Joe Bishop-Henchman to Resign as LNC Chairman

In a letter to members of the Libertarian National Committee, Chairman Joe Bishop-Henchman announced today he plans to resign as chair after a vote to disaffiliate the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.  The move comes in light of Bishop-Henchman’s role in the New Hampshire party leadership purge reported here.

The letter reads:

Members of the Libertarian National Committee,

It has been 25 years since I first became involved in the Libertarian Party. I can still see my heroes like Harry Browne and Richard Rider and and Ed Teyssier as we successfully rolled back wasteful government spending in San Diego, I can still hear the countless Libertarians I’ve listened to as we shared with optimism our hopes for the future, and I can still feel the exhaustion and sore feet from working tirelessly to bring Libertarian ideas to voters. We are the inheritors of a dream of our Party’s founders, that we can achieve a better, freer, more humane world and that we could make it happen despite the obstacles put in our way.

To be Chair has been an honor and privilege, to bring my skills to realizing this dream, to build a functional, effective, viable political party that stands for Libertarian principles and wins elections to move public policy in a Libertarian direction. From my professional life in building up successful organizations, I know an essential prerequisite is that we treat each other as adults and together sustain a culture of empathy, kindness, and professionalism. In the back corner of my mind, for some time, has been an unease that this culture was going or gone, and I regret that I have now come to realize that it is gone from this Committee and from the loudest and most powerful voices in our Party.

The lies and threats leveled at myself and many good Libertarians and friends—lies about my actions with regards to New Hampshire, and threats against any Libertarian who tries to defend the Party—have made clear to me that we are now firmly set down on a path I cannot continue to support.

At its root, the biggest problem I see in the Libertarian Party, at nearly all levels, is that toxic people are tolerated. One or two rotten apples spoil the bunch. Toxic people exhaust or drive out good people. Our mechanisms for removing such individuals and addressing such bad behavior are designed to be effectively impossible, and culturally, too many people who should know better passively tolerate it rather than confront it. It turns off donors, repulses allies, and makes team projects unviable. This Committee, when confronted with this problem, has chosen to react to it the way a government teachers’ union responds to a complaint about a bad teacher – endless process, excuses and rationalizations, feigned ignorance, and ultimately nothing but injustice for the victims.

I’m now convinced that many in this party want that toxicity. They thrive on it, it gives their life purpose, it makes sure there’s always an enemy to fight. Not the Republicans and Democrats, not the actual threats to our liberty, but rather invented enemies closer to home and within reach of their vitriol. That toxic culture has recently been harnessed in the service of a grouping with a declared goal of taking over the party and making it as repulsive as possible to everyone except themselves. Much like Michael Tager’s bartender story, Stage I is a few respectable people with odd ideas for messaging, Stage II is an organized push for projects unrelated to or counterproductive to getting Libertarians elected, Stage III is everything in chaos as we lurch from one self-imposed crisis to the next, and Stage IV is the purges and all previously-asserted concerns about due process and fair play thrown out the window.

I am cognizant, and frustrated, by the knowledge that a vast majority of LP members support where I would like to take the Party, including a supermajority of our elected officials and longest-serving activists and supporters. But governance of our Party is not decided democratically by all our members or by those who put in the most work electing Libertarians, but instead by those who are most organized to turn out bodies at state and national conventions. The national committee’s actions, and inactions, are now driven by fear of this well-organized group.

In time, the advocates of these destructive tendencies will burn themselves out, turn on each other, and then leave. It has happened more than once before in our 50-year history, leaving principled Libertarians to pick up the pieces and rebuild. But in the meantime, good people will be driven out of the party by those who wish to perpetuate this cycle, and most especially by those who now see it unmasked but will do nothing to stand up or speak up against it. I will not chair a party that knowingly and has now affirmatively chosen to stay affiliated with the toxic garbage that was being spewed by the New Hampshire party and similar bad actors in other states, the violent threats emanating from these people, and the deliberate destruction of the party’s ability to appeal to voters and win elections.

Therefore, I resign as Chair of this committee, and from all subsidiary positions, effective upon the declaration of the results of the pending email ballot on disaffiliation.

I know there are many individuals who came into the freedom movement through the Libertarian Party and are now questioning their continued involvement. Many supported me, sustained me, and worked with me to build what we thought was possible. I would like to extend my personal offer: if you would like to find a path and a career doing libertarian things in one of the many good libertarian organizations outside of the Party, I will help you do that. Let me know, and I will help you make the connections and find the organizations that will welcome your involvement and provide a way for you to help accomplish great things for liberty. I know it might seem a daunting prospect to find your way as a professional libertarian at one of these organizations, but I know people from all walks of life and all skill sets who have done it. If you are motivated, principled, and dedicated, I will help find a place for you.

