ErnestHancock.org: L. Neil Smith’s aphorisms, Q & A with Ernie Hancock, and a video

Ernest Hancock is a candidate for chair of the Libertarian National Committee. His LNC chair campaign website is at http://ernesthancock.org/.

The top three items on the front page of that website right now are 1) The “Meltup” video seen below, 2) Aphorisms from libertarian author L. Neil Smith, and 3) Questions and Answers with Ernie Hancock.

First, the video:

Next, the selections from Smith:


Freedom Activism 101

Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock

Afternoon May 13th, 2010

Hour 1 mp3

Hour 2 mp3

The following aphorisms are the work of libertarian novelist L. Neil Smith. They have been the bedrock for libertarian activism in Arizona for the last 10 years and are the best explanation I can provide for the tactics of our past/future. Enjoy.

Never soft-peddle the truth. It’s seldom self-evident and almost never sells itself, because there’s less sales resistance to a glib and comforting lie.

Understand from the minute the fight begins that you’re going to take damage. Accept it. (You’ll always suffer more from the idiots and cowards on your own side than from any enemy.) Keep your overall goal in mind above all. Those who swerve to avoid a few cuts and bruises defeat themselves.

If you’re not a little bit uncomfortable with your position, it isn’t radical enough. How can you be too principled? Take the most extreme position you can. You’re claiming territory you won’t have to fight for later, mostly against your “allies.”

Go straight to the heart of the enemy’s greatest strength. Break that and you break him. You can always mop up the flanks and stragglers later, and they may even surrender, saving you a lot of effort.

Know, down to the last cell in your body, that the other guy started it. He’s the one who put things in an ethical context where considerations like decency and mercy have no referent. The less pity moves you now, the sooner you can go back to being a nice guy.

If you lose, go down fighting. It costs nothing extra, and now and again …

Remain the judge of your own actions. Never surrender that position by default. When the enemy screams “Foul!” the loudest, you know you’re doing him the most damage. Those who help him scream are also the enemy.

Second thoughts, failures of confidence, nervous last-minute course-changes are all detours and recipes for defeat. The time to think is before the battle – if possible, before the war – not in the heat of it.

It is moral weakness, rather than villainy, that accounts for most of the evil in the universe – and feeble-hearted allies, far rather than your most powerful enemies, who are likeliest to do you an injury you cannot recover from.

Know, otherhandwise, that the easiest, most humiliating path to defeat is thinking that to beat the enemy you must be like him. Avoid the temptation to set your values aside “for the duration.” What’s the point of fighting if you give up what you’re fighting for? If remaining consistent with your values leads to defeat, you chose the wrong values to begin with.

Never aim at anything but total achievement of your goal: the utter capitulation of the enemy. Every effort involves inertia and mechanical losses, so adopting any lesser objective means partial defeat. Total victory means you don’t have to fight the same fight again tomorrow.

The most dangerous and successful conspiracies take place in public, in plain sight, under the clear, bright light of day – usually with TV cameras focused on them.

Ever notice how those who believe in animal rights generally don’t believe in human rights?

The function of government is to provide you with service; the function of the media is to supply the Vaseline.

“Wake up America ,” you demand? America doesn’t need to “wake up” – by which of course, you mean pay attention to whatever you think is important. If America weren’t already awake, paying attention to what each individual thinks is important, your milk wouldn’t have gotten delivered this morning, and you wouldn’t have any electricity this afternoon.

You cannot force me to agree with you. You can force me to act as though I agree with you – but then you’ll have to watch your back. All the time.

You may never convince the other guy, but it’s often worthwhile to keep arguing for the effect it has on bystanders, especially his allies.


Finally, the Q&A:

These are questions submitted by Libertarians of Northeast Kansas for the forum between Wayne Root and Ernie Hancock at the LPKS State Convention, April 24, 2010. They are published here exactly as submitted, and may or may not reflect the wording of the questions submitted to the candidates at the forum.

Question:
I’d like them to discuss how they feel about the ongoing ‘tug of war’, between those who want to hold to our party’s principles, and those who are willing to ‘bend’ the principles to gain popularity and win more votes.

Ernest Hancock:
For 22 years I have advocated, worked for and demonstrated that Hard Core No-Compromise libertarian activism and advocacy in support of fundamental libertarianism has produced the popularity/support desired. Abandonment of the Libertarian Party at the National level has not been due to our being perceived as too principled,… it has been because we were not being principled enough.

Question:
Which do you believe is more important: to remain true to our principles or to get candidates elected to office?

Ernest Hancock:
Principles first. Support in the form of money, effort and votes are a side effect of filling a very desirable need for the promotion of individual liberty. A Libertarian Party that offers another form of Social and Economic Engineering of Americans can offer very little to a liberty starve populace searching for a way out of their enslavement.

Question:
How do you intend to increase the size of the LP and get candidates elected to office?

Ernest Hancock:
By being relevant to the lives of individuals.

Increased membership, available resources, financial support, number of quality candidates and votes are a side effect of being perceived as a champion for the liberty of every individual.

Question:
Should the primary emphasis of the Libertarian Party be to win elections, or to present an ideologically pure Libertarian option to the voters? “Both” is not an acceptable answer.

Ernest Hancock:
Presenting an ideologically pure libertarian message… the rest will follow.

Question:
As party chair, what will you do to win over moderate Libertarians–individuals who believe generally in freedom in both the social and economic spheres, but who do not endorse the party’s full agenda–to the party?

