New “Boston Tea Party” Splits from LP

Thomas Knapp of the popular Kn@ppster blog is apparently fed up with the Libertarian Party in the wake of last weekend’s convention. In response, he’s begun laying the groundwork for a new political entity that he calls the Boston Tea Party.

The new party’s website:

The press release…

“Cyberia” (PRWEB) July 5, 2006 – Citing the Libertarian Party’s “abdication of its political responsibilities to the American people,” activists have founded the Boston Tea Party ( as an alternative, Internet-based vehicle for libertarian political action.

“For various reasons, the ball got dropped in Portland,” says Boston Tea Party founder Thomas L. Knapp, referring to the Libertarian national convention, held over the July 4th weekend in Oregon. “Factional disputes led to a wholesale gutting of the party’s platform—a muddle in which the party was left without a mechanism for expressing its positions on several of the foremost public policy issues facing America’s voters.”

Rather than setting up the new party as a splinter group, Knapp says that he thinks of it as a “hopefully a pinch hitter, going to bat for America while the LP nurses its wounds and prepares to get back in the game. Until and unless that happens, the Boston Tea Party will fill in. Americans deserve—and desperately need—a pro-freedom party which forcefully advocates libertarian solutions to the issues of the day.”

Those solutions will be set forth in a program to be put together by the new party’s organizational convention, to be held online, Knapp says, in the next 30 to 60 days.

Knapp, however, hasn’t completely given up hope for the LP. On his own blog he goes on to state that:

It may be that libertarians can find some way to save the Libertarian Party from itself, make it relevant and put its feet back on the path toward organizational success (and, as a result, America’s feet back on the path toward human freedom).

I hope that that’s what happens. Really. As a matter of fact, I have not resigned, nor do I intend at this time to resign, my membership in the LP. Since I am not a national officer, I have no obligation to belong to only one national political party; and since the Boston Tea Party has, as yet, no state affiliate in my state, I am free to support and serve my state LP until such time as that changes and/or until the LP and the Boston Tea Party nominate opposing presidential slates which I’d have to decide between. Perhaps the Libertarian Party will right itself in some unforeseen and unforeseeable way, and the Boston Tea Party will slide back into, or never emerge from, obscurity.

86 Responses to “New “Boston Tea Party” Splits from LP”

  1. Will Says:

    The name is bad. Sounds like an event rather than an ongoing political party.

    The website would have been better used for a company selling a line of Boston Tea drinkable products.

  2. Splintering is DUMB Says:

    Make a small party smaller. AWESOME!

    Fuckin’ A!

    Don’t people understand that this is always a dumb idea?

  3. Bitching About Others Efforts is Dumb Says:

    Continually complaining about how others are working towards freedom is dumb.

  4. Acutally thinking that it will makes a difference is dumb Says:

    Enjoy your tea….

  5. Writing long messages in name fields while arguing over who is dumber is dumb Says:

    Enjoy whatever it is that you enjoy …

  6. Stuart Richards Says:

    This is what destroyed the socialist movement.

  7. Chris Moore Says:

    The Democrats implementing the Socialist’s platform destroyed the socialist movement.

  8. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    One probably-unneeded-by-now correction: As the internal material reflects, the Boston Tea Party is not a “splinter” from the LP. It’s just a divergent effort, and I consider it likely that many BTP members will, like myself, continue to be active LP members.

    As far as the “destruction” of the socialist movement goes, someone needs to tell those guys they’ve been “destroyed.” They haven’t noticed. The Chinese haven’t noticed, President of the Socialist International Tony Blair hasn’t noticed, the Democratic congresscritters who are members of Democratic Socialists of America haven’t noticed, the numerous Greens serving in public office haven’t noticed, and the Socialist Party USA/Social Democrats USA apparatchiks—including former Reagan UN ambassador Jean Kirkpatrick, former Deputy Defense Secretary and now World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, and American Enterprise Institute honcho Joshua Muravchik— who make up the “neoconservative” movement which now dominates the GOP and US foreign policy haven’t noticed.

