Governments benefit from the use of informants because they can send innocent men and women to prison, tarnish the collective reputations of various political factions, destroy any trust between individual political dissidents, and corrupt entire societies. They can lie with near total impunity because of the legal protections afforded to them, much like the gendarmerie. Unfortunately, nearly anyone can be turned into, or otherwise volunteer to become, a snitch.
Ian Freeman, the individual pictured here, is a political agitator who is best known as the de facto spokesman for the Free State Project (FSP) up in New Hampshire because of his Free Talk Live radio show. Through his various scrapes with an assortment of government agencies regarding such activities as Robin Hooding, getting his driver’s license suspended indefinitely, and being arrested for having a couch on his lawn, Mr. Freeman, who is acknowledged in nearly every government document that has been released by Free Keene as being one Ian Bernard, has acquired quite a reputation amongst dissidents (“street cred” as it were), particularly for his civil disobedience. You would think that Bernard would be above reproach, but alas, such is not the case.
One of the unanswered questions lingering in mind as a result of The Free State Project Censorship Debacle was:
“Is there a ‘libertarian’ snitch network in place? What ever happened to the principle of being able to confront your accuser? Who are these people ‘making complaints?’ More importantly, what are their names?”
Lo and behold, I was able to get an answer to that, at least with regards to Larken Rose, whom Jody Underwood confirmed, in her interview with George Donnelly, was already under investigation by the FSP board. During the Use of Force debate at Keenvention 2013, one of the panelists, none other than Ian Bernard himself, said:
“As you may or may not know, the Free State Project board voted to remove Chris Cantwell because of some rhetoric of a violent nature that appeared on his blog, ChristopherCantwell.com. I disagreed personally with the board’s decision to do that, even though I was the one who put in the request to have a look at Larken Rose as well.”
Wait a minute, did Bernard just admit to being the individual whom Underwood previously referred to as “that somebody [who] submitted a complaint to us about him [Larken Rose]?” And what did Bernard mean when he said “as well?” Was he also implying he snitched on Chris Cantwell too? It’s already public knowledge how Underwood attempted to intimidate Cantwell into recanting his statements, yet it’s rather interesting how Cantwell prefaced his email exchanges with her:
“On the morning of August 9th 2013, I was contacted by Ian Freeman of Free Talk Live. He told me that the ‘FSP Board’ wanted my contact information. I thought that was really funny, because I’m facebook friends with most if not all of the FSP Board, and they know how to contact me.”
Why would Bernard tell Cantwell that Underwood would need his email address? More importantly, how did Bernard know earlier than Cantwell that the FSP board was going to act against him? Is it unreasonable for me to assume that it was because Bernard was the individual who filed a complaint with the FSP board against Chris Cantwell in the first place?
In light of these startling new revelations, I decided to call into Free Talk Live on December 5th. After congratulating Bernard and his fellow Robin Hooders on their recently dismissed court case that was filed against them by the City of Keene, I asked the following question about 45 minutes into their broadcast (what you are about to read is a transcript of my call-in; be advised that corrections have been made to reduce speech disfluency and thus make it easier for you to read):
Kyle Rearden: At the Use of Force debate in Keenvention 2013, one of the panelists, Ian Freeman, said at approximately one hour and fifty minutes in, “As you may or may not know, the Free State Project board voted to remove Chris Cantwell because of some rhetoric of a violent nature that appeared on his blog, ChristopherCantwell.com. I disagreed personally with the board’s decision to do that, even though I was the one who put in the request to have a look at Larken Rose as well.” What I wanted to ask you nice folks was, is it a recommended practice that such requests be put in on fellow libertarians?
Ian Bernard: Is it a recommended practice? I don’t know what that really means; what are you getting at there?
Kyle Rearden: Well, I’m just really more seeking clarification about why anybody would put a request into the FSP board to investigate, or look into the rhetoric of, a fellow libertarian.
