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Libertarian Peacenik on the “Ground Zero Mosque” and the Libertarian Party

Posted by Thomas Sipos at Libertarian Peacenik:

Wayne Allyn Root, John Hospers: The LP’s Anti-Libertarian Faces

Massachusetts Libertarian Party Chair George Phillies reports on Independent Political Report (comment 148):

“I am amused to report that the LNC was contacted by a reporter who wanted to do a story on possible interactions between the Libertarian Party and Malcolm X, the question being ‘Has Malcolm X inspired your Libertarian activism?’

“It was observed by one LNC member that there was a PA local candidate who was a member of the Nation of Islam. It was noted that another LNC member had made a study of Malcolm X and his beliefs. Another LNC member claimed there is no one like that in our party.

Mr. Root gave the LNC ‘I am the de facto face and voice of the LP.’ and opined that he should get the interview. Another LNC member answered Wayne ‘You have indeed gotten a lot of media. However, as I pointed out in an earlier e-mail with graph attached, this has not translated into new members for the LP. We have fewer new members each month. Whatever you are doing is not growing the LP.’ Glaringly obvious reasons for this failure were then listed.

“If you are wondering why our national party is in its current shape, you should recognize that this was most of the LNC’s activity for a number of days.

“I have not yet learned if the reporter got an interview with anyone.”

Some observations:

1. This above thread concerns 1972 LP presidential candidate John Hospers’s call to oppose the Muslim cultural center being built two blocks from Ground Zero.

2. LNC member Wayne Allyn Root had previously also called for public opposition to the Muslim center.

3. Root’s position resulted in criticism from Libertarian bloggers, which is why Hospers felt the need to jump in and defend Root.

4. Well, of course it resulted in negative reaction! For Root and Hospers to call for public opposition to building the Muslim cultural center is to invite the public to suppress the property rights of the building owner and the religious freedom of Muslims.

Seems the Libertarian Party tent has gotten so big, it now welcomes people who are pro-war, anti-property rights, and anti-religious freedom.

And now Root claims that he’s the “de facto voice and face of the LP.” Considering Root’s constant conspiratorial speculations about Obama being a black radical at Columbia University (even though Root claims that he never met Obama at Columbia), I wonder what Root would have told the reporter about the LP’s views on Malcolm X.

(I myself have no views on Malcolm X, as I’ve never read or studied him. I only saw the Spike Lee film, which is not enough for an informed opinion.)

Root’s defenders (the usual suspects) chimed in that Root hasn’t called for government intervention against the “Ground Zero mosque” (a misnomer, since it’s neither a mosque, nor on Ground Zero — it’s a Muslim cultural center two blocks away from Ground Zero).

Root’s defenders praise Root for calling on the private sector to exert “market pressure” on the property owner and Muslims to not build there, and to leave the government out of it.

Now, can you imagine if anyone in the LP called for the private sector to exert “market pressure” on someone to not build a synagogue? Or a gay or black cultural center? Yes, it would technically be “libertarian” in that it’s not a call for government intervention — but it would still be bigotry.

While the LP may well defend the rights of haters, that doesn’t mean the LP should actually instigate hateful action. The ACLU defended the free speech rights of Nazis, but it didn’t go the extra step of encouraging the Nazis to engage in hate speech.

Alas, Hospers and Root are calling for the LP to side with haters.

However, Root may well be correct in that he is one of the more famous LP members out there. How tragic for liberty if Root becomes the “de facto” voice of the LP.

Ron Paul is far more famous that Root, and more respected. But Paul is not active in the LP. (Yet another thing to admire about Dr. Paul).

If there was ever any doubt, Root and Hospers are not libertarians. Whatever titles they accumulate, however many talk shows they appear on, they have left the pro-liberty reservation.

Gasp! Am I suggesting a litmus test?!

See Thomas Knapp’s excellent article on libertarian litmus tests.

