Listen: Spangle on Dave Smith’s Part of the Problem

My conversation with Dave Smith is up. He was perfectly respectful and I appreciate him having me on. It was a good conversation.

You know I prep for everything, and I figured I’d share my prep notes with you here. I wanted to write out my points so I was as fair as possible. I had a conversation with a friend on the board of the Mises Caucus that checked me on some things as well as some long-time party members. Both were helpful.

It may help fill in my message somewhat. I don’t know that I got it through clearly, but that happens in a conversation. Here is the gist of what I mean when I criticize the “Mises Crowd.”


My ultimate message: The split of Rockwell/Rothbard vs. Koch has to come to an end. Libertarians will be the major force in the coming 100 years thanks to demographic shifts and advancements in technology.

Any movement that focuses on purity and not new recruitment finds itself in a death spiral. We are our worst enemies.

We have to create space for more than just one faction because that’s what libertarianism ultimately leads to: spontaneous order, harmony amongst multiple cultures, peaceful and voluntary exchanges.

We can’t reject the experiences of others just because we aren’t impacted. Empathy is a core tenet of making libertarianism work.

Dave cares about the movement. That’s why I am willing to have this conversation knowing the unfair criticism coming to the brand I’ve spent a decade building. The proof is in the Mises Caucus group announcing I’m coming on.

Three separate groups within this faction that play a role in terms of division.

  • 1. The official Institute and Caucus.
  • 2. The Podcasters
  • 3. The anon bots and commenters
  • The Koch vs Rothbard fight which plays a role.
  • My time in the LP dealing with Ron Paul bots. This is consistent with the experiences of many in the party.
  • Mises Caucus’s “takeover the party” mentality turns off other factions that they need to collaborate with. Instead of working with long time members, they treated old-timers with disdain and arrogantly thought they could just outgrow the people that have spent 40 years building the party.
  • What do they stand for? Ron Paul’s message of noninterventionism and Austrian economics is largely held by most of the party and movement. It is an attractive message.
  • What does it appear they stand for? Fighting the personal battles of leadership and podcast hosts with a never-ending Nixonian list of enemies to vanquish.
  • The anon bots identify their enemy and swarm on them. It may not be the intention of Dave of the Institutions for this to happen but it does.
  • 2018 convention had 13 LibSocs, and they pretended it was a dangerous threat to the party. The Audacious caucus has been a longtime joke for a reason. Radicals have never gotten about 40%. Most of the party structures are Harry Browne-style libertarians.
  • They scapegoated left Libertarians to gain a following and ended up creating more left Libertarians than had existed before. Pre-2018 it was basically Shipley.
  • Anyone that seems to break with the messaging of leadership is then shunned by the rank and file.
  • Leadership occasionally cherry-pick and elevate others for scorn.
  • Criticism isn’t dealt with fairly or heard. (Dave is leading by having me on.) Heise calls me a liar over a difference of opinion. To disagree usually means being called a liar.
  • Ultimately, it is the introduction of the alt-right style of political discourse into the movement. Identify an enemy. Us vs. Them. Factionalize. Demonize. Mock. Alienate. Harass. Scapegoat. Claim to be reasonable. Stretch the truth. Call someone a liar even when it is a difference of opinion.
  • This is a weapon that is then used to try and bully other factions into caving to the pressure.
  • It is used to raise money. –
  • That is why they’re 25% of a thousand libertarians at a convention.
  • Jacob H. Saying a principled 1% instead of 3% is a horrible message to the parties that got 3% and ballot access.

The Caucus itself has a welcome message in the Party, there is just a continuation of problems that keep the fighting dragging on and on.

The third is eventually going to eat the first two if they aren’t careful. It is already moving them rightward. That would be an enormous loss for the libertarian movement.

There is a creep rightward away from classical liberalism and openness and towards alt-right ideas within the third grouping. (Namely, a monarchical system that would lead to a Bismarkian state that enshrines the power of modern-day Junkers to fight the left.)

Dave is in a position to influence the third group away from this seduction and back towards a more sane, libertarian politics.

The reviews are in:

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

Why are there ads now on your shows?

WTF are all these ads? Spangle, you swore you would never have ads on the We Are Libertarians Network!!  Longtime listeners have heard me say...