Libertarian Party

Tom Woods, Matt Welch, and Michael Malice Discuss Libertarian Infighting

Philosophical differences of opinion, Libertarian Party spats, Ron Paul newsletters, you name it.


"Libertarian Party Rebuffs Mises Uprising," ran the headline on my first dispatch from the L.P.'s biennial national convention, which talked about how the party's growing Mises Caucus fell far short in its effort to dislodge Party Chair Nicholas Sarwark.

This analysis did not prove popular among the Libertarian friends of the Ludwig von Mises Institute (LvMI) in Auburn, Alabama. "Reason Editor Gets it Wrong," was the headline on Eric July's video response. "Someone's been eating Gary Johnson's edibles," tweeted Comic Dave Smith. Mises Caucus Chair Michael Heise, in a rebuttal email to me, wrote (among many other things): "We have been directly credited by Tom Woods and Dave Smith joining the party which has caused a number of new members to join the party and the caucus. We are the biggest and quickly coming up on the strongest caucus in the party. We were able to knock down resolutions that downplayed the importance of property and I spoke against them which rallied the delegation floor."

Then something interesting happened. Rather than wash their hands of a party they have criticized for drifting too far from core philosophical principles, the friends of the Mises Institute doubled down on their involvement. Smith and podcaster Jason Stapleton announced post-convention that they were joining the L.P. The biggest fish of all to become a sustaining member of the party was LvMI Senior Fellow and popular podcaster Tom Woods. In August 2017, in the wake of the Charlottesville riots, these people and Libertarian Party leadership were engaged in a war of words. Eleven months later, they're all under the same big tent.

It was in that spirit that the quick-witted anarchist media weirdo Michael Malice invited Tom Woods and myself to a bread-breaking edition of Malice's "YOUR WELCOME" show. The three of us discussed any number of internecine divisions within both the libertarian and Libertarian movements, perceived snubs from Reason, incrementalism vs. Evangelism, Murray Rothbard, the old Ron Paul newsletters; you name it. You can watch here:

Related reading: Brian Doherty's 2009 essay "A Tale of Two Libertarianisms," our magazine debate forum that same year on "Are Property Rights Enough?", and this 2011 piece from me. Bonus Michael Malice-related content here. ALSO: Watch your mailboxes for a forthcoming issue of Reason that includes all manner of libertarian debates.