On Tuesday, August 2nd, author Charles Peralo wrote a piece which sparked controversy on Being Libertarian’s newly republished Facebook page. The article entitled “Why Libertarians Need To Partner With Black Lives Matter” created an uproar that page administrators in their unadulterated mission for free speech stood by even in the midst of a powerful backlash. Complete with name calling and allegations of conspiracy, commenters shared their sharp criticisms of the idea. While at first glance I too took great offense to the suggestion of Peralo, the ability to write a due response allowed cooler heads to prevail. And despite my own objections to the Black Lives Matter movement and its current partners, whom I feel are misguided, I feel the need to explain precisely why affiliating with BLM would be not only an unprincipled decision but a decidedly poor political strategy on the part of the Libertarian Party.
The contentious issue of whether or not Black Lives Matter qualifies as or should be labeled a domestic terror organization takes a backseat in this case to the question of whether or not BLM as a movement is “in essence a libertarian group” as Peralo claims.
Agree or disagree, the following is a list of demands approved by twenty eight groups tasked with the plan for Black Lives Matter:
- “End the war on black people,” which includes the “criminalization, incarceration and killing” of black people.
- “Reparations for past and continuing harms,” which includes “free access and open admissions to public community colleges and universities,” as well as a “guaranteed minimum livable income.”
- Investments in the “education, health and safety” of black people, and divestments “from exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance and exploitative corporations.”
- Economic justice, which would ensure that “black communities have collective ownership, not merely access.”
- Community control, meaning “those most impacted in our communities control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us — from our schools to our local budgets, economies, police departments, and our land — while recognizing that the rights and histories of our Indigenous family must also be respected.”
- Political power, which entails “a remaking of the current U.S. political system in order to create a real democracy where Black people and all marginalized people can effectively exercise full political power.”
First and foremost, does this plan sound particularly “libertarian” in nature?
Needless to say, the demands are quite ambitious. Notice that they affect all levels of government; local, state and federal. The plans are strongly unrealistic and their own platforms fall upon illegitimate and debunked claims of a racially biased justice system. They base themselves on the philosophies of advocates like Michael Eric Dyson and Ta Nehisi Coates who believe white people today owe black people for slavery despite neither modern group having any significant connections to slavery. I never held slaves and you never picked cotton. Therefore I do not owe you.
What the Libertarian Party has to gain from aligning itself with Black Lives Matter is precisely nothing. With increased numbers of domestic terror attacks at least tenuously linked to the movement and chants for dead cops by members nationwide, BLM is dropping like a lead weight out of the sympathies of reasoned adults. By linking with Black Lives Matter, any organization in the public eye delegitimizes itself and will ultimately share in the fall of a group whose founder.
The simple fact is, Black Lives Matter is based on a lie that has entranced Democrats and African Americans that are desperately searching for some reason to fight their frustrations on a system they disagree with because it does not afford them the utopia of peace on Earth. The target of that frustration is police officers doing their jobs and white people whose only crime ironically appears to be that they are white. Black Lives Matter supporters on Twitter and Facebook often endorse police killings. Assata Shakur, a hero to Black Lives Matter is an escaped cop killer on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Leaders like Shaun King and Al Sharpton call for action veiled or directly and then claim to be surprised when police who just want to go home at the end of the day and see their families are assassinated.
Black people are killed at a higher rate in this country by police officers for the simple reason that they are exponentially overrepresented in instances of violent crime. It is nobody’s fault and that 96% of gun crime perpetrators in New York City for instance are black or Hispanic or that roughly 50% of the nation’s murders are committed by African Americans according to the FBI. The blame does not fall to police officers for firing on armed and threatening individuals, regardless of their skin color. But because the numbers don’t line up many call it racism. If we look at this from the lens of violent crime data, black people are under-prosecuted in the court system and underrepresented in police shootings. For those who have not yet looked into the reason behind an allegedly skewed system, I recommend looking at the FBI Expanded Homicide Data Tables or the NYPD Crime and Enforcement Activity Reports for literally any year to get an idea as to why this might be.
So where are the limits to Paralo’s proposal? Is a hate group only a hate group when its platform distinctly outlines hateful policy prescriptions or do the actions and words of its following speak to its deeper meaning? An affirmative to that question invites the question of whether or not ISIS would still be a terrorist group if it just doctored its mission statement and continued its current practices. BLM is responsible in my opinion for more homicides in the last year than the KKK in the last 40. It is convenient to disavow members of a group as “extremists” that “don’t represent us” and who make the group look bad, but that would be denying the consequences of violent rhetoric. And whether the reader agrees that BLM constitutes a hate group or not, is it a politically strategic decision to team up with a group that alienates at least half of your constituency and that in ten years will have the legitimacy of the New Black Panthers and other violent black power movements?
Fans are angry with Paralo’s radical recommendation, and that is why we have a voice. As a future member of law enforcement who has seen the destruction wrought by Black Lives Matter, the movement has my complete disdain. I could not in good conscience align myself with any group that endorses BLM.
I caution anyone who wants the Libertarian Party to maintain its building reputation on the American political landscape not to step into the minefield that is Black Lives Matter.
* Garret Burnett is an intern for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a part time swing dance instructor. He plans to graduate from Appalachian State University in August with a bachelor’s degree in international criminal justice, after which he will pursue a career in American law enforcement near his home in North Carolina.