Libertarian Warren Redlich Supports “Ground Zero Mosque”

There’s been much bigoted hysteria regarding the “Ground Zero mosque” (which is not on Ground Zero, and is not a mosque), including bigoted statements from Libertarian Party embarrassment Wayne Allyn Root.

It’s therefore nice to see a Libertarian Party candidate actually take a libertarian position on this issue. You rarely see LP candidates or officers speaking like libertarians any more (one reason I rarely vote LP anymore), but Warren Redlich, the LP candidate for New York governor, correctly supports both property rights and religious freedom, and thus supports the right of our fellow Americans (of the Muslim faith) to build a Muslim cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero:

Curiously, the New York LP nominated Alden Link as their Lt. Governor candidate. I don’t know Link’s position on the “Ground Zero mosque,” but when I met him at the 2006 LP national convention, Link struck me as quite pro-war. He suggested the U.S. military should bomb the branches of banks that hold “terrorist money” in their deposits.

Link was also quite the warhawk at the 2008 LP national convention. He was the only candidate who managed to make Root look like a dove.

After failing to get a single delegate’s vote at the LP convention, Link (who was not a delegate), attempted to get the Boston Tea Party’s presidential nomination.

Failing that, Link eventually managed to secure the Objectivist Party‘s vice presidential nomination. Considering how insanely pro-war organized Objectivism is these days, that seemed an appropriate political home for Link.

Objectivist Party founder, presidential candidate, and sometime LP officer, Dr. Tom Stevens, has formed Bachelors for Link to support Link’s Lt. Governor candidacy.

Who or what is Bachelors for Link? In endorsing Link, this “group” (assuming it’s more than just Dr. Stevens and his blog) says: “Bachelors often feel pressure to get married and to live a conventional lifestyle. Despite choosing to be ‘unattached’, they often face ridicule and are the subject of ‘whispering campaigns’ questioning their sexual orientation. We are proud to support Alden Link, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for Lt. Governor of New York State, who has socially tolerant views and a principled belief that people should be able to organize their lives as they see fit without private sanction or governmental interference.”

So…should Link be elected Lt. Governor of New York, he’ll use his office to end “whispering campaigns” against bachelors? Well, at least it’d be a less offensive use of Link’s time than his previous Islamophobic war hysteria.

Kudos to Warren Redlich’s defense of Muslim Americans’ equal rights — and a curious, raised eyebrow to Alden Link’s latest weird candidacy.

Libertarianism Is Dummied Down and Declining

Libertarian Party members keep talking about “growing the party.” I’ve heard this mantra for decades. Optimistic Libertarians of all factions have assured each other that Americans are really libertarians, that major party status is just 15 or so years away.

It’s always been 15 or so years away. In the 1990s, the national LP sent out some junk mail promising a “Libertarian majority Congress in 2010!” They did not promise one elected Libertarian, but an LP majority in both Houses of Congress.

Wayne Allyn Root likewise, when running for president in 2008, promised that he would win the presidency on the LP ticket in 2016. Victory is always 15 years away, give or take.

Well, no. Libertarianism as a philosophy is going backwards in the U.S. The “Ground Zero mosque” controversy is proof of that. Vast numbers of Americans have embraced xenophobic bigotry against Muslims.

Even “sensible, moderate” radio talk show hosts here in Los Angeles (e.g., Dennis Prager, Peter Tilden) oppose the “Ground Zero mosque” and imagine that their positions are moral. The saw how the “mosque” would insensitive to Americans — ignoring that the people building the Muslim cultural center are Americans.

And even members and spokesholes for the Libertarian Party are “opposing the property rights and religious freedom of their fellow Americans.

At Los Angeles’s Karl Hess Club last week, one longtime “libertarian” kept spouting snide smears against Muslims, hoping to entice others to join in. We didn’t. But while many of the KHC attendees are not anti-Muslim, several have indeed succumbed to Islamophobic fever.

First the LP tent grew to accommodate warmongering imperialists. Now the LP has grown to include xenophobes opposed to property rights and religious freedom.

