Jim Duensing: We Libertarians Have Become What We Profess To Oppose


Jim Duensing for President

It has long been whispered in Libertarian circles that when we
Libertarians actually get a hold of even a small bit of power, we become
everything we despise.

There is no better example of that long whispered adage than the
Libertarian Party of Nevada’s meeting on Cinco de Mayo. It was a
teleconference. The agenda was short and sweet. Levels of Membership –
Move to Consolidate – Authorize Spending of Funds.

In short order, two thirds of the Executive Committee, who had obviously
discussed the matter previously, voted to create levels of membership not
authorized by the state bylaws. These new membership levels were a
reinstatement of the old restrictive Clark County rules that were in place
before the last round of affiliate conventions – where every affiliate
reduced its dues. The Agoraphobic Six followed that by voting to revoke
the affiliate status of all active affiliates, without the written
explanation required by the bylaws. Then, they voted to give the Chair
power to make all decisions about all monies and the upcoming convention.

We have become what we profess to oppose.

Now let’s look more closely at the vote to “consolidate” as kitchen table
caucus member Irv Hopkins termed it.

There are 17 counties in Nevada. Clark County is where Las Vegas is.
Washoe County is where Reno is. Those two counties account for most of
Nevada’s population. The Nevada Libertarian Party has 3 affiliates: Clark
County, Nye County, and the Capitol Region (which includes Washoe, Carson
City, and Douglas). 5 of the 17 counties covering more than ninety plus
percent of the population of the state are organized into three

Nye County is the state party’s most successful affiliate. It is a
southern county contiguous to Clark with its major population center,
Pahrump, about an hour outside of Vegas. We have two Libertarians elected
to political office in Nye County. Mike Darby is the chair of our local
affiliate and the chair of the Town Board of Pahrump. He is the highest
elected Libertarian in Nevada, and possibly the whole nation. The other
elected Libertarian is Harry Friend who is on the water board in Beatty.
Successful Libertarians running in local winnable races with a grassroots
operation that almost elected a Libertarian to the County Commission.
Sandra Darby earned 42% in the 2010 election in her narrow defeat for a
seat on the County Commission.

The Capitol Affiliate is organized and has some activity. I’m not
familiar with all of their current activities. However, the Capitol
Affiliate is up north. There has always been a north / south divide in
Nevada politics. It exists in every party in this state. And, the folks
up north are not fans of the small caucus of agoraphobes that have gained
control of the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of Nevada.

The Libertarian Party of Clark County is the state’s oldest affiliate.
After the last round of county conventions, the Clark County affiliate
canceled all of its meetings. It used to have monthly meetings. Not
uncoincidentally, two members of the State Executive Committee that
supported the abolition of all affiliates and the centralization of
Libertarian power into the hands of the chair are also officers in the
Clark County Libertarian Party. Irv Hopkins and Kris McKinster.

The problem is that this small caucus of neo-libertarians is scared of new
people joining the organization. You would think that the few volunteers
of a small organization with a large job would welcome more hands on deck.
But, paradoxically, the members of Nevada’s Agoraphobic Caucus are
literally afraid of new people joining our three percent political party.
They prefer to sit around the kitchen table of all-time chair Joseph P.
Silvestri and centrally plan liberty while trying to expel average
ordinary concerned citizens from their ranks.

None of the agoraphobes mentioned any actual reason – not even the pretext
of a reason – to abolish functioning counties in favor of an attempt to
consolidate power that would have pleased Vice Chancellor Hitler.

The relevant section of the official bylaws of the Libertarian Party of
Nevada REQUIRE that any revocation of affiliate status be done with a two
thirds vote AND a written explanation of any and all votes in favor of
revocation. No such written statement was prepared by ANY member of the
Executive Committee. None was even offered verbally.

Article VII
i. The Executive Committee shall have the power to revoke affiliate status
if two-thirds of the Executive Committee shall so vote. Members voting to
revoke affiliate status must state their reasons in writing.

The vote of the Libertarian Party of Nevada’s Executive Committee to
revoke the affiliate status of all active affiliates and to “consolidate”
power into the hands of the agoraphobes on the Executive Committee was in
contravention of the state’s own bylaws and is therefore null and void.

