By: Twumasi Duah-Mensah
A North Carolina politician has been ousted from the state’s Libertarian party after fifteen months of ugly disagreements
33-year-old John Smith, a Libertarian State representative from Wake Forest, received a letter on March 28th that he had been kicked out.
“The North Carolina State Libertarian Party has renounced state representative John Smith’s membership,” said the party on its website. “Smith’s failure to adhere to libertarian principles has forced us to make this decision.”
The Herald reached out to Smith via email, but he was unavailable for comment.
Smith’s expulsion comes days after the representative supported the government requiring citizens to show competence in driving by obtaining a driver’s license. Such is an unpopular position in the Libertarian party, as 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson was booed for supporting driver’s licenses.
That was not the only time Smith refused to toe the party line.
The feud started in January of last year when he came out against free trade and supported President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement of 12 countries, mostly countries in the Pacific Ocean region.
“You cannot secure the liberty of our nation by conceding it for cheaper goods,” proclaimed Smith during a speech in Wake Forest. “The deal will gut us of our jobs and will force us to bow to the will of other countries. Such a special nation cannot survive that way.”
On free trade, Smith pointed to China to prove his point. “When China wants to go to or is threatened by war, it will round up all of its manufacturing and put it to a war effort,” he argued. “We won’t get any cheap goods, then. China will look after China. Who will look after America?”
After his comments, the Free Trade Association of America (FTAA) gave Smith an “F-” rating, similar to President Trump. Smith gave a fiery response to the news:
“The FTAA means as much to me as the NRA (National Rifle Association) means to a Democrat: nothing,” refuted the libertarian.
The Libertarian Party was forced to disavow Smith for his comments after a great amount of anger expressed by the party’s members.
“Liberty has a price. If you’re really about liberty, you have to sometimes stop caring for your country,” said Arnett Moultrie, a libertarian state senator in Virginia.
On America’s opioid epidemic, in which overdoses killed almost 35,000 Americans in 2015, Smith supported tough enforcement on the sale and distribution of the drug in April of last year.
“I would jail Big Pharma executives,” claimed the 33-year-old. “I would execute drug dealers. Liberty and our Constitution will die if we don’t get serious about [opiates]. The Founding Fathers weren’t on heroin when they drafted our guiding light.”
Amy Klobuchar, a libertarian running for U.S. Senate in Minnesota, denounced the North Carolina politician. “Businesses must be free for liberty to exist,” she said. “No matter what.”
Steve King, a prominent Raleigh libertarian, also ripped Smith. “Government doesn’t need to tell us not to do drugs,” stated King. “Drugs are drugs. You should have free choice over what you put in your body. What’s next? Banning french fries because they’ll give you a heart attack?”
Smith, however, fired back at King’s comments over Twitter. “Dopey Steve King doesn’t understand biology,” the state representative tweeted. “You can’t just get off heroin. The opioid epidemic is hurting business and making people unemployable, especially in North Carolina!” The epidemic has hit hard in the Tar Heel state, especially in the mountains and rural areas.
Smith’s continued crusade against free trade and libertarian drug policy paused in mid-September of 2017. He then moved towards targeting immigration. Most in his party pushed supported an open borders policy, a policy that would drastically increase immigration numbers that stand currently at one million new immigrants per yearlicy that limits the amount of paperwork and qualifications needed to become a U.S. citizen. The law, if ever implemented, is expected to drastically increase current immigration levels from one million new immigrants per year.
As usual, Smith went in the opposite direction of his party.
“Immigration is great for the GDP [gross domestic product], I agree,” said Smith in an interview with the News and Observer. “But we have a nation of great people that love liberty. The party line that just anyone can waltz in and love it like we do is stupid. We need proof that you love our nation.”
As usual, he was disavowed by several top libertarians for “xenophobia” and “illibertarian, draconian barbarism.” However, the state libertarian party does not hold an official stance on immigration.
The majority of North Carolinians outside of the libertarian circle support Smith, though. When polling non-libertarian North Carolina citizens, Public Policy Polling finds that his approval rating stands at 54%, higher than his own party, whose rating is a weak 21%.
“Smith should leave the party,” said Durham Democrat John Keynes, a welder who voted for Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries but voted Trump in the general election. “I’ve been against the TPP since I was a Bernie bro. He’s got everything that this country needs and that Congress has neglected.”
Others weren’t so impressed. “Smith is a mess,” stated Cary Republican Jacob Hales, who voted for Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the Republican presidential primaries, but didn’t vote in the general election. “Free trade allows more freedom for business. We can produce cheaper products that way. Our country stands for the free market. He stands for socialist and communist regimes like the Soviet Union, not this country.
Add a week in November in which he railed against environmentalism, calling it “unnecessary,” “damaging to the working class,” and noting several examples (especially China) about how “nobody cares.” Add a week of the same disavowals and fracturing of the party.
Add another week in December in which he denounced almost all forms of abortion, which he called “a chaos agent.” “I’m not even religious, and even I know it’s a sick form of safety from responsibility,” he said. Add another week of the same disavowals and fracturing of the party.
Add yet another week in January of this year in which he tweeted that “libertarians are wrong about state parks.” Add yet another week of the same disavowals and fracturing of the party.
And finally, add this week, where he dared to support driver’s licenses, and enough was enough. Smith was out.
Smith hasn’t tweeted or made a public comment since, but sources close to him claim that he is “planning something big” for when he “comes back to the ring.”