They Eat Their Own

Main Entry: can•ni•bal•ism
Pronunciation: \'ka-ne-be,-li-zem\
Function: noun
Date: 1796
1 : the usually ritualistic eating of human flesh by a human being
2 : the eating of the flesh of an animal by another animal of the same kind
3 : an act of cannibalizing something

As a politically natured person, I watch the actions of not only my own party, but that of our tax subsidized big government adversaries. While I disagree with both of their jingoistic sound-bite sloganeering for the consumption of the masses, I respect their ability to inspire, solidify and expand their bases none the less.

This week and next we will be treated to infomercials on behalf of the two tax subsidized party candidates. I wait anxiously to see the total cost to the taxpayers for these infomercials. In 2004 the cost was in the neighborhood of $80 million for those in power to provide mass media consumption to the voting electorate.

The common theme that you will see in these productions is the quest, and often many requests, for unity and solidarity to "defeat" the evil candidate on the other side of the aisle. Their operatives and activists pick themselves up and prepare to work and volunteer for a candidate they did not support in the primary, all for their collective goal of defeating their opponent in the other party. While these "bodies" have not been deliberative for decades, they are the pinnacle and culmination of all the efforts of the party faithful who have labored to get out their message. I can only respect their dedication and ability to unify behind their "cause" though I disagree with their agenda.

Then I look at my own house. If ever there was a finer example of a dysfunctional family, I know of no other. I have stood witness as good candidates were "bludgeoned" by the "purity police" leading up to an election. Slander and libel is the commonality here. Though the purity police claim to abhore fraud, they are inclined to engage in such activity as long as it isn't "one of them."

I hear those who profess that "the media" blacks us out, or that our candidates couldn’t convey "the message" to the electorate, as a reason for electoral losses. Another excuse is that "the playing field isn’t level." These are poor excuses at best and completely off target in reality. Though inequality certainly exists in election codes that protect the incumbent political parties, this myopic view of reality fails to grasp the fundamental issues that plague the libertarian movement.

My first experience with my party was to witness two party officers engage in a bitter dispute regarding the nominee after the convention. One supported the nominee, the other did not. I was dismayed that within the party structure itself, those who did not support the nominee could not lay down their rhetorical swords, and train their barbed tongues in the direction of the opposition. What is wrong with this picture?

When I began campaigning for one of our candidates, I watched as activists from other states attacked our candidate in this state. Their reason you ask? He wasn’t libertarian enough." It did not matter that the candidate had been with the party since it's inception. It did not matter that they agreed with the candidate 98%. That 2% difference was just cause in their view to disseminate libelous statements regarding the candidate so that they could "insure" that he was not the first libertarian elected to national office. How noble is that?

Years of engagement between the so called "pragmatists" and "purists" in our state has proven that the two factions can work together for common goals, as well as guide and grow the party. We discovered that we desired the same goals. Our differences resided in the approach to achieve those goals. However, we are Texans and as such we pride ourselves in our hospitality, reason and mannerisms. Philosophy is a great subject for debate. However, we all realize that you cannot govern from a book of theory.

Now we find ourselves amidst an election for the President of the United States once more. In typical fashion, the caterwauling from the purity police has begun. The candidate " isn’t a true libertarian" is their battle cry. I find myself dismayed once more. One candidate who failed to garner the nomination has decided to run an ‘insurgent’ campaign in an attempt to deny the rightful nominee his place on the ballot. Let us call the kettle black shall we? This is political cannibalism.

Instead of setting aside our differences and uniting behind a common cause, this faction of ideologues work in an effort to discredit not only the party’s nominee, but the party itself. They demand purity while castigating and denigrating those with which they disagree, no matter how small the degree. Additionally, they accuse these candidates of being Reform Caucus candidates, though this group does not endorse candidates. It would appear that lying is acceptable to the ideologues. It is time for this nonsense to end.

Codified within the bylaws of the party is the ‘purpose’ of the organization. That purpose includes the goal of electing candidates who will move public policy in a libertarian direction and ‘support’ party and affiliate party candidates. Yet, we currently have affiliate party OFFICERS who are actively engaged in activities that subverts the efforts and the will of the National LP delegation. When will enough be enough? When will we see these affiliate party officers brought before the Judicial Committee, and their affiliation stripped? Must we go down that path? Must we call for heads to roll?

As a former state officer, my job was to support the candidates on both the state and federal level. Like it or not, the national delegation chose Bob Barr as the LP Presidential Candidate. While I do not agree with Bob Barr 100%, I will set aside my differences and work to garner votes for our candidate. Contrast this view with recent actions taken by the defeated candidate (Phillies) against the nominee (Barr).

Apparently, this affiliate officer feels that it is his job is to destroy the party because he failed to win the nomination. This type of reaction reminds me of a spoiled brat, throwing a temper tantrum because mom told him he couldn’t have a piece of candy. Is this something to be admired? I think not.

I believe that you are defined by your deeds, not your words. Your actions, not your rhetoric, make you who you are. In this context, we have seen Mr. Phillies demonstrate that he cannot behave at an adult level, choosing instead to act as a spoiled child who didn’t get his way.

I have asked Mr. Phillies if he would set his differences aside and work in unison with other party members. He refused. He has likened Barr, as a Libertarian candidate, to the “Imperial Wizard of the KKK” being nominated “to lead a party of African Americans.” This comment, quoted often in the press, from a sitting party officer I find repugnant.

I for one believe that Mr. Phillies, as chair of an affiliate party, and the state party he represents, should be stripped of ‘affiliate’ status and that the state party should be reorganized. In doing so, Mr. Phillies should be barred from ever serving in an official capacity again. This may seem to be ‘excessive’ to some. However, no other mechanism exists with respect to disciplining an officer of an "affiliate" party. Perhaps, with an eye on the future, we should provide the Judicial Committee the ability to strip the credentials from an individual thus barring them from becoming a delegate. However, that does not exist at this time.

This action is not meant to ‘stifle dissent.’ On the contrary, it is simply a matter of discipline to correct childish behavior. Adults will debate. Children will argue, point fingers and utilize pejoratives to belittle their adversaries. I have had the pleasure of watching the LP mature into a viable alternative party. We can ill afford the actions of childish ideologues result in a backlide to irrelevancy.

You wish to know why LP candidates don’t win elections. Here is a shining example. Some Libertarians feel that they must eat their own.