Ian Bernard: I can answer that question. I’m Ian Freeman, I was the one who made that statement during that discussion; so, we’ll give you a little history here. It was the summer time, I think, when this transpired, probably August (or somewhere around there), where Chris Cantwell made a post on his blog that was very controversial, it had to do with advocating violence against the police, I think…wait, was it Cantwell’s blog, or was that posted on Copblock? It was somewhere like that…but anyway, word got around and people were pretty upset by it, and essentially the Free State Project does not welcome people who advocate violence as a solution. So, somebody decided that Chris Cantwell should be removed, I guess it was FSP project board, decided he should be removed from his membership as a result of that. Personally, I thought they should have censured him, if anything, and made a statement about how they felt it was inappropriate, but they felt that it would be most appropriate to remove him, and so I figured, well, if that’s the case, then they really should be reviewing Larken Rose as well, because Larken Rose has just as violent rhetoric, if not more so, and the Free State Project actually lets Larken Rose speak at their events, so to me, if they are going to remove Chris Cantwell for saying something on a blog they don’t like, then they should also remove, if they going to be consistent, they should also remove Larken Rose because not only has he said very similar things to Chris Cantwell in that he advocates violence as a solution to the State, but they should remove Larken Rose in order to remain consistent with that policy. Again, I don’t think they should’ve removed Cantwell in the first place, but if they’re going to, they should be consistent.
Kyle Rearden: Now, just to clarify, I don’t know if anybody ever brought this up, but is Larken Rose a member of the Free State Project?
Ian Bernard: He is, yes.
Kyle Rearden: Okay, well, I mean, as you can see, obviously there is a lot of controversy regarding Cantwell, and I was just surprised Larken Rose was dragged into it, but I don’t know, it’s just….
Ian Bernard: The reason he was dragged into it is because the Free State Project is acting…if they don’t remove Larken Rose, then they’ll be hypocritical because on one hand, they say they don’t want members who advocate violence, but on the other hand, they have as a member someone they invite to speak at their events who advocates violence, so do you see the contradiction there?
Kyle Rearden: Sure, and it also reminds me of an interview George Donnelly did with Judy Underwood, who is one of the board members, where she admitted a lot of things, but one of them that I just remembered off the top of my head is that, once you’re a member of the Free State Project, and especially if you’re an early mover, “when you get here you do what you do,” I think where her words. So, I don’t know, it seems to me like Cantwell, who was an early mover, arrived and does what he does, yet, there was an attempt at censure, and because he didn’t bend down to that, he was ostracized; and so, it seems very strange was all, so I was just kinda curious how all that hung together.
Mark Edgington: I don’t support the Free State Project having taken Cantwell off the rolls either, not for any reason other than, that’s exactly what he wanted.
Ian Bernard: Yeah, he wanted the attention.
Mark Edgington: He timed his statements, he targeted his statements regarding the Bearcat, while the Free State Project was taking, frankly, its first and greatest step into the arena of public relations and media, trying to get behind this Bearcat thing, because it had been named specifically, and I think it was a well-timed thing. Cantwell, a master of getting the spotlight of off other people and onto him, said yeah, I think we should blow’em up! and did his thing, We should shoot us a few mailmen! and the things that he does. As far as I am concerned, it’s trollish behavior; it’s brilliant trollish behavior, but it’s trollish behavior nonetheless. The Free State Project took the bait, kicked him out, like he wanted to be kicked out; he made all kinds of morehay out of it. It’s to the point where Cantwell was getting more hits than Reason.com on his blog.
Kyle Rearden: Well, could you help me find out what the Free State Project’s definition of self-defense is? Because if I were to join the Free State Project, I don’t want to run afoul of the rules, as I assume there would be a sort of contract I would be entering into; so, is there anyway I can see what their statements are about that?
Mark Edgington: It’s not a contract, but I’m sure the Free State Project has it on their website.
Kyle Rearden: Well, I tried looking for it and I can’t find it anywhere….
Ian Bernard: The Free State Project does not take positions on issues.
Mark Edgington: But this is self-defense, though.
Ian Bernard: But they do not take positions on issues, and if you go to the Free State Project’s website, the Statement of Intent is very simple, it just says that you’ll move to New Hampshire and exert the fullest practical effort to achieve a society in which the government does nothing more than protect life, liberty, and property.
Mark Edgington: I don’t think you have to worry about getting kicked out. So far, there have been two people; Christopher Cantwell and a guy who advocated sex with children.
Ian Bernard: Was there only two? I thought it was like three.
Mark Edgington: Only two I know of.
Ian Bernard: Yeah, so really, if you believe in self-defense, that’s certainly your perspective, but if you come right out and start talking about killing government agents, that’s probably gonna cross a line.
