Eric Dondero and the Myth of the Pro-Defense Libertarian

**Updates to this post at bottom**

I received an e-mail this morning from Eric Dondero, the self-proclaimed Libertarian Republican. He asks the anti-war libertarians for our “moral support” for his group of supposedly pro-Defense libertarians as they wage their wars against the bad guys.

The short answer, from me at least, is no. I will not lend moral support to your bigoted hateful attacks on groups of people based on their race or ethnicity.

Dondero’s message is peppered with examples of rotten things done by the “enemy.” This is commonly known as propaganda. Here’s a good one:

Pakistani men are raping young British girls, because they “dress like sluts.”

This is a critical difference between us and them. No red-blooded white Christian American male has ever raped a girl because she dressed like a slut, right?

Dondero and the so-called pro-defense libertarians currently have Islamists broadly as the enemy of the moment. Anyone who follows history in the slightest will remember such stories used against Injuns (now politely called Native Americans), Huns, Japs (World War II and again in the 70s), Ruskies, to name a few. The Chinese are looming of course, so one wonders when the Donderheads will change the enemy on us.

Here’s another of Dondero’s examples:
In Uganda and Tanzania, Muslim groups are pressuring the governments to declare homosexuality illegal.

Funny. I remember in law school that homosexuality was illegal in many states, and that was affirmed by the US Supreme Court in the case Bowers v. Hardwick, 476 US 186 (1986). Here’s a quote from Chief Justice Burger’s concurrence:

[T]he proscriptions against sodomy have very “ancient roots.” Decisions of individuals relating to homosexual conduct have been subject to state intervention throughout the history of Western civilization. Condemnation of those practices is firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards.

It is true that Bowers was overruled in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), but there were three dissenters. So it’s nice that our “Christian” (or Judeo-Christian) country is starting to embrace the rights of homosexuals. Using that as a purported difference to justify war against Islam is just a little suspect.

Dondero also references “creeping Sharia” here in the US, with ridiculous examples that just can’t be true (and strangely missing links that might back them up).

A restaurant in Nashville was prevented from opening up a bar in the facility cause the Mosque across the street objected to the city council.

What was the nature of their objection? Did they object because of religion or something else? Hard to say because I can’t find any evidence of this story. Probably didn’t happen at all. I’d say I missed something in law school – something about establishment of religion – but I also missed the part in grammar school where the word “cause” is an appropriate abbreviation for “because.”

In Hamtramck, Michigan the Muslim call to prayer blares from speakers outside of 4 different Mosques in the tiny hamlet 5 times a day

I researched this one too. Appears to be a gross exaggeration and misleading as well. It dates back to 2004 when a mosque asked the city council for permission to do this. Critical quote from the real news story: “Muslims figured it was no different than Christians ringing church bells which incidentally ring just across the street from the mosque five times a day.”

Not to mention that the supposedly “tiny hamlet” of Hamtranck has a population of over 20,000, and is nearly half Muslim. But rather than recognize the rights of Muslims to their religion, Donderheads would probably say this is an example of them taking over. Paranoia and bigotry are hard to overcome.

In North Philadelphia the city has prevented any new liquor stores from opening up because of objections from the Muslim community.

Dondero can’t even read his own blog posts. Back in 2007 he posted about this but it was West Philadelphia, not North. And the actual stories in the Daily Pennsylvanian show a non-Muslim reason for the opposition – the new location was too close to a school and a religious institution (the mosque) under state law.

Yes, Muslims did oppose the liquor store. And we all know Christians have never voiced opposition to alcohol.

But enough of Dondero’s nonsensical examples. Let’s get to the meat of the issue, the supposedly pro-defense libertarians. There are many problems with this.

First of all, what you advocate is not defense. It’s offense. If you want to defend the borders of the United States, then most of us libertarians are with you. But you want to send US troops and our tax dollars overseas in your holy war of the moment. Mr. Dondero, if you want to arm yourself and venture over to Pakistan to kill the bad guys, none of us is going to stop you. But when you want our government to do so with our money and get our sons and daughters killed, then you’ve gone way across the line.

