Libertarian Party

Why Presidential Candidate Arvin Vohra Wants Libertarians to Wage a Culture War

The self-described "a-hole" defends his abrasive brand of in-your-face anarchism.

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||| Vohra for President
Vohra for President

By the time the Libertarian Party gets around to selecting its presidential nominee 14 months from now, it could conceivably be a contest headlined by Rep. Justin Amash (?–Mich.), Overstock.com founder Patrick Byrne, and some billionaire to be named later.

But if the country's third-largest political party were making that choice in March 2019 instead of May 2020, one of the bodies on that final debate stage would likely belong to former Libertarian National Committee (LNC) vice chair and 2018 U.S. Senate candidate Arvin Vohra. That may come as a surprise to those unaccustomed to hearing politicians campaign on the "total abolishment of the welfare state" while making social media jokes about shooting up school boards. It would also, not coincidentally, irritate a good number of Libertarians.

With the exit in January of previous vice presidential nominee Bill Weld, Vohra now has undisputed claim of being the most divisive figure within the Libertarian Party (L.P.). His series of intentionally provocative statements about age-of-consent laws, government schools, and the immorality of military service prompted unsuccessful attemps to suspend him from the Libertarian National Committee in February and April last year, with the latter effort falling just one vote short of the required two-thirds majority. Three months later, Vohra was routed by the party writ large in his bid for a third term as LNC veep. Undeterred, the 39-year-old educator promptly announced his presidential candidacy.

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Since then, Vohra has finished a distant fourth in Virginia's Maryland's race for U.S. Senate, with just 1 percent of the vote (one of the lowest L.P. Senate totals in the country). He is now making the rounds to some of the same state Libertarian conventions that have censured him in the past. I attended one such gathering on Saturday in Hightstown, New Jersey, where Vohra addressed a body that rebuked him in November 2017 by a vote of 21 to 1 (with one abstention).

"I was warned earlier today that three-fourths of you in this room are openly hostile to me," he began, "and I was honestly surprised. I don't think I've ever been in a room where a fourth of the people haven't made up their mind yet." From there Vohra launched into an argument about "the necessity of culture war in politics."

"The fundamental truth," he asserted, "the absolute unchangeable fundamental truth that we're facing right now in American politics is this: This culture produced this government. If we knock down this government, if we…fire everybody, we shut down all the departments, we shut down…everything. If we do that today, then this culture will recreate this exact government by tomorrow."

I caught up with Vohra after his speech to ask him more about how he thinks such messaging can succeed within the Libertarian Party and in American politics as a whole. The conversation ranged from the alt-right to open borders to jury nullification. The following is an edited transcript:

Matt Welch: So the basic question with you, obviously, besides what a monster you are, is: You made this turn, right? You made this decisive turn from being the Libertarian we could take home to Mom to being the Libertarian, my God, we just cannot ever take home to Mom. Since that moment, you've got some censure votes, including in New Jersey; disputed ones on L.P. National; lost re-election bid for vice chair; ran for Senate and didn't do that well comparatively to the field. Are you seeing market signals that your approach is working?

Arvin Vohra: Yes.

Historically, I can at least say that the other approach has backfired. It's my opinion that if we'd had Dr. [Mary] Ruwart instead of Bob Barr and then Gary Johnson and then Gary Johnson again, we wouldn't have an alt-right today. Because all of those teenagers who are looking to angrily rebel against what they perceive as an inimical authority would have a different direction to go in, a direction that's just as upsetting to their parents. Because going off against public schools and going against the income tax, that's just as upsetting to your parents as all the stuff that they're saying right now.

And what's actually happened, instead of people who want to rebel coming to the Libertarian Party, coming to this peaceful idea of voluntarism and anarchism, you have the opposite happening. You have all the people who used to be libertarians and suddenly turned alt-right. That reverse process, to me, is a direct consequence of that let's make libertarianism as mom-friendly and as harmless as possible [approach]. There are some people who like things that are mom-friendly: moms. There are some people that don't want things to be mom-friendly: the entire younger generation.

I discuss the very things that Dr Ruwart was attacked for, because I know that as an anarchist, I'm going to be attacked for the same things.

You look at my Senate campaign, and you compare it to Larry Sharpe's governor campaign. My Senate campaign, I didn't have time for it, it was a paper campaign, it was basically nothing. Larry Sharpe's campaign was one of the most organized, one of the best fundraising campaigns ever. His phrasing was friendlier. My phrasing was unfriendly. At the end of it, it didn't really make that much difference. [Sharpe also finished in fourth place, with 1.6 percent of the vote.]

What that says to me is the biggest issue that we have is, we're not really getting into the national debate. People will look at most Libertarian candidates—and I certainly used to be a nice, friendly Libertarian candidate—people look at them and say, "Yeah, that guy seems kind of nice. I'm going to go vote for this guy, this other person, because this guy might overlap with me on more of my issues, but he doesn't have the same chance of getting elected, and he's not going to speak to my number one issue." I would say that most voters have one or two issues that on the scales of policy matter more than everything else combined. And that's why I don't think they're stupid when they vote Democrat or Republican. I think they're making, for the most of them, the logical, rational decision.

And so a lot of what I'm doing is speaking to issues that neither Democrats nor Republicans are talking about. Even though they have some baseline emotional appeal there, they're not issues that are being discussed. So things like abolishing public schools, things like leaving NATO, things like ceasing to be the world's police, letting socialist Europe fend for itself, bring the troops home, laying them off, and cutting taxes. These aren't things that you hear from the other parties. And so that's where we're seeing a message that isn't already out there.

Other types of success are happening at an individual level. I mean, like I said during the speech, if my saving one person from military recruitment—and it was obviously a lot more than one person—but even if it's just one person, if I'm saving one person from military recruitment, and all I have to do is lose one election as vice chair? It's an easy decision for me.

Welch: So, some people will hear or read this and say, "Oh, so you want the alt-right vote"—you know, you're obviously, like, pandering to racists. What's your response to people who see your kind of heightening-the-contradictions approach as overlapping with that, and then being problematic because of it?

Vohra: Sure. The incorrect solution, for example with the military, is what Gary Johnson did. Which is basically put out billboards outside of military bases, be like, "Military, rah-rah!"

