An Open Letter to the Liberty Movement

Good evening friends in liberty.

I hope that this message finds you doing well.  I would like to write each and every one of you today but as there are so many folks within the liberty movement whom I do not yet know, I thought it best to craft this blanket letter on my blog.

As you may know, here in Virginia we will be holding an election for governor in less than a month.  On our ballot we have three choices, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis.  This election has been a cause for concern in Republican circles for many as a victory which ought to have been a clear and easy task for Cuccinelli is seeming less certain or even quite unlikely as the days progress.

In response, last Friday former Representative Ron Paul came out and endorsed Cuccinelli.  As you may also know, several fairly high profile leaders in the Virginia liberty movement have recently done so as well.

Now, the goal of this letter is not to address the merits or downfalls of Cuccinelli, but rather the state of the liberty movement, especially the liberty movement in Virginia.  Looking back at my own circumstances, I joined this cause not to seek personal glory or to command a large army of followers, but to promote our shared political principles that we think ought to be advanced in Virginia and the nation.  I suspect that many of you can relate to this motivation.  However, as this gubernatorial election proceeds, I am growing concerned about the direction of the effort.

Let me ask you several important questions.  What is the purpose of the liberty movement?  Is it to rally behind an icon, following every word Ron Paul (or his representatives both past and present) speaks without question?  I should certainly hope that the answer is no.  Don’t get me wrong, I likely have as much or more respect for Dr. Paul than just about anyone.  However, I would argue though that the larger purpose of this movement is to promote greater political awareness, to enhance ideology, and the ability to think and reason, rather than some kind of blind obedience.  Although in the early stages I would have been delighted to wear a bracelet asking “What would Ron Paul do?” I’d like to think that I have moved beyond that rudimentary point, that Paul (along with others) has helped push me in the direction that I can independently come to the understanding of what is best for the cause of liberty.  I hope that all of us can  come to this kind of thinking.  Does that mean that I won’t make mistakes?  No.  Does that mean that Ron Paul is faultless?  Surely not!  No one, especially in the realm of politics, is always correct or perfect.

As many of you know, I am a former employee of Dr. Paul; I had the honor of serving as his Director of Grassroots Organization for the State of South Carolina in 2007 & 2008.  Before some rather unfortunate misunderstandings and miscommunications, I was slated to work for Dr. Paul again in 2011 & 2012.  As such, I have been actively promoting the principles of liberty for at least the past six years.  Does that role make me better than you?  Does it mean that I can speak with authority for the entire liberty movement here in Virginia?  Of course not!  Rather it serves as a reflection of my longstanding dedication to the cause.

Friends, when it comes to this election, if you value liberty there are quite a few reasons why you ought to vote for Ken Cuccinelli and there are quite a few reasons why you ought to vote for Robert Sarvis.  My purpose at this point is not to tell you whom you should support, but rather encourage you to carefully study the choices and, with a well-reasoned and well-researched argument, be able to understand and articulate your position.  And, if somehow you come to the conclusion that Terry McAuliffe is the most pro-liberty candidate, then follow your heart.  (Though I’d be very interested to hear how you came to this idea).  Yes, this means that some of us will support Cuccinelli while others rally behind Sarvis.  But the liberty folks in each camp would do well not to vilify those in the other lest the rift grow even wider.  Our detractors would love to see us fail; let us not destroy ourselves.

Make no mistake, the election in Virginia is very important.  But no matter how it shakes out, whether it is a stunning victory or a crushing defeat for one side or another, the liberty movement can and must continue.  Leadership in any cause is important and I hope to continue to offer you thoughts to ponder as we continue to make this journey together.

But, to restate my major point, please take the time to reason, think, and understand.  Sure, it’s easy to follow the leader, but it is far more important to our cause to comprehend the ideology behind it all.  How can we say that we support liberty and personal responsibility in all facets of life if we do not embrace them ourselves in the political arena?  To borrow a quote from LeVar Burton I heard many times in my childhood, “you don’t have to take my word for it.”

In liberty!

Joshua Huffman

Author of The Virginia Conservative

Saturday Morning With Cuccinelli

IMG_2204Yesterday morning at 10 AM, Ken Cuccinelli greeted supporters at the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Republican Party headquarters.  There were almost forty in the crowd including several members of the media.

