Chairman Sarwark Provides Update on Coronavirus’ Effect on the Libertarian National Convention

The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic.  Over 1,000 people in the United States have tested positive and 37 have died.  Events such as South by Southwest in Austin have cancelled to reduce the spread of the virus.  This raises the question of whether the May 21-25 Libertarian National Convention in Austin will proceed as normal. I spoke to Chairman Nick Sarwark for an update on the status of the event.

For now, it seems, the event will go on, but that may change as conditions change.

“We are monitoring the situation and receiving guidance from the city of Austin,” says Sarwark, “At present, gatherings with fewer than 2,500 participants are proceeding as scheduled.”

We will continue to provide updates on the status of the event.

29 thoughts on “Chairman Sarwark Provides Update on Coronavirus’ Effect on the Libertarian National Convention

  1. Kevin

    Even before the virus pandemic, I pointed out that physical conventions are counterproductive because they select for the wrong sort. Those people willing to spend time/money on quixotic ventures, for the psychodrama and being able to live out their ideological fantasies.

    Now that such a convention would likely spread the disease, the obvious conclusion is, cancel the physical part and have an online business convention. Now, if the LNC would come down to earth from their cloud world, things might improve in the LP.

    The LNC does not represent normal LP members, and has strayed far from the liberty pledge to delve into areas like marriage licensing and foreign policy, about which they have nothing useful to contribute.

  2. Fred Stein

    I have always boycotted the national convention when I had to take a plane since those idiots always pick a busy week-end holiday, I have gone to past conventions where I can drive. …………….Why can’t I vote with an absentee ballot or thru the internet. Come on gang, This is the 21 st, century, not the 1700’s.

  3. dL

    Now that such a convention would likely spread the disease

    Bjornson, if the world is still on global quarantine lockdown in late May, then I would proffer that LP logistics would be the least of anyone’s concerns

  4. Kevin

    For those who otherwise would to a physical convention, the pandemic is not the least of their concerns. Not sure what you mean by “logistics” but the point is not the specific method of participation or particular hotel or what mode of transportation/commnication, but that physical conventions pose a health risk, in addition to their filtering out most normal people from attending (which explains the weirdness emanating from the national LP).

  5. Rocky Eades

    “…cancel the physical part and have an online business convention.” I’m thinking that would require a change in the bylaws. And changing the bylaws can only be done at a convention which is held in accordance with the bylaws.

  6. Kevin

    So, people must get sick and possibly die, in order to not violate the by-laws?
    What specific by-laws are you talking about? Do you have the exact wording?

  7. Rocky Eades

    Well there is this: “Regular Conventions:
    The Party shall hold a Regular Convention every two years, at a time and place selected by the
    National Committee. Regular Conventions shall be held sometime during the period of July of an
    odd-numbered year through August of an even-numbered year. All business required to be
    conducted at Regular Conventions shall be conducted at Regular Conventions only.”

    Time and place have been selected. I don’t know that there is anything that would allow the LNC to change that. Nothing explicitly in the bylaws would allow them to change their mind.

    And this: “10. Convention Rules:
    The Party’s Convention Special Rules of Order may be amended only by a Regular Convention.”

  8. Rocky Eades

    “So, people must get sick and possibly die, in order to not violate the by-laws?” Is anyone suggesting that people MUST GET SICK AND DIE? I’ve not seen any such suggestion.

  9. Fred Stein

    By- laws. I am running for State chairman in my state under the platform no more talk of by laws and no more meetings talking about more meetings that go nowhere,…………………. that is why we get 2 percent of the vote and people drop out.

  10. dL

    but that physical conventions pose a health risk

    The date is late May, not late March. Too early to tell. If the world is still in pandemic, quarantine lockdown in late May, well, then, the cancellation of the LP convention will be the least of our concerns.

    in addition to their filtering out most normal people from attending

    agoraphobia is the exception, not the norm…

  11. Kevin

    The by-law that Rocky quotes, says that the LNC must set the time and place. The time of a digital convention can be set, and the place of a digital convention is the internet. “place” refers to physical location, and anything that exists has a location or is in the twilight zone.

    Rocky also says:

    “So, people must get sick and possibly die, in order to not violate the by-laws?” Is anyone suggesting that people MUST GET SICK AND DIE? I’ve not seen any such suggestion.”

    I am making the suggestion that travelling by airliner and going to a hotel where travelers gather, is dangerous; and this is so not because I say it must be so but because of the nature of the virus and how it is spread. This is the sort of solipsism that is all too prevalent in the cuckoo land which we call the LP. Travel and restaurant businesses are down not because anybody says so, but because of objective reality.

  12. Fred Stein

    Business and restaurants are down due to the media and governments that are creating fear and panic. It is a sympton of the times. The prevalent philosophy of the day is”If it saves one person it is worth it. In my state of New Jersey now if its snows more than 4 inches the governor declares a state of emergency
    and closes the roads. Could you imagine what would have happened if this philosophy was around in the 1700’s we would still be only 13 colonies afraid to travel west, or into the unknown. Progress happens when people take a chance……..

