The infamous Augustus Sol Invictus (name meaning unconquerable sun god) burst into mainstream social consciousness late last year. He’s caused havoc in the Libertarian Party of Florida, prompting both Adrian Wyllie—chair of the Libertarian Party of Florida—and vice chair Lynn House to resign. The executive committee voted to condemn him. He’s been the subject of a media storm. His former mother-in-law has been questioned by the FBI.
Rumor has it that he’s 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!” Augustus tells me.
Invictus is full of old school radical fervor and his speeches are electrifying. 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 mere existence is an act of rebellion. Augustus explains to me that he is a patriot.
“I’m more in line 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. A country that isn’t trying to sell us out to international organizations. The problem is when people running the country are not patriots, when they are trying to sell out your country, and 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.’”
His campaign is informally engaged in a war against intellectual mediocrity.
“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, and 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.”
He believes that there is an anti-intellectual backlash that has really shot us in the foot.
“Everything is sound bites; everything is a scrolling marquee at the bottom of the screen. Nobody talks about things in a measured fashion, and no one would ever dare lecture on something because they’re gonna be set upon by a thousand trolls on Twitter. Nobody has the balls to stand up and say ‘these are the facts of the case, and this is what’s going on,’ because you’re just setting yourself up to be attacked. 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 colorful headline too: “Meet The Goat Sacrificing, Blood Drinking, Possibly Neo-Nazi Florida Senate Hopeful, Augustus Sol Invictus.”
Augustus has no problems with this.
“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.’ 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, and having your own perspective on life and living as an individual—that part of the message got lost in the media.”
After sofa surfing himself through law school, Augustus became licensed in several states as an attorney.
“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 armored personnel carriers with police holding assault rifles and wearing helmets. It’s disgusting. They act like they’re in a war zone. They talk in military terms in their police reports. They have their own special military terminology. 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.”
He 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 the competition for that position instead.
“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 are going to be told: ‘You don’t associate with that guy.’ 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. I’m talking about what people actually care about, things that people need to hear, and they listen.”
I asked him what it was like growing up.
“Everyone around me was Christian and fanatically. I went to bible camp, and 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 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.
When Augustus found out what was going on, he went the other way.
“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. I was getting dragged to church and grounded and having books taken away, this whole saga. 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 realized something that all the adults around you never have. It’s pretty isolating. My mom’s not so fanatic now, but my dad still thinks it’s crazy.”
He goes into further detail.
“I realize that Thelema can freak people out, but it is fair to say that Thelema and Libertarianism go well together. Thelema is very much centered 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 free.”
You don’t have to agree with everything he does or says to recognize that Augustus Sol Invictus is offering something radical and exciting to U.S. politics. It must be highly disorienting for the establishment to meet a politician who is asking people to think for themselves. If elected, I believe that he will make history. We are all sick of Politically Correct pay-to-play pussies having free rein to compromise the integrity of the United States Congress. Who needs empty platitudes to disguise corporate agendas?
Elizabeth Hobson the Creative Distractor at Trigger Warning. She balances raising two meticulously untamed luminaries with being a morbid, over-excitable yet analytic futurephile and social critic. She enjoys reading, writing and talking. Find her stuff here.