The Big Takeover, Yeah Yeah

When Bob Barr and his campaign manager Russ Verney walked into reason's HQ yesterday, little did I know the building was becoming the epicenter of a conspiracy. That's the hot rumor on some hard-line libertarian sites at the moment.

The Libertarian Party is under attack. Its 2008 presidential nomination is the target of a "hostile takeover" bid by social conservatives, fronted by a former congressman of that persuasion and honchoed by two past practitioners of the art of the party raid, Richard Viguerie and Russ Verney.

Thomas Knapp's proof? E-mails asking Barr supporters to meet in Columbus for a Denver trip, and the creeping influence of Richard Viguerie.

I do know that one of its principals, Viguerie, was inserted as the convention's keynote speaker when Barr himself withdrew pursuant to setting up his presidential exploratory committee.

I do know that Viguerie bought the premier "third party news site" on the Internet over the weekend and the the new management immediately memory-holed an article (by me) casting Barr in a negative light vis a vis an article which appeared above the fold in Sunday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

First off, it's funny to think of Viguerie as a shadowy conspirator. The last time I saw him speak was... at a Libertarian Party meeting in Orlando last year, as an invited guest. It was no secret that Viguerie was dabbling with supporting at least Ron Paul and at most a full-on third party. In his (then-new) book Conservatives Betrayed, Vigurie wrote about third parties collaborating to get ballot access, although he preferred they could band together in a "third force" (rather than a spoiler party) once the right pressure was applied on Republicans.

But David Nolan piles on:

Clearly, Barr and Viguerie are attempting to gain control of the LP so that Barr can campaign on a conservative/libertarian hybrid platform and Viguerie can extend his fundraising empire into the libertarian quadrant of the political universe. If they succeed, the Libertarian Party will become just one more mouthpiece for malcontent Republicans.

The irony of all this? Nolan and Knapp both use the cover-up of this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article on Barr's PAC as Exhibit A. But when you read the article, you discover that Barr's run for the LP nomination is making his PAC less profitable.

"I thought it was going to benefit the Republican Party," said Edith Fogleman, 85, of Burlington, N.C. "I thought it was going for a good cause. I didn't know he was switching [to Libertarian]. I don't quite understand what he's doing."

Fogleman, who gave at least $145 since 2006, said she stopped after learning Barr might run as a Libertarian.

So Viguerie is engaging in actions that could hurt his fundraising empire in the service of a plan to get the Libertarian Party more money, attention, and votes. Yes, this is a terrible threat. Stacy McCain has more on why, even without the churning rumor mill, activist LP skepticism is keeping the race wide open with Barr as an underdog.

Headline explained here.

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  • joe||

    Clearly, Barr and Viguerie are attempting to gain control of the LP so that Barr can campaign on a conservative/libertarian hybrid platform and Viguerie can extend his fundraising empire into the libertarian quadrant of the political universe.

    This reads like the first version of a Dr. Evil plan, before Number 2 sets him straight. Maybe he could raise ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

  • ||

    ok, joe. That's too funny.
    You bastard.

  • ||

    Actually, Knapp's piece isn't as moondog crazy as one might gather from Weigel's post. Knapp is usually pretty reasonable (i.e. not Raimodonesque) in his LP analysis.
    I haven't read Nolan's take.

  • ||

    First thing in the morning a Bad Brains reference. Good times.

  • ed||

    some hard-line libertarian sites

    Jesus, what a crappy site. Looks like the governor of New York designed it.

  • miche||

    When I read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, I gathered Barr to be a shyster. On April 1 he was planning to run for the LP nomination and still aiming to help down ticket Republican Party candidates. No problem really there- he can associate with whomever he likes. The issue is his really crappy return.

    The claim that it takes 78% of donated money to raise money is refuted by successful charities like Institute for Justice and Homes for our Troops who's administration and fundraising costs are 21% and 7% respectively.

    Add that to the suspect timing of the Ruwart smear @ TPW, Shane Cory's resignation over the press release he had no authorization to send out, subsequent purchase of TPW by Barr's campaign manager and Cory's new position there and you have the makings of a bona fide worry. That's before I think about getting into the revoked press credentials for TPW bloggers who supported Ruwart during the brouhaha.