Ernest Hancock:
Be consistent. The government is making more libertarians every day in many ways.

Question:
Would you continue to invest LP resources to obtain ballot access in states such as Oklahoma and West Virginia or use these resources to help candidates in competitive races?

Ernest Hancock:

I’m one vote on the LNC. My vote will be to support a mechanism that allows individuals to direct their money to various projects presented to them by the LNC. I’m sure that ‘Ballot Status’, individual candidates, purchased media, affiliate promotion, issue advocacy, overhead etc. will be presented to the membership for support. The idea that a very small minority would spend other people’s money with very little input from them on a regular basis has proven to me to be a very unproductive method of allocating resources.

Question:
What is the first thing you would as Chair for the national LP and why?

Ernest Hancock:
Make absolutely certain that the entire Washington, D.C. Beltway area knows that we are there. “Liberty…. She’s Baaaack”.

Question:
What do you see as the best direction to take the national party to further our growth? Here are two distinct choices.
Keep firm to Libertarian principles and demonstrate to the public that those principles are the founding principles of our nation. Point out that neither big party follows those principles and to vote for the lesser evil of those two gives us an evil and out of control government.

Moderate our support of those principles to attract conservative voters from the Republican Party.

Ernest Hancock:
“Keep firm to Libertarian principles”.

Question:
How about what to really do about health care? What should be cut from the budget? Should taxes be raised?

Ernest Hancock:
Deregulate Healthcare. End the War on Drugs. The United States budget repealed back to at least its Constitutional limits of what the Federal Government is authorized to do. Eliminate the Income Tax as a start.

Question:

There is a perception that LP is only representing the white male baby boomer. We know that not to be the case, as evidenced by our gen Xers in ExComm. What do these gentlemen plan to do to promote that this is not the only demographic represented and to promote more diverse involvement?

Ernest Hancock:
Represent the smallest minority,… the individual. Then all of the other categories just fade away. YES, they just fade away!

Question:
What qualities do you possess over the other candidates that would make you the best choice?

Ernest Hancock:
A fundamental understanding that it is up to each individual to take responsibility for their own advocacy of liberty in whatever way they are best suited. The LPUS will be a very effective and ready tool for all of us to make use of in the fulfillment of that responsibility.

Question:
What is your stance on the government’s role in marriage, and how would that effect ‘gay marriage’?

Ernest Hancock:
At most, Government’s involvement in marriage should not extend further than being a disinterested 3rd party in the enforcement of a private contract.

Question:
If you are elected, what are the first three things you will do, and when will you do them?

Ernest Hancock:
I am making every effort to make my election to LNC Chair a very clear choice for relevance in American politics and culture by being very open and public with our advocacy for individual liberty. This can be inspired by the LNC Chair initiating a “campaign” in Washington, D.C. to make it very clear who we are, what we want and how much effort we are willing to devote to demonstrate to the whole planet of our sincerity and devotion to Human Freedom via peaceful means with LOVE. (Lots of signs and hand materials to start… the rest will follow – I’ve done this many times before :)

Question:
At the end of your term, what criteria will you use to judge your time as chairman as a success or failure? And, are any of those criteria objective measurable that you will strive to achieve?

Ernest Hancock:
Campaigns, Vote totals, Money raised, Membership increases etc. are all a side effect of effectively communicating to the planet our message in a clear and unwavering presentation. We are not afraid, we are confident and we are determined to spread the libertarian message to as many minds as possible. The r3VOLution was not my first effort to accomplish this, nor will it be my last.

Question:
What is the greatest barrier to electing Libertarians nationwide? How do you propose we overcome that barrier?

Ernest Hancock:
Trillions (with a “T”) have been spent over generations via the Government Education System (Government Schools, Government Public Service Announcements, Government Licensed Media, Government Programs and Projects) to convince as many individuals as possible that solutions to any imaginable problem is to be found when first you look to government.

I have watched this programming be replaced with individual minds being able to communicate with millions of others without borders or boundaries or filters. Promotion of reality/truth and libertarianism will create a welcome environment for those looking for exactly what we offer.

Question:
The only way for a political party to win elections is to appeal to the voters in the “middle” (wherever that is). How do you propose positioning the LP to appeal to this voting bloc?

Ernest Hancock:
If try to appeal to ‘the middle’,… how will we ever attract ‘the middle’ to libertarianism?

Government is our best recruiter. Being libertarian is our most appealing trait as the world learns what we offer.

Question:
What support and training do you believe the National LP should provide to train candidates running for office?

Ernest Hancock:
Central Planning for candidate training at a national level has never been effective in my experience. At a local level there is more success, but each candidate is very different. Being able to provide legal requirements for running and access to many sources of information is useful, but a ‘one size fits all Candidate Packet/Presentation’ put together by committee for a State legislative candidate in Montana and a US Senate candidate in Arkansas is likely worse than useless. Every presentation I have attended never takes into account the personality of the candidate. And instead of allowing the candidate to learn how best to make the most use of their abilities and talents, the candidate is blamed for not being enough… whatever.

I advocate sharing as much truth as possible with as many people as possible, while making friends whenever possible and choosing ‘non-friends’ very carefully (often you learn as much about someone, and their intentions, by who their ‘non-friends’ are). My goal is to help as many people as possible free the minds of as many people as possible. More often than not this is accomplished by being of service to them instead of trying to make them serve the collective as best determined by a committee around a table.

