Barr None

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

“Bob Barr … probably will seek and get the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party,” opines George Will. (Conical hat tip to Lew Rockwell; italics mine.)

Vote for my hands or else they will shoot each other! Is Will right about the “getting” part? Will the delegates in Denver really choose as squishy a libertarian as Barr (who, for example, has been saber-rattling over Latin America and favours banning drugs at the state level) over more consistently libertarian candidates like Ruwart or Kubby? I’m inclined to doubt it; I know that the LP has grown less radical over the years, but it’s not my impression that the corruption has progressed that far.

Of course I could be wrong; I’m not as involved with the LP as I used to be, so maybe I’m out of touch. And certainly one could point to the gutting of the platform as evidence of how far the LP has slid. But it’s my impression that the platform-gutting was put through as something of a stealth measure; moreover, the relative radicalism of the last two nominees, Browne and Badnarik, suggests that radicalism still sells in the Party. (Badnarik was less radical than Browne, but still more than Barr, and at least as much as the other major contenders for the nomination that year.) So although I wouldn’t have been surprised at Ron Paul’s getting the LP nomination if he were to seek it, I’m betting against Barr.

Incidentally, a question for my fellow Rothbardians: Ruwart is clearly the most Rothbardian candidate in the race, so why do I detect so little Rothbardian love for her candidacy? All the talk on LRC, for example, is about Paul and Barr; according to Google, nobody on the LRC blog has so much as mentioned her apart from Anthony Gregory. (The question I asked Walter Block at the end of this post still stands.)

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0 Responses to Barr None

  1. murray April 14, 2008 at 2:24 pm #

    Maybe the reason LRC hasn’t been covering Mary is because Barr poses more of a threat to the name of libertarianism. From what I understand, many LRC writers have not been commenting on Barr because they are waiting for him to really make his policies and ideology clear. If Barr were to genuinely turn into a Ronulan, with his popularity, I am sure LRC writers would support him (or at least cheer him as more than an antiMcCananite).

    Remember LRC does not really care about the LP except insofar as it impacts the greater libertarian movement. Ruwart doesn’t really impact the movement because she isn’t nationally known, Barr is and will significantly impact the movement if he is nominated.

    LRC writers aren’t speaking out because they want to have a say in Barr’s campaign and won’t be able to if they jump in against him from the beginning.

  2. Joe April 14, 2008 at 8:31 pm #

    Ideology is not enough. Do you think you (or most other academics–Hospers being the exception because he was first) would get many votes for your candidacy if you got the crazies and decided to run?

  3. Administrator April 14, 2008 at 9:24 pm #


    Getting votes is not enough either. See my reply to a similar point here.

  4. Joe April 15, 2008 at 7:46 am #

    IMHO the trouble with “growing the movement” through the LP and other electoral efforts is you never get what you expect. Consider Harry Browne’s candidacies, which brought lots of members into the LP via direct mail marketing. If you read the LP News Letters to the Editor section during that time, you’d find a myriad of examples of un-libertarian statements or arguments. Aside from ideological errors, there’s the GFQ (Get Free Quick) mentality that a semi-celebrity, just one person, will convert the millions … until the reality of disappointing results sets in on election day.

  5. Brad Spangler April 15, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    If speculation is permitted, I’d say the Rockwell crowd is *probably* looking with interest on Barr not because of his overt ideological positions but because of the long-term ideological implications of what he is capable of doing strategically — splitting the right wing vote enough to throw the election to Obama in order to punish the neocons. Take note that this isn’t what I advocate and is only one of potentially several explanations for a puzzlingly inconsistent “party line” in certain quarters. It just happens to be the one that fits best, IMHO.

  6. Michael J. Palmer April 16, 2008 at 8:30 pm #

    As a former Ron Paul supporter, I know several Ron Paul supporters in my area who are supporting Bob Barr now. I don’t know what to do. It’s ridiculous and scary.

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