My letter to the LNC about Tom Woods

WARNING: LIBERTARIAN PARTY POLITICS AHEAD. SKIP TO THE NEXT THING IN YOUR DAY IF YOU’RE NOT INTERESTED
If you’re an LP member and want to write a letter of your own, go here and select “Contact all LNC members” from the dropdown.

There has been much sound and fury from The Usual Suspects about the Libertarian National Committee’s recent decision to invite Blackbird guest (among other things) Tom Woods to speak at the Libertarian National Convention next year in Reno. Tom agreed to waive his considerable speaking fee, and the breakfast where he’ll be featured is a pretty big-ticket item at the convention. So, obviously, if only for financial reasons the LNC voted overwhelmingly in favor to feature him.

There were a couple of abstentions and one “no” vote. I believe the abstentions were likely well-intentioned. A former LNC member and Convention Oversight Committee member, Sam Goldstein, has made the point that the LNC should defer to the COC when planning the convention. This is a defensible position. I’m an admirer of Sam, so I don’t want to burn bridges with folks in that camp. I get into why I think they’re probably misguided below.

I’m obviously thrilled that Tom’s making a return after a few years of not attending the convention. Apparently the LNC has been inundated with emails from detractors demanding they re-vote. Here’s the letter I wrote in support of their decision:

To the LNC members who voted in favor of featuring Tom Woods at next year's convention, thank you! Tom, a much sought-after speaker, scholar, winner of the Hayak Lifetime Achievement Award, and past Libertarian National Convention speaker, will be a perfect addition to the convention in Reno. His tireless work against covid tyranny this past year is a tremendous capstone on a long career as a libertarian (and Libertarian) spokesman. Since he's relatively young, his work is far from over, but he is certainly an elder statesman in the movement, and he's a huge inspiration to people like me. Further, he's been a top recruiter for the LP in an era when the LP's liberty messaging has been extremely lacking. While the LP was silent in the face of the greatest state power-grab in the history of the United States, Tom wouldn't shut up about it. And he's created many, many new libertarians in the process. Last year when I posted a photo from the Orlando convention on my story, a friend asked me, "Where are their masks?" Thanks to Tom, I was able to provide an educated and well-reasoned response. My friend still told me the people in attendance "deserve to die", but at least I knew my stuff and didn't stoop to the level of hysteria my friend (and, unfortunately, many libertarians) stooped to.

By way of personal testimony, I wouldn't be a libertarian or a Libertarian without Tom Woods. When I was a conservative Catholic, I read a review of one of his more scholarly works, focusing on Catholic history. The reviewer, a Catholic writer and commentator of note, described libertarianism as "an ideology for people without children" (the implication being that libertarianism is antithetical to Catholicism). Of course, being a contrarian and a skeptic at heart, I had to learn more about it. That started my journey down the rabbit hole. (I still haven't read the book he was reviewing, though.) I've been a member of Tom's "Inner Circle" group for many years. I've interviewed him on my podcast. I've even drunk-texted him from an LP event that he was unable to attend. He's one of my absolute favorite people in the world, and I look forward to hanging out with him in Reno. As a gay man who has always felt particularly out of place in what should be my "community" because of the lens through which I view the world, Tom and the other fans of his show have always provided me with a place to learn, to laugh, to share the dankest of memes, and to build very strong camaraderie with other libertarians. I started hosting regular meetups here in the Twin Cities a few years ago. It started as a "Fans of Tom Woods" meetup group, and it has since become a flourishing group of folks associated with the LPMN, Freedom Cells, the agorist movement, and so on. We have a thriving real-world community, thanks in large part to the existence of The Tom Woods Show.

To the members who abstained from voting: I understand your qualms. Sam Goldstein has expressed his feelings about the LNC doing the COC's job. I'm a pretty strong believer in subsidiarity. A central authority shouldn't make decisions that can be made at a lower level. So I'm sympathetic. But Tom is a whale. Analogies aren't arguments, but here's one anyway: If the Parks & Recreation Department is in charge of the Movies in the Park series, but someone is able to get James Cameron to come give commentary on the presentation of Titanic for free, then it's probably well-within the purview of the City Council to go ahead and say it's going to happen. Likewise, if you can get Tom Woods to speak for free, you don't send it to committee. It's a no-brainer. So, thanks for not voting against it, but I think you'd have been better serving the party had you voted in favor. This will be a massive draw to the breakfast event. I've already started earmarking funds to purchase the upgraded package, and I know many others who have done the same.

To the one no vote: You'll need to be prepared with more than just "LeAguE Of tHe SoUth" talking points, which Tom has addressed ad nauseum, when justifying this foolish move to your region. Be ready.

Thanks for your time! I look forward to seeing you all in Reno.

Sincerely,

James Jenneman