest of the movement combined.

  • Lovekraft

    The photos immediately tell me the movement is more about accepting unrelated and unworthy members than bringing the sharpest minds to the fore.

  • I wanted to like the libertarian party. I just wasn’t prepared for their stupidness and pro-drug stance.

    • June Genis

      The Libertarian Party is NOT pro-drug. It is anti-prohibition. WHhether drugs are good or bad is not a political decision and therefore the party takes no position other than that adults should be able to make their own decisions about what to ingest while taking full responsibility for the consequences.

  • Things like your banner are why libertarianism is unpopular. Accepting the fact that you’re not a libertarian is the best thing you can do for the movement. You’re a fascist, not a libertarian.

    • Triggered much?

      • GeorgeDance

        Thanks for the admission that you wrote this to “trigger” libertarians, Shane.

  • I’ve found that most “Libertarians” are just closet liberals. That and Johnson is a boob that ruined it for us all.

  • Taylor Dalton Paduano

    I completely agree with your article. As a past leader in the party I can say that nothing has improved or will improve. The infighting will be it’s downfall, gone are the days of attracting suits and ties, now it’s a band of misfits and rebels. Hell, their executive committee is ran by a lady with hot purple hair, right out of a cartoon, and a gay male prostitute who wears miniskirts, a bra and fairy wings to the national convention to represent the party. And the leadership embraces and encourages it. You will never get sharp minds and money makers to backup the party.

  • GeorgeDance

    Pingback: “Libertarian movement ‘on its last legs,’ says Campaign for Liberty official:
    http://gdspoliticalanimal.blogspot.ca/2017/06/libertarian-movement-on-its-last-legs.html

  • Jon Gabso

    Because there’s nothing more Libertarian than supporting a president who’s a xenophobe (not Libertarian), nationalist (not Libertarian), psychotic Islamophobe (not Libertarian), trade protectionist (not Libertarian), tax-and-spender (not Libertarian), salesman of billions in arms to Saudi Arabia (not only not Libertarian but straight up fucking globalist, isn’t that Shane?), bomber of innocent Muslim children (not Libertarian and exactly like Barack Obama), and nominator of drug warrior Jeff Sessions as AG (see a pattern?).

    We have a separate party for a reason, that’s because there has not been a single moment where anyone in the D or R parties has ever represented liberty without caveat. In Trump’s case, there’s not even liberty without caveat. There is little room for liberty at all.

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