I wish success and safety to all those who remain to fight the good fight. I am confident that the values of empathy, kindness, and professionalism will one day again command the support of the leaders of this party. On that day, Libertarians will be worthy of the trust and support of the American people, so that the party can live up to its true purpose: a world set free.

Thank you,

Joe Bishop-Henchman

20th Chair, Libertarian National Committee

28 thoughts on “Joe Bishop-Henchman to Resign as LNC Chairman

  1. Thomas L Knapp

    The three viable options for the LNC moving forward:

    1) Get Nick Sarwark back as chair; or
    2) Get Jim Lark back as chair; or
    3) Burn this motherfucker down.

  2. fred stein

    If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. If you can’t lead and defend your position you have no business running for chair………………….STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR YOUR BELIEFS. There will always be bad apples, in companies, FAMILIES, and movements. DEAL WITH IT. The toxic culture has invaded all forms of our culture. In the old days B. C ( before computers) we were more civil…………………..Yes I am a boomer. LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED. (plus a little cash) lol

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  4. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    They’re voting to suspend Secretary Caryn Ann Harlos who has been particularly obnoxious to and intimidating to the LNC members last few days, and lately with her promoting the Heise Takeover Caucus. She did a big crying video on one of her many FB pages and threatened to burn down the party if she doesn’t get… put back in office? elected again to office? whatever…. Have to watch the rest if I can find it.
    https://groups.google.com/a/lp.org/g/lnc-business/c/aP4UmKakQuM

  5. Richard P. Burke

    I would love to see Jim Lark as LNC Chair again. Under his previous leadership, we did not have these problems. I say this as a Libertarian who has won seven contested races for local office and who was appointed to the Oregon state ethics board and served as chair and vice chair of that board.

  6. Jared

    The autism shtick gets tiresome. I have no reason to doubt CAH’s Aspergers diagnosis and every reason to affirm it. Overtalking, oversharing, frequent interruption, an intolerance of perceived inconsistency and unfairness, at times brutal honesty and tactlessness, etc. But this the Libertarian Party. You can’t swing a dead cat at a convention without hitting somebody on the spectrum. Even her Mises Caucus crush Dave Smith has mockingly called them “Aspergo-capitalists.”

    Harlos constantly levels charges of ableist and sexist discrimination against the people who take issue with her endless moralistic crusading. And that’s despite Laura Ebke, Valerie Sarwark, and Susan Hogarth (two Prags and a Rad) voting to remove her for misconduct. She seems to think her offensive behavior deserves a pass because she has Aspergers, that all the burden is on everyone else to accommodate her disability and it’s simply unfair to ask her to try not to be so obnoxious and insulting toward other LNC members.

    I realize she came out of an abusive marriage to an abusive cop and has a lot of psychological baggage on top of everything else. But to be perfectly honest, that shouldn’t be the party’s problem. If personal issues are making her unbearably difficult to work with on the LNC, then she needs to sort out those issues before she runs again for secretary, get some needed therapy, and stop using intense involvement with the LP to self-medicate.

  7. Thomas R. Eddlem

    Mr. Henchman makes reference to “lies” about him, but didn’t quote or explain even one of them. He says “The lies and threats leveled at myself and many good Libertarians and friends—lies about my actions with regards to New Hampshire, and threats against any Libertarian who tries to defend the Party.”

    Charity demands that we libertarians look at those charges specifically, and evaluate them individually; they may indeed have merit. But if they lay unenumerated, and remain vague, what conclusion can we draw but that they are chimerical and invented? How could we possibly evaluate them as true, since they are leveled against an unnamed adversary?

    I would ask Mr. Henchman to publicize these lies and threats specifically, naming names and using documentation such as screen-grabs or personal reflections. If these things exist, they deserve to be known throughout the party.

    I get that that Mr. Henchman doesn’t like the Mises caucus (to which he is referring, but refrains from naming), but if there is corruption in the LP, whether liars or thugs who issue threats, I want to know who they are. I want to be able to oppose them.

    We also deserve to know what exactly happened in New Hampshire, in every detail.

    But resignation letters with vague accusations can (and should) be easily dismissed as nothing more than sour grapes.

