Sunday, November 22, 2020

Perhaps the Libertarian Party Needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Per Wikipedia, "A truth commission, also known as a truth and reconciliation commission or truth and justice commission, is an official body tasked with discovering and revealing past wrongdoing by a government (or, depending on the circumstances, non-state actors also), in the hope of resolving conflict left over from the past."

I think that the Libertarian Party may require such a body at this time.

Over the past few years, I've tried to adopt a "let bygones be bygones" attitude toward past party controversies. And over the last four months, I've attempted to apply that attitude to the fuckery characterizing the first day of the second sitting of the 2020 Libertarian National Convention. I've declined to bring said fuckery up, and have tried to respond with brevity when those involved in perpetrating it felt a need to "rectify" its history, Orwell-style.

But a couple of events over the last couple of weeks make me think that it's going to remain a festering boil on the party's body politic until and unless we find a way to lance and drain it.

Event One: One of the ring-leaders of the day one coup, Angela McArdle, has declared her 2022 candidacy for chair of the Libertarian National Committee. I've listened to a couple of podcast interviews featuring Ms. McArdle. Nowhere in those interviews have I heard anything resembling an apology for her participation in a mutiny against the party and all of its affiliates, which shut down the national convention for most of a day with several negative results, including but not limited to the convention adjourning without considering its platform committee's report and recommendations.

Event Two: The secretary of the LNC, Caryn Ann Harlos, has submitted a set of draft minutes for the second sitting in which the mutiny is treated as legitimate convention business rather than as what it was: A day-long shutdown of the Libertarian National Convention during which a rump rebel minority debated the question of Whether It Pleaseth the Crown to Graciously Allow the Convention to Continue.

I do not support purges. I do not propose that Ms. McArdle should be deprived of membership, even if the party's bylaws provided for doing so, and I trust the delegates to judge her candidacy on its own merits. But I do intend to be among those who act to ensure that the 2022 delegates can't claim ignorance of her history of levying war on them.

But when it comes to the draft minutes, adopting them as written would itself be an additional rebellion against the party -- a malicious re-writing of history for the purpose of concealing a rump minority's initiation of force against the party, its affiliates, its members, and its delegates.

If the LNC acquiesces in that malicious re-writing, its affiliates should consider 1) disavowing both the malicious re-writing and the body which attempts to put it over, 2) constituting a new governing body to facilitate their mutual relations, and 3) setting up a mechanism (i.e. a "truth and reconciliation commission") for exposure of the mutiny's ring-leaders and exclusion of those ring-leaders from positions of trust and authority in the national party both for some minimum period of time and absent some open and honest testimony establishing acceptance of responsibility for their crimes.

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