Question:

Explain to us how your previous background and experience positions you to represent and lead the LP in a superior manner.

Ernest Hancock:
Lead libertarians???

The most effective method I know of to inspire libertarian activism is to be an example and inspiration. This has had “superior” results so far.

Question:
What is your vision for the LP 5-years and 10-years from today? If elected, what specific steps will you implement to bring us closer to that vision?

Ernest Hancock:
My preferred vision would be for the Libertarian Party to be unnecessary so we could all go about our business enjoying freedom. But I suspect that the Libertarian Party of the United States (I’m making no predictions about the many other levels of autonomous Libertarian Party’s),… I suspect that the LPUS will either be the touchstone of all political discourse on this globe within 2 years, or it will be irrelevant. Libertarianism can not be negotiated away for a place at the political table and think that we’ll be of any use to a liberty starved populace.

Freedom is popular. It is why it has survived in spite of the enormous efforts to eradicate it. The advocacy of liberty loud, clear and pure will position the LPUS so that it can serve the interests of the many that will seek to help us free more minds.

Question:
If you became the Chair of the Libertarian Party what would you do to get the Party out there and recognized by more people (networking with liberty groups, getting in the news whether MSM; local; or internet, etc.)?

Ernest Hancock:
The same thing I’ve been doing for 22 years, get on the street. This is how individuals and groups learn of you, trust you and come to rely on you. While the freedom movement is getting much stronger, it is not so large that I haven’t been able to meet most of the most effective freedom advocates in America. The moment the freedom movement perceives the LPUS to be on the front lines with them, Challenging the Cult of the Omnipotent State, we will immediately experience our highest levels of influence in American politics.

Question:
Does the national LP office have BRCA/McCain-Feingold election finance compliance information and/or accounting support available for candidates? If not, would you direct the LP national office to create/fund that support?

Ernest Hancock:
No.

I would encourage our challenging this unpopular and unconstitutional law and seek to understand how we might structure ourselves to be free of its requirements.

Question:
Would you support Ron Paul “reentering” the Libertarian Party as our candidate for U.S.President? Your reasons?

Ernest Hancock:
I don’t have any reason to oppose his “reentering” the LP. But why would he want to? He was already seen as the most libertarian presidential candidate of 2008 running as a Republican. A Hard Core, No-Compromise libertarian LPUS would attract many great libertarian candidates,… watch.

Question:
Would you support Sarah Palin entering the Libertarian Party as our candidate for U.S.President? Your reasons?

Ernest Hancock:

Sarah Palin is welcome to try. My hope is that the libertarians in the Libertarian Party will look to have libertarians represent them. If they do not… then we need to know that. St. Louis in 2010 will help provide the freedom movement with a great deal of information that we need in this regard.

Question:
With polls showing that over 40% of Americans willing to support/vote for non-R or D candidates for Congress, what are the top three specific actions you would have the party take to capture those potential voters this election cycle?

Ernest Hancock:
Tell the truth, Show No-Fear, Offer to help others find the information they need to survive what is going to happen to our economy.

Question:
What is the approximate combined net present value deficit of the U.S.A., including all outstanding Treasury debt and unfunded liabilities under our nation’s retirement and health care system (social security, Medicare, and Medicaid). ?

Ernest Hancock:

More than any of us, our children our grand children or great grand children are ever going to be able to pay back. Without another revolution of some sort (I’m working on a LOV3olution) we will continue to be tax slaves to The State for the rest of the foreseeable future.

Question:
How many sets of books does the Federal government keep? Can you describe the differences between these various books?

Ernest Hancock:
The government keeps books? And if they showed me the books, am I suppose to believe them? They have books that they use to convince you that they always need more money, they have books that convince others to invest in our debts, they have books that list investments for things like government retirement programs.

In the mid 90’s I obtained Arizona’s CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) as a project with a fellow libertarian. The money invested in the stock market (and ready to be skimmed off, over and over) comes in large part from government pension plans (and other ‘they ripped us off’ methods of transferring our wealth from us to “them”). In time I suspect that we’ll find that these very large sums of money are now gone, to… ?

Like the previous question I suspect that you are looking for validation of something that you already know, or think you know. Whenever I am asked about a ‘number’, I know that there is someone else to tell me the number is wrong and that the number doesn’t mean what I said it meant anyway. So I respond with principle. While entitlements and debts and other obligations can be estimated at as much as $100 Trillion dollars, there are lobbyist in Washington right now trying to determine who will be left without a chair when the music stops on $600 Trillion in derivatives with no assets to back them up while they still plague the balance sheets of our economy.

If we focus on the proper role of government (defense of individual rights), the rest of this stuff is easily answered without the need for a potential voter to bring a calculator to a political debate.

Question:

The “headline deficit number” under the unified federal budget for the current fiscal year is a deficit of approximately $1.3 trillion. But this does not come close to reflecting the additional liabilities we as a nation incur for persons retiring this year and expecting lifetime benefits from the government. What is the deficit if the net present value of all promises to federal employees and military personnel are added to this figure? What is the approximate federal deficit if the NPV of unfunded promises incurred this year are added to the figure?

Ernest Hancock:
More numbers?

More than can ever be paid back. The United States Government has two options; Repudiation or Massive increases in the supply of US Dollars. Take your pick.