The correct approach to the military is what Larry Sharpe said, which is, "I get why you joined the military. Now leave the military, because it's not doing that, and come join us." Converting and pandering are not the same. I'm not trying to pander to the alt-right. I don't support racists. I mean, you can look at my face and see that I wouldn't really be interested in a lot of people getting really racist.

Welch: And you threw some shade at [Ludwig von Mises Institute President] Jeff Deist in August 2017, if I'm remembering correctly.

Vohra: So that, to me, is pandering. When you use white nationalist code-phrases like "blood and soil," then you're pandering. You're legitimizing a problematic ideology. My goal is not that. That's not what I have been doing. That's not what I will be doing. Even when I went on the Chris Cantwell show, I wasn't saying, "Yeah, you know, white power's the best." I was saying, "We need to end the state. This is not a useful way to do it. I don't think that racism is the right way to go about it."

When I reach out to the alt-right now, it's designed to be conversion, as in: Stop wasting your time on this racist nonsense. Start using your time to defund the state, to get rid of government schools, to make sure that you have just as much of a right to do whatever you want with the fruits of your earnings as we now at least recognize that a woman has the right, or a man has a right, to do with his or her own body. Just as we expect active consent in the sexual sphere, we need to be expecting that in the financial sphere.

Is that going to convert everyone away from the alt-right? Of course not, but it's going to convert some people. Because some people aren't there because they're racist, they're just acting racist because that's the requirement for being in the group. And I think that's a very convertible group. They're not set in their ways. They're young. A lot of them were just looking for some rebellion, and I've got a much better rebellion here that's going to actually do something positive for America.

Welch: Now, you have long thought that a convertible group are homeschool parents—

Vohra: Yes.

Welch: —and families and such. They're still outnumbered by the people who you are equating in a more abrasive moment to welfare queens, people who are sucking up intergenerational welfare. What is your response to, "Hey, look, you are actively alienating 90 percent or 80 percent of a population out there by insulting them"?

Vohra: I've converted some people from military service. I've converted a lot more people to homeschooling.

I mean, homeschooling is the future of education. Just as 20 years ago, legalization was the future of drug policies, today homeschooling is the future of education. Free-market education is just better. What's changed now, versus a while ago, is that now we have people who were homeschooled that are now entering their twenties and thirties, having kids, and they're becoming intergenerational non-welfare recipients. They have a different ethos. And is that number smaller than the number of people in government schools? Absolutely. Is it many times the number of people that voted for Gary Johnson? No question.

So it's true that some people are going to hear the message and say, you know, "You're criticizing me." And people respond two ways to criticism. Some get bent out of shape and get defensive; that's fine. Some improve. And I've been lucky so far that some portion of the people that I have reached out to have improved—they have switched over to homeschooling.

If I'm the nominee, that number is going to be proportionally increased to some extent, because the message of homeschooling—the message that government schools are intergenerational welfare, the idea that parents should provide education for their kids, either through paying for it or if they're providing it directly—that's a message most people just haven't heard. They haven't had the chance to reject it. And to say that they're going to reject the arguments before we even make them is an absurdly defeatist political strategy. I mean, we have to at least make the argument, give them the chance to reject it. And if they reject it, then they reject it, but at least let them actually do that.

Welch: But the military thing in particular. A lot of people are in the military, lots and lots of people. Including people [who] are pretty ripe for a libertarian message. So what do you think about the critique that the messaging, the way that you describe their choices, is needlessly repelling people who would otherwise be receptive to libertarianism?

Vohra: You have to get an actual conversion. If you're not getting a real conversion, if you're just getting that pandering pseudo-conversion, you're spelling the end of your own movement.

And here's what happens, and here's what we've been seeing happening. Which is: People come on board, they don't actually believe in all the message, because we've presented it in a way that could be interpreted as almost anything. And then they predictably either try to change our messaging to something absurd—and having interviewed God knows how many candidates on my own show, I've seen that sometimes the messaging isn't really libertarian. And the result of that has been that we're not driving our actual message.

When it comes to people in the military, I have two options. I can either say something, or I can say nothing. I can just do what everyone else does: Rah-rah troops, thank you for your service, all that kind of stuff. And in doing that, I'll do two things. One, I'll make some people a little bit open, but not actually consider the issue. I'm going to make it much easier to recruit young people, because that's how young people are recruited—you say rah-rah veterans, that's like the number one recruiting tool, is praising veterans and active servants. That's how you get the young people in there. And I'd be basically adding to the problem.

When I started doing this, it was not that long after an LNC member had joined the Marines, had publicly announced it, with support and advice from another LNC member. And the general response from the Libertarian community was just rah-rah military. When I saw that, I could see how deep a cultural problem that we had.

And we do have a cultural problem. My goal is to convert people from their belief in militarism, from their belief that joining the military is a good idea, to a belief that anything else would be a better option. And that is going to be a hard sell. There's no nice and easy way to do it. There's no friendly way to lead to that actual conversion.

You can be friendly, and get someone to maybe hear you out or pretend to understand what you're saying. But what has not happened in the past is that no one's actually understood the message. At this point, they know what my message is, they disagree with it, and some have stopped disagreeing, some have come around.

Welch: You have an interesting rap about the culture war: that the culture that we have produced the government that we have, and we could throw it away tomorrow and we would just reproduce the government. A lot of libertarians—large-L, small-l alike—kind of have an instinctive sense of wanting to retreat from the culture war, because so much bad stuff happens there: bad thinking, bad argumentation, bad policies. What is your argument for why we should embrace, or at least join, the culture war?

Vohra: You can't change policy at a deep and fundamental level without changing the culture. If we say, for example, that joining the military is the best thing you can do ever, then it's a little bit confusing to say that everything the military does is really bad. That is a level of illogic that really rings false in the ears of almost everyone. You can't say public school teachers are really, really good and the best people ever, but public schools are totally immoral. It doesn't make any sense to anyone who hears that kind of stuff.

If we're going to actually change policy in a deep and lasting way—I mean transform policy. I don't mean these tiny little just insignificant things that we spend so much time on. I mean big things: abolishing government school, abolishing the income tax. That requires a big change in policy, and that needs to have a big change in culture.

To the next step, though, I don't think that I've seen, with the possible exception of Bush Jr., I don't think I've really seen somebody win a presidential election without also winning a cultural war at the same time. Trump won a culture war. Obama won a cultural war. Reagan won a culture war.

