Study their behaviors. Observe their territorial boundaries. Leave their habitat as you found it. Report any signs of intelligence.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

"Keep Holtz Locked In The Basement"

The complaints about LP reformers over at Third Party Watch from Angela Keaton -- the radical Libertarian National Committee member and Liberated Space blog radio host who wears her ennui and ambivalance about the LP on her sleave -- seem to involve generous amounts of projection:

[F]ind me a Reformer (someone who IDs as a member of the Libertarian Reform Caucus) with actual administrative skills before we talk about pragmatism. I can name some bright guys. I can even name a Reformer who has made actual financial and administrative contributions (Stuart Flood.) Can’t find one however with even the basic understanding of how an office works let alone with the ability to raise money or manage staff and volunteers. [..] I have been over that [LRC membership] list and it is mostly a bunch of middle income computer programmers who don’t have any of the skills or financial means to do what it is they claim they want. That does not mean they are not good LP members, or good people. They do not however know what exactly it is they want nor have figured out how to get it, whatever “it” is. All you have is a list of people who have inchoate dis-ease with the LP. If the average LRC member believes that the anarchists are bunch of blathering eggheads which keeps us from getting those bluff hardy rubber meets the road sorts. Fine, find some. Meanwhile, what you got, besides some programmers in male menopause is a bunch of eggheads blathering. It’s just different blather. Come on, Bob Capozzi? Jon Roland? For Brain Bowl? Great choices. As missionaries to the Normals, not so much. Brian Holtz? Brian is exactly kind of libertarian we need to keep locked in the basement if we are ever going to appeal to normal people.

We can't all indulge in trying to make a political statement with our lifestyle or the angst level thereof, but it's a little odd for Angela the counter-culture community-radio activist to lecture any of the 5 million of us in the IT and engineering professions about how to be "missionaries to the Normals". When instead of fetishizing artillery shells Keaton is (like me) raising a family and driving a minivan and mowing a lawn and paying a mortgage and earning a living outside the freedom movement, then I'll be more interested in her opinion about what "kind of libertarian we need to keep locked in the basement if we are ever going to appeal to normal people". Nor will I rebut her complaint about "middle income programmers", since publicizing the actual income and net worth of this particular "programmer" might attract unwanted attention from the sort of competent fundraiser she seems to claim to be. What I'm more interested in is any explanation she might have of why her expertise in fundraising and administration wasn't more in evidence during her employment as LPCA Executive Director from Nov 2006 to Aug 2007. For some emerging details, see pp. 28-31 of the Sep 2007 LPCA ExCom minutes.

As for this LRC member's "actual financial and administrative contributions", see e.g. pp. 21-22 of those same minutes, or my multi-thousand-dollar record of LP donations, or indeed all my work in the LPCA (including how I just instigated a $5K/yr savings in LPCA newsletter layout costs). As for my inability to "appeal to normal people", people can watch my campaign commercial or my interview on the top morning show in the nation's 5th largest metro, and judge for themselves. Angela should try harder to distinguish the arguments I use on the LP's vocal minority of Rothbardian anarchists with the pitch I make to the average voter.

If Angela thinks we LP reformers see LP anarchists as "eggheads", well, that seems like wishful thinking. In my experience, the LP's anarchists (with the notable exceptions of Tom Knapp and anarchist-in-denial Starchild) are uniformly unwilling or unable to engage the many arguments against anarcholibertarianism or for the various other principled schools of libertarianism -- let alone able to invoke or even cite the arguments of academic anarchists outside the LP. No, we see LP radicals as primarily engaged in moral exhibitionism -- what Angela's husband Brian Doherty calls a consumption good (and what I call village anarchism). If LP radicals were in fact consistent in applying the principles they invoke against reformers, I'd be able to find one who is radical and principled enough to take the No 1st Force Pledge. Instead, LPRadicals censor-in-chief Susan Hogarth wouldn't even let me post my offer of $200 to her caucus if it endorsed the N1F Pledge. Next, I'll have to see if any of the self-identified radical LP presidential candidates are willing to take me up on my offer.

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