Anti-virus pioneer and globe-trotting eccentric John McAfee placed third in the 2016 Libertarian party presidential primaries. Now he’s running again, this time from a secure, undisclosed location likely on a boat outside the United States, which he fled last January allegedly to escape the IRS
Although that sounds like an ideal setting for a Libertarian presidential campaign, McAfee doesn’t think too much of his chances of being their nominee.
‘It doesn’t really matter to me either way,’ he told me. ‘Number one, I’m John McAfee. I can’t be president. If anyone thinks I can, they need to move out of their mother’s basement and see the world. Neither can any Libertarian candidate. Ever.’
‘More importantly, it doesn’t matter who the president is,’ he continued. ‘Do presidents any more have power? I insist they do not. Our system is like an automobile with a frozen steering wheel. It doesn’t matter who’s driving.
‘Presidents lost power in 1960. When Dwight Eisenhower left office, he warned us that the CIA and the military-industrial complex will take American freedom if we let them. Well, we let them.’
McAfee emphatically leans closer to his webcam as he speaks, as if to confide an impassioned plea, honed and rehearsed for maximal impact.
‘We vote for people who spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars for a job that pays a few hundred thousand. It doesn’t add up, and something’s wrong.’
‘Do you realize our first president had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the office? He was the general of the continental fucking army, he slept in ditches, and he was old. He wanted to sit by the Potomac and fish, and I hear the fishing was good back then.
‘Thomas Jefferson took him aside and said, “George, who? Ben Franklin? All he does is chase women and drink wine. Me? I can’t find my fucking glasses. Hancock? Yeah, he got a pretty signature, but fuck me, he’s had to change villages five times in ten years because he’s fucked everybody in the village! Please, it’s got to be you, George.” And they shamed him, he hated it, he didn’t want it, but goddamn, did he do the job?’
McAfee’s comedic timing is perfect, yet he never gives even a hint of a wry smile or allows himself to laugh.
‘And we’re now idiotically voting people in who are paying! Who want to be the goddamn president! Who want to be responsible for the caretaking of our nation! Well, not fucking me. No one wants the caretaking of the nation, they want the power that comes with it. And that’s how a salary of a few hundred thousand adds up to a hundred million.’
I asked him if he thought that the current impeachment saga was the system’s attempt to reign in presidential power.
‘No, it’s just a dog and pony show, to entertain the masses and keep us from looking behind the curtain. That’s all,’ he said.
‘Who gives a flying fuck if Donald Trump is impeached or not? Because we know he won’t be. We knew exactly to the very vote what would happen in the House, and we know exactly to the very vote what will happen in the Senate. You know the ending of the movie in advance, people.’
McAfee becomes shamanistic, possessed of that kind of craziness that makes perfect sense.
‘You break my heart, children. You’re lazy, asleep, lost in your social media and phones. And you don’t see the horror of the darkness moving you back ever into the smaller corners of your cage. And you will eventually be slaves. But not on my fucking watch.’