  8. ATBAFT

    Jim Lark would be a fine person to be Chair. He served 20 years on NatCom, always being tactful, courteous and diplomatic. But why, other than his deep regard for liberty, would he want to dive into this stew? In 1988, Chairman Turney resigned rather than see the Party turned over to what he considered a Bergland coup. That move turned out alright as it soon led to the departure of toxic Rothbardism and new, sustained membership growth. Draft Jim Lark, if he is willing to serve until the next convention.

  9. Aiden

    Not gonna lie I kind of want to see Nick Sarawak replace Harlos (lmao). Or Jarvis…. Yeah, I would troll the Mises caucus like that.

  10. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    Thank Jared for that excellent analysis. Sounds like you listened to this absurd whining video she did about the proposed suspension of her being secretary. https://youtu.be/9PBunvvbXAs

    What I’m confused about his why she has to divorce her exhusband a second time. The annulment wasn’t legal in colorado where she married Wayne Harlos. (She actually asked Wayne to shut the door in the 6/19/21 LNC zoom meeting, by the way.) Probably a dot she’s crossing for future inheritance purposes.

    She also is upset she doesn’t have a job and is about to lose her house. Houses aren’t selling in Colorado for Wayne any more? Weird.

    As for Harlos protecting the Heise Caucus silly meme above. Let it be known she was the deciding vote to put this language into the resolution of the LNC on an investigatory committee: “All members must have been a member of the Libertarian Party in good standing for the past five (5) years.”

    That pretty much lets out most of the Heise caucus/cult people who’ve just joined in last couple years. Sorry. Not sorry.

  11. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    Dang. We need the editing function back. To correct above:
    The annulment wasn’t legal in colorado where she married Wayne Harlos??????
    And she would want to cross her t’s not her dots.

  12. Pingback: The Libertarian Party, born in Colorado 50 years ago, still seeks elusive mainstream acceptance | Elevated Realty

  13. NewFederalist

    Too bad Rodney King is no longer with us. His famous “Can’t we all just get along?” is very much needed now!

  14. Thane Eichenauer

    I share the sentiments of Thomas R. Eddlem above stamped June 19, 2021 at 19:03. If Joe Bishop-Henchman is too weak and unpersuasive to make and defend his case for empathy, et al then the LP is certainly better off without him. If he was targeted by violent threats then he should have taken any and all appropriate steps to address them. Did he? I don’t know. His successor will need to address or at least take steps to prepare for the duties of chairman of the LP. How can a possible replacement reasonably gauge the potential risk when his predecessor leaves with a poster on the door saying, in effect, “This is a very dangerous place, I left because I was afraid.”

  15. Anastasia Beaverhausen

    Leave it to Richard “P.” Burke to show his self-promoting face in a post about factionalism (and his post was mostly about himself as usual!).

    Burke’s actions single-handedly destroyed the Oregon party.

  16. Richard P. Burke

    Anastasia,

    I apologize if my last post offended you. It was not intended. All I said was that Lark would be a good fit for LNC Chair at this time and pointed out my credentials in hopes of lending some credibility to my opinion among those readers who do not know anything about me. As many IPR veterans are not my political allies, it would be folly for me to attempt self-promotion in any form on this venue. 😉

    But I do take issue with your characterization of my role in the Oregon conflict. Regarding the Oregon situation, I don’t think you have ever reached out a single time to any of the folks on our side to ask questions or to get our perspective. What, specifically, do you believe I did which “single-handedly destroyed” the Oregon LP? (If one person could destroy a party single-handedly, I would submit there is not much of a party to be destroyed.)

    I will volunteer that, for 10 years, I and many others vigorously opposed the same sort of takeover back in 2011 which was recently attempted in New Hampshire. Both were examples of attempts to change a state party’s leadership and governance outside of a convention, without notice to members, and outside the amendment processes of the state parties governing documents.

    While most of us do not politically support the group which took over the New Hampshire executive board, all of us recognize that such is what the convention decided on. We therefore naturally respect that outcome as Libertarians should everywhere.

    Though probably well-meaning, what the Chair of New Hampshire did was just as wrong as what our state committee did in 2011 when a majority of them adopted new bylaws outside of a convention and without notice to the members, and appointed themselves leaders and members of a new Executive Committee. While the coup “stuck” in Oregon despite four LNC resolutions and 2015-2016 Judicial Committee rulings in our favor, it doesn’t look like the New Hampshire coup will stick – and that is a good thing.