Mark Edgington: Especially right in the midst of the controversy over the Bearcat.
Ian Bernard: I hope that clarifies things for you, Kyle. Thanks for the call tonight.”
Thus ended my call-in, for the music was fading in for a commercial break, thus precipitating their hang-up on me.
There are multiple earth-shattering admissions made by both Barnard and his lackey, Mark Edgington, here:
- First, Bernard completely admitted to what he said at Keenevention 2013 and was totally unapologetic about ratting out Larken Rose to the FSP board (and more likely than not, Chris Cantwell too).
- Second, Bernard also admitted that Larken Rose is a member of the FSP, so the FSP board’s power to investigate complaints levied by one of its members against another, and then possibly censure or ostracize those “guilty” members, is thankfully limited to in-house matters.
- Third, signing the Statement of Intent (which is how you become a Free Stater in the first place) is not evidence of a contract you would’ve otherwise been entering into with the FSP. I think this demonstrates that even if the FSP did acquire those 20,000 sign-ups eventually, those of whom that choose to renege would totally be left off the hook since there would be no accountability for what would have been a breach of contract, simply due to the fact that there is no contract; this also calls in serious question what “authority” the FSP board has over Larken Rose, or any other member of the FSP, for that matter, because there is no contract.
- Fourth, notice how when I called out Jody Underwood for contradicting herself when she told George Donnelly “when you get here, you do what you do,” Edgington immediately shifted the focus onto how Cantwell allegedly is a sensationalistic media whore (which, again, may very well be true, but regardless is not the reason I vociferously defend his position), and that as such, according to Edgington, he got what he deserved when he was ostracized because he wanted it.
Notice also how Bernard keeps referring to Rose, Cantwell, and anyone else like them (which of course would include yours truly, besides many others) with slurs like “violence advocates,” “people who advocate violence as a solution,” or otherwise as miscreants “advocating violence as a solution to the State.” Gee, isn’t that rather strange? I could’ve sworn that the phrase “advocates [for] violence” was a term the corporate whore media originally coined (perhaps Bernard simply imprinted off of it like a good baby duck?). I never would’ve thought that a man calling himself a libertarian would seriously denigrate anyone else who promoted self-defense as being a “violence advocate.” Notice also the implied threat towards the end of my call-in when Barnard said:
“If you believe in self-defense, that’s certainly your perspective, but if you come right out and start talking about killing government agents, that’s probably gonna cross a line.”
What “line” would be crossed, exactly? Committing incitement or sedition? Experiencing the same fate as Schaeffer Cox who made very specific threats against particular government agents, which neither Rose nor Cantwell ever did? Stepping on the toes of the FSP’s self-conscious propaganda image? Something is motivating Bernard and his fellow cohorts to push this diatribe, but what is it?
Perhaps it would serve us well to understand his background. As a child, Bernard attended the local government indoctrination center incorrectly referred to as a “public school,” where he was exposed to such manipulative pro-snitching campaigns like D.A.R.E. Following his “libertarian-leaning” inclinations, Bernard worked for the Libertarian Party, and specifically on one of Harry Browne’s presidential campaigns. In 2001, he signed the FSP’s Statement of Intent, and in 2006, became an early mover when he relocated to Keene, New Hampshire. Paralleling his political development, Bernard spiritually evolved from his Presbyterian roots through atheism, eventually arriving at panentheism.
Bernard enjoys many and sundry roles as an agitator up in New Hampshire. As a participant in the FSP, he signed the Statement of Intent, which states:
“I hereby state my solemn intent to move to the State of New Hampshire within 5 years after 20,000 Participants have signed up. Once there, I will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of individuals’ life, liberty, and property.”
Officially, what this means is that the FSP is a reformist endeavor, an attempt to legally subvert the government of New Hampshire, who after infiltrating it, will do such things as decriminalize cannabis, lower taxes, and reduce deficit spending (which I’m all for, because government run amuck inevitably ends in democide, and any serious attempts to rollback state power is also an attempt at avoiding democide). Following his move to the Shire, Bernard gained notoriety as the primary host of Free Talk Live:
“A Florida native who started in radio at 17, Ian made the move to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project in 2006. By day he is the affiliate relations department for Free Talk Live. He’s also a blogger at FreeKeene.com and the Program Director of LRN.FM – the Liberty Radio Network. Ian actively encourages liberty-loving people to declare their independence from the coercive system and move to the Shire. Ian appreciates his influences in the radio industry. To give credit where credit is due, special recognition goes out to Bob Garrett, Lionel, The Love Doctors, Phil Hendrie, Harry Browne, and Dan and Scott.”