As the current and active Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Nye
County, I am going to continue acting in that capacity. As such, I will
continue to represent that I am the Vice-Chair of the Libertarian Party of
Nye County Nevada. I will continue to use the registered trademark of the
Libertarian Party of the United States of America as an official
representative of the party. I will continue to go on state-wide
television programs to discuss Libertarian activities in my county. I
will continue the actions planned for our local Pahrump town board
meetings, including the Libertarian Party of Nye County’s resolution to
repeal the town ordinance which requires all businesses to get a business
license. This measure would really help our small businessmen and I will
continue to push it as is my duty as the sitting vice-chair of the
Libertarian Party of Nye County.

I encourage the other counties to remain active.

I also encourage the Nevada Libertarian Party Executive Committee Members
to state their reasons for voting for the revocation of all affiliates.
One rather loquacious member of the Nevada Executive Committee is also an
At-Large member of the Libertarian National Committee and has offered no
explanation as to why he thinks it furthers the interests of liberty to
attempt to abolish all the active affiliates in his home state. I am
quite certain several hard working Libertarian volunteers will inquire why
he has dishonored the hard work and sacrifice of so many Libertarians
working hard to spread liberty at home.

Roll Call of Votes to abolish all Libertarian Affiliates

Jospeh P. Silvestri – Chair

Wayne Allyn Root (W.A.R.) – Vice Chair

Kris McKinster – Secretary

Michael McAuliffe – Treasurer

Irv Hopkins – At Large

Chris Roberts – Southern Region

David Colborne – Northern Region

Sandra Darby – Central Region

53 thoughts on “Jim Duensing: We Libertarians Have Become What We Profess To Oppose

  1. Eddie

    It is obvious that both the Libertarians and Green Party don’t know how to grow a party. They are not willing to put in “real work” to raise their profiles. I liked that example you gave of them sitting around, giving each other figurative high fives, instead of wanting to grow membership.

    Thank you for saying it. Why the hell haven’t the Greens and Libertarians started a coalition? Can some of us agree on here to create a facebook Green/Libertarian coalition?

  2. From my view

    Does anyone really care?
    In the eyes of the general public, the LP is full of anti EVERYTHING loons. I sure would not want to live in a pure Libertarian world. I think they have that in Somalia now. They had it in the wild west of the late 1800’s. Scary. America isn’t ready for the LP and especially the Constitution Party. Yet, the two old parties in this country have ruined us financially. How about banning all political parties?

  3. Starchild

    Right on, Jim — glad to see you agreeing with John Jay Myers, David Colborne, and Debra Dedmon that the disaffiliation of Nevada county parties by Wayne Allyn Root, et. al., at the state level is a reprehensible act. I feel the same way. It’s not a particularly surprising development though, at least not to me.

    The dangerous trend in the Libertarian Party toward top-down governance and the disempowering of grassroots activists is something I?ve been talking about for years now. The name of the Grassroots Libertarians Caucus and the first of its Five Key Values (see http://www.groups.yahoo.com/groups/grassrootslibertarians ) were drafted with an eye toward opposing this slow destruction of our party?s accountability to its local activists.

    These two sentences from John Jay (posted at http://hammeroftruth.com/2011/john-jay-myers-the-libertarian-party-of-nevada?-has-issues/ and https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2011/05/john-jay-myers-the-libertarian-party-of-nevada-has-issues/ , where I’ve posted a substantially similar copy of this comment), say volumes:

    ?No one would speak for the motion, though a few people spoke against, yet the cowards voted for it without defending it. For the record, they wouldn?t even allow some good faith observers to chime in.?

    If nothing else, I hope this unfortunate development in Nevada will cause more Libertarians to wake up to the reality of the top-down trend, and join the fight to actively oppose it. We need to keep the folks in the Root/Starr faction who are pushing this kind of thing out of party leadership as much as possible, and realize what many of the incremental and seemingly harmless bylaws changes they are constantly proposing add up to.

    It?s also past time more Libertarians realized that practices such as lack of transparency, discouraging participation by ordinary members at committee meetings, etc., help enable these kinds of shenanigans. Here are some specific reform ideas to address these problems and keep the LP a bottom-up party of the people as opposed to a top-down party of a small elite:

    ? Any LP member ought to be able to attend the meeting of any local, state, or national LP committee, sit at the table with the committee members, and fully participate in the meeting in all ways short of making parliamentary motions and voting.

    ? Any LP member ought to be able to subscribe to and post to any email list used by any official LP committee.

    ? All votes taken, whether in person or via email, should be roll call votes, with each committee member identified by name and his or her vote recorded.

