On August 17, 2010, Christopher Cantwell, who was nominated by the Suffolk County Libertarian Party for Congress in the 1st C.D., announced he was stepping down from the race due to his failure to gather the necessary number of signatures required to make it onto the ballot. Mr. Cantwell expressed frustration regarding the fact that libertarian activists failed to provide the support he was expecting to receive.
This was not an unexpected development especially since Christopher Cantwell was recently quoted as saying he believed the Second Amendment as currently written guarantees to all citizens the right to privately purchase and possess nuclear weapons and that he was prepared "to use violence in support of the cause of Liberty so long as it would have a worthy impact". While a number of libertarian activists were upset about these statements, others were even more concerned that Christopher Cantwell was an ex-convict who is returning to serve more jail time after the November election. The result was that many people sat on their hands while providing only lip service in support of his campaign.
While announcing his decision not to submit an insufficient number of petition signatures to the Suffolk County Board of Elections, Christopher Cantwell wrote:
For all my talk of responsibility being at the core of all things Libertarian, I let the responsibility for this race rest upon others. I rushed in head first, without organization or structure, without resources or means, without planning or clearly defined purpose. I just went ahead and did and said whatever came to mind at the moment, with the childish idea in my head that it would all work out because I stood for what was right, and good, and just. I cared not whom I offended, I cared not who supported my cause, I cared not for much but the idea in my own mind, which though I knew to be right, I also knew to be not well articulated...
I was angry, and rightfully so, as were most of my supporters, and even many of my detractors. And while I reject the notion that it is never good to come off as angry, I allowed my anger to consume too much of my message, and in the process alienated people with whom I should have been natural allies. I've realized through hard lessons over the course of this campaign, that alliances are necessary to achieve any goal, and while a candidate should not compromise principles, he need not ridicule everyone with whom he disagrees, and should work with people who agree with him enough to work with.
I attempted to run my campaign like a Libertarian would run a government, without central planning or demands. Emailing out electronic copies of petitions and asking everyone to do their best. This is a foolish thing to do in a campaign for office. Libertarianism is a philosophy of government wherein people should not be compelled to servitude by force of the state. But people freely enter into service when they join a campaign, people have the liberty to seek leaders, and those leaders then take on a responsibility of leading them into victory. I have failed in this sense of my responsibility to those who decided to follow me, by not providing them with the leadership they needed.
Long Island Libertarians, a chartered chapter of Empire State Libertarians, recently endorsed Randy Altschuler for Congress from the 1st C.D. in Suffolk County. Mr. Altschuler is a small government conservative who is seeking to obtain the Republican Party's nomination for Congress. Details regarding that endorsement are at: http://drtomstevens.blogspot.com/2010/08/long-island-libertarians-endorses-randy.html
Dr. Tom Stevens, who serves as Chair of Long Island Libertarians, has been in frequent contact with the Altschuler campaign and was convinced that a Cantwell candidacy would be an embarrassment to the Libertarian Party and would only siphon off votes that might ensure an Altschuler election day victory. It appears that the threat of a challenge to the Cantwell petitions alleging fraud may have influenced Cantwell's decision to drop out of the race since his plea bargain may have been revoked forcing him to face 4 years in a state penitentiary.
On this issue, Cantwell wrote:
Not that I fear it, but it is worth a mention that your partner in crime, Tom Stevens, sought to have me prosecuted for said fraud by encouraging the Altschuler campaign to make such threats, knowing that I have taken a plea bargain in my Felony DWI case in which I agreed to be sentenced to 45 days in county jail and plead guilty to a misdemeanor instead of the felony, which would be revoked and my allocution used against me at trial if I catch another charge no matter how frivolous. In other words, I submit insufficient petitions, statists charge me with fraud, lose their case, and I still get subjected to 4 years in prison for a crime that never took place. GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Dr. Tom Stevens, Chair of Long Island Libertarians, said:
Many libertarian activists were concerned about Christopher Cantwell's opinion that the Second Amendment as currently written allows citizens the right to privately purchase and possess nuclear weapons and about his recent announcement that he is fully prepared to give his life and to use violence "in support of the cause of Liberty" so long as it would have "a worthy impact". Is Cantwell another Home-Grown Right-Wing Terrorist in the making? He already has a criminal history and often refers to himself as a Sovereign Individual as many extreme, right-wing militia members do. This ex-convict still serves in positions in the Suffolk County Libertarian Party and in the New York Libertarian Party. The only good news is that libertarian activists were aware of the public relations disaster his candidacy for Congress would have been and therefore denied him the support he needed to obtain ballot access. I encourage all Long Island Libertarians to support Randy Altschuler for Congress in the 1st C.D.
Dr. Tom Stevens is the Founder of Empire State Libertarians and Libertarian Patriots of New York. He also serves as Political Director of the Libertarian Party of Queens County.