    Tom Knapp

  9. elle Says:

    I think folks need to realize that the Boston Tea Party is not intending to “break up” the LP - its more like a way for the more principled members of the party to collaborate and collect thoughts for change.

    That’s just my two cents on the matter.

  10. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Like a caucus?

  11. Rolf Lindgren Says:

    We have a guy (who is an acquaintance of mine) here in Wisconsin who started a new party several months ago, which I haven’t from since.

    Does Third Party Watch know of the Justice Party?

    New party generating immediate interest

    The Justice Party?

    Whitewater Man Creates New Political Party

    Beam Me Up, Bernie!

    btw – I went to high school in Whitewater.

  12. Phil Sawyer Says:

    There is certainly no need for another libertarian party. The main reason that the Libertarian Party is still a minor party is that its policies are so rigid that it turns off most mainstream voters.

    You anti-socialists should not be so quick to condemn the Socialist Party USA and others. As a card-carrying member of SPUSA, I can tell you that we have plenty of anarchists among us. Personally, I do not understand why they don’t migrate to the Liberatrian Party where they would fit in much better. However, we are a multi-tendency Party and we have all sorts of people involved. “Let a hundred flowers bloom.”

    One more thing, I voted for Elizabeth Keathly for Governor of California in November of 1974. She was the Peace and Freedom Party’s nominee for governor and was part of the libertarian faction of the Party. So, you all might want to look at us socialists as allies, not enemies.

  13. Richard G. Combs Says:

    put its feet back on the path toward organizational success

    But the LP wasn’t on the path to any kind of success—if you don’t recognize that, you’re delusional.

    As for socialism—well, I suppose the ideology is alive and well. Although a good counter-argument could be made (defensiveness of socialists re proven superiority of market economy, loss of absolute control over a billion people, etc.).

    I suspect Stuart was thinking in terms of political parties. Socialists have a long history of purging each other due to lack of “purity,” so that pretty soon the one true Socialist Party has become 17 splintered variants—e.g., “Revolutionary Trotskyite Socialist Workers Peoples Party.”

  14. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home Says:

    Oh no, the Reform Party affliction!
    The Constitutionalists, VETSparty, reform parties and now, Libs!
    2008: 451 minor and micro parties with 1327 adjunct groups.
    Ballots the size of telephone books!

  15. Tim West Says:

    The Ed Clark Campaign of 1980, even with Anderson in the race to split the vote 4 ways, was not successful? Going from 0 to 1.1 million votes in 9 years is not that shabby.

    The LP post 1983 didnt want political success. They had a cult of freedom to build instead.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Richard and Tim,

    The LP has, at various times, garnered various levels of success and attempted to exploit them for more. Clark in 1980, of course, was the high-water point, but as many problems as I had with Harry Browne’s campaigns, he DID bring the LP back up from the 1992 Andre Marrou low vote total and his supporters’ programs DID pump up the dues-paying membership numbers.

    No matter what the LP does, people will see problems with it—and those problems won’t be illusory, they’ll be real. Tim, Dr. Milsted and other RLC members saw real problems and came up with the more important part—solutions. I see problems, and I’m offering solutions. “The market” will decide which solutions work and which don’t—and one thing about the market is that there’s often room for competing solutions to both be successful … to a point. I view the BTP as more collaborative dissent than outright competition, but I’m sure it will take on shapes I haven’t anticipated, and that it will work—or not work—or both—as time goes on.

    I hate to be “in the middle,” but as Tim himself has pointed out, I tend to be a “practical purist,” and with the divisions in the party accentuating themselves in particular ways, I see an opportunity for the “purist” wing of the LP to re-examine itself, make itself better at what it DOES do well, and emerge in 2008 as one wing of a libertarian creature with a big-ass wingspan .

    Tom Knapp

  17. Rolf Lindgren Says:

    I’m still waiting for someone to form the Anarchy Party.

    Then a few years later, disgruntled anarchist purists will break off and form the Anarchy Reform Caucus.