To compliment his own live broadcasts, he assists other libertarians in hosting theirs through his other role as the program director of the Liberty Radio Network. Bernard also blogs and shoots video as part of the local Free Keene media collective:
“Ian is the program director of LRN.FM and hosts ‘Free Talk Live‘. As a minister in the Shire Free Church, it’s his mission in life to effectively communicate and propagate the ideas of peace, love, and liberty, and to have fun doing it. Ian founded the Free Keene blog in late 2006 after moving to the Shire as part of the Free State Project.”
Bernard also became a minister following his conversion to panentheism. In order to become ordained, one must sign the Shire Society Declaration (just as any member of the Shire Society must do) and also agree with the Shire Free Church’s mission and statement of beliefs, which are respectively:
“We don’t claim to have all the answers. We are open to all peaceful people. We want to learn from each other. It is our mission, inspired by God, Allah, the Universe, and the inner light – to foster peace. We understand that in order to have peace in the world, one must have it inside oneself first – the ‘purification of the soul’, as our Muslim friends call it.”
“What unifies the Shire Free Church and its diverse members is peace, love, and liberty. There are many paths to God – one for every individual. The Shire Free Church does not define a specific path beyond those parameters that must be your foundation: peace as your way, love as your guide, and liberty as your light.”
As if those roles weren’t enough, Bernard was also spotlighted recently as one of the Robin Hooder defendants who were successful in getting their case dismissed on free speech grounds (ironically, this is the very same Bernard who publicly told me that he would have preferred the FSP board to have censured Cantwell instead of ostracizing him, thus blatantly contradicting himself in terms of his attitude towards the inalienable natural liberty of free speech). To briefly recap, Bernard has the following roles:
- Free State Project member
- Free Talk Live radio show host
- Liberty Radio Network program director
- Free Keene blogger & videographer
- Shire Free Church minister
- Robin Hooder
Needless to say, he is one very busy fella with the half dozen hats that he wears.
Once he set up shop in Keene, Bernard caused some grief for local governments almost incessantly. He was once arrested for conducting a drinking game during a Keene city council meeting, ostensibly for “disorderly conduct.” On another occasion, Bernard was arrested for video recording inside the Palmer, Massachusetts town hall, although the official reason by the government was allegedly for “disorderly conduct” (although the so-called “peace” officer could have easily charged him with violating their wiretapping statute since Massachusetts is an “unanimous consent” state, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Part IV, Title 1, Chapter 272, section 99). Due to a complaint filed by an anonymous neighbor, Bernard was eventually arrested over having a couch on his lawn, although the official reason was for “contempt of court.” Occurring alongside the Robin Hooder saga, Bernard was successful at getting his driver’s license administratively suspended indefinitely for, ironically, failure to establish residency, even though the original residency charges in court were formally dropped.
I think it would be useful to briefly examine the political tactics that Bernard typically uses. As the de facto salesmen for the FSP, Bernard advocates political migration (also known as “voting with your feet”). He has run for local elected office to become a Keene city councilman (at large), and interestingly enough, he is also a secessionist. He is very big on proselytizing through the alternative media, as he is about filming government agents. Seemingly familiar and somewhat adept at navigating the monopoly criminal injustice system, Bernard represents himself in court and files motions with ease. Bernard once said he even filed a fee schedule against the government (fee schedules, as I have written about before, are simply the product of an inaccurate misunderstanding regarding the applicability of the Uniform Commercial Code; an interpretation of which is usually provided by the so-called “Freeman-on-the-Land” and “Sovereign Citizen” useful idiots and scam artists).
