Reason.tv: "We Need a Libertarian Che Guevara": Activist Starchild on Ron Paul, Ayn Rand & San Fran's Street-Level Libertarianism


"We need a libertarian Che Guevara," says libertarian activist Starchild, who makes a living as an erotic services provider.

Reason.tv's Tim Cavanaugh sat down with Starchild, who recently ran forSan Francisco School Board as the Libertarian candidate, at the Libertopia 2010 conference in Hollywood. Their discussion covers topics such as the history of the libertarian movement, why San Francisco actually is a very libertarian city despite being named Reason.tv's Nanny of the Year, why libertarians need to look to groups such as the Black Panthers as models for political activism, and how Starchild managed to convert Tim Cavanaugh to libertarianism. 

Approximately 9 minutes. Camera by Zach Weissmueller and Adam Hawk Jensen. Edited by Weissmueller.

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  1. “We need a libertarian Che Guevara,” says libertarian activist Starchild, who makes a living as an erotic services provider.

    For the life of me I don’t understand why people think of libertarians as a bunch of whack jobs…

  2. WTF? You’re calling for a libertarian to murder prisoners?


    1. Sounds like a thinly veiled announcement of reason’s pending merger with Stormfront.

      1. Oh dear. That will make it a little harder to get those invitations to beltway cocktail parties.

      2. Wait… whaaaaa?

  3. Do we need someone to run the prisons or someone whose face looks good on a shirt?

    1. They already have hoodie girl, so focus on the prisons I guess.

    2. As funny as it is to point out the absurdity of US reverence for the Butcher of La Cabana, Starchild’s point was about convincing people to support us who don’t want to spend hours thinking deeply.

      There are lots of voting age people who where Che shirts and thing Marx was cool, and are willing to vote to that effect solely because Che is popular. It’s silly and wrong on so many levels, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it to OUR advantage if we can.

      Unfortunately we can’t ATM as our closest things to a popular figure are Ayn Rand, who was not attractive either physically or in personality, and Milton Friedman who was an economist–a profession that most people think is both boring and imprecise to the point that there is no real truth about economics. Milton wasn’t a looker either so that doesn’t help…

      What we need is a real life Francisco d’Anconia. Someone who is charming, genuine, handsome enough to put on tshirts and libertarian enough to make people associate his/her coolness with libertarianism.

      1. wear and think.

        it’s still too early for me.

      2. I always though Ayn Rand was kinda cute….

        1. In her younger years, she looked pretty good. She did not age well, though.

  4. “San Francisco actually is a very libertarian city despite being named Reason.tv’s Nanny of the Year,”

    Serious? Frisco is a fascist state, it’s a taxpayer-funded HOA on a hill (similar demographics too). LA, now that’s libermatarian, or used to until it started to begin adopting progtard ideas from Frisco like banning fast-food.

    1. This is how the word “fascist” loses pretty much all meaning…” I mean, nothing conjures up Mussolini and Hitler to me quite like the Castro District…

      1. Are you saying the trains don’t run on time?

        1. SF’s MUNI trains: no. The regional BART system: yes.

      2. He’s just conflating fascism and totalitarianism.

        Totalitarianism is totalitarianism regardless of the ideology.

        Hitler didn’t convince Germans to do bad things by telling them they should go out and do bad things. He did it by convincing them that they were the right things to do and by using the state to make sure everyone who didn’t buy it still went along.

    2. Ditto. In only two tiny little areas is San Fran anywhere close to libertarian. It doesn’t care who you sleep with, and doesn’t care if you smoke a bit of pot. But in both of those cases it will come down on you like a ton of bricks if money happens to be involved.

      It has zoned pot clubs out of the city. Prostitution is every bit illegal as it is in flyover country. Gavin Newsome was the *right*wing* candidate. It’s nanny-state to the max, imposes excessive taxes, excessive regulations, etc.

      If there’s a counter current of libertarianism there, it’s keeping its head down lest it get lopped off.

  5. “Libertarian” and “Che Guevara” do not belong in the same sentence.

    1. My reaction, exactly. Like several other commenters have said, what, we need more murder?

      Why not a libertarian Hitler?

      1. And yes, I get the point, but I think there are far more apt analogies. Che’s not even really a true leftish icon, at least not in the sense that he represents anything tangible.

