The Great Libertarian Debate


David Weigel moderates a discussion about Libertarian politics

Did you miss our discussion on Libertarian and libertarian politics last night? Fear not; the American Spectator's Philip Klein has a good write-up (including follow-ups with Bob Barr on war and Mike Gravel on health care). The Washington Post's Reliable Source provides a sartorial scorecard, plus follow-up quotes from Gravel and our own David Weigel. Robert Stacy McCain makes a good point about the upcoming LP convention, and Extreme Mortman exhumes some relevant YouTubing. We will have video up a bit later.

(More Noel St. John photos from the event here.)

NEXT: Supremely Convenient

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    Where’s that jerk Neil?

    He always gets all hot and bothered about the “ChiComs”.

    Well, Neil, I hate to break it to you, but the GOP and the “ChiComs” are now one.

    What are you going to do about Senator McCain’s love for the ChiComs?

  2. Oh, and before anyone complains about a firedoglake link, here’s the original link at ABC:

  3. Fluffy, I hate to break this to you, but Neil has been unmasked as regular poster and all-around good guy “Cesar”.

  4. Neil is Cesar? Jesus. You leave the blog for a week or so and everything and everyone goes nuts.

  5. I’m still waiting for Cesar to show up. I, for one, wish to compliment him on his performance. However, I wonder if he is concerned that others will not be.

  6. Ayn_Randian,

    Can you provide proof for this serious accusation? I always thought he was thoreau.

  7. ProL, Jesse confirmed it through IP matching yesterday. See hier.

  8. Bob Barr … can get 5% of the vote, and elect Obama. It’s up to libertarians to decide if this is the best thing for the country. Elect Obama, far better than McCain, while simultaneously voting for an LP candidate.

  9. Ah. Here’s the real proof from yesterday’s thread:

    Neil | May 20, 2008, 10:21am | #
    What do you mean, African or European swallow?

    A real “Neil” never would have gotten that joke.

  10. Jesse outed him? That seems wrong. I believe there are several here among us who post under pseudonyms from time to time. Well, pseudo-pseudonyms, meta-pseudonyms if you will.

    Okay, well, thoreau is Juan/Juanita.

    Congratulations to Cesar on an excellent run. I foresee a day in the far future when the Museum of Modern Art will display his postings in the performance art section. It took me a little while to realize Neil was fake.

  11. Based on the end of the Klein article, we can safely out Dan T. too. Mike Gravel is Dan T.

  12. Hats off to Cesar, man.

    Very well played.

    He went over the edge a couple of times and I declared him a parody poster, but he always then reeled me back in. The sign of truly great parody posting.

  13. Jesse outed him? That seems wrong. I believe there are several here among us who post under pseudonyms from time to time. Well, pseudo-pseudonyms, meta-pseudonyms if you will.

    I think there’s a difference between a sock puppet and a joke handle.

    Of course, when you are a joke the distinction gets kind of tricky.

  14. Gravel put the final nail into his coffin? Did he think he was speaking in front of Marxists?

  15. I’m still me.
    Full disclosure: sometimes I’m :-/
    I feel much better now.

  16. “Well, what if the minority doesn’t want to pay for someone else’s health care?”

    “Go to another country,” he said.

    and so ends Mike Gravel’s quixotic quest for the LP nomination… next stop, the Green Party convention. And then, he pulls and Alan Keyes and starts his own “Citizen Power” Party.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this but unless someone new enters the mix between now and Sunday, Barr/Root is probably the best LP ticket we can come up with…. I know Barr/Ruwart has some appeal to the base, but why waste the VP spot on someone who won’t get any new votes… at least Root can pull in his poker pals…

  17. What I’m surprised by is that there was only one person posting as Neil — I assumed it was several people posting at different times (sort of like the Urkobolds do). At times it seemed that he was posting 24/7.

  18. Amazing.

    As a long time (mostly)lurker, I just wanted to let ya’ll know that one of primary reasons I come to this blog is to observe the antics of this motley set of personalities and meta-personalities.

  19. What’s with the 24s time limit? Is it really possible to address any of these issues fully in half a minute? A ten minute debate between 4 people is a mockery. I was expecting something a little more in depth from independent media.

