Our Interview with Tim West (Part 1)

The following is the first half of our interview with notable Libertarian reform blogger Tim West, founder of Liberty for Sale. The second half of the interview will be published later today.

TPW: What has been your past involvement in the Libertarian Party?

Tim West: I’ve been in and out of the LP since I was 19 in some manner. I cast my first vote for a LP candidate when I voted for the first time in 1982, I remember the commercials on TV for Andre Marrou and Nancy Lord very well. I was not a die hard LP supporter until after I read Peter Mc Williams book, ‘Aint Nobody’s Business If You Do’, about the futility of making consensual or “victimless” crimes illegal.

I helped out the MD LP some, voted for every LP candidate that could make it on the ballot, but it was rough because Maryland didn’t officially recognize the LP until a year or so after I moved to West Virginia in 1998. There just wasn’t much for me to do in Maryland. I gave to various LP candidates over the years including Harry Browne both times he ran.

I also ran as a candidate myself in 2000 for the West Virginia House of Delegates as a Libertarian in my district (at the time, the 56th, now the 58th). I got about 3% ( ~ 650 votes ) in a three way race. We ran more candidates than the Republicans did that year - but we failed to retain our major party ballot status by about 85 votes because the third party vote was split about 5 ways. After that heartbreaker, the WVLP kinda just fell apart. I quit the LP in protest afterward when the full truth became known about Harry Browne and and Perry Willis regarding the HQ scandal - and simply just stopped giving a damn about politics.

I got back involved in 2002, but a new person was running the State Party then, and she decided I wasn’t libertarian enough for me to be in the State Party and have a role, because I didn’t agree with her position on childhood immunizations. She swore to block me from ever being a candidate in this state again and said I was a Nazi in a public arena. She wasn’t kidding either, she was dead serious. I was shocked at this.

I considered her attack to be personal and highly offensive after what I had done for the LP over the years and still do to this day - and becuase of her, didn’t go to the 2004 Convention. I considered her use of the State Chair position to personally screen people she didn’t like a total misuse of her authority. She stepped down later that year, but she remains a member of the WVLP. I only mention this because that’s why I started blogging about the LP - she was the cause of why I started blogging, and that’s why the story about her. She had frozen me out of any local involvement at the time, and I still believed I had something to say about it and the LP in general. So I started my first blog, The New Libertarian, in the summer of 2004. It was my outlet to get around her roadblock in party involvement, and to go around the roadblock she placed in front of me.

TPW: Why did you first start Liberty for Sale?

Tim West: It was a continuation of my first blog, the reason for starting that older blog is outlined above. I couldn’t stand being disenfranchised out of the party I had been supportive of for year because of one woman’s opinion about me and I resolved to do something about it. I felt and still feel to this day that I basically got shit on for no good reason. It hurt, and I don’t see any reason to be circumspect about it.

I closed down my first blog, The New Libertarian, because some of Samuel Edward Conklin’s relatives found it on the web after he died and demanded the name. At least thats what the emails said. I decided after knowing that he had used the name back in the olden days for his newsletter and reading some of his work that I didn’t want my writing and his to be connected in any way. I gave up the name and the blog and started Liberty For Sale in March of this year.

I’m proud of some of the things my authors did when we were under The New Libertarian banner, for instance, we live blogged the LP election results coast to coast and scooped virtually everyone on coverage of some of the local and state LP races. I had 9 authors at one point. It was good stuff and it served my readers well. Liberty For Sale has been a little different. Not as many authors, but more daily readers, though I still haven’t matched the best traffic from TNL, which at one point was over a thousand unique readers a day. I’m almost at 10,000 distinct visitors as I write this since I added a counter in late April, which isn’t bad I guess considering I’ve never advertised the thing. I’ve also never tried to make money off the blog. All the traffic has been because somebody wanted to read what I had to say.

I’m thinking about starting to run some ads for it - LFS is kinda at a awkward stage right now as it’s one of the bigger libertarian blogs but that’s a very small pond to be in, and it’s still a mismash of personal stuff and LP stuff. These days it’s assumed a greater role than just my personal playground. It gives a place to counterpoint the old ways in the LP and I think thats something that was and is sorely needed.

Stay tuned for part two of this interview, later today!

10 Responses to “Our Interview with Tim West (Part 1)”

  1. Liberty for Sale Says:

    [...] Those of you wanting to know some background into why I started doing this, as well as my views on the future, head on over there and take it in. [...]

  2. Otto Kerner Says:

    Part of the problem, I’d imagine, is that a lot of state parties don’t usually have a real contest for statewide offices like state chair. They pretty much have to take whoever is willing to do the work, often without really checking whether or not they are prone to doing counterproductive things like this.

  3. Douglas E. Says:

    Like that nut in NJ.

  4. Stuart Richards Says:

    I’m just curious… Tim, where did you get the idea for the name “Liberty For Sale”?

  5. Tim West Says:

    I thought of that fact that liberty has to be sold to the american people. They dont need to be “educated”, they dont need to be “trained”, they need to be sold on it. They have been weaned off of it for 100+ years and if we are ever to get back to where we should be, we have to sell the concept that liberty is not a negative, it is a positive.

    The Modern American had a similar article out like 2 days before, but I didnt see it before I named the blog - I was sitting here just thinking about what the hardest thing to do is conerning all of this. The hardest thing is that liberty has to be sold to people, like a product. Of course, I went over there 2 days later after he pointed the article out to me via email I think. :D But I didnt see his post before I named it - I think great minds just think alike. :)

  6. Stuart Richards Says:

    It’s kinda funny, because at the time I linked back to a site ran by a friend of mine, dreamsforsale.net. That’s cool, though.

  7. Josh Ondich Says:

    I think that lady who was in the LP of West Virginia is the Authortarian not Tim West. She is the same type of people who kicked out Neil Randall for not being 100% obident to the platform. I agree with other members of the LP like Tim West and Carl Milsted that 100% obiedence non-sense needs to stop. I am a member of the LP and The Libertarian Reform Caucus. If the LP is going to be a great political party we need to get rid of the stuck up attitude and be open to more members and be more diversed on opinions. we don’t need people who kick out people who because they don’t agree with the platform 100%. Truly no one agrees with a person or political party 100% purely.

  8. Sanna Says:

    I believe this country is ready for a strong third party. Discovering that there are Libertarians like Tim West and Carl Milsted out there brought me to the LP and Libertarian Reform Caucus. They realize the nature of politics is give-and-take. The purists I’ve run into in the past want all or nothing. Even if you share most of the same beliefs and want to move in the same direction, that’s not good enough, it seems. So they isolate themselves and nothing happens. It makes more sense to accept some differences, expand the party and move forward.

  9. R.D. Says:

    Curious, what are the members of the Liberty Caucus inside the Republican Party like Ron Paul think of the growth of government under Bush and the taking away of some liberties? I think they would make for great backlash candidates for Libertarians for one to be nominated for the Republican primary/Libertarian for general election.

  10. Alex Peak Says:

    QUOTE: “Curious, what are the members of the Liberty Caucus inside the Republican Party like Ron Paul think of the growth of government under Bush and the taking away of some liberties?”

    Ron Paul is definitely against the enpansion of government under the Bush administration, just as he was also against it under the Clinton administration and other administrations.