Libertarian Party

The Great Libertarian Man-Boobs Stripper Debate

Cato Unbound forum pits a 'culture of freedom' vs. strategic marketing; I argue for the libertarian Big Tent


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Lindsay Goldwert, Instagram

In June, I attended the Free State Project's weird and wonderful Porcfest for the first (though definitely not last) time. The past four days, I put in my seventh or so appearance at the Skousen family's one-of-a-kind Freedom Fest event in Las Vegas. Squinted at from a certain angle, the conferences have almost nothing in common culturally—one's a bunch of old-skewing people on the Strip who venerate Dinesh D'Souza and listen to Jeffrey Tucker sing showtunes, the other's a bunch of wild-eyed hippie idealists in the woods doing drugs and carrying guns. Yet both are distinctly libertarian gatherings, featuring some overlapping interests (Blockchains!) and a least some of the same attendees (including Jeffrey Tucker). And at both events, casual conversations very quickly turned into referenda on James Weeks.

You may remember James Weeks—portly ginger fella letting it mostly hang out on the right, during an absolutely crucial and dramatic moment at the Libertarian Party's National Convention in Orlando seven weeks ago. Weeks had been planning to run as the party's national chair, but used his nominating-speech time-allotment—which came as the party was agonizingly counting up the tense and hotly contested second ballot for unloved-by-Libertarians vice-presidential nominee William Weld—to A) announce his withdrawal, and B) take a buddy's dare to conduct a striptease while the C-SPAN cameras rolled.   

The results soon became infamous in the non-libertarian world…and very polarizing among Libertarians. Weeks got suspended from the party. Maverick third-place presidential finisher John McAfee wrote a stirring defense of letting freak flags fly:

there were widespread [boos] and general disapproval of Mr. [Weeks'] exuberance. Rather than enjoying a respite from the grey blandness of the convention, people were muttering that the world would think that Libertarians were fools. Well, if we care about such [trivialities], then we are indeed fools. 

For me, I was far more ashamed of those who turned their heads in disgust than by anything Mr. Weeks did.

Yet the lines of reaction are not always predictable. Radical Caucus stalwart Caryn Ann Harlos (no stranger herself to odd-for-boring-politics costumes) declared herself no fan of the dance. Late-breaking LP fundraiser Matt Kibbe, long of GOP politics, basically shrugged it off; while others who've been writing checks to the party for decades pronounced themselves mortified. It's a fascinating if ultimately small-beer conundrum, one that touches on all sorts of questions about tolerance, messaging, and what happens when a marginalized political bloc starts stepping out into the sunlight.

Cato Unbound, which exists for these types of debates, is holding one now on precisely this topic. Gary Chartier, the anarchistic professor of law and business ethics, gets the ball rolling with a full-throated celebration of valuing "not just political freedom but also social, cultural, and psychic freedom." Daniel Bier, an editor at the Foundation for Economic Education, counters, pretty sensibly, that

The purpose of a political party is, ostensibly, to get votes and drag the window of political possibilities in a certain direction. It's not meant to function as a social club for geeks, strippers, and oddballs, even if we its members are geeks, strippers, and oddballs.

And I, as the house squish and Marc Allan Feldman fan, argue that any Big Tent worth its salt should also exhibit a certain amount of tolerance for the Normals. Excerpt:

I was disappointed that James Weeks got suspended from the LP. The action carried not a small whiff of insecurity that all the party's measurable momentum is fragile and susceptible to sudden reversal. I have witnessed over the years other moments of we-blew-it despair, from the controversies over Ron Paul's old newsletters, to his son's failure to launch in the 2016 campaign, to Gary Johnson's awkward performance on CNN ("I fear we shall not have our moment," a prominent Libertarian supporter texted me after the town hall. "The road has just become longer"). And as Darryl Perry demonstrates, the temptation toward apocalyptic doom is not limited to the "adults."

Libertarians should have more confidence in the long-term prospects for their ideas, and resist the temptation to see any particular moment or political campaign as some kind of make-or-break hinge point. The ideas will survive man-boobs—in fact, some of the best ideas will be hatched precisely from the freakiest quarters.