      2. Why not a libertarian Hitler?

        How about a libertarian holocaust?

        1. Naturally, if anything like that happens, libertarians will fill the role of the Jews, Gypsies, Soviet political folk, handicapped, and other people the Nazis thought should be killed off.

          1. Why is that smoke coming out of the shower heads? I’m feelin a bit light headed… this weed smoke out of the shower heads is awesome, these douches know how to party! Wait a second, this isn’t a functional shower. And this isn’t weed smoke. FUCK!!!

            1. The problem with being a libertarian today is that the extremists in the major parties have you high on the list of those who need to get special treatment.

              1. One reason I can’t really see myself going on a boat with a bunch of other high priority targets.

        2. You already have – its called the IMF and the WTO. The death toll from these two destroying the livelihoods of small-time African and Indian farmers has exceeded that of Hitler many times already.

    2. Episiarch, I totally agree with you.

    3. I have to disagree. I think a statement like, “Given the opportunity, many Libertarians would be delighted to kick Che Guevara in the nads.” makes eminently good sense.

  6. why San Francisco actually is a very libertarian city


    1. Cosmotarians cannot tell the difference.

      1. Suki in the pm? Must not have had the controlled release schizo meds due to the snowstorms…

      2. Cosmotarians cannot tell the difference.

        I think it’s hillarious that pro-war “libertarians” like you embrace a term made popular by anti-war Lew Rockwell.

        Kind of like how the left now uses the term Kochtopus.

    2. Yeah, wouldn’t want people to actually, y’know, engage in acts they have the freedom to engage in. Much better in theory!

      1. Who could imagine a dystopia where people are completely sexually liberated but otherwise completely unfree and under the control of a benevolent technocratic elite?

        1. Aldous Huxley?

          1. Thanks, captain obvious.

      2. You mean like eating the food they want to eat???

      3. Like buying a dog?

      4. The fact that people have the freedom to do something does not mean it’s always a good idea. I support legalizing meth, but it’s not exactly a good idea to use it.

    3. Try this one: ?.

      1. On Massah Nice Guy?

        OK, it’s sorta mace-like. I suppose I could mount it on a ASCII chain.

        1. I only provide the tools. What you do with them is up to you.

    4. Allowing individuals the freedom to be libertines is part of libertarianism. And there’s not many better places to be a socially and legally-accepted libertine than San Francisco.

      1. There’s no need for stupid behavior to be socially accepted for a society to be libertarian, since that refers to a political system.

  7. I think he means that we have to make supremely ironic things named after “our political leader” … so when are we building the Ron Paul Commune?

  8. Little disappointed in the lack of outfit!!

  9. Giving “Starchild” the benefit of the doubt, I presume she means someone with charisma. To paraphrase Episiarch above, Charisma and Libertarian should not appear in the same sentence.

    1. Everyone knows that you take a stat penalty based on your political alignmen. Cons lose INT, Progs lose WIS, Libs lose CHA. Don’t ask me, I didn’t write the rules.

      1. But if you become a bard, you get a CHA boost…ha ha ha, I kid. No one ever becomes a bard.

        1. Who the fuck wants to play a lute? “Hmm…lute, crossbow… lute, crossbow” yeah, that’s a tough decision.

          1. But you can cast a few weak-ass spells, do some minor thief stuff, and play a lute! What could be more exciting?

            1. Especially since they allow you to multi-class. You can build your own crappy jack-of-all-trades character from scratch.

              1. DMs should give people willing to play Bard characters like an automatic ten levels, right off the bat. With several magical artifacts.

                Also, if you play a bard, you have to fucking sing.

        2. I always wonder about the use of “Charisma” as a stat in role playing games. Where do D&D geeks (like myself) have any business rating someone else’s charisma.

          1. How many people play WoW? Like 10 million? Geek is the new normal.

              1. No, but they share a lot of similarities. If you feel compelled to point out the differences, go ahead, but you’ll just be making my initial point for me.

                1. I play WOW. I think DnD is for losers. I feel shame.

        3. Sugarfree is not only a teller of horrifying tales, but also a collector and archivist of lore. So, totally a bard. I think he shifted the CHA penalty into CON, though.

          1. I’m pretty sure that version of SF would kick ass in the Strossian Laundry universe — now an RPG based on Call of Cthulu.