You have people who are winning culture wars. You can't avoid a cultural war and expect to win at the political level. You'll get people to say that you're nice, and then they'll vote for the other guy.

Welch: You mentioned in your talk about how of all the crazy shit that Libertarians say, open borders is one of the hardest sells. Why do you think that is? And what should a Libertarian messaging be, based on that insight?

Vohra: It's very difficult because people are afraid of outsiders. People in every culture in history, to some extent, have been afraid of outsiders. And the rhetoric coming from the pro-open-borders side makes that problem worse, because they only talk about poor, starving refugees, and everybody here's like, "Oh, I don't want to have to feed a poor starving refugee!"

My focus on immigration is now, and has always been, on highly skilled workers. Because I believe that highly skilled workers should be able to go to any country that's willing to hire highly skilled workers. I believe that keeping them out would be about a stupid as keeping out computers and oil, which is the only two things that are close to as important, although still less important to a business's success than highly skilled workers.

So I focus on that a lot more. With that opening, you know, if it's a more involved speech, then I discuss how a lot of the times the people who make the greatest innovations are not necessarily people who have degrees and other credentials. They're people who are motivated, they are people who are innovative, they're entrepreneurs.

And so the culmination, to me, really come to this position that we should have totally open borders and no welfare, because all the people who are coming over for opportunities can still do that. And if anybody's coming over for welfare—and some people say it's no people and some people say it's a very small number of people, I think it's probably a very small number of people—can't do it. Just shut that part down.

And so I think that to speak to the people who are opposed to open borders, you're actually better off with a spokesperson like me, who is abrasive and is kind of an a-hole, because they want to hear that, like, the mean, selfish, elitist guy wants open borders, not the bleeding-heart, let-me-give-all-of-your-money-to-the-starving-person guy wants open borders.

Welch: All right, anything else that I should be aware of that you're doing, looking forward to? What should we be paying attention to?

Vohra: The biggest difference you're going to see between me and, I think, most other candidates, is not what I'll do if I win. Because whether I win or whether Justin Amash wins or whether Adam Kokesh wins, probably the first thing that any of us is going to do is pardon a lot of people, probably starting with Edward Snowden and Julian Assange and Ross Ulbricht. They might have a different order, I don't know, but I'm pretty sure there's going to be a lot of pardons in the first [months].

The difference is going to be what do we do in the campaign even if we lose. If I'm the nominee and I don't get elected, here's what you're going to see. You're going to see, through this extensive discussion of pardons and nullification, basically, everybody who heard of Aleppo, that number of people will know about jury nullification. That's guaranteed.

And that means there's going to be more jury nullification. Because most people don't do jury nullification because they don't know it, they don't know the history of it. They don't know that it brought freedom of the press to America. They don't know that. If they all did that, people would be fired up to be on juries and nullify stupid laws.

You're going to see a lot more bitcoin use. Why? Because cryptocurrency depends on network effect. A major presidential candidate talking about cryptocurrency can have a major influence.

You're going to see a lot more homeschooling, because I'm going to be talking about that every chance I get. Abolish public schools; here's why homeschooling is better. And you're going to see a lot of people converting to homeschooling.

That's if I lose, those benefits. That's the benefits of an Arvin Vohra non-successful run as Libertarian Party nominee. If I win, we know what happens. I fire basically everybody, taxes go to zero, we bring all the troops home, we're no longer the world's policeman, and we can live in peace and prosperity.

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  1. I thought he was just an attention troll. There’s more purpose there than I gave him credit for.

    And it does confirm my belief that LP really needs to either have its nominating convention before the DeRp’s primary season – or have a whole series of debates DURING the DeRp’s primary season. Because that is the only time those who might listen will listen. Election summer on – it’s all about the spectacle and the circus and the mass mobilization

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    2. Good point. We should have our national convention in January.

  2. When has a presumptive political party ever led cultural change? Doesn’t a political party usually follow an existing cultural trend, and doesn’t it take decades, if not centuries, for that trend to win out?

    1. I would say they at least amplify it. Look at the Green New Deal. Sure, there are people who believe that we need to empower the state to control every part of our lives as a mechanism for protecting the environment, but most people don’t give a shit. By putting the Green New Deal on the national stage, AOC has ensured that the broader culture grapples with the issue and makes a collective decision- that people either go whole hog in support of “We’ll do anything to save the planet” or reject it wholesale. And in 5 years the culture will have shifted to reflect that change.

      There is a feedback mechanism here- people elect candidates reflecting their cultural values, but those representatives have a national stage to push those values. AOC was elected by less than 100,000 people, but their values are now placed front stage in front of hundreds of millions of people almost daily. If that doesn’t drive cultural change, then what does?

      1. Actually, AOC’s election was due to much much fewer than 100,000 people. It’s a heavily Democratic district, so the Democratic primary is the deciding factor. She only got 15,897 votes in that primary! That’s in a district with 700,000 people!

        Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
        15,897 57.5%
        Joseph Crowley*
        11,761 42.5

        1. Which is a good lesson about how far a good bit of charisma and fire-in-the-belly can go, even if the ideas haven’t had the chance to be heard…libertarians need to stop being afraid of charisma (well, maybe we aren’t, but it seems like we are, given the atrocious candidates we’ve offered)

        2. She rang a lot of doorbells. That’s it. Ringing doorbells and looking pretty. Mouth some socialist drivel to the young voters and the spot is hers.

    2. When has a presumptive political party ever led cultural change?

      Do you mean besides The Cultural Revolution? Or does starving tens of millions and setting your nation’s political and industrial capacities back by several decades not count as a cultural change?

      Isn’t leading change politically, no matter the outcome, Progressivism? Organized crime practically orients itself to the path led by Progressivism.

      1. Andrew Breitbart said it a long time ago:

        “Politics is downstream from culture.”

  3. That may come as a surprise to those unaccustomed to hearing politicians campaign on the “total abolishment of the welfare state” while making social media jokes about shooting up school boards.

    Oh, I didn’t realize this article was about John McAfee.

    1. Great comment, Fist. Highly amusing and apropos.

  4. …probably the first thing that any of us is going to do is pardon a lot of people, probably starting with Edward Snowden and Julian Assange and Ross Ulbricht. They might have a different order, I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a lot of pardons in the first [months].