Fifteen years ago, it was a given that most Americans were not libertarians. But now, you can’t even be sure that a Libertarian is a libertarian. The Libertarian Party has gone backwards. The libertarian movement has gone backwards. America is retreating from freedom and rationality, and libertarians are no help at all.

“Ground Zero” Synagogue Goes Up in Lebanon

American bigots — hiding under the labels of “conservative” or “libertarian” — have a favorite talking point: “We’ll let Them build a mosque in America, when They let Us build a church or synagogue in Saudi Arabia.”

Yes, some bigots are saying “No mosques in America,” not just on Ground Zero.

It’s an absurd demand. Why? Because Germans, Russians, Italians, Chinese — everyone — have long come to America to escape more oppressive nations. We never said to Russians, “You can’t enjoy free speech in the U.S. until Americans can enjoy free speech in the Soviet Union.” We never before demanded that American immigrants live by the laws of theirs foreign homelands.

Why change that American standard for Americans of Muslim heritage? (That’s right — the “Them” and “They” are our fellow Americans.)

Even so, it seems that some foreign, Muslim nations are more tolerant than is the U.S. Here’s a must-read peace about Lebanon’s Ground Zero Synagogue.

Previously at IPR on the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” (New York candidates for Governor in bold): Phil Maymin, Ron Paul, Mike Beitler, Howie Hawkins, Jake Towne, Warren Redlich video, John Jay Myers, Darryl Perry, Wayne Root (1) and (2), John Hospers, Reactions to Root’s piece from the libertarian blogosphere, LNC member Daniel Wiener, Tom Knapp, Kristin Davis, Warren Redlich (print commentary), Carl Paladino, and LPHQ interns Marissa Giannotta and Josh Roll.

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  1. Alan Pyeatt Alan Pyeatt August 30, 2010

    FWIW, I posted on Wayne Allyn Root’s wall on Facebook, saying that I hoped he would issue a statement distancing himself from the recent arson at the mosque site in Murfreesboro, Tennessee ( So far, no response.

    It’s pretty sad that the Muslim-haters in Amerika are so out of hand, and I don’t want our self-proclaimed “de facto face and voice of the LP” allowing us to be associated with it.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp August 29, 2010

    “Thomas Knapp was not at the BTP National Convention.”

    I have attended each and every BTP national convention. The BTP’s national conventions are held online. The event to which Mr. Stevens is referring that I did not attend was a meatspace meeting in Denver in 2008.

    “It may be that some of Davis’ actions technically violated the bylaws but Knapp is being disingenuous when he doesn’t explain that as Chair, he let all the bylaw deadlines pass and the BTP was inactive and without leadership when he finally stepped down.”

    My chairmanship ran from the formation of the party to its first national convention, a period of about three months. Therefore:

    – When I was chair, there were no bylaws deadlines because there weren’t yet any bylaws.

    – When I was chair I was the only “leader.” My chairmanship ended with the election of the BTP’s first national committee.

    “Most of the officers and most of the chapters did leave but it had to do more with Davis changing the voting deadlines and closing down polls whenever his side on an issue was in the lead.”

    The only person who “closed down a poll” during that period was Stevens himself. The poll was on whether the party would abide by the bylaws and nominate its first presidential slate by one member one vote, or violate those bylaws so that Stevens’s Potemkin affiliates could nominate himself and Link. My decision at that point to remove his administrative privileges on my web server was what culminated in his departure from the party, after some screaming about “a mere member” disputing his authoritah.

    All would do well to remember one rule with respect to Mr. Stevens. It’s that one about politicians whose lips are moving.

  3. Thomas M. Sipos Thomas M. Sipos August 29, 2010

    If Link did not seek the BTP nomination, he sure fooled LP delegates, some of whom were also BTP delegates, and who told me in a hospitality suite that Link did seek the BTP nomination.

    If Link dropped out of the LP race, it was not widely communicated, as the California delegates around me all assumed that Link was still in the running. We assumed we could still vote for him. We just chose not to.