      2. Libertarians lose CHA. Liberals lose STR.

  10. I’m not sure if you have any other interviews or articles with him, if not, about fucking time.

  11. Che Guevara, Black Panthers good; Ayn Rand, Business bad…who would have expected such bullshit from someone named Starchild?

    1. Pretty sad for the next stage of human evolution. Clarke must be spinning in his monolith right now.

    2. That’s not really accurate. He had little praise for the politics of the Panthers or Che, and his comments on Rand as they relate to libertarians aren’t entirely untrue.

      And we do need to get better at media relations, and at capturing the public’s imagination.

      Having said that, it is interesting that a free economy seems like a necessary – but not sufficient – precursor to a free society. I can think of countries that are (relatively) free both economically and socially, a few that are (relatively) free economically but not socially, but none that are (relatively) free socially but not economically. The closest I could think of in the last category would be India.

  12. Because Libertarians so need a cult of personality centered around someone who thinks violence is the way to get people to adhere to your political beliefs.

    We’re so pro-violence, and we long to worship a strong leader, we libertarians are.

    1. Clearly, you are unfamiliar with the fascist arm of libertarianism. Which envisions a dictator who will compel people to be free. Or die.

      1. Don’t pimp your faction of libertarianism, you Hitlerian Rothbardian.

        1. Shut the hell up, you totalitarian solipsist.

          1. Fuck you, individualist collectivist!

            1. Okay, that’s a fair cop.

      2. People wearing Che shirts will be first against the wall when the libertarian revolution comes.

        1. Right after the anarchists. Splitters!

          1. Well, you can’t have a revolution if you only go 180 degrees. You have to go the entire 360 or it doesn’t count.

            1. That’s pretty fucking profound.

  13. says libertarian activist Starchild, who makes a living as an erotic services provider.

    You mean, as a whore.

    Only is SF can a male prostitute run for the school board. The only surprising thing is that he lost.

    1. He’s a whore. So what? It’s an honest living, based on the voluntary exchange money for a service.

      Whether or not a male whore named Starchild is the best standard-bearer for libertarianism is a different question.

    2. You can be a prostitute and run for school board in ANY city. You won’t get elected (even in San Francisco) but you can still run.

  14. Random Observation: Tim Cavanaugh looks quite a bit like William F. Buckley in this interview.
    Also, Starchild is less of a whacko than I would have expected.

    1. I remember the good old days when Cavanaugh looked like a soccer hooligan.

  15. OK folks,…just my two cents.

    I know Starchild, I have always said he is articulate and does good for his target demo on selling libertarianism. I watched this, he was fine, he makes some arguably poor analogies but his points are spot on. I disagree with some of his strategic approaches but I can’t deny him his success in selling the LP to the left leaners we have. I applaud Tim for doing this interview.

    Now, I await the inevtiable purity test…

    In a world…

    ohh, and to hmm’s point, no wings? Sup wit dat?

    1. I’ve known Starchild for a long time, too. Hell, he rollerbladed alongside our delegation wearing a bikini when a bunch of us Libertarian candidates rode in the SF gay pride parade.

      The dude’s crazy, or, to say the least, extremely unconventional, but he’s smart as a whip and has impeccable integrity.

    2. Agreed. I don’t know Starchild, but I’ve voted for him every time I’ve had an opportunity. Now, having seen this interview, I am glad to have done so.

  16. I hope I don’t exactly remind anyone of Che Guevara, but I like to think my recent week of local activism against the infantilization of teenagers serves as a good example of the healthy rabble-rousing that Starchild speaks for.

    I know I’ve been antagonizing my fellow libertarians with my tantrums at this blog. Please accept my apologies and know that I don’t expect to need to throw those fits here anymore. I have sublimated my madness by taking it to the streets. Thank you.

    1. No, no, Sorgatz…your madness entertains us. And I’m sure you’ll be back to throwing fits here again in no time anyway.

      1. I’ve been around here for quite some time, and I’ve noticed that people can comment in a perfectly sane manner for months, even years, then suddenly, without warning, go clinically insane. I swear I remember even Lonewacko having a phase like that.

        What’s up with this place? Is it like that hotel in The Shining?

