Politics & Media
May 16, 2024, 06:26AM

The Mises Caucus

Many of us believe that Trump and his goals are achievable by libertarian means.

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Last week, every pundit from writers at the American Conservative to Mother Jones explained how the Libertarian Party, which everyone had forgotten about, was suddenly “in the news” again.

The Libertarians are holding their presidential nominating convention at what we in DC call the “Hinkley” Hilton on Memorial Day weekend. Originally the headliners were meager: Chase Oliver, the Libertarian Senatorial candidate who threw the Georgia Warnock-Walker race into a runoff (now seeking the LP presidential nomination); comic Dave Smith; and Julian Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton.

In the past few election cycles Libertarians persuaded former Republicans like New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson or Congressman Bob Barr to run as Libertarian presidential candidates, and have had Congressmen like Republican-turned-Independent Justin Amash or former Democrat Sen. Mike Gravel pursue its nomination.

The Libertarian Party was recently “taken over” by a faction, the Mises Caucus, named after Ludwig von Mises, an economist, Austrian Jew, and critic of rising Nazism, who was forced to flee Vienna and spent his final years as a professor of economics at New York University. As the intellectualoids and commentariat have discussed all week, the Mises Caucus is “right wing,” elected on a platform of ending “woke” messaging from the party, which sounds to many ears like Trump. Back in 2016 when I was a regular contributor to Breitbart, I spent my time pretty evenly covering the Gary Johnson’s Libertarian campaign and pointing out how Donald Trump had many libertarian themes. During Trump’s presidency I pointed out his libertarian aspects at The Federalist. The overlap between constitutionalist conservatives who believe in federalism and libertarians who believe in severely limiting government is obvious.

Many of us believe this similarity extends to Trump and that his goals are achievable by libertarian means (e.g. excluding immigrants who need to parasitize the American taxpayer or cutting back regulations so that manufacturing can return to the U.S.) Humorist Mrs. Peachy Keenan, not herself a libertarian, observed about Trump and the upcoming election: “One candidate is a classical liberal whose positions are squarely in the middle of the political spectrum. On nearly every issue, his views are anodyne, conventional, mainstream—positions that were the norm, nationwide, in every state, on both sides of the aisle, within recent memory (not including a few fringe strongholds in Berkeley and the West Village).” In interviews this week, Angela McArdle has used the notable locution that her "fiduciary responsibility" as the chair of the Libertarian Party's national committee prevents her from endorsing a candidate not nominated by the Libertarians at the convention.

Pundits have caught up with me, eight years later. They’re now paying attention because within the space of about a week the Libertarians have announced new headliners at their convention: Trump, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., former rapper Vivek Ramaswamy, and current rapper Afroman (singer-songwriter of Hunter Got High). No word yet on whether Vivek and Afroman will have a rap-off. Kennedy announced his appearance to the media before he confirmed to the Libertarians that he was coming. And he then challenged Trump to a debate—because part of what’s going on is a fight for libertarian-leaning and other independent voters.

Angela McArdle, a slim blonde Californian recently relocated to Texas, is the chair of the Libertarian National Committee and a leader of the Mises Caucus. Under her reign the LP has lost donors and members, as the more “woke” Beltway libertarian-style Libertarians left (or refrained from paying dues) to wait to see what happens next. The LP is considering selling its commercial townhouse on Duke Street just outside historic Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia.

This wasn’t as dangerous for the LP as it would’ve been for Democrats or RINOs, since the LP has no billionaire donors like George Soros or the Tides Foundation. The LP had one wealthy person leave them his estate, but the Federal Election Commission won’t let them have the money. They can only withdraw from the trust account the amount equal to the maximum donation allowed to party committees each year, which I believe is only in the low five figures.

Back to what the pundits are missing. After the boring political correctness of Jo Jorgenson’s 2020 LP campaign and the misfortunes of Gov. Johnson’s energetic and earnest efforts, the Mises Caucus people announced their strategy was to elect local people and not concentrate on federal, especially presidential, campaigns. They have in the past two years elected a few hundred people to very local offices, mainly in rural and suburban areas.

How then to get national attention from the corporate Democrat media, which mainly spins narratives about national issues? The anti-Mises Beltway libertarian types (who are often journalists, think-tankers, or political consultants who depend on similar income sources as the uniparty political consultants) have taunted McArdle and her Misesians with this question.

She’s answered them. McArdle is now the Libertarian Kellyanne Conway. At least for Memorial Day weekend the Libertarians should be getting all of the media attention.

—Bruce Powell Majors writes “The Insurrection,” @ brucemajors.substack.com.

  • The latest - a sitting Congressman will do a meet and greet at the LP convention. But the news is embargoed until later today on who she, he, or they is.

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  • I will quote Ludwig von Mises on what he regarded as the central virtue of democracy: the peaceful transfer of power. Question: What would the man who wrote the following have thought of Donald Trump? >> Here is where the social function performed by democracy finds its point of application. Democracy is that form of political constitution which makes possible the adaptation of the government to the wishes of the governed without violent struggles. If in a democratic state the government is no longer being conducted as the majority of the population would have it, no civil war is necessary to put into office those who are willing to work to suit the majority. By means of elections and parliamentary arrangements, the change of government is executed smoothly and without friction, violence, or bloodshed. << https://oll.libertyfund.org/pages/mises-on-the-foundations-of-classical-liberalism

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  • Many people think the last transfer of power was very peaceful. One party, which has been destroying both the country and other parts of the world for 3 years, seized power by means of media censorship and fraudulent elections. And rather than have a civil war, the other party let them and is waiting to correct the fraud electorally.

