The infamous Augustus Sol Invictus burst into mainstream social consciousness late last year. He’s caused havoc in the Libertarian Party of Florida, garnering vitriolic emissaries and prompting Adrian Wyllie, chair of the LPF, and the vice chair Lynn House to resign. The executive committee voted to condemn him. He’s been the subject of a media storm. His ex-mother in law has been questioned by the FBI. Rumour has it that he is a terrorist…
“This is probably going to get me into a lot of trouble, but: Hitler Is probably the best orator of all time, and second to him would be Malcolm X. There are similarities between my life and his and when I listen to his speeches I’m like goddamn right man. He was of a ‘funny’ religion, he was called a racist and a terrorist and everything else I’ve been called… He grew up on the streets. We had similar life patterns.” Augustus tells me. His speeches are electrifying, he is so full of old school radical fervor. The degree of dramatism he exudes when he takes to the podium may be off putting to as many if not more than the number of people it captivates- and this is a good thing. His very manner betrays his autonomy, his very existence is an act of rebellion.
Augustus is a patriot “more inline with what the founding fathers believed- and that’s in a strong country and an individual country. I believe in a government that actually protects the interests of the country and not special interests. That isn’t trying to sell us out to international organisations. The problem is when people running the country are not patriots, when they are trying to sell out your country; anyone who is a patriot becomes an enemy of the state. At this point, there is such a divide between the United States as a country and the federal government of the United States; that anyone who believes in our country is now a ‘domestic terrorist.’”
He passionately wants U.S. citizens to be engaged and aware of civics and alongside his campaign is informally engaged in a ‘war against intellectual mediocrity.’ “In my very first Fireside Chat I said that it’s not the leader’s role to be scraping and bowing before the public, and it’s not my job to go shining the shoes of every man in the streets. The job of a leader is to lead his people and part of that is educating the people and keeping them informed. As soon as I said that there was this instant backlash by Libertarians. They said ‘who the hell do you think your are and who are you to say that the government should be teaching anybody? The entire problem we have is that the government brainwashes people.’ I think the opposite, I think the problem is that the government takes no responsibility for anything it does and doesn’t think (none of us ‘think’ in this country) that the government should have any role teaching anything or that civics has a role in the classroom. It’s kind of like religion, where your parents are the only ones allowed to talk about it. If you look at all the politicians we have today, not one of them is particularly intelligent. They are all well educated, but not the sharpest tools in the shed. You get someone in there that actually is intelligent- they’d scare the living daylights out of people. They’d think this is an evil genius come to take over the world. If you don’t sound like the people who don’t have an education; if you don’t talk down to them at a 3rd grade level and use words that they know because they learned them in 2nd grade, then you are the guy who can’t be trusted because you think you’re too smart, think you’re smarter than them. This anti-intellectual backlash, I think, has really shot us in the foot. If you offend people because they don’t understand then they’re gonna change the channel (that’s not what gets the ratings and what sells the advertisements) so it self-perpetuates this atmosphere we have, where civics is a dirty word and god forbid we talk about it on the news. Think of someone like Edward R. Murrow, talking about things that mattered, talking about them in a reasonable way and giving basically a lecture at night- you could not imagine that happening today with CNN and Fox News and MSNBC. Everything is soundbites, everything is a scrolling marquee at the bottom of the screen. Nobody talks about things in a measured fashion, no one would ever dare lecture something because they’re gonna be set upon by a thousand trolls on Twitter… Nobody has the balls to stand up and say ‘this is the facts of the case and this is what’s going on and this is what you need to know’ because you’re just setting yourself up to be attacked and that’s a shame. I think part of the leader’s job is to be the one to come out and educate the people regardless of what risk it causes them, personally.”
