The Libertarian Party’s Witch Trial

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Forget the war and the depression. Leaders of the Libertarian Party are instead fixated on alienating those in their own party who still take libertarian principles seriously. Those who dissent from the LP’s new strategy of a watered-down platform and soft-Republican national politics will be unwelcome, even purged. Hence the witch trial of Angela Keaton, one of the few principled libertarians on the Libertarian National Committee, after a protracted smear campaign against her for PC thought-crimes and refusing to toe the Barr-Root-party line.

Last time they targeted her for letting the party members she represents know what was going on in the mysterious inner circle, which the gatekeepers claimed violated their secret “executive session.” This time the charges are just laughable. As her employer at Antiwar.com, I have decided to insist that she move on from this distraction and focus on the real work for liberty done at Antiwar.com.

Shortly after the conclusion of the LNC meeting on Sunday, I sent the following letter to Angela. In response, she has informed me that she will be resigning from the LNC immediately. She also asked that I release the letter to the public. It follows below:

Dear Angela,

I have always been in favor of Antiwar.com’s associates and employees maintaining relationships with other institutions in the libertarian movement, but your involvement with the Libertarian Party National Committee (LNC) has become too big a burden on you and too big an embarrassment for me to accept anymore. Working with the LP on the local level, supporting various candidates and other such activities is be fine. But it is now clear that the LNC has become an embarrassment to the movement, the principles the LP is supposed to represent, and to Antiwar.com by virtue of our association.

As you know, I am not a sectarian. I have always strived to bridge gaps on organizational and ideological lines within the freedom and antiwar movements. In my libertarian activism, I have worked with a range of people from different organizations and factions. I despise the petty sectarianism, personal grudges and ego-driven squabbles that divide those of us who should be working together.

At Antiwar.com, we encourage dialogue and collaboration among people from across the spectrum so long as they share an interest in the goal of non-interventionism. We pride ourselves on featuring paleocons, progressives, left-radicals, minarchists, anarchists, constitutionalists, and others who join us in our struggle for a more peaceful foreign policy. We do not all agree on everything, even on the war issue, but it is important to have as big a tent as possible while still sharing our basic political values. And I have the same attitude toward the libertarian movement.

But the LNC, in its attempts to water down the message, has ironically become the most isolated group in the libertarian movement. Whereas once the LP was the epicenter of the movement, its leadership has tragically turned this once great and proud political party into a laughing stock. The party of principle has become the embarrassing sideshow.

The "controversy" regarding your involvement with the LNC is an indication of the general problem with the national organization. They have become obsessed with policing private behavior, maintaining control over personality, and purging all radical thought from the center of the party. Private organizations have a right to behave in this way, but it is peculiar that the LP leadership would have such difficulty understanding the types of values one would hope would be commonly embraced by a libertarian organization – individualism, personal privacy, a reasonable level of organizational transparency, and of course libertarian ideals. In particular, the abusive use of executive sessions and bizarre practices of ensuring lockstep conformity elicit images of Communist organizing back in the 1960s. Always afraid of the LP becoming a debating society, the moderates in charge have instead turned it into a cult altogether isolated from the broader movement and mainstream society.

I regret this, but for all these reasons I must insist that you resign from the LNC. Otherwise, we would have no choice but to reconsider your employment with Antiwar.com. As I said, your involvement, through no fault of your own, has brought some embarrassment to Antiwar.com and is a distraction from the movement at large. We have a new administration to grapple with soon. The politicians are planning more wars, more invasions of our rights, and more nationalizations of the economy. We all have bigger fish to fry and we need you with us, fighting for peace, not with the LNC, defending your integrity against those who don’t deserve your time.

Sincerely,

Eric Garris
Director, Antiwar.com

4:18 pm on December 8, 2008
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