Chris Johncox’s time in the libertarian movement seems to have started innocently enough.
Johncox co-founded Being Libertarian, an organization with a popular Facebook page and website that tends to take a somewhat big-tent libertarian view, incorporating voices from all across the spectrum of libertarian ideas. I would like to make it clear that this connection isn’t meant to disparage Being Libertarian; I know many great libertarians involved there, and they’ve even published a few of my articles before. My objective is to illustrate that Johncox’s initial foray into the political world came with few or no warning signs, at least from an outside observer’s perspective.
Johncox eventually left Being Libertarian, choosing instead to write for a variety of other sites. This included Liberty Hangout (which I’ve written about here and here), a website that bills itself as somewhat of a conservative/libertarian fusion that has since risen in profile due to its association with the Kent State Gun Girl.
This is around when I had my first interaction with Johncox, who at this time went by the pseudonym “I, AnCap”, after writing an article that included criticisms of Liberty Hangout’s founder. I had gone out of my way early in the piece to make it clear that I was making an ideological attack as opposed to a personal one, but that didn’t stop Johncox from typing out a rather unhinged rant in the common section.
By this time, the warning signs of someone going down a dark path were beginning to pop up. In March 2017, in reference to infamous white nationalist Richard Spencer coming out in favor of a healthcare public option, Johncox wrote on Facebook that he “actually kind of liked Spencer until this bullshit.” It became clear that Johncox was wading into the realm of white identity politics, which from what I have seen generally acts as the first step down the alt-right pipeline.
A May 2017 profile of him by Mel Magazine, entitled “The Young Libertarian Blogger who Wants to be the Future of the Far Right”, raised additional red flags. While he was quoted within the article as saying that he is “not a big fan of the white nationalist thing”, he still espoused common white nationalist talking points, saying “I don’t buy the idea that Europe is for everyone. Humans have their native communities.”
In October 2017, while “Crying Nazi” Christopher Cantwell was in jail for his actions at the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, Johncox was tapped by Liberty Hangout to conduct an interview with him via phone. The interviewed, reuploaded on the Fakertarians page here, generally consisted of Cantwell ranting about Jews, with Johncox saying “right, right” and neglecting to challenge him. His time at Liberty Hangout soon came to an end, however, when he was removed from the site after he had tried to put Christopher Cantwell and alt-righter AugustusInvictus (whose site, The Revolutionary Conservative, Johncox is a co-owner of) on a list for an article about the “top ten libertarians of 2017”.
Since the firing, Johncox has taken an even sharper alt-right turn. His views seem to have evolved to become more extreme; whether this is just a change in being less careful about his rhetoric or an actual ideological shift is something we can only speculate about.
He strongly supported the push by some on the alt-right to report sex workers to the IRS for tax evasion, writing that “Left wing cam thots estoppel themselves from property rights by contributing to the replacement crisis.” This nonsensical logic is often seen in those who drift toward fascist ideologies from libertarianism; their new hatred of whichever group they’re focusing on at that point in time causes them to try to twist libertarianism to justify violence against said group. This often culminates in an abandonment of libertarianism altogether, at which time many have already shifted into fascism without directly acknowledging it.
Johncox also frequently speaks negatively about Jews, a common refrain of those on the alt-right. Writing under a variation of his new pseudonym (he has switched to using Krios Kritikis, Krios Krisis, or Kaiser Krios, a sign that he may be attempting to appeal to the non-anarcho-capitalist factions of the alt-right), he said on Facebook in October 2018 that “Keynsianism [sic] is a Jewish state controlled and managed form of Neo-liberal economics where the state manages and regulates the private sector through corporate law.” (Keynesianism is admittedly terrible, but Keynes wasn’t Jewish; in fact, he’s often accused of disliking Jews).
He also made a post in February of 2019 alleging that “the Jews” are responsible for whites eventually becoming a minority in America.
At some point in late 2018 or early 2019, Johncox became involved with the Heel Turn Network, an alt-right streaming group that has been covered extensively elsewhere. Those featured on the network have included Johncox, Richard Spencer, and Jared Howe, among others.
Johncox is also now a producer for a show hosted by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, according to Johncox’s Twitter account.
