Please introduce yourself.
My name is Augustus Invictus, and I am a Libertarian candidate for United States Senate in Florida. I am a father, a writer, an occultist, a philosopher, and an attorney.
I was actually raised as a libertarian by my father. From the time of my birth he instilled in me a
distrust of government and a respect for liberty. My father was and is a conservative tending toward anarchism, and while I do not consider myself an anarchist, this should go a long way in explaining my political bent.
As has been pointed out by many of my detractors, I was not always a libertarian. I left home and made my own way, and it was not for years that I would return to my libertarian roots. I have written papers on eugenics and studied Fascist legal theory, I have voted for Republicans and Democrats both, and I have spoken kindly of both Napoleon and Che Guevara.
I have never seen the ability to learn from enemies as a weakness. And I have never understood this anti-intellectual strain of thought here in America that insists we all remain what we were born into, this mob mentality that insists we never change an opinion. I have searched as far and as deep into the human experience as I possibly could before entering into politics. If my refusal to apologize for my willingness to learn from everyone and not just those who think like my father is somehow offensive, then so be it.
How I came to become involved with the Libertarian Party is a different matter entirely. As you may be able to tell from the course of my campaign, I do not much care for party politics. In fact, I openly despise them. The backstabbing, the underhanded backroom deals, the viciousness of factions, the smiling hypocrisy, the overvaluation of bureaucrats, all of it, absolutely disgusts me. People ask why someone preaching rejection of the System would run for federal office; but the real question is why I would join a political party on the way there.
JFK once remarked that every mother wants to see her son become President, but no mother wants to see him become a politician along the way. There is a lot to unpack from that remark, but the sentiment is unmistakable: To attain the power to do good in the System, you must do dirty things to get there, and that includes running for political office, fundraising, playing nice with people you despise, and, not least of all, working with a party.
Some may call this a Machiavellian perspective; I call it realism. Democracy is a numbers game, and parties have the numbers. I am quite aware of the purist perspective that voting is evil, working within the System is evil, all government is evil, et cetera – but my perspective has always been that we must wage total war against the System. That includes artistic work, journalism, education, and, not least of all, human sacrifices who will enter into the System to destroy it from the inside. You may disagree with my methods, and you may disagree with my belief that we must have some sort of government after the fall of the present System; but I think it is far more constructive to focus on our common enemy than to insist on furthering our divisions.
In your opinion, what are the most important aspects of your platform for the U.S. Senate race?
About a decade ago, I was a pharmacy technician. I had dropped out of college after receiving my associate’s degree so that I would never become a lawyer like my father. I started my own family and lived my own life, and everything was great. Then, one day, the DEA came into the pharmacy and shut it down. My family became destitute, and I vowed to enter into politics and shut down the DEA.
So, when I first drafted the platform, ending the War on Drugs was my primary issue. Not only was the War on Drugs the thing that set me on this path, but it is also the focus of my criminal defense practice. I have seen lives and families and entire communities ruined by the drug war, not just my own, but those of my clients, too.
But as I began to campaign, I learned pretty quickly that no one really gives a damn about the drug war. Your average American cares far more about his bills and his home and his family than he does about some political policy that doesn’t affect him and his. The police aren’t kicking in his doors or dragging him off in the middle of the night. They aren’t putting his son in prison for twenty years or turning his daughter into an asset on the street. It doesn’t affect him of his family, so he doesn’t much care about it.
I have, therefore, had to broaden my approach to this issue in order to explain that the police state itself is the result of the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, our two longest-running wars. I have had to point out at length that these are not mere metaphorical wars but literal wars being waged by the Federal Government against its own citizens. And in broadening that message, I think I have finally started to gain some headway.
But this is not the only issue of my platform. My academic background is in international law, and I am promoting a non-interventionist foreign policy. I am also pushing the abolishment of all superfluous government agencies and the repeal of laws like the Controlled Substances Act, Obamacare, and the federal income tax. Otherwise, with the exception of immigration (I favor restrictions on immigration), abortion (I am against abortion-on-demand), and the environment (I favor environmental protection), I am pretty much in line with the official Libertarian Party platform.
