Greg Dirasian: Sour Grapes Libertarian

I’m not one to beat up on fellow libertarians unless they are clearly in the wrong, so it’s with much consternation that I have to tell Greg Dirasian, who runs, to fuck off. You see, he’s been posting a lot of smack-talking about Stephen Gordon and Hammer of Truth (which he derisively calls Humor of Truth, whatever that means) since Gordon’s nomination to Communications Director.

And not even a week into the job, he’s on the attack again, skewering Gordon for still posting here (“the LP should tell its donors that it hired somebody to post at a non-party controlled blog”). Because, god forbid we actually have a Communications Director that’s actually, uh… actively communicating. I wonder if Dirasian would have us tell donors that Gordon’s slacking on the job when he’s on television spreading liberty instead of sitting in his office not doing anything. I could see if perhaps Gordon was posting on his favorite car modification blog, but Hammer of Truth is a good venue for Gordon to reach libertarians and new faces, so he’s going to use it.

But unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know the history of Dirasian, Gordon and myself, so perhaps some context is in order. Back in 2004, Dirasian was the third leg of the “troika” — himself, campaign manager Fred Collins and wife Barbara Goushaw-Collins — that was in charge of the Badnarik for President campaign. There was a lot of hostility by him towards supporters and even campaign members after a rather disastrous website redesign. I made no secret my displeasure with his work and helped form a pro bono team that moved in to replace him and re-redesign the site. We eventually severed ties to Dirasian weeks after the new site launch when we moved the hosting away from his personal web server to an actual managed hosting service. Problems went away overnight and we were simply happy to have moved on. It still cracks me up that his support solution to any of the various repeating site management problems was to paste a huge photo of his face on the admin page with his phone number that went unanswered.

Shortly prior to this upheaval in staffing, Gordon was invited from the Russo campaign due to his remarkable abilities. Email and communications went into overdrive, and as many of you remember… the site traffic started topping 50k/day, with several spikes as Gordon got campaign news items placed in large publications. If that’s another “Alabamafication of the Libertarian Party“… give me a second and third helping. More relevant to this discussion is the fact that Gordon was also instrumental of getting Dirasian moved aside (and eventually pushed out by Collins, if I recall correctly) to allow our web team to do our work without headache — it made a huge difference.

So the latest smack-talking from Dirasian? A bunch of sour grapes from a libertarian who’s stuck in the mindset that we should remain a debate society instead of an actual political party. He’s free to keep being annoying, and I’m free to tell him to fuck off.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. Most people work 8 hours a day 5 days a week (or not at all). Steve G. works 20 hours a day every day, and if he wants to take a break now and then (they never add up to 16 hours off a day) to go potty or to speak as a private person, that’s nobody’s business.

    Sorry, but I gotsta use the “L” word again: Saying that the LP hired Steve to post to an independent blog is a lie.

    But hey, Greg is just being Greg, here. He’s no Steve Gordon.


  2. Until five minutes ago, I thought I was bad at web site design. Then I had a chance to look at those sites with Dirasian’s name on them. I would never allow my name to be associated with something that bad, and I certainly would never have paid for a site “design” like those.

  3. SInce he wont publish any comments from me and never has, nd the new L4S is not ready for primetime yet,I’ll have to do my comments here.

    Here’s what he said:

    “The LP’s new Communications Director, Stephen Gordon, upon Harry Browne’s passing, took the opportunity to dig up an old uncomplimentary article about Harry Browne and re-publish it at the now defunct blog,”

    1. Gordon did no such thing. I wrote and posted the thing about Harry Browne myself, with no input from Gordon. I did this the same day I was later felled by my first siezure and discovery of my brain tumor later on that night. I am unaware of anything else he may have posted later on becuase I was in critical condition aboard a medivac chopper heading down to Georgetown University Hospital.

    IN ANY EVENT, Gordon did not write that posting or did he post it up. I did. It was the last web activity I did before leaving the house and not returning for 6 weeks and 4 days.

  4. You know, sometimes it’s just better to let a smack talker talk into a vacuum. I don’t see what the big deal is. There are multiple times during the day when you have down time. Dirasian has an agenda like everyone else. I don’t disagree with everything at his site, either.

