Inside the Mind of a Lemming

It’s a little scary right now, isn’t it?

We’re all experiencing more chaos than we are used to. The Libertarian National Convention is in three days and the looming uncertainty is making everyone uneasy.

Two factions have formed with startling clarity, among a group whose primary tenant is individualism.

I think it’s important to remember that individual thought can coexist with collective action. I want to reassure my friends on “the other side” that we Mises Caucus members have retained the former, though all you may see is the latter.

Why is that? How is that possible?

I attempted to look at it from your perspective and I realized it must be baffling. It must truly look like God King Heise is pulling our strings and, just like good little lemmings, we’re marching off the cliff.  But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Since so much hatred and division comes from fear of the unknown, I wanted to pen a sincere and illuminating look inside the mind of a Mises Caucus member.

I joined the Mises Caucus with no clear loyalty. I didn’t know who Michael Heise, or Whitney Bilyeu, or Nicholas Sarwark were and frankly I didn’t care. I came from the world of not just apolitical, but depolitical. I was disenfranchised by the state of politics throughout my entire adult life. I considered all hope lost.

I heard the rumblings of new action within the liberty movement in the form of Dave Smith. You can roll your eyes or clutch your pearls. It’s okay, I’m not offended. I don’t think it is that important what you or I think about him. The point was that he reached me.

I wasn’t actively looking to join a political party or take action. I didn’t comb through news articles and political podcasts eager for a cause. I was busy living my life. But his message and his delivery was so inspiring it broke through the haze. I was compelled by a sense of duty – to my family, my community, and the closely held but deeply buried ideals of liberty itself – to act.

Think what you want of Dave. That is meaningful. That is hope.

He has clearly inspired others also. Maybe they aren’t others you like. Maybe you think they are bigots or tiny Republicans. It doesn’t matter. We aren’t all one thing, some of us are bigots and tiny Republicans. Some of you are bigots and tiny Democrats. I don’t hate you for it. We can disagree. But we do think individual liberty is important enough to throw our time, money and energy behind fighting the State.

So why the Mises Caucus?

Whitney Bilyeu is experienced, intelligent and an incredibly hard worker. I also happen to think she can be rather funny. She makes a genuine effort to maintain the standards of public professionalism. I have real respect for that. I appreciate her for the weight of responsibility she has accepted on behalf of the Party, and the work she has done for us. I don’t think Mrs. Bilyeu is a bad person.

However, she behaves as a woman who is deeply unhappy and chronically paranoid. She maintains a small group of people with whom she shares information. The rest of us are shut out. We are actively shunned from participation in our Party because we may be “an other.” Questions are answered curtly, if at all and often dripping with condescension. This is not a critique of Mrs. Bilyeu specifically. It would be nearly impossible not to suffer and degrade under the weight of running a political party. I don’t want that for her, or anyone.

I think she needs to let go. Certainly not out of shame or failure. But because we have new, and better, options for leadership. Angela McArdle is dedicated, enthusiastic and intentional in her strategic decisions. She is also competent, empathetic and has taken the mantle of leadership in California with unflinching courage, patience and grace.

Michael Heise seems adorably unassuming, when you first meet him. He looks like a Libertarian, with a really big L. But as you talk with him, his charisma stat ratchets up to an eleven and you find yourself infected with his excitement and positivity. Just like a cult leader, right?

I joined the organization off of this new enthusiasm. Cautious, somewhat. Cynical, definitely. But I was involved. The other organizers for the Mises Caucus in my state were responsive, motivated people of integrity.

I started attending every meeting in the Caucus – and there are a lot of meetings. Consistently I saw Heise teased, resisted and challenged. These Mises Caucus guys are ruthless with each other and with Heise in particular. It’s like a frat house hazing in that discord. And I’m watching it forge leaders in the fire.

Heise has had meeting after meeting inviting all of us to ask “What are your questions?” “What concerns do you have?” “I want to get your input.” He’s actively, constantly, asking to be challenged so that he can refine the best possible path forward. He’s solidifying our tried and tested will for this party and for the cause of liberty and fashioning it into a weapon to affect real change.

I could go to Heise today and challenge everything we are about to do in Reno. I could throw every reason, scenario or problem at him that I could think of – and he would listen. We would have a genuine conversation and he would address my concerns with sincerity. If my critiques are novel and significant, they would be incorporated into the solution.

That is what leadership looks like.

We aren’t lemmings. We agree with Heise because Heise is us. His plan is all of our thoughts, ideas, critiques thrown against one another over and over until only the best remain.

Maybe that’s scarier for you. Now instead of a single Michael Heise, you know you are dealing with thousands. You can’t simply wake us from a dream. We aren’t blinded or brainwashed. We’re here, we’re real and you’ve found yourself staring down the barrel of the decentralized revolution.

We are living in an age of monsters and we are fighting for the soul of liberty. We can’t cower. We can’t run. We must fight and to fight we need warriors.

So let’s forge warriors in the arena. I encourage you to best us. Let’s battle test our ideas and our visions against each other to create a force worthy of our true opponent.

And afterwards, let’s have a drink. Let’s talk about what’s important in life – our families, our communities, the principles we hold dear. We’re only the enemy today. Next week, we’re compatriots in the war against tyranny.

See ya in Reno, friends.