    Call it what you will and poke all the fun you like but we will be fighting for the heart and soul of the LP come this weekend in Denver.

  • ||

    Someday the Libertarian Party might actually start to act like a political party rather than a bunch of bitter men attending "Spiritual Mindquest Weekend 2008" with the sole intention of being the one who holds the talking stick for the longest time.

  • robc||

    jon,

    That is different from how other political parties act how?

  • Episiarch||

    It's not a talking stick, joe, it's a peace pipe.

  • joe||

    Not me, man.

    And I liked Abdul's joke.

  • Episiarch||

    Whoops, sorry. I'm so lazy that a see a lower case j and an o and I just make an ass out of me and umption.

  • ||

    No question Barr is running as a conservative more than libertarian. He's paid us lip service, but he hasn't paid his dues. I'd rather Barr than Root. Ruwart is the only one I'd be happy with.

  • Episiarch||

    And I liked Abdul's joke.

    Are you referring to his Chinese food pun? If so, you are not understanding the incredible subtlety and sublime wittiness of my running gag. I am making fun of gun control by proclaiming anyone's pun to be not good enough, thereby setting myself up as sole arbiter of who may use puns and who may not, even though I have no true authority to do so.

    Brilliant, isn't it?

  • joe||

    Yeah, but...

    that wasn't a pun.

  • ||

    activist LP skepticism is keeping the race wide open with Barr as an underdog.

    oh phenomenal. a year with tons of disaffected fiscal/antiwar conservatives and we'll end up with some formulaic moron like Ruwart.

    yippe-skippee (I'm a Libertarian partisan, so I'll still vote for the LP, but still...)

  • joe||

    Maybe that can be the plot of the next Austin Powers movie:

    "I will then seize control of the third-largest political party in America: the Libertarians." Pinky to mouth.

    "With a disciplined, indivisible army of libertarians behind me, I will be unstoppable!"

  • Episiarch||

    (stuff fingers in ears)

    I can't hear you joe

  • Taktix&#174||

    Look folks, we're not winning the Presidency this year. Hate to break it to you, but it's true. The LP has to think long-term.

    What we need when running a feudal campaign is exposure, so that next election we'll be more viable, and a few elections down the road, we might make something of it.

    But nominating unknowns like Rutwart and Badnarik or shysters* like Root will not get us anything in the long run except maybe a warm feeling inside for a few weeks.

    Since the LP won't be in power this year, all that matters now are the positions the candidate talks about, and right now Barr's talking the talk.

    *Not my opinion. Mainstream voters perceive anyone involved in the gaming industry as shysters, no matter how "media savvy" the person claims to be. Sorry, that's just the way it is.

  • miche||

    oh phenomenal. a year with tons of disaffected fiscal/antiwar conservatives and we'll end up with some formulaic moron like Ruwart.



    In the situation you described we consider ourselves brilliant if we nominate a Ruwart type. She sounds like a Ron Paul type and that type unified some of the fiscal/antiwar conservatives.

  • miche||

    Taktix,
    It's not exactly breaking news that the LP won't win the prez race. I don't think anybody thinks that. I don't profess to know a damn thing about campaigning- unlike some people floating around the LP, I never tried to get in on that game- but when swimming a race you can't win, you should go for perfect form and polish your stroke.

  • Taktix&#174||

    miche,

    You have to make a splash before anyone notices your perfect (or not) stroke...

  • ||

    Look folks, we're not winning the Presidency this year.

    Godammit, T, with that kind of defeatism you'll just throw away the best chance we've had in decades.

    Oh, wait . . .

    What we need when running a feudal campaign is exposure

    Another fabulous typo.

  • miche||

    Is the sound of Barr's splashing what you think will get us there? I don't even without the mismanaged PAC articles.

  • ||

    But you still have to have a good spot after the qualifying rounds - if we're thinking long-term.

  • ||

    How about a great compromise?
    Barr and a running mate with genuine libertarian bona fides and a lefty kind of feel like Ruwart or Kubby?
    Why must it be Barr using the LP? Why can't the LP use him?