    As for digging up uncomplimentary things about people that have done more than you’ll ever do yourself and cannot defend themselves because they just DIED, that’s just plain bad taste. Especially when you face possibly imminent death yourself.

    I think it’s best to not engage in the cheap and juvenile pissing contests like this and largely ignore the bullshit when it bubbles to the surface. That’s the most mature thing to do and nothing constructive comes of making the fuss. Let it go. The proof is in the pudding and all I see is slop and feces.

  5. There’s only one more thing about that deal and another subject.

    Greg D will not allow any comment I might post on his blog to go public, in other words, he practices censorship. This is in contrast to my Liberty For Sale and the blog before that, The New Libertarian, where in 2 years of daily posting, there were exactly 2 comments removed, becuase IMO they were actionable in a court of law, and removed them according to a well known policy.

    I never censored anything on any blog I ever ran, becuase doing so would make me no better than any run of the mill Republican blogger that supports Bush.

    I didnt agree with many people that showed up on LFS, but for a “libertarian” to self censor opposing viewpoints strikes me as slightly less libertarian than I like.

    BTW, L4S is going to return as a strictly video/audio blog in a bit, so those of you who thought my cancer was going to silence me (like the guy that sent me the email saying he hoped it would kill me quick) are SOL.

  6. D.D.,

    I’ll just have to accept that sometimes my writings are in bad taste. I dont regret publishing that post one bit. I think it was the one post on the web that said the same fucking thing no matter what, alive or dead, my opinion of Harry Browne did not change. Bad taste, maybe yes.

    No doubt someone might do the same to me when I bite it. If they have the guts and the bad taste to tell the truth.

  7. Whaddaya know, I’m a moron, incompetent, and saboteur (Interesting from a person who has never met, or even seen me).
    I wasn’t aware the Collins’ were pushed out of the LPM, in fact they were at the last Leadership Conference and Exec. Com. meeting (not the one last week, the one prior) and spoke for hours. I saw no one ask them to leave. The experience and knowledge they bring to the table is not paralelled.
    The bloviation that the convention was unattended is innaccurate. It was held on Mother’s day weekend. There were a lot of factors that lead to that weekend, I did none of the work so I defer to those who did an AMAZING job setting it up.
    I believe the LPM may have set a record for memberships in a single month in May (there is no archives, and research would have to be manual). We have had people joining & rejoining at a fast pace.
    For the first time ever, when I wear my trusty LPM shirts, people STOP ME and ask about the party. We have some good things going in MI, watch us!

  8. ah, yes. now I remember why I never visit that site. The pure hatred and negativity coming from that site makes me phisically ill.

  9. Dirasian, eat AIDS and die. Stephen Gordon is actually doing things for the LP already, and his ass hasn’t been in that seat for a week. You couldn’t do half the shit Gordon does.

  10. “Drew – what in the hell are you talking about?”

    The comments on the Small Gov’t site.
    Some were directed specifically at me, some at the LPM – and LPM/LEC of which I am a member.

  11. Libertarians are reknowned for having circular firing squads where they all in turns shoot at each other and then innocently say “who, me?” It is that mentality (plus the disastrous Iraq Exit Strategy) which will keep it from ever being a truly effective political party.

  12. In the middle of all this George Phillies writes:”Meanwhile, back in the present, national party ”˜active membership’ fell another 500 last month. As of the end of May NatCon 2006 had brought in $55,000 in income, and spent $44,000 (numbers rounded), leaving rather little in case there are costs for the hotel or convention center or whatever. Perhaps I worry too much.”

    What the hell is going on? Why do we read this news from George Phillies and is it correct?
    Is there an effort underway to stop this?
    Anybody call these people and ask them why, or ask them to re-up?
    And George I doubt that you worry too much. Anytime the base starts to give way we have a problem. BTW how many active members do we now have?

  13. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why anyone wouldn’t want to be a part of this.

  14. I am posting this because I believe in reality-based political activism. You can read considerably more by going to
    and clicking on the June 2006 issue of my magazine Let Freedom Ring! . If you go to back issues you will find much more information on this.

    Over the past six years, the LNC’s finances have imploded. Sean Haugh, who regularly attends LNC meetings, reports that there is essentially no discussion of the issue. Like the elephant in the living room, the issue is ignored.

    In April we had 13620 active members, but that number is falling like a rock.

