Just when I was in despair about the world’s declining interest in libertarianism, my hopes have been revived.
Patrick Byrne, a libertarian billionaire, has made news by announcing that he developed a relationship with a woman named Maria Butina, a Russian who is now in an American prison for having failed to register as a foreign agent. According to journalist Sara Carter,
Butina . . . told Byrne, that [Alexander] Torshin, the Russian politician who [sic] she had been assisting while she was in the U.S., had sent her to the United States to meet other libertarians and build relations with political figures. She repeated to him numerous times that she was not a spy, even when he directly asked her.
Whether she was a spy or not, the idea is flattering to libertarians, as is the interest purportedly taken by the American government in such doings. According to Butina’s lawyer, Robert Driscoll,
At some point prior to the 2016 election, when Byrne’s contact with Maria diminished or ceased, the government asked and encouraged him to renew contact with her and he did so, continuing to inform the government of her activities. Byrne states he was informed by government agents that his pursuit and involvement with Maria (and concomitant surveillance of her) was requested and directed from the highest levels of the FBI and intelligence community.
Well, there you have it. Libertarians are more interesting than they think. Do you know who your friends really are?