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The Anti-Libertarian

By Van Smith | Posted 10/23/2002

To Kevin O'Connell, libertarianism is the invention of a cabal bent on destroying the U.S. system of government.

"Simply put, it's anarchy," says the 50-year-old Bowie resident. He discovered libertarianism in the mid-1990s through contact with party members, and he quickly concluded they were putting up a "false front."

"They were telling me what I wanted to hear," he says. "But when I looked into it further, I became disturbed because I realized it was a call for no government."

Not satisfied to rest with this conclusion, O'Connell became a watchdog of the Libertarian Party. He started a Web site in 1998, Light on Liberty, where he posts his findings--that Libertarians field "stealth candidates" who hide their party affiliation to dupe voters, insinuate themselves into major-party campaigns, and see people as property who can, if they choose, sell themselves into slavery. He also takes action to make sure as many people as he can tell know that Libertarianism is a charlatan political movement.

"Basically, I just try to forward information to people," he explains. "I pick up the phone and call people. I call reporters and carry around copies of the Libertarian Party platform to give people an idea of what they're all about. But most people don't care."

According to Mike Huben, a longtime critic of libertarianism who lives in Massachusetts, O'Connell has become "the country's only anti-Libertarian activist because he actually uses tactics to disrupt the Libertarian movement, whereas the rest of us are content to critique the party on philosophical grounds."

Steve Boone, a former Libertarian Party chair and manager of Spear Lancaster's campaign for governor, says O'Connell has "bedeviled the Prince George's chapter of the party for some time now. He sees a Libertarian plot to destroy everything. What he likes to do is take a piece of libertarian philosophy out of context, run with it, and come up with an off-the-wall take on the party's agenda."

To O'Connell, though, it is the Libertarians who are off the wall.

"They want no taxes--none--in effect removing all government funding and therefore ceasing all government," he says. "The implementation of their platform would end the United States. They want completely open borders, no regulation of any type, no funding for police or the military--and a cohesive government cannot exist under those circumstances."

O'Connell will not reveal his profession or his employer because Libertarian Party members have attempted to contact him at work "to try and change my mind" about their ideas. "I feel safe not giving that information out," he explains.

As for Lancaster's campaign, he's convinced the candidate is not actually running for governor. Instead, he says, Lancaster is running "to save the Libertarian Party from losing its registration" as a state-recognized party. To avoid that loss, Lancaster needs votes from at least 1 percent of the electorate. As for the Libertarian's cooperative attitude toward other third parties in the state, O'Connell believes it is merely "an attempt to use the other parties to shore up its status, since it is so small."

O'Connell's Web site includes a link to the Libertarian Party platform. While he acknowledges that "no candidate agrees 100 percent" with his or her party's whole platform, he suggests that "the things they disagree with they still find acceptable."

And this document, he argues, is nothing less than "an anarchist's manifesto, far from the Statue of Liberty image projected by the Libertarian Party."

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