The rest of the world was convinced that the American people could be harvested without limit to our tolerances. But what was not counted on was the market forces that limit an individual’s desire to slave away for little benefit and no perceived guarantee that they would even have a claim to the meager benefits that they did derive from the system, even their justly acquired property.

Question:
Will you take a pledge to put the federal government and its promises under social security, Medicare, and Medicaid on the same financial accounting standards that we expect from any fully funded and solvent insurance program extending retirement and health care promises to its clients, as such accounting is required by FASB (the Financial Accounting Standards Board) ?

Ernest Hancock:
I wouldn’t waste a moment saying anything about these programs other than to advocate for their elimination.

32 thoughts on “ErnestHancock.org: L. Neil Smith’s aphorisms, Q & A with Ernie Hancock, and a video

  1. Brian Holtz

    I found it interesting that Hancock endorses these sentiments:

    You’ll always suffer more from the idiots and cowards on your own side than from any enemy.

    Take the most extreme position you can. You’re claiming territory you won’t have to fight for later, mostly against your “allies.”

    Know, down to the last cell in your body, that the other guy started it. He’s the one who put things in an ethical context where considerations like decency and mercy have no referent. The less pity moves you now, the sooner you can go back to being a nice guy.

    Feeble-hearted allies, far rather than your most powerful enemies, are likeliest to do you an injury you cannot recover from.

    When the enemy screams “Foul!” the loudest, you know you’re doing him the most damage. Those who help him scream are also the enemy.

    Never aim at anything but total achievement of your goal: the utter capitulation of the enemy.

    So according to Hancock, the enemy is in this room, you must convince yourself he deserves no pity, and he must attacked without decency or mercy until he utterly capitulates.

    Is that really the kind of Chair the LP needs?

  2. Brian Holtz

    If you’re not a little bit uncomfortable with your position, it isn’t radical enough.

    Here’s what happens when Hancock & Co. follow that advice right off the cliff:

  3. Winners

    Hancock possesses one really important attribute I do not find in any of the other chair candidates. It is the spirit of success. The man does not seem to tire nor does he seem to seek to disadvantage competition to get ahead choosing instead to push forward primarily on his own good work.

    Some balk at his forwardness but it is an attribute intrinsically tied to forthrightness.

    Some balk at his kooky ties, but how do you challenge the status quo without having to suffer the “kook” attack?

    I think that Hancock would end the purge mentality by not suffering the maneuvering and needling.

    I think he would attract creative people, artists and promoters that I’ve watched bleed out of the cracks or get run off by faction trolls and enforcers.

    Do I think that Hancock would be the guy to bring the suits and the radicals together? Maybe not; I think he would do better. I think that a guy like this would be the most likely to empower everyone and let activist be activists and candidates be candidates.

    There is a tendency in some leadership styles to take on the mantle of director, to focus on one task and concentrate on it. For a static team on a static mission this is a winning tactic. But, political parties are nothing but static.

    Some leadership styles empower the team around them to do what they do best. They provide them with support, encouragement and resource connections. They network like minds and connect eager workers to projects they best fit. They make aggregate teams such as coalitions or a political parties explode with productive growth because the do not look at the organization as a zero-sum pool of resources.

    Think what a difference it would be to have a chair that would empower everyone on their own missions be it ballot access, education, candidate support or membership recruitment. Mr. Phillies sees the importance of this, but I think that Hancock has the personal presence to survive the initial onslaught of the LP’s status quo and still make it happen. I feel like some of the New Path slate have a history of control over cooperation.

    It excites me to think that there may be a chair candidate that would be more interested in energizing everyone around them (including their rivals) than telling them what to do.

  4. Winners

    BH@2,3:
    I was a little flip floppy on Hancock at first. truthfully it was your videos that helped me understand better his value.

    It was the use of out of context quotes and partial sentences that made me most curious. The tactic is only necessary when you case is weak. I figured there must be something really good going on to engender this kind of unfair criticism.

  5. Pingback: Open Forum: IPR Readers Questions for any and all Libertarian National Committee candidates | Independent Political Report

  6. Brian Holtz

    the use of out of context quotes and partial sentences

    When have I ever changed the meaning of a Hancock quote by divorcing it from its context?

    There are lots of good facts about Hancock, but lots of not-so-good ones too. I’m sorry if seeing the not-so-good ones all in one place makes you uncomfortable.

    empower everyone on their own missions

    Hancock’s friend Dean Pleasant was a candidate of the Arizona LP in 1994, around the time that he chose the Viper Militia “mission” of stockpiling ammonium nitrate and conducting video surveillance of federal buildings, taking note of their security guard shift changes and analyzing how explosives could take the buildings down. Hancock formed a “Viper Reserve” support group to try (unsuccessfully) to keep Pleasant from being convicted. Hancock told the New York Times that Pleasant’s video was merely “educational”.

    Is Dean Pleasant’s the sort of “mission” that we want an LP Chair to “empower”?

  7. Winners

    BH@7:
    “When have I ever changed the meaning of a Hancock quote by divorcing it from its context?”

    Yes, of course you have. Well done too; they are very entertaining.

    You cannot help but separate meaning and context with quips. You have to put special effort into keeping context when you cut up speeches. Not only do you not preserve context but you do quite the opposite. You do so to “reveal” (I would say “exaggerate”) some aspect or idea.

    You also tie your video collage work to emotional conclusions which is also a contextual distortion. Rather than inform wholly, you expose with prejudice.