    The core issue is that ZERO DUES IS A CATASTROPHIC FAILURE. Its advocates, messrs Squyres, West, and a cast of many, may very well have sunk the party. TO save the party, you need to end their influence on the LNC, and incidentally separate from the LNC the people who bought and held on to Raiser’s Edge. The LPMA last had a correct, readable membership download close to two years ago.

  15. The success of the LP is not measured in membership numbers. That’s the old yardstick of the membership klub LP.

    The only standard of success a political party can have is:

    1. candidates elected to public office.

    2. influencing public policy in the direction they want policy to go.

    Don’t forget George, that I and others have called for the LP to move out of it’s high priced digs in the Watergate and some other things to curtail the spending.

    If the LNC’s finances have imploded over teh last 6 years, then how is zero dues responsible? Arent we still making UMP payments? If we re, then it hasnt even fully gone into effect yet.

    In one of my posts a while back, I said that Zero Dues could very well fail becuase the people who liked the LP as a membership club would drop out when the party changed into something else they didnt want to be a part of. That’s probably what is happening right now. Meanwhile, the stupid pledge still hangs like a turd around the party’s neck…

  16. ….preventing many from joining becuase they know what the pledge actully means and they wont sign something they dont believe in.

    Zero dues and removal of the pledge are a package deal. Without the other, the benifit of the firt is greatly reduced.

    having self imposed limits on support in a political party is just stupid, George. You’re not a dummy, you have to know this. Political parties dont seek to limit their support. They do everything possible to build the largest coalition of voters they can that agree with what the party stands for.

    There’s one other possibility. Maybe there simply is not a large enough core support base for a political party based on liberty in this country. Maybe 9/11 has scared the freedom right out of the people for good, and we all are wasting our time.

  17. Tim West: I don’t think you got the memo from Dirasian. We’re supposed to be cutting ourselves off at the knees and scrutinizing every move national makes instead of actually trying to accomplish positive change that would make the LP a viable party.

    Get with the program and start bashing Gordon for doing his job!

    /tongue firmly planted in cheek

  18. Mr. West notwithstanding, zero dues and UMP are independent objects. He claims that UMP continuing means ‘zero dues’ is not in effect, which is simply false. Zero dues started six months ago. UMP elimination started sooner. ‘Zero dues’ and ‘eliminating the pledge’ are also completely independent.

    The number of people giving the party money under any name has fallen a third in the last year. Claims that zero dues meant new income have proven false. So far as I can see, Mr. West and his supporters are wrecking such party as we had.

    It is important to remember that the people who made at least token financial commitments, namely dues, are the best target for volunteer recruitment. We are now losing our ability to find those people. When the LPMA StateComm debated this, Michael Cloud described this iirc as ‘the stupidest’ decision in the history of the party, with which I agree, and I was happy to second his motion to set state party dues.

  19. …or how about a good “Go Fuck Yourself”…

    I would have to agree that we should all stop fighting within and fight for our freedom(which is what this party is supposed to be about).

    The problem is that our government and media have distorted the word ‘Patriot’ so much that it now means to back our government no matter what. America will collapse just like Rome and then there might be change in this country. I dont think it will come from votes… most people are too ignorant. Hopefully the LP can help people see the light though.

  20. I’ve never signed the pledge, and never will. If zero dues stops, so will my $20/month contribution. And the LP will have to find 12 other dues paying members to cover the lost funding.

    Of course, I could be the oddity. Maybe the other monthly pledgers feel exactly the opposite. But I never contributed directly to the party until zero dues came into play (I always donated directly to the candidates). I wouldn’t have to pay to join the democrats, the republicans, or the greens, so why the hell should I pay to join the LP?? The other parties make money without dues, why can’t the LP?

    And I will never, EVER, sign that ridiculous pledge.

  21. I’d been pledging for a couple years, expressly as a “magazine subscription” (you get that 4-page flyer once a month besides the standard newspaper, or whatever) but cancelled recently. I thought the “no dues” idea was dumb as there seemed no real reason behind it other than a gimmick. If they had stopped dues because they were getting enough pledgers to sustain operations, or because of some bold new direction, that would be one thing. However, it seemed more like it was no dues, same old LP. I feel websites like this and others are doing a much better job of raising awareness on issues and the LP really isn’t doing a whole lot to get candidates elected (to be continued….)