    You, sir, have my support.

    1. He had me at “With the exit in January of previous vice presidential nominee Bill Weld”.

  5. Why Presidential Candidate Arvin Vohra Wants Libertarians to Wage a Culture War
    The self-described “a-hole” defends his abrasive brand of in-your-face anarchism.

    Anarchism is NOT Libertarianism.

    Libertarians are okay with tiny and limited government based on Rule of Law.

    1. First thing we Libertarians need to do is kick Anarchists out of the LP.

      Nobody really likes Anarchists and they refuse to found their own Anarchy-Land by pooling money and buying land. Many of them seem to want the USA to fail, so their fantasy of rising from the ashes will comes true.

      Its like Lefties hiding as Libertarians. The moment you open your mouth, its obvious that you are not for tiny and limited government, property rights, and free market.

      1. It’s almost like neither of you realize that the Libertarian party was founded by anarchists.

        1. I would like to hear more about that claim.

          1. Murray Rothbard, you ignorant stooge

            1. Murray Rothbard was *not* a founder of the Libertarian Party. In a 1972 interview he was asked, “David Nolan is forming a Libertarian Party. Its membership has indicated an interest in nominating you for its Presidential candidate in 1972. What is your response to this overture?” Rothbard replied, “I really don’t think, as lovable as third parties are, that a libertarian party at this stage of our development is anything but foolhardy.” See http://alexpeak.com/twr/nlm/rotlp.html .

      2. Nobody really likes Anarchists and they refuse to found their own Anarchy-Land by pooling money and buying land.

        There are numerous examples of people trying to do this. And generally what happens is the government asserting jurisdiction over that property still expects to govern there. There have been numerous ranchers in US history who have attempted this, there is a notable story about an attempt on a manmade wwii sea base off the coast of the UK. In general the failures of these experiments came down to their small size and inability to generate wealth, or if they are of monetary value, regional governments interfering.

        I am not convinced Anarchy is workable, but there have been reasonable attempts in the past. I would never support kicking out the Anarchists because for at least the long term, we all have common cause in reducing the size and scope of government.

      3. thank you for pointing this out. This A-hole wants us to fail along with at least half the staff at Reason and Bill Weld.

      4. Stop it with this “we” nonsense. Libertarianism is a big tent, and even so you’ve never been under it. Nor do we want those with your views.

      5. “Anarchists did not try to carry out genocide against the Armenians in Turkey; they did not deliberately starve millions of Ukrainians; they did not create a system of death camps to kill Jews, gypsies, and Slavs in Europe; they did not fire-bomb scores of large German and Japanese cities and drop nuclear bombs on two of them; they did not carry out a Great Leap Forward that killed scores of millions of Chinese; they did not attempt to kill everybody with any appreciable education in Cambodia; they did not launch one aggressive war after another; they did not implement trade sanctions that killed perhaps 500,000 Iraqi children. In debates between anarchists and statists, the burden of proof clearly should rest on those who place their trust in the state. Anarchy’s mayhem is wholly conjectural; the state’s mayhem is undeniably, factually horrendous.” ~Robert Higgs

    2. This libertarian feels that the main principle of libertarian politics is that government interference creates more harm than good where ever it occurs, whether the interference is in marketplaces through regulation and subsidy, or in interactions between people. Libertarians are ok with a tiny and limited government to provide for common defense, as an alternative to invasion by statists. Rule of law is a scourge intended to usurp power by people who are power hungry.

      1. The opposite of Rule of Law is Rule of Man.

        You are thinking of how the USA has a bunch of Rule of Man which usurps power from the People and a Supreme Constitution like the US Constitution.

        Crony Capitalism usurps power from Capitalism and free market principles.

        1. Two problems: creation and enforcement. Until rule of law starts enforcing itself, it is just rule of man. Until rule of law creates and maintains itself, it is just rule of man.

          Laws and law enforcement are human inventions, carried out by humans, and burdened upon other humans.

        2. Two problems: creation and enforcement. Until rule of law starts enforcing itself, it is just rule of man. Until rule of law creates and maintains itself, it is just rule of man.

          Laws and law enforcement are human inventions, carried out by humans, and burdened upon other humans.

          1. So prohibition against murder is just invented by humans and has no basis in objective reality?

            1. Yes, just like justification of murder as a “greater good” through declaration of war is a human invention. Of course we live in a civilized society, so everyone agrees on these things; everyone agrees that killing an enemy soldier is ok, and killing a civilian is impossible due to prohibition.

              If there were no militaries or police forces, there would still be war, murder, and retribution, but maybe there would be fewer people claiming to be part of “the greater good”.

            2. Or is it really a right of self-defense?

        3. The “rule of law” doesn’t enforce itself. Have you even read Human Action?

      2. The main principle of libertarian politics is the NAP.

    3. “Libertarians are okay with tiny and limited government based on Rule of Law.”

      What’s with this “Rule of Law” crap that you repubs are pushing so hard here lately?

      I’ll pass.

      1. Eric, you’re not a Libertarian anyway. Beat it.

        1. Correct. I’m more of a classical liberal. You’re a Republican. There, that’s settled. Now answer my question: How is Rule of Law a Libertarian principle?

          1. No Eric, you are moderately progtarded.

          2. A Republic with a constitution as the basis of it’s laws and freedoms must have a written constitution. It can’t all be something you keep in your head. Otherwise we can’t read it and agree to it. Libertarians generally believe in limited, freedom protecting WRITTEN laws. Or so I thought.

          3. Government is instituted in order to place the retaliatory use of force under objective law. Laws tell us when the NAP has been violated. Without laws all is chaos.

            1. How are these laws to be derived/determined?

              1. From our nature as sapient beings.

                1. No, in today’s America they are passed by a legislative monopoly composed of professional lawyers/legislators. This is a far, far cry from “our nature as sapient beings”, which basically describes a common law.

          4. the Declaration of Independence is the quintessential classical liberal document.

            “…that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers…”

            IOW – the rule of law.

            You are not a classical liberal.

          5. Why do Libertarians sign the non-aggression principle? I had to when I joined the LP back in the 1980s. I thought it was pretty cool.

            I think it is something that we should be using as a teaching tool.