Mainstream media has proven comically incapable of reporting on Augustus with sobriety or objectivity. Vice published an article titled ‘Meet Augustus Invictus, the Florida Libertarian Who Loves Paganism, Civil War, and Goat Sacrifice.’ He’s been in the Washington Times (‘Augustus Sol Invictus stirs up Florida senate with tales of sacrificing goats, drinking blood’), Reason (‘The Goat-Sacrificing Prospective Libertarian Party Candidate Talks Sorcery, Eugenics and the Coming Cataclysm’) and The Daily Mail (simply, ‘Florida Senate candidate under fire for taking part in a desert pagan ritual where he killed a goat and drank its blood’) . Metal Injection ran a colourful headline; ‘Meet The Goat Sacrificing, Blood Drinking, Possibly Neo-Nazi Florida Senate Hopeful, Augustus Sol Invictus’. He told me with regard to the media storm: “I’m just tickled pink. I’ve got to say it’s kind of a heady feeling to think I might be the only politician in American history who’s ever performed an animal sacrifice to a pagan god. I’m also the only American politician to ever listen to black metal. Those two things alone are just flattering. I’m not upset about it, it’s put us on the stage. We’ve got worldwide press over this. Probably more press than any libertarian’s ever had except Rand Paul, so it was sensational and most of it was false or at least half false but at the same time… Thank you, thank you to all the media out there.”
He baits controversy, intentionally or not. “During a speech I made in Lakeland, A Call for Total Insurrection, I said- I want you to take LSD and practice sorcery and listen to black metal and trap music- and people have taken that and said that ‘he’s trying to put all these kids on drugs and make them listen to this crazy music and obviously he’s insane because he wants people to practice sorcery.’ But I think they’ve missed the greater context of the speech; which was about breaking all social and cultural boundaries, rejecting the system, becoming responsible for your own life, having your own perspective on life and living as an individual- that part of the message got lost in the media.” It must be highly disorienting for them to meet a politician asking people to think for themselves at all.
“Socialists, Democrats and Republicans too now, say ‘well don’t worry about things like funding Israel or foreign aid or those big issues of the world. They’re not your problems! I’m gonna give you free healthcare and I’m gonna give you free education and I’ll give you all the social services you need! Just go back to sleep, we’ll pay you off.’ I think that’s a message you can give to an uneducated populace that you’ve been keeping down for generations, but then it’s not the kind of message you can give to people who don’t want these programs.
“Our country is about 18 trillion in debt at this point and God forbid someone like Bernie Sanders gets elected because that number’s gonna double by the time he ends being president. We just keep spending and there’s no real plan in sight. Politicians in democracies always look at the short term, they’re always looking at how to get reelected and how to please their constituents- and a lot of the time, that means buying them off. If you can say ‘I’m gonna give all of you free college money,’ you’re gonna get elected again, but if you say ‘it’s time to be austere, I wanna cut all social programmes so we can pay off that 18 trillion dollars’ you’re gonna be the Antichrist, you know, you’re gonna piss off everybody. Generations and generations have passed it on to the next and at this point if we don’t fix it our country is going to collapse only in a matter of time.”
While some critics are labelling him Neo-Nazi, “There’s this whole conservative outlook on my campaign that I am somehow open borders and I’m a cuckservative and a part of this whole Marxist infiltration of the party… My website says that America’s a melting pot and we should have reasonable immigration policies and I do think that’s true. I think this hardline that we just need to close the borders and keep everyone out is just a little extreme. I think we can be reasonable about it, and at the same time (if you were to cut some red tape and make it easier for legitimate immigrants to enter) liberals will not have the ammo to say ‘oh well these poor people had to immigrate illegally because the immigration process is so screwed up’ (that’s their main argument right now and they are correct because the immigration system is screwed up), but, with the welfare state and everything wrong with this country, it’s not a good idea to have people coming in in the millions.”
There’s a reasonable assumption to be made that the U.S. would find fewer people seeking to escape their native lands and immigrate if the approach to foreign policy was more in accordance with Augustus’, “We should not go policing the world and we should not be getting into anything that does not directly entail American interests. I studied international law, it was my speciality in law school, and I worked for the International Human Rights Law Institute. As part of that I was studying the laws of armed conflict and I found this guy called Carl Schmidt. He was the primary legal theorist in National Socialist Germany but before the Nazis came around he wrote about modern developments in international law. He was saying that all these non-aggression pacts and treaties that were being made, like the Kellogg-Briand, were not outlawing war and they certainly weren’t getting rid of aggression. All they were doing was demonising anyone who thought that war was legitimate political means, so let’s say for instance China and Japan are having a trade war and one of them fires- whoever fires first (let’s say China) has gone below the level of humanity, they are inhuman, so anyone who comes to Japan’s aid is now the hero, especially if they annihilate China who is now something less than the rest of us who have disavowed violence. Really what you’ve done is escalated violence and you’re doing it in the name of humanity which makes it all the more monstrous. I’ve been non-interventionist ever since I read about this concept and I think that if we were to apply it, it would solve a lot of problems that we’ve been having for the last 100 years since WW1 started in 1914.”
