Federalism

Bob Barr Recants DOMA Very Publicly, A Couple of Months After Two Relevant Votes

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That is, the one for him for president, and the one where the state in which his op-ed appears, California, voted to bar gay marriage.

Libertarian Party candidate Barr was not well-loved by many party members for writing the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which Barr disavows in the Los Angeles Times with some of these words. (This is not the first time he's said he regrets DOMA. But it is the first time he did so in a piece written by him in a major newspaper. It might have been politically smarter to write and try to get prominent placement for this piece in late October.)

I've….come to the conclusion that DOMA is not working out as planned. In testifying before Congress against a federal marriage amendment, and more recently while making my case to skeptical Libertarians as to why I was worthy of their support as their party's presidential nominee, I have concluded that DOMA is neither meeting the principles of federalism it was supposed to, nor is its impact limited to federal law.

In effect, DOMA's language reflects one-way federalism: It protects only those states that don't want to accept a same-sex marriage granted by another state. Moreover, the heterosexual definition of marriage for purposes of federal laws—including, immigration, Social Security survivor rights and veteran's benefits—has become a de facto club used to limit, if not thwart, the ability of a state to choose to recognize same-sex unions.

Even more so now than in 1996, I believe we need to reduce federal power over the lives of the citizenry and over the prerogatives of the states. It truly is time to get the federal government out of the marriage business. In law and policy, such decisions should be left to the people themselves.

Reason magazine ran a cover feature interview with candidate Barr in our November 2008 issue. Reason.com did a post-election chat with him in late November.

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  1. Would it be possible for Bob Barr to go away now? What an embarrassing tool.

  2. Come on, how do we know he had the opportunity to do so earlier? I recall reading in Reason Magazine about this months ago.

    Give the guy a break, if he really is as unimportant as some of your writers seem to think then maybe he couldn’t get that platform earlier.

  3. No! Bob Barr is just trying to cash on in the THIRD PARTY SUCCESS STORY ™ that is the LP. What a fool! An idiot! He’s lying so the GOP can take over the True Party of Freedom and Liberty. RON PAUL 2008!!!

  4. I think this is more the continuing evidence that libertarians who could not bring themselves to back Barr were wrong. The guy has truly come a long way with no apparent reason other than he really believes in every step he took. I mean, look at it objectively, he’s demonstrated a genuine change of opinion on most issues in the libertarian direction.

  5. Gee thanks Babar — perfect timing for the OP/ED.

    I think this is more the continuing evidence that libertarians who could not bring themselves to back Barr were wrong. The guy has truly come a long way with no apparent reason other than he really believes in every step he took. I mean, look at it objectively, he’s demonstrated a genuine change of opinion on most issues in the libertarian direction.

    That may very well be, but the damage he helped inflict is going to be very difficult to undue.

    I guess better late than never — but he still a douche and in most appearances I have seen he hasn’t been very effective at defending libertarianism against the old “GOP pot-smokers” or “libertarians want the poor to die” line of attacks and promoting libertarian ideals and explaining why in many/most cases the libertarian position is the fairest.

    I say this as someone who held his nose and voted for Babar for President.

  6. From Barr’s article:

    ‘In effect, DOMA’s language reflects one-way federalism: It protects only those states that don’t want to accept a same-sex marriage granted by another state.’

    That’s true. DOMA allows states to decide for themselves whether to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. In a truly insidious act of discrimination, however, DOMA does nothing for those states which want to deny recognition of opposite-sex marriages. What an affront to federalism! Think of all those states which are compelled against their will to recognize opposite-sex marriages! If they were only allowed to enforce their own laws without federal interference, these states would reclassify all married couples as fornicators or adulterers!

    Let us get real here. Even Massachusetts recognizes opposite-sex marriages. It allows such marriages to be solemnized within its own borders, and it extends recognition to opposite-sex marriages contracted in other states.

    The only situation, historically, in which states have refused recognition to opposite-sex marriages is if they recognize an earlier opposite-sex marriage as still valid. Today, when all of the states are (sadly) on the same page about allowing liberal remarriage, it’s hard to see a conflict arising.

    In the unlikely event that some courageous “rogue state” refused to recognize divorces and remarriages granted in other states, Barr and his ilk would not see this as a vindication of federalism, but as an illustration of the *evils* of federalism.

    So Barr says that DOMA should be repealed in response to what is very likely a non-problem. I would love to see some brave state stand up for marriage and refuse to recognize “remarriages” awarded in other states pursuant to “no-fault divorce,” but alas, I just don’t think it’s in the cards.

    But let us suppose Barr to be sincere. Suppose he wants states to decide for themselves whether to recognize divorces and remarriages granted in other states. The thing to do would be to endorse an amendment to DOMA, *broadening* the discretion of the states and allowing them to decide for themselves whether to recognize out-of-state remarriages.

