Long-time libertarian Chris Bennett leaves the LP

Long-time libertarian activist and party member Chris Bennett says he is leaving the Libertarian Party and will allow his national membership dues to lapse in January. Bennett was an early candidate for the LP’s vice-presidential nomination but dropped out before the convention. He was also a candidate for the Boston Tea Party’s VP slot, but finished second to eventual nominee Thomas Knapp.

“The LP of today is not the same LP I joined in 1992,” says Bennett. “I did not become a libertarian to be part of a party that is increasing becoming Republican-lite.”

Bennett says the LP platform has been “obliterated” and that in nominating Bob Barr, the LP selected a “non-libertarian” for its presidential nominee. Further, he says that Political Director Sean Haugh is a “hothead,” Media Coordinator Andrew Davis is a “homophobe,” Chairman Bill Redpath is “incompetent,” and Treasurer Aaron Starr, among others, is a “warmonger.”

Bennett continues:

Let’s face it, there is a purge going on. Those in control of the LP want the party to be more conservative and less libertarian. You know leaving the party to rot isn’t such a bad idea. If you want to run as a real libertarian, do it as an Independent or the Boston Tea Party. I will still support real Libertarian candidates. Stop supporting National! Without your funds they can’t survive. If you really feel compelled to stay in the LP, do it within your state and local organizations. Don’t let National run your ballot access drives and do not let them contribute a dime to those efforts.

His entire post can be read at Last Free Voice.

16 thoughts on “Long-time libertarian Chris Bennett leaves the LP

  1. Steven R Linnabary

    The LP has *ALWAYS* had a problem with conservatives attemping to hijack the party and make it into something approaching (as Tom Knapp describes) the republicans’ bitch.

    And, the LP has always had a problem with hardworking, dedicated activists becoming demoralized and digusted with the seeming incompetence in the LP national office. At least since I became active in the LP in the early eighties. Anybody remember the neonazi that ran the Houston office before we moved the national office to DC?

    But I hope that Chris Bennett reconsiders his decision. Yeah, it *DOES* show integrity to expose the current incompetence, malfeasance, nonfeasance and misfeasance.

    I just don’t wish others to consider flight to be an option when we still have some fight left in us.

    PEACE
    Steve

  2. Jimmy Clifton

    I’ve been a member of the Libertarian Party, off and on, for more than 20 years.

    In 1988, I was the first Libertarian elected to office in Michigan.

    I too, however, believe the LP is moving in the wrong direction and I will also let my national membership dues lapse expire.

    I am now a member of the Modern Whig Party. I encourage all disenchanted LP’ers to take a look at the Modern Whigs.

  3. G.E. Post author

    Err… The Modern Whig Party is a lot worse the LP of Bob Barr/Shane Cory’s worst fantasy would be.

  4. Jerry S.

    By Jan. most of the conservatives will be gone and the pieces will need to be picked up by principled Libertarians. I see no advantage in leaving. Quitters never win and WINNERS never quit.

    A far better plan is stay in and push even harder for your beliefs. Always educating anyone who will listen! Always recruiting likeminded individuals to join and attend the conventions so YOU can elect the people to run national…

  5. paulie cannoli

    Jerry,

    Many of us who have taken that road for many years eventually get tired of beating our heads against a wall.

    I haven’t left, but I admit to having a lot of leanings in that direction.

    One of the advantages of being a life member is that I don’t have to rejoin periodically.

    Since I am now “fired,” my involvement will now dwindle to some extent. Maybe just a little; maybe all the way to nothing.

    If the party does things to make me interested again, it will pick back up. At some point, as I realized about the Democrats in 1992, trying to make the party what I want it to be is an exercise in perpetual futility.

  6. George Donnelly

    > a party that is increasing becoming Republican-lite.

    Isn’t this another way to express the concept of an incremental approach?

    And if so, what’s wrong with an incremental approach?

    A centimeter in the right direction is better than a mile in the wrong, no?

    Jerry: well said on quitting!

    paulie: WADR, maybe a different tactic needs to be taken?

    > If the party does things to make me interested again

    A political party is whatever one puts their mind and passion to making it. If one wants a change, but instead of acting to achieve it, waits for someone else to do it, well I wouldn’t expect it soon.

    That’s like saying, I’m going to sit out the fight against govt encroachment on my civil liberties until such time as that same govt gives me some sign to think they are restoring those civil liberties.

    You can’t expect the same people who created a problem this big to solve it themselves.

  7. TheOriginalAndy

    “Isn’t this another way to express the concept of an incremental approach?”

    I don’t consider the FairTax to be an incremental approach, I call it replacing one bad program (the income tax) with another program that is just as bad, maybe worse.

  8. paulie cannoli

    A political party is whatever one puts their mind and passion to making it. If one wants a change, but instead of acting to achieve it, waits for someone else to do it, well I wouldn’t expect it soon.

    That’s like saying, I’m going to sit out the fight against govt encroachment on my civil liberties until such time as that same govt gives me some sign to think they are restoring those civil liberties.

    You can’t expect the same people who created a problem this big to solve it themselves.

    I’ve often made this point, but it’s only partially true. If a political party is whatever one puts their mind and passion to making it, why couldn’t I put my mind and passion into making the Democratic Party what I want it to be? Because the rest of the Democratic Party had other ideas, and mine were drowned out.

    After many years of trying to make the Libertarian political party into whatever I put my mind and passion to making it, it is becoming increasingly hard to deny that I am beating my head against a brick wall.

  9. Joe

    Chris:

    Wah! “If you don’t let me win I will take my marbles and go home.”