  4. Dr. Tom Stevens Dr. Tom Stevens August 29, 2010

    Re: 18

    Thomas Knapp was not at the BTP National Convention. He had promised to leave and keep his hands off his baby but he just couldn’t seem to keep quiet and started criticizing the steps that Davis and I were taking to revive the party in our capacities as Chair and Vice-Chair.

    It may be that some of Davis’ actions technically violated the bylaws but Knapp is being disingenuous when he doesn’t explain that as Chair, he let all the bylaw deadlines pass and the BTP was inactive and without leadership when he finally stepped down.

    Most of the officers and most of the chapters did leave but it had to do more with Davis changing the voting deadlines and closing down polls whenever his side on an issue was in the lead. That is all I will say on that issue.

    As for Link seeking the BTP Presidential Nomination and me seeking the BTP VP nomination, that is totally untrue and made up of whole cloth. Link was not nominated for the BTP Presidential Nomination and never sought it. I was not nominated for the BTP Vice-Presidential nomination and never sought it.

  5. Dr. Tom Stevens Dr. Tom Stevens August 29, 2010

    Re: 17

    Alden Link did attend the BTP Convention as did I. He had no intention of seeking the BTP nomination for President and did not go there with that intention. He was not nominated.

    As for the LPUS Convention, Link dropped out of the race and used his tokens to help others. That is why he got no votes. All his token were given away before the closing deadline.

    As for spending a lot of money, I have no idea how much 1,000 pens cost.

  6. paulie paulie August 29, 2010

    Phillies is, IIRC, backing Lee Wrights for the nomination. Given that Sipos is on an anti-LP kick lately, I don’t think he wants to run for VP.

  7. tired of the whining tired of the whining August 29, 2010

    I move that George Phillies declare his candidacy for the 2012 Libertarian Presidential nomination. We know he his going to run again. He should name Tommy Boy Sipos as his running mate. They would be the Blame America First Libertarian Left Dream Team. Since they both have a hate Wayne Allyn Root obsession, they are a perfect match.

  8. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes August 29, 2010

    & then there was Charles Jay & Bob Milnes.
    & where is Charles now? I do not know. Haven’t heard from him in quite a while. Maybe he fell off the edge of the world.
    & where is Bob Milnes?
    IPR comments=NOWHERE.
    kicking it, slogging around= NOWHERE.
    watching the clock tick away till the next losing election=NOWHERE.
    Trying to cope with the radicals=NOWHERE.

  9. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp August 28, 2010

    Thomas S,

    Tom Stevens is being a bit disingenuous when he says that Alden Link didn’t seek the BTP’s nomination.

    Link was seeking that nomination, and Stevens was seeking the VP nomination, when Stevens:

    a) Tried to circumvent the BTP’s bylaws to have the presidential ticket nominated on a “one vote per state affiliate party” basis instead of a “one vote per party member” basis;

    b) Was discovered to have created several fake state affiliate parties out of whole cloth, the entire memberships of which were comprised of New Yorkers associated with himself; and

    c) Exited the BTP in a huff over the impudence of “mere members” questioning his authoritah and integritah.

    At that point, Link withdrew and they went on to run together as the “Objectivist Party” presidential ticket.

  10. Thomas M. Sipos Thomas M. Sipos August 28, 2010


    Was Link at the BTP convention? Some delegates said he went there, a few blocks away, seeking their nomination.

    Did Link go to the BTP convention, seeking the nomination, but changed his mind when he got there? Or did he not go there at all?

    Link spent heavily for the LP nomination. I remember him walking down the delegates’ seating, leaving free “Link for President” pens before every seat, in addition to his large buttons and position papers.

    If Link dropped out of the LP running, word never reached the California delegates seated around me. We were amazed that Link didn’t get a single vote, including his own.

  11. Dr. Tom Stevens Dr. Tom Stevens August 28, 2010

    Another correction:

    Alden Link did not seek the nomination of the Boston Tea Party for President.

  12. Tom Blanton Tom Blanton August 28, 2010

    Two things come to mind:

    Is Alden Link related to Lancelot Link?