But the tolerance works both ways. Having "telegenic" libertarians present themselves professionally in national political discussions is a good thing, not something to dismiss or resent. Any culture of freedom and tolerance that doesn't also include freedom and tolerance for the squares and the squishes is failing to live up to its promise.

The good news is that both libertarianism and the LP have roughly arrived at places where that kind of two-way tolerance is the rule, not the exception.

Read the whole exchange here. Can't wait to see what Timothy P. Carney adds!

NEXT: Gary Johnson Reaches All-Time Polling High of 13% on Eve of GOP Convention

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  1. Suspension is extreme , I think. And the negativeness of the act may only be negative for those who would probably never consider voting libertarian in the first place.

    And this I say even though I disapprove of his actions and question his wisdom before national TV

    1. If you are bothered by a pair of manboobs on C-SPAN, may be you should reconsider this whole libertarian thing.

      1. Why? Libertarianism is a philosophy of limited government. So long as no one’s calling for the government to ban man boobs on C-SPAN, libertarians can oppose the boobs. Libertarians are not necessarily libertines.

  2. He has as much chance of being president as Gary Johnson.

  3. Weeks got suspended from the party

    Didn’t know that. Ridiculous.

  4. Doesn’t bother me, but a party expecting a certain level of decorum at it’s convention is not unexpected. Even if it is the Libertarian party.

  5. In what universe is Dinesh D’Souzaphone even remotely libertarian-appealing?

    Is it the one where Kal-El landed in the Soviet Union?

    1. Dinesh D’Souzaphone I laughed.
      It’s no Block Insane Yomammo, but then again what is?

      1. Agile Cyborg isn’t the only one touched by the muse here.

        1. I think it’s far more likely that AC is the one doing the touching.

        2. AC is ‘touched by the muse’?
          I think the muse’s got a 36″ Louisville slugger and works AC over with that…

      2. His new movie looks fun though

        1. When they cut him down, he became more powerful than they could possibly imagine.

          1. Dinesh: ?Freedom Strategist ?Radio Host ?Mental Game Coach ?Alpha Preneur ?Author ?World Explorer ?Former Marine. ??Ethiopian Bloodline??

            1. Dinesh libertarian credentials: ? Not REKT ? REKT

    2. I am not even going to try to top that one. Respect.

      D’Souzaphone apparently schtupped both Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter, which probably makes him a CPAC legend. Respect.

      1. Well, he certainly has a “type”.

        1. He gets off on seeing a four-way crucifix bounce wildly about.

          1. If you were trying to evoke a mental image of Ingraham and Coulter slapping meat maws, then congratulations, Crusty. I had to fight hard not to upchuck my ham sandwich dinner.

  6. If the LP wanted to prove they’re not a bunch of crazy losers they shoulda picked John McAfee instead of Rockefeller-Republican clown Gary “GayJay” Johnson.

    1. Too late now

    2. What happened to Gary “Cuck” Johnson? I thought that nickname was taking off.

    3. Yeah, I’ve seen a thousand comments on the internet about what an embarassment Johnson is.

      Yeah, 3/4 of them were from SIV. SO WHAT?

  7. I argue for the libertarian Big Tent

    I expect juvenile euphemisms from these commenters, but the writers should be above playing such adolescent games.

    For shame, sir.

    1. He should have said libertarian POG tent

  8. The action carried not a small whiff of insecurity that all the party’s measurable momentum is fragile and susceptible to sudden reversal.

    I can’t imagine why the “measurable momentum” of the party that trots out Bob Barr and Bill Weld as representatives of libertarian thought might be considered fragile.

    If the LP wants to begin punishing weirdos among its ranks, it’s going to be nothing but a collection of warmed-over senior citizen GOPpies who like to talk about important things like smoking pot and who should bake cakes for lesbians. Best of luck with that.

  9. As a sort of ‘content of prohibited speech’ question, would one of the Chippendales have been tossed from the party if he stripped?

    1. You mean like this?

      also, you people and your internet thing are very disturbed.

      1. Just why?

  10. Put it on, baby, put it *all* on!

  11. Well, I just made my search history more interesting, but I couldn’t find out whose image is tattooed on Weeks’ thigh.