    4. >>>Anarchism is NOT Libertarianism.

      no but you need a bigger tent not a culling (kick A out of the LP)

      1. Haha. I know, right. I bigger tent that includes people who don’t like Libertarianism and some are even in the LP to keep Libertarianism down by sabotaging any progress.

        Reason staff are great examples of this. Most squawk about Reason being something something Libertarian and then Welch writes fluff pieces about Beto while sporting a Beto boner. Shikha writes about how Americans are racist pieces of shit who should never have any say over who enters the USA. Boehm writes nonsense about trade and economics that would keep America on the old path of managed trade. Jesse Walker is an admitted Anarchist and writes nonsense stuff about old nonsense that he likes.

        If Reason is really supporting Libertarian ideals, then why didn’t Reason covering more than a few of the 2018 LP candidates around the USA?
        2018 LP Candidates

        There were hundreds of them.

        1. >>>If Reason is really supporting Libertarian ideals

          entire argument w/i itself i’m mostly here for the comments

          1. 🙂 me too. I just like trowing back at Reason once in a while.

      2. The non-aggression principle that I signed when I joined the LP in 1989 supports anarchism unless you can figure out a political system based on voluntarism.

        I actually have here: jurists4justice.com

        The LP has been an almost total failure. We are sugar coating the truth instead of telling people the truth.

    5. Libertarianism is a blanket term that includes minarchism and anarchism. It has pretty much always been a 50/50 split in the party. They made a compact early on agreeing to work together and argue about that last little bit of government later.

      1. >>>argue about that last little bit of government later.

        with fire. (kidding, lc1789 kidding …)

        1. +10

      2. The problem is you get turds like Pedo Jeffy who is an open borders nut. People like that are electoral ktyptonite. Imagine if I brought imagine if you are trying to convince a democrat or republican friend who is libertarian leaning and disatisfied with either of the two big parties. Then get them to attend and event, or read so,e of the stuff here, and they encounter anarchist turds like Pedo Jeffy and some of the other more egregious wackadoos.

        They are likely scared straight back to whichever orthopedic they were thinking of leaving. Because there are too many kooks that make the LP look like a fringe group.

        1. Or when ‘libertarians’ seriously advocate for a UBI.

          1. aka the kinder, gentler welfare state.

      3. Libertarianism is NOT a blanket term that includes minarchism and anarchism. I would love to see a citation as to why you think that is. Libertarians are okay with tiny and limited government with an authority base don Rule of Law. Anarchism wants no government with such powers.

        lib?er?tar?i?an?ism
        /?lib?r?ter??niz?m/
        an extreme laissez-faire political philosophy advocating only minimal state intervention in the lives of citizens.

        an?ar?chism
        /?an?r?kiz?m/
        belief in the abolition of all government and the organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force or compulsion.

        minarchism does not even have a recognized definition.

        1. Make up whatever definitions you like. You’re still wrong.

          We never really get out of anarchy.

        2. Minarchism does **so** have a “recognized” definition.

        3. lc1789, all you’re doing is proving what I’ve been saying since you first started posting here:

          You’re not a libertarian, you don’t understand libertarianism (the history or the principles), and you almost certainly never even called yourself a libertarian until you started trying to shill for Trump here.

          You’re probably the most fail individual on here.

          1. Well, except Tony, of course.

        4. So libertarians still want to use a gun to force people to associate with and hand their money over to libertarians. Got it.

    6. Nonsense…just because you don’t understand something is not a good reason to throw it out

      Anarchism believes in the rule of law, just not through a central authority that has all the guns.

      1. Funny how Anarchists never explain what they think Anarchism is.

        Many just hide or say that they are Libertarians.

        Anarchists cannot even kick a litigant out of civil court for not cooperating with the legal process because that would be force used under moral authority to run a court.

        1. You’re getting incoherent now.

        2. Anarchism is the quite simply the lack of a legislative monopoly. The word literally means “no ruler[s]”.

          As a matter of fact, it says nothing about the presence or absence of law. Though many crypto-communist “anarchists” espouse (at lease temporary) lawlessness, nobody in the voluntaryist camp advocates a lawless society.

          We merely advocate for the elimination of a legislative monopoly, with gives idiots like you disproportionate say though toxic mobocracy. Absence of legislative monopoly doesn’t leave lawlessness, it simply maximizes the decentralization of law making (or rather, deciding). Hence, no rulers. This leaves what might be described as the very oldest conception of a “common law”.

          But please, don’t let me stop you from displaying your utter ignorance of anything to do with the history of libertarianism or even classical liberal thought.

          You’re just another fucking republican slaver.

          Democracy may be the least objectionable form of -archy, but anarchy is the next step in our cultural/political evolution.

          1. Anarchy is retarded.
            Literally.
            But do let us know when you found an anarchist “national”
            As soon as you do, me and some friends will come take all of it.

        3. Search WordPress blogs for “All Anarchists are Communists”–complete with historical records…

    7. I agree – that’s my biggest problem with Vohra. You can’t abolish the state because then how do we deal with and prevent people from harming and stealing from others? There needs to be some ultimate authority that can legitimately use force against criminals and foreign invaders, and tax the citizenry in some way to pay for it.

      I do agree with Vohra on his point about getting uncompromised libertarian positions out there for the public to digest. He may call it a culture war, but it’s really educating the public. Without political support for libertarian positions, we’ll just get more of the same big government. After all, look at who we’ve collectively elected over the decades, and the government we’ve essentially produced.

      It’s something we’ll need to do, because when the house of financial cards collapses, and the US government no longer pays Social Security, Medicare and welfare (either the corporate or individual kind) many will choose a socialist government to replace the statist government we have.

      1. >There needs to be some ultimate authority that can legitimately use force against criminals and foreign invaders, and tax the citizenry in some way to pay for it.

        How do you know this? How do you know that private surety agreements (that are voluntarily funded) absolutely could not provide the benefits you seek?

      2. It is nothing more than a false dilemma to assert that either we have a legislative monopoly (a “state”), or we have no means of enforcing laws. Laws have existed before without the concurrent existence of a state, and they will so exist again.

        Laws, whatever their source, can be enforced by any number of voluntary mechanisms. (Those who fail to agree to any laws at all — e.g. murderers — are simply outlaws to every set of laws, and therefore outside the protection of any law.)

