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Written by Heather Gwynn
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Tony D’Orazio was born and raised in Enfield, Connecticut. For the past 20 years, he has resided in East Rochester, New York. He is an IT Manager and in college studied both Math & Spanish Literature. Tony originally joined the National Libertarian Party in the 90s, and he rejoined formally last year. He is also a member of the LP of New York, and the Greater Rochester Libertarian Party. Tony was the Libertarian candidate for Congress in the 25th Congressional District of New York in 2016.
Tony is married to his second wife, who he says is a saint, and he has two daughters from his previous marriage. In his spare time, Tony enjoys the ice sport, curling.
LV (Liberty Viral): How did you get introduced to the liberty movement, and when did you get actively involved?
TD: I tell people that I first discovered libertarianism in 1996 with Harry Browne, after an hours-long phone conversation with then-LPNY vice chair Dottie Lou Brokaw. And yes, that was influential, but I first discovered libertarianism in 1994, when Howard Stern was running for NY Governor. He’s not the greatest introduction to the party, but he opened the door, and ideologically, I haven’t left since.
I became actively involved in 2016, after many years of putting it off. My divorce was finally behind me, my second marriage was solid, and this was something I had wanted to do for a very long time.
LV: What cause is most important to you within the movement?
TD: There isn’t just one. In general, reducing the federal government to the minimum level to meet Constitutional requirements is the goal. We won’t get there in a day.
On social issues, I believe in ending the drug war. On foreign policy, I believe in the least intervention possible.
LV: Who is your liberty role model and why?
TD: Harry Browne, and it ain’t close. He was the first one to explain how to reduce government in terms I could understand. He knew his ideas would scare the hell out of people, and they did scare the hell out of me, but after reading his book Why Government Doesn’t Work, I got it. He was somewhat anarchist, but knew we weren’t getting there overnight. He was a pragmatic anarchist, I suppose.
LV: In your opinion, which active Libertarian is most influential, and why?
TD: Most influential? Probably Larry Sharpe. It’s not that he has great new ideas – I think he’s going to be the first to admit he does not. Rather, he articulates libertarian ideals in a humble, easy-to-understand manner. The man is charismatic and has a sense of humor. He’s human.
LV: How would you approach someone who is showing an initial interest in Libertarianism?
TD: Gently. It’s important in this situations to remember that we are a big tent. I, myself, came from the Democrats. I was embraced openly, especially with saw that my personal views aligned well with self-ownership and non-aggression. I approach people considering us in the same way – embrace and frame their viewpoints. Most people really ARE kind of libertarian.
LV: What is the first book you would tell someone who is interested in the LP to read?
TD: Something by Harry Browne, either Why Government Doesn’t Work or How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World. His books are easy reads with a clear libertarian path.
LV: What do you like most about being involved in the LP?
TD: Far and away, it’s the people. I’ve gotten to meet some of the oddest (mostly in a good way), generous (with time and money), hardest-working people I’ve ever met, and I’ve gotten to work with them. It’s been a fantastic experience.
LV: If you could eliminate one Government agency, which would it be and why?
TD: It would be not one, but several. Our federal government has dozens of police agencies, most of whom do redundant work in siloed jurisdictions. The Department of Treasury alone has four separate law enforcement agencies. If we could collapse these redundant agencies into just a smaller number, with better jurisdictional transparency, we would literally save billions.
LV: What plans do you have to to grow the party in 2017?
TD: I intend to work to get local candidates in the Rochester area on the ballot. I also plan to start working on Larry Sharpe’s potential gubernatorial run for 2018.
LV: What words of advice would you give to other Libertarians on how to get involved in the party, locally and nationally?
TD: Go to a meeting and meet libertarians locally before you jump into anything on a grander scale. This will offer a better education than anything you can read in a book or a Facebook echo chamber.
Or talk to me.
LV: Alright Tony, let’s switch the direction up a bit and have you answer some random questions.
TD: Don’t tell me what to do.
LV: What is your favorite book?
TD: The Catcher In the Rye. Or maybe Brave New World. I can’t decide.
LV: What is the last book you read?
TD: I Grow Upby Juliana Hatfield.
LV: What is your favorite genre of music?
TD: Anything not named jazz.
LV: What band do you think has the most libertarian message?
TD: There is an artist out of Rhode Island named Kristin Hersh, who has both a solo career and was the lead vocalist of one of my favorite bands, Throwing Muses. She has a condition as a result of a childhood accident that has been diagnosed as PTSD, paranoid schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, but it was this accident at age 16 that caused her to start hearing the voices that brought her music to her. More importantly, as it became harder for her to work in a traditional record label environment, she came up with a way to crowdfund and create her own music, which has led to a lot more output from her than ever before. This is a woman who once said, “As far as I’m concerned, music is not a commodity. It’s something that people have earned by being human. They have a right to hear it, and a right to share it, as they always have… ” To that end, she founded CASH Music, a subscription-based service in 2007 that was able to fund several albums by her and her bands, as well as several other artists, without the interference of labels. . She turned her back on the music industry and became more successful than ever, carrying others with her.
LV: If you could spend an hour with any human to ever exist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
TD: Federico Garcia Lorca. Any poet who has lived an interesting enough life to be assassinated has to have something to say. More to the point, I admire his revolutionary existence.
LV: If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?
TD: Wisconsin, because I got an unjust speeding ticket there once. No, seriously, I want us to adopt Quebec. We would embrace Montreal like they deserve.
LV: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are 3 things you would want with you, and why?
TD: I don’t know. A flare gun, a lot of Crystal Pepsi, and a good knife. However, there was a lady named VirJiny Provost, who ran for MP in Mégantic-L’Érable, in Quebec, as a member of the Bloc Quebecois party, who gave the best answer ever to this question when she campaigned in 2015 – “Un cell, un pénis et ben des chips”. I can’t beat that.
LV: How do you define success and how do you measure it?
TD: If I have earned the respect of my peers and my opponents, I have obtained success.
LV: How do you feel about safe spaces?
TD: Any organization is free to establish whatever they see fit. I don’t need one, though.
LV: What are your thoughts on “The Pussification of America?”
TD: What a crock of shit. It isn’t actually happening any more than it ever has. We just have such short news cycles that any whiner who looks halfway interesting is going to get camera time.