          1. Is that on the list? Hit & Run driving commenters insane?

            1. No, I just thought it was funny, considering that The Shining was essentially a Lifetime movie about an abusive alcoholic husband, with a bunch of paranormal shit thrown in so it counted as “horror”.

              1. I actually liked that aspect of the movie. Normal, stupid family fare, with crazy Jack Nicholson. And ghosts!

      2. In that case, it will be my great pleasure to disappoint you.

        1. To disappoint Episiarch, I mean.

    2. This blog reminds me of Robert De Niro’s character in “Taxi Driver.”

      1. Correction: Brian’s blog reminds me of Travis Bickle’s diary in “Taxi Driver.”

        1. I aspire to something more like Jack Black’s character in School of Rock, but I guess I’m flattered anyway.

          1. Good. Jack Black is a positive role model.

      2. I didn’t read it — does it feature an obsession with sexualized underage girls, or is it more of a Rorschach thing?

        1. Just popped into my head while reading his blog. Rent the DVD from Netflix and you may start to see the similarities.

  17. San Francisco is a weird hybrid of nannyism and libertarianism that bluntly exemplifies the typical inconsistency on the Left between paternalism and civil libertarianism: Drugs and sex = cool, smoking and junk food = evil.

    1. Then again, conservatives seem to inconsistently take the opposite view on the same things.

    2. San Francisco is a weird hybrid of nannyism and libertarianism that bluntly exemplifies the typical inconsistency on the Left between paternalism and civil libertarianism: Drugs and sex = cool, smoking and junk food = evil.

      I think it’s not so much “smoking and junk food = evil”, but that Big Tobacco and Big Fast Food have powers of mind control over the little man and therefore need protection by government. “Junk food” is, in their mind, more associated with “corporations”.

      Whenever a person argues that without this or that regulation to protect the consumer, the market will sell poison, I ask them why all the pot smokers aren’t dropping like flies? Last time I checked, the FDA doesn’t regulate weed production and quality control.

    3. Junk food’s OK in San Francisco, as long as its a yuppified, expensive version of junk food — say, cardamom ice cream or a $5 cinnamon roll at the corner, non-franchise coffee shop.

      It’s just mass-marketed junk food that’s evil there.

  18. Clearly, you are unfamiliar with the fascist arm of libertarianism. Which envisions a dictator who will compel people to be free.


    1. Exactly. It’s a win-win proposition. After all, disobeying the dictator’s commands to be free would still require being free.

  19. how Starchild managed to convert Tim Cavanaugh to libertarianism.

    I’d rather not know.

    1. It was the abs.

      1. Developed in a secret, underground aboratory.

    2. Hahahahahaha….+9999999999!!!!!!

  20. Today I learned that Tim Cavanaugh looks disturbingly like Tucker Carlson.


  21. a secret, underground aboratory.

    A subterranean, vault-like womb?

    1. I’m ever a super villian, I want a secret underground arboretum.

      1. I’ll be like that bitch Diedre Skye, leader of the lunatic green treehugging faction in Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. An insane, ruthless, enviromentalist megalomanic bent on planetary conquest and universal conversion to wicca.

        1. A brave little theory, and actually quite coherent for a system of five or seven dimensions — if only we lived in one.

        2. I don’t know but I’ve been told, Deirdre’s got a Network Node. Likes to press the on-off switch, Dig that crazy Gaian witch!

        3. *Raise your hand if you felt dirty playing anyone else besides Nwabudike Morgan*

  22. Make it a womb-like vault, and you’ve got it.


    Eric Hoffer livid in San Francisco, worked as a Longshoreman while writing philosophy books like “The True Believer” and many others.

    Starchild, how are you going to get a bunch of people who DON’T believe in self-sacrifice to form a political movement?

    1. Perhaps the best way to promote libertarianism is as an apolitical movement. That is, by getting libertarians together to build up civil society, ignoring politics as much as possible.

      I’ve always thought it would be interesting to start up a libertarian fraternal organization modeled after the Elks or Eagles or whatever. It’s main mission would be to engage in philanthropy, set up private education programs, mutual aid, etc. — just about anything that builds up society’s ability to take care of itself in a self-organized manner without government.

      1. A Fraternity of apolitical and amoral thinkers? Guided by compassion and reason? Oblivious to criticism from or concern for outside influences such as the present status quo? I like!

