The Clarification Ryan Ramsey Wants

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Ryan Ramsey of the Libertarian Party of Florida and writer under the moniker of “Libertarian Heathen” commented on my article that was published prior to the Libertarian Party National Convention and chairman election. After the comment’s removal from Being Libertarian’s site, he wrote a response that included what he wrote as well as some more information in an attempt to argue against things that I had reported.

Despite his claim that I was “suppress[ing] clarification” I had never seen the comment nor was aware of its existence. Since I believe in open dialogue and honesty, I will attempt to address Mr. Ramsey’s concerns and points.

First and foremost, I have no power over the comment sections on either Being Libertarian’s website or it’s social media accounts, so claiming that it’s erasure “[casts] doubts on Mr. Henderson’s motives and credibility,” is silly and inaccurate. My motive for this article was to give an unbiased as a possible comparison of the two frontrunners in the Chairman race without opinion or analysis. It was just a straight display of the facts, not a “hit job,” one of those being that Joshua Smith allegedly called some of his supporters who were members of the American Guard to defend his character.

From the bulk of the article, his main gripe seems to be that I quoted the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as a source stating the American Guard is a white nationalist organization. He claimed that “The [Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)] and ADL are the source of every smear of the American Guard, which are based purely on speculation, because some of us in our 40s had pasts as skinheads,” in addition to saying “These SPLC and ADL are as disingenuous as those smearing Josh Smith. The [Federal Bureau of Investigation] stopped using them years ago.”

I am not defending or endorsing either of these groups, but I am going to address statements made for the sake of having the whole truth. A simple google search shows that your assertion of the FBI abandoning each group is false:

July 30, 2018 – Washington Post “FBI partners with left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center on hate crimes”

May 8, 2017 – James Comey “The FBI and the ADL: Working Together To Fight Hate”

And according the Daily Caller, the FBI only removed the ADL and the SPLC from their resources list because, as stated by the FBI’s spokesman, “Upon review, the Civil Rights program only provides links to resources within the federal government,” and another employee of the FBI confirmed this as being “the number of concerns” that included avoiding the appearance of “endors[ing] or [vetting] any research conducted by those non-governmental organizations,” and having any other organizations feel left out. The publication did try to link the timing of the “number of concerns,” as being influenced by the American Family Center’s claim that being on the SPLC’s “hate-watch” list inspired a terrorist attack against them, but there’s no concrete evidence to confirm this.

I won’t deny that the SPLC has questionably, maybe even incorrectly, placed some people on their site as hate leaders. Also, I do wish they would discourage people from attempting to physically harm those they identify, but they’ve been useful in illuminating rhetoric from groups that try to put on a friendly front but act otherwise.

As far as the American Guard, yes, you have stated repeatedly that the organization is racially diverse and has homosexual leadership, but this does not dismiss many of the other red flags. The platform of the organization states “We support and defend western culture. Most specifically American traditional western culture,” which is a noted white nationalist dog-whistle. The idea of Western culture in itself makes little sense and is inconsistent.

The concept of “the West” is typically explained as consisting of Judeo-Christian values, and the ideas of democracy and reason, with the argument of them being products of Ancient Greece, Rome, the English Enlightenment and other events of European history. But, these ideas are not unique to Europe as every major religion had tenets of not harming your neighbors, or their property in some form, Democracy, though first coined by the Greeks, had many early forms from hunter-gatherer societies worldwide, and philosophy and rational thinking were also being disseminated in Asia. Western values purposely excludes other societies outside of Europe that contributed to and potentially preceded them, making it the perfect utopia for white nationalists to expound as needing protection. I suggest watching the Contrapoints’ video on this topic to see the inconsistencies and why “Western culture” is pretty well synonymous with “white Anglo-Saxon person culture.”

In addition, the leadership of your organization has displayed white power crosses, founded groups like the Viking Brotherhood whose slogan comes from a Union of Fascists, and the symbol of the American Guard contains two butcher’s knives in honor of Bill the Butcher. That man notoriously led a gang that was severely opposed to Irish-Catholic immigration because they thought they would take away jobs by offering cheap labor, much like today’s rhetoric on Mexican immigrants. The Butcher also teamed up with members of the Native American Party or Know-Nothings, a secret organization turned political party that was against immigration, and more specifically against Catholics because they believed there was a plot by them to subvert religious and civil liberty in the United States.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s ignore the blatant and obvious attraction of collectivist hate groups to the American Guard, and just focus on the supposed nationalist platform. Even if this were the case, nationalism, which I define as placing the state above the individual and purposefully restricting immigration in favor of the native citizens, is not a libertarian ideal. This is not the same as a love for one’s country and its ideals, which distinguish as patriotism. The liberty movement is founded upon the freedom of the individual and nationalist movements have historically stripped this away in favor of placing the good of people on a pedestal. This good of the people is typically defined as the state knowing what is best and needing ultimate power in order to preserve the nation.

Nationalism is collectivism, and collectivism is anti-libertarian. So, I do think any association that Joshua Smith may have with those who are a part of this group is troublesome for someone who claims to be for personal freedom and property rights. Mr. Ramsey, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree and feel free to contact me directly via Facebook next time you want clarification.

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Luke Henderson

Since joining the Libertarian Party in 2016, Luke Henderson has been active in the liberty movement through journalism and political activism. Luke is an educator, composer of fine art and electronic music, and also contributes to Think Liberty, Antiwar.com and the Libertarian Coalition.

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