Spiritual beliefs can be just as revealing about a person’s motivations than their political philosophy, if not more so. As a minister of the Shire Free Church, I doubt he would have a problem with anyone in the public arena bringing this up, so I would like to venture that as a panentheist, he might also dabble in some New Age philosophizing, as evidenced by his affection for quantum physics and psychedelic narcotics. Yet, at the same time, he also preaches a good line about “peace” incessantly. “Peace, Love, and Liberty” is a common refrain I’ve noticed again and again on nearly every website he has had his hand in. What does he mean by “peace,” though? As Bernard himself explains:
“When I moved, I was still really angry at the state people. They’d lied and lied. Some would kill and hurt peaceful people every day here and around the globe. I had thoughts frequently about taking them out before they take me out – that kind of violent fantasy.”
Okay, thus far he seems to have a normal human reaction to tyranny and oppression. So what happened to him? He elaborates:
“I don’t think that way anymore. I found peace. Why and how?”
Yes, please tell us; I’m dying to find out:
“I was scared. The state people are dangerous and their belief system justifies endless aggression without any real responsibility. They have guns and cages and aren’t afraid to use them. Fear can lead to anger and anger to violence, especially if one feels cornered and alone, as I did in Florida, where there were few activists and no hope for liberty-oriented change.”
Leaving his Yoda impression aside, I don’t understand why the concept of “safety in numbers” in any way by itself would be able to secure anyone’s Liberty. Maybe he’ll finally lay out his reasoning:
“Moving to New Hampshire was the right choice for so many reasons. One of them is how small and low-population it is. Keene only has about forty police officers. It is impossible to look at them as part of a faceless inhumane machine. They’re humans. They have feelings and families. Unfortunately their job involves aggressing against peaceful people, and that needs to stop, but peacefully. Violence is not the answer as it only brings more violence. I’m so glad I abandoned my anger. I have enjoyed getting to know and create relationships with many of the ‘law enforcement’ officers in this area. I think many of them will make fine protection agents in the future free market of ‘the Shire’.”
Still not really much of an answer thus far, although his pacifism is really beginning to shine pretty clear here. Not only that, but he seems amenable to hand-holding government agents (like how Oathkeepers and the so-called “constitutional sheriffs” do), which is another tell-tale sign of reformism. But would those cops be just as lenient towards Bernard for being a druggie? Let’s see:
“The positive, courageous people I met in the FSP are only one part of how I found peace. The other involves finding spirituality through altered states via various chemicals, both empathogenic and entheogenic.”
See? I wasn’t defaming Bernard’s appreciation of psychedelic narcotics at all when I mentioned it earlier because he just admitted to it right there. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to take Jeremiah 6:14 (KJV) seriously at all, preferring instead to be placated into complacency. More importantly though, does any of this concretely tell us why Bernard is a pacifist? If we look a little further, we find that Bernard says:
“Remain at peace and love the aggressor. Let them know they are wrong, but do it with care. The state-believers are our confused brothers and sisters. Forgive them.”
There you go; this is the reason (or cover story?) for why Bernard is vehemently against self-defense. It’s because he views those government agents, who routinely and unapologetically practice tyranny and democide, as simply being the equivalent of “confused” family relatives! So, all the incrementalization, compartamentalization, balkanization, predictive programming, false-flag operations, Hegelian dialectics, left-right paradigms, fractional reserve lending, austerity, the warfare–welfare state, and controlled opposition are simply the products of “confused brothers and sisters?” Does he seriously assume that sympathetic statists, who blindly cheer for their oppressors, are the same people as government agents who financially benefit from tyranny? How dumb and ignorant does Bernard think his audience is?
At this juncture, I would like to remind everyone of the actual libertarian position on self-defense. John Locke said about living in a state of nature that:
“Every one, as he is bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his station wilfully, so by the like reason, when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another.”
That sounds like an affirmation of self-defense, but surely that doesn’t include killing, right? Au contraire:
“That, he who has suffered the damage has a right to demand in his own name, and he alone can remit: the damnified person has this power of appropriating to himself the goods or service of the offender, by right of self-preservation, as every man has a power to punish the crime, to prevent its being committed again, by the right he has of preserving all mankind, and doing all reasonable things he can in order to that end: and thus it is, that every man, in the state of nature, has a power to kill a murderer, both to deter others from doing the like injury, which no reparation can compensate, by the example of the punishment that attends it from every body, and also to secure men from the attempts of a criminal, who having renounced reason, the common rule and measure God hath given to mankind, hath, by the unjust violence and slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against all mankind, and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or a tyger, one of those wild savage beasts, with whom men can have no society nor security: and upon this is grounded that great law of nature, Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.”