  22. (part 2….) So as stated before, the end result was me cancelling my pledge. Somebody from the LP asked me why, I told them, and they didn’t argue anything. On one hand I appreciated the hassle-free cancellation; on the other hand, I hope that someone who was fiercely pro-LP would write me back and explain (in a calm and reasonable way) why I’m wrong or what they’re doing to resolve my issues, many of which are shared by people who participate here.

  23. Sorry Guys I have to disagree with some of you here.
    #1. Getting rid of the pledge is important. Why? Because I have seen far too many people in the LP violate it and get away with it to name one of a dozens reasons.
    #2. The dues is a poor way of raising money. If you want to raise money do something positive so that people will jump on your bandwagon.

    And I don’t have the slightest idea if Stephen Gordon agress with my ideas or not and I don’t want to know and I don’t expect him to tell me, BUT (and that is a big but for a reason) I am damn glad we have someone with some P.R. skills working to get the word out and what I have seen of his work is great.
    I’ll stay a monthly pledger for a few more years and see what happens.

  24. The number of people giving the party money under any name has fallen a third in the last year. Claims that zero dues meant new income have proven false. So far as I can see, Mr. West and his supporters are wrecking such party as we had.

    when zero dues was started, my yearly contribution to the LP went from 25 bucks A YEAR to 25 bucks a MONTH. I cant speak for anyone else, but the LP surely got more income from ME. George, did you increase your donation level after zero dues was passed?

    YES. I am trying my best to kill the “old” LP and replace it with an LP that is politically effective nd that can be involved in and effect policy and the issues of the day.

    The rest of it – who really gives a shit? I’m tired of arguing with people. I do what I can and advocate wht I believe will make the LP work and grow. I might be wrong.

    But I dont do shit for the LP arguing about zero dues on here with you. I’d rather be producing and editing video supporting the party.

  25. Anecdotal evidence is limited evidence.

    Consult the FEC reports from the LNC, and see how our income is actually doing. The LNC annual report went from $264,000 to $64,000 in income over the past half-decade.

    Mr. West appears to be succeeding at the first half of his objective, namely killing the LP.

    Give money to people who vote for zero dues? I did not become well-to-do by giving my money to people with weak money management ideas, and I am not changing now.

  26. Yeah George you found us out. Those who wanted zero dues are are meeting in Tim West’s dark cellar drinking Chardonnay and plotting our next move to destroy what is left of the LP. You think raising the dues to 50 dollars was a much better plan. I knew many people who would have not renewed their membership, in fact that’s why Todd Barnett and I started the lprc, to combat that issue. And as of UMP, it was a bad idea, a welfare program for state affiliates. George, you have my number if you wanna talk!

    I will be blogging my view on zero dues in the next few days.

  27. the old model of the LP was ineffective. Under its watch my liberties have dwindled. Revolution is underway within the party. For good or bad, change is coming, and it will either grow the party or destroy it. That’s what revolutions do. But those who long for the old days, long for ineffectiveness. I have no sympathy when they say the reformers are destroying the party since the party was stuck in a rut and going nowhere fast.

    George, if you have a better way, take the reigns and run with it. I’ll support you if the idea is good. But don’t tell me it’ll be business as usual, ’cause I’ll never accept that. Party numbers were not growing under the dues model. What else do you suggest? Going back to the old way will only take us back to the old numbers and limited effectiveness. I will not support that.

  28. “Give money to people who vote for zero dues? I did not become well-to-do by giving my money to people with weak money management ideas, and I am not changing now.”

    I have not seen a LNC that did not have weak money management skills in the 30+ years of records I have for the LP. There’s never been enough money, and theres always been too much spending that never MOUNTED TO ANY FORM OF TANGIBLE SUCCESS.

    It’s not a question of who’s running the show. The question is how the show is run – not the people – the institution itself.

    And George – I dont dont think you have a fucking leg to stand on regarding party direction. I’ve supported the LP since 1981 with my votes and my money and yes I signed that oath, even if I was too stupid to know it had multiple meanings. I didnt raise a fuss about anything until 2004.

    For you to complain that the party is suckin while at the same time bragging about how well off you are, but you wont support zero dues so you wont give any more money….

