Press Release: 8/14/2017 @ 4:00pm

The Libertarian Party of Orange County FL unequivocally condemns the violence, racism, and bigotry on full display at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend. Hate and violence have no place in a civil society, and we condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant, as stated in the Libertarian Party's Platform, Section 3.5. We fully believe that all people are born with the Inalienable Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and that those rights should never be infringed upon due to race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. Groups who advocate for hatred or violence against any individual based on those factors go against the core beliefs of the Libertarian Party, and Libertarianism as a whole.

As Libertarians, we respect an absolute right to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, including the right to express unpopular or controversial views. Defending the First Amendment should not be controversial to any American. However, this event was not peaceful. Two groups of small-but-vocal violent authoritarians clashed, resulting in the deaths of three people and injuries of many more. No one deserved to die over this. The Libertarian Party of Orange County FL opposes the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals in all circumstances. The movement towards this type of violent protest in America only highlights why it is important for individuals not to stray so far to the fringes of an ideal that all civility is lost.

We are particularly appalled by the invited presence of white supremacist and national socialist groups at the Charlottesville event, whose racist, anti-Semitic, and pro-authoritarian views have nothing to do with Libertarian philosophy of individual rights for all. While it appears that not everyone at that rally were members of such overt hate groups, we also condemn individuals who willingly and knowingly march in solidarity with them. We defend free speech as a matter of First Amendment principle, but we find it unacceptable to actively encourage the worst of free speech and embrace and promote violent ideologies.

We do caution everyone to take a calm and measured view, and not chase sensational headlines. Both the "Unite the Right" protesters and the Left-wing counter-protesters were clearly prepared and willing to commit violence against each other, abetted by the City of Charlottesville's poor planning and inadequate response for security of the event. We believe it is hypocritical to condemn one group of violent authoritarians while ignoring or even praising another. Violent authoritarian ideologies should have no place in America whether of the left or the right, and they certainly have no place in the Libertarian Party of Orange County FL.

For the record, no active members of the Orange County affiliate or leadership in the Libertarian Party were in attendance or helped in its planning, nor do we condone the actions or message of the “Unite the Right” rally in whole or in part. While it is true that at one point, Augustus Invictus (one of the speakers and organizers of the rally) was a member of the Libertarian Party, and as a registered Libertarian ran for a US Senate seat, his actions as an individual are his own and are not a reflection of the Libertarian Party or its members. While media sources may prefer to draw a lurid link between his actions and Libertarians, the fact of the matter is that Augustus is no longer an active member in the party, and has very publicly switched over to the Republican Party: a party he believes has a base that more aligns with his views, and politically is able to accomplish his goals as an individual.

When we, the current officers, came to the affiliate in June 2016, we saw a nascent political voice in Orange County that needed hard work and careful guidance to grow, particularly during the historic opportunity offered during the Johnson/Weld 2016 presidential campaign. We worked to peacefully transition the affiliate to new leadership so we can build a serious alternative to the established duopoly for Orange County voters, providing them with a voice that is concerned with the well-being and prosperity of all the people in our community. Since that time, we believe we have cultivated an organization with respect for all individuals, to defend all of our rights, all of the time.

The Libertarian Party of Orange County, FL stands for self-ownership, self-determination, and individual liberty for all.

In Liberty,

Derek Ryan
Libertarian Party of Orange County