From the Libertarian National Committee list:
On Apr 12, 2017, at 9:51 AM, Liberty Antifa wrote:
Hello LNC members,
We are contacting all of you in regards to recent events involving the Libertarian Party of Florida (LPF). By now you are probably long aware of the controversy surrounding the fascist lawyer and former LPF Senate candidate Augustus Sol Invictus. Last week, in response to notice of a defamation lawsuit against a statement published by the LPF Executive Committee (EC) in Oct. 2015 that denounced his support of eugenics and political violence, the (EC) sought mediation and agreed to publish a retraction. They delivered this retraction on April 7th. Judging by their quoted statements, EC members are hoping to sweep this matter under the rug and move forward with Invictus in tow, just in time for their state party Convention on May 5th.
Invictus is not the only fascist that has infiltrated the LPF, if you can even call what he’s doing infiltration. We have compiled a document that demonstrates how the original claims against him are true, and that Invictus still advocates these things. We also exposed three co-conspirators, two of which are Regional Representatives on the EC itself. Their presence is not a series of coincidences. It is the result of an organized group, however small, that is successfully managing to exploit an entire state party.
[IPR Note: See our reposting and discussion thereof]
This is fascist entryism. It’s insidious, it’s ubiquitous, and its success almost always depends on a lack of vigilance on the part of the host. Entryism is not just limited to libertarians, or even to the political right. Fascism is almost uniquely eclectic in how it borrows from and appeals to both the left and the right, sometimes claiming, like libertarians, to transcend the dichotomy. For every Hoppean that identifies “capitalism” with a right to cull the homeless and universalize the discipline and hierarchy of the corporate firm, there’s a Berniecrat that longs to revive the post-war welfare state, when immigrants stayed out, men were kings in their home and the white working class came first. As libertarians we are painfully aware of just how common and multifaceted the desire to rule others is, and so too are the self-conscious cults of power as an end in itself. It can be difficult to identify those manifestations that grow closest to home, and intimately know our particular blindspots. Confronting them requires that we interrogate our formulations for vulnerabilities, and ask hard questions about our allies’ motivations.
This is not the part where we equivocate or throw up our hands, declaring that everything is compromised and nothing can be done. Libertarianism is almost unique in its absolute refusal to consider intentions over outward actions. It has more glaring vulnerabilities than most. We all know it. The rise of the alt-right came in large part from our own ranks. Things should never have been allowed to get to the point that a few angry words about the Fed were enough to overlook someone’s bogus attempt to frame racist immigration controls in the language of property rights. Libertarians have allowed, this partly out of a desire to avoid appearing dogmatic; and partly out of a longstanding bias toward the right, spurred by a rightful disgust at the left’s historic enabling of state communism. But mostly it springs from an inbuilt political minimalism.
The only requirement to be a member of the Libertarian Party of Florida is that one forswear aggression in pursuit of social and political goals. And beyond the actual fascist cabal, a great number of Florida libertarians don’t see how they could reasonably oppose Invictus. He pinky swore not to hit anyone, so who cares if he thinks Muslims really are rapey savages that should disappear from white societies? He’s not killing anyone right now. As long as those Nazi skinheads he recruits agree to respect property rights, what’s the harm?
It doesn’t take a genius economist to deduce that this kind of incentive structure will attract any fascist smart enough to play the line (no surprise they got a lawyer). Then they bide their time, recruiting and subtly shifting the Overton Window, until the day comes they no longer need to pretend.
We submit to you that while this criterion may be enough to allow someone to live in a libertarian society, it does not make them an advocate of liberty. However imperfectly or hypocritically, liberal theorists from Adam Smith onward defended freed-markets and universal rights because they saw them as conducive to prosperity, peace, mobility and freedom of thought and association for all people. It’s not just about hating the state, it is about human flourishing.
Libertarians can disagree over the details of how to realize that goal, but they need a positive vision. Purely negative visions, whether anti-state, anti-communist, anti-imperialist or whatever else are infinitely corruptible. They offering a platform to people that oppose these for all the worst reasons, and they deny the rest of us the linguistic and memetic tools to even identify the threat.
We are not asking for a centrally planned Libertarian Movement with all the knowledge and agency problems that would entail. Fascism is a highly mutable, opportunistic and syncretic phenomenon. Rooting it out requires a high sensitivity to context and intent. What we are asking is for you to clearly differentiate your product. We are asking for an articulation of principle that will reorient the incentive structures, and finally give individual actors the leeway to contain and boot entryists themselves.