The drug war has had a devastating impact on your professional and personal life. How does the drug war manifest in Florida specifically? Did your experience with the DEA change your views on the legality of drugs, or merely strengthen your opinions? What are your thoughts on the social and economic implications of drug legalization?
The Federal Government has been supplying military-grade arsenal and vehicles to State and local police departments for years. I remember going to a parade in the small town of Kissimmee a few years ago to help a friend get petitions signed for his judicial campaign. The local police department had an amphibious assault vehicle in the parade. I had to ask myself what the hell they needed that for.
We have armored personnel carriers for the local police here in Orlando. All across Florida we see military helicopters, assault rifles, and all else. At my residence in the quiet neighborhood of Thornton Park, I looked out my window to see that the cop who lived across the street from me was holding SWAT exercises at his house. Like anywhere else in America, the police are training in urban guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency, and I am firmly convinced that the past fourteen years in Afghanistan and Iraq have been training and preparation for the coming war in America.
As for my personal experience with the DEA all those years ago, it merely strengthened my opinion that government regulation of drugs is a total sham. My father is a criminal defense attorney, and he preached to me and my little brother from an early age the dangers of government overreach. Taking an extreme example, he used to say that heroin addicts should have the right to kill themselves with drugs if they want to. To him, it was simply none of the government’s business – and that is one view that has always stuck with me.
On the other hand, I have to say that adulthood has mellowed me out a bit. I have seen – both in my personal life and in my work – some terrible things surrounding the drug culture. I have seen girls hooked on heroin who are prostituted by the scumbags who own them as slaves. I have seen senseless murders and brutal attacks. I have seen bright minds ruined. There are certainly dangers to drugs to which I was simply blind in my youth. And this idea that the drug dealer or drug user is some sort of noble savage whose rights are trammeled by a vicious government is more than a bit naïve.
Still, the government is vicious. And the drug war is devastating. Though my outlook has become more nuanced, it is still beyond dispute that the cure here is worse than the disease. We need a different sort of cure, one that begins with drug legalization, on the federal level, at the very least.
You mention that you disagree with the Libertarian Party on three issues—immigration, abortion, and the environment. Would you care to explain in detail why your viewpoint differs from that of your party, and why you think these differences are important?
I tend to be on the conservative end of the spectrum with immigration and abortion. And while I would not at all consider myself a liberal as concerns the environment, I do think that government has a role in its protection.
As concerns immigration, I reject the notion that people should be able to enter and leave America as they please. The idea that we can simultaneously allow uncountable foreigners into our country while maintaining our culture is demonstrative of a lack of historical understanding. Now, it may be that we have no common race or aesthetic or religion anymore; but we as Americans certainly hope we share a common belief in the freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom from unwarranted search and seizure, and so on and so forth. I will not bore you with the usual arguments of assimilation being impossible with mass immigration. I would rather point out that the rise and fall of nations is due not to the change of religion or the decline of morals or the depletion of resources alone: behind this ebb and flow history is always mass immigration or mass emigration. If we are to retain any semblance of an American identity, we must have reasonable restrictions on immigration.
In regards to abortion, I am in favor of its proscription, at least as it pertains to what I call abortion-on-demand. The notion that this is a women’s rights issue deliberately overlooks the issue of the rights of the child. Liberals bend over backward and try to jump through these fiery hoops of illogic to “prove” that a child is not a child until the moment it pops out of the womb, as though a fetus at seven months is something less than human, as though life beginning at conception is not biology but a religious superstition. Libertarians get up in arms (pun intended) about the NAP, but they argue with a straight face for the crushing, dismembering, and trashing of a human being in the name of Roe v. Wade, as though the activist Supreme Court were now our friend rather than our foe. I do of course recognize the need for abortion in cases of medical emergencies, but that is not what is being debated in this country. What liberals are arguing for is abortion-on-demand, a monstrous procedure of pure convenience, not a legitimate medical procedure.