  24. Che Guevara died like a pussy. What we need is a Libertarian Jesus.

    1. We already had one, but we crucified Him.

  25. Thoreau said something to the effect (in as much as my paraphrase will be hideous) a principled person need not do anything in particular to find himself in opposition the status quo/powers that be. Any principled person will automatically find himself in that position. All any libertarian would have to do be an activist would be to apply his principles to his daily life. The fact is, if any of us did this well and truly, we would very quickly find ourselves in deep trouble in this society. Everyday and continuously we do things to get along in society that are directly counter to libertarian principles. We pay unjust taxes, we support wars and social programs, we send our kids for indoctrination in our public schools and so on. That handful of people who do stand up for their principle end up as outcasts and in jail or dead.

    1. But “standing up” would involve self-sacrifice would it not? If the consequences were ending up as outcasts, in jail, or dead?

      1. If you were standing up for what you truly believed in, are you really sacrificing your “self”

        1. Standing up with no hope of even the slightest gain has a name: stupidity.

    2. +100000 your paraphrasing was just fine, excellent point.

  26. What an idiot. Che Guevera? Damn neo-Communist.

  27. Will angsty teenagers in Cuba wear T-shirts with Libertarian Che on them?

  28. Che Guevara and The Black Panthers together in one city. Sounds like a turkey shoot to me. Where do I sign up.
    Considering Che Guevara was good at mass murder and The Black Panthers want to kill everything thats white, I see some great profit in this.

  29. “why San Francisco actually is a very libertarian city despite being named Reason.tv’s Nanny of the Year”

    Could it be that providing a good safety net for citizens actually increases individual liberties?

    1. Have you been to San Francisco? It has a piss-poor safety net, if any at all. There are homeless people sleeping (and shitting) all over the place.

      Nannyism and providing a safety net aren’t even the same thing.

  30. In contrast, for information on the world Libertarian movement, please see: http://www.Libertarian-International.org

    1. Read Eric Hoffer, then ask yourself whether LOI constitutes a “movement” or not.

      I think in the example of Romania, it might possibly qualify.

  31. During the first part of the video I wasn’t sure if they were not going to walk out of the room for a closer encounter or just start there in front of the cameras. The bringing up of Black Panthers lets me know he doesn’t exactly know what they are all about. Libertarians in San Francisco which I have developed a picture of all being some sort of sexual experiments for all of them that has just became worse and worse over the years. It seems, in my eyes, that most of the people there have lost respect for those that do not agree with them so are willing to hassel and run out of town those that are just really down to earth people. Those that went into the Catholic Church and interrupted communion and took communion themselves dressed in their garb they are so proud of. The gay parades with some naked people are not something children do not need to see. Then at one time I saw pictures of only naked people lined up attending a party. I do not think this kind of life style is good for any young children and it sort of reminds me of the destruction of Rome. I may have all the wrong opinions about all of this but please go easy on someone that has never seen anything like this in person at all, and I know the old saying is “believe nothing of what you read and only half of what you see”. I will check back for follow ups for my comments here. Thanks

    1. I recommend reading Eric Hoffer for a better perspective on this. Thomas Sowell had this to say.

  32. I think we already have him: they didn’t call it the “Ron Paul Revolution” for nothing….

    Search “ron paul che” on Google images…

  33. From the war room of the libertarian Che Guevara:

    Starchild’s suggestion is going to look extremely prescient in a little more than a year. Everyone who reads this, remember it next December as the economy is crashing around your heads and China is getting scarier.

    With any luck, 2012 should deliver all of the following:
    – a definitive fix for the Ayn Rand problem as Starchild stated it
    – thus, a the possibility of a libertarian reconciliation of sorts with the left, permitting wider adoption of libertarian principles
    – a ‘libertarian che guevara’
    -a massive libertarian social movement, but of an unexpected character
    – large-scale adoption of a modified, evolved form of the Black Panthers methodologies.

    He is wrong, however, in thinking that the contemporary Libertarian party will have much of a roll to play. The bias against 3rd parties is too strong. Expect a less linear solution to the problem of the two-party system.

    You heard it here first folks. Viva la revolucion. 🙂

  34. If you mean someone who supports a cause for money but doesn’t really believe in it, then we have John Stossel.

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