I don’t see why cops who murder drivers (such as what happened to Michael Hill) get to enjoy a special exemption from their just punishment while your random serial killer does not. Henry Thoreau expanded upon this when he said:
“All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable…[i]n other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subject to military law, I think it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.”
Obviously, Thoreau was referring to the “peculiar institution” of race slavery as well as the Mexican-American War, which was the reason he was incarcerated overnight, because he refused to pay a poll-tax that would fund the war. Over a year ago, I suggested how one can prepare for combat:
“With regards to training yourself how to deal with violence, there are some initial steps that you can do. I would first suggest that you mentally visualize how if an attacker were to strike mano-a-mano just as you walk into the next room, what exactly could you grab within reach that could serve as an improvised melee weapon? What could be pressed into service as an impact or penetration weapon, what furniture could be used as cover or concealment; also, what could be a distraction thrown at your opponent? Hypothetically postulating different scenarios to yourself is invaluable in mentally preparing for combat.”
Sadly, a minority sub-faction of libertarians have been successful at pushing the idea of a so-called “peaceful evolution” towards freedom. Lew Rockwell has confused the issue further when he stated:
“I think that comes from Obama and Romney, doesn’t it? I mean, aren’t they the ones always advocating war to make a change? Aren’t they the ones who take up arms against anybody who…you know, this is the bunch that claims the right to kill you if you sufficiently resist paying your library fine. They’re the violent ones! So, yes, there are private criminals, but they’re nothing like the public criminals; so, absolutely, that’s the government’s mode of operation – killing people – that’s not our mode of operation…I think we always have to be non-violent, that’s our basic principle. We don’t want violence. The only time violence is justified is in defense, it is never justified in offense.” – The Lew Rockwell Show #319
Does Rockwell’s position jive with what Locke and Thoreau said? Let’s now look again at what Christopher Cantwell wrote in Concord Police, Go and Get Your Bearcat:
“The government doesn’t much care if you are peaceful or not, all they care about is if you are obedient. Free Staters are not being labeled as terrorists because they are violent; they are being labeled as terrorists because they are disobedient…[d]eep down, Free Staters know this, and that’s why they’re Free Staters. They see this injustice, they want it to stop, and so they are coming together to make a stand against it. The only problem is, now that they have come together, they have absolutely no idea what to do, because their vision of a peaceful evolution to a voluntary society is being shattered on an almost daily basis by government violence. That violence is all too sure to escalate, as the government agents of New Hampshire and elsewhere acquire more advanced and sophisticated technology to oppress these peaceful activists, and the population in general. So what to do? It’s a terribly unpopular thing to say, but the answer, at some point, is to kill government agents. The government agents know that, and that’s why they want a tank.”
Does Cantwell’s position jive with what Locke and Thoreau said? Let’s now reexamine what Larken Rose wrote in When Should You Shoot a Cop?:
“Now ask yourself the uncomfortable question: If it’s wrong for cops to do these things, doesn’t that imply that the people have a right to RESIST such actions? Of course, state mercenaries don’t take kindly to being resisted, even non-violently. If you question their right to detain you, interrogate you, search you, invade your home, and so on, you are very likely to be tasered, physically assaulted, kidnapped, put in a cage, or shot. If a cop decides to treat you like livestock, whether he does it ‘legally’ or not, you will usually have only two options: submit, or kill the cop. You can’t resist a cop ‘just a little’ and get away with it. He will always call in more of his fellow gang members, until you are subdued or dead.”
Does Rose’s position jive with what Locke and Thoreau said? If so, then what exactly are Bernard and Underwood getting their knickers up in a twist over? As Rose brilliantly explained in his follow up piece, When Should You Shoot a Civilian?:
“If somebody attacks you, you have the right to defend yourself; whether he has a badge or not doesn’t enter into the morality of the issue…and the fact that so many people literally can’t think about this, can’t talk about this, in any context where the attacker has a badge, shows just how thorough authoritarian indoctrination is…[t]he entire reason I made that video is to demonstrate [that] most people literally have been trained to not be able to think about the possibility that if somebody wearing the label of ‘authority’ commits aggression, you have the exact same right to defend yourself as he was just some guy off the street. If some civilian attacks you, you have the right to defend yourself. If a guy with a badge attacks you, he’s still just a person, morality still applies exactly the same, you still have the right to defend yourself.” [emphasis added]
His observation that those who decry self-defense are suffering from authoritarian indoctrination is absolutely correct. If you think about it, government propaganda has always promoted citizen disarmament as the necessary prelude to inevitable democide (police brutality against individuals like Oscar Grant and Jose Guerena being just two examples of such democide).
