Obituary for the Libertarian Party

On May 30th I gave a speech at the LP National Convention in St. Louis which began with a eulogy for the Libertarian Party. I think I'm pretty safe in claiming that nobody expected the speech that I gave. Let me be clear. I do not hate the Libertarian Party, nor do I hate any of its members. I will confess that I am more than a little disappointed with the fact that Libertarians generally do little more than give lip-service to Libertarian principles. This does not apply to every Libertarian, of course. Just a significant percentage of them.

I was invited to speak at the convention only a few weeks before the event. It was suggested that my speech should rally the troops to help rebuild party membership. I was eventually given a fifteen minute time-slot early Sunday morning, only a few hours after most delegates stopped drinking and stumbled to bed. Even I am not eloquent enough to inspire people to rejoin the party in only a quarter of an hour, especially when the people to be inspired are not even in attendance. Therefore, I decided to highlight some of the reasons that party membership has been dropping in the first place. Please note that until now, I have avoided distributing my speech outside the convention where it was given. Many have insisted that my speech should have a wider audience, and that supressing it is futile since a video of my presentation is available on YouTube. Based on that reasoning, I reluctantly offer you the text of that seven-minute speech.

YouTube Part 1
YouTube Part 2


The Libertarian Party was born on December 11, 1971. At one time, there were over 225,000 voters registered with the Libertarian Party, making it the third largest political party in America. In its heyday, party members joined forces to rally enthusiastically for Liberty. Because of its strict adherence to the philosophy of the Founding Fathers it became known as the Party of Principle. Unfortunately its membership suffered from a chronic case of wishful thinking, and a personality flaw causing them to ignore their principles in order to choose what appeared to be "practical solutions". Not surprisingly, the party's frequent failures were followed by unpleasant periods of assigning blame. Sadly, its membership strength continued to diminish, and not long before the 2012 elections, the party simply ceased to exist. We are here today to mourn the loss of Libertarian Party, and to remember the idealistic hopes and dreams that it once inspired.

Much like the Ghost of Christmas Future, this is not a picture of what WILL be, but rather a picture of what MIGHT be. It is said that the uglier the truth, the truer the friend who tells you. I'm about to be your best friend because the truth, as I see it, is pretty damn ugly.

Our economy is so bad, and our political system is so blatantly corrupt, that nearly two million people descended on Washington D.C. to protest last year. The Main Stream Media has been forced to mention The Tea Party movement on every political talk show across the country. Angry citizens are joining the Campaign for Liberty, Oathkeepers, The Restore America Plan, Continental Congress 2009, the 9/12 movement, and even the Texas Nationalist movement which is advocating the secession of Texas from the Union. In the last two years, Americans have purchased 85 MILLION guns, and nearly all of the ammunition off the shelves.

Why hasn't the Libertarian Party stepped up to be the "umbrella" organization for all of these Liberty groups? More to the point, why didn't these angry citizens simply join the Libertarian Party in the first place? Why, when Americans are so desperately looking for the path to freedom, is the Libertarian Party more insignificant today than when it began nearly 39 years ago? Why? Because Libertarians couldn't sell ice water in the desert!

Libertarians agree on 98% of the platform, but they spend 98% of their energy debating each other on the 2% they disagree on. Stop debating! You are incapable of doing it politely. Instead of respectfully agreeing to disagree, you resort to rude ad hominem attacks, accusing anyone who doesn't share your view of being a socialist. Why would anyone want to join this family when we are so completely disfunctional? Never argue with a Libertarian fool, because no one will be able to tell the difference.

Libertarians proudly advertise themselves as the "Party of Principle", but saying it doesn't make it so. When Ron Paul announced his presidential campaign in 2007, many Libertarians complained that he would steal votes that belonged to the Libertarian Party. When I endorsed Ron's candidacy, I was accused of abandoning the Liberty Party and becoming a Republican. I didn't abandon the Libertarian Party. A significant percentage of the Libertarian Party abandoned the principle of Liberty.

Libertarians as a whole are lazy. They're always looking for a short-cut. They're always looking for a silver bullet. In 2008 the membership nominated the candidate with the highest celebrity status, apparently on the assumption that after several television appearances, Americans would suddenly understand the principles of Liberty, Party membership would skyrocket, and we would all live happily ever after. There is no silver bullet! The only way to restore our Constitutional republic is to work 18 to 20 hours a day promoting the cause of Liberty. Needless to say, very few of us are willing to work that hard.

I guess we are fortunate that Libertarians have all the answers. I know this to be true because so many of you came up to me after my presidential nomination to tell me, "Michael... all you gotta do to win the election is...(fill in the blank)" Everybody knows what they want the other guy to do for Liberty. DO IT YOURSELF! We have too many chiefs and not enough Indians. If you have a great idea, find the resources and volunteers to make it happen. Tell me about it after you've been successful. Stop telling me what *I* ought to do. I don't get enough sleep the way it is.