  • miche||

    I'd say that the LP and Barr are enjoying mutual use right now. He's stroking his ego and getting us some press. I just don't like him as our candidate.

  • ||

    miche, you really think someone could stroke their ego with the LP nomination? That's one tiny ego. (I say that as someone who's voted LP since 1980.)

  • miche||

    We are all sometimes a hero in our own minds, and I don't know anybody who doesn't like seeing his name in print. Hell that's why I come here and comment at all. ;o)

  • ||

    Are LP "activists" so delusional that they think that any rational human being looks at the party and goes "hmm, there's a way I can gain some ego-stroking exposure and major national coverage".

    Come on, people.

  • ||

    On the other hand, I've been contemplating taking over my state's LP and running for governor when I someday leave my media job. Just for fun.
    You wanna be my devious campaign manager, Randian?

  • ||

    We may have to suspend the drinking game rules for this thread.

  • ||

    A/R, I think you are confusing Presidential wannabes in general, and Bob Barr in particular, with "rational people."

  • ||

    Taktix®,
    If we have to become what we hate, then what's the fricking point?

    I'll march behind a string of Badnariks and Ruwarts till my feet are bloody stumps sooner than see the LP become the new home for the religious right.

  • ||

    Warren,
    You really think the LP is in danger of becoming "the new home for the religious right," or is that just a bit of pre-nomination hyperbole?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Warren - I think Barr knows he's walking a thin line. If he backtracks conservative on the wrong issue, the aimless herd of cats that is the libertarian nation will dump him in a heartbeat.

    I think a lot of us find him just barely acceptable. It wouldn't take much to change that.

  • ||

    I'd never vote for Barr running as a Republican or Democrat, but I'd almost surely vote for him running as a Libertarian.
    For that matter, the same goes for Gravel.
    In this case, the party means more than the candidate.
    I don't worry as much as some about the candidate diluting the Libertarian "brand."

  • BakedPenguin||

    Also, if Weigel (and presumably other H&R writers) have heard early Bad Brains, why hasn't there ever been a "Banned in DC" headline?

  • ||

    Warren,
    You really think the LP is in danger of becoming "the new home for the religious right," or is that just a bit of pre-nomination hyperbole?


    Between Paul (who has much better libertarian credentials, and whom I supported) and Barr (who hasn't earned my trust and who seems to campaigning for the LP nomination as a "conservative") this campaign season is making me twitchy.

    My fellow Libertarians have always been a bowl of granola with plenty to wag a finger at. But taken as a group I've always found LP gatherings to be spiritually quenching.

    It's not that I wouldn't welcome an iceberg of dissatisfied conservatives calving off the GOP into our ranks. But I'm very mindful of how the successes of the fusionist movement inevitably resulted in action on the conservative agenda and the libertarians getting stabbed in the back.

    The libertarians must always be assumed to form the base of the LP. I don't mind conservatives (or liberals either, for that matter) finding that their agenda can best be served by a viable LP, so long as we don't start pandering to them.

  • ||

    It's pretty clear to me that the GOP is going into long-term crackup mode, and I think the LP needs to think a little more long-term, as well, because there is a real opportunity to gain some supporters and shape the debate. Is nominating disaffected Republican "celebrities" the best way to go? I think there are pros and cons to that.

    Perhaps LP lifers see it differently, but nominating a hardcore LP candidate who looks and sounds like a refugee from a Star Trek convention, or some veteran of an infomercial, probably won't be the best way to gain influence.

    Ultimately, I agree with the folks who say that the party has the best chance of influencing events at the local and state level. And as the GOP begins to drift into endorsing lots of tax-and-spend, I think more opportunities will open up.

    That long Atlantic Monthly article dreaming wishfully of the end of fiscal conservatism is silly. The next big tax increase (enacted by whomever) will give all the suburbanites a nice big wakeup call.

  • ||

    The Convention is having a masquerade ball tonite. Wonder what each of the candidates will dress as? Any suggestions? [Please, no Star Trek outfits. They are reserved for wearing on the other convention days.]

  • Thomas L. Knapp||

    Ah, I get to play the "more in sorrow than anger" card!