In light of all the information herein presented, it does beg the following key question – why did Ian Bernard snitch on Larken Rose to the FSP board? Let’s examine all the possibilities:
- Was Bernard afraid of any potential consequences that might be initiated by the government because of the “bad” PR Rose would be giving the FSP by association? Considering Bernard’s habitual disobedience to government, this is very unlikely, even with such allegedly “bad” PR.
- Does Bernard have some sort of personal grudge against Rose? Again, I don’t think this is likely because they never cross paths, so Bernard would have nothing to gain by trashing Rose.
- Did Bernard let his pacifist idealism motivate him into filing a complaint against Rose? I think this is very likely, especially when you consider Bernard’s misguided panentheism as the reason why he prefers to hand-hold government agents instead of resisting them; however, I don’t think this is a sufficient explanation by itself.
- Is Bernard a government informant and/or agent provocateur? Given his multiple roles within the Shire, this is quite probable, as he would have the ideal springboard to launch his psyops while still retaining a perceived legitimacy (much like Rick Light); however, there is no proof demonstrating this. There has neither been any publicly available or leaked evidence of a handler or handling government agency running him as an intelligence asset, nor evidence of compensation either in the form of payment or an “adjudication withheld” as a condition of a plea bargain.
Having firmly ruled out the first two possibilities (including Bernard being a revenge snitch), let’s now consult Vortex to more accurately gauge the likelihood of the last possibility. As Gary Hunt describes a few methods of disruption used by controlled opposition:
“Discredit those who might bring attention to government tactics by suggesting questionable behavior, or, accusations, that will occupy them and remove them from any effective contribution to the patriot community.
“Create division, wherever possible, any organization that begins to grow and may become effective. If possible, splinter the group into two, or more, factions, so that they don’t flee elsewhere, and the government can retain controlling interest, or at least positions of influence, within each faction.
“Use of a group the government has control of to create conflict with another group, creating doubt, disenchantment, and perhaps, dissolution of the targeted group.
“Use of ‘trolls’ on Internet discussion groups and other forums to detract from discussions that might cause some to think; includes ridiculing opponents, specious arguments, diversion from the subject of discussion, and other tactics intended to discourage active participation in what might otherwise be productive discussions.”
Do any of these describe what Bernard and the circled wagon crew comprising the 5-man FSP board have done? If so, perhaps I’ve been much too lenient towards Bernard in just assuming, on good faith, that he just simply let his pacifism run amuck. Since libertarians rebuke the initiation of force, especially that which has been done by way of government, perhaps the act of initiating force by way of the FSP board should be considered as a violation of the much revered Non-Coercion Principle.
What are the implications of Ian Bernard snitching on Larken Rose to the FSP board? Here are some observations to consider:
- First, it would seem to be the case that there are cowardly pseudo-libertarians who have infiltrated genuinely libertarian (even if reformist) organizations with the apparent design of subverting them from within, causing unnecessarily discord, just as has happened to the patriot faction. They do this by denouncing key libertarian principles, and then they having the gall to to lie about them by unilaterally declaring those principles as not being libertarian, but somehow statist instead.
- Second, there is no set of objective rules with which these cowardly pseudo-libertarians will abide by. Notice how Jody Underwood ridiculously contradicted herself regarding not only her claim that “when you get here, you do what you do,” but also the representativeness of the FSP board on behalf of its membership (when you also factor in Edgington’s assertion that the FSP’s Statement of Intent is not a contract, then if he is correct, it would mean that any decision by the FSP board against any of its membership is automatically brought into serious question).
- Third, messianic figureheads for these cowardly pseudo-libertarians typically eat their own by betraying their own followers. I would like to remind everyone about the RonPaul.com Censorship Scandal that took place last year when Ron Paul, Inc. tried to sue their own supporters through the WIPO, which is, ironically, an United Nations agency.