    Many who are tired of the conflict in Oregon will probably be happy to hear that our side of the LP Oregon conflict will be releasing a statement soon to correct some misconceptions about what is and has been going on in Oregon with regard to the dispute. The short version is that, notwithstanding the fact that we still believe we are correct concerning issues surrounding the Oregon conflict:

    1. We are giving up the effort to restore the bylaws which were approved and amended at LPO conventions since the 1970s

    2. We recognize the LPO as currently recognized by the Oregon Secretary of State as legitimate, such as it is

    3. We will work constructively as LPO members within that organization where doing so makes sense.

    Informally, we will be a caucus within the LPO. After all, none of the current leaders of the LPO were complicit in what happened in 2011, and most of them are good people and good activists. Finally,

    4. Our “miscellaneous PAC,” also called “Libertarian Party of Oregon,” will be renamed “Libertarian Party of Oregon PAC” and we will do the work the LPO cannot do because of their self-imposed bylaw restrictions. As we are no longer legally vying to be the Libertarian Party’s “Political Party PAC” in Oregon, we will no longer be constrained by limitations inherent to political party PACs in Oregon, we will be able to adopt structures inherent to political party PACs which lend themselves to factional strife, and at the same time will not be subject to anything the LNC or LPO does. At the same time we will be able to organize people for full participation in the LPO itself.

    Both Carol Ann Harlos and some members of the Mises Caucus have attempted to claim credit for “bringing peace” to the Libertarian Party of Oregon. In truth, absolutely nothing which has happened in Oregon with respect to our 10 year disputs was a result of any of their efforts. I suppose it makes sense as to why they would want to take such credit. But for those who care enough to read it, here is what actually happened from our perspective:

    1. We could not get the LNC to abide by the Judicial Committee’s 2015-16 rulings or their own 2011 resolutions relating to the Oregon conflict.

    2. We could not get the Oregon Secretary of State to enforce ORS 248.009 (which says political parties must nominate candidates in accordance with valid bylaws), and the point was reached where the courts said we were too late to appeal in certain venues. The Secretary of State never ruled that one side or the other was “right,” but simply claimed it could not get involved despite non-binding dictum from the Oregon Appeals Court which said the Sec. of State was obliged to determine if bylaws were obeyed for the purpose of determining if candidates were properly nominated and whether party leaders signing Certificates of Nomination were actually authorized to do so.

    3. We fought in court all the way to the Oregon Court of Appeals, but could never get to the merits of our case. No court ever decided that we were right or wrong on the merits; we lost on processes, deadlines, and other such things. If we were to continue this fight the only path which would be open to us now is to appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court. We simply don’t have the resources for that and it is far from certain that they would even take our case.

    So, simply put, we lost. It happens in politics all the time, and the “good guys” aren’t always the ones who win. Were this not the case, there would be no need for a Libertarian Party.

    But we are not taking our ball and going home. We are going to stay engaged and active in a variety of venues including, but not limited to, the Libertarian Party of Oregon itself.

    THAT, and ONLY that, is why there is “peace” in Oregon.

    Richard P. Burke

  17. George Whitfield

    Thank you, RIchard Burke, for your explanation of the history in Oregon and for your continued activity in the LP or Oregon.

  18. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    Some LNC members want to pick the LNC chair from among the members. It will be online and at LP youtube page Sunday night.

    Note Ms. Harlos repeatedly threatened to use leagal measures vs. Joe Bishop-Henchman and the whole LNC for trying to suspend her (or get her to retire I assume). She even threatened on video to help burn the LP down if she wasn’t re-elected LNC secretary. (She took down the video but several of us downloaded it first.)

    All this was to help her Mises buddies in LPNH. They paid her back big time. She claims she can’t pay her mortgage. The LPNH TREASURER started a gofundme page that already has $4600 in contributions to help her pay her alleged mortgage.

    Conflict of interest much??? Or something worse. You tell me.
    https://www.gofundme.com/f/8wcp4-help

  19. Jared

    CAH has made the Libertarian Party her entire life, so naturally she interprets any motion to suspend her from the LNC as an existential attack, a hateful conspiracy to destroy her personally. The delegates determined they wanted melodramatic shrew to be Secretary, obviously, so Harlos was elected with a mandate to crusade and antagonize, and any members who don’t like it can “kiss her Libertarian ass” or “go f*** yourself with a barbed dildo.” She is the radiant martyr, a diamond in the rough, willing to sacrifice everything for Truth and Justice, while the LNC is a menacing gang of traitors corrupt to their cores, enemies of righteousness, desperate to silence and crush the poor disabled woman who stands on principle. Total coincidence that she happens to be insulting, volatile, almost deliriously vulgar, an insufferable drama queen, and a damned nuisance.