  18. Jonesy Says:

    This is the most excited Ive been about the Libertarian Party in years. Ive never been a member, but I share the philosophy and use to get stuff in the mail. I never joined though because it was always obvious to me that they were too extreme to win (or even be minimally successful); I always thought of the LP as more of a ThinkTank than a real poltical party.

    I hope the reformers are successful, but from what Ive read they couldnt even get the nutty sounding “cult of the omnipotent state” out of the platform, which I think shows just how irrational the purists are. They did get alot of the planks removed though, so it seems to me like they were somewhat successful. I think the best thing that could happen for the LP is for Mr Knapp, with all due respect, to really start another party and hope the extremists all leave. I think only then will more reasonable people in the party be able to create something that has a chance to win.

  19. Jonathan Gullible Says:


    The neolibertarians could’ve easily started their own party, but chose instead to take over the Lp, leaving paleolibertarians no choice but to compromise their principles or leave the party. Essentially the neolibertarians laid claim to the name “Libertarian Party”, a name that for 30 years has been associated with paleolibertarian principles.

    It’s their party now, and anyone who can’t conform should get out, is the message I’m getting from them on nearly every forum.

  20. elle Says:

    Jonathan Gullible,
    I have one thing to thank the Reformers for – I didn’t know I was a so called “purist” until the aftermath of this Convention. Ever since I joined the LP I was aware of the purists vs. pragmatists problem. I saw a purist get chased out of a local party – I met him twice and he seemed to be very well organized and quite nice. But I still hadn’t seen enough to know how I felt on the matter.

    I figured the reformers would get rid of the pledge – not eliminate 44 planks completely.

    I wouldn’t say I’m a “purist” but I do consider myself a paleo libertarian. The reason being – I’m not sure how much you can chip away at something and still have an entity of substance left. I crave truth and righteousness and don’t feel this can be found without an organization that remains true to its founding principles.

    I know now exactly where I stand – something that I’m happy about!

  21. Gary Odom Says:

    I thought I would suggest the “Cult of the Omnipotent State” to my son as a name for his alternative rock band.

    The Libertarian Party is simply going through some growing pains in dealing with some of their issues just like we in the Constitution Party have been doing. I suspect both will survive and grow and begin to make life increasingly uncomfortable for the major parties in the not too distant future.

  22. Sean Scallon Says:

    Most Paleolibs, especially centered around the the Von Mises Institute at Auburn University won’t have anything to do with the LP either, especially when it runs candidates like Chief Wana Dubie for the Missouri state legislature or has members named Starchild.

    The people in charge or have strongly influenced the LP for the past 23 years have the pure libertarian/anarchists types that’s driven the party into irrelevency and have drawn weirdos to its banner that’s driven people away from the party. Jesse Ventura should have been a libertarian. But as he told a news reporter in an interview “I thought I was a libertarian too, but then I saw their platform. These guys are a bunch of anarchists.”

    Now, I don’t know the whole details of the platforms that have been replaced or what’s been thrown out. Obviously if there’s going to be a schism its got to be over serious policy divisions like the war on Iraq, not over legalizing prostitution or opium dens or because you lost the game fair and square and now you’re crying like a baby you didn’t get your way. Obviously if the LP starts supporting the war or the expansion of federal power because of it then it is becoming GOP light. But if not, it has a golden opportunity to draw in disgruntled conservatives and small “l” libertarians that vote for the GOP if it presents itself in a less-radical light like it was back in 1980. Or draw liberals who are also dsigusted with the rise of state power.

    But beyond this, the LP has to find and organize libertarian-leaning social groups to its banner. They’re all out there, they have communities, they just need to be engaged. The LP did not do this and the party suffered. The LRC needs to start organizing and concentrating its strength in libertarian places. This what the whole Free State Project is an attempt to do in New Hampshire. Running candidates everywhere who have zero chance of winning is not sound a strategy. The Greens are far more influential and far more success at influencing the debate because they are concentrated in placeds where they are strong and have organized their voting base. The LP or any legitimate schimatic party needs to do the same.