    @11 “tired of the whining” is whining

  13. Dr. Tom Stevens Dr. Tom Stevens August 28, 2010

    Alden Link was a delegate from New York State to the 2008 Libertarian Party National Convention. He failed to obtain any votes for President that year since he dropped out of the race before the deadline for submitting Presidential tokens. Alden Link himself gave his token to Christine Smith while most of his supporters gave their tokens to Wayne Allyn Root.

  14. tired of the whining tired of the whining August 28, 2010

    Funny, because the only person who’s every called me “Tommy Boy” is Bruce Cohen.

    I say this because you accused me of being Brucie Boy that last time I critiqued one of your rants

  15. Thomas M. Sipos Thomas M. Sipos August 28, 2010

    “Not in Tommy Boy Sipos world…. And for the record, I am not Bruce Cohen…”

    It’s funny that, without any prompting, you say you’re not Bruce Cohen.

    Funny, because the only person who’s every called me “Tommy Boy” is Bruce Cohen.

  16. tired of the whining tired of the whining August 28, 2010

    “warmongering bigots, American bigots, warhawk”

    Can’t we all just get a long. Not in Tommy Boy Sipos world.

    I just love how Tom Sipos and his friends on the libertarian left can use such color adjectives to describe the people they hate. Yes, I do believe Sipos and company hate Wayne Allyn, John Hospers, Bill Redpath and other more mainstream Libertarians. They would love nothing more than to force Root and the others out of the party.

    But if you were to use the same tactics against them, they would whine about how mean you are, intolerant and using a verbal “initiation of force”. Yes whining is what Tom Sipos does best. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    The Libertartian Left is much like the Progressive Left. They preach tolerance as long as you believe what they believe. If you do not measure up 100% to their blame America, pacifist, left wing version of Libertarianism, you are a racist, war mongering, narrow minded idiot.

    And for the record, I am not Bruce Cohen and I believe the Islamic community has the right to build the mosque where they want.

  17. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt August 28, 2010

    For the idiot at # 8 and 9: I rest my case.

  18. Iraq Hussein Osama Iraq Hussein Osama August 28, 2010

    Why are you so stupid? Any ideas?

    sitting increases cranial pressure and reduces circulation to the brain stem.

    stand up!!

    What’s the spine? Soon to be no head.

  19. Imam Baraq Hussein Obamanigger Imam Baraq Hussein Obamanigger August 28, 2010

    Thank you for helping our plan to bring Sharia Law to America, we will leave your head to be cut off for last.

  20. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt August 28, 2010

    This is a thoughtful and excellent piece by Thomas Sipos. Not all Libertarians are warmongering bigots, but perhaps we’ve been too quiet lately. It’s time for other members of the Libertarian Party to speak up and regain our good name!

  21. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes August 28, 2010

    The closest thing in America to the Nationalist party in Chile is the Constitution party.

  22. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes August 28, 2010

    Today Glenn Beck said,”America today begins to turn back to God.”
    Further evidence the Tea Party movement is theocratic, nationalistic, counterrevolutionary. Simply’ the election of Obama fake progressive liberal democrat pushed America to the left. Not very far but HARD. This is the reaction.
    Now keep in mind Allende’s election by a leftist coalition was VEY close with the Nationalist party close second not the reactionary parties.
    America is being polarized like Chile was.
    What is needed is for the Progressive movement to get elected sweeping out the reactionaries before the Tea Party counterrevolutionaries start electing candidates.
    Then you will have the beginning of American Taliban.

  23. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman August 28, 2010

    “…Root and Hospers are not libertarians.”
    Neither is Robert Milnes.

  24. d.eris d.eris August 28, 2010

    “even though Root claims that he never met Obama at Columbia”

    Isn’t that WAR’s primary piece of evidence IN FAVOR of his conspiracy theory?

  25. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes August 28, 2010

    “…Root and Hospers are not libertarians.”
    Neither is Ron Paul.

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