When it comes to the environment, I do not believe that clean water and soil is a liberal or conservative issue. I have never understood the conservative mindset that believes unrestricted business to be more valuable than the earth, and I have never understood the liberal mindset that believes international government to be the answer to corporate pollution. I am basically in line with the thinking of so-called eco-terrorists on this issue. To my mind, it is incumbent upon every man to protect the world around him. If someone is pouring poison into your river, asking the government (who probably allowed him to pollute it to begin with) is not going to stop him anytime soon. I do not think a man should have to defend the protection of his homeland any more than he should have to defend the protection of his family. This does not mean, however, that the government should do nothing to protect the environment, for the role of the government is to protect the country. And I do not see the virtue in allowing corporations to destroy everything around us because we distrust the government: corporations aren’t always so trustworthy, either.
The chairman of the Florida Libertarian party recently resigned because of your campaign. He claims that you are a fascist who is recruiting white supremacists into the party. How do you respond to this? Why do you think white nationalists support your campaign?
I have been forced to respond to many criticisms by Adrian Wyllie, who has deliberately misrepresented more things about me and my campaign than I could even count. He knows that by launching these accusations he puts me on the defensive, which makes it difficult to discuss the platform, because everyone is so focused on Satanic sacrifices and neo-Nazi plots to overthrow the Government. (So thank you, by the way, for asking about the platform first.)
In point of fact, I am a Libertarian. Wyllie has been attempting to discredit me for six months now, and in failing to do so he has turned to outright falsehoods. That being said, I can certainly understand why people hearing these accusations might find them believable: the campaign logo features an eagle and fasces; I wrote a paper promoting eugenics in law school; and I have done many poetry recitations with the works of Ezra Pound. But that logo was taken from the banner of the ancient Roman Senate and was a recognition of our heritage; I have publicly and repeatedly disavowed the eugenics paper (which will be discussed below); and my love of Ezra Pound does not make me a fascist any more than my love of Marilyn Manson makes me a member of the Church of Satan.
As concerns the white nationalists, they support my campaign for the same reason many other subcultures do: We have a common enemy. I am not going to condemn them for their beliefs any more than they would condemn me for having Hispanic children. Neither would I condemn black nationalists for resenting white people or leftist Libertarians for promoting open borders, though I certainly do disagree with them. This System is oppressive to us all, and to refuse to work with each other because one person is a skinhead and another likes Bernie Sanders is self-destructive. The System holds power for as long as it keeps us splintered, and I aim to upset that status quo.
You wrote a paper advocating a state sponsored eugenics program, but recently you shared that your position on this issue has changed. Can you elaborate on your thought process?
Because I have had to answer for this paper so much, I thought the most efficient thing to do would be to write a disclaimer to that paper. I will post it here in full:
My political opponents in the Libertarian Party, having no legitimate grounds to attack me, have made the following paper the centerpiece of their misguided crusade. Despite the fact that I have already addressed this paper in one of my first Fireside Chats ( https://youtu.be/x-gMxyGlbw0 ), despite the fact that I have repudiated the policy aspect of this paper repeatedly & publicly (vide https://www.facebook.com/notes/augustus-invictus/official-response-to-the-criticisms-of-chairman-wyllie/172864523046651), and despite the fact that eugenics has nothing whatsoever to do with any part of my campaign platform, these disingenuous gossipmongers continue to raise this paper as their foremost evidence that I am not a “real” Libertarian. And so I must address it here, as a disclaimer to the paper itself.
The first objection of my critics is, of course, the very existence of the paper. To this I reply that while I still believe the legal argument to be valid, I disavow the public policy argument that States should implement eugenics programs. This change in perspective has come from my experience in law and politics. When working with theory – which is to say, when working in a vacuum – one can build the most glorious castles, draft the most ingenious battle plans, and divine the very essence of objective reality. But when one attempts to bring this theory into practice, one finds that the castle was made of air, that even the best battle plan can be ruined by what Clausewitz calls “friction,” and that reality is the Nietzschean world, not the world of Plato’s Forms. There comes a time when the scholar must realize the absurdity of believing that distilling life in books does not alter the truth of life; and if that time does not come for the scholar, then he shall forever remain blinded by his conceit.
In the world of theory, I do not find the underlying values of this paper to be objectionable. If two parents know that their child will be born with Huntington’s Disease, and that the child will die a horribly painful death by six years of age, it is the most reprehensible act imaginable to bear that child anyway, simply to satisfy some selfish desire of the parents. Neither should it be controversial that we might prefer intelligent people to stupid people; healthy people to ill people; able-bodied people to crippled people; four-limbed people to dismembered people; beautiful people to ugly people; strong people to weak people. This obsession with egalitarianism – this notion that we must all be treated as equal no matter how irresponsible or reckless that notion is, no matter how divorced from reality or counter to all common sense – this obsession has wrecked every last shred of dignity our once great country did possess.
