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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bureaucrashed

Bureaucrash, which was founded in 2001 by entrepreneur Al Rosenberg and the now-defunct Henry Hazlitt Foundation, has been funded by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) (a long-time libertarian think tank), and was run by former Crasher-in-Chief Jason Talley (who runs the Motorhome Diaries with fellow CEI activist Pete Eyre), has been taken over by a neoconservative Republican. Lee Doren, who is the organization's new Crasher-in-Chief, claims to be a libertarian-conservative (which is ridiculous because the libertarian ideology is a different animal from the conservative one), yet his so-called "libertarian-conservative" positions are not sitting well with the bulk of the group's entire member base.

Since CEI has control of Bureaucrash and has obviously decided to take the organization in this statist direction, this has had a very detrimental effect on the favorable view and reputation that the group has had for years. The bulk of the membership has expressed utter outrage over Doren's appointment to his new position, which has led to many members threatening to bolt from BC if Doren does not either embrace the complete ideologically pure tenets of liberty, step down voluntarily, or is not terminated from that job.

This is what Doren wrote on the front page of BC's official website, even though he wrote a long missive in the form of an intellectually dishonest "mea culpa" from which this message is taken:

Dear Current Members of BureauCrash

Okay, mea culpa. I came in here as the new guy trying to hit the ground running and may have moved too quickly, so I’d like to address the concerns that you have about the future direction of BureauCrash. First, BureauCrash will be an open forum for debate and discussion about the intersection between liberty and politics. Moreover, it will continue to allow all types of pro-liberty political philosophy (and if socialists want to come in here to debate, I’m sure we’ll all be up for that). I am sensitive to the fact that many of you are worried that my personal political views are more from the traditional wing of the liberty movement, but I make no apologies for that. Liberty is a broad concept. I will not be revamping BureauCrash to turn into my own pet project. My goal is to broaden our discussion and activist base while maintaining current ideas and projects. While that task may be difficult, I am sure we can work together to accomplish this goal.


Many BC members have already terminated their Bureaucrash Social (a website which acts as a pro-freedom social networking tool that mirrors Facebook and Myspace in some respects) accounts, while voluntaryists like Ian Freeman of Free Talk Live have already declared that they will be pulling their accounts on Monday. I have already pulled my account from the website, and I no longer wish to be associated with an organization that is transforming from a libertarian one to a conservative one.

Doren, who was on FTL to respond to the questions about his new appointment, was scrutizined by Freeman, co-host Mark Edge, and occasional co-host and AnarchyInYourHead.com cartoonist Dale Everett because of his neoconish positions, which he disguises as "libertarian-conservative." At one point in the interview, Lee, when asked whether the military budget should be cut, says that he doesn't "have an opinion" on the issue. What a ludicrous position to have! This man is the head of a libertarian group, and if he is ever interviewed and gets asked about whether the budget should be reduced dramatically, he should have a position as to whether the budget should be cut or not. But this nitwit has no position on the matter, and, because of CEI's bungling, it shows that he is not a libertarian, let alone an individual who advocates voluntary activism and opposes the state and its bureaucratic nonsense.

It is also indicative of what has become of the libertarian movement, considering there are conservatives like Wayne Allyn Root and Lee Doren who call themselves libertarians when they are not.

This is the problem when libertarianism becomes mainstream. When the libertarian movement and its ideas become mainstreamed into society, they lose their true meaning and their essence. The movement no longer becomes one that has its own autonomy and its own uniqueness; it becomes a political movement that warps and even perverses the purity of its tenets. Thus, the word "libertarian" no longer means an advocate for individual freedom and the elimination of the state; it becomes an advocate for "limited government" (meaning that the government can be what the advocates want it to mean) and the reformation of the state.

As a result of its mainstreaming, when the tent of the movement is widened for people to enter it, then it becomes watered down and sounds not so radical so that interested parties that support the initiation of force will join it. Conservatives who like this new brand of libertarianism (a faux one that it is) will adopt it and dupe ill-informed and unwitting members of society to believe that, because, if these people believe in this brand of liberty, then all advocates of human freedom must share these beliefs as well.

The reason that they would see it that way is that human beings are irrational creatures, thanks to human nature. They make irrational and illogical associations all the time. This is the reason why the libertarian philosophy must be guarded and protected at all times!!! This is not about making personal attacks on conservatives and neoconservatives and their ilk; this is about protecting the libertarianism from bigotry, jingoism, nationalism, xenophobia, collectivism, and even statism.

As for Bureaucrash, I doubt that there is any chance of saving the group from itself or bringing it back to its glory days. I'm convinced that the second BC ventured into neocon territory, it was over for the group as a libertarian organization. The odds of restoring and rescuing it from implosion are little to nil. After all, as Pete Eyre of Motorhome Diaries said on the Peace, Freedom, and Prosperity Movement Radio show on BlogTalkRadio.com on Friday, June 5, 2009:

You ask the last thing, 'What can it be done to resurrect Bureaucrash?' I mean, personally, I don't think Bureaucrash can be resurrected as it was. I think the move by CEI has just made it too radioactive. Even if Lee was fired or he chose to leave and they brought in somebody good, like I think the damage is done.


Dale Everett said it best on his AnarchyInYourHead.com blog:

Sadly, the organization is not likely to simply fade away. Instead, by embracing the mainstream, it will probably grow, but it will have lost the edge that made it a special place for principled lovers of liberty. For now, it has chosen a quantity over quality approach when it comes to members, which I feel is very short-sighted, but then that depends on the goals of the owners. If their only goal is to grow membership, then perhaps they have chosen well. I just hope they have more meaningful goals than that.

If this new direction is not quickly changed, Bureaucrash will lose quite a few supporters, including Ian Freeman, host of Free Talk Live, and myself. I do not want Mr. Doren wielding the voice of Bureaucrash to distort the already diluted meaning of the word “libertarian”. If this mistake isn’t nipped in the bud, it is my opinion that Bureaucrash goes far beyond becoming unworthy of your support. They become an enemy.


The tragedy of it is that Bureaucrash has been "bureaucrashed." What a loss to the libertarian movement this has become!

For those of you who want to know what Lee Doren looks like and is like, check out this YouTube video I got from Everett's blog:



[Cross-posted at The Freeman Chronicles and Peace, Freedom, and Prosperity.]

2 comments:

Keith said...

Neocon? CEI isn't a neocon group and Lee Doren doesn't seem to be a neocon, either.

Anyway, BC was just about spread the word of freedom and doing little minor fun things about it. The clothes and stickers are still around. The Advocates for Self Government does something similar and it is still around. The Keene Freedom movement does something similar and it is still around. So it isn't like activist lost a great deal.

Pete Eyre said...

Really exhaustive post - good job. One thing I'd point to as an alternative to the now-defunct Bureaucrash is the decentralized community developing at the Free Agents Network (http://fr33agents.com & http://fr33agents.net), which was started by many folks that had been active on Bureaurash.

@Keith - good call re: the Advocates - they're an outstanding group and I support them wholeheartedly. Another option, if you do want to don liberty-oriented swag and help support an organization that advocates for freedom on all issues at all times, is http://fr33agents.ning.com/group/fr33labs