For The Second Year In A Row, LFNYC Cancels Cantwell
LibertyFest NYC is an event marketed to libertarians which takes place yearly in New York City since 2010. Like many such events, it started off oriented toward advancing a cause, and then rapidly descended into little more than an effort to sell overpriced drinks to people who were dumb enough to buy tickets. Aside from the futility of spreading liberty in a place where carrying a handgun legally is damn near impossible, cigarettes are up to $15 a pack, and the mayor tried to ban soda, a far worse plague has befallen the event and its organizers. Social justice.
I had spoken at the event in 2011, and 2012. In 2013 the event started off with quite the lineup, before the organizer changed his name on social media and parked the domain. The event was delayed, and when it came back, he had ditched all his high profile speakers, replacing them instead with an all female lineup, including Cathy Reisenwitz. This had been pitched as a way to highlight what women were doing to advance the cause of liberty, but I knew the organizer personally, and it was nothing more than an effort to make up the shortfall in fundraising.
You can imagine what a miserable time an all female libertarian speaking engagement would be like, but financially it was a success. Thirsty libertarians who were not big on substance were all too happy to buy tickets, the female libertarians were all too happy to gain some recognition, and social justice warriors cheered the event as a breakthrough for gender equality. Thus began the decline of LFNYC.
By 2014 the “humanitarians vs. brutalists” standoff had begun, and I was invited to debate Jeffrey Tucker at the event. Tucker backed out at the last minute, and I was unceremoniously removed from the lineup. Unsurprisingly, Tucker’s newfound affinity for the social justice crowd (who largely occupies his pay to play social network Liberty.me) wasn’t up for scrutiny. It’s one thing to spout off about racism and sexism in no particular direction on the Internet. It’s another to have your ideas challenged by an intelligent advocate of rationality while there is a live audience.
So when I was invited to speak this year, I had originally told Ian Cioffi, the event’s organizer, that I would not attend. Using my name and image to sell tickets to an event, and then quietly cancelling after it has generated ticket sales, is an act of fraud against both me and the ticket holders. After being contacted by a number of readers and listeners asking if I would be at the event, I reconsidered, and Ian Cioffi asked me if I would be interested in debating anarchism vs. minarchism with Austin Petersen, a conversation which had already begun on my show, Radical Agenda.
I agreed, insisting that I would have to be paid up front, and regardless of whether he cancelled or not. I received a small deposit on my speaking fee after signing the contract, Cioffi announced my appearance on the event’s website, and within moments, I was notified that my appearance was once again cancelled.
Cioffi says he didn’t realize that I had tweeted the semi-nude photo of Josie Wales when he had booked me. That scandal, subsequently came to be known as #BoobGate. He claims four speakers threatened to pull out of the event if I were to attend. An interesting development, since I had delayed in signing the contract because I became aware that Ademo Freeman had been removed from the lineup over this non-event as well.
For those not in the know, I had been accused of leaking the photo from the beginning. This was an intentional smear campaign on the part of Josie Wales, who had teamed up with Cassandra Fairbanks (A Bernie Sanders supporter) and other leftists. I had not in fact leaked the photos, Josie was well aware of this fact, but decided to spread the rumor that I had anyway for PR purposes. This deceptive campaign got Josie and Cassandra dropped from their paid writing gigs at The Free Thought Project, and subsequently got TFTP dropped from the Cop Block Facebook page. I had discussed this at some length on Radical Agenda, before finally tweeting the photo I had been accused of spreading days earlier.
I won’t bother naming the speakers still attending LFNYC, because they aren’t due the recognition of appearing on the pages of this blog. Suffice to say however, that it consists largely of minarchists and social justice warriors. There is not a Rothbardian Anarcho-Capitalist among them, just a steady stream of incoherent nonsense which I had hoped to bring some semblance of sanity to. Sadly, that won’t be happening, and you can forget about me entertaining any future business with Ian Cioffi.
Update: Anarchapulco, an event organized by Jeff Berwick of Anarchast and The Dollar Vigilante, just cancelled me as well. The only common thread between these two events is Jeffrey Tucker.
Luckily, some event organizers still have courage. If you were thinking about coming to NYC to see me, I assure you that you’ll have a far better time, and hear a far more consistent message at Keenevention. The event takes place October 30th-November 1st in Keene New Hampshire.
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