I began writing this on my flight home from my 5th national convention over the last 12 years. I’ve been a member of the Party since signing the Pledge in 1999, and have been a Life member since 2008. During the last 23 years, I’ve witnessed many passionate debates on Platform planks, Bylaws, and operations of the Party. While the debates were passionate and sometimes heated, they were by and large respectful.
This past weekend at the Libertarian Convention, we saw the end of one era of the Libertarian Party and the beginning of another.
On multiple occasions during the 2022 National Convention, delegates who were recognized by the Chair were shouted at by members of a certain PAC which calls itself a caucus. On one such occasion, Mr. Sarwark advised me to simply stop speaking until the shouting stopped. Another delegate raised a point of order that following this advice would be dilatory and that anyone making a Point of Order should be prohibited from doing so again for one hour, or be removed from the convention hall.
Additionally, there were multiple times the Chair had to remind attendees to quiet down so that delegates could hear the business that was happening. On more than one occasion, due to multiple people speaking at once, I was unsure what was being voted upon. I had multiple delegates tell me that requesting information on the motion before the body was dilatory. Whitney Bilyeu at one time said, “if you don’t know what your voting on, vote no.” This sounds like good advice to a member of Congress who is asked to vote on a thousand-page bill, but absolutely should not be how a delegate to a national convention should be expected to participate. Delegates and Alternates to a national convention have every right to know what motion is up for a vote, and seek clarification from the Chair should confusion arise.
But that is no longer allowed in Michael Heise’s Libertarian Party. With a single exception (Vice Chair), Heise got the National Committee & Judicial Committee he wanted, and the members of the Mises Caucus, née PAC, voted in near lockstep with his marching orders.
Some will argue that this just proves that he was better able to recruit delegates and who votes. While waiting to order food Friday night I overheard the people in front of me discussing the MC’s self-styled takeover. They said that Heise & Co were simply doing what a caucus is supposed to do “takeover the party” and essentially try to win at all costs. This is not true. Caucuses, whether Radical, Pragmatist, Classical Liberal, Liberation, or Povertarian exist to ensure the party is representative of their views.
The Mises Caucus cares only about their agenda without regard for other voices in the party. This was evident not only in the many times in which delegates were jeered but also during the debate on allowing additional candidates in the Chair debate. After a delegate spoke in favor of debate inclusion – something that this Party has spent decades fighting for – another delegate said that there simply wasn’t an appetite for hearing from that candidate. I have to wonder if this delegate feels the same when our candidates for public office are excluded because of rules that are created specifically to exclude alternatives to the top two candidates.
After the At-Large election, as has been common practice in the Party, I made a motion to allow candidates who lost an election to the LNC to become candidates for the Judicial Committee. I was jeered with multiple and repeated shouts of “dilatory” and “out of order.” Such a motion is neither dilatory nor out of order, it is an attempt to continue our culture of allowing candidates to run for office.
Some may say I’m writing this letter because I’m a sore loser. Nothing is farther from the truth. This convention isn’t the first time I was on the losing side of many votes, and it surely will not be the last. I’m writing this letter to express not only my frustration but also that of others (whether in Reno or not), at the shift in the culture of the Libertarian Party. But that culture of allowing alternative opinions to be shared is gone. Gone is the Libertarian Party of respectful disagreement. Gone is the Libertarian Party of grassroots politics and activism. Gone is the Libertarian Party that respects the rights of its minority factions. And gone is the Libertarian Party that condemns bigotry as irrational and repugnant.
We now enter the era of autocratic democracy in which the majority of delegates follow the whims of a Caucus Chair for Life. Heise wants a party of “online young men [and] edgy comedic podcast[er]s” that follow his plans, opposition voices are not allowed.
This is also not the first time I’ve stepped away from being active in the Libertarian Party. However, I fear it may be the last time I do so.
While I am not revoking my Life Membership at this time, I can no longer in good conscience actively participate in a political organization that doesn’t respect its dissenting members, and provides safe harbor to bullies and bigots.
Darryl W Perry
Elected Libertarian (Ward 5 Selectman, Manchester, NH; 2021-2022)
2016 Presidential candidate
Former Chair, LPNH
Member of the Platform Committee 2016, 2018 & 2020
Member of the Blockchain Committee 2019-2020
Member of the Alternative Voting Committee 2021-2022