    David, you mischaracterize my "proof" to the extent that you omit mention of prior "hostile takeover" involvements on the part of not one, but two, principals in Barr's campaign:

    Viguerie attempted a takeover of the American Independent Party with himself as the presidential aspirant in 1976.

    Barr's campaign manager, Russ Verney, engaged in a series of maneuvers in the Reform Party that's damn near impossible to untangle. Short version: He invited the "Buchanan Brigades" in to counter Jesse Ventura's influence, then ended up panicking about that and chairing a rump convention to nominate Natural Law Party wild man John Hagelin.

    When a candidate's ideology seems to be at odds with his new party's, and when that candidate arrives with escort from known party raiders, I don't see what's unreasonable about suspecting ulterior motives.

    Jon, you write:

    "Someday the Libertarian Party might actually start to act like a political party"

    If the LP rejects Barr's candidacy, that will be a step in the right direction for doing so. He's not a credible presidential candidate (the last president to come out of the House of Representatives was James Garfield in the late 19th century), and his campaign statements are at variance with the interests of the LP both ideologically ("states rights" is not libertarianism) and strategically (he's already publicly offered, as a reason for supporting him, the claim that his candidacy will have "coattails" for Republicans rather than Libertarians down-ticket).

    Both the Democrats and the Republicans rejected candidates from the House whose ideology and strategic approaches differed from the partise' "plumb lines" (you may have heard of Ron Paul, for example, and Dennis Kucinich).

    Do the Democrats and Republicans "act like political parties?"

    The difference is whether or not the LP is in a position to really contest the race. It isn't, and that means that Barr's candidacy makes even less sense -- why trade our birthright for a pot of someone else's message if doing so won't actually benefit us, especially when there's reasonable suspicion that what's going on here is a social conservative "co-opt, use temporarily, then either recycle or dispose of" operation?

  • Steve Perkins||

    ...subsequent purchase of TPW by Barr's campaign manager...



    Barr's campaign manager did not purchase TPW... you're confusing Viguerie with Verney.

    As far as I know, the closest thing to formal ties between Viguerie and Barr is that they're both former-Republicans (along with 80-90% of LP members)... and they're both passionately hated by those who see the LP as a glorified Ayn Rand book club.

  • miche||

    You're right, Steve. I made a mistake when I typed that and failed to acknowledge it. Sorry.

  • ||

    his campaign statements are at variance with the interests of the LP both ideologically

    Mr. Knapp, there isn't a candidate in the world who can make a statement or take a stand that wouldn't, in some way, be ideologically variant from the LP. I could similarly argue that anarcho-capitalism isn't libertarianism, but the LP seems beholden to "purity" over "affecting change".

  • miche||

    I do want to point out that I do not passionately hate Barr. I just think that he is the wrong mouthpiece for our philosophy so I can't support him at convention for this race. There's obviously plenty of room for disagreement and those of us who give a damn at all about the LP- radical or not- will vote how we see fit at convention.

  • ||

    To illustrate my point further, feel free to delineate what the "proper" libertarian position is on each of the following "issues of the day": [This is an exercise anyone can do, btw]

    -School vouchers OR "Government should get out of schools entirely!"
    -Immediate Iraq withdrawal OR Phased Withdrawal
    -Abortion
    -Immigration
    -Public Displays of Religious Icons
    -War with Afghanistan: Right or Wrong?
    -DUI Enforcement and Laws

    I'd much rather have a nationally-visible candidate who may not be the "perfect libertarian" (and as I point out, who is?) but at least makes people go "Libertarian…what's that?"…and then they hopefully find out.

  • Franklin Harris||

    If the LP rejects Barr's candidacy, that will be a step in the right direction for doing so. He's not a credible presidential candidate (the last president to come out of the House of Representatives was James Garfield in the late 19th century)



    Well, unless Mary Ruwart is secretly a U.S. senator or a five-star general and is just holding out on us, I'd say Barr's House membership stil gives him a definite leg up.

  • svf||

    unless Mary Ruwart is secretly a U.S. senator or a five-star general and is just holding out on us

    the big reveal will be at the convention... she'll be debating in her Battle Dress Uniform... shock and awe!

