Written by Heather Gwynn
Follow Heather on Twitter at @starlasworld
Ben Farmer grew up in Odessa, TX. After spending some time in Austin, he recently moved to Freedom Farm, an off-the-grid property just outside of Ash Fork, Arizona. Ben has a BA in Political Science from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin; and an Archer Fellowship, from the University of Texas System, Washington, DC Class of 2013. Ben describes his current occupation as a Libertarian Political Operative.
Ben is a member of both the Libertarian Party of Texas and the National Libertarian Party. In the past, he has served as Vice Chair of LPTexas, Director of Political Action Department LPTexas, Director of Public Relations LPTexas, Executive Committee LPTexas, LP Travis County Executive Committee, Chair and founder of LP Ector County. In 2016, Ben was the Director of Coalitions over Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana for the Johnson/Weld 2016 Presidential campaign.
Ben is responsible for creating and implementing “Strategic Plan” during 2014-2016 term that created the Political Action Department, Public Relations Department, IT Department, Events Department, Marketing Department, and Operations Department for LPTexas which effectively made LPTexas into an “action-oriented,” bi-cameral leadership structure. He was also an early adopter of NationBuilder for State Party data and political implementation.
Liberty Viral (LV): How did you get introduced to the liberty movement, and when did you get actively involved?
Ben: My first inkling of the liberty movement happened in 2008 when I just happened to catch a one-minute interview in passing where some old man was speaking into camera about individual liberty. I remember saying out loud, “I think I just agreed with everything that old man just said.” That old man ended up being Ron Paul, which eventually led me to the Wikipedia portal on libertarianism and I finally had a word to put with my beliefs. After taking about a year to think it through and put my affairs in order, I found a very libertarian-leaning Political Science department in Texas and went back to school in 2010. I also founded a County LP there in that county and have been fighting the state ever since. In February 2011 a friend and I were able to put together a “LibertyFest West” event in Odessa, TX where I was able to meet some of my heroes and become a bit more plugged-in to the wider movement.
LV: What cause is most important to you within the movement?
Ben: Stopping the illegal, forever wars. These policies only serve to make our people less safe in the form of blowback, constant surveillance, and devalued money in order to pay for the war machine. Our foreign policy is archaic and backwards. We need more libertarians committed to impacting 21st Century foreign policy.
LV: Who is your liberty role model and why?
Ben: Far too many to name but I’ll try: Both R. Lee Wrights for his tireless fight to #StopAllWar and Pat Dixon for his kind and loving lifetime of service to liberty immediately come to mind. I tend to like the “do-ers” of the movement even when I don’t philosophically align with them. We need more do-ers and fewer talkers. The LP- and the greater liberty movement- is a million opinions and a dozen hands. I’ll work on a project with a conservative “do-er” who I don’t really align with philosophically over an AnCap “talker” in order to get things done when necessary. Things need doing.
LV: In your opinion, which active Libertarian is most influential, and why?
Ben: You are. Meaning: whomever is reading this. You are the only Liberty Movement that most people in your circle interact with. You are the LP. You are the “leadership.” You are the philosophy and the party and the expert. It is up to you to make the moves necessary to bring about a free society. Do it.
LV: How would you approach someone who is showing an initial interest in Libertarianism?
Ben: Encourage them to ask questions. Most importantly, listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. Everybody wants more freedom in their lives in a certain way. Let them tell you where they want more freedom and then, when they’re ready, guide them to a place where they can hear about how more freedom can apply in all of the aspects of their lives.
LV: What is the first book you would tell someone who is interested in the LP to read?
Ben: “FREEDOM!” by Adam Kokesh because it is written precisely for someone who is altogether unfamiliar, or very new, to the concept of liberty in the modern world. Very short, very simple, very relatable. Good stuff
LV: What do you like most about being involved in the LP?
Ben: Drinking statist tears, of course! We win little victories all of the time that make the battles worth it. There are a few moments I have as fantasies in my head- like seeing the LP candidate on the big debate stage- that will probably bring me to tears. We’ll look back on these times as “the good ol’ days” at some point because of the battles we fight together.
LV: If you could eliminate one Government agency, which would it be and why?
Ben: Can’t I pick three? The Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial branches would be a good start! Ok, too much? Well, I could say The Federal Reserve, but it’s not technically a Government agency. I know: the IRS. I’d start there. With a machete.
LV: What plans do you have to to grow the party in 2017?
Ben: Along with Adam Kokesh I will be touring 68 cities in 110 days this fall with the express intention of bringing libertarian activists into the party. We will be instructing folks where and how to get involved, what to expect, how to properly pen and express motions, and how to navigate the weeds of Robert’s Rules.
LV: What words of advice would you give to other Libertarians on how to get involved in the party, locally and nationally?
Ben: Just do it! You’ll be a bit confused at first, but just be honest, don’t over promise anything, and make yourself useful.
LV: Thanks for your great answers, Ben. Your insight is much appreciated. Let’s take it back a notch and answer some fun questions. Pretend you’re our CEO. What three concerns about the firm’s future keep you up at night?
Ben: Needing to hire a marketing company (and where are we going to get the money to do that).
LV: If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?
Ben: Flying. I’m always hot and it looks cooler up there.
LV: What is your favorite book?
Ben: “Finnegan’s Wake”- James Joyce
LV: If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?
Ben: You know why Texas hasn’t fallen into the Gulf of Mexico? Because Oklahoma sucks. Nah, just kidding. I have a farm in Oklahoma.
LV: What is your least favorite thing about humanity?
Ben: The smell