John McAfee

Former L.P. Candidate John McAfee Still Can't Abide Gary Johnson

Antivirus software pioneer accuses the former GOP governor of compromising Libertarian principle, especially on guns.


John McAfee, who sought but failed to win the Libertarian Party's presidential nod this year, in a video interview with "Jeff4Justice" from a couple of weeks back that just came to my attention, still wants to support the Libertarian Party downticket and grassroots, and still can't abide Gary Johnson. "I'm definitely interested in helping move past the two-party system," McAfee says.

"What I'm doing is supporting the grassroots in the Libertarian Party. I have abandoned the Libertarian Party leadership and instead I'm working with people running for mayor, state legislator, for dogcatcher, for sheriff. Why? Because we can do something there."

"I'm not endorsing Gary Johnson," McAfee insists, "and let me tell you why. I predicted what would happen with Gary Johnson: we would compromise. They asked Gary Johnson in [the CNN] Town Hall, what about gun control? He said 'I think the system we have is sufficient.' Please!"

That sort of compromise is "what happens when we get in the political process…the people who backed you with money say you have to have a chance of winning. We're not going to win! We're Libertarians! Not this year."

McAfee is referring to this, from the first CNN Johnson/Weld Town Hall back in June:

Q: …how would making it easier to buy guns with minimum requirements, especially unnecessary military rifles, how is that making it easier for us?

JOHNSON: I don't think our position would be making it easier. We're not looking to roll back anything. But with regard to keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, with regard to keeping guns out of the hands of potential terrorists—Bill talked about establishing a thousand-person taskforce to potentially address that, a hot line. Look, we should be open to these discussions.

The antivirus software pioneer also hits vice presidential candidate William Weld for his desire to "limit the number of rounds we can put in a magazine, he does not think assault rifles should be available."

(I reported earlier this month on Weld's gun heresies with link to the relevant video interview with the former Massachusetts governor.)

The video of McAfee from which the above is derived:

Weekly Standard this week issued a long Matt Labash profile of McAfee, calling him "The Libertarian Trump," mostly reported from May's Libertarian Party convention.

Some interesting bits, contextualized in a larger mini-bio of McAfee's colorful life and career with of course a close focus on his troubles with authorities in Belize, who McAfee insists tried to frame him for the murder of another expat neighbor when he refused to pay bribes and learned too much about their corruption:

McAfee, meanwhile, clearly boasted the most outlaw street-cred of the field and reminded me that much of politics is about surface appearances, which can be deceiving. "Twice in my life," McAfee said, "I have picked up the most beautiful woman in the world. Wined and dined her, taken her home. And then her dick pops out. All right? Now that's a shock for a man. So I know that appearances mean nothing. .??.??. Once you have that experience, you look at life totally different. If that's possible. .??.??. What else have I missed?"…

There was McAfee's wife, 33-year-old Janice Dyson McAfee, who has steely campaign discipline, limiting McAfee to one tequila at the hotel bar before insisting he switch to beer whenever he has a speaking engagement. (Sometimes, he even listened to her.) Janice's tasteful political-wife attire and gentle smile belie her past. For 10 years, she was a prostitute, and her vicious pimp, Suavé, regularly batted her around. "He was an extremely bad man, he hit me a lot," said Janice, grateful, like a good Libertarian, to be surrounded by so many firearms. (In addition to [McAfee pal and bodyguard John] Pool, she and McAfee usually carry as well.)….

He had a blur of other stints: programmer for NASA's Institute for Space Studies, consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, selling drugs and jewelry out of a van in Mexico. After developing a bottle-of-scotch-a-day and cocaine habit, he hit bottom, went to AA, and swears he's never taken drugs again. When I witnessed a delegate pass a joint his way on one of his frequent cigarette breaks by the hotel pool, McAfee didn't seem remotely interested. He'd sworn off drinking for a time, too, something he's made a great display of over the years to profilers. Yet he seemed to match me tequila (his) for bourbon (mine) whenever we hit the bar. When did he fall off the wagon? About two years ago, he says. "Why?" I asked him. "I was 68 years old," he says. Figuring his biblically allotted threescore-and-ten were just about up, he decided "I want a drink."

In one of the more colorful parts of the profile, Labash decides to press McAfee about the whole "suspected of killing his neighbor in Belize" thing. A supposed motive for McAfee's alleged involvement was the possibility that the neighbor poisoned McAfee's dogs.

McAfee loves to test the mettle of reporters, question their manhood, accuse them of being manipulative and dishonest, and keep himself amused. I can play that game, too. I'd asked him straightaway numerous times if he had anything to do with the death of Faull, which he repeatedly and categorically denied. So I came at it from a different angle this time. I told him how much I love dogs (true), and how I'd kill somebody who killed a dog faster than I'd kill a dog. "I kind of love dogs, too," McAfee said. I then pushed my luck: "If you killed somebody because of that," I said, "that's a good reason to kill somebody." His eyes widened. "What? That's not a good reason to kill somebody," he said. "Are you insane? .??.??. What's wrong with you?" He then turned slightly menacing. "You don't want to set me up, because it will motivate me to set you up, and it will be very unpleasant, and not for me, I promise you."

I let it drop, and we talked about other things: fishing, sailing, life. But McAfee, who had made me feel like his deepest confidant for days, had grown uninterested, half-hearted, checking his phone. I asked what gives. He wasn't happy about my "puppy dog" ploy, he said. I protested that it was just two guys, journalist and subject, slugging it out over drinks, that he shouldn't be angry. "I'm not mad, just offended, big difference," he said. "But now, it does put us on a level where I feel privileged to f— with you at the same level. Do you understand me?"

Later in the story, subject and object seem to bury the hatchet. McAfee is a fascinating character and Labash produced a fascinating profile.

I reported from time spent with McAfee in New York, Las Vegas, and Orlando, both before and after McAfee failed to cinch the L.P.'s presidential nomination.