  29. UMP, on the other hand, was a terrible idea that has done considerable damage to the party in many states. (You can find states that did not view it as a reason not to raise money, that continued to raise money and assemble organizations, and that are doing relatively well.) If you are looking for people who thnk we should restore the UMP plan, I am not one of them.

    For my opinions as to what the party should be doing, I have a book out there, Stand Up For Liberty! ( ) that goes into considerable detail. It involves radical change, which I have explained before in considerable detail, and may explain again.

  30. Coupla things.

    It is not true that it costs nothing to join the other parties. This is an uninformed view based on the failure to know the difference between membership and registration. I’m not poking anyone in particular here; most people don’t know the difference. They think they are members of the Ds or Rs just because they have regisere to vote with one or the other, or because they vote that way.

    Membership is a worthless guide to the potential success of a party. Until Zero dues the LP in CA had 3 times more actual members than the Rs, but the Rs had many multiples more registered voters. So they can win on party line voters where it is impossible for us to do so.

    That’s the second thing. Electing candidates and influencing public policy are not the most essential: registering voters is. That’s why we’re failing. We drive people away with our endless quarrels and insane extremism.

    And then blame the pledge.


  31. Allen Hacker:

    Please clarify #33. By registering voters, do you mean simply registering people to vote, getting registered voters to affiliate with the Libertarian Party rather than the Democrats or Republicans (or Green or Constitution or Reform parties or none i.e. unaffiliated), or both?

    The youngest, and likeliest unregistered (potential), voters skew libertarian, according to surveys elsewhere.

    Once voters affiliate with a party, they are probably more likely to vote largely or entirely along party lines.

    The pledge is a barrier to membership but not to voter party affiliation (and votes for our candidates), where allowed. I would guess the trend is for state LP affiliates to redefine “membership” (voting privileges at state conventions etc.) as voter registration party affiliation, as the Democrats and Republicans do, rather than signing a pledge.

    Eliminating the pledge would open membership (activists, regular donors) to those who have problems with the pledge.

  32. I really doubt there are hundreds of thousands of people waiting for the pledge to be eliminated before they become members of the party. So eliminating it is far from a panacea. I signed it. I’m no anarchist. I don’t believe that it is a call to anarchy, and I don’t care what others might think it means. I do think it is unnecessary, but don’t think it hurts enough to waste time worrying about it.

    I had no problem paying $25 for dues. If I wanted to join the Henrico County Republican Party I’d have to pay $25 a year. Becoming a Virginia Republican Party member is $45 per year, and all you get is a membership card.

    There obviously wasn’t hundreds of thousands of people waiting for dues to be eliminated before they joined. Besides, if you’re building a list that you intend to milk for money and activism, offering free membership with very little action or commitment needed can lead to a very poor list. A bigger list doesn’t necessarily mean a better list.

  33. Readers should recall that about half the population does not have voter registration by party. They just have registration. Escept for the one state that oes not have voter registration at all.

  34. The only need I can see for any type of “membership” to the party is the reliable donor base that membership provides. And if someone objects to paying $25 dues, then I doubt they will be much of a prospect for money or activism — just wasted direct mail postage.

    With Zero Dues, the entire concept of “membership” might as well be jettisoned altogether. Just start collecting email addresses and save money by not printing membership cards.

    I can understand Tim’s objection to dues, but if the point is to move the LP away from being a debating club, then why not just advocate getting rid of membership altogether and focus on getting people to vote for Libertarians, and getting libertarians to run for office.

  35. I actually have little problem with dues applied in the right place – at the district level in every voting district in the nation to local LP’s.

    My entire thing with Zero Dues is that dues payments to a NATIONAL political party encourages top down centralized management in the wrong direction – from the top down. What needs to happen is the LP has to be rebuilt FROM THE BOTTOM UP.

    The people who should recieve the lions share of the donation base available to liberty minded causes are at the local level first, then the state level, and lastly, the national level. Dues payment are fine at the local level – but terrible policy at the national level. It’s the exact same thing we say government should be, but we dont actually practice it and apply it to the LP.

    I think basically it comes down to those who think Harry Browne is the libertarian ideal and want to move the LP back to the LP of 2000 vs. those that dont.