Second, even though there may have been or will in the future be causes worthy of US intervention for some of us, your war on Islam ain’t it. Ideologically pure libertarians may have more philosophical reasons for their opposition. I come from the practical side. I believe in small government because I don’t trust politicians, bureaucrats or generals to make big decisions.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s Reagan or Clinton, Obama or Bush. They all pursue unjust wars. In doing so they promote hatred of our country (even when we’re right) and increase the risk of terrorism here. You say “let’s fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here.” I say let’s stop messing with them over there so they’re not motivated to attack us here.

Maybe a big enough cause will come along some day, when the overwhelming majority of Americans support intervention overseas, that we’ll be with you. But when you get your wars with the support of 52% of the 42% who vote, that’s not enough to justify spending a trillion dollars on your witch hunt of the decade. You’re bankrupting our country and rendering us unable to fight that future just war.

Updates:
Chuck Moulton correctly points out that Dondero’s original message did not ask for support for government spending on the wars. He asked for moral support for private efforts against Islam and Sharia. I certainly will not provide moral support for Dondero’s message of hate.

Dondero also responded claiming that the US military is not engaged in “offense” because we are not annexing territory or exploiting the resources of the countries where we have troops. I’d say this is naive, but coming from Dondero it’s just dishonest. For one thing that doesn’t make it defense. But more important, our government consistently justifies our overseas presence as furthering our “strategic interests.” We are meddling and excuses don’t change that.

As for the “facts” in his e-mail, Dondero stands by them but fails to provide links or refute the points I made above.

8 Comments

  1. Great piece, Warren. Had exchanges with Dondero directly after The American Conservative censored my responses to some of his absurd nonsense.
    His fiscal conservatism and individual liberty planks are totally contradicted by his Pentagon Socialism, Pax Americana Empire endless warmongering.
    His alleged social tolerance is vitiated by his total anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism.
    Dondero has no reasoning arguments whatsoever except to scream
    “leftist” and “America hating” at ideological opponents.
    How did Ron Paul, whom I support, ever hire this idiot ?
    As an Irish-American Jew who lived in Tel Aviv, I love some things about Israel but it is a very racist, fascist society in many respects and getting worse. We should demand payback for the quarter trillion in US tax monies given to them and the libertarian forces in Israel want the US aid terminated because it is used to build illegal settlements and dispossess more Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.
    Ignorant anti-libertarians like the late John Hospers and the haters at the Ayn Rand Institute have contributed to this mass confusion about foreign policy in our ranks.
    First time at your site but not the last, keep up your great work.

    Marcy Fleming
    San Francisco

  2. Before I knew what a completely sociopathic, scheming jerk Dondero was, he invited me to stay at his house, when we both believed I was placing Gary Nolan on the ballot, in 2004. Dondero and I both supported Nolan, but for differing reasons. I supported Nolan because he had done an immense amount of legwork in Texas, where I was petitioning, even more than Badnarik, who lived in Texas. At every university, the kids actually knew who Nolan was, whereas they had no idea who Badnarik was. That level of dedication totally sold me, because I had been petitioning for over two years for the LP, and nobody ever knew who our candidates were, unless they self-declared themselves as libertarians.

    The LP chose Michael Badnarik instead, due to some scheming from the Chicago Libertarian Party Chair, Val Vetter (he had the convention rules changed to allow Badnarik to give his class on the constitution at the convention). The libertarians at the Convention saw a tired and “worn out” Gary Nolan, and a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Badnarik. They did not see all the new supporters Nolan had brought into the LP. They voted their ignorance.

    Anyway, back to Dondero. Dondero had just quit/been fired (controversy) by TX congressman Ron Paul. Ron Paul was a hero to the libertarian movement, and Dondero had angrily quit when Paul angrily said to him “You work for me!” (Which happened right after Dondero had issued a bunch of pro-war statements on Paul’s behalf.) As best I can discern, at this point, Paul chose to get rid of Dondero, and that “getting rid of” was done in some way that was “off the books” to avoid embarrassing either of them. So, Dondero was so dedicated to militarism that he quit a job as the Sr. aide to the most respected and best-known libertarian in the United States of America. Interesting.

    Back to the 2004 LP nomination: Dondero stated to me that the LP was “finished” if Badnarik won. I somewhat agreed, but thought he was exaggerating (and being his usual hyperbolic, over-emotional self) to some degree. When I left TX and returned to IL in the summer of 2004, Badnarik won, and Dondero claimed that he was now an “enemy of the LP.” For the rest of the year, he was a “Republican” who trashed the LP.