    1. My guess: tv’s Robert Conrad.

  12. You know who else had moobs?

    1. Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association?

  13. The purpose of a political party is, ostensibly, to get votes and drag the window of political possibilities in a certain direction. It’s not meant to function as a social club for geeks, strippers, and oddballs, even if we its members are geeks, strippers, and oddballs.

    I think that’s broadly correct. Its a political party. It doesn’t mean you LIKE your co-constituents, or even want them to live in your same neighborhood. you just agree with what politics should be about.

    the freak-show socializing, that’s what we do for fun and leisure.

    I don’t think that saying, “perhaps the fat man-stripper is inappropriate” is any lack of faith in the power of libertarian political ideas. Its just saying, “this isn’t why we came here”. It seems like Matt’s point (which is also all well and good) and the above comment about the “purpose of political parties” are really just talking past one another.

    as for Ron Paul’s newsletters, or Paul Craig Robert’s tinfoil-hat-trutherism – stuff like that is far more serious. I think its important for a political party to draw the line at what they don’t want representing them. Big Tentism is one thing, but tolerance of shitty ideas for the sake of tolerance is basically saying you don’t want to be a political party at all – because you can’t determine what your politics are if you’re “All Inclusive”.

    1. “this isn’t why we came here”

      Exactly, perhaps selecting a presidential candidate doesn’t deserve respect given our typical choices but most people are going to expect the process to be taken seriously. That’s not to say you have to be stuffed shirts or you can’t any fun but there is more to selling then just having a good product.

  14. How’s that libertarian moment working out?…..-socialism

      1. KD Williamson is clearly much more an O’Brien.

        Inner party member. Responsible for torture. Fits much better with Mr. “You Deserve to Die, Peasant”.

        Chaos in the Family, Chaos in the State: The White Working Class’s Dysfunction

        The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die.

        1. You actually think he’s saying that hillbillies should die there?

    1. At the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino, a famous libertarian activist sweeps his hand over the adult video games, the burlesque dancers at the Heart Bar, the people wandering around with foot-high daiquiri glasses and says: “Hopefully, the whole world will soon look like this.”

      And we libertarians wonder why we’re losing.

      Kevin D Williams is a libertarian?

      All in all, an interesting piece. I think he’s correct about certain aspects of his analysis (that we’re NOT in a libertarian moment, and that the direction politics is taking is increasingly away from libertarian trends)… but i don’t think its all doom and gloom really. Just the current politics of the Hillary/Trump world.

      I think he overlooks the fact that both candidates are widely disliked by everyone; even “nationalist socialism” is suddenly the thing du jour – i think people’s growing dissatisfaction with the status quo is generally a good thing. Even if libertarian ideas lose, lose badly, and the current politcial leadership goes even deeper into awful-statist territory, i think the libertarian minority is by no means diminished by it; indeed, it simply becomes a more-attractive alternative by contrast.

      But i do agree with him that the current state of these “professional libertarians” leaves much to be desired. Apologies to matt, who is the best – but the people in the LP really aren’t that cool or that smart.

      1. *I think Libertarianism “the movement” needs to realize that it doesn’t need the LP as its principle vehicle.

        I think the Tea Party project was a far more effective type of vehicle – pick congressional seats you can win, go after them like piranha, and oust incumbents. Put the fear of god into a congressional minority that we need a Liberty Caucus in congress to fight for basic constitutional principles. Forget the idealist LP stuff; just pick policies and push like hell.

        just a thought

        1. +1
          I stopped donating to the LP some time back; seemed the various think-tanks made better use of the money.
          Put another way, I don’t think a “Libertarian” candidate will ever win a national or even state position, but a candidate who holds similar views can.

      2. ‘Kevin D Williams is a libertarian?’

        Maybe not- but he certainly leans that way, and he’s also the smartest political writer around these days, IMHO. He might not be a doctrinaire libertarian, but he’s courageous enough to reject the Republican party entirely, and has managed to keep writing for NR after doing so. I think he is that very rare thing: a man of principle.

        I love his work. I don’t agree with all of it. I am not religious, and I am more pro-choice than he is. But, that aside, when I read him I find myself reading what I would like to have written. His critique of the minimum wage is magisterial.