    Your work has its place and I appreciate it. I mean to more indicate being unfair and less than honest in style, more than blatant factual dishonesty or lying. It is good stuff I want to see these guns of yours on statists again when this is over.

    Hancock seems to handle activist shenanigans well. You spell out some really tough positions, and some really at odds personalities that coexist in his presence.

    You criticize his association with these extreme people. I marvel that he is able to juggle them.

    When you ask if we want to have these people “represented”, I would tell you sir, that we need them refereed. It’s the same in politics everywhere, in any party. Politicos are crazy… ALL of them: You, me, even the person reading this right now (yeah you).

    If Hancock can deal with a publicity problem like the Viper thing, then he can handle the kooky candidates, LNC binge and purge warfare and a nationally distributed coalition with no problem.

    Do I want weird people like that guy empowered? Arizona is very old west compared to California or East of Mississippi. Hancock having to deal with such groups because of the how radical his home state is a virtue.

    BTW really, I do love the videos.

  8. Brian Holtz

    1. Type in a Hancock quote that I’ve presented.
    2. Explain how I materially changed its meaning by divorcing it from its context.

    Until you follow this recipe, your “out of context” accusation is just hand-waving.

    Hancock didn’t “deal with” the Viper publicity problem, he created it. He did some clever gun-rights street theater last year that got him on CNN, where — unprompted — he brought up the 14-year-old Viper Militia story. The next day, MSNBC promptly ran a story on Hancock’s connections to his bomb-making Viper friends.

    It’s not my job to “inform wholly” about the good things that Hancock has done. If Hancock can’t toot his own horn, he shouldn’t run for Chair. Hancock wasn’t going to tell delegates about his 9/11 beliefs, or his Viper Militia connection, or his praise for Baldwin, or his endorsement of the character of Pastor Anderson. Just because I tell delegates things about Hancock that he would prefer they not know, that doesn’t make me “unfair and less than honest in style”.

  9. Thomas L. Knapp

    There isn’t any “Viper publicity problem.”

    Libertarians stood up for “Team Viper” (“militia” was a name given to the group by prosecutors, not one they gave themselves) and other groups entrapped by “federal informants” who turned out to be the only members urging violence or insisting on explosives stockpiling, etc., 14 years ago, and there’s no reason to be ashamed now for having been right back then.

  10. Brian Holtz

    Tom, I’ve already read that Reason story. It does not say that informants were “the only members insisting on explosives stockpiling”. What Reason actually says is: “When the Vipers decided to stop experimenting with explosives, say the defense attorneys, the informants convinced them to continue.”

    As far as my research can tell, it’s a fact that LP candidate Dean Pleasant participated in Viper stockpiling of ammonium nitrate. And it’s also a fact that he produced video surveillance of federal buildings, noting their security guard shift change schedule, and narrating how explosives could bring down the buildings.

    If you have evidence that these aren’t facts, please quote it — instead of mischaracterizing what your sources say.

  11. Brian Holtz

    When Hancock brought up the Vipers unprompted on CNN, he himself called them “the Viper Militia”, not “Team Viper”. I guess he didn’t get the memo.

    On Hancock’s “Viper Reserve” site, it said: “No militia group has been known to commit the sort of violent acts the government would have us believe they are intent upon. This however, hasn’t stopped the government and its media lapdogs from trying to implicate the militia movement in everything from the Oklahoma City bombing to the more recent incident at the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. Though in truth the likely perpetrators of these atrocities had closer ties to the police state and NO ties to any militia group. ”

    Hancock said on his radio show last week that he would likely be sending the video Invisible Empire to all the St. Louis delegates. That video claims that Timothy McVeigh was a covert government agent.

    Nah, there’s no Viper publicity problem…

  12. Winners

    Wait. What is that about entrapment.

    Earlier you said something about trying to help keep someone from being convicted. Did you mean possibly wrongly convicted?

    You read the Reason article but did not disclose the argument of entrapment. Mr. Holtz, you made some very specific claims about always keeping things in context.

    I agree that it is not your job to provide any of us with “the whole truth”. Personally I feel quite justified in reserving a large amount of doubt regarding the fairness of your video shorts and pot shots.

    I do not buy the PR risk argument. Hancock’s operation seems to be thriving despite all the suppose bad PR hes accumulated since… when was this video?

    Activists get muddy. That mud takes the form of “kookiness” because you cannot fight the status quo without looking kooky.

    If I take your position in it’s general form and apply this principle, no activist would ever be able to be chair. That the chief operator, and the referee of the organization must be chosen first on his being as pristine and plastic as a candidate.

    I reject the notion that an activist is not fit for chair. It is a patently unhealthy idea especially at our scale and our membership vector. We need the activists with some share of time at the helm or I believe that our numbers will continue to shrink.

  13. Tom Blanton

    Marijuana smokers were known as “vipers” among musicians back in the 1930’s. Is it possible that Team Viper were also dopers?

    Anyway, if Hancock wins the LNC Chair, at least the LP will cease to be boring.

    Yesterday, I caught a bit of Glenn Beck on the radio talking about the New World Order and the CFR. Beck, who resides in the libertarian quadrant according to Holtz, has arrived at a point where Alex Jones was about 10 years ago.

    We may soon reach a point in America where everyone “knows” that McVeigh was a government agent, Bush was behind 9/11, and Osama is a CIA agent (or never existed). If it all results in the loss of legitimacy for the government, it will be a good thing.