  • The Movement for TPW Troof||

    -School vouchers OR "Government should get out of schools entirely!"

    We should have vouchers to opt-out of the government, thereby killing two birds with one stone. Problem solved!

    -Immediate Iraq withdrawal OR Phased Withdrawal
    -War with Afghanistan: Right or Wrong?
    -Immigration


    Once all nations see the wisdom of libertarian "purity", they will dissolve THEIR governments too. Then there won't even be an "Iraq" or "Afghanistan" to withdraw from, or a "Mexico" to export immigrants. Problem solved!

    -Abortion

    When the government is gone, people can form private voluntary coalitions to either murder abortion clinic doctors or voluntarily join together for their defense. Problem solved!

    -Public Displays of Religious Icons

    Once everyone reads Atlas Shrugged, checks their premises, and realizes that there's no such thing as a contradiction... they'll discard all their religious icons. Problem solved!

    -DUI Enforcement and Laws

    Once we privatized all streets and highways, it will be a matter of private contract whether or not you can drive drunk on someone's toll road. Problem solved!

  • ||

    why would social conservatives conspire to take over a 3rd party with little influence when it already controls one of the big 2?

  • Steve Perkins||

    Uh... it just dawned on me that I should acknowledge the sarcasm in my "TPW Troof" post immediately above. I imagine that half the radicals reading it will get confused and mistakenly agree with me.

  • jtuf||

    When the Libertarian party was too small to get press coverage, only people who agreed with the philosophy 90% to %100 ran on the Libertarian ticket. Now that Libertarianism is a bit more trendy, people who agree with 80% of the platform are willing to give it a try. When the Republicans started raising the national budget, many disillusioned conservatives left them to join the Libertarian party. This is shifting the center of the Libertarian party. As with any influx, some of the newbies will internalize Libertarianism and some will drift back to the Republican party. Until that happens, I'm looking at every candidate more carefully regardless of his party affiliation.

  • ||

    Ayn_Randian,

    To answer your questions, might I refer you to a little pamphlet I wrote back in the day?

    F.B.

    P.S. Loved Atlas Shrugged but it was a bit lengthy.

  • Thomas L. Knapp||

    Steve,

    You write:

    "As far as I know, the closest thing to formal ties between Viguerie and Barr is that they're both former-Republicans"

    Sometimes -- not very often, but sometimes -- I have to attest that certain things are true without being able to divulge precisely how I know that those things are true. This is such a case.

    I attest that Richard Viguerie is Barr's de facto campaign finance chair. I further attest that the final "checklist" item for the go or no-go decision on Barr's exploratory committee was a meeting with Viguerie in Washington to attempt to bring him on board in that role. I do not know if the title of finance chair is de jure or not.

    As far as "formal ties" are concerned, I'm aware of at least one recent one -- Barr and Viguerie are two of the four principals of American Freedom Agenda.

    "and they're both passionately hated by those who see the LP as a glorified Ayn Rand book club."

    Not being one of those who see the LP that way, I can't knowledgeably comment on what they think. As for myself (who sees the LP as potentially a real political party if it starts doing real politics), I hate neither of them. That doesn't mean I won't engage in rational speculation about what they're trying to accomplish, and oppose them if I don't think it's good for the party.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  • ||

    I'd be most happy if Lew Rockwell's bizarre rumor about Tucker Carlson jumping in to the race were true. But absent that, I'd probably hope to see Ruwart win. I think she'd be best positioned to inspire the Paul people because she can credibly appeal to both the leftist and rightest elements of his coalition (Barr would only get the hard right) and who knows, maybe she could even bring over disgruntled Hillaryites hungry for girl power.

  • Steve Perkins||

    So you're saying that Barr and Viguerie both signed a document that I can't imagine any Libertarian (hardline or moderate) opposing.

    Also, TPW is now owned by someone why MAY have some UNANNOUNCED role in Barr's campaign... as opposed to the previous owner, who was and is openly on Barr's staff and payroll.

    Sinister.

  • Thomas L. Knapp||

    Steve,

    You write:

    "So you're saying that Barr and Viguerie both signed a document that I can't imagine any Libertarian (hardline or moderate) opposing."