    ? Detailed minutes should be kept of all meetings, covering not just what votes and actions were taken, but the conversation and debate that led to those votes and actions. The point of minutes is to preserve a record of what *really* happened at a meeting, and to help people who weren?t there understand the proceedings as if they had been there.

    ? All committee meetings at the state level and above should be videotaped. Both video and written minutes should be promptly posted online and announced to party members via various lists, newsletters, etc.

    ? Any LP member should be able to subscribe to distribution lists for the video and written minutes of any official party committees whose proceedings he or she wishes to follow.

    I wouldn’t personally say that “we Libertarians have become what we profess to oppose”, because I don’t think most LP members support this top-down centralization/corporatization agenda. Nor do I think it has reached the moral lows of government, not by a long shot.

    However, I do think most LP members have yet to fully wake up to what’s been gradually taking place in our organization. For the sake of our party, I hope enough people do.

  4. Starchild

    Re: “From my view” @4 – Actually the public is getting increasingly libertarian, although in some ways this can be seen as a minor miracle given the amount of disinformation out there.

    Take Somalia. It is hardly some kind of libertarian experiment. They just have warring clans and militias that act as de facto mini-governments enforcing various statist controls rather than a single central government as most countries do. See for instance http://www.quebecoislibre.org/09/090515-3.htm

    And the “wild west” was far from the scary, shoot-em-up place that you may have heard about in school or gotten from Hollywood westerns. See for instance http://www.libertarianstandard.com/2010/04/07/how-wild-was-the-wild-west-in-fact/

    But if you’re looking for a place where political parties are banned, I think North Korea bans all political parties other than the ruling one, which is kind of like not having them at all.

    Of course if you don’t like people who are “anti-EVERYTHING”, you might be disturbed by how many freedoms are “Anti’d” out of existence in North Korea. Libertarians of course are famously “pro-choice on everything” — everything consensual, that is. You’re probably much less anti-freedom than most of the people in Kim Il Jong’s regime.

  5. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I like the Five Key Values, Starchild. That Yahoo group seems to be one I don’t belong to. I’ll see if I can find it over the weekend.

  6. Jake Witmer

    [Thank you for saying it. Why the hell haven’t the Greens and Libertarians started a coalition? Can some of us agree on here to create a facebook Green/Libertarian coalition?]

    Yeah, the answer isn’t to do the same kind of outreach the Ds and Rs do, combined with jury rights activism that shows that we actually care about people! …The answer is to form a coalition with anti-liberty douchebags who hate the idea of liberty, and have a small party formed around new-age political pragmatism and environmentalist-luddite ideas, along with soft versions of protection of civil liberties (except when it’s inconvenient to the regressive, luddite, “progressive” agenda).

    Gee, Jake, then what’s the real problem and solution?

    The problem is simply that human beings are not smart enough to be concerned with their liberty. Therefore, the people who have a direct personal financial interest in eliminating individual freedom (politicians), will always be smarter and better organized than those who have an interest in protecting individual liberty. …Until there’s a paradigm shift.

    What might such a paradigm shift look like?

    The development of a superhuman synthetic brain. If this sounds crazy to you, then good: that’s an indication that what I’ve said is precisely correct. You will soon join the Dodo and the Tyrannosaurus rex, in the dustbin of evolution, and I will soon have more individual freedom.

    If this has the ring of truth to it, you might enjoy:

    Jeff Hawkins on AGI (Artificial General Intelligence):

    George Carlin on Evolution:
    (And yes, I comprehend the inconsistencies here, and I don’t care about them. Lighten up, and laugh.)

    It’s “Out of Control” (out of your control) anyway:

    An introduction to the idea of “The Singularity”:

  7. Ethan Samuel Brockman

    The credibility of Nevada LP has gone down the drain. Fortunately most Libertarians are pulling this kind of crap.

  8. Ethan Samuel Brockman

    I meant aren’t, where’s the edit button when ya need it?

  9. Cody Quirk

    Sorry to hear about this. I’m glad we don’t have this crap going on in the IAP

  10. Attn: Disaffiliated Nevadans

    Liberty for America invites you to affiliate your county organizations (minus the people who disaffiliated you) with Liberty for America (http://LibertyForAmerica.com)

    We’d love to have you on board. We don’t promise as much as those other guys, but, then, we don’t charge you dues either.