    2. The idea that Americans are closet libertarians who desire a regime of economic liberalism and a hands-off approach to social questions is not supported by the evidence.


      Does he mean classical liberalism or is he simply fucked up?

      1. I’m sure he means Classical

  15. A well known libertarian activist wrote an article The Great Libertarian Macho Flash back in 1978. It is an oldie; does anyone have a workable link to that article?
    The author was also at our recent convention in Orlando; I did not have the opportunity to ask him if he expected the title of that legendary work to be taken literally.

      1. That one looks like a response to the original.

      2. I liked that:)

    1. Just a few mentions of the essay in Google. Michael Emerling was the author.

      1. So, you had no more luck than I did; I tried Google searching before I posted, and the only links I found, that seemed to point to the original article, instead produced error messages.

        1. Is the text included in the first post on this link the article you’re looking for?

          1. That sure seems like it. Good essay. Scott Adams would say it was talking about “failing at persuasion.” Which is part of why I don’t mind penalizing Mr. Man-Boobs: he failed at persuasion, stepped on the message, and injured the Libertarian brand. Whether he had the right to do so is irrelevant.

            I also support penalizing him on purely esthetic grounds. I have no problem with fat-shaming in this instance.

    1. From Dirty Harry to Chachi. Nice. Doesn’t Chachi sound Mexican?

    2. If Nicole Eggert wants me to vote Trump I’ll do it.

      1. I’d at least ask to see her tits.

          1. Hm, not sure what happened. Here ya go:


          2. But obviously I didn’t mean now, duh.

    3. Baio, however, will add a dash of star power.

      I forget. Is a dash like than a pinch or closer an eighth of a tsp?

  16. Somewhere in the process of becoming an adult you’re supposed to learn respect for others and that there are appropriate times and places for your actions. It’s not a matter of losing some vague liberty, but of accepting the responsibility that comes with freedom. Moobs Man-Child’s acting out disrespected the delegates and was grossly out of place in a televised political convention. Too many people think most libertarians are stunted, selfish babies as it is to thoughtlessly reinforce that image with the people out there that would have to actually vote Libertarian for us to get anywhere. If Moobs wants to strip at a party or gathering of friends that is okay with it, fine, go for it. The convention floor was not the appropriate place.

    1. I certainly understand, being old enough to tell people to get off my lawn.
      Unfortunately, the R and D conventions will have people at the podium spouting nonsense far more offensive than some old fart with his shirt off, and I’ll bet no one calls them on it.
      In fact, I have a suggestion:
      Every time some career public-trough feeder makes some inane comment more offensive than moobs, those willing to watch the conventions get to shout MOOB! at the TV. And drink.

      1. The hagiography of folks like Ted Kennedy are several orders of magnitude more offensive than Week’s stunt.

        1. Exactly.
          Yeah, a fat guy showed some skin on TV, while Hillary destroyed evidence and Trump wants to ‘build a wall’! Every one of the convention statements by those two should be followed on national TV by the image at the top: Called on your BS, Shrump!

      2. And then continue drinking all through the Trump or Clinton administration, because one of them is going to get elected and every single unreconstructed idiot who votes for them will believe their candidate superior to those scary “fringe” Libertarians. despite how absolutely horrible Trump and Clinton are.

        Poor behavior on the part of team red or team blue isn’t the issue, and is irrelevant to the self-destructive ability of many on team pasty white fleshtone (go Libertarians!) to make their party look even worse. If the Libertarian party is ever going to take advantage of the destruction of the R & D duopoly, it simply has to convince voters it can be a serious, viable choice. If the party’s own delegates don’t take it seriously, why should anyone else?

  17. I fully support the idiot’s right to be an idiot.

    1. FWIW, answered you earlier today.

      Don’t ask me what I wrote. I’m too hopped on sour cherries.

  18. I’m all for the freak flag, when opportune. I’ve left comments on this site that have been compared to Agile Cyborg’s, perhaps not without reason. Call it my way of blowing off steam. And I spent much of my youth flying my freak flag to the sky, and fighting against the very idea of respectability.