So here's the bottom line. The Libertarian Party is an endangered species. Unless you dramatically change the way you do things, the Party will soon be extinct. If you REALLY want to save the Party and restore Liberty, I have a few suggestions.

* Establish a dress code. If you want to be a major league player, you've gotta wear the uniform. No T-shirts. No shorts or blue jeans. No flip-flops. Jackets and ties for men, skirts or dress slacks for women. Pretend you're going to the prom.

* Eliminate paper candidates. If you're not going to run to win, then stay at home. Better yet, volunteer for a candidate who is committed to going all the way. We have limited campaign resources, and its stupid to waste money on someone who's not going to do any more than answer a few surveys. Contrary to popular theory, paper candidates do NOT generate credibility for active candidates. People simply assume that ALL Libertarians are paper candidates with no chance of winning.

* If you can't learn to like each other, then at least learn to work together. I've never been associated with an organization as hostile and self-destructive as the Libertarian Party. Most of what passes for conversation at Libertarian events is rumor, gossip, and viscious personal attacks. If you can't say something nice about someone, then don't say anything at all. If you hear someone else spreading rumors, then have the guts to confront them and demand that they stop.

* Elect people to the LNC because you trust them, not because they've been there for years, or because nobody else is dumb enough to want the job. Perhaps you should nominate yourself for the position. You probably consider yourself smarter than the people on the committee, anyway. And if there is anyone on the LNC that you DON'T trust, then form a coalition to have them removed. It only takes one insane pilot to fly a plane into the ground. It only takes a handful of neo-Libertarians to destroy what little is left of the party.

I'm fairly certain this was not the speech you expected. Please do not applaud when I finish. Applause just means that you didn't hear or understand the speech. I began by eulogizing the death of the Libertarian Party. Respectful silence would be more appropriate under the circumstances.

Obituary for the Libertarian Party

What a speach!  I pray they payed attention.

True statements

As usual, Michael has the guts and savvy to speak the truth that most of us can't see or are willing to confront.  His dedication to liberty is unsurpassed.  Myself included are not as willing to risk much of what he is in the pursuit of restoring our country to what it professes to be.

Being more involved with the Libertarian Party is something that I continue to say to myself  I should do.  The lame excuse I use is that when I have tried, the extremists at the meetings focus on their own aggendas and are unwilling to broach disagreement or compormise.

Paper candidates are indeed a waist of resources. 

The Libertarian Party is in danger of becoming extinct, or worse, like the Republocrats and Demoblicans in that only the fringes can have a say so in how the party is run or which candidates are selected.  Bob Barr?  Really?  The Patriot Act?  Troops on the border?  I held my nose and voted for the least worst candidate this time around as usual.  He's the President now. 

Amen, Michael

You have said the words that I have been thinking myself.

Your speech re: Libertarian Party

How is it possible that you, of all people, Michael, would advise people to stop debating their differences?   =: +)    I remember how you always emphasize in your Constitution class (with a big grin on your face)  that the forefathers loudly debated their differences and sometimes even resorted to physical fights!  A cessation of debate or remaining silent on any issue simply to 'go along to get along' is certainly not an option. 

What is more feasible is to spend some time investigating and understanding  the top two passionate differences among Libertarians to find out why 'divergent' libertarians are spending their time making personal attacks instead of progress.  From my personal experience,  Libertarians who resort to the 'personal' attacks  (and sometimes hack into your computer) are those who have communist leaning ideas about immigration,  and/or atheist ideas intent on convincing others that the tenants of freedom can be reduced to a mere measure of what man can do, rather than acknowleging that freedom is a Divine gift.  These are the two most fundamental  and divergent ideas in the Libertarian Party.  

In a party which claims to have formed on the principals of the founding fathers, the very first thing that  'divergent'  (I'll use the term 'divergent'  here to denote communist/atheist leaners ) Libertarians do is douse others with an unpleasant dose of revisionist History that claims the forefathers were all  'deists' rather than believers in the one true God and in His son, Jesus Christ from whom all blessings flow.  This is the greatest divider among Libertarians.  The second largest  ideologic division is with the 'open borders' idea that attempts to tie free market capitalism with a new world order type policy of borderless countries, claiming that without welfare, borders are not a necessity.   I've never once heard discussion from any divergent Libertarian that the whole definition of a country is a people of common language, religion and customs, and that for our country, Christianity was that religious principal upon which our country's morality and laws were based.  

The forefathers warned us about ALL political parties... that includes the Libertarian Party.  Perhaps there should be a God fearing, Jesus believing Libertarian Party sect, and an atheist, and a communist Libertarian Party sect.     But, wouldn't  we then be right back to the problem we are facing in the first place... collectivism and atheisim attempting to replace God fearing Christians and taking over the country, claiming the Divine gift of Liberty without acknowledging the GIVER of that liberty?  