  20. How come Mary Ruwart wasn’t invited?

    The modern LP seems obsessed with winning votes, and so watering down principle to achieve that. Why? They are not going to win the election. So their main service should be to attract people to and interest them in libertarianism. So getting republican lite ex-nonlibertarian senators and politicians to do this rather than life-long libertarian activists is plainly self-destructive.

  21. What’s with the 24s time limit? … A ten minute debate between 4 people is a mockery.

    The event was around 50 minutes total; this was the boiled-down-to-essentials version. Later, we’ll likely throw up a raw MP3. The 24 seconds referred to the fact that that later round of questions was to have 30 seconds for each answer.

  22. How come Mary Ruwart wasn’t invited?

    She was invited, but couldn’t come.

  23. How come Mary Ruwart wasn’t invited?

    She was invited, but couldn’t come.

    So Mary couldn’t find time in her busy schedule to attend an event covered by Newsweek, the Washington Post, American Spectator, and lots of other online sources.

    Ruwart 2008 — because free media coverage is overrated.

  24. if Barack Obama is a clear winner to McCain, and McCain can never come close to Obama in the polls because of Bob Barr, then people will give up on McCain and his polls will drop way before the election, and Bob Barr will get much more than 5%.

  25. Thank You Reason.

    Great Debate.

    Packed room. Exceptional coverage.

    Be sure to do the Green Party presidential debate before their convention in July.

    Cool stuff…

  26. Root was the only libertarian in this debate. Ruwart may be a libertarian, but she has no ability to access the major media (she didn’t even show up to this free event). Barr and Gravel should not be considered to represent the LP. Neither of them can be trusted, they are business-as-usual politicians, and the reason the LP needed to be created in the first place. It is better for them to stay on the sidelines and endorse LP candidates for lower offices (plus, they can both atone for the damage they’ve done that way, as well as help undo it).

    Gravel rants about global warming, and humanity being “cooked off the planet” in his youtube debate against Root (that Barr apparently couldn’t make it to, apparently not believing it was that important). Gravel also endorses socialized medicine, and a universal sales tax. He is a somewhat tolerant liberal on (some) social issues. …Big Deal, so is Kucinich.

    Barr has been a tool of the socialist police state his entire life. He is an ex State prosecutor (that should raise major suspicions there, for anyone who knows anything about how modern courtrooms work), and openly states his opposition to jury nullification of law (the one real power that the people have) on his blog. Lysander Spooner would be rolling over in his grave to see Barr running as “Libertarian” (and yes, I know that’s making a lot of assumptions). At this point, it’s common knowledge that Barr still supports military drug war intervention in Colombia, and was the author of the homophobic “Defense of Marriage Act”. Oh yes, and did I mention that he favored the prosecution in the Genarlow Wilson case? A case that was so anti-libertarian that the nationwide mainstream media covered it, from a libertarian perspective…

    Barr or Gravel would be the death of the LP. Root will keep it alive and expand it. He’s a good person.

    Ruwart or anyone less than her would further marginalize the LP but at least wouldn’t say anti-libertarian things.

    Electoral politics only gets so good. Finally, the mainstream candidates are trying to take over the LP. That indicates they are taking a few steps back and starting to worry about us.

    Let’s not prove that we’re easily destroyed before we’ve even left the starting line.

  27. “‘The Future of Libertarian Politics’ featuring Bob Barr, Mike Gravel, Wayne Allyn Root, and Vern McKinley.” Wow, a Libertarian Debate without any Libertarians, impressive!

  28. Phillies mentioned at least 3 times that he wanted to imprison people for various reasons. He’s obviously a very bitter man. Also, his voice is as grating as running your nails over a chalkboard.

    Gravel said that people can’t be free if they are uneducated, poor, and don’t have healthcare. This is exactly the argument that the socialists have made for 100 years. Maybe Gravel should move to Europe and run for President of France.

    Kubby was surprisingly impressive. He was poised and funny. If the sole goal of the LP was to legalize marijuana, he should be the nominee.

    Root sounds like a used car salesman. Where was his checkered jacket?

    Barr wasn’t impressive, but he didn’t do himself any harm either. In fact, his answers on the Patriot Act and DOMA will likely help him on the second round of voting today.

    Jingozian was on stage for what reason?

    Ruwart sounded like a mindless ideologue, reciting planks she memorized from the 2004 platform.

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