  20. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    Harlos was the same way when she was a leader of the more radical faction of the Preterist movement. And got in just as many fights, some with death threats flying about. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterism

    But too many people got pissed at her so she had to find another venue for her dramatics.

    Search Dee Dee Warren (the assumed name she used when first entered the party) and Preterism. Some amusing reading.

  21. Jared

    Nekhaila nominates Josh Smith for chair, and Smith accepts.

    My question is whether this move is really a sneaky attempt to get Smith in a position where he can’t cast a vote without Harlos calling him out for impropriety (or else contradicting herself) and disenchanting the LPMC, which currently views her as their guardian angel. And boy, has this 15 minutes of Mises Caucus fame gone straight to her head.

    But I’m probably just being cynical.

  22. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    CAH has made the Libertarian Party her entire life, …

    That’s a common trait among many libertarians. They treasure their party titles and offices (local, state, or national). It becomes their identity.

  23. Shane Cory

    I haven’t been paying attention to LP matters for a few years but it looks like not much has changed. Constant infighting with little focus on winning elections — and still led by people who have no idea how to win a partisan election.

    It’s really freaking sad.

    As with most libertarians, I’ve become more “radical” over the years yet STILL don’t have a functioning, effective party that will help elect candidates with similar beliefs.

    With that said, the LP has an incredibly difficult task with virtually no professional support that’s worth paying for.

    Twenty-two years of my career has been in the political industry. And the best and brightest of my colleagues and clients are ALL libertarians. The best candidates I work with? Yep, libertarians. Arguably the most effective strategist in history, the late Art Finkelstein, yep a libertarian.

    But as Art once told me, “I’m a libertarian, but I make my money off of Republicans.” We all do it — and ethically.

    Republicans know if they want results, hire a libertarian.

    So why aren’t we working for or volunteering for the LP or Libertarian candidates? Because of the crap above. It’s far easier to move public policy in the direction of Liberty on your own, rather than working with a bunch of back-biting mother fuckers that swarm around the party.

    But those flies aren’t the real problem. Caring about them is.
    Confront them with gusto when they get in your face until you see tears swelling in their eyes, but outside of that, don’t pay them any mind and do your job.

  24. Timothy O'Brien

    Now, as of today, CAH has been suspended from her position as Secretary. As Chair of the South Jersey Libertarian Party, I pay little attention to national matters. I have had run-ins with CAH in the past, but I give as good as I get.

    I’m more concerned about seeing Nick Sarwark being mentioned for national leadership. He and his minions are a toxic element in the Party. I personally think he did a lot of damage to us. I worry more about growing the LP in South NJ. This kind of nonsense (as well as the crap that went on that lead to JBH resigning) is just more noise none of us need.

    I personally don’t understand why the LNC didn’t make more mention of this and allow the body to know it was going on. They need to remember that we voted for CAH as secretary. I think they’ll find that she is going to get re-elected at Reno. I may be wrong, but it would be funny to see.

    Anyway, back to work.

  25. George Phillies

    Readers should recognize that attacks on Nick Sarwark are coming from the far-right Mises Caucus, whose claims to be libertarian are not entirely transparent, but which is attempting to take over the Libertarian party for its own purposes.

  26. Jared

    I do wonder how long the love affair the Mises Caucus has with Caryn Ann Harlos will last. They have supported her in all her abusive tirades against LNC members since the affiliation crisis when she took JBH to task (and was right to do so, regardless of one’s opinion of the LPMC and the edgy paleo messaging coming out of LPNH), but if or when the prophesied Rothbardian “takeover” succeeds, MiCaucs may just begin to see Harlos as an equal-opportunity gadfly who has outlived her usefulness to the caucus. She lashes out constantly about how most of her friends in the national party have “betrayed” her, yet she naively believes the Mises Caucus partisans value her for her, not for what she as an LNC officer has been able and willing to do for them. Dave Smith might be a lousy comic, but he is an effective communicator and not an idiot. He must know that, as long as she serves in a public administrative role, her incorrigible tactlessness, emotional volatility, and hardwired conviction that she is duty-bound to exacerbate and broadcast LP drama make her a long-term liability.

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