That being said, the problem is in the means. Again, in theory, were a State run by a beneficent philosopher-king, and were his edicts carried out by magnanimous servants of the people, then perhaps eugenic measures could work. But the fact is that the people in government are no better than the people governed. The fact is that the people heading a eugenics program would not be the selfless promoters of a revived humanity, but rather petty, short-sighted bureaucrats interested in their paychecks, their promotions, and the enforcement of their dogmas. Should the unreflective, petty-souled flies who call themselves my critics ever come to head a eugenics program (as they have come to head the Libertarian Party of Florida), they would wipe out my entire bloodline with the same zeal they have shown in trying to have me expelled from my own political party. And, like the early Christians and the Puritan witch hunters, they would do it all in the name of justice.
The second objection of my critics is that the paper should never have existed at all. I have heard it said that certainly we have free speech, but this is a little extreme. In other words, my critics believe in free speech and in the marketplace of ideas only so long as the topics under discussion do not make them uncomfortable. My critics know not that freedom requires strength. To circumscribe our freedom of thought because of the delicate sensibilities of suburban paper pushers is the most despicable type of totalitarian tyranny imaginable. Francis Galton would blush at the gall of the modern soccer mom.
Yet another objection of my critics is that a eugenics program violates the Non-Aggression Principle. Let us leave aside the fact that the “Libertarians” who engage in witch hunts are hopelessly uninformed about what the Non-Aggression Principle actually is. And let us, for the sake of argument, say that we agree on every point as to its meaning. All points being agreed upon, I DO NOT ADVOCATE STATE-SPONSORED EUGENICS PROGRAMS. Their objection, then, is a red herring.
Another objection of my critics is that this piece was posted on LinkedIn just last year, and is, therefore, too recent a publication for me to have genuinely disavowed. As I have explained ad nauseam, I wrote this paper as a staff writer for one of the journals at my law school. It was posted to LinkedIn as being representative of my legal writing.
The next objection of my critics is that I have not pulled the article from LinkedIn. To this I reply that its disappearance would be even worse than its original publication, for then these same critics would accuse me of hiding something or sweeping the paper under the rug for political purposes. I have made my name on refusing to apologize for my past, and I will not start trying to bury it now.
It is a shame that one must write disclaimers on an academic paper in a country claiming to be the Land of the Free. It is a shame that our freedom of speech is circumscribed by the weak stomachs and low intelligence of others. It is a shame that what could be might never be for the simple fact that men of genius are required to waste so much of their time explaining themselves to the common man. We have traded our torches & pitchforks for keyboards & blogs – and we think ourselves enlightened therefore.
But if you truly wish to consider yourself enlightened, then steel yourself to encounter things that make you uncomfortable. If you wish to believe that you are a cut above the rest, then you must not squawk and babble like all the rest. Listen & learn. Examine & analyze. Think & discern. Consider & ponder. Then, only then, should you craft your objection. Otherwise, you are nothing more than the fat fool on the couch yelling at the TV, hoping someone can hear your impotent rage in some distant production studio.
What is your position on intervention in the Middle East and foreign aid to Israel?
I want to end all aid to Israel immediately. I have repeatedly made the campaign promise that if I am elected to the Senate, the Israel lobby will no longer control our foreign policy. I take a hard line on that one.
As concerns intervention in the Middle East, I honestly believe that our cutting off support to Israel will solve many of those problems. The fact that everyone in the Middle East hates us when we support Israel and defend all its crimes should not seem like a supernatural occurrence to anyone. We reap what we sow, and as long as we continue to support Israel, we will sow all the ill-will and resentment that goes along with it. And as soon as we discontinue our support of Israel, there will no longer be any reason to fight their wars and send our military to do the bidding of the Israel lobby.
You have been forced to deal with a large amount of criticism. Has any of this criticism been helpful to you in any way, or had some unexpected positive effect?