  36. Harry Browne is the libertarian ideal. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that can be done better now than they were in 2000.

    Timothy, I have come to the conclusion that you are a substantially bigger know-it-all then even me. That makes you a colossus among know-it-alls. The thing is you really don’t know squat. Shooting you mouth off with all these “new” ideas doesn’t demonstrate that you know or understand anything whatever.

    Unfortunately, I agree with you on the federalist policy towards donations. I also tend to agree on zero dues, but there is something to be said about it not working – no matter how “ideal” it is or isn’t. If dues worked and zero doesn’t, as far as I am concerned, to hell with federalist ideals and bring back dues.

    Funny, you are coming off as the “purists” you bash endlessly and now I sound like a “reformer” on this matter of dues.

  37. Actually, we have some evidence as to whether there are people who want to give us money, but are blocked by the pledge, because there are state parties that abolished the pledge requirement some time ago. Their membership numbers are not conspicuously different than those of other parties.

    We also have very considerable evidence as to what members thought of having dues or not, namely a third of them have disappeared since dues were eliminated. As may be seen in the June 2006 Let Freedom Ring! page 2 click on June 2006, go to page 2, Membership went from 20,000 to 13000 in the six months since zero dues started, and by reason extrapolation will stop at 7 or 10 thousand. The Zero Dues (and to some extent IES) people have wrecked the party.

    The rationale ‘this is how other parties do it’ uses on the similarity theory of magic, and is absolute nonsense. It’s also totally wrong, as witness the dues/subscription structure of major British parties.

  38. Mr. West,

    You write “I think basically it comes down to those who think Harry Browne is the libertarian ideal and want to move the LP back to the LP of 2000 vs. those that dont.”

    I was one of the chief opponents of Mr. Browne’s methods and campaign tactics.

    Having said that, I would urge delegates to the national convention to consider a few questions in assessing nominees to the LNC:
    Did you oppose zero dues?
    After the report you commissioned showed that the LNC has no paper-trail financial records, did you take action?
    As financial report after financial report showed plummeting income, did you advocate corrective action?

    If a current member says ‘no’ to two or more of these, perhaps one or more of these, you should de-elect them.

  39. George, I am curious and you seem to have the numbers: The entire concept of Zero Dues was to create a bottom up LP. So if the national LP is loosing money and “members” it doesn’t necessarily make the proposal a failure. What has happened to state party memberships (or better, registrations where allowed) and finances? What about individual candidate support?

    Also, have the 13,000 left given more or less per capita on average?

    And can we seperate who walked because of Zero Dues, who walked because of IES, and who would have just walked anyway? I have trouble understanding why someone would quit being a member because they no longer have to pay $25, but I can see why some would have left over IES.

    It seems a collection of policies combined have lead to a decrease in membership and revenue. I’m not sure how one would seperate them.

  40. I can speak for Massachusetts, which had close to 400 members when all this started. As our UMP memberships expire and are replaced with state memberships, we are losing the bulk of our members, so I would estimate that we will end up, by October, with around 100 members, a 75% loss. In losing 250 or so UMP members so far, we picked up 40-50 State members, so the last 136 UMP members should be good for ca. 25-35 more state members. We have a state convention in September, so there may be changes after that date.

    It would be interesting to contrast with California ($50 dues) and Indiana (no dues), though those states appear to have relatively coherent party apparati that are actually active.


  41. I realize this discussion has moved on, but to back track and clarify if I may – husband Fred Collins and I have not left the LP. We have simply scaled back activities and LP expenditures as we rebuild our construction business and finances after putting our lives on hold to run the Badnarik presidential campaign. That’s why you won’t see us in Portland. The “Troika” management group disbanded. I am not going to “take sides” on the Dirasian VS Gordon/VanDyke fracas, as I personally have a deep affection and respect both the opinions and the work of all parties involved. The battle that developed between these parties during the Badnarik campaign was very painful – indeed agonizing – to me. I refuse to re-visit it. And I wish everyone else would do the same. It was 2 years ago. It’s over. Let it go. Barb G-C

  42. Barb,

    How is it that you continually get wiser, but seemingly never any older?

    Unfortunately, plenty of people (and yes, mea culpa) usually aren’t interested in burying hatchets, unless the proposed burial ground is in someone else’s skull.