Lively Libertarians Convene in Ruther Glen

The Barns of Mattaponi Springs

by Bruce Majors

Meeting in rural Ruther Glen in Caroline County, Virginia, Saturday, December 3rd, at a rustic venue (The Barns of Mattaponi Springs) that usually hosts weddings and Christmas parties, 54 Libertarian Party (LP) convention delegates from Richmond, Charlottesville, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Annandale, Arlington and other parts of Virginia met to elect new officers and update their party’s Constitution and bylaws.

Some readers may remember that back on September 11 at a Zoom meeting of the party’s state central committee the former party chair, Holly Ward of Alexandria, led a small group of state central committee members — there were a number of vacancies, it has since become clear that were likely left deliberately unfilled — to vote that the Libertarian Party of Virginia would disband itself. Democrat publications, like the Virginia Mercury, covered this gleefully, which some thought odd, as there is a popular belief that Libertarian candidates are spoilers who “take” votes from Republicans and help Democrats. (The conservative website Breitbart, for example, argued that the 2013 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, Robert Sarvis, had thrown the election to former Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe, although this was disputed at the Virginia conservative blog BearingDrift.)

Perhaps Virginia “progressives” were happy instead that Ms. Ward was calling for dissolution because a new group within the LP, the Mises Caucus, had taken control of much of the LP (including the Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia, as we exclusively reported in Bacon’s Rebellion). The Mises Caucus opponents portray it as radically “alt-right.” Among Ms. Ward’s list of grievances with the allegedly new “alt right” Libertarian Party (under the management of the Mises Caucus) is that it allegedly opposes suffrage for women.

Critics — often connected to some type of consultancy that seeks to earn an income by advising Libertarians on how to ingratiate themselves with mainstream media — had circulated a variety of rumors throughout the year about the nefarious associations of the Mises Caucus, often by citing one member or fan of the Caucus who was inclined to outrageous or edge-lordy tweeting. Ms. Ward at one time worked for such a group, People for Liberty, whose executive director Dan Fishman told this writer earlier this year that the Mises Caucus was a plot by Steve Bannon to take over the Libertarian Party. When I contacted both Steve Bannon and Mises Caucus founder Michael Heise about this story, I received no reply from the former and a denial from the latter.

This “anti-woman” charge seemed odd to many because the Libertarians, at their May 2022 national convention in Las Vegas — dominated by Mises Caucus delegates who won every vote 650 to 150 — had elected Angela Mcardle as the chairperson of the Libertarian National Committee. A now-pregnant Mcardle, who recently moved from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas, was scheduled to be the main lunch speaker in Ruther Glen but did not make it. She was in labor giving birth on the day of the convention. (Mom and baby boy Arthur are fine.)

At the Ruther Glen convention the delegates limited the powers of the state central committee so such attempts at “dissolution” by a small group would never again be possible. They then rescinded Ms. Ward’s election as state chair back at the February 2022 state convention in Glen Allen. And finally, not having read the memo about nixing women’s suffrage, they elected a new chair, longtime Libertarian Jennifer Leatherbury, a healthcare professional from Newport News.

I asked Ms. Leatherbury, who is not an original Mises Caucus member but is friendly to them, what she planned to do. Her answer: “To finally get some business done!”

Another delegate in our conversation said “To f**k things up!” — which made Ms. Leatherbury laugh. I asked her if she shared the Mises Caucus belief that you should concentrate mainly on hyper-local races, and she said that was good but she did not think statewide or federal races should be neglected.

Also in attendance was a speaker from the group AntiWar.com, a candidate hoping to earn the LP’s 2024 presidential nomination, Bitcoin vendors, and Libertarians from other states. Looking at the ID badges not picked up, a FOX News contributor who is the spouse of a child of a former Senator and Presidential candidate had registered, but did not make it.

The special convention, which was live-streamed, moved faster than expected, in part because the secretary of the Libertarian National Committee, professional parliamentarian Caryn Ann Harlos, a Colorado resident, served as a convention parliamentarian. Having finished in less than five hours, delegates waited almost two hours for a post-convention party, as their ABC license did not become valid until 4 p.m.

Ironically, for a group of Libertarians, no one remarked on how they were only two days away from the anniversary of the end of Prohibition (December 5, 1933).


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Comments

31 responses to “Lively Libertarians Convene in Ruther Glen”

  1. I am still of the opinion that a real libertarian would not join a political party…

    1. Some – like Katherine Mangu Ward, the editor of reason magazine – agree.

      1. killerhertz Avatar
        killerhertz

        Reason and Nick Gillespie are garbage.