    In 2008, Dondero was a supporter of Rudy Guiliani, after Ron Paul famously decried the waste and insanity of US foreign policy. He formed a group called “libertarians for Guiliani” that was a total and complete joke, and never did much of anything, when Guiliani rapidly sank in the polls, following his debate with Paul. Dondero became a McCain supporter when McCain won the Republican nomination.

    While I was staying with Dondero in 2004, several things became completely clear:

    1) Dondero supports militarism above all else. He has stated this clearly, emphatically, and precisely to me, in person. When asked if he supports the US military above the libertarian cause, he said “Yes. …Absolutely.”

    2) Dondero believes that the ends justify the means. He is 100% OK with lying to serve his range-of-the moment (usually a few weeks) goal. He sees absolutely nothing wrong with this. (If he served the cause of liberty, I might agree with him, in order to avoid democide in the USA, but since he serves the cause of militarism and empire, I strongly disagree.)

    3) Dondero has a crude grasp of libertarian principles, and all of them are able to be jettisoned at a moment’s notice for the sake of winning whatever argument he’s currently engaged in. This makes him a costly and time-wasting debate opponent, and it further forces one to rely on the audience’s intelligence to identify fallacies in Dondero’s argument. (Dondero cares nothing about this –in any debate, he is there to score points using any and all fallacious argument, and leave). As an example of Dondero’s crude grasp of libertarian principles, when I said “The US would be immune from invasion and occupation if the 2nd amendment was respected and private arms carrying was encouraged.” He incredulously replied: “You want ‘gun guys’ to protect the US? (laughter) You’re crazy! Only the military can do that!” He then tried to drown me out with laughter when I cited the example of Switzerland in WWII, and the gun confiscations from Tutsis before the Rwanda massacres, etc…

    4) Dondero’s goals continually shift. He views this as “playing politics.” If he were vastly more intelligent, he’d be a Henry Kissinger type of sociopath. As it stands, he is a lower-level tool that our government appears to occasionally use against the Libertarian Party. For instance, he ended his friendship with me in an interesting manner. Although I had noticed his politics were inconsistent for some time, I had placed him in the camp of “wannabe objectivist” or “pro-war libertarian” and thought something to the effect of: “Well, he’s not a consistent libertarian, but he occasionally does some good things for the cause of liberty, even if it’s only making connections between actual libertarians.” Then, after the Paul v. Guiliani exchange, I talked with him on the phone, because he called me up wanting me to shill on internet message boards in favor of drug warrior, pro-war, anti-free speech, anti-libertarian Guiliani. I said: “You must be crazy. Guiliani is basically a nazi, and no libertarian would ever support him. This doesn’t mean that we can’t still be friends, but…” to which he cut me off, and said “Actually, Jake, it does” …and hung up. I thought to myself “Wow, Eric is really a sociopath. Oh well, good riddance to bad rubbish.”

    5) Eric is a collectivist. He didn’t support Bush on principle in 2004, and he didn’t later support Guiliani, McCain (and still later Bob Barr) on principle in 2008. In each case, he was throwing himself into politics based on what the collective had done, in debates and in their conventions. When he became a ballot access petitioner for Bob Barr (hired by Bill Redpath to disseminate the message that Libertarians are pro-war to thousands and thousands of people), he justified his immediate shift to being a Barr supporter in this way: “Bob Barr’s a great candidate! He’s pro-defense!” All of Barr’s ideas meant nothing to Dondero except one: does he mindlessly support enlarging and growing the size, power, and scope of the U.S. Military. YES. Ding! …Eric’s a supporter!

    6) Eric’s entire goal is to make the LP a mindlessly pro-military organization. This has nothing to do with “defense.” This has nothing to do with protecting the U.S. from undue theocratic influence (as it does for say, Leonard Peikoff), Islamic or otherwise. This has nothing to do with protecting the individual rights of gays or women, gun rights, free speech, etc… It has everything to do with defense of Eric’s tribe, his collective: the US military. The US Military paid and continues to pay Eric, and for that, he is their faithful servant. (Since this goal directly conflicts with the goals of the libertarian movement, and Libertarian Party, Eric should never ever be a paid representative of our party, ever again. He should never be a paid petitioner, ever again, because that amounts to him being a paid representative of the LP. Everyone who interacts with Dondero about the LP is told that the LP is basically a more militaristic version of the Republican Party that wants less government intervention on domestic soil.)