It was one experience that took Augustus from the individual pursuit of his own freedom to the pursuit of political freedom. The Drug Enforcement Administration shut down a pharmacy where Augustus was working, prompting him to decide “I’m going into politics, I’m gonna shut down the DEA! That’s a personal vendetta. Looking back they probably did me a favour because I can’t imagine putting pills into bottles right now (it was the most boring job in the world) but there’s something to be said for the impetus. While that may be just a small part of the platform now and it’s not personal so much anymore I do still remember that and I think of my clients who were all looking at 20-30 years in prison for selling pills… The DEA to this day bully people and any time I can stop them from doing that is a good day.” After sofa surfing himself through law school he’s been licensed in several states as an attorney and defended clients one at a time but “At this point all these years later I think on a larger scale- it’s not just about the pharmacy shutting down anymore- I mean the DEA is literally waging war against our citizens here in the United States, they’re ruining families, putting people in prison for 30 years- sometimes life, I’ve seen people go to prison for life for this stuff. A child molester can get out after five years in federal prison. It’s insane because we used to hang those people and drugs used to be legal. Things are just topsy turvy and we have more prisoners in this country than anywhere else in the world and it’s really turned into a police state. All in the name of the war on drugs but really I think that’s a cover for their war on our citizenry.
“The state is engaged in literal warfare out there with the American people. I go down the street here in downtown Orlando and there are armoured personnel carriers with police with assault rifles and helmets. It’s disgusting. They act like they’re in a war zone. I went to a trial once and there was a guy on trial for cocaine trafficking and the cop got on the stand and started talking about how he had done tours in the neighborhood, talking about it like he was in Afghanistan or something. It’s a neighborhood maybe 3 miles down from my house…They have this mindset that this is some kind of militarised zone where the citizens need to be kept in control. They talk in military terms in their police reports. They have their own special military terminology. I don’t think that the average citizen is aware. To say that a war is being waged is not an exaggeration, it is not hyperbole, it is not metaphor, it is literal. We are living under a police state. Cops come and kick in the door and arrest people in the middle of the night, with or without a warrant. That is not in Afghanistan, that is right here in America. One of my clients had a tank drive up to his house, there are so many examples that I could go on for hours. This really is a war and the strategies and tactics they are using against their citizens are really how military operations work.
“I’ve known a lot of people who are drug addicts. Their lives are not fun when they’re on drugs, there are people I know that have died on drugs or have been murdered or have died in some mysterious way related to drugs. I mean, drugs can be an evil thing, but so can automobiles and television and prostitution and all the vice that we have but the question is: should it be something that the individual is in control of or should it be something where the government tells you what to do? It’s a tricky thing because you don’t want to say that the individual has an absolute right to do as much crystal meth as he wants to, or that teenagers should be able to cut themselves and use bath salts, that’s insane, but at the same time do you want the government spending billions and billions and billions of dollars destroying your own country because of marijuana? There might be dangers to drugs, there are dangers to all vices, but the greatest danger is allowing the government to ruin the country in the name of stamping out vice.”