When I was thirteen years old, I decided that the Bible was wrong. Surrounded by Christians at home, at school, and of course at church, I came to be very familiar at an early age what it felt like to be told I was wrong about everything. That outsider’s position carried through my adolescence into my adulthood, straight through to the practice of law, where now I am told daily by government attorneys why I am wrong about everything.
Vicious criticism has, therefore, been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It comes far too often from those who simply cannot understand who I am or what I am doing. Whether you are an atheist or an agnostic, a Pagan or a Muslim, you know what it is like to be not just disagreed with but looked down on by a Christian who has never left his hometown or questioned what he was raised to believe. The same is true of the anarchist who is looked down on because of the college-educated Republican who knows the anarchist must be stupid or insane. Not just religious thought but all thought is dogma. Reason is a lie that gives us comfort in our intellectual laziness.
All of that is a long way of saying that I do not take criticism personally, but rather as a matter of course for one who challenges the herd mentality. Neither do I take criticism uncritically. (The redundancy is deliberate.) I am able to sift through the emotion-driven, knee-jerk reactions to those comments that actually help me to improve. I am able to determine who is attacking me because they cannot think for themselves, and I am able to listen to those who have offered constructive counterpoint to my arguments.
To answer your question, the answer is Yes, some of the criticism I have received in the past few weeks has been constructive. The people who call me an animal abuser because I sacrificed a goat or who accuse me of using a fake accent or who make fun of my name can go fly a kite – but there have been people who have offered some very sound critiques. For instance, it has been found suspicious that I speak of the problems of the System without providing clear solutions to those problems. There are those who believe that this is the pattern of all rising tyrants.
I find this to be a valid concern, and I will admit that it is one of the many shortcomings of my campaign. I do not want to be the typical politician who makes promises on the campaign trail he cannot keep, but I do understand the concern that I am asking my fellow citizens to give me power without giving solutions beyond the dismantling of the Federal Government. Having heard this reasonable criticism, I have been making an effort to write out more solutions. It is a work in progress, and I am still far short of anything that might allay the fears of my detractors, but I do believe that this is the sort of criticism that can help my campaign and, I hope, the country.
Describe your spiritual beliefs.
I am a Pagan of the ancient sort. I worship the God and Goddess, as well as the gods and spirits and all the rest. Of course I do not believe that Zeus and Hera are sitting atop Mount Olympus assisting and ruining the lives of men – but neither did the ancient mystics. Paganism has been given a bad rap in our Judaeo-Christian society: it is seen as outmoded, outdated, mythological, and downright silly. And by those anti-Pagans who actually recognize its validity, it is pure Devil worship.
What it actually is, aside from these misconceptions, is the worship of Nature and the quest for harmony with the world around us. It is the resurrection of ancient virtue and the adoration of strength, courage, and honor. It is the recognition that there is no division of the spiritual and the material – at least not as understood by Christians – and that, as Nietzsche wrote, the apparent world is the real world.
That being said, there is still a strong belief in the afterlife. I do not speak for all Pagans, of course, but I subscribe personally to the doctrine of reincarnation. Also, the ancient ideal of an honorable death is a Pagan notion that has fortunately survived the advent of Judaeo-Christianity.
But I could go on for hours about this. Hopefully that is a sufficient introduction.
Do you consider yourself a Thelemite? How do you respond to an article claiming you were kicked out of the Ordo Templi Orientis ﴾OTO﴿?
I am indeed a Thelemite, and I have been a Thelemite since I was sixteen years old. I approached the OTO at eighteen years of age, and I was a member thereof for eleven years.
It is true that I was expelled from the Order. But what the article failed to mention is that Wasserman was the one who had me expelled. It failed to mention that Wasserman was the one who gave the story of the goat sacrifice to Adrian Wyllie in the hopes of ending my political campaign. It failed to mention that Wasserman has had a personal grudge against me for three years because I questioned his authority in the OTO. It reported his libelous statements about me, but it did not report any of this background.
I might also point out that I was not expelled for animal sacrifice, which is not against any policy of the Order, and which was practiced by Aleister Crowley, the founder of our religion. I was expelled for differences with the leadership, Wasserman chief among them. In 2013 I wrote an open letter that caused several persons and organizations to call the FBI on me. The leadership of the OTO came to believe that I had opened them and the Order to persecution by the FBI, and this was the beginning of a conflict that led ultimately to my expulsion.