    How does repealing DOMA protect any (hypothetical) courageous state which wants to clamp down on divorce?

    ‘In 2006, when then-Sen. Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, he said, ‘Decisions about marriage should be left to the states.’ He was right then; and as I have come to realize, he is right now in concluding that DOMA has to go. If one truly believes in federalism and the primacy of state government over the federal, DOMA is simply incompatible with those notions.’

    In other words: If we truly believes in federalism, let us strip the states of the discretion DOMA recognizes, and force these states to recognize same-sex marriages in other states!

  7. I think this is more the continuing evidence that libertarians who could not bring themselves to back Barr were wrong. The guy has truly come a long way with no apparent reason other than he really believes in every step he took. I mean, look at it objectively, he’s demonstrated a genuine change of opinion on most issues in the libertarian direction.

    No, he’s demonstrated that he can waffle too. If he had become a libertarian, he would say “I have come to the conclusion that DOMA is wrong, because marriage isn’t the government’s business”, or something like that. Instead he’s saying “Whoops, it seemed like a good idea at the time!”

  8. In effect, DOMA’s language reflects one-way federalism: It protects only those states that don’t want to accept a same-sex marriage granted by another state.

    Yea, I’m not seeing what the other-way is, the way that is not being protected. States that want to accept a same-sex marriage by another state? They can’t do that?

    Moreover, the heterosexual definition of marriage for purposes of federal laws — including, immigration, Social Security survivor rights and veteran’s benefits — has become a de facto club used to limit, if not thwart, the ability of a state to choose to recognize same-sex unions.

    Clarification needed! Those are Federal issues. I don’t know what that has to do with the states.

  9. Barr could easily have had the same piece published in numerous papers in California prior to Prop 8. As the author of DOMA he had high profile and if he recanted in an op-ed prior to the vote the major papers would have eaten it up. But, back then, Barr was out to get conservatives to vote for him not libertarians. We saw how well that turned out.

    What we find missing, however, is that Mr. Barr merely speaks about what the Federal government ought to do on DOMA. But what about immigration rights for the partners of gay people? What does Mr. Barr suggest? No answer to that. And when pressed Barr repeatedly has said that he wants the states to deny gay couples these rights. Libertarians are not conservatives who think local oppression is fine just because it is local.

  10. Good answer ‘Mad Max’.

    “But let us suppose Barr to be sincere. Suppose he wants states to decide for themselves whether to recognize divorces and remarriages granted in other states. The thing to do would be to endorse an amendment to DOMA, *broadening* the discretion of the states and allowing them to decide for themselves whether to recognize out-of-state remarriages.”

    YUP. The logic is exactly backwards. Ending DOMA is a blow to states rights and triumph for judicial tyrants.

    DOMA is actually one of the best bills passed by Congress in recent years. A low standard indeed, but when you think about it, it was a most gentle and appropriate way of handling the obvious problems of different states with different laws on the books related to fundamental issue of marriage. It helpfully told the gay activists that they couldnt use one state court as a ‘wedge’ to change social policy for 300 million people (thank God). Now at least, its up to the states to decide one by one -and isnt that what Federalism REALLY is about, letting each state decide on their own? DOMA obviously didnt prevent gay marriage, it prevented the catastrophe of court-mandated nationalization of it.

    Its a false claim that DOMA federalizes marriage, but so what if DOMA makes marriage a Federal issue?
    A lot more less consequential things have been federalized to the point of stupidity. It already was by income tax law and Clinton’s deadbeat dad programs etc.

  11. I am the most important libertarian issue.

  12. Gay Marriage
    I am the most important libertarian issue.

    It’s also what got the obama fans to question/get angry with dear leader.

  13. Bingo @ 7:13 has it. Well done sir.

    Some things will never be good enough for the Barr-haters. but that’s alright, guys: we’ll just make sure we run “V” every year and you’ll have your perfect Libertarian Jesus.

  14. The only situation, historically, in which states have refused recognition to opposite-sex marriages is if they recognize an earlier opposite-sex marriage as still valid.

    Wrong again, bucko.

    Kiss my black ass.

  15. The Hawaii court was clearly leaning toward legalizing same-sex marriages. So the first part of DOMA was crafted to prevent the U.S. Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause — which normally would require State B to recognize any lawful marriage performed in State A — from being used to extend one state’s recognition of same-sex marriage to other states whose citizens chose not to recognize such a union.

    Read that again: Barr knowingly authored a statute — a statute — for the express purpose of negating one of the most important provisions of the Constitution — the Constitution.

    That (most un-libertarian) error he doesn’t apologize for. He only apologizes for the political error of miscalculating the impact on states that might in fact want to recognize same-sex marriage; that DOMA — his words — “is not working out as planned.” The pesky fact that (part of) his statute is almost universally thought to be unconstitutional is utterly lost on him.