After an introduction by Delegate Tony Wilt (R-26), Cuccinelli spoke on a number of topics, drawing clear contrasts between himself and Terry McAuliffe.  As in previous speeches, Cuccinelli did a pretty good job balancing the troubling positions of his Democratic opponent while offering his own positive solutions to these issues, unlike the bulk of his campaign, which is still mired in negativity.

One issue that ought to be distressing to Republicans regarding the event is the attendance of Saturday’s gathering, especially this close to the election.  By comparison, the Sarvis event in Harrisonburg earlier that week drew about three times the crowd and the lieutenant governor debate watching party also had slightly better numbers.  One would expect that a multitude of conservatives from in and around the Shenandoah Valley would come out to wish Cuccinelli well; unfortunately, the fact that they did not perhaps further underscores the fact that both Cuccinelli and McAuliffe are viewed with disdain by huge segments of Virginia voters.

With less than a month to go until the election, it should be interesting to see how the polls fluctuate and what Virginia voters ultimately decide on November 5th.

Robert Sarvis at JMU

IMG_2184On Wednesday evening, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis spoke in front of over a hundred students and members of the local community at James Madison University.  Sponsored by the Student Government Association, after Sarvis spoke he fielded numerous questions from the enthusiastic and supportive audience.

This trip marks Sarvis’ first visit to the Shenandoah Valley in about a month as he continually crisscrosses the state spreading awareness of his campaign.

Although a host official campaign materials were available on site, including palm cards, door hangers, bumper stickers, buttons, and yard signs, several supporters brought their own home-made signs, including this particularly amusing one featuring grumpy cat.

IMG_2195For JMU students who are interested in learning more about Robert Sarvis and the ideals of liberty, I encourage you to attend a meeting of Madison Liberty, a group which meets on Wednesday evenings starting at 7:00 PM in Taylor Hall, Room 305.

A Night for Liberty

This coming Monday, October 7th, Americans for Prosperity and I have scheduled a social gathering for liberty-minded individuals in and around the Shenandoah Valley.  This event will be taking place at Capital Ale House in downtown Harrisonburg starting at 6:30 PM.

Whether you’re a conservative, a libertarian, or simply curious about politics, I encourage you to join us on Monday night.  And hey, Americans for Prosperity said they’ll be picking up the tab for the first round of drinks.  Who doesn’t like a free beer?  Even if you are under 21 or don’t drink, you should come too as they offer a fine selection of sodas and tea.

It should be a great night to re-connect with old friends and to make some new ones.  Hope to see you there!

Sarvis to JMU

IMG_2158This morning, I received word that Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis will be coming to the campus of James Madison University next week.  The email from Dukes Vote! lists the following details:

“The Student Government Presents:

Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis!!

Where? When? In TDU Wednesday October 9th at 6:30pm

Come to listen about the importance of being active in the voting process

Robert Sarvis will also be conducting a Town hall for the JMU community!”

For those unfamiliar with JMU, TDU stands for Taylor Down Under, the basement floor of Taylor Hall.

Should non-students be interesting in hearing this presentation, parking passes for the evening can be acquired at parking services, located in the garage next to Bridgeforth Stadium.

I hope that a multitude of voters from all walks of life come out to listen to Robert Sarvis as they decide whom to support to be Virginia’s next governor.

VA Conservative on MSNBC

On Monday evening, MSNBC’s Daily Rundown aired a segment on Robert Sarvis and his Libertarian Party run to be Virginia’s next governor.  During the piece, they displayed several photos including this one:

MSNBC When I saw this image, I had to watch the clip a second time.  Sure enough, they borrowed this picture from this blog, from my article on August 18th entitled “Sarvis’ Valley Adventure in Pictures“.

Then, he spoke on the steps of the Rockingham County Courthouse.

Normally, seeing one of my photos on a major news source would make me quite excited.  However, MSNBC did not attribute this photo to me nor did they seek my permission.  I’m fairly certain that if the roles had been reversed, if I had used something that their station had created without proper citation, there would be cries of “plagiarism” and I would be facing a horde of lawyers brandishing cease and desist orders or a lawsuit of some kind or another.

Yesterday morning, I contacted MSNBC with this concern but, other than being given an email address that I sent a letter, 24 hours later, I still have no reply.  Today, I posted my disappointment to their Twitter account.  I don’t think requesting a simple mention is that onerous of a request.

If there are any new developments in this story, you can find the updates here.