A Response To My “Leftists Stop This There’s Not Two Sides Rhetoric” Article

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It’s been a long time since I’ve written for the Libertarian Vindicator. I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity that was given to me by Robert Bentley and Timothy Eyer, for I wouldn’t have become a writer for Being Libertarian or soon to be a published author in their upcoming book Igniting Liberty.

My return as a guest to the Vindicator is something that I have never seen a libertarian writer or public figure ever do: refute my own article. I have grown immensely as I have developed my own political, moral and social philosophy through reading and discussion and I don’t want to fall in to the trap of the likes of Tom Woods or Ron Paul, and make excuses for things I have done in the past without saying this: I was wrong.

After the Charlottesville Unite The Right Rally, I had written an article titled “Leftists Stop This There’s Not Two Sides Rhetoric” in response to a Human Rights Campaign video making the claim of there not being two sides to the event. Here’s how I had introduced that article:

The violence in Charlottesville brought out rhetoric I would expect from the left: attempts to link the white nationalists to Donald Trump, and attempts to paint the attendees of the rally as representatives of all conservatives. The reaction that caught me off guard was a complete denial of the actions of Antifa and other extreme leftist groups.”

I continued to list quotes from others on how there isn’t two sides to this argument and explain how Antifa was as violent as the Alt-right attendees of that rally and how, like the good little centrist I was trying to be, there was violence on both camps that needed to be recognized. Little did I know, I was participating in the same sorts of tactics that the Neo-nazi marchers used to hide their own views.

In a video from the Youtube channel Shaun, he breakdowns all of the live footage of the Charlottesville rally that displays how everyone on the right side who attended almost assuredly was white nationalist or at minimum, complacent in those views. When the ralliers are called Nazis, they respond with “nazis haven’t been a thing since the 1930’s” in order to use a technicality to shut down the conversation. I unknowingly was doing the same thing by trying to claim that both sides were equally as violent: ignoring that one side was calling for the extermination or removal of those deemed unworthy, while the other was fighting against this.

I first started to become aware of these tactics and my own unknowing participation through following the Libertarian Anti-fascist Committee, which I initially began following for the sake of getting news to write about. Though I disagreed with them at times, it was this group that initially introduced me to the concept of a dog whistle and some of the questionable pasts of many libertarian figures.

It was through listening to James Weeks’, best known as the stripper at the 2016 LP National Convention, Podcast Titles Are A Spook, that I really became familiar with some of the right-wing populism that has constantly tried to infect the Libertarian Party whether through Murray Rothbard’s unfortunate late writings, or through nominating candidates like Bob Barr who eventually came to support the War on Drugs.

This is when my world and my views started to be rocked and shift to what they are now. Previously, I had been listening to the media most right-libertarians had been including: Steven Crowder, Ben Shapiro, and Ron Paul, but with James’ podcast and the emergence of the Libertarian Socialist Committee of the Libertarian Party, I began to see where I needed to expand my views and not solely be the guy who writes about leftists not being consistent. I was introduced to Benjamin Tucker, Kropotkin, and Proudhon, and though I do not consider myself a socialist, I came to the conclusion that Capitalism is another system that requires government and that market anarchy was the true way to ensure freedom for all.

I also started to think of Libertarianism as not just a political ideology, but also as a moral one that needed to ensure that freedom was maximized for everyone beyond just having the government drastically reduced. Libertarians must also recognize that collectivism of all kinds including racism, sexism, and homophobia must be rejected because they keep those less privileged groups from realizing their autonomy and therefore, prevents their ability to be free.

Because of this development of my own philosophy, I have become staunchly anti-fascist and quintessentially against anything alt-right. While I thought initially that most who were alt-right were just extremely pro-free speech, and anti-social justice culture, I see how the term has been co opted and most who identify with it are trying to hide that they are mere white nationalists. I unknowingly contributed to this blurring of the true ideology by claiming that the left wasn’t giving Antifa as equal a treatment as the Charlottesville rally attendees. I was being the television host that is depicted in Contrapoints’ video on debating the alt-right.

I want to be better than those who have come before me, and not be afraid in my pursuit of truth to say that I was wrong and that in my earlier years of libertarian activism I may have given a toxic and anti-freedom ideology the benefit of the doubt when they did not deserve it. So, to my new friends in the LP and the broader liberty movement who could have potentially been affected by my own ignorance, I want to express my deepest apologies to having been a part of this nonsense and ignoring the signs that were right in front of me. To my fellow libertarians, we cannot let anymore members of this “alt-right” movement tarnish the name of the freedom for all movement and it’s up to us to recognize the signs. We can truly claim to be the party of logic and reason if we keep our members accountable and dispel those who do not represent us.

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Author: Luke Henderson

Since joining the Libertarian Party in 2016 (after discovering Gary Johnson as a disaffected Bernie Sanders supporter), Luke Henderson has been active in the liberty movement through journalism, and political activism. At the beginning of 2017, Luke had his first piece of writing published by Being Libertarian and quickly became a contributor to the libertarian news site, The Libertarian Vindicator. Through the Vindicator, Luke discovered his passion for addressing critics of the philosophy and bringing together different factions of liberty lovers which compelled him to become an editor for The Libertarian Coalition, a forum dedicated to an open-minded discussion of libertarian ideas from all walks. After many guest contributions to Being Libertarian, Luke was asked to join the website as a contributor, where he writes his column Scoring For Liberty, which discusses sports, politics, and economics from a libertarian lens, and his Educator series that seeks to strengthen libertarian’s understanding of educational techniques and policy to better arguments against public education. Luke is one of the District 1 Executive Committeemen for the Missouri Libertarian party, and the founder of the Missouri Chapter of the Libertarian Positivity Caucus. Outside of politics, Luke is a paraprofessional for the Special School District of St. Louis, a musician, composer, and a loving husband and father.

2 thoughts

  1. Americans want to raise the minimum wage and are stunned that no country can afford US exports.

    Americans want regulations and are dumbfounded why medical care costs so much.

    Americans scream tiny homes must be banned and are then shocked when the homeless rate rises.

    Like

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