    8. “Laws are maintained in credit, not because they are essentially just, but because they are laws. It is the mystical foundation of their authority; they have none other.” ~ Michel de Montaigne

  6. This video does a pretty good job of introducing the 2020 LP candidates one by one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIVNke1QCbo

  7. Guys like this ensure the Libertarian party will never be relevant.

    1. I assume you include Welch in that plural usage.

    2. The damage these saboteurs do is to the platform, which is what serious voters read. Demanding child molestation and uninspected entry of foreign rabble, then adding gauntlet-voting procedures to pollute the LP’s internal selection process is all infiltrators like Vohra, Tokyo Rose and Knapp are good for. If this seems farfetched, try subscribing to the LNC maillist for at least long enough for comprehension to dawn. It is a shame that the work and money of so many honest volunteers can be trashed by a handful of loudmouthed louts–especially after finally achieving national election spoiler vote status!

  8. I agree with Vohra that our nation keeps getting these politicians because it wants these politicians- and have said so many times. So his strategic objective- changing the culture- is right on. I am not so sure that his tactics are sound, however.

    I think targeting kids fresh out of school is a great way to get kids into the ranks of libertarians. If anyone is ripe for conversion, it is young adults looking at reality and coming to terms with how unprepared the school system made them- from kindergarten through college. However, there is a fine balance between telling these kids “This school system failed you” and screaming violent rhetoric that gets paraphrased on social media to the point that they never listen to a word you say.

    The reason kids are adopting socialism in droves is that the schools ARE failing to prepare them for reality. They spend all their life being told how important they are because of what they know- because of how well they repeat the facts that their leftist professors spouted at them. But the real world doesn’t reward smarts. It rewards value. And so they are given a choice- rebel against the schools that heaped praise on them and built their sense of worth, or rebel against this cold, faceless “system” of capitalism that they are just learning about. By and large, these kids are going to chose the latter option.

    1. Going after the alt-right is probably working for Vohra because these are kids who, for whatever reason, already rejected the school system. That’s low hanging fruit. But for every alt-right convert, there are dozens of kids fond of their schooling who are choosing to vilify capitalism and deny reality by adopting socialism.

      The path to those kids is not to tell them they are part of a welfare system (they were forced to go to school, and forced to jump through those leftist hoops, and in return they were gratified by that unreal system). Somehow there needs to be a message that tells these kids that they succeeded DESPITE these schools- the strength was in them to begin with, not given by principals and professors.

      1. I think the term “convert” used by Vohra indicates that he is trying to drag these young people into a cult.

        Add in what seems to be Vohra’s Anarchist statements more than Libertarian positions just rubs people the wrong way.

        Libertarians tell people about their positions and the positions speak for themselves with maybe some analogies to how those positions are part of everyday America since its founding.

        Anarchists and Socialists have to proselytize as if you must believe that their way will work…this time. They have no successful examples to illustrate why people should want their system.

        Libertarianism has America as an example. In fact, America has been able to fend off Socialist and Anarchist takeovers for over a century. The USA is just bloated with Socialism that we’re near a precipice.

        1. Libertarians tell people about their positions and the positions speak for themselves with maybe some analogies to how those positions are part of everyday America since its founding.

          Only so long as you can convince folks that every past market failure, corporate abuse, and horrible consequences of unchecked industry is because of government meddling, and that a real Free Market would have avoided them, and the need for the “socialist” solutions.

          If you can’t do that, they don’t “speak for themselves” so much as “sound like a nice fantasy”.

        2. Libertarian positions are far more complicated than this. At first blush, everyone agrees that the government is too big. So then you move on to cutting things, and everyone has their sacred bull that must not be cut (and when you start talking about cutting SS or Medicare, people get super turned off). At some point, people need to be more friendly to the NAP and understanding of its consequences.

          Cult or not, I would happily welcome more kids subscribed to Anarchy than the millions of children being converted to Socialism. At least the Anarchists want to move the government in the same direction I do. We can argue about whether the government should have very small enumerated powers or no powers at all when we get it out of school, welfare, foreign wars, environmental collectivism, and all its other excesses. A devout socialist child who moderates with age will at best only want a little more regulation. An anarchist child who moderates with age will still be skeptical of government interference.

          1. Sometimes I think people choosing Socialism and then experiencing its horrors creates a future skepticism of Socialism that they cannot shake.

            The Americans that experienced the worst parts of Communism, Nazism, and Socialism are dead or soon to die. Some young adults don’t heed their warnings.

        3. > I think the term “convert” used by Vohra indicates that he is trying to drag these young people into a cult.

          An I think that you are a statist butt nugget that has zero faith in the average persons ability to manage their own security (by voluntarily associating with others) successfully.

          We tried a constitution once. I don’t think it’s working too well.

          “The constitution either permits such a government as we have had, or is powerless to defend against it Either way, it is not fit to exist.” – Lysander Spooner

      2. “But for every alt-right convert, there are dozens of kids fond of their schooling ”

        While there are perhaps some who actually are making a conscious choice, I suspect most simply do not know there are any alternatives and are simply choosing the path of least resistance.

        It is entirely telling how the left morphed from ‘question authority’ to ‘don’t question my authority’ once they became the dominant educational paradigm.

    2. The reason kids are adopting socialism in droves is that the schools ARE failing to prepare them for reality.

      I’d argue that it is because schools are the ONLY institution that is spending even a nanosecond informing kids about anything. For-profit institutions long ago sent a message – Get leveraged up to your eyeballs in debt to signal that you are talented and desperate to boot and only then will we hire you for some shitty little meaningless job that goes nowhere and keeps you desperate. Parents are even more clueless.

      There is an opportunity for some state (and yeah it will be a state not some private association) to work with (probably smaller) local businesses to reconfigure education/school from say 14-22. To take teacher screening/credentialling away from the ‘education establishment’ (which if it works only works thru elementary) and to combine apprenticeships/internships/school etc in a way that is meaningful, relevant, and productive. Silly to pretend that that age group can do that without help or that most parents can offer anything beyond rahrahs (or worse) for their kid.

      1. Yes, public education has become the default provider of most all information.

        Unfortunately that creates the default situation where kids spend most of their day seeing and hearing employees of the state asserting that what is best is more statism.

      2. Competing, for-profit, private institutions will provide much better education than the state.
        But you seem really committed to the crony capitalism paradigm that’s gotten us here

    3. That’s why we have to recruit the special ed kids. The revolution will begin when the dyslexics of the world untie!

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  10. Damn. I like this guy. Fuck, but I have to register to vote to cast a symbolic vote for him. Tough decision.