By the way, the Constitution Party is just as corrupt.  Parties are not the answer.   Acknowledging the Giver of freedom is, and repentence.   Was it Madison or Adams who said that our country and its laws were made for governing a moral, Christian people and no other?  I cannot consider myself on the same team as those who are fighting for Godless liberty, as there is no such thing.  

Amen, sister

Yours is the only accurate response to his speech.  While I do not disagree with what he said, Michael constantly misses the key to their failure; whereas you just articulated it beautifully.  This is also why I have trouble with C4L'rs:  their arrogance and even ridicule of God-fearing Christians (despite the fact that Dr Paul is a Christian; Thomas Woods, one of their heroes, is also a devout Catholic Christian...and there are so many others).  ->so, thank you; it gives me hope that there is another person out there who gets it.   
I was just trying to find the Founder responsible for that comment; but have not been successful. I'm almost certain that more than one of them believed that this republic could only be successful if the majority of the people followed Christian teachings in the way they lived their lives.  I am almost certain that Ben Franklin said something to that effect; even though it is purported that he was not exactly church-going.   Despite that, I know that he is buried in Christ Church  cemetary in Philadelphia...which makes no sense if he was anti-Christian.  
These guys will never succeed unless they recognize the Lord; and give up their sin of pride.
That is why Tea Party people will never join your party; most such people are committed Christians, from the ones I know well; and those I've observed.   The trouble is that the Tea Party movement is being hijacked by the GOP; although some of us are aware of that; and are resisting it.   Sorry this went on so long; I live near Valley Forge, PA which is near Philly;  I am going to Tom deWeese's freedom Action Conference in August, in Valley Forge.   Michael will be speaking there.  i wish I could meet you sometime; or, at least, exchange emails....
THANK you, again, for an excellent post.  


Well said, Michael! Thank you

Well said, Michael! Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. Your eulogy speech has reminded me of my personal responsibility to get out there and be active in re-establishing liberty.
Again, thank you.

Death of the Republic

Sir. I think that the same is true for this Republic. I just hope that you and I are wrong. You told the people the truth, now let us see and watch and listen to see if anything is done. I for myself will not give up or give in, I will work to save this Republic and the Libertarian party. I run for office to win and when I win, the North Carolina General Assembly had better duck.

oh wow, that was very very good

Thanks Michael,

You hit the nail on the head: Quit talking about liberty and start taking action like you actually believe in it!

In my county we are running a state senator and a state legislator on the Republican ticket - They didn't get there because a bunch of people wrote position papers and crafted glossy flyers with matching Web 2.0 Websites, they got there because a bunch of us parted with money and knocked on several thousand doors, held spaghetti feeds, wrote letters to newspapers, told all of our friends and neighbors, stayed up late on phone trees, and put up signs (and then took ALL of them down) all over the county. In other words WE EARNED IT. (Real thanks goes to Paula and Karen from Brushfire Alliance - they did more than anyone else)

In about a month, we get to do it all over again. next Year? Repeat. THAT is the PRICE of LIBERTY.

Note to activists: If you don't walk your own precinct you really are not doing anything at all. Who are your precinct captains/committeemen? When was the last time you went to a party meeting? City Hall? County Commisioner's meeting? Do YOU know your sheriff in person? ...

Oh President My President!

This is EXACTLY why I LEPT to my feet the moment nominations were opened up at the HISTORICAL Continental Congress 2009 on October 11th in St. Charles, Illinois, and said:

"Mr. Chairman, The State Of Arizona PROUDLY nominates Michael Badnarik of Texas for President!"

which was met with a RESOUNDING CHEER! and a win by a wide margin.  He presides over this august body to this day, and he will forever be my Mentor, the man who brought me 'out of the woodwork', and the continuing force (along with my Grandchildren) of why I fight so tirelessly to reign in the LAWLESSNESS, CORRUPTION, AND OUTRIGHT FASCISTIC INTENTIONS of our behemoth fallaciously known as 'government' - and help others the best I can to understand just to what degree of trouble we are all really in, how we got here, and what can be done to get us 'back on track' with the watchwords "Life, Liberty, and Property".

I am so glad to call this man my friend.


Ed Vallejo
Arizona Voting Delegate
Continental Congress 2009 - present

Arizona Delegate
Libertarian National Conventions 2008 & 2010


Arizona State Coordinator
We The People For Constitutional Education

Arizona State Coordinator

Editor of The R3VOLUTION CONTINUES Edition
Freedom's Phoenix

Damn straight

You've summed up beautifully why I've never joined the LP even though it's the closest political party to my own beliefs. Thank you and I hope the party listens and learns.

Sadly you missed the main problem

Sadly you missed the main problem, the LP has been undermined by right-wing religious/GOP moles for years. Right now several state LP's have been taken over or are recovering , such as Florida, RI, Oregon, Wasdhington, etc. and Texas is being targeted.

The LP meets its goals and get people elected and appointed, but you would never tell by the group in charge.

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