    No, I'm saying that Barr and Viguerie are two of the four people who put that document together, created an organization to promote it, and are listed as "principals" on that organization's site. You speculated as to the absence of "formal ties." I was simply demonstrating that "formal ties" are not absent.

    Disagree with my speculation if you like, but no need to get upset over verifiable factual claims. I'm not calling the AFA a smoking gun or anything, I was just establishing the existence of something you said you didn't think existed.

  • Steve Perkins||

    What I alleged not to exist is any sign that TPW has changed hands from someone with less ties to Barr over to someone with more. Gordon was on Barr's payroll, Viguerie and Barr signed the same position paper. Where's the beef? Turn over any stone these days and you'll find a "conspiracy" to "hijack" the LP's 0.34% of the electorate... but so far they all seem more personality-driven than logic-driven to me.

  • ||

    Ayn_Randian | May 21, 2008, 1:41pm | # SAYS:

    "I could similarly argue that anarcho-capitalism isn't libertarianism, but the LP seems beholden to "purity" over "affecting change"."

    No, Anarcho-Capitalism isn't OBJECTIVISM, but it is a subset of libertarianism, just as Objectivism's political theory is a subset of libertarianism.

    But Barr's and Viguerie's conservatism ABSOLUTELY ISN'T a subset of libertarianism. This is why Barr shouldn't be the LP presidential nominee!

  • ||

    FatDrunkAndStupid | May 21, 2008,4:15pm # SAYS-

    " . . . I'd probably hope to see Ruwart win. I think she'd be best positioned to inspire the Paul people because she can credibly appeal to both the leftist and rightest elements of his coalition (Barr would only get the hard right) and who knows, maybe she could even bring over disgruntled Hillaryites hungry for girl power."

    Aside from the strange posting name, I could not have said this better myself! Barr cannot attract the more leftie types who oppose war. Ruwart absolutely appeals to left and right, and not in left or right rhetoric . . . but in Libertarian rhetoric. She is gifted, in ways that the other candidates cannot even touch, no doubt about it.

  • Adam||

    Ruwart absolutely appeals to left and right...

    Except that no one outside the LP has ever heard of Mary Ruwart, and no one outside the LP ever WILL hear of Mary Ruwart because she'll get zero media coverage. Kinda hard to make an appeal to anyone without actually, you know, getting to make an appeal.

    Of course, if the purpose of the Presidential nominee is to make appeals and lead fights within the LP rather than externally, like we pretty much do every year, then she's as good a pick as anyone else I guess. It would be nice though for at least one cycle to run somebody who might catch the attention of the 25% of the population who lean our way but have never even heard of us.

  • ||

    No, Anarcho-Capitalism isn't OBJECTIVISM, but it is a subset of libertarianism, just as Objectivism's political theory is a subset of libertarianism.

    yo, turn off the noise. Despite the online handle, I am not some kind of Objectivist shill.

    no, AnCapism is not really libertarianism, because libertarianism is a theory of the proper bounds of government. If all An-Cappers bring to the political discussion is "Government's not legitimate", how is that actually part of a political philosophy?

    But Barr's and Viguerie's conservatism ABSOLUTELY ISN'T a subset of libertarianism.

    Laughable. I would be willing to wager that a vast majority of self-described "libertarians" were conservatives first.

  • svf||

    Of course, if the purpose of the Presidential nominee is to make appeals and lead fights within the LP rather than externally, like we pretty much do every year, then she's as good a pick as anyone else I guess. It would be nice though for at least one cycle to run somebody who might catch the attention of the 25% of the population who lean our way but have never even heard of us.

    YES.

  • Jason||

    God help me if Barr wins the LP nomination I will know it is time to switch parties again. He is about as libertarian as Jerry Falwell.

  • ||

    I'll march behind a string of Badnariks and Ruwarts till my feet are bloody stumps sooner than see the LP become the new home for the religious right.

    Better start marching! Due to our electoral process, the US is a two-party country, and probably always will be one. The only successful 3rd party was the Republicans, who replaced the Whigs, and basically are a reconstituted Whigs.