  11. Sounds like a campaign I can support. I’ve been writing in “None of the Above” for President since the LP put Ron Paul on their line until 2016 when I voted for Johnson/Weld. I was disappointed whenever I heard Johnson interviewed.
    Vohra is right that we have to change the culture, and that starts with ending government controlled education.

  12. He’s not exactly wrong on the culture war thing. If you want long-lasting societal change, you have to win the culture. That’s why Roe v. Wade is still being fought, because no one “won” that one. That’s why gay marriage is probably okay, because even most opponents have realized it’s just not a big deal.

    That said, he wants to wage a “culture war” on an axis that no one else cares about. So he shouldn’t be surprised that when people hear “culture war”t hey think of the “culture wars” that have been and currently are being fought, and not a new front he wants to open up.

    That said… what’s he doing talking about the “younger” generation? He’s on the upper-end of millenials himself. Not exactly like he’s talking about a cohort he’s not apart of. For that matter, millenials aren’t all that young anymore, and Gen Z isn’t really voting. So who is it that he’s trying to get that’s just “rebelling against mom”? Millenials are in careers, buying houses, raising kids. We’re past the “rebelling” stage. So unless he’s trying to focus in on Gen Z (a losing strategy to be sure) this is just really weird.

    1. And final point:

      So things like abolishing public schools, things like leaving NATO, things like ceasing to be the world’s police, letting socialist Europe fend for itself, bring the troops home, laying them off, and cutting taxes. These aren’t things that you hear from the other parties. And so that’s where we’re seeing a message that isn’t already out there.

      Of the seven items he listed there, President Trump was talking about five of them and Candidate Clinton was talking about three of them. The only items that weren’t talked about was abolishing public schools and laying off the military.

      I kinda get the feeling he doesn’t actually know what Republicans and Democrats are saying.

    2. Millenials are in careers, buying houses, raising kids. We’re past the “rebelling” stage.

      Between living with your parents, putting off home buying, having less sex and fewer children… I’d say it’s not entirely clear whether you’ve passed the rebelling stage or you’ve simply aged out of the rebelling stages as life passed you (in the royal sense) by.

      1. You know what it’s called when a person lets stereotypes get in the way of them accurately perceiving the world around them?

    3. >>>Millenials are in careers, buying houses, raising kids. We’re past the “rebelling” stage.

      one step from voting for the next Bush ha

  13. I’m pretty sure that’s Sacha Baron Cohen. I wonder if he offered Matt any cheese during the interview?

  14. The self-described “a-hole” defends his abrasive brand of in-your-face anarchism.

    We have J.D. Tuccille for that.

  15. Fair points. Different Strategy. Can’t be any worse than what’s being done now. Lose the facial hair though. Seriously.

    1. Some folks just haven’t studied the history enough to learn about the facial hair. You can just look at all the pictures of folks who get elected to President or Governor. The beards are exceptionally few and far between.

      Furthermore, the beards seem to appear far more frequently during times of great political conflict. Lincoln, Lee, Grant … need I say more?

      1. Beards are a secondary sex characteristic. When people feel afraid because of impending war, they want a president who looks like he has a pair of batzim.

  16. The philosophy of altruism is overwhelmingly the dominant theme in US culture. And now, altruism at the point of a gun is broadly accepted. My observation is that this wave has been institutionalized at all levels of society. It is dominant in religions, public and private schools from K-1 to the PhD level, politics, the military, the media, and even the Libertarian Party. Reason online is no exception.

    It is a tsunami approaching shore – rising higher and higher. It will soon wash over the US resulting in financial collapse, then economic collapse, and, finally, cultural collapse. I think it will happen very soon, certainly in my lifetime ( 15 yrs left, if I am lucky). All we can do is prepare as much as possible to blunt its effect on us and our loved ones.

    From the ashes, hopefully will rise the contrary realization of the failed statist mantra of ‘from each according to his ability to each according to his needs’ The pessimist in me thinks that more likely a virulent totalitarian state will prevail. This seems very gloomy I’m sure. Please give me reason to hope!

  17. You made this decisive turn from being the Libertarian we could take home to Mom to being the Libertarian, my God, we just cannot ever take home to Mom.

    I could probably find several moms in my town who would want to go home with him. Does he live close to a drug rehab facility? How generous is welfare in Maryland?

  18. And is that number smaller than the number of people in government schools? Absolutely. Is it many times the number of people that voted for Gary Johnson? No question.

    Libertarians: We’re not as normal as the average home-schooled American.

  19. And the rhetoric coming from the pro-open-borders side makes that problem worse, because they only talk about poor, starving refugees, and everybody here’s like, “Oh, I don’t want to have to feed a poor starving refugee!”

    Actually, it’s not nearly as difficult as having a conversation with his Italian-American baby-mama or the guy who supplies her with k2.

  20. If one follows any of the ‘mainstream’ debates about politics and what parties people support etc., one gets the idea that
    1. there are and will always be only one party pretending to be two
    2. that the contrived differences between the two wings are of such great saliency as to justify forgetting everything they aren’t busily stealing between them

    If one talks to most regular people, we find out that most people are so convinced that everything about this party pretending to be two is so corrupt and at-best useless noise that any attempt at engagement in democracy reveals you to be a big stupid idiot.

    The super-majority of people have so lost interest that anything the a-hole thieves say in perpetuating a zombie-dead status quo just flows over them, they close their eyes, hold their nose, and vote anyway along whatever their traditions tell them to vote, voting reliably, going home telling themselves they have done their civic duty to ‘democracy’. The rest of the time they prefer to be left alone, because they don’t see themselves as the thieves and cons they end up electing.

    Suggestion for a second party: “Go for the darkness”…Focus on the voters who have no partisan axes to grind, no serious agreement or disagreement with anything the fakers construct into ‘critically important issues’. Any new engagement and real social involvement in the process we can cultivate in people will operate reliably against the decrepit kleptocracy.

  21. I agree with everything he’s said. The culture war thing is easy we have to advocate for the NAP. Everything should be put into the message that initiating force is immoral and that the government does it. Surely we can sell liberty?