  16. Mrs. Loving,

    I should have said, the only situation with the slightest chance of recurrence in the modern era. Sorry about the error.

    But thank you for reminding us that the gay libbers and the divorce enthusiasts aren’t the first to try and rewrite the definition of marriage inherited by North Americans from Christendom. The honor of being first to fundamentally redefine marriage belongs to the solons who denied marital rights to slaves and who refused legal recognition to the marriages of interracial couples.

    The gay-libbers certainly have some distinguished forbears!

  17. We’re all free to have Catholic marriages!
    Thanks, Mad Max!

  18. KIp – Sorry, I am not seeing your argument. Congress is well within its authority to determine which “acts and proceedings” should fall under the FF&C clause and which do not.

  19. “Read that again: Barr knowingly authored a statute — a statute — for the express purpose of negating one of the most important provisions of the Constitution — the Constitution.”

    Here’s the full text of the provision:

    “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.”

    Notice the last part, about the powers of Congress? Congress (and President Clinton, who signed DOMA) interpreted this to mean that Congress could decide what effect a same-sex union in one state would have in another state. I think that, for once, Congress and Clinton got something right.

  20. Weren’t monogamists the first people to rewrite the definition of marriage? Wasn’t it then the people that decided that the bride could decide who her husband was another group of people that rewrote the definition of marriage? Same goes for the people that ended incestuous marriages. Redefining marriage is neither good, bad nor new.

  21. Libertarians are not conservatives who think local oppression is fine just because it is local.

    Thank you CLS. While he and Rep. Ron Paul seem to be fairly thoroughgoing Federalists, there’s a huge gap between being a Federalist and being a Libertarian.

    Oppression by the government is still oppression, no matter what level. Allowing a state to ban gay marriage is *not* Libertarian – and this is just another piece of evidence that Bob Barr has never been (and probably never will be) a Libertarian.

  22. Oops that last post by Mad Max was supposed to be by me and addressed to Mad Max. My bad.

  23. Formerly Jennifer,

    If you aren’t Catholic, you can contract a “good an natural marriage” without the Church’s consent.

    I know that your remark was sarcastic, and perhaps my response is too solemn. So let me match your mood and declare:

    Under the laws of many states in this great Republic, religious believers have the right to rent out their private property for same-sex ‘wedding’ ceremonies, to pay for contraceptive coverage for their employees even though contraception is contrary to their religious beliefs, and to rent their property to people who are having sex outside of marriage, despite their religious belief that facilitating extramarital sex is sinful. Or pay fines for their violation of “civil rights.” Their choice.

  24. Mo,

    Whew – I thought that the quality of my arguments had gone down considerably.

    You mention the people who decided that consent was necessary to make a marriage valid. Guess which institution enforces that particular doctrine? Guess which institution consistently fought to establish the principle of marital consent as against secular rulers who wanted to marry people off without their consent?

    Hint – not a smarmy libertarian blog.

  25. F. Jennifer,

    If you’re Catholic and want to get married without the Church’s consent, all you have to do is publicly apostasize.

  26. “In law and policy, such decisions should be left to the people themselves.”

    Nothing about DOMA requires a state to not recognize same-sex marriages. In fact, if DOMA were not in place the federal courts would likely interpret the full faith and credit clause to mandate that states that do not have legal same sex marriage laws honor such marriages performed in states that do. Such a ruling would effectively federalize homosexual marriage. Barr surely undersatnds this as that is what DOMA was created to prevent, and he wrote the law. Barr can change his mind if he wants to, but his argument as presented here against DOMA is deeply dishonest.

  27. According to the prominent scholar H. L. Helmholz, the Church’s law on marriage even influenced the Magna Charta. Section 8 provided (basically) that the King couldn’t force widows to remarry against their will if they wanted to stay single. According to Helmholz, this defense of free consent in marriage was based on the canon law of the Church. (“Continental Law and Common Law: Historical Strangers or Companions?” Duke Law Journal, Vol. 1990, No. 6 (Dec., 1990), pp. 1207-1228, at 1212.)

  28. Bob Barr is no libertarian he never will be.

    First of all, he mentioned our founding fathers in a speech once. Our founding fathers were decidedly not libertarian, so Barr can’t be, either.

    Second of all, Barr never quoted Rothbard in the op-ed. Anyone who fails to quote Rothbard can never be a libertarian.

    Third, Barr certainly had a least a pimple or two when he was a teen. He’s never apologized for his zits, so he can’t be a libertarian.

    Four, Barr has never sucked Lew Rockwell’s dick. Cindy Sheehan may be the only person in the world with that dubious honor. Therefore, Barr is no libertarian.

    Five, Barr refused to suck Ron Paul’s dick. He can’t be a libertarian without first kissing that particular penis ring.