    And our monthly national magazine actually comes out every month, unlike that other monthly national magazine.

    If you have anyone coming to PorcFest, consider the LPNH/LPMA joint national conference “Future of the Libertarian Political Movement”, the day before Porcfest Starts June 19.

  11. Starchild

    Jill @7 – Right on! Jill and anyone else wishing to join the Grassroots Libertarians Caucus, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/grassrootslibertarians/, and click on the “join this group” button on the upper right side of the page. After logging into or registering with Yahoo, you’ll be asked to send the moderator (me) a message. Include the note, “I support the Five Key Values” (the only membership requirement), and when I receive it, I’ll add you to the caucus list ASAP.

  12. Starchild

    George @16 – How will county affiliation with “Liberty For America” work in practice? What is the group’s leadership structure?

    Would you publish the Five Key Values of the Grassroots Libertarians Caucus in your monthly magazine?

  13. Cody Quirk

    Maybe the Nevada Libertarians of the right-wing persuasion ought to look at the IAP- Nevada’s largest third party -for their new home.

  14. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    SC@ 19: Would you like them listed as its own article here (on IPR)?

  15. Brian Miller

    Libertarians “became what we opposed” years ago. The LP’s embrace of hard-right-wing Republican statists like Bob Barr, Ron Paul and Wayne Root ensured that the party would collapse into irrelevance as just another fringe-right organization in a world already filled with them.

    Now, who really cares about the outcome? State parties are in collapse or irrelevant (not even qualifying for ballot access in places like California), the national organization is insolvent, and egomaniacal insiders who want to be big fish in a tiny puddle are shrinking the puddle to make sure they’re the only fish who remain.

    The end-game is quite obvious. In fact, it’s here, but long-termers are just in denial.

    It could have been stopped years ago, but most LP people were willing to sell principle down the river for power, glory and recognition. The unseemly public death throes of the organization are simply the final stage of its terminal condition.

  16. LibertarianGirl

    all 3 counties are ignoring the de-affiliation . In Clark we already have a new Chair-Angy mcKinster and will elect a new excom at our next meeting. We have 1 other officer should he choose to stand with us , Treasurer Tim Hagan, and 4 voting members, myself , Shawn Grisson , Cassandra Grissom ,Sean Gruber.

    we are the new , VALID , and official Clark County LP. PERIOD.

  17. Michael H. Wilson

    Fantastic! Going around the mountain may take longer, but it is easier than trying to go through it. Once you are on the other side give them the finger.

  18. California Observer

    Brian Miller @23: The Libertarian Party of California has its ballot access until 2014, and is working hard to maintain it beyond that. You are misinformed and ranting, as usual.

    As for Nevada, if the state Executive Committee violated the Bylaws, and there is no appeals process through their Judicial Committee, then the counties are perfectly justified in ignoring the void edict of the state Executive Committee, even to the point of holding their own rump convention and creating a new Arizona Problem. Hopefully it would not come to that, but the cast of miscreants running the NVLP aren’t smart enough to recognize that their real goal should be 17 active county affiliates doing grassroots local politics instead of zero, and the the state party focusing on Carson City instead.

  19. Brian Miller

    The Libertarian Party of California has its ballot access until 2014, and is working hard to maintain it beyond that. You are misinformed and ranting, as usual

    Nonsense. With the passage of “top two” ballots, the Libertarian Party will never again have a candidate for statewide or federal office on the ballot (unless you’re crazy enough to believe that the LP will somehow manage to win “top two” status).

    The ballot status of the LP of California, from now on, is “not on the ballot.”

    Of course, anonymous LPologists will insist that this isn’t a big deal, misinformed, etc.

    All the internal bickering, posturing, “bylaws” mental masturbation, etc. is frankly a waste of time. The LP has shrunk to such a massive degree that it’s difficult to imagine anything being left, even if the “good guys” end up “winning.”

  20. JT

    Jim: “None of the agoraphobes mentioned any actual reason – not even the pretext of a reason – to abolish functioning counties in favor of an attempt to consolidate power that would have pleased Vice Chancellor Hitler.”

    Hitler?? Get a grip.

    Jim: “The relevant section of the official bylaws of the Libertarian Party of Nevada REQUIRE that any revocation of affiliate status be done with a two thirds vote AND a written explanation of any and all votes in favor of
    revocation. No such written statement was prepared by ANY member of the Executive Committee. None was even offered verbally.”