    Maybe we should all start stocking up on ammonium nitrate.

  14. Brian Holtz

    Winner, I’ve seen zero evidence of entrapment in my two charges against Hancock’s Viper friend (and LP candidate) Dean Pleasant: 1) that he participated in Viper stockpiling of ammonium nitrate, and 2) that he conducted video surveillance of federal buildings, noting their security guard shift change schedule, and narrating how explosives could bring down the buildings.

    Here again are my specific complaints about Hancock. As far as I know, none of the other Chair candidates has even one ding that is in this league.

    1. Hancock boasts publicly that he hasn’t voted since 2002, argues that voting “legitimizes” government, and even used free TV airtime as an LP candidate to say “I’m asking you to not vote”.
    2. Hancock signed a “Declaration of Independence” from the LPUS in 2000, which said that “No principled libertarian can associate with the LPUS without compromising the libertarian principle.”
    3. Hancock repeatedly questions whether the LPUS should exist, and said in 2009 that he is “getting very close to targeting the national Libertarian Party as an enemy of freedom”.
    4. Hancock questioned the libertarian credentials of the 2008 LP presidential nominee, but in 2008 called the Constitution Party nominee “a good hardcore libertarian”. CP nominee Chuck Baldwin ran on a platform of outlawing all abortion and assisted suicide, opposing gay marriage, “closing the borders”, jailing employers of illegal immigrants, “stopping the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.”, “vigorously enforcing our laws against obscenity”, and imposing tariffs “no less than the difference between the foreign item’s cost of
      production” and U.S. costs.
    5. Hancock is a “9/11 Truth” advocate who distributes DVDs saying that the Lincoln and JFK assassinations were conspiracies of international banking interests. He says that “if we’re not out there telling the Truth on things like 9/11? then
      the LP is “not relevant”.
    6. Hancock says that “if you’re not at least a little uncomfortable with your position, it isn’t radical enough”. His idea of a radical-enough candidate is Vin Suprynowicz, the candidate for Vice President in 2000 nominated only by the Arizona LP, who says LP candidates should advocate the right to “personal nuclear weapons”.
    7. In Hancock’s outreach efforts he vouches for the personal character of fundamentalist preacher Steven Anderson. Anderson calls Obama a “devil” who should be “aborted on national television” and who “promotes a sodomite agenda”.
    8. Hancock publicly predicts that bloodshed and violent revolution in
      America is inevitable: “There will be be some bloodshed, just how much
      — are you sure you want to go this far?”

    9. Hancock defends the 1994 Arizona LP candidate who as a member of the Viper Militia was sent to prison in 1996 after stockpiling ammonium nitrate explosives and conducting video surveillance of federal buildings.
  15. paulie Post author

    I’ve seen zero evidence of entrapment in my two charges against Hancock’s Viper friend (and LP candidate) Dean Pleasant: 1) that he participated in Viper stockpiling of ammonium nitrate,

    Brian, from the Reason article Tom linked:

    “As it turned out, there was no terrorist plot. Furthermore, the “vast arsenal” kept shrinking. Seventy-seven machine guns dwindled to four, and the unstable lead azide was transformed into lead styphnate, then lead picrate, a less dangerous compound. The amount of ammonium nitrate was reduced to 500 pounds, plus 14 or 15 gallons of nitromethane, all of which is legal to possess. But we’ll have to take the BATF’s word for all of this, because agents rushed the seized explosives (alleged explosives?) to the desert and blew them up. Most of the guns turned out to be legal World War I and World War II surplus rifles–not surprising, since a couple of the men arrested were collectors and one had a federal firearms license.”

  16. Winners

    BH@16:
    “1. Hancock boasts publicly that he hasn’t voted since 2002, argues that voting “legitimizes” government, and even used free TV airtime as an LP candidate to say “I’m asking you to not vote”.”

    Excellent. He is right; and in some circumstances you want people not to vote for political action. Voting does legitimize the process.

    How familiar are you with Arizona politics? What else was going on? I bet he had that shtick connected to other points. Are you leaving something out or are you just pulling up 8 year old activism and accentuating the natural kookiness that happens when you criticize the status quo?

    “2. Hancock signed a “Declaration of Independence” from the LPUS in 2000, which said that “No principled libertarian can associate with the LPUS without compromising the libertarian principle.””

    OK 10 years ago he was unhappy with the direction of the party and told like minded people about it. I am glad we are earning him back. He seems to be one heck of a hard worker and tough as nails.

    “3. Hancock repeatedly questions whether the LPUS should exist, and said in 2009 that he is “getting very close to targeting the national Libertarian Party as an enemy of freedom”.”

    In 2009? Could be very understandable. Is there more here regarding his motivations or are we going to get grossly one sided descriptions of all of his actions?

    “4. Hancock questioned the libertarian credentials of the 2008 LP presidential nominee, but in 2008 called the Constitution Party nominee “a good hardcore libertarian”. CP nominee Chuck Baldwin ran on a platform of outlawing all abortion and assisted suicide, opposing gay marriage, “closing the borders”, jailing employers of illegal immigrants, “stopping the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.”, “vigorously enforcing our laws against obscenity”, and imposing tariffs “no less than the difference between the foreign item’s cost of production” and U.S. costs.”

    Did he do these things in the same breath or are you fallaciously taking two seperate events and assigning relevance to them that does not exist?