Your campaign has attracted controversy because of a ritual goat sacrifice you performed. Would you be comfortable sharing the tradition behind, and meaning of, this ceremony?
Once upon a time, people did not eat meat three meals a day. Our ancestors ate what they could forage, what they could hunt, and what they could grow in their fields. Meat was generally reserved for feasts, whether for the initiation of war or the marriage of a man and woman or some other great undertaking. When the animal was slaughtered, it was dedicated to the deity being revered. There was an understanding that one was taking the life of a living being, and it was necessary to sanctify that act.
Of course this is a generalization, possibly an overly romanticized one. And of course you may disagree with whether there are gods at all or whether it is silly to think that taking a life can be made a sacred act. Leaving all that aside, this is the tradition, and this is the notion behind sacrifice of any sort, whether of grain or of animals or of humans. Life is dedicated to a greater purpose or energy or deity, and that life becomes greater by virtue of that dedication.
In my case, specifically, the goat was sacrificed as a rite of thanksgiving. In the Spring of 2013, I undertook a Pilgrimage and walked from Orlando to the Mojave Desert, where I prayed and fasted for a week. I did not expect to survive the journey or the desert, as I am a city boy with no wilderness survival training. When I made it back to the East, very much alive, I credited the gods with my survival. The goat was sacrificed to the God of the Wilderness, who had brought me through the ordeal.
You have mentioned a “prophecy” about being born for a “great war.” Can you explain this to our readers?
Many people, familiar enemies and total strangers alike, have tried their hand at determining which label from the DSM applies to me. I’ve seen the commentary run the gamut from schizophrenia to delusions of grandeur to narcissism to the less scientific labels of “batshit crazy” and “loony.” None of these things are actually true, but I don’t see it as being constructive to defend myself against that nonsense. The one thing, though, that I could understand being interpreted as insane, is my unrepentant assertion that I was born for a Great War. And perhaps more insane would be my reasons for believing this.
I have always lived my life by my paying close attention to my dreams. The role of the priest or magician or shaman or whatever you want to call him is to unite the waking world and the dream world, and I have always acted along these lines. Throughout my entire boyhood and adolescence, I had apocalyptic dreams of war and destruction. This was striking, because I was a rather sheltered child, and these dreams were certainly not coming from the television.
As I grew older, the dreams became more and more intense; so much so that I began to question which was my real life: the waking world, in which I led a relatively tame, suburban life, or the dream world, in which I was a nameless soldier fighting in horrifically violent battles. Like the story of Chuang Tzu, who dreamt he was a butterfly and awoke to be a man, I could no longer determine with certainty which was the dream.
My depth of understanding increased over the years, but I have always maintained that my purpose on this earth was to play a role in the coming Great War. As I grew up, I was no longer the only one having these sorts of dreams. My ex-mother-in-law, for instance, had dreams in which I was giving a speech in front of a large crowd when an assassin’s bullet blew my brains all over my daughter, who was in her late teens or early twenties in the dreams. I have been thinking about that a lot lately, now that I am making frequent speeches and my daughter is thirteen.
As for what the Great War will entail, which may have been the original point of your question, my guess is as good as the next person’s. I do not think I am alone in sensing that a catastrophe is coming. Whether it is an economic or a governmental collapse or both; whether it is the imposition of martial law or some sort of manufactured crisis; I think many Americans are on edge with this feeling that something will happen within our lifetime, like animals feeling unsettled before a storm.
Looking at this not as a mystic but as a student of history and an observer of humanity, it seems to me that this will not be a war of loyalists against revolutionaries or of North against South. Neither will it be Republicans against Democrats or liberals against conservatives. Again, this is simply a rational observation, not a mystic prophecy, but I think America has become so Balkanized that a national crisis would take the form of a war of all-against-all. Whether Muslim or Christian or white or black or liberal or conservative, lines will be drawn, and we will all have to decide what matters to us most and which banner we will follow.
In your opinion, what is the relationship between culture and politics?
This is a huge question, one deserving of a treatise, one I cannot possibly do justice here. I can only attempt to answer in a manner that gives an idea of my thoughts on the matter.