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  • "Many people think..." is similar to the subhed of this piece, "Many of us believe..." (without identifying who "us" refers to) in that neither gives any reason to think the rest of the statement is true.

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  • Many people think the sun goes around the Earth btw. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/02/14/277058739/1-in-4-americans-think-the-sun-goes-around-the-earth-survey-says

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  • What's the plan to overcome the fraud and censorship this time?

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  • I don't think there is one. Democratic cities are aggressively registering foreigners to vote for example. Here in DC all embassy staffers can now vote. There is no way to check and see that they are only voting for local candidates, not federal ones.

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  • In 2005 the bipartisan Carter-Baker Commission released a report for the purpose of “Building Confidence in U.S Elections.” https://www.bakerinstitute.org/research/carter-baker-commission-16-years-later. The report issued 5 main recommendations among those are the use of universal voter ID cards, a national system to connect state and local voter registration lists in order to clean up the voter rolls as well as stronger efforts to combat fraud, especially in absentee voting. The 2020 U.S Election under the guise of covid expanded universal mail in voting and reduced in person voting. In other words it expanded the least secure form of voting and reduced the most secure form of voting which is in person voting preferably with a voter ID...Every election has two margins, a margin of error which refers to mistakes, fraud and manipulation and a margin of victory. When the margin of error accedes the margin of victory then the true outcome of the election is unascertainable. This happened in Florida in 2000 and it is not unreasonable to believe that it happened in 2020 seeing as only 44,000 votes separated Biden from Trump in the 3 swing states of Arizona, Wisconsin and Georgia. Had 22,000 votes flipped from Biden to Trump in the necessary proportions in those 3 states than Trump would have had an electoral college victory... .https://www.npr.org/2020/12/02/940689086/narrow-wins-in-these-key-states-powered-biden-to-the-presidency.... There is a reason why the vast majority of EU countries and most countries around the world require in person voting with an ID. http://preview.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2021/05/27/voter_photo_ids_are_the_rule_in_europe_and_elsewhere_778714.html#!. It is the form of voting that has the most integrity and it offers the most secure ballot chain of custody. One should ask themselves why the Democrats are almost universally opposed to Voter ID laws and support the expansion of mail in voting. Is it because their party benefits from the far less secure mail in form of voting which includes drop boxes and ballot harvesters? That last question is obviously rhetorical..

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  • No plan to fight the fraud? How pathetic is that?

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  • Looking at GOP responses to Democrat perfidy "many people" assume that either the political consultant Beltway bandit types who often run the GOP are also getting CCP money, like the Bidens (e.g. Mitch McConnell) or that the IC has blackmail dossiers on many GOP Congressmen, either real or AI fabricated digital evidence of sexual shenanigans.

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  • To answer Subbeck I have not heard any serious plans to fight election fraud like for example implementing the five recommendations from the Carter-Baker Election reform commission in every state or to do what they do in France which is to vote in person with an ID on election day, swiftly count the votes and know who the winner is on election evening or at the latest the next morning if the election is close. It is no surprise that French citizens have high levels of confidence and satisfaction with the way their elections are run and they trust that the outcome is fair.

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  • No GOP plan to fight fraud? Then spare me the whining if Trump loses.

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  • " Liberal thinking always has the whole of humanity in view and not just parts. It does not stop at limited groups; it does not end at the border of the village, of the province, of the nation, or of the continent. Its thinking is cosmopolitan and ecumenical: it takes in all men and the whole world. Liberalism is, in this sense, humanism; and the liberal, a citizen of the world, a cosmopolite." -- Ludwig von Mises, in my view explaining from the beyond the grave why he doesn't want his name used in arguments for Donald Trump. https://oll.libertyfund.org/quotes/mises-on-cosmopolitan-cooperation-and-peace-1927

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  • If Mises had been on a boat full of Jews from Austria trying to get into the U.S., between Biden or Trump letting them in I might bet on Trump, since Biden is in the party of FDR, that did not let them in. As to the idea that liberalism (classical) can only think of individuals and not families or communities or countries, Mises is wrong. All of these other non-state institutions and part of culture are the ain things that keep the state from consuming the individual. Without them Constitutions and Bills of Rights are ignored or deliberately disregarded and misinterpreted. Also in liberalism you don't have the state forcing people to pay for the schooling, feeding, clothing, and housing of others - as long as you have that being able to limit the welfare to at least only those born in your country is essential. Being enslaved part of each workday to pay for 100 million dependents is almost feasible. Being enslaved to provide benefits to 200 million or 2 billion is not.

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  • As I've written https://www.splicetoday.com/writing/when-my-family-became-refugees my father and his family got out of Austria as a result of the Évian Conference, organized by FDR. Republicans at the time (as now) were more anti-immigration than Democrats, and the quota system that existed was mainly created by Republicans (see Johnson-Reed Act), though both parties were to blame for its continuance. As for the rest, I am glad you recognize that Mises' views differ from yours. The "Mises Caucus" would've better and more honestly been named something else, eg the "Rothbard Caucus" or the "Illiberal Caucus."

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