  13. George Phillies

    The Convention inflicted Roberts on the LP. The National Committee may therefore always reconsider prior motions, such as motions to change the date and time.

    The place may always be changed to “wheresoever a Libertarian stands or sits, there is our convention”.

  14. Rocky Eades

    George, it is my understanding that RONR would prohibit the LNC from declaring a digital convention. Something about RONR defining “convention” as a physical location.

  15. Rocky Eades

    In any case, there are 2 logistical considerations that would make it pretty much impossible to reschedule for a digital convention. One is the loss of several hundred thousands of dollars if the LNC cancels the Austin convention. The other is the technical nightmare of putting together an effective – and legally binding – digital convention in only a few months.

  16. José C

    How are we going to nominate our presidential candidate having a digital convention? How will it work?

    We might have to postpone the convention . . .

  17. Kevin

    The LNC has the power and authority to postpone the convention.

    The candidates could broadcast their speeches via internet TV/Radio. No need for a private network. Anybody should be able to watch/listen. The members could cast votes digitally.

  18. Fred Stein

    the primary in louisiana was postponed due to the panic virus. Maybe the general election in november will be postponed for a couple of years. Remember trump wants to stay in power forever, If it is good enough for Putin , it is good enough for Trump.

  19. dL

    Could you imagine what would have happened if this philosophy was around in the 1700’s

    You may need to review your American history, Fred. Look up yellow fever of 1793. The federal government shut down. Washington and Adams fled to their farms. 1/2 the population of Philadelphia fled the city.

  20. dL

    I am making the suggestion that travelling by airliner and going to a hotel where travelers gather, is dangerous; and this is so not because I say it must be so but because of the nature of the virus and how it is spread. This is the sort of solipsism that is all too prevalent in the cuckoo land which we call the LP. Travel and restaurant businesses are down not because anybody says so, but because of objective reality.

    You’re not suggesting the late May LP physical convention should be cancelled because of covid-19 concerns. You’re ranting that covid-19 demonstrates travel and public spaces are dangerous, period. And that’s cuckoo land…

  21. Kevin

    Yes, travel and public spaces are dangerous during a coronavirus pandemic. Since physical conventions involve travel (in the enclosed environment of an airliner and through a crowded airport full of people from elsewhere) and the public space of a hotel that hosts travelers, a physical LP convention does fall into the category of a lunatic enterprise. Your point?

  22. Seebeck

    cancel the physical part and have an online business convention.

    I am currently developing an online convention for Colorado, because our regular in-person convention was forced-canceled by the state, and it isn’t easy for even just that. Doing so for a national convention is a logistical nightmare. Not impossible, but extremely difficult, and it would have to be stripped down to the bare minimum of elections. Doing Bylaws or Platform virtually? Forget it.

  23. Seebeck

    BTW, Robert’s is just terrible for digital meetings (maybe 12th Edition will address it?). It says that they can be done if the Bylaws so provide, but offers zero guidance on how to do it. The processes I’m developing are in accordance with the LPCO Bylaws, which allows for remote locations, and otherwise are from scratch, trying to imitate an in-person meeting as much as possible. It’s not easy at all.

    The only reason we’re doing it this way is a state law deadline for nominating candidates and the national LP’s deadline for delegation submission. If those weren’t issues, we would just ride it out and wait.

  24. Kevin

    In the state where a physical convention is planned to be held, the governor might prohibit large gatherings. The governor would not reimburse people for their air tickets or hotel stay (if already paid). Even if the governor does not issue a prohibition, prudence indicates such a large physical gathering would be unwise.

    Having a physical convention during an epidemic would further screen out normal people, who are not fanatical enough to incur such risk for what amounts to a quixotic meeting.

    There is not need to change by-laws or platform until the technical issues have been worked out. By now the LP should have evolved by-laws that are functional. Considering that the platform still has weird or counter-productive planks, that haven’t been removed yet, it’s fortunate that few people pay attention to it. Eventually the technical issues will be sorted out and more normal people will become a majority at digital conventions, then platform problems can be addressed.

  25. Jack Knauff

    We are all gonna fucking die! Can’t you understand that? We don’t need no fucking convention! We need a really good old fashioned Irish wake! Nominate Norman Fucking Thomas for President for Christsakes!
    It doesn’t fucking matter!

  26. George Phillies

    Jose: You need a way to validate votes. Presidential candidates are nominated. At a fixed time the next day, delegates are called on to cast their first round votes. Count by computer is fast. Loser gets three minutes to speak. Repeat.

  27. ATBAFT

    Now may be the time to let each state decide whom to put on their ballot as the LP candidate. Having a dozen candidates shouldn’t matter much in the long run…and might be a good experiment to see which candidate, campaign, and ideas does best with the electorate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *