Chaos Ensues As Popular Liberty Discussion Forum (Formerly Abruptly Announces Permanent Shut-Down Dec 31
By Martin Hill
December 17, 2015



Michael Nystrom, owner of the very busy libertarian discussion forum PopularLiberty (formerly has announced that he is closing his site down for good on December 31st. Nystrom had previously posted that he was considering shutting the site down over the past year or two, always to the consternation and upset of his members.

Nystrom was not a big fan of Rand Paul, so he changed the name of the site to Popular Liberty and ditched the 'Paul' moniker last year, to avoid having the site devolve into a Rand fan-boy site. He kept the archive here.

In the wake of his latest announcement, which this time is for real, users are scrambling to start new discussion forums so that they can keep a place to discuss events of the day, share ideas, keep in touch and maintain relationships they've formed over the years.

Nystrom's dramatic post began: [He goes by 'User 1'.]

So Long. All things must pass

User 1
Us - Community Member News

Hey remember last year on the Daily Paul I said that you should do something that scares you in 2015? People seemed to like that post a lot until they figured out the scary thing I was going to do was shut down the Daily Paul. They didn't like idea at all, which reveals a fundamental truth: When you do something that scares yourself, you're generally going to scare other people too.

The kinds of things that I suggested,
Find a new job. Come out of the closet. Ask that girl (guy) out on a date, or to marry you! Move across the world. Move across the country. Move across town. Change careers. Take on public speaking. Unlearn everything you've learned so far. Stop believing your own BS. Stop drinking whatever flavor of Kool Aid you happen to be drinking. Learn a new trick. Try a new belief. Shed your old skin. Whatever's not working for you, take it off like a ratty old pair of jeans, throw it away, leave it behind and don't look back.

are the kinds of scary things that also make other people uncomfortable, and unless you have an unusually risk-taking and supportive network of friends, they'll probably try to talk you out of it. People like it if you stay where you are, because it helps them stay where they are.

Find a new job? What's wrong with the one you've got? You're making money. Come out of the closet? I dunno man, people are going to look at you weird if you come out. Ask that girl (guy) out on a date, or to marry you!? What are you, crazy? S/he's way above you. Move? Why do you want to move? What's wrong with where you're at? You got a bed, you got a roof.

Et cetera, et cetera. You get the idea.

Sometimes those voices are so strong that you allow them to keep you where you are. Sometimes those voices are simply your own doubts.

Did you do something scary last year? I thought I did, but it turns out I only did something pretend scary. I shut down the Daily Paul, but then created an exact replica of it, only with a different name, hoping things would be different.

Ha ha ha! In retrospect, I find this to be most amusing. Like a guy who breaks up with his girlfriend only to end up going out with someone who may as well be her twin. Sometimes a couple is on the verge of breaking up but instead they get married, because the idea of being apart is just too painful to imagine. Both of those situations rather accurately describe what I did with this website.

PL is DP’s twin, but without the same ring. I couldn’t break up with her when I should have, so I married her instead.

A long time ago I stopped learning, growing or getting much joy from this project. In fact, it is mostly the opposite. It’s just like that Pink Floyd song.

Day after day, love turns gray, like the skin of a dying man
And night after night, we pretend it's all right
But I have grown older and you have grown colder
And nothing is very much fun any more
* * *

Remember in 2012, after Ron Paul dropped out of the race, how the Daily Paul turned into a giant snarling, snapping, yapping ball of infighting over who to support? It was just one big long horrible useless fight, day after day. Now we find ourselves back at that same juncture for 2016, and I view the prospect of going through that one more time with dread. We did it once already, and there is no possible way I can see of avoiding it. So I’m done. Now is the time for me to move on. I’ll be shutting down this website at the end of the year. I know it is like Deja vu all over again, but I haven’t figured out a way to get out of going through all of this twice.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but hit a kind of functional impasse in terms of how to let people know. Then I read something by David Foster Wallace that captured things perfectly:
Suppose you and I are acquaintances and we’re in my apartment having a conversation, and that at some point I want to terminate the conversation and not have you be in my apartment anymore. Very delicate social moment. Think of all the different ways I can try to handle it: 'Wow, look at the time'; ‘Could we finish this up later?’; ‘Could you please leave now?’; ‘Go’; ‘Get out’; ‘Get the hell out of here’; ‘Didn’t you say you had to be someplace?’; ’Time for you to hit the dusty trail, my friend’; ‘Off you go then, love’; or that sly old trephine-conversation-ender, ‘Well, I’m going to let you go now’

… in real life I always seem to have a hard time winding up a conversation or asking somebody to leave, and sometimes the moment becomes so delicate and fraught with social complexity that I'll get overwhelmed trying to sort out all the different possible ways of saying it and all the different implications of each option and will just sort of blank out and do it totally straight -- 'I want to terminate the conversation and not have you be in my apartment anymore' -- which evidently makes me look either as if I'm very rude and abrupt or as if I'm semi-autistic and have no sense of how to wind up a conversation gracefully...I've actually lost friends this way."

Maybe I’ll lose some friends this way as well, but I don’t think so. You've all been educated. You know the problems. You know what to do. In some cosmic way I think that me holding on to this website creates a logjam in the Universe that keeps others stuck as well. For anyone here in that situation, you are hereby released.

Thank you all. It has been a pleasure knowing you and serving you, and it has been nine years of my life that I’ll never forget.


Many posters have asked Nystrom why he doesn't just allow someone to buy the site and keep it going, and he has responded to those suggestions with a resounding 'no way!', insisting that his "people are not for sale."