    Six, Barr was born with Rothbard’s teat in his mouth. One who isn’t raised (and never questioned any beliefs afterwards) as a hardcore libertarian can never be trusted.

    I refuse to let Bob Barr be considered a member of my cult.

  29. Oops! Should read “Barr WASN’T born with Rothbard’s teat in his mouth.

    I was too busy reading Ron Paul newsletters to self-edit.

  30. Max
    Did the Patriarchs have the whole polygamy thing wrong, or did they not have God’s ear or something?

  31. When Barr recants his support for unlibertarian things at the politically opportune time, he’s a huckster and an opportunistic fraud.

    When Barr recants his support for unlibertarian things at any other time, he’s an incompetent fool who should know better.

    Have I got the radical libertarian position right?

  32. at defending libertarianism against the old “GOP pot-smokers”

    I’ve always failed to see why this political archetype is a bad thing: A Republican who doesn’t care what people put in their mouths.

  33. What in the world do people think Barr is trying to gain personally from the switches he has made? The guy could have had a long life as a fellow with guys like Rick Santorum in right wing think tanks getting paid to do nothing really. I’m baffled at the libertarian hate on this guy.

  34. cunnivore – you forgot the delusion that the LP is somehow a “political opportunity”.

  35. That may very well be, but the damage he helped inflict is going to be very difficult to undue.

    This is exactly the attitude that prods the LP to nominate nutjob outsiders every cycle. If you nominate someone who’s gotten their hands dirty in the business of lawmaking, there are necessarily going to be a few things they’ve done that aren’t perfect from a libertarian POV. Which means it’s OK that Mary Ruwart supported legalizing kiddie porn because no one ever took her seriously, but because Bob Barr actually was in a position to wield power his unlibertarian actions are unforgivable.

  36. Have I got the radical libertarian position right?

    Radical libertarians frequently don’t believe in the statist notion of bathing, either.

  37. I’m not sure why the feds can’t just recognize any states definition of marriage for the purposes of federal actions dealing with people in those states, and how in doing so that is great for the principles of federalism…

    But honestly the thing to do is to just work to get state after state to accept same sex marriages and then at some point the feds as well. This is bound to happen if you look at public opinion and demographics (young people, who are more likely to know gay folks, are more liberal on this matter, and it’s getting better all the time).

    One day the Max’s of the world will be accepting gay marriages like they do interracial ones now, and if the topic comes up they will dismiss it by saying banning same sex marriage hasn’t the “slightest chance of recurrence in the modern era”

  38. The Ron Paul worshipers have no one but themselves to blame for Bob Barr’s nomination. At the time, it was seen as a smart move to grab libertarian-leading conservatives who were disaffected with the Republican Party.

    It did not work, mainly because Paul’s supporters treat him as if he walks on water. How many times did I read on here “I’m writing RP in, even if the vote will not count”? Too damn many.

  39. Bingo @ 7:13 has it. Well done sir.

    I agree. But there’s no doubt in my mind that Barr is also trying to cash in.

  40. Kiddie porn is libertarian. After all, the Rockwell gang defended Ruwart.

    For the Rockwell gang to be truly happy, proper libertarian kiddie porn will not have “fleet-footed” actors or actresses.

  41. I agree. But there’s no doubt in my mind that Barr is also trying to cash in.

    On what?

  42. This is not the first time he’s said he regrets DOMA. But it is the first time he did so in a piece written by him in a major newspaper. It might have been politically smarter to write and try to get prominent placement for this piece in late October.

    Mr Doherty, I don’t think a guy who wants libertarian ideas to win out in our political system, yet refuses to even vote himself, gets to lecture anyone on political strategy.

  43. cunnivore – I am also confused as to how it would have been politically smarter to take this position in October. Because the gay lobby would suddenly stop its abused-wife relationship with the Dems and go full-speed-ahead for Barr? I don’t think so.

  44. TAO,

    There’s money in the banana stand. *wink*

  45. I have to second that. Barr could have made a killing on the right wing circuit. He even could have run again realistically for office, both of those bridges he burned when he ran libertarian. They guy went to all these little places talking to small groups of people, trying to get to know the whole libertarian thing. That’s a labor of love for someone who could have had simpler roads to “cashing in.”

    Hell, I’m one of the House Liberals I guess. Shouldn’t I hate Barr, the arch-GOPer, the most? But the guy’s new positions strike me as an honest and convincing change of heart and mind.

  46. It strikes me that “one man one woman” marriage defenders would have to take a giant dump on the Old Testament. Those guys had God’s ear as plainly as the Pope would I should think, and he seemed to have no beef he relayed to them about “one man, five hundred wives for example.

  47. It’s simple. He saw Ron Paul raking in millions in campaign contributions, and turning it into a full-employment program for his extended family for years to come. Then Barr decided “