So I would say that the important question here is: what exactly went wrong? What motivated someone interested in libertarianism, which is supposed to be about rights for all individuals, to end up palling around with people like David Duke and Richard Spencer? Having been involved with Fakertarians since its inception in 2017 and covering many people with a story similar to Johncox’s, I can make an educated guess.
Libertarianism, especially the radical version (which I subscribe to), is essentially a fringe ideology. Those who are susceptible to adopting fringe ideologies are more likely to be libertarians than those who generally stay in the political mainstream (the stereotypical Republican versus Democrat battle). This isn’t a bad thing in itself, as I see a lot of value in going against the grain and challenging conventional opinions to try to ascertain the truth. But sometimes, those on this journey stumble upon pseudoscience, downright lunacy, or the work of those with bad intentions who care more about power and control than individual rights.
Many times, I see those who enter the alt-right from the libertarian sphere start with race science that has generally been looked down upon by the scientific community (like the idea that certain races are genetically inferior). They think they’ve discovered a hidden truth and seek to incorporate it into their ideology.
Often, this incorporation involves a twisting of libertarianism, like mental gymnastics to justify keeping members of the “undesirable” races out of a country by use of government force. As the newfound alt-righter drifts further and further away from libertarianism, they begin to find more ways to justify authoritarianism under supposed libertarian principles (like Johncox’s insistence that taxing sex workers is okay because he believes they corrupt society and bring about additional taxation/spending). Eventually, but not always, the libertarian label fades away, with libertarians being seen by the alt-right as not willing to be able to do what it takes to bring about major change.
So what should be done? First, I think we need to remain steadfast in our libertarianism. The fact that a handful of libertarians have went on to espouse destructive ideologies does not mean that we should abandon ours. But we should be loud about disavowing those who seek to deny individual rights under the banner of libertarianism; those who justify government force through bigotry should not have a home in our movement. It is technically possible for those who profess racism to support libertarian policies, but in practice, the vast majority of those who claim to be both racist and libertarian are only the former.
But in terms of electoral politics, Invictus has generally been quiet since he abandoned his short-lived GOP Senate run in 2017 (he had previously lost decisively in the Libertarian Party’s primary when he ran for Senate in the 2016 election). A little digging, however, reveals a different story.
Invictus was recently appointed by California Republican Party Delegate Anthony Macias to fill a vacancy in the GOP as an Associate Delegate; the pair are running for re-election in 2020. In addition, Macias is seeking a spot on the California Republican Party Platform Committee, in which case Invictus would be his alternate. Macias is also running for the California State Assembly. Macias had said that if he were to win the primary for the Assembly seat, he would resign from his delegate spot and appoint Invictus in his place.
While the positions of power described above that Invictus is currently in or could eventually fill are relatively low on the totem pole, it is nonetheless alarming that someone as open about his repugnant views as Invictus has been able to insert himself into a leadership position while remaining relatively undetected and free of relevant media attention. There also remains the strong possibility that Invictus could again choose to seek some sort of higher office if his current tenure is successful.
What makes this situation even more odd is that Macias seems to be trying to appeal to Jewish Republican voters for support; he recently attended the San Jose State University Purim Carnival, writing on Facebook that he will “always… oppose antisemitic hate, wherever it rears its ugly head.”
Besides the fact that Invictus has closely allied himself with people like Richard Spencer and David Duke who generally like to blame Jews for all of the world’s problems (including what they view as a plot to demographically replace the white race, ridiculously referred to as “white genocide), even writing the first draft of the “Charlottesville Statement” for the rally mentioned in the second paragraph, Invictus also dabbled in Holocaust denial in a 2017 interview, saying “Do I believe that 6 million Jews were killed by evil Hitler? Is that what you’re asking me? Okay, then I am still waiting to see those facts.”
From my research, it’s been difficult to tell whether Macias is sincere in his statement against anti-semitism, and is simply deluded and wholly ignorant of Invictus’s views, or if this pandering to the Jewish community is all some kind of a sick joke.
Regardless, it remains imperative that people like Invictus, who represent an ideology that deserves to be relegated as a footnote to the dark corners of history, are kept from any position that aids them in making their sick dreams a reality.