        1. Your eloquence is very convincing. Did you date him or something? He isn’t the editor anymore and hasn’t been for years. He just does youtube interviews for them.

          1. killerhertz Avatar
            killerhertz

            He’s the figurehead. Besides as far as I can tell their pundits care more about legalizing prostitution and demonizing Trump than focusing on real harms to liberty like lockdowns and the Fed.

    2. James McCarthy Avatar
      James McCarthy

      From my knowledge, your view makes perfect sense. The article’s author is an occasional contributor to BR. Sounds like the makings of an interesting exchange.

  2. “disputed at the Virginia conservative blog BearingDrift”

    Bwahahaha, conservative and Bearing Drift in the same sentence.

    1. how_it_works Avatar
      how_it_works

      I guess it’s considered conservative by Virginia blogger standards.

      What’s the competition to Bearing Drift that actually IS conservative? I can’t think of any.

      1. DJRippert Avatar

        The Bull Elephant

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          yep

        2. how_it_works Avatar
          how_it_works

          Thanks, I will look at that one.

    2. DJRippert Avatar

      There is nothing conservative about Bearing Drift beyond its antiquated motto, “Virginia’s Conservative Voice”. Seems like truth in advertising would compel them to change that motto.

      1. How about: “Virginia’s Neo-conservative Voice”?

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    I would think Libertarians would just bring their own stuff to drink. What’s with this doing what the govt says?

    1. It was BYOB but liquor licensing still forbids drinking it unlicensed in a “public” venue.

      1. What they heck, man? They’re libertarians. Since when do they care about liquor laws?

        😉

        1. My thoughts exactly. I may have popped a cork on some proseco 15 minutes early, even if I did not pour it… But someone I did not name in the article, a gentleman named Jason Bruce, seems to have undertaken the organizing of this special convention and the shelling out of rents and deposits up front. The LP VA voted to reimburse him. I think people did not want to do anything that would result in a fine to him.

          1. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            Confusing. If the LP of VA dissolved, how did it vote to reimburse an organizer of a special convention? Has the special convention re-founded the LP of VA?

          2. I don’t think any Libertarian Party members, regional Libertarian Party officers, etc. ever viewed it as dissolved by the tiny handful of people who voted to dissolve it in a Zoom meeting. Only “liberal” bloggers did. You can see the whole 5 hour convention, including me with narcolepsy, here https://youtu.be/EQz94zb2J5c You can see the odd Zoom meeting where state central committee members voted to disband here https://youtu.be/Gnt5Woukz4E

      2. LarrytheG Avatar

        sounds like intrusive big brother govt. Why didn’t ya’ll just ignore it?

        1. I will let someone else who was there reply if they wish.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            Bruce – do you know if this guy Strickland with the ABC restaurant kerfuffle with the state is a libertarian?

          2. He ran for office I think as a Republican or independent. His campaign page has some libertarian themes https://www.mattforva.com/issues

          3. I don’t know. But I do believe a group from the convention were planning on going to his restaurant to support him. I actually live in DC now where we have a similar restaurant, The Big Board, that seems to be under attack for simply having criticized the Mayor’s lockdown policies.

  4. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Ah ha Libertarians! The “Don’t Blame Us, We Didn’t Vote For Any Winners” crowd.

    1. Yes. It is an easy way to feel morally and intellectually superior to anyone who voted for a Democrat Manchurian candidate or grifter or race huckster or a Republican idiot. As I often argue with annoying Libertarians in Virginia, their criticisms of Youngkin don’t really work. “He isn’t doing everything I want all at once!” just makes you seem infantile.

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Kinda like a Georgia Lt. Governor deciding that risking the election of a complete idiot was better than not voting for a good man and eminently qualified candidate because of party affiliation.

        Burning the village to save it.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          yes. All this blather about “extreme” candidates getting in via the activist-controlled primaries… don’t matter, most of the GOP will still support them…especially once the Libertarian candidate departs the field.

          But standard play-out in Georgia … rural Red and Urban Blue and suburbs in transition.

          Warnock did not win on the black vote alone. A substantial number of white folks voted for him but don’t know the split.

          1. For you Dems, who I have little sympathy for – I agree with the adage that you are the evil party and the GOP is the stupid party – it is true that the GOP whines that the LP steals “their” votes, but then when the LP candidate drops out (or is not in the run off) they still lose, because they don’t play the game by the same rules you all do, going to nursing homes and having dementia patients make an X on ballots or just collecting their ballots and filling them out as you wish. So why should the LP ever drop out if the GOP is so incompetent?

        2. I’m not sure who you are talking about. The only good man I saw running in GA was that gay Libertarian.

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