Attention D.C. Reasonoids: Come hear Bob Barr, Mike Gravel, Wayne Allyn Root, and Vern McKinley Discuss the Future of Libertarian Politics, Tuesday, May 20!

As the Republicans settled on John McCain to carry their banner into the 2008 presidential election, three things happened. First Mike Gravel, the iconoclastic former senator from Alaska, left the Democratic race to fight for the Libertarian Party nod. Then, former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr, a Libertarian Party member since 2006, announced a bid for the party's presidential nomination. Finally, as the GOP's primaries wrapped up, Rep. Ron Paul notched a total of 1 million votes—just as his book The Revolution became a nationwide bestseller.

Paul has rebuffed multiple requests to run as a third party candidate, so what will happen to his supporters, donors, and voters? Why did Gravel and Barr join the Libertarian Party? Why do both of them want to see their former parties defeated at the ballot boxes? Should libertarians (note the small l) stay within the GOP ranks, as Paul has opted to do? Should they bolt for the Libertarians? The Democrats?

Joining Barr and Gravel will be:

- Wayne Allyn Root, a former Republican and self-described Goldwaterite who's also running hard for the Libertarian nomination.

- Vern McKinley, a "Ron Paul Republican" who's challenging incumbent Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) for a House seat in northern Virginia.

Be part of a live reason.tv audience and watch Barr, Gravel, Root and McKinley discuss these and related topics on Tuesday, May 20 at reason's DC HQ. Space is limited and RSVPs are mandatory.

What: The Future of Libertarian Politics

When: Tuesday, May 20, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: reason DC HQ, 1747 Connecticut Avenue NW (near S Street)

RSVP: events@reason.com

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Sam Grove||

    In an unrelated note, CATO is presenting a critical review of the lying liar's, sorry, I mean Naomi Klein's book "The shock doctrine".

  • ||

    While most people here except Joe understand that blaming a rising facsm and gloabal war on "free-marekts" is ridiculous, thus making the CATO response pretty easy to make, this back and forth seems to accomplish nothing but perpetuate a false republican/democrat paradigm. A more important message to Naomi Klein and her fans is this: Sure Bush and the neo-cons are bad, they are the diametrical opposite of 'free-market" in fact they have their intellectual roots in the socialist trotskyites, they have always supported the New Deal and a government organized economy to benefit the crony capitalist who pull the strings in both politcal parties. The Neocons displaced from power any of the truly free-market and peace loving republicans long ago...working together with democrats they have created a empire based on plunder, theft and lies. Libertarianism is the only thing that can stop these two parties from continuing to destroy the country.

  • Orange Line Special||

    It sounds like the candidates will be hermetically sealed away from the audience. But, in case there's a Q&A session, someone should ask Bob Barr why he's as bad as McCain on the latter's most vulnerable issue.

    To put that in terms that Reason can understand, that's like if the leading cigarette tastes bad, and a new cigarette brand designed to compete against the leading brand tastes bad too.

  • Sam Grove||

    I see you have grasped the subtlety of leftist thought.

    Naomi Klein and fans hate markets and profit making. They attack Bush and co. not for their power grabbing and war-mongering, but for their association with profit making entities. They tar the free-market because they are opposed to freedom, not because of war profiteering.

    I once attended a selective service registration protest (Carter was pres.) In talking with a couple of Trotsky-ites present at the protest, I learned they only opposed the U.S. Selective Service, they supported the Soviet draft, because the USSR had to defend itself against U.S. imperialism.

  • Taktix®||

    Lonewacko hates Barr?

    Ok, now I'm fully on board for the Barr '08 campaign...

  • ||

    The take-down of Naomi Klein's book linked to by Sam Grove in the first comment should have its own H&R post.

  • PC||

    Is Gravel actually speaking or did he just RSVP for the event?