I am fond of quoting de Maistre’s maxim that every nation gets the government it deserves. To my mind, culture and politics are inseparable. The political system of a nation is simply a reflection of its culture. It is probably most instructive to look to historical examples:
The democracy of ancient Athens during the Peloponnesian War was strategically short-sighted, emotional, driven by greed and corruption, and ultimately self-destructive. This was reflective of the society of Athens, which was cosmopolitan, intellectual, and focused on empire. But more than this, it was reflective of the individuals in Athenian politics, who were more concerned with money and status than with the welfare of their people.
The government of Sparta during the War was focused on military strategy rather than a strategy of empire-building, and driven by the lust for power. This was reflective of the culture of Sparta, which was militaristic, ascetic, and focused more on duty and honor than intellectual or artistic pursuits. And the politicians of Sparta were militaristic themselves, and therefore concerned with the group as a whole.
This may not be the best example, both because Thucydides watched the War from the Athenian side and because his exile from Athens likely embittered him to his own city and those who led its government. But it is at least illustrative of my opinion on the relationship between culture and politics. Politics is an expression of the culture which is itself an expression of the individuals who compose it. Politics and culture are what they are because the individuals are who they are, for good or for ill.
How do you view anarchism as opposed to libertarianism?
Christopher Cantwell recently wrote an article in which he rightly critiqued me for being inexperienced in the libertarian movement and largely ignorant of writers like Murray Rothbard. He also pointed out that my approach to political philosophy is more akin to classical liberalism than what we might understand as modern libertarianism. And I can’t say I disagree with any of that.
So, it may be that my understanding of the division between anarchism and libertarianism is less scholarly and nuanced than that of you and your readership. But my view, simply stated, is that anarchism rejects government entirely, whilst libertarianism sees government as a necessary evil. It is this fundamental distinction that causes me to call myself a libertarian.
I have been criticized for my failure to understand that minimal government will always devolve into tyrannical government. This is a criticism I do not find justified. I am fully aware that government devolves and that power corrupts. I have studied history to a great extent, and I am not fool enough to think that instituting a minimal government is somehow going to keep the government in line in perpetuum.
Neither did the Founding Fathers, though. When the Framers created the Constitution, they did not have any illusions as to the fact that ambitious men would seek to take control of the Government and use it toward nefarious ends. That is the story of government all across time and space. And that is why it was a not unfamiliar sentiment that the Constitution was an impermanent document, and that each generation would be required to take up the mantle and recreate the government for the benefit of the people.
The long history of the Constitution is a testament both to its usefulness and to the apathy of Americans. On the one hand, the Constitution (in conjunction with a low population and vast expanses of wilderness for expansion of the growing population, among other factors) has prevented the full-scale violent revolutions so well-known in European history. On the other hand, our refusal as a nation to reexamine the Constitution and to question the purpose and the bounds of government with each generation has turned the Constitution into Holy Scripture, which is great for conservation of a corrupt system, but horrible for the human spirit.
As I said, I have been criticized for my failure to understand history, and I find that criticism unjustified. I would say, conversely, that a lasting anarchy is without historical precedent. I do not mean to be unfair in presenting a caricature of anarchism as utopian, but I do mean to make the point that, historically, anarchy leads directly to despotism. It creates chaos, and a strong man rises to bring order out of that chaos. I think of Napoleon, who found France in the gutter and picked it up. I think of Hitler, who rose to power only because of the absolute disorder in Germany.
But there are less extreme examples, our own Federal Government, for one. And it is true that we might rightly blame government itself for being the progenitor of the very pandemonium that caused the more severe government to arise. But I would posit that all human society is necessarily marked by conflict because the necessity of conflict is part of the human animal. Lasting anarchy is impossible because humanity is neither rational nor peaceful by nature; and that is why government is simultaneously both necessary and evil.
Earlier this year, Keith Preston of Attack the System wrote an article advocating the creation of a political party designed specifically to unite disparate groups with one commonality: a dislike, distrust, or complete rejection of the federal government. Preston’s argument is that such a “pan-secessionist meta-party” has the potential to undermine the system because it appeals to a growing sentiment in the country and could attract a wide range of members. By “allowing” vast differences in social and economic theory (as well as foreign policy, etc.) to coexist within one party, the focus can be dismantling the federal government. Being that you are a member of a political party, what are your thoughts on Preston’s idea for a “pan-secessionist meta-party”? Do you think this idea is compatible with your libertarian perspective?