  23. Chris Moore Says:

    “Jesse Ventura should have been a libertarian. But as he told a news reporter in an interview ‘I thought I was a libertarian too, but then I saw their platform. These guys are a bunch of anarchists.’”


  24. Sean Scallon Says:

    To Chris Moore: I sorry I can’t be more specfic, but some newsshow back in late 1998 after he got elected to early 1999 when he first took office that was interviewing him, it might have been for one of the cable network. I’m sorry I can’t provide more detail of the where and when from that long ago but I do remember him making this statement.

    And if you think about it, it makes sense. There’s a reason why he ran with the IP (or Reform back then in Minnesota) rather than the LP

  25. Tim West Says:

    I am thinking that he might have said that on the old Arsinio Hall Show. I remember him saying that as well, but it wasnt on the news.

    Of course, I never dreamed in 1999 that I would have to quote a source to Chris Moore to prove I want lying about something I said in 2006, so I didnt turn on my VCR.

    Arsinio’s show really was’nt that funny – waste of a good tape.

  26. Otto Kerner Says:

    I predict that this Boston Tea Party will not, at any point, have any impact on anything.

  27. joe average Says:

    paleolibertarian??? WTF?!?

    the [expletive deleted] libertarian party is too [expletive deleted] small to have so many [expletive deleted] subgroups.

    no wonder they can’t get any [expletive deleted] thing done, they’re too busy trying to define themselves with a new [expletive deleted] term every few months!

    [expletive deleted]!

    if they would quit trying to cram everyone who joins into a [expletive deleted] subgroup they might just be able to grow their [expletive deleted] party!

    They’re more stringent in their [expletive deleted] ideology than the [expletive deleted] communists and about as welcoming as a [expletive deleted] root canal!

    That [expletive deleted] pledge completely throws away the their first amendment rights to petition the government for redress. The platform deserved to be gutted since it advocated anarchy.

    The BTP sounds like a good idea. It’ll probably overtake the LP in a few years and be much more viable. At least up to the point where they start excluding those who don’t think a certain way 100% of the time on 100% of their issues.

    [expletive deleted]!

  28. Chris Moore Says:

    “Of course, I never dreamed in 1999 that I would have to quote a source to Chris Moore to prove I want lying about something I said in 2006, so I didnt turn on my VCR.”

    Tim, I didn’t ask YOU to prove anything.

    Sean posted a direct quote that I had never heard nor heard about. I was curious about the source. I never called Sean a liar. I didn’t imply that he was a liar. And Sean, if you thought I was impling you to be a liar, then I apologize.

    But, remembering exactly what he said in one interview in 1999 is difficult.

  29. Chris Campbell Says:

    It is a shame, hopefully things will iron out. We work with LP a lot on common cause issues. The only thing I could hope for is that some of the LP folks might come over to CP-those that have our views, but joined LP.

    Where are the LP folks on here that thought the CP in fighting was funny??? Guess you are not laughing as much now

  30. Nick Wilson Says:

    “I hope the reformers are successful, but from what Ive read they couldnt even get the nutty sounding “cult of the omnipotent state” out of the platform, which I think shows just how irrational the purists are.”

    That’s because changing the statement of principles requires a 7/8ths vote.

    I posted this on Hammer of Truth, but I think it is equally relevant to this thread.

    Contrary to some comments, I think we have desperately needed to have an internal debate like this for 30 years. Right now the LP seems headed for full on war between the reformers (Libertarian Reform Caucus, current LP leadership) vs. the radicals (Radical Caucus, Rothbard Caucus, Boston Tea Party), and I am not sure where the party will be in two years. I really don’t want a bad term schism by one group or the other, as abrasive as I can get when talking to radicals. The fact is the groups have two radically different viewpoints on whether government has a role in our lives, how candidates should go about being elected and how they should use their power in office if they get there, whether being principled means always acting consistently with those principles vs. realizing that one cannot always get their long-term goals accomplished when they refuse to compromise in the short-term, if replacing evils with lesser evils is principled. In fact, we don’t agree on much with regards to running a political party.