Read the exchange here:

Crabacado replied on Tue, 12/15/2015 - 05:58
Can I make a suggestion Michael?
Why not donate PL to the members and just walk away....and maybe let us figure out what to do with it?
I mean, if you don't want to sell it to TIM, that is.
The end result would be the same for you, no? Your opportunity cost is not impacted in any way, and you carry on with your noble endeavors.
I have to be honest, my first impression after reading some of your comments lead me to think maybe you're angry and pissed off at the general membership here.
Do you hate us? Are you thinking the best way to punish us is via shutting it down?
I'm just curious

User 1 replied on Tue, 12/15/2015 - 07:23 Permalink

Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards
Come on, how would that be to just sell all these people? This ain't facebook, man! My people aren't for sale. I don't own you or control you, so how could I possibly sell you? There are all kind of forums across this great green Internet. It is ok to venture beyond these walls. Seriously, didn't you read what I wrote? Go do something scary.

So no, I'm not going to sell you. But donate PL to members and walk away? There is no way that would work. The only way a site like this is going to work is if the person who created it loves it and takes care of it. You can't just hand it off to someone and expect that level of care and responsibility.

The key is in the creation. That's why this thread is about creating something, even if it just starts small, like with a twitter account. Then it is yours. Then you care about it. Then you're interested in what is going on. You see it from a completely different perspective.

Running this site by committee is never going to work. There's enough fighting as it is in the threads, can you imagine the fighting over control of the site itself?

No, that would never work.

And now here I go again, feeling like I'm breaking up with someone:

No honey, I don't hate you. It's not you baby, it's me. You're really lovely, wonderful people and you're going to find a new place on the internet to hang out. It's just -- really, it's me.

Don't think of it as being punished, think of it as an opportunity. You've got an opportunity to bring your teachings of liberty to the rest of the internet, and the world.

Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards. Case in point, pulling an arrow back into a bow. Without that backward movement, the arrow would never have enough energy to shoot forward into space.

Do me a favor and just try it. Go make a twitter account and see. Twitter is huge.

Crabacado replied on Tue, 12/15/2015 - 09:53 Permalink
Okay, I get it now
You're kicking the birds out of the nest.
Thanks for everything Michael!


The PopularLiberty Moderator has posted a PL Spin-off Compilation here. This is one discussion forum that I added to the thread. Everyone reading this article is also welcome to join.

Just posted this: One Alternative: Owner Welcomes PopularLiberty Members

Mr. Nystrom, thanks for all the work, responsibility, expense, and legal liability (as Irene pointed out here about when Michael got sued) that you assumed, over the past ten(?) years.

This place now seems to be in chaos, and since I am not sure any 'single' new site is going to 'stick', or carry over EVERYONE, I'm gonna post this. PopularLiberty has what looks like three dozen or so people planning on "about starting a new site." I considered it, but when I saw there were already so many fish in the pan I said forget it, let everyone else sort it out.

I am just gonna leave this link in case PLers want to join this site that is already established and has existed for over ten years.

It's owned by a friend of mine, with no control freak mods at all. Most of the posters there have known each other for ten years or more, many of them in person. I know many of the posters at freedom4um personally, my wife and I have been to their homes, met and broke bread with them and their families. The site originated many years ago as a sane alternative to the DREADFUL and it's various liberty oriented alternatives and off-shoots. FR, in the 1990s, had become a neocon propaganda outlet which had begun banning all non statists.

Christine the owner of freedom4um can tell you more about her site's history if you'd like to ask.

Freedom4um has evolved, grown, and shrunk over the years. No one likes Rand there, that I know of, for obvious reasons. That doesn't mean that Rand fans are not welcomed, but be ready for strong challenges on your positions. The 4um crowd, frankly, is known to be comprised of crochety NWO opponents of various stripes- male and female. Most threads are civil, but sometimes folks seem ready to 'throw down' at a moment's notice. LoL.

Criticism of Israel/ Zionism is NOT off limits or 'taboo' at 4um, nor is any other topic. Although believe it or not, 4um does actually have a few zionists who participate, too. Most people there, I'll be frank, have a long-drawn conclusion about izzy, the Israeli-terrorism, (9/11) the holohoax, etc, including me.

Anyway that's enough for an introduction, other than a welcome thread that christine posted this morning. You can find it here:

Popular Liberty Members Welcome

I'd like to invite posters from Popular Liberty to join us for open and lively discussion here at Freedom4um. Freedom4um is one of a very few political forums left where open and uncensored discussion is permitted and encouraged!

As stated in our 'mission statement', "We abhor political correctness and authoritarianism as well as thought control tyrants who would restrict another's speech."

We hope that you all will feel comfortable and welcomed. We look forward to getting to know you.

People can register for a username here: and can view the 'latest comments' page here. The site has a great private 4um mail to send messages or communicate with other members. It also has one feature which PopularLiberty does not have, which i like a lot, and that's a ping list, where you can ping one or many particular users to your thread or to your comment or reply.

I post as artisan there at 4um.

I know I don't actually know many of you here personally, but i have really enjoyed posting and reading DailyPaul/PL over the years. I've had my own website since 2008 which is occasionally featured at Lew Rockwell and many other liberty sites, which i consider an honor. I'm the one who outed the two sheriffs who killed Jack Yantis last month. which then forced Idaho Sheriff Ryan Zollman to release the two killers names 14 hours after I published and it had gone mega-viral.

Thanks for listening and if you like, you can use your same PL handle over at The Ron Paul Bumper Sticker is Still On MY Car (Tearjerker/Trbute Vid)

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  • [Note: I was on Dr. Kevin Barrett's radio show this past Friday, December 4th, to discuss this case. You can listen here (2nd hour, after Robert Wenzel.) I had actually invited MacKenzie Wood and Her husband Brian to participate in the show, but they did not respond.]

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