Yes, I do believe that this idea of Mr. Preston’s is compatible with my perspective, whether as a “small-l” libertarian or as a member of the Libertarian Party. In fact, I have been running my campaign for United States Senate with exactly this sentiment in mind. I want to activate the apolitical, radicalize the political, and unite disparate groups.
As I am running for federal office, my stated aim in this campaign is to enter into the Federal Government and to fix it from the inside. Mr. Preston’s stated aim in the aforementioned article, secession, is obviously attacking from a different angle. But as I have said in this interview and elsewhere, I believe that the best plan of action calls for a strategy of total war. With this strategy in mind, I think that mine and Mr. Preston’s views are perfectly in agreement.
On the other hand, uniting libertarians, anarchists, and the like is akin to herding cats. As has been already discussed, I am forced to renounce daily any affinity for fascism. But I will say this for the fascists, they knew that they had to work together in order to achieve anything. The fasces itself is a symbol of this: as separate rods, we can each be broken, but tied together, we are unbreakable.
I seem to split groups right down the middle, which is unfortunate, because I am trying my damndest to bring them all together. The problem, though, is that many people are more invested in their particular groups and limited worldviews than in the greater picture. I find that many Libertarians would prefer to scratch their friends’ backs and try to get along in a System with which they are comfortable than to follow through to the logical conclusions of their ideals. I have met a great deal of opposition from fellow Libertarians, but none so vicious as those from the Libertarian Party of Florida. But it is not just Libertarians. It is human nature to resist coming under a larger banner and putting aside differences for a common goal, whether that goal is long-term, mid-term, or short-term.
There will always be that guy who wants secession but who is so hung up on his singular pet issue that it blinds him. There will always be that woman who hates the government but who is so obsessed with protecting Israel that she will continue to vote in Republicans. There will always be that well-meaning college kid who knows the faults of the Federal Government but thinks Bernie Sanders will change everything by digging us a deeper hole. It is difficult to look past our prejudices, especially for those of us who are so distrustful of politicians and political movements to begin with.
It is also worth noting (and I try to point this out at every opportunity) that those of us who have rejected the two major parties tend to consider ourselves a cut above the rest. We each think that we are obviously the smartest person in the room because we were able to see through the lies of the System. That is all fine and well until you have a room full of people who think they are the smartest person in the room. It is no wonder that those with anti-Government views have been so ineffective in fighting the government when all they do is tear each other down to prove how smart they are.
All that being said, I have never been one for cynicism. It is better to die trying than to lie down and quit. The greatest things in this world have always been achieved by those who strove for the impossible – or at least what everyone thought to be impossible at the time.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I would like to say that I understand the criticisms many anarchists have of me and my campaign. But I would encourage everyone to look to the truth behind the headlines and the oft-repeated libel. I have indeed studied fascism, and I even have an appreciation for it, but that does not make me a fascist. I certainly do have supporters who are white nationalists, but I also have supporters who are anarchists, and I think I have demonstrated to those who will listen that I am neither. I did in fact write a paper on eugenics in law school, but I do not support state-sponsored eugenics programs, and it is certainly not a part of my campaign or my legislative agenda.
It is fair to disagree with me and to criticize me where we do have genuine disagreements, especially fundamental ones like the proper role of government. But I think it does a disservice to us all, as well as the movement, to refuse to listen to an opponent’s argument (if indeed I am considered an opponent to anarchists at all) and choose instead to believe what is in the press, which I think we all know is more than a bit slanted. So I would encourage everyone to look past the sensational nonsense and at least disagree with me on the actual disagreements.
That being said, what I would like ideally is for all of us to work together. After the dismantlement of the present System, you may turn your guns on me to keep me from recreating the government. But at this juncture, we all have the same enemy, and that is the Federal Government of the United States of America. I propose we work together toward the common end of attacking this colossus, rather than waste our time and energy bickering about who is more anti-government than whom.
I thank you all for at least hearing me out.