    This has been a problem that has cost the LP many members over the years and has hindered our ability to be an effective party. I think we need some serious internal soulsearching as to whether we’d prefer to always be right or whether we’d prefer to be political and get political objectives accomplished. These are the two directions we are arguing about, and I feel like our effectiveness as a party will always be hindered until we take time to sort things out. As much as I hate to say it, because I think LP presidential candidates are the best nationwide publicity for the party, perhaps we should not run a presidential candidate in 2008 and instead devote our next convention to figuring out if we can work together or if we need to amicably go our separate ways. It doesn’t matter how many Americans don’t know about us when we don’t even know our own identity as a party.

  31. Austin Cassidy Says:

    I think the smarter thing might be some sort of emergency national meeting in 2007. This needs to be sorted out well before the 2008 convention so that the party can get together behind a strong Presidential nominee.

    I’m not always a huge fan of running Presidential campaigns… but besides the fact that ballot access in many states is at stake, it seems like 2008 will be a prime year for “alternative” candidates. People are fed up with both major parties. If there’s a time to strike and maybe break the million vote mark, I think 2008 is it.

    Also, you stated:
    “I think we need some serious internal soulsearching as to whether we’d prefer to always be right or whether we’d prefer to be political and get political objectives accomplished.”

    This is a bad argument because it gives “purists” the moral high ground right off the bat. The reform effort should be framed more as altering the platform to better represent the “average Libertarian” out there.

    I think there are many people who don’t feel that the more “pure Libertarians” are really more correct in their views. Private highways and fire departments, legalizing every single drug, and totally abolishing the income tax and replacing it with nothing seem like really bad ideas to many people.

  32. Carl Milsted Says:

    Jonesy: The “Cult of the Omnipotent State” language is some of the least nutty language in the platform. It’s actually true. Read Rousseau or Hegel. There is a cult. They teach how the state represents the “general will” in our colleges. I can proudly talk about the Cult in front of ordinary Americans and it makes sense to them.

    Yes, it is a bit of an obscure reference, but we can work with it.

    It’s the categorical language that abounds which gets us into trouble. Language calling for no taxes, or no eminent domain. These bads can and should be reduced dramatically, but there is a point of diminishing returns.

    The ultra-radical environmentalists make the same mistake regarding pollution and use of the land. However, the environmental movement has successfully fractured into many separate organizations. They have their ultra-radical protest groups and their political compromise groups. This is effective.

    We libertarians need to do the same thing. Divided we stand.

  33. Nick Wilson Says:

    “This is a bad argument because it gives “purists” the moral high ground right off the bat.”

    I don’t think it does, personally. I feel like it is less moral to be counterproductive to one’s own cause than it is to admit that not everything we want is acceptable at this time (and thus we must pick our battles). Attaining a libertarian future relies on libertarian political success; many purists seem not to care about political success at all. While politics often gets in the way of real solutions, that does not mean real solutions must conversely lack politics – without politics you don’t get to even propose your solutions, much less accomplish them. I think it is unprincipled if you kill your own chances to turn your principles from talk into action.

  34. David Aitken Says:

    The platform actually has a method of satisfying both factions, imo. Each plank has a Solutions section (better name – Long Term Vision) that could be written by the purists and a Transitions section (better name – Short Term Action Plan) that could be written by the pragmatists.

    David Aitken
    Platform committee member

  35. George Phillies Says:

    There are multiple reform factions, and grouping the current LP leadership before or after the convention with ‘reform’ or ‘purist’ appears to miss the point.

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  41. Michael Weinheimer Says:

    What needs to be done is to show where the two parties have gone wrong and how the Libertarian Party is a viable option.
    The Republicans and Democrats have no incentive to improve things because many Americans run to them like lemmings. Unfortunately, the LP has a hard time showing a viable option to jumping off a cliff.

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