    I’m a little older now, and I own a small but occasionally lucrative software business. I have meetings with clients. Sometimes they are first meetings. I do not fly my freak flag in those meetings. In fact, I spend some time guessing at what the right level of dress for each will be, and even when I guess that casual is best I wear very nice casual. Every once in a great while I have a meeting that requires pulling out the tailored stuff- I lean toward the Milanese, but this is not a thread about clothes.

    When speaking to prospective clients I do not fly my freak flag. You wouldn’t know it from my comments, but in person, when discussing software projects, I am gentle, precise, and appropriate- I’m like the white Morgan Freeman of software. Above all, I try to understand the client, and that begins with understanding their fears about taking on a contractor. Those fears are not unjustified.

    1. Part of my job, in having these meetings, is to show that I will adhere to certain conventions- that I will be predictable. The conventions are arbitrary, meaningless really (though nice Milanese tailoring really is nice Milanese tailoring.) But the client has to know that even if I am a lunatic (and I am a lunatic) they can trust me. They can- I am good at delivering software, and conscientious to a fault.

      That might still be true if I got naked in an initial client meeting, but I would forgive a prospective client for deciding that I wasn’t very trustworthy if I did that, and I would be prepared to lose business over it. Just so, a political party ought to understand that when a doughy ginger strips at an official event it is probably not going to endear them to.. anyone, really. I mean, maybe if Salma Hayek were a party official, but otherwise…

      1. You have made your position and efforts very clear, and all of us involved in getting clients to reach for their wallets are in exactly the same position. I also do not fly the freak flag, even when dealing with existing clients; they are far more eager to reach for that wallet when they are comfortable.
        Regarding politics, I hold other views. The status quo is an un-mitigated disaster, and I think the LP should challenge the status quo.
        The LP candidate is not going to win the presidency; the LP should do what it can to attract attention. The LP should be asking: ‘Is the name spelled right?’

        1. “You have made your position and efforts very clear,”

          Really? I’m generally more wishy-washy than I’d like to be, so if you could summarize my position for me I’d appreciate it. As for my efforts- I am pretty sure I haven’t engaged in any recently, so…

          This is pretty simple- sure, the fact that people wear clothes is an arbitrary thing, and sure, not wanting to wear clothes is a perfectly fine thing, if you take a very universal position. But the reality is that we live in a culture that requires wearing clothes, and that actually requires wearing certain clothing for certain occasions (though we’ve become confused about that lately.)

          You might have an idea that would provide universal healthcare to everyone, and make a profit, but if you try to explain it naked you’re more likely to wind up in jail than setting policy.

          1. Why are you picking an argument?
            I agree, re business, not re politics, and I do see a difference.

            1. I’m not…

  19. OK, other issues.
    AIDs activist, not too bright, hopes that those with AIDs don’t get meds:

    “AIDS activist goes after prescription drugs, unprotected porn sex”…..383299.php (hope it’s not pay walled)
    He’s awright, Jack, and what’s more is he can now afford a high moral stance which will deny others what they need!

    1. This seems to re

    2. This seems to re

      1. Dammit. This seems to require a subscription.

        1. The Chron is a mess, and I’m sorry for the link in that case; sometimes the articles are ‘free’ and without any sort of rational others are pay-walled.
          This asshole is the guy behind the ‘rubber-law’ for porn talent, and he also claims to know what meds should sell for, ’cause he knows!.
          And since he’s an ‘AIDS Activist!’, he’s gotten both issues on the ballot.
          He fantasizes that capping med costs will, uh, do other than deny them to those who need them; Venezuela is off his radar.

          1. Good lord man- even I am not that incoherent. What happened?

  20. Are we missing Grandpa Gulag yet?

    Nobody needs 50 types of states!

  21. people were muttering that the world would think that Libertarians were fools. Well, if we care about such [trivialities], then we are indeed fools.

    So it’s a triviality if voters think your political party is full of fools?

    okey dokey.

    1. Who’s more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?

  22. I sure am glad that nobody asked the opinion of the guy who won the position that the gentleman from Michigan was ostensibly seeking.

  23. We can even create playlists of them so it will be very easy to find our videos which we like. We can also download those videos and can watch them offline. Showbox for pc

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