Augustus was planning to campaign for election to the House of Representatives in 2016 but, when Marco Rubio gave up his seat in the Senate to run for president, he decided to take up competition for that position instead. Although he feels that his chance of winning the senate seat is meaningful, he says “assuming I am elected, it is crazy talk to think that these Democrats and Republicans who are all controlled by special interests and who all are being pulled by their purse masters are gonna say ‘yeah well he’s a great guy, I like his ideas, I’m going to work with him’ they’re going to be told ‘you don’t associate with that guy’. I’ll be blacklisted there just like I’ve been blacklisted in the Libertarian Party of Florida or any other place. But their problem will be that I’ll be allowed to speak on the senate floor and if that is the case then they will be forced to listen because the American people will listen. No one’s paying me to go talk about whatever measure is going to help company X or whatever legislation is gonna help the lobby for company Y. I don’t make these bland statements, reading out of a phone book. I’m talking about what people actually care about, things that people need to hear- and they listen, and that being the case it kind of ruins the whole game. If you can cause enough people to listen and that causes them to call their senators and their representatives I think that could change the game. It’s about setting the personal example first, go in alone if necessary; that’s where we are now. I’m realistic about the fact that these guys are probably not going to want to work with me or be allowed to work with me but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna be pessimistic about the future.
“In the Libertarian Party, they want to be more mainstream. They want the Democrats and Republicans to respect them like they’re playing their game, they want to be invited to things and treated like we’re all grown up now. I totally reject that trend. You need to reject that entire system and that is your strength in alternative politics. If you try to buy in, all you’re doing is selling out.” Speaking of the LPF, Jeff Billman, a Floridean Libertarian pundit said that, former chair Adrian Wyllie has been conducting a witch hunt against pagans in the party. Augustus’ encounters with him support the claim: “There’s no question about it. The first time I wrote to Wyllie was because Carla Howell (political director at Libertarian Party national headquarters) told me ‘you gotta contact this guy, this guy ran for governor, he’s gonna know everything you should do and all the people you should talk to’ so I did and he wrote back the next day saying ‘you’re not a real Libertarian, get out of my party. Go and start your own party based on your religion…’ It blew us all away here on the campaign team, we couldn’t believe that he would actually say something like that. After that he just harped on for six months. Everything was about my religion and then when he failed to gain traction for making fun of me based on my religion (and my poetry and my accent) then he started saying ‘well, he told me he wants to murder every man woman and child on the entire planet’, because of my religion. Everything that he has to say boils down to: he hates my religion and it’s devil-worship and black magic and all this nonsense. Wyllies followers like to think that it’s because I’m not a real libertarian but the things that they keep spouting are lies that Adrian Wyllie made up and it all stems from his religious bigotry.”
Growing up, “Everyone around me was Christian and fanatically. I went to bible camp, grew up in the Baptist church here in Orlando… My father was a semi-Catholic and my mother was a Jehovah’s Witness so I guess they thought that the Baptist church was some sort of compromise. That’s what I was raised around. Then I went and read the bible myself and found out all the moral problems, all the contradictions, all the prophecies that weren’t really prophecies and I got really angry because I had been told that the Bible was infallible. I had really bought into this religion and when I found out these things I went the other way, went totally anti-Christian for a long long time. As part of that I read about a lot of religions. Then I came across this book by Colin Wilson called The Occult: A History and that’s how I was first introduced to paganism. When I started doing the whole dressing in black and listening to Marilyn Manson thing, my parents forced me to go to church after that, I was getting dragged to church and grounded and having books taken, this whole saga… But I was very open about it. I never made any bones about how angry I was or how betrayed I felt. It’s a very lonely experience when you’re 13 and you think you’ve realised something that all the adults around you never have (and it seems pretty elementary too), it’s pretty isolating. My mom’s not so fanatic now but my dad still thinks it’s crazy. Both my parents hate my religion but they don’t tell me about it anymore, they kind of keep it to themselves but I wouldn’t say it’s acceptance.
“I realise that Thelema can freak people out but it is fair to say that Thelema and Libertarianism go well together. Thelema is very much centred on the individual and it’s a rejection of the state and all forms of control. It’s very much a religion based on breaking your personal boundaries and being responsible for your own life, it’s very existential and the same is true for Libertarianism, the mindset that the individual should be responsible for himself and should be free.”
You don’t have to agree with everything he does or says to recognise that Augustus Sol Invictus is offering something radical and exciting to U.S. politics. If elected he will make history. Isn’t everybody sick of P.C., P.R., pay to play pussies having free rein to compromise the integrity of the United States Congress? Who needs empty platitudes to disguise corporate agendas? With this man, Florida could guarantee U.S. citizens 100% more meaningful debate in the Senate. He is a firebrand.
Vote for Invictus.