Otter: He can't do that to our pledges!
Boon: Only we can do that to our pledges.
--Animal House, 1978
January 17: Nobody can be harder on Libertarians than other Libertarians. We disagree about policy, we disagree about strategy, and we disagree about who is – or is not! – a real Libertarian! As a group, we have real issues with learning to work and play well with others.
Yesterday, Adam Kokesh filed the paperwork to officially seek the office of President of the United States. He has announced his intent to seek the nomination of the Libertarian Party – our nomination.
I am not an Adam Kokesh fan. He's something of an anarchist, and I just haven't been able to convince myself that this is a viable option for society. In aid of this, he has announced his intention, if elected, to issue an executive order on his first day in office abolishing the Federal Government. Kokesh has said that he believes government should be kept strictly to the most local level.
Apart from my philosophical qualms about this, I don't think that it's a good platform for an LP candidate for President. Yes, I freely concede that anarchists are, and should be, a part of our party. I even believe that they are, in some sense, our compass. They keep us honest, remind us that the notion that government can never really be trusted is central to our reason for being as a party.
But until a Libertarian candidate for President is in a position to win the office – and that hasn't happened yet, and isn't likely to happen in 2020 – I see a Libertarian candidacy as having two main purposes. First, being the highest-profile campaign in the country, it bears the principal burden of introducing our party and our ideals to the American people. Second, and I believe, even more important, it must win sufficient votes is several states, including Ohio, to keep our party on the ballot. These are the rules we have to live with, the rules the legacy parties put in place to try to keep us off the ballot.
Whatever the philosophical viability of abolishing the Federal government might be, this is just not an idea that is going to win many votes in today's America, even among voters who are otherwise friendly to our platform and might consider giving us their votes.
On top of this, some of Kokesh's supporters have taken a very aggressive stance on securing his nomination. They talk about “taking over the party,” packing the delegations, and basically ousting many Libertarians who have been keeping this party afloat for four and a half decades. This doesn't set well with me at all.
So Kokesh is not my guy. I don't want him to be our nominee, I don't want his people taking over our party this year or in 2020, and I don't want him altering our policies or platforms to suit himself.
But right after filing his paperwork, cops in Texas pulled over his RV – twice! – and arrested him on four charges. Three appear to be for possession of “controlled substances,” and the fourth appears to be based on his insistence on visually recording his interactions with the police.
Well, now, this is a horse of a completely different color! I don't know of anyone in our party who supports cannabis prohibition, and damned few who can countenance drug prohibition of any kind. (I know, I know. Forgive them, Father, for they have sinned …) And prosecuting a person for documenting interaction with police is flat-out unconstitutional. It violates the First and Fourth Amendments. This simply cannot be ignored, or permitted to happen without vigorous protest.
So, I can oppose, vehemently, Mr. Kokesh and his actions inside the party. But I will support him with everything I have when he is unjustly persecuted by authorities outside the party. As the title says, he may not be my cup of tea, but he's our cup of tea! Free Adam Kokesh!
*These views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of all Libertarians.