    What is he supposed to do question the CP candidate’s credentials as a Libertarian?

    Should he only have Libertarian friends?

    Any one in your family or circle of friends not live up to the purity test?

    “5. Hancock is a “9/11 Truth” advocate who distributes DVDs saying that the Lincoln and JFK assassinations were conspiracies of international banking interests. He says that “if we’re not out there telling the Truth on things like 9/11? then the LP is “not relevant”.”

    Relevant is a relative word. What is the context? Who is he talking to? The anti-fed people have a bunch of mythology. Should people like Hancock turn them away or invite them in?

    “6. Hancock says that “if you’re not at least a little uncomfortable with your position, it isn’t radical enough”. His idea of a radical-enough candidate is Vin Suprynowicz, the candidate for Vice President in 2000 nominated only by the Arizona LP, who says LP candidates should advocate the right to “personal nuclear weapons”.”

    Here you are criticizing the man for the state he lives in based on a candidate from 10 years ago.

    “7. In Hancock’s outreach efforts he vouches for the personal character of fundamentalist preacher Steven Anderson. Anderson calls Obama a “devil” who should be “aborted on national television” and who “promotes a sodomite agenda”.”

    So, Hancock would trust the guy with loaning him a lawnmower… So what? Does Hancock need to choose only pure Libertarians for association with or to have on his radio show? Perhaps you should be his program director.

    “8. Hancock publicly predicts that bloodshed and violent revolution in America is inevitable: “There will be be some bloodshed, just how much – are you sure you want to go this far?””

    Ah, now I recognize this one for the untruth that it is. He predicts that there will be violence if the government is violently overthrown. It sorta follows don’t it? He then says the question is how much and are you going to be safe? He uses this as a device to talk about NOT wanting a violent revolution.

    You are again whacking on the guy for his home state. You go whip a bunch of sonora cactii into activism in the Arizona sun and see if your skin doesn’t toughen up and get thick and brown.

    “9. Hancock defends the 1994 Arizona LP candidate who as a member of the Viper Militia was sent to prison in 1996 after stockpiling ammonium nitrate explosives and conducting video surveillance of federal buildings.””

    … and tested free speech, freedom of association, and freedom of property.

    Arizona also produced Goldwater: tough as nails, plain speaking, and no holds barred and vilified as a kook for being honest.

    Every one of your criticisms above could be held against every LP activist. All you need to do is change a word or two and the entire party are a bunch of Hancockesque kooks according to your filters.

    Are you sure your criticisms are healthy for the LP?

  17. Brian Holtz

    Still waiting for you to
    1. Type in a Hancock quote that I’ve presented.
    2. Explain how I materially changed its meaning by divorcing it from its context.

    Are you ever going to try?

    1. Hancock’s advocacy against voting wasn’t just a stunt for his Secretary of State race. Here is Hancock talking to the LPTN in 2009:

    2. If Hancock ever un-declared independence from the LPUS since 2000, he should tell us when and why.

    3. Anybody who agrees that the LPUS was anywhere close in 2009 (or 2000) to needing “targeting as an enemy of freedom” should indeed vote for Hancock.

    4. It’s not about Baldwin being his “friend”. It’s not about listing Baldwin’s positions in the same breath as calling him “a good hardcore libertarian”. It’s about distorting the libertarian brand by applying that label to a right-wingnut running against the LP nominee. I don’t want the LP Chair using the phrase “Reagan libertarian”, and I don’t want the LP Chair calling Baldwin “a good hardcore libertarian”.

    5. Hancock didn’t say at the time what he meant by “relevant”. I’ve never heard the LPUS talk about 9/11 “Truth”. In what possible sense has that made the LPUS “not relevant”?

    6. The missing context is that Suprynowicz said it at an event Hancock organized, and bookended by glowing praise from Hancock. If you can get Hancock to say on the record that Suprynowicz was wrong to criticize LP candidates for not campaigning on the right to “personal nuclear weapons”, I’ll donate $100 to the LP affiliate of your choice.

    7. The context wasn’t about lawnmowers, Mr. Context. The context was about Hancock giving a 10-minute glowing endorsement of Anderson’s personal character. Libertarians can decide for themselves if they want Hancock to use Anderson on LP.org as our Fourth Amendment poster child.

    8. I have never said Hancock advocates violent revolution, so please don’t argue against such strawmen, Mr. “unfair and less than honest in style”. Just listen to Hancock and decide if you want the LP’s top spokesman saying stuff like this:

    9. When did Barry Goldwater ever stockpile explosives and produce video surveillance of target federal buildings, taking note of their security guard shift changes and analyzing how explosives could take the buildings down?

    Every one of your criticisms above could be held against every LP activist.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=I%20call%20bullshit.

  18. paulie Post author

    I don’t want the LP Chair using the phrase “Reagan libertarian”, and I don’t want the LP Chair calling Baldwin “a good hardcore libertarian”.

    My feelings exactly!

  19. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “I’ve seen zero evidence of entrapment in my two charges against Hancock’s Viper friend (and LP candidate) Dean Pleasant: 1) that he participated in Viper stockpiling of ammonium nitrate, and 2) that he conducted video surveillance of federal buildings, noting their security guard shift change schedule, and narrating how explosives could bring down the buildings.”

    And I’ve seen zero evidence from you to support either the veracity of those charges or your implicit contention that the activities in question are or should be illegal.