    Well go, but your marbles stay. Because as far as I am concerned you have ‘lost your marbles’.

  10. George Donnelly

    TheOriginalAndy: I also do not think we should replace the IRS/income tax with anything. I guess you need to define “Republican-lite.”

    paulie: It should be blatantly obvious, but add: “within the limits of the definition of that political party”.

    Obviously you won’t turn the Communist Party into the Republican party. And neither will you turn the Democrats (a statist party through and through) into the Libertarians (a non-statist party).

  11. paulie cannoli

    The relevant questions, then, are whether the LP is currently a non-statist party, whether it ever was, and whether it ever will be.

    Some people come to different answers to these than others, and the answers change as the party (and the person asking the questions) evolves.

  12. paulie cannoli

    And neither will you turn the Democrats (a statist party through and through) into the Libertarians (a non-statist party).

    It’s worth noting that I had no such intentions, although in fact the Democrats were quasi-libertarian at one time – granted, a long time ago.

    I was merely hoping they would end the drug war and curtail the military-industrial complex – two key values of the 1960s rebellion – once the former participants in that movement rose to the top of the establishment which they had “infiltrated.”

    The selection of DLC chair Bill Clinton, a former 196os antiwar protestor who then had long hair and a beard, artfully dodged the draft, and “didn’t inhale” (hah!) as the presidential nominee of the DP in 1992 over candidates such as Jerry Brown, on whose campaign I worked, ended my hope that particular strategy would ever work.

    Similarly, I have spent many years trying to make the Libertarian Party into one that would effectively appeal to antiwar youth, immigrants, inner city residents, blue collar workers, artists, musicians, students, environmentalists, etc. —
    I am less and less inclined to believe that this will ever happen, but I remain open to the possibility that it will. Just not seeing it being so likely any more to continue to personally spend my time and energy on it as I have.

    I see the party going way in the wrong direction, despite a few hopeful signs.

    I don’t see my many efforts, over many years, making a dent in that direction.

    Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude I should devote the bulk of my time and energy elsewhere.

    It’s a two way street; if the party does nothing to win my support, it’s foolish to not realize after a protracted and mighty effort that I can single handedly steer its course, and doubly foolish to keep trying.

  13. libertycrusader

    This is NOT true, or accurate,Susan. Or fair.

    I did NOT make a mistake by calling a voter and offering to help her find her voting location. SHE made the mistake by talking to me for longer than she should have, instead of just ending the conversation. I am a firm believer in the RIGHT people taking responsibility for their actions (including wrongfully accusing, like you are doing). SHE also made a mistake by misleading me by telliing me that she was ok with my calling her, when in fact it was not. Also, I did NOT ask her for a “date”; the word was never even used in that conversation. If you are suggessting that is was, you are *lying* about me. Nothing I have said is “rationalization”. You are insisting that I did something wrong for doing the EXACT same thing that many other activists, parties and campaigns, including libertarian, have done.

    Speaking of ratinalizations, insisting one person is wrong and another is right for doing the *EXACT* same thing, is dim thinking, and it makes me wonder about your ability to conceptualize and be consistent in other areas of thought. It also makes me wonder what mistakes (or crimes or malfeasances) YOU have committed, which have gone undetected.

    I’m also having a hard time understanding just what infraction “working without authorization” constitutes. Perhaps this is another example of your inability to conceptualize (then project that weakness onto another as some kind of ‘fault’). Assuming Paulie had a right to be in NC and work, he, as a contractor, had just as much a right to subcontract as Darryl Bonner did (and boy did he!).

    I am seeing a disturbing pattern of throwing “double standard” curveballs at those you decide you don’t like, without regard to reason, logic or facts in you, Susan. No wonder you have been the subject of so much criticism in your home state of N.C.

    And finally, I do NOT have a “questionable past” as a petitioner. I have FULLY admitted all mistakes that I have made, and they have been out in the open, all “questions” have been answered making “questionable” not even applicable any longer). I admitted the SSN mistake, even though Joe Knight never has admitted his mistake in the issue. I have admitted to other mistakes in my professional life, that you aren’t hearing about because they don’t relate to petitioning.

    But I find it silly to admit to mistakes that either I didn’t make, or that aren’t in reality “mistakes”. The two you cite don’t fall into the category of “mistakes”, even though I did in fact perfectly legally call a voter and subcontract with Paul.

    Gary

    Susan Hogarth wrote:

    1) Gary Fincher has some questionable past as a petitioner. I have peripherally witnessed his lengthy and convoluted rationalizations for
    two very simple mistakes that he easily could have taken
    responsibility for (working without authorization and asking a voter
    registrant for a date using the phone number she provided on her voter
    registration form to contact her). This leads me to think there must
    be something to the other allegations I hear from people I respect.

  14. mscrib

    I have yet to see one advantage with leaving the LP in the face of Barr ’08. I know the BTP was just born, but I have a hard time believing that it will be capable of achieving ballot access (which means money, which it doesn’t and likely won’t ever have) anywhere (which means it is of no use to me or my support).

    Unfortunately, in the days of BCRA, it is pretty much a lost cause to attempt forming a serious political party from the ground up. Unless you can get a long list of donors willing to max out to the committee lined up in the beginning, good luck. We don’t have piles of Koch money to jumpstart something like this anymore.

    Again, I’m not a huge fan of Barr, but I cannot find a decent reason to jump ship (yet), especially in the direction of an unproven, baby party that seems to be (unbelievably) more wrapped up in internal politics than the LP.

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