What we want is for you to make a declaration and a concrete demonstration of refusal:
1. That you denounce and dissociate from the Libertarian Party of Florida unless and until every person we have named and whose intentions we have proven is permanently removed.
2. That you state clearly and in writing what you think libertarian philosophy is for, and not just what it is against.
To that end, we are emailing this letter to every single member of the Libertarian National Committee. We know you are meeting in Pittsburgh on April 15th. Take this opportunity and do the right thing.
Full disclosure: we’re not Libertarian Party members. None of us are “partyarchs” as that Holocaust denier Sam Konkin would call it. We’re a collection of individualist and market anarchists who believe in direct action and uncompromising radicalism. But we also recognize that many who come to our persuasion, came through through mainstream Libertarianism first, and the organizations do serve a useful educational function (however much they waste on elections). It would be shame to lose that, and a great disservice to the cause of liberty to allow it to become a mouthpiece for fascism instead.
Libertarians United Against Fascism
LNC Member At Large Starchild replied:
Thank you for your intelligently written letter, for standing against fascism and racism (as well as communism and monarchy), and for providing useful background on the individuals you warn against. I mostly agree with your analysis of where they are coming from.
However, I strongly disagree that demanding the Florida LP either clean house or else we will dissociate ourselves from them is a wise course of action. My reasons for this disagreement include:
• The Libertarian National Committee generally refrains from getting involved in the internal politics of state affiliate parties, and for good reason; as you yourselves allude to, a centrally planned libertarian movement is inimical to liberty
• Any such statement from the LNC would likely be counter-productive, provoking the ire of many Florida Libertarians as unwarranted interference in their affairs, and giving Invictus and whatever allies he may have an opening to exploit those feelings to build support
• I see little evidence that his cohort currently is “successfully managing to exploit an entire state party”. When Invictus ran for U.S. Senate as a Libertarian, he was defeated 3:1 in the primary election, and the LPF leadership has denounced him, agreeing to a retraction only under the pressure of a ruinous defamation lawsuit (a reasonable course of action in my opinion; they have better things on which to spend their limited resources than fighting internecine court battles). It seems to me that the majority of both the party’s leadership and membership are already rejecting what he stands for.
• Expelling Invictus and others for their offensive beliefs, even if the Florida LP’s bylaws allowed for such expulsion, would not only set a dangerous precedent, but would no doubt be worn by the former members as badges of honor, allowing them to create higher profiles for themselves and even win some sympathy as victims
Threatening to shut down the Florida LP’s convention if they do not expel Invictus and company similarly strikes me as a highly counter-productive and ill-considered approach. Consider that Invictus himself appears to be a bit of a drama queen who thrives on conflict – you quote him “prophesizing” that he will start a civil war. I suspect he secretly welcomes your highly confrontational, with-us-or-against-us tactics and “burn it down” rhetoric! It seems to me that you are at great risk of overplaying your hand and becoming your own worst enemies in this situation. A more low-key approach of quietly spreading the word about Invictus and his cronies, isolating and undermining them politically, would be much more effective than loudly proclaiming them (and thereby building them up) as dangerous foes, if perhaps not as emotionally satisfying. But the goal is to stop fascism, not to gain emotional satisfaction – right?
As for stating what libertarian philosophy is for, not just what it is against, I agree this is a worthwhile endeavor, but more for the Platform Committee and the delegates who vote on platform changes at our conventions than for the LNC. Do you have any proposed language you’d like to see added to the Libertarian Party platform?
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))
At-Large Representative, Libertarian National Committee
P.S. – While I appreciate your honesty in admitting you are not LP members, your message would have much more credibility and impact if you joined the Florida LP and used your voices and votes constructively therein. Rolling up your sleeves and joining the party wouldn’t require you to focus on activities you feel are a waste of time; there’s more to the LP than trying to elect people to public office. The party is what we make it. As you note, it often serves as a gateway to libertarian radicalism; this capacity would be enhanced if radicals like yourselves would plunge in and participate in seeking to keep the party radically libertarian, instead of merely criticizing from a distance.
For background see:
Libertarian Party of Florida condemns Augustus Invictus, calls his advocacy of war and eugenics “abhorrent” (Condemnation more recently withdrawn after a lawsuit threat by Invictus)