The Libertarian Party National Convention for 2018 has now concluded and the Libertarian Party Mises Caucus has made its first showing in New Orleans. After months of building connections, fundraising, recruiting, promoting, fending off attacks, dispelling rumors, and perhaps occasionally throwing an elbow or two, what has it amounted to?
Prior to the convention, the Mises Caucus worked in conjunction with the pre-convention LNC, including Arvin Vohra, to help create the Blockchain Committee. This is a crucial step to tie the most critical technological advancement for freedom since the Internet to the most critical political body for freedom since 1776. While the committee does need to be renewed again by the new LNC leadership voted in during the 2018 national convention, we are confident that with the current composition it will remain in place.
Leading up to the national convention in New Orleans, our objectives were as follows:
Elect Joshua Smith as Chairman, or At Large
Elect Alex Merced as Vice Chair, or At Large
Elect Caryn Ann Harlos as Secretary or At Large
Elect Drew A. Layda as Treasurer
Prevent any bylaws or platform proposals which would undermine the LP
Outside observers may note that three out of four of the candidates that we supported were elected to office. While Josh did not defeat Nick Sarwark, the two term incumbent who was the most popular Chair in the history of the LP, he did win a spot as At Large, a huge feat for an outsider to the party. While 22% is indeed a humbling loss for the Chair position in ordinary circumstances, for a caucus that did not exist a year ago to take nearly one quarter of the delegation on its own against an extremely popular and experienced incumbent should make anyone sit up and take notice. Alex Merced, a forward looking, marketing savvy, and positive libertarian won the majority vote for Vice Chair by a razor thin 0.6% margin, pushed over the top by the efforts of the Mises Caucus. Caryn Ann Harlos, who already had broad support in the party, won handily at 67%. Drew Layda was the peacemaker responsible for the “Oregon Miracle” of uniting a very bitterly divided Oregon affiliate, and we believed that someone with that kind of ability deserved a place on the LNC. Unfortunately, Drew could not win the Treasurer position, but there is always next convention!
In addition to the elections, there was other party business. The Caucus participated in taking down no less than four variations of the same resolution which would have used the national party as a means to compel accord between caucuses that disagree on economics, rather than allow them to bilaterally work out areas of agreement and cooperation. This is a significant victory for our Caucus, and the party, as loosely worded accords do not benefit the LP in the long term. Our caucus also rejected measures that would have made it easier to alter the party’s longstanding Statement of Principles. While the Mises Caucus rejected these accords and will always stand resolute on the matter of economic science, we prefer a peaceable and cooperative relationship with other caucuses where we focus on forming coalitions on areas of agreement.
In addition to the objectives directly related to the convention, the Caucus successfully threw the libertarian event of the year in New Orleans: The Take Human Action Bash! We might be biased, but you would be hard pressed to find a better event after bringing together huge libertarian names like Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center, Scott Horton of The Libertarian Institute, New York Gubernatorial candidate Larry Sharpe, New Jersey US Senate candidate Murray Sabrin, and heavy hitters from the Mises Institute like Walter Block, Robert Murphy, Jeff Deist, and Tom Woods. In addition, we included exciting guests from the crypto community- SmartCash, Komodo, ZenCash, Publica, and Bitcoin.com. Media outlets including The Free Thought Project, Being Libertarian, Think Liberty, Lions of Liberty, and Liberty Hangout had a presence at our event, along with 71 Republic and Reason. Finally, we had music from Jordan Page and Backwordz to round things out with some top notch entertainment. 400+ people came to attend this event for free, and were able to come and go as they pleased with the minor convention business conveniently nearby. In the future, it is very likely that the Bash will be integrated seamlessly into the national convention.
The Bash was the brainchild of Mises Caucus Chair Michael Heise, who worked his hands to the bone to make this event a reality. In addition, if it were not for the special contributions of our sponsors, it would have never been possible: The Roads to Freedom Foundation, Pivx, ZenCash, Komodo, and SmartCash all contributed, for which we are grateful. The heavy presence of blockchain technologies is no coincidence; the Mises Caucus is committed to building strong ties to this technological frontier. A special word of gratitude must be said to Preston Smith, who heroically saved the event when a large donor turned out to be a dud at the last minute.
In the afterglow of the convention, libertarians from different streams of the movement took notice of our successes and decided to join the Libertarian Party as a result. The page We Are Libertarians made mention of our contributions:
Some of the new members we are especially proud of are: Marc Clair of the Lions of Liberty podcast, the prolific author and podcaster Tom Woods of The Tom Woods Show and Contra Krugman, and just recently, Dave Smith of the Part of the Problem podcast. All three made the bold step to exercise leadership and become “Big L” Libertarians this week, directly attributing their reason for joining to the Mises Caucus. We are proud to recruit these and otherwise unrepresented libertarians into the Party of Principle, and it is our hope that together we can keep it the Party of Principle going forward in the 2020 debates and beyond.
As the convention season has drawn to a close, our attention is now turning back to where it truly belongs: The State Affiliates, whose candidates will need our endorsements, advice, promotion, and human resources to help push them to new levels of influence and success along with the efforts of our other fellow LP members. Our goal is that among the state affiliates, Mises Caucus membership becomes associated with hard work, good character, endurance, and strong principles. Mises would expect no less of us, and we have a great name to live up to.
The Mises Caucus achieved the objectives it did this convention season being less than a year old, with no startup capital, no IT, very limited Party contacts, no track record, and almost no prior experience in politics. The Mises Caucus was born into a very hostile environment rife with detractors on the outside and rabid alt right trolls trying to infect it on the inside. Through our community policing, our Planks, and our articles, we have weeded out corrupt actors and prevented their re-entry, while simultaneously disproving the lies and hyperbole about our Caucus.
Ludwig von Mises’ Latin motto was this: “Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever boldly against it.” While we sometimes have struggles with our fellow libertarians- perhaps more than sometimes- the state is that great gang of thieves writ large, that great leviathan in need of slaying. It is the state against which we will relentlessly advance, for the good of all. The Mises Caucus is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Libertarian Party members against the state this coming election season and into the future. We invite you to join us.