  • ||

    Right on Sam. Unfortunately, the attack on free-markets gains strength when supposedly free-market organizations are seen as providing intellectual cover for neo-cons, supporting unjust wars or smearing non-interventionists as "isolationist".

    It helps compound and reinforce the ignorance and misunderstanding of many on the left, while giving comfort to mainline Republicans that neo-cons are "ok" and that the the Republican establishment cares deeply about free markets and low taxes. This is a bad thing.

  • ||

    A democrat former senator, a republican former congressman, a new convert to the LP from the GOP, and a "Ron Paul Republican" to discuss the future of libertarian politics?

    Would it not have been at least polite to invite some LP old-timers -- perhaps one of the many elected libertarians from around the country -- to discuss the future, too, or have they been relegated to the past, and the irrelevance of the historical dustbin?

    It's interesting to me that, while libertarians of every stripe love to criticize the gatekeeper nature of the MSM, which allegedly pushes libertarians to the fringes, and often wrongly declares who is or is not a significant libertarian, the same people turn a blind eye to "friendlies" such as Cato, when they apparently engage in similar activities.

  • David Weigel||

    Would it not have been at least polite to invite some LP old-timers -- perhaps one of the many elected libertarians from around the country -- to discuss the future, too, or have they been relegated to the past, and the irrelevance of the historical dustbin?

    We invited Mary Ruwart, who could not make it. I'm trying to get the questions to her so she can have at least some presence at the event.

  • ||

    Sorry, meant to say "Reason and Cato." With "friendlies" like that, who needs enemies, apparently.

  • ||

    Ruwart certainly is an interesting choice. Thanks for the update, Dave. But I repeat that you might want to invite LP folk of long standing who have either participated in top-ticket campaigns, or who have actually won lower-echelon office and re-election. In California, for example, Tom Tryon just keeps winning re-election to the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors. Art Olivier served for many years as an elected official in a populous Los Angeles suburb, etc.

  • ||

    OT-Caution! Jared Polis (the subject of the banner ad at the top) is a big government Democrat. He's a multimillionaire so he can afford to run ads anywhere.

  • ||

    James Anderson Merritt | May 14, 2008, 5:42pm | #
    But I repeat that you might want to invite LP folk of long standing who have either participated in top-ticket campaigns...


    He fought for liberty in the trenches, in the heat of summer and the cold of winter. He even founded the RLC. It's Donderoooooo!!

  • Orange Line Special||

    OT - Don't worry! Despite what Rick Barton says, Jared Polis is not only a great humanitarian, he's on Reason's side.

    And, he's got the award to prove it!

  • ||

    It is rather surprising that you decide to discuss the future of the Libertarian Party and don't invite a single libertarian to speak. We have antigay, antiabortion, drug warrior Barr; an advocate of socialized health care in Gravel, and a neocon who sends money to Lieberman in Root. Yet none of the actual libertarians running for the LP nomination are on the list.

    That is sad and rather diappointing. Reason dropped a few points in my book because of it.

  • ||

    Lone Wacko-Orange Line Special,

    You goofy guy, you!

  • Orange Line Special||

    Lone Wacko-Orange Line Special,

    You goofy guy, you!


    Well, I can't help it. I'm a pathetic, deranged singleissue moron and I'm too dense to realize that I'm doing absolutely nothing for my own cause. That's why I support punishing innocent anchorbabies for the crimes of their parents.

  • Libertarian Delegate||

    There are some good threads about Bob Barr over at ThirdPartyWatch.com. One of the most interesting is an argument FOR Bob Barr from a radical Libertarian perspective. Another is Bob Barr taking Mike Huckabee to task for his statements about pointing a gun at Obama.

  • economist||

    I would actually be interested in a debate, for example, between Ron Paul and Fred Foldvary. They represent, respectively, right and left libertarians, but I think they could actually have a fruitful debate.

  • economist||

    Maybe I should clarify: I think that Paul and Foldvary, while deviating from what might be the standard libertarian line on certain issues, often have important points to make on those issues, even though I don't agree completely with either one's conclusions.