    “1. Hancock boasts publicly that he hasn’t voted since 2002, argues that voting ‘legitimizes’ government, and even used free TV airtime as an LP candidate to say ‘I’m asking you to not vote’.”

    In other words, his position is a more evangelical version of Cato Institute president Ed Crane’s (“don’t vote — it only encourages them”). Last time I heard, Cato was considered a moderate, not extremist, libertarian entity.

    “3. Hancock repeatedly questions whether the LPUS should exist, and said in 2009 that he is ‘getting very close to targeting the national Libertarian Party as an enemy of freedom’.”

    Would you rather he did such “targeting,” or would you rather he tried to make the LP a friend of freedom?”

  20. Brian Holtz

    Tom, Viper team members admitted in court that they stockpiled 400 pounds of ammonium nitrate. Pleasant himself admitted to narrating the videotape surveilling federal buildings.

    I’ve taken no implicit position on whether Pleasant’s actions should be illegal. Rather, I’ve taken an implicit position on whether they’re embarrassing for the LP.

    If Ed Crane advocates against voting, then I would oppose him being LNC Chair, too.

    Most of us LP members think the LP is already a “friend of freedom”, but I guess people who have founded competing parties might disagree. Either way, I’m not going to vote for a Chair candidate just because he threatens the LP if we don’t elect him Chair. Most Libertarians I know don’t take kindly to threats like that.

  21. Spin, spin, spin, spin .......... Lake

    Brian Holtz // May 16, 2010:
    “Most of us LP members think the LP is already a “friend of freedom”, but I guess people who have founded competing parties might disagree …….”

    Ya gonna vote for deluded wing nuts proclaiming LP as the one and only 21st Century American Peace Party [Phillies, at al …….] ???????

  22. Jim Davidson

    Wow, Brian Holz-in-his-thinking with the “guilt by association” attack. Nifty. Now we all know that Ernie Hancock is in fact Dean Pleasant because Brian assures us it must be true. lol

    And somehow it has become a crime to take video of federal buildings and own ammonium nitrate. You know, for the children. lol

  23. Brian Holtz

    Hancock is not Dean Pleasant. Hancock is an apologist for Dean Pleasant.

    LP candidate Dean Pleasant stockpiling ammonium nitrate and making videos of how to blow up federal buildings is not necessarily a crime. It is necessarily an embarrassment.

    Which part(s) of the above two distinctions does Davidson not understand?

  24. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    Calling 400 pounds of ammonium nitrate a “stockpile” is like calling two books of 20 stamps a “postal facility.”

    Furthermore, absent explosives for it to be used as an oxidizer for, or fuel oil to mix it into its own explosive compound (ANFO), it’s nothing but fertilizer.

    I’m not sure what your heartburn is with “the public” looking at (“surveilling”) their own property, either.

  25. Brian Holtz

    “Looking at” is one thing. Describing what support columns to blow up to bring down the building, and describing the security guard shift change schedule — well, that’s quite another.

    But you knew that already, didn’t you?

    Did you know they were using ammonium nitrate to practice making explosions in the desert?

    You must have missed a memo, because the Viper cover story for the ammonium nitrate wasn’t that “it’s nothing but fertilizer”. It was for “research on rocket propellant”.

  26. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    I’m not interested in whatever Viper’s “cover story” was, because at no point were they credibly accused of doing anything that should be illegal.

    Furthermore, I don’t agree that people should be prosecuted for what they think. If a guy walks around with a bag of oregano thinking he’s got pot, he’s not guilty of cannabis possession.

    If a guy shows up for a date with what he thinks is a 13-year-old girl, but is actually a 25-year-old male cop, he’s not guilty of attempting to molest the 13-year-old girl (it’s impossible to molest a victim who does not exist).

    If some idiot thinks that eight bags of ammonium nitrate constitute explosives or rocket fuel, he’s an idiot, but he’s not guilty of possession of explosives.

    During the period in question, a LOT of libertarians and Libertarians — including 1992 LP VP nominee Nancy Lord — publicly stood up in defense of victims of artificial, government-created “militia scares.”

    Hancock’s actions and representations vis a vis Team Viper were very much in the LP mainstream for that time period. If you’d like to campaign on the premise that they shouldn’t have been, fine — but you’re not going to get very far trying to use this particular item as evidence that Hancock is “fringe,” at least with people who were members of the party before 2000 or so.

  27. Brian Holtz

    Tom, I repeat: my complaint has precisely zero to do with whether what Dean Pleasant did was or should be illegal.

    It also has precisely zero to do with entrapment, because the available evidence shows that 1) the government did not start looking at the Vipers until well after Pleasant made his “educational” videotape about how to blow up federal buildings, and 2) the Vipers started testing explosives using ammonium nitrate without any government encouragement.

    My complaint has to do with whether the LP should be embarrassed when its candidates do what Dean Pleasant did.

    There was nothing “artificial, government-created” about Pleasant’s video. I maintain that it’s quite “fringe” for Hancock to defend as “educational” Pleasant’s video tutorial on how to blow up a federal building while taking note of its security guard shift-change schedule. I maintain that it’s quite “fringe” for Hancock to say on his “Viper Reserve” web page that “the likely perpetrators [of the Oklahoma City bombing] had closer ties to the police state and NO ties to any militia group”. I maintain that it’s quite “fringe” for Hancock to promote a documentary claiming that McVeigh was a CIA operative working to discredit the militia movement.

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