Bill Weld Allegedly Leaves The Libertarian Party, and I Don’t Blame Him

Bill Weld’s experience with the Libertarian Party is all too common. 

– Person has libertarian-leaning beliefs. 
– Person dips their toe into the party. Feels excited that there’s a party aligned with beliefs. 
– Wants to get involved so they join leadership. 
– Ripped to shreds by emotionally immature, controlling children on Facebook that can’t tolerate others holding beliefs different than theirs. Same arrogant children often have zero political experience and have no desire to get involved. They say things like, “This is why I left the Libertarian Party” as if they ever did a single thing to help the party. 
– The normal person can’t understand why they’d waste their time losing elections while being abused by a group of weirdos. 
– Person returns to original party.

Bill Weld could have taught the Libertarian Party a lot because of his experience and connections in politics. The Libertarian Party could have taught him a lot about libertarian philosophy. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen because people in the libertarian movement are dedicated to keeping the movement small. This was eximplified by the sniping at the recent LibertyCon event from the stage.

So this news isn’t surprising at all:

If people are wondering why I don’t recommend joining the party to friends and listeners anymore after dedicating a decade of my life to the LP, this cycle is why. I am a bad friend if I knowingly waste their time and abuse them. I’ll recommend candidates, but not joining party leadership. We Are Libertarians Podcast creates hundreds of new libertarians a year, and it’s a shame they have no political home.

If you need proof of what I’m talking about, then visit the comment section of my post where I first wrote this. It is full of people missing the point about building a more welcoming party and attacking Weld anyways mixed with people sharing their own stories of ending their time in the dog kennel.

This does not mean leadership is above criticism. There are right ways and wrong ways to do it though. Weld was absolutely NOT ready to represent the libertarian philosophy in 2016, and it is unclear if he could have done it well in 2020. We never got the chance because his comments were continually distorted.

When I heard him speak at the LPIN convention, I realized two things: 1. What he says or said is different than what people say about him. 2. He isn’t ready to be the party’s nominee in 2020. He doesn’t understand the over-arching philosophy yet, he doesn’t have a clear vision for America, and Ron Nielson 3.0 is a mistake. Plus, the fight over his nomination would be destructive for the party.

There are a ton of people that are brand new to libertarianism because of the Johnson-Weld campaign. I talk to one almost weekly. The reality is that audiences take things very personally, and trashing the guys that brought newbies to the party confuses them. They hear, “I’m not welcome?” and not “Bill Weld isn’t welcome.” It’s the same as trashing AOC or Trump in too personal of a manner.

Judd Weiss captured the culture within this movement peferctly on Lions of Liberty:

“For the most part of the last several decades, after all this time, energy, hostility, brain distraction, emotion, the Libertarian Party really hasn’t achieved anything. It’s been a sinkhole in the wider liberty movement. It’s been the biggest sinkhole of time, energy, money, and emotions that I’ve seen. It’s a cage match arena where Libertarians fight with each other over positions of no power. It’s embarrassing I wish it would be improved.
We need to stop focusing on the minute details of people’s differences. We need to focus on improving the environment. We need to focus on improving the experience of being involved in the liberty movement and the Libertarian Party. Otherwise, no one‘s going to want to be involved in this experience because the experience is miserable.
Maybe the Libertarian Party has contributed something valuable to the scene. Maybe the Libertarian Party’s value is that it’s not to win elections. It’s basically the convenient quarantine pen for the most toxic elements. It’s like a dog kennel. You can’t have rabid dogs biting people. You need to put them somewhere, so that’s Libertarian Party. It’s a place for angry libertarians who need a chew toy, and that’s each other. ”

This is a movement dedicated to philosophy instead of power or policies. Having been a libertarian for ten years, I continually discover something new. I only have grown through reasoned dialogue amongst friends. The LP, the movement at large, and the thought leaders did a very poor job of treating Weld as a friend. Either the party makes a space for competing ideas and open dialogue, or it dies.

WAL Daily 54: Bill Weld Leaving the Party?

WARNING This is a hot take on a preliminary report. Rhinehold, Paul Copeland, and Hodey Johns join up to talk about if Bill Weld has left the party, what that means, and what the Libertarian Party needs to change going forward.
Play
Get The Libertarian AuroraA daily newsletter for libertarians.

Please fill in the form and submit to subscribe to emails We Are Libertarians.

Chris Spangle is the publisher and editor of We Are Libertarians, a news site and podcast that covers national and Indiana politics from the libertarian perspective. Spangle previously worked in marketing for the Englehart Group on behalf of the Advocates for Self-Government. He also served as the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana and producer of the Abdul in the Morning Show. He now works as the web director of a nationally syndicated morning show.

Further reading

Archives

Categories