In Response to John Brennan’s Inauguration Day Comments

In statements made on MSNBC late on the afternoon of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, John Brennan, a former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President, likened Libertarians to foreign insurgency movements, referring to us as “serious and insidious threat to our democracy and our republic.” In doing so, he tried to tie together Libertarians with “authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, [and] nativists” as well.

Mr. Brennan’s statements are completely ignorant of both history and present reality about libertarianism. The term itself is first credited to William Belsham, an English historian and political writer, who used it in the course of his writings which explained, justified, and defended the American revolution. In today’s America, the Libertarian Party and its affiliates throughout the country, ourselves included, stand boldly and unwaveringly against the initiation of force to achieve any political or social ends. As a matter of fact, the only test for membership in our party is the affirmation of the statement that “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.”

To claim that Libertarians, especially as opposed to any of the other groups he named in his comments, are out to commit violent insurgency against the United States is not only dangerously ill-informed, it is a direct insult to the nearly 2 million Americans who voted for Jo Jorgensen and Spike Cohen this past November, the outgoing Congressman Justin Amash, a number of state legislators, and a litany of local officeholders throughout the country. We have demonstrated time and time again that our Party and our principles are dedicated to the thoughtful reform of government and advocacy for the people of this great country, doing so within and while defending the outstanding institutions of democracy and proud traditions of our nation. Furthermore, the Libertarian Party has condemned the violence at the Capitol, and the Libertarian Party of Ohio has ourselves further condemned all violent demonstrations of late. Obviously, we are the odd ones out of Mr. Bennan’s list of parties to an “unholy alliance” that threatens America.

The only things Libertarians threaten are political corruption, strangleholds on power by the elite, and the ability of those who would initiate force to do so to suppress the brilliant, varied, and dynamic fabric of individuals that make up America. We do pose a threat to entrenched political order because we believe so passionately in the power of each and every American to make informed and intelligent decisions for themselves. We pose a threat to the prison industrial complex because we stand against criminalizing behavior that victimizes no one. We might be a threat, but not a violent one. The only thing the government has to fear from the Libertarian Party is that our candidates will actually restore liberty to the people, thereby taking back the last century of wild, deficit-inducing, oppressive expansion of the State into the private lives of law-abiding citizens.

Jim Cavoli
Executive Committee Chair
Libertarian Party of Ohio

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