  • ||

    Actually, considering that many if not most of the posts on H&R threads are by people who admit they're not libertarians (say, joe and neil furiously wrangling about something while the rest of us skip past it all unread), I think it's entirely appropriate to have a discussion about the future of libertarianism devoid of any long-term libertarians (I'd say devoid of any libertarians, period, but then everyone would have to drink).

  • ||

    Has Bob Barr gotten around to renouncing the war on drugs?

    -jcr

  • B||

    Mike Gravel? Are you serious? Why does the Libertartian Party latch onto every single nutjob that comes along? Jesse Ventura? Ron Paul? Is there anyone sane who can act as standard bearer of the Libertarian Party, or do all Libertarians think we should go back to the gold-standard while at the same time applauding times cops are killed performing no-knock raids.

  • Orange Line Special||

    Needless to say, the last comment using my handle is not from me. Doing things like that is not recommended as it makes Reason look even worse than they do now, and things like that might have certain repurcussions.

    In any case, I updated my post about Bob Barr for president earlier today with yet another example of him sounding like every other hack. I strongly suspect that he's either an idiot, or he's simply trying to sell books.

  • Syd||

    I'm glad the Libertarians are getting excited. Too bad they'll be lucky to get one percent of the vote.

    Any party who gets excited because Mike Gravel and Wayne Allen Root (Wayne Allen Root?) are running for their nomination are going nowhere. AAt this point, I doubt anyone outside of Libertarian blogs remember Bob Barr at all, and those people remember him as an asshole.

    Too bad, because I would really like to see a conservative revolt send McCain to oblivion.

  • Contro||

    In any case, I updated my post about Bob Barr for president earlier today



    Barr sounds pretty sensible there. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  • Contro||

    Has Bob Barr gotten around to renouncing the war on drugs?



    In a perfunctory way. Does he mean it? Unlikely.

  • ||

    things like that might have certain repurcussions.

    oooh, you won't LoneWacko when he's angry!

    what are you going to do, nutcase? Write an angry LetterWithTHeWords all RunningTogether?

  • ||

    It is rather surprising that you decide to discuss the future of the Libertarian Party and don't invite a single libertarian to speak. We have antigay, antiabortion, drug warrior Barr

    For the umpteenth time, gay marriage and abortion are not issues on which all libertarians agree. I know the party apparatchiks inserted a big FUCK YOU to pro-life libertarians into the platform a few years back, but I thought libertarians weren't big on following orders from on high. Maybe I was wrong.

  • ||

    A_R,

    No, he'll probably go on other blogs and scold the commenters for not asking you immigration questions and posting the answers on YouTube.

  • BakedPenguin||

    For the umpteenth time, gay marriage and abortion are not issues on which all libertarians agree.



    Um... what is the libertarian case against gay marriage again? (Other than that government s/n be involved in marriage whatsoever.)

  • ||

    For the umpteenth time, gay marriage and abortion are not issues on which all libertarians agree.

    I am certain that abortion, with all of the philosphical quandaries it raises, is not a libertarian litmus test.

    OTOH, I don't see how limiting a certain type of contract to strictly one male/one female possibly fits in with libertarian thinking.

    I'll get bact to the feline roundup now.

  • ||

    I meant gay marriage, not civil unions. Sure, any two people, whether sexually involved or not, should be able to set up an arrangement where they share the legal nuts and bolts currently associated with marriage.

    The problem is, when the govt asserts authority over a milennia-old institution, and then seeks to use that power to fundamentally change it to please the whims of the elite. Sort of like libertarians have a problem with public schools using their power to indoctrinate children with extreme environmentalism and other fashionable ideologies, beyond the fact they don't think the govt should be running schools.

  • ||

    Rassumssen has now polled Obama vs. McCain
    with Nader and Barr included.