    The Libertarians might have an opportunity to likewise replace the Republicans, but if that happens, you're going to wind up with a lot of disenfranchised voters, including the religious right.

    Where do you think they're gonna go?

    Yup.

  • Kolohe||

    Where do you think they're gonna go?

    Some (most?) will go back to the 'left' side, where they were in the William Jennings Bryan wing of the turn of the 20th c Progresssive movement.

    the trick for the 'right' side, which they have had limited success so far, - and in fact have gone backwards- is to counteract the evangelical departure with attracting middle class hispanics and blacks.

  • Hacha Cha||

    keep up the old school punk references.
    I still don't trust Barr but would consider voting for him if it got the LP guaranteed ballot access.

  • ||

    Ayn_Randian says:

    no, AnCapism is not really libertarianism, because libertarianism is a theory of the proper bounds of government. If all An-Cappers bring to the political discussion is "Government's not legitimate", how is that actually part of a political philosophy?

    -------

    AnCaps believe in government, with the natural jurisdictional boundary being each person's life and justly acquired property. Dealings between people are international relations, with all the potential for disputes and opportunities for peace based on commerce and friendship. People can and will join together into larger units, and in practice I would expect most people following a libertarian triumph to accept the current jurisdictional boundaries with secession occurring peacefully by people who prefer alternative arrangements only over time.

    If there is a psychological difference between AnCaps and LimGovs, it is that the former believe that market institutions can best offer dispute resolution, law enforcement, and defense, while LimGovLibs believe that the best way to protect free market capitalism is with a centrally-planned socialist monopoly.

    In theory, either profit-driven institutions or non-profits could be the providers of security and law, so I would say both AnCaps and LimGovLibs are libertarians, but most AnCaps have more confidence in the former, and I think it is a more realistic model. Nonetheless, the LP is a coalition of people who disagree on that particular issue, with most rejecting the AnCap point of view, and as one of that minority, I respect the right of the majority in the voluntary organization I've joined to refuse to endorse my particular view. I do wish we'd spend time in the LP actually discussing these issues, for the education of all and since we might find our differences fewer than imagined.

  • George Dance||

    Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the striking parallels between the scare-mongering in the Libertarian Party about a Barr/Viguerie takeover, and the scare-mongering in the Republican party about a Ron Paul takeover?

  • ||

    Weigel's poor reporting and apparently intentional distortions get in the way. He claims that there was no plan between Barr and viguerie to take over the LP because "Barr's run for the LP nomination is making his PAC less profitable" His proof is that a couple of people contacted by the newspaper said they didn't know about Barr's new role in the LP and weren't planning on giving more. Weigel concentrates on the part about them not planning to give more and ignores the part that they never knew this was going on until the reporter called them.

    I suggest that Barr's other contributers were also left in the dark and didn't know so Barr's role in the LP had little impact on his contributions then. In addition Barr's now has a presidential campaign to raise funds for him which may be more substantial than the PAC funds he got in recent months. With Viguerie working closely with Barr they will move the party to the Right to appeal to hardcore conservatives unhappy with McCain. In addition left-wing democrats are saying theyw ould fund Barr to be the spoiler.

    So the LP message will no doubt appear very conservative and not libertarian.

    Weigel dismisses the role of Viguerie in this. He mentions the smear of Ruwart but doesn't say that the place the smear was published was on a website owned by Stephen Gordon who was a major Barr backer and a paid staff member for Barr. Gordon also got more money from Viguerie when the conservative purchased Gordon's website almost concurrent with the LP convention.

    Weigel mentions the way Shane Cory used his position in the LP office to help promote the smear of Ruwart and then stepped down. He was then hired by Viguerie and put in charge of Gordon's old website. So he too was benefitting from Viguerie's money and he was at the convention lobbying for Barr as well.

    So two of the major figures in the smear of Ruwart directly get funding from Viguerie. Viguerie ends up at the convention because Barr's people insisted he speak. Viguerie wants a right-wing party to ruin McCain's chances and he set his sights on taking over the LP due to ballot status.

    Weigel dismisses this and ignores evidence contrary to his thesis. His reporting has been relatively sad and he allows his own personal opinions to cloud his reporting.

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