- Fourth, cowardly pseudo-libertarians immerse themselves in unmitigated sensationalism. As Free Stater, Dave Ridley, has confessed:
“There is nothing else we can do, at least when I started The Ridley Report, there was nothing else we needed more than publicity. I mean, we were so desperate for it, that some of us were going out and getting arrested to achieve it…the advent and popularity of YouTube has allowed me the chance to just go in and make the publicity for us.”
Taking these four observations into account, I think it is fair to say there is a serious infestation taking place within libertarian circles. The anarchist faction should likewise be equally concerned as well, because a number of Free Staters, despite their Statement of Intent, have expressed sentiments advocating the total and permanent abolishment of any government whatsoever, therefore making other anarchists look inconsistent within their own political philosophy due to guilt by association.
Having reflected upon this troubling matter, what can be done about it, if anything? I would like to offer the following general suggestions:
- Expose and ostracize both controlled opposition and useful idiots. Some literature that can help you get started includes Rats!, Vortex, You Are Going to Prison, Security Culture for Activists, and my article on Ostracism.
- Beware of falling into the “trial by press” trap while you are identifying and describing the malfeasance of these Volksdeutsche. If anything, this is primarily why I would suggest to you to discuss the contents of this article by word of mouth with those you trust in your security teams rather than write about them publicly, so as to avoid putting yourself at risk.
- Since “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” you should practice good information security (INFOSEC) so as to sidestep and thus totally avoid serious personnel issues like this. Some of my articles teach you how to do this, such as Debating Does Not Work, Keeping Your Own Counsel, Interpersonal Diplomacy, The One Rebuttal Rule, and Vetting.
What about Ian Bernard and Larken Rose particularly, though? In that regard, I offer the following specific recommendations:
- Contact Larken Rose and tell him about the Committee of Safety – Common Law Court. The CoS-CLC was established specifically to resolve disputes between patriots, and their history of unanswered indictments and verdicts demonstrate that they are serious about justice. Larken may not respond to every email he gets, but if he were to receive a substantial number of them, that might be enough to sway him into enlisting the assistance of the CoS-CLC; he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Boycott Free Talk Live. This is Bernard’s flagship, and if you refuse to listen to it and explain to others why you are doing so, then maybe they will follow suit, if you can get the word out. As a variation on this, feel free to call-in to them and declare your support for Larken Rose, Christopher Cantwell, and the Second Amendment. It very well may not trash their listenership stats or get Bernard off the air, but at least more people won’t swallow his diatribes as easily.
- Comment on Free Keene’s articles and videos, as appropriate. Point out the hypocrisy they demonstrate whenever they want to censure free speech for self-defense advocates all the while championing Robin Hooding (which was only justified by the judge as a free speech activity).
- Refuse to sign the Free State Project’s Statement of Intent. The FSP claimed last October that they have more than 15,000 sign-ups and that supposedly, assuming the rate of sign-ups remains constant, the mass migration should occur sometime next year in 2015. If you want to be censured and dominated by 5 wannabe bureaucrats, then go right ahead, but for the rest of you, I’d suggest avoiding New Hampshire altogether; its climate makes it hard to grow food there, its terrain is not easily defendable, and it’s too expensive to boot.
- Explore the Free State Project’s competitors and what they have to offer you instead. These would include the Blue Ridge Liberty Project, Lone Star Libertopia, Free State Wyoming, and The American Redoubt.
I’m not claiming that there is a silver bullet here in dealing with such nasty behavior as I’ve described it, but if my suggestions are implemented by enough individuals who have read this article and who understand and appreciate how serious this problem is, it just might be enough to turn the tide against these cowardly pseudo-libertarians, starting with Ian Bernard.
I am stunned that any of this has transpired at all. You’d think that political dissidents of any stripe would naturally be more tolerant of others who, like them, bucked the mainstream Establishment zeitgeist, yet the more reformist they are in their actions, the more statist they are in their tolerance of other dissidents, which is to say, not at all. It’s one thing to choose pacifism over self-defense (or vice versa), but it’s an abuse of free speech and the liberty of the press to advocate that your opponents be censured, even if only by a private organization. As Noam Chomsky once said:
“If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favor of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favor of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.”