    With no 3rd party candidate named, 4% say they support someone else. Obama and McCain are
    pretty much tied. (45% O and 44% M)

    With Barr and Nader included, Barr is at 6% and Nader 4%. Obama beats McCain 42% to 38%.

    Barr does "spoil" the race for McCain.

    Barr has 20% positives and 30% negatives. (More or less.) About 50% don't know enough about him.

    Barr currently has 5% very positive.

    I think this is all a bit problematic. It is easy to imagine that the people who remember and hate Barr are Clinton fans who are loyal Democrats. On the other hand, those that remember him fondly may change their minds when they learn he has turned against the Iraq War and supports the civil liberties of accused terrorists.

    I support Bob Barr for the LP nomination. If we wins, I will strongly support him between now and November.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Abortion is the new litmus test huh? I think . . . it should be left to the states to decide. All rights not mentioned or enumerated reserved to the states and the people and what not.

    *ducks to avoid the shots*

  • mabe||

    I think that a modified profit model is required.

    Simply, things necessary for life: food, water, shelter, medical care, utilities, education

    should be not for profit. They should be de-commodified.

    If you want to sell jewels, cars, furs, electric sink polishers, yachts, designer clothes, whatever... at sky high profits.... be my guest.

    Mere survival should not be left to the mercy of private corporations and the very un"free" market.

    Elsewise, our vaunted "inalienable" right to life, etc. is meaningless.

    Modified free market... could be the answer we need as a race... I mean ... the human race.

  • Kolohe||

    mabe-
    de-commification of food has been tried.

    The result was a lot of dead Ukrainians and Chinese, among others.

  • voxpo||

    "Abortion is the new litmus test huh? I think . . . it should be left to the states to decide."

    Naga Sadow, and what should the states do? ;)

    "things necessary for life: food, water, shelter, medical care, utilities, education
    should be not for profit. They should be de-commodified."

    mabe, but we went to so much trouble to commidify them! Well, what should be the punishment for people who dare to sell or buy necessities? Also, where does this leave Jacuzzi bathtubs? I mean, bathtubs are sort of necessary for life, but not in one's house. Jacuzzi tubs even less so. But without a tub or shower, at least, one might not bathe often enough (since we don't have as many public baths as, say, Japan) and contract dangerous infections.

    Also, mabe, what about elective surgical correction of a deviated septum? Should that be legal to sell? Even if it's elective, it often lets people breathe better, treats sleep apnia, and may very well extend life span.

    Also, mabe, please provide your judgment on:
    condoms, pop tarts, recliners, pudding, crackers, orthodontics, Viagra, philosophy courses, astronomy courses, sociology courses, high-speed Internet, and cauliflower. Especially sociology courses.

    Also, what about selling at a loss? That seems to be pretty frickin' popular.

  • voxpo||

    make that "apnea"...

  • ||

    VOXPO

    food, water healthcare, utlities, shelter, education.

    is a jacuzzi necessary for survival? what about condoms, pop tarts, recliners, pudding, crackers, orthodontics, Viagra, philosophy courses, astronomy courses, sociology courses, high-speed Internet, and cauliflower. Especially sociology courses?

    You trivialize an important subject. Perhaps people with your attitude believe human survival should be a constant economic struggle. Usually such views are held by very wealthy individuals who are unable to relate to the struggles of everyday people 99% of the human population, who adopt their "law of the jungle" attitude.

    We didn't build neighborhoods, villages, townships, commonwealths, cities, counties and states so that their residents could "be on their own" and "pull themselves up by their own bootstraps".

    That's the law of the jungle

    Our government was formed in order to promote the GENERAL WELFARE and better the COMMON GOOD.

    Consequently, the fact that in a purely capitalist system, EVERYTHING is commodified, gives the LIE to our credo as set forth in the Declaration of Independence.... that the right to life is inalienable.