  22. Yes, libertarians are ok with a tiny and limited government to provide for common defense, as an alternative to invasion by statists!

    1. If you are being occupied by statists, what do you really have to lose by instituting Citizen militias instead of standing armies? If they invade and win, you’re right back where you started.

      No society in history has ever been able to restrain the size and scope of power that nation-states command. Political power is corrupt by its very existence. It takes property and money from those that justly earn it and thus it rightfully belongs to and gives it to those it doesn’t rightly belong to.

      You cannot have unethical behavior sometimes legalized without opening the proverbial door to other usurpations.

  23. *Snort* I’m an ideological Anarchist myself, but I’m also a realist — and I know that dismantling a bloated and intrusive government is as tricky as defusing an unexploded bomb; you have to do it in just the right order, and in just the right way, or the whole thing blows up in your face. Vohra is more likely to make us enemies than friends. He’ll be useful as the bogeyman when we get around to our primary races, but I don’t see him as useful for much else. In fact, he’s likely to scare off potential Libertarian voters with his way out version of Libertarianism.

    For example, he talks about converting the “alt-right”. *What* “alt-right”? Aside from Democrat propaganda, they *don’t exist*. Go look at the YouTube vids of that “nationwide alt-right convention” that the idiotic Richard Spencer called during the Charlottesville caper; can you count the total number of attendees? There were fewer than 120 of them, total. Ditto for all the Neo-Nazis in the country. Likewise according to the FBI, which has finally had the sense to dump the SPLC as a trusted resource, there are maybe 500 real Ku Klux Klanners left in the entire US Don’t waste time even bothering to convert that handful of losers; they aren’t worth the effort — and they certainly aren’t worth our getting smeared by association with them. Vohra’s an idiot for bothering with them.

    1. I suspect Vohra is talking about reaching out to the millions who are ACCUSED of being “alt-right”, or even the new smear “alt-right adjacent”, which is the most incredibly slimy thing the Left have come up with since dreaming up “false consciousness” and “code words/dog whistles”.

      And the number of wrongthinkers who fall into that category is huge. I can’t tell you how many people share my experience of being called “alt-right” well before they knew what it was or even that there was such a thing.

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  25. “It’s very difficult because people are afraid of outsiders. People in every culture in history, to some extent, have been afraid of outsiders. And the rhetoric coming from the pro-open-borders side makes that problem worse, because they only talk about poor, starving refugees, and everybody here’s like, “Oh, I don’t want to have to feed a poor starving refugee!””

    Yes, that is the problem people have with outsiders in a country where people vote for what happens. Only an insane person would admit a bunch of people who will voted for policies that make them worse off. Sure, in a world where I am governed by a perfect AI who is impossible to unseat I’m totally cool with admitting anyone to my country/state/county/city. But if they (or their descendants) have the ability to affect me (or my descendants) by using the government’s monopoly on force, I am going to be cautious.

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  27. Well done, Welch. I thought from previous journalism that Vohra was nothing but a self-aggrandizing asshat, you’ve revealed there’s some serious thought going on beneath the hat. I don’t know that I agree with him whole-heartedly, but there’s definitely something refreshing about his “skip the bullshit” attitude strategy.

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  29. Sadly the Libertarian Party, IMHO has been a total failure and understanding why is important. Libertarians are not politicians nor do we really want to be. We are really teachers and you cannot teach a society socio-economics without teaching them the truth. No society in world history has ever been able to restrain the size and scope of government power. Moms are often wrong and they are teaching our youth the wrong things. Moms have been lied to. That is why they lean so much towards socialism. Many of them have not even heard of libertarianism, so we are doing a really poor job at educating the populous and especially women. The socialists are winning and their tactics are not gentle or honest.

    I, therefore, agree with Vohra that telling people the truth is essential, no matter how much it frightens or pisses them off. We are not teaching people that government and democracy are both concepts based on fraudulent premises that cause more harm than good.

    The LP will not succeed without being raw and painfully truthful. You must fight fire with fire.

  30. I had been a Libertarian for many years and I am now an anarcho-capitalist. Government force cannot be restained politically once the door is opened. One of the primary failures is the election process and once the vote is cast, it cannot be retracted. So what do our politicians do, they lie to get elected and then blame their lies on the system’s lack of support. I love Wikileaks. We then have to wait several years to fire them by withholding our vote.

    I have devised an interesting concept of voluntary representative democracy for determining the constitutionality of our laws via a new system of justice. Not really new but adding a Citizens Supreme Court Review Board on top of the system. Of course, they are not going to just hand us legal status. That will have to be earned through public opinion.

    Instead of voting on a few people, we select an individual via an affidavit that we want to have represented us and we can withdraw our support at any time, negating their representative position. A huge pool of individuals would be created by this method with each representative requiring a certain number of signed affidavits from individuals to get on the SCRB. From the pool, those nominated can select the number of reviewers they want on a specific case.

    This would eliminate the fears of democracy being an uneducated mob rule. The more legal knowledge one has, they more likely others would select them. https://jurists4justice.com

    1. LOL

      I mean, this is absolutely hilarious.

    2. The other communist-line version is “I used to be libertarian but then I matured into wisdom and became the whack job you now perceive…”

  31. I actually voted for Reagan after meeting a communist anarchist infiltrator exactly like Vohra who claimed to speak for the LP. Anarchists DO NOT WANT a constitutional government of objectively defined laws defending the rights of individuals against the initiation of force and fraud. They seek to legalize, nay, institutionalize murder and violence. It is for this reason that they seek to infiltrate us, to cause the public to confound us with the communists. The American voter sees right through these impostors, which is why this particular infiltrator got 61% fewer votes than the Libertarian national average. How creeps like this manage to infiltrate the party and poison our platform and resolutions is the single most embarrassing issue facing the Libertarian Party.

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  33. A-hole is right. The man is poly-amorous. I know one of the women he used to sleep with. He’s quite emotionally manipulative, apparently.

  34. Less crazy than McFee but more interesting than Gary Johnson. I like it. And remember how the press portrayed Governer Johnson as an idiot political neophyte who made some misstatement about Geography that they never stopped repeating. Meanwhile Clinton and Trump said many more far stupider things. You won’t get the percentage of Libertarian voters to increase by playing it safe. People will feel compelled to vote for one of the two major parties so as to not waste their votes. However, people will vote to make a statement.

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