    Recently, Eric was running short of money. Petitioner Jane Harwell has several interesting stories about meeting him on a petitioning job in Texas, and befriending him.

    First, Eric asked her to come to lunch with him. She agreed, and thought they’d talk about the job, petitioning, etc… Instead, when Eric got to the restaurant, he said “Actually, Rush Limbaugh is on, so I can’t talk right now.” She ate in silence, amazed at how rude someone could be, just to listen to a crappy radio program designed to brainwash already mindless “dittoheads.”

    Second, Eric showed up one day at the petitioning location she had met him at, dressed as a firefighter. He put a boot out on the table, and put a sign under it that said something to the effect of “donations” or “help the cause.” All of the donations went directly into Eric’s pocket. When someone would contribute, he would say “God bless you! …You’re a great American!” …Eric has mastered Texas’ “folksy charm.” He has mastered this by interacting with well-meaning, uninformed, god-fearing Texans, and Americans all across the USA. By keeping him employed as a traveling sociopath/petitioner, the LP and other petitioning organizations have helped him do this (they just want the signatures, and don’t care much who collects them).

    Dondero’s reasoning goes like this: Those Texans who contributed to him WERE furthering the cause of liberty. …Because they were furthering the survival of Eric Dondero, the great libertarian crusader! By allowing Dondero to eat another day, those Texans were furthering the cause of liberty, by making the Libertarian Party more “politically viable” by making it more unquestioningly militaristic. (After all, a nation that doesn’t mindlessly support everything its military does is weaker than a nation that does!)

    These tortured mental gymnastics are truly worthy of the “South Park” character Eric Cartman.

    In Donderoland, the ends ALWAYS justify the means, and ALWAYS simultaneously result in serving Eric Dondero (by making him money, by making him seem important, by making him seem credible, etc…).

    These are characteristics of narcissism, and sociopathy.

    If I had less awareness of the Libertarian Party’s organizational structure, I might think that they would use this information to sheild themselves from the effects of hiring Eric. But since I know exactly how they work, I’ll just say:

    Gawd Bless Amer-kuhh

  3. Ed,The govenment has been printing money, devaluing the value of your existing fiat currency for years. This is the reasons that we came off of the gold standard. This is also the reason that silver was removed from coinage in 1965 (Dimes, Quarters, Halfs, and Dollars were 90% silver through 1964. Half Dollars were 40% silver through 1970). This is also the reason that copper was removed from pennies in 1982. Currently nickels have around 6 cents worth of nickel in them. How long do you think it will be before the metallic composition of the nickle changes?

  4. Warren, just want to say, I voted for you :). Wish you had won here in NY. We really need a true voice in Congress. That being said, here’s what I think of Eric Dondero.

    I had personal experience with this cretin during the 2008 election cycle. He spammed my yahoogroup until we were forced to remove him. He then began to harass me through e-mail. He was balistic about my support for Dr. Paul. He was mean and nasty. I felt he was a prime example of the dangers we are confronted with. I did not reply to him for quite awhile.

    Eventually, I replied to him in a way that infuriated him. My reply consisted of the lyrics to Phil Collins’ song, “In the Air Tonight”, check it out. This sent him over the edge. he spewed hatred at me for my support of Ron Paul. My e-mail began to be spammed so badly that I had to discontinue using it. But not before I marked his address as spam.

    At the time, I considered that this guy was probably an aipac shill, assigned to be Dr. Paul’s handler, when he came to Congress. I believe Dondero tried to corrupt the man for a long time (which was his job, in my view, I believe this is how aipac gets their claws into so many of our representatives). I’m fairly sure that this type of infiltration & corruption is routine in washington. Finding Dr Paul uncorruptable, he did whatever damage he could, and I think we may be seeing this still playing out.

    I have some question about some of the people on Dr. Paul’s campaign staff. I wonder about some of the decisions made & the recent bizarre third place showing in Iowa, when Paul was clearly the frontrunner. I wonder about some decisions made, by some within the campaign, that appeared to facilitate the blatant theft of Dr. Paul’s first place standing.

    I also wonder about some of those racist newsletters. Dondero was around at the time. This is precisely the type of deception that mossad revels in.

    I don’t know. Just my thoughts about this. Am I conspiracy minded? Certainly. Unashamedly, unabashedly. There are conspiracy theories. Then there are conspiracy facts!

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