    In a world where food, water and the other basic necessities of LIFE are commodities, your life has a price. The perfect system would be to de-commodify and make NON PROFIT, those necessities of life.

    The things people absolutely need to survive should NOT be commodities and should NOT be privately owned.

    Otherwise, you're living by the law of the jungle, in a society that has formed specifically for the collective benefit of all.

    That is fundamentally flawed; fundamentally wrong and fundamentally UNWORKABLE and INJUST for the vast majority of the human population worldwide.

    Socialism at least as far as life's bare necessities should and must be a starting point if there is to be any equitable distribution of resources.

    A "global economy" without "global" minimum labor and wage standards is an unfettered invitation to the greedy corporatists to turn the entire world into a sweatshop.

    That is not why we built this city.

    If you want to live by the law of the jungle instead, go live in the fucking jungle.

  • ||

    oh and one more thing.

    read and weep for us all:

    http://www.inteldaily.com/?c=173&a=6642

  • ||

    mabe, a piece of advice: if you're truly concerned about helping poor, downtrodden people, neither read nor link articles that start off with a quotation from Hugo Fucking Chavez. It shows a gigantic lack of perspective when it comes to geopolitics and economics. Also, you won't find many people who read and post on a libertarian magazine's blog to be interested.

  • voxpo||

    mabe,

    Nope, I definitely want all people to be prosperous. It is the basic fact of "economic struggle" that we are up against. Poverty is our default state. That's one reason I want people to be as free as possible: so that they will be allowed to create and trade the goods and services that have rescued and are, as we speak, rescuing so many from traditional poverty.

    What do you think about the idea that giving people the freedom to sell stuff at a profit is not the same as requiring them to sell stuff at a profit (otherwise there would not be a Goodwill Industries) and that allowing people to help each other and cooperate only as much they want to is not the same as requiring them to subsist "on their own" (or there would be no America's Second Harvest)? That is, the idea that it is up to people what they do with their freedom?

    I'm still curious about how you'd suggest people who sell necessities should be punished. Just to verify: you're saying that when a person holds an apple in her hand, she should never, in any legal sense, own that apple?

    Jungles are icky. Just kidding--my degree is in population ecology. But, I still wouldn't want to live in one. Anyhow, it is inaccurate to say that one who promotes economic freedom necessarily promotes some primeval "law of the jungle." I wasn't forced to let my friend Jim move in when he was unemployed for months, but I did. I eventually kicked him out, but nevertheless...

  • Andrew||

    Mabe

    its ironic that you say our governemnt was created to be a welfare state because it is the exact opposite. Constitutional government would be a fraction of the size that it is right now. The founding fathers intended for us to have a republic, not to be like France.

  • ||

    food, water healthcare, utlities, shelter, education.

    how much food? What type? Any food? All foods? Some foods? Fruit but not candy?

    How much in utilities? Can I run all my Christmas lights 24-7, or is "the government" going to set how much I can use?

    What kind of shelter? Would you limit square footage? Would you limit location?

    What level of education? high school? College? Master's and grad degrees? PhDs?

  • ||

    The things people absolutely need to survive should NOT be commodities and should NOT be privately owned.

    Bread lines for all!

    Define "things people absolutely need to survive".

    Define "privately owned".

  • ||

    To you dumbasses that think Barr is so wonderfull. Keep in mind that this son of bitch voted the Iraq resolution. 4000 solidiers dead plus over 1 million dead thanks to Mr. Barr, do any of you have anyone serving right now, or do you all of you just think of yourselves. How about this NAZI voted for the patriot act. That which takes away your freedoms to which you hypocrites whine about. How do you reconcile that one Libertarians. Some of you same well he's changed, well I guess if Osama bin ladin told you he converted to a libertarian, you would welcome him to. How about the fact that Barr voted for Homeland security, the biggest expansion of big govt in recent history, not mention intrusive. Were are all of you screaming about that. You guys are hell bent on remaining a nothing party.

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