    I thought this was bizarre also. When David Colborne asked WHY this was being put forth, he was just told to speak for or against it. That’s not right.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t seem as though the bylaw states WHEN those voting yes must state their reasons in writing. Maybe they will now. That might be something delegates to the state convention want to amend, along with other powers most of them don’t want the state leadership to have.

  21. D. Lou Shenol

    First,I would appreciate if someone ,who can, would correct the spelling of Mr. Duensing’s name in the title. Thanks. In politics a candidate can catch a lot of flack, the least the media can do is spell their names correctly!

    Starchild’s yahoo group is on to the best way to build the LP. Politics is LOCAL, it must be built locally. The POTUS candidates should be bringing NEW blood to the local Party.

    Bravo local NV groups for continuing your organizations! From what I read above 2/3 MUST submit a written reason, if not then what they attempted is NULL and VOID anyway. Keep having FUN at the county level building the LP!

    BM @23 and 34 is very disturbing. If CA blocks ANY competition to the “major” party it is a tremendous setback to freedom in the supposedly “land of the free”! Are these statements true and when and who is responsible for passing the law !? Arnold SwartzAnazi ?

  22. Carol Moore

    Better late than never realized Jim D. from Nevada ANOTHER Nevada Prez candidate. MY this will be fun. Of course, now the Hookers for Root I read about in another post probably will have a split between supporting you and Root. Better start saving my money for the convention!

  23. Thomas L. Knapp


    Yep. Three are three candidates from Nevada (Root, Duensing, Burns), two from Texas (Wrights, Gary), supposedly one from Connecticut (unidentified), one from Oklahoma (some Republican guy).

    Looks like, um, great fun. Glad I’m not involved any more!

  24. LibertarianGirl

    Aj Arias , hes my FB friend but other than that , i dont know much about him…

    TK , you know it IS gonna be fun to hand Root his ass , so the offer of my extra room/couch still stands for you as you have indicated youare not allergic to way too many cats!:)LOL

  25. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    AJ has bowed out. Turns out out he has 5 little boys at home
    and a baby girl due next month (apparently he’s trying
    to say he’s busy or something!)

  26. Thomas L. Knapp


    Lee is originally (or at least for a long time) from North Carolina, but he now lives in Texas.

    I plan to sit out this election cycle, except possibly for some paid or “for friends” work that doesn’t get me in the thick of things … but I might come sleep on your couch just to see you!

  27. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    TK, you might try to figure out how to be a fly on the wall at the 2012 convention for sheer entertainment’s value, if nothing else.

  28. Andy

    Thomas Knapp said: “I plan to sit out this election cycle, except possibly for some paid or “for friends” work that doesn’t get me in the thick of things … but I might come sleep on your couch just to see you!”

    Tom Knapp the political junkie just can’t kick his habbit. Maybe he should enter one of those 12 step programs.:)

  29. LibertarianGirl

    we’ll need every man on deck and i intend to utilize watever persuasive tactics inhave to to get eveyrone on the same page and ready to stand and be counted

  30. Thomas L. Knapp

    Amdy @ 49,

    Actually, I have kicked my (electoral) political habit, at least for now.

    Part of what I do for a living is write.

    Some of the writing I do is press releases and speeches.

    Some of those press releases and speeches are for politicians.

    That’s been the case for more than a decade, and I doubt it will change.

    What has changed is that now I do it either because a personal friend needs it done or because a client is willing to write a check, not because I have a real interest in the outcome.

    Will I fall off the wagon? I might. But I doubt it enough that if you’d like to make a cash bet on whether or not I’ll be a delegate to the 2012 Libertarian National Convention, I’ll be glad to take your money, because that’s not gonna happen.

    If I come to Vegas, it will be to see LG and other friends, and maybe to do a little gambling.

  31. LibertarianGirl

    well you can come and enjoy the show , but please dont mind if I try an talk you into being a delegate my strategy plan will be this , you dislike Waynes message more than you dislike the idea of being a delegate…

    oh im a fantastic beggar , so just saying dont blame me for trying!:)

  32. Sean N. Gruber

    Jim, I agree with pretty much everything you say in this article!! (However I retain my right to bitch- out if someone says bad things about you and I don’t want to be associated with your ilk anymore;-) Anyway’s good job bro… where’s my beer…

  33. Pingback: What’s Going On with the Libertarian Party of Nevada? | Independent Political Report: Third Party News

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