Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Libertarians -- and This Libertarian Blogger -- at a Time of Transition

Yesterday (less than two weeks after our Ron Paul-themed inaugural Williamsburg gathering of the Dionysium), Ron Paul’s home state of Texas (also home to the other branch of the Dionysium) gave Romney the remaining delegates he needs to pass 1,144 and be the Republican nominee (endless formalities and an August national convention aside, etc., etc., I know, I know). 

I wouldn’t blame libertarians for being uncertain about what to do next: urge people to vote for Gary Johnson (my plan), just stick with Paul for symbolic/educational purposes (or in hopes of some last-minute miracle), suck it up and vote for Romney (or Obama), or stay home in November (while focusing on the long term). 

But the Dionysium, under my courageous leadership, will turn its attention to other topics.  

And thus: my online presence will now become less partisan and more dialogue-facilitating (watch me mellow) and some technical bells and whistles will change in the process.  The timing may be just as well, since four axes oft-ground on this blog over the past six years reached small logical culminations on the night prior to this month’s Dionysium, when, at another NYC event for Paul-chronicling author Brian Doherty, all these things happened:

MUSIC: Hey, finally partied with Kennedy after two decades of admiring the MTV VJ turned libertarian radio host.  She may be Christian, but then, I’ve never denied that beliefs I disagree with can inspire good things.  I applaud Julian Cope’s very literal (and clever) cover of Roky Erickson’s “I Have Always Been Here Before,” for instance, even though neo-pagan Cope plainly injected into the original, simple song his belief that modern-day people have been reincarnated from Druids or something. 

SCI-FI: Fellow anarchist-atheist Michael Malice lamented the state of the revamped DC Universe, which we both know matters more than government or philosophy in the end.  Best I look away from it. 

SCIENCE: I learned that my eight years at ACSH helped inspire at least one woman I know to quit smoking, which is a start.  If I can save the other 7 billion people on the planet from death, Thanos loses. 

POLITICS: I saw a crowd full of people respectful of the Ron Paul phenomenon honor Doherty, an author who’s enough of a historian – and weirdo – to know that liberty is a far bigger and more long-lasting cause than any one man. 

One hates to sound like a giddy optimist, but it may be safe now, with the simultaneous Ron Paul and Gary Johnson campaigns going on, to start talking about
libertarianism as a broad philosophy unto itself, with culturally right-sounding and culturally left-sounding factions – and thus to stop treating it as a mere footnote to either right or left, or to any one political party.  Maybe we don’t need confusing and in-fighting-causing formulations like “liberal-tarianism” and “paleolibertarianism” any more. 

After all, most of the things people regard as weird baggage in the libertarian movement come from outside that movement, whether it’s the lifestyle-hipsterism, neoliberal associations, neoconservative associations, populism, conspiracy theories, or what have you.  Fine.  Ditch all that and you’ve still got a great philosophy that stands on it own.  I think we can now.  (We’d even still have wholly-libertarian variants just within the movement to argue about, from minarchism to anarcho-capitalism to mutualism.  We have enough to fight about without pretending to be liberal academics or mainstream Republicans, in short.) 

And at the same time, people are welcome to join us even without jettisoning all their philosophical roots, whether you arrive with hippie outfits or a Bible.  We all got here from somewhere else. 

Rather than trying to excommunicate anyone, it’s probably best to take the curious, taxonomic route that Rick Sincere does in a multi-part interview with Doherty that climaxes with a dialogue about why Paul and the Paulites might be more enthusiastic about their campaign than Johnson’s

But the show must go on, and while the GOP deploys Romney, there are exciting new signs of life in the Johnson campaign, with him polling well enough in, for example, Arizona, New Hampshire, and even North Carolina (where Iron Man 3 has just started filming, by the way) that it now appears quite possible Johnson’s Libertarian Party run will be the spoiler in this presidential season.  And if that leads to everyone talking about libertarianism, I now think that matters more than the Obama/Romney choice or any similar hairsplitting.  Gary Johnson 2012.

Maybe I’m wrong.  Heck, maybe it’s the international matrix of money and pull and behind-the-scenes dealings – the Soroses and the Saudis and so forth – that really shapes things, with the ideologues distracting themselves like children at play by talking about things like right and left, liberty and equality.  But a radical unwillingness to play those games may spring from the one ideology that renders political power irrelevant, libertarianism. 


It’s time, then, to move on, or rather move offline and onstage – save for specific supplemental book and movie notes related to the Dionysium.  I’ll have several on a religion theme in June, preparation for our Thursday, June 21 event – 8pm at Muchmore’s Bar at 2 Havemeyer St. in Williamsburg – featuring Catholic author Dawn Eden, comedian Daniel Somarriba, musician Hannah Meyers, and more (with former rock writer Dawn there, maybe I can treat this event as something of a finale for the topics of sex, God, and rock n’ roll, too – I’ll really need to find new material).

And since I do not believe in forgetting one’s roots, let us recall that the Dionysium is not only a successor to the Manhattan Project gatherings that Dawn co-founded with Mark Cunningham (and that I oversaw for a few years) but also to the “Urban Exploration” gatherings once held by explorers L.B. Deyo and Lefty Leibowitz (now of the Austin, TX Dionysium and NYC’s Empiricist League, respectively).  Therefore, courtesy of Dawn’s friend and mine Kevin Walsh, editor of, let’s close this chapter with a couple neat UE-related links: Russian climber-teens and a news report from back in the day about climbing a building called the World Trade Center.

We endure.  We begin.


Anonymous said...

The way you reduce people to their respective beliefs (Christian, libertarian, atheist) and how closely those beliefs comport with your own is... uhm, I don't know?... like a narcissistic philosophical disease. The world can't be strangled by dogma, or by one man's reasoning capacity.

In other words, grow up.

Thane Eichenauer said...

Omitting useful descriptive terms doesn't aid understanding. Instructing the author to grow up is a fine sour cherry on top of your comment. You may as well say "Obey me child!"

Anonymous said...

Different Anonymous here. You'll mellow but you'll always be a total piece of human garbage. Can't undo that online. The internet is forever.

Thane Eichenauer said...

Different Anonymous,
Really? Why would any person take your anonymous, unsubstantiated smear as anything but a rock thrown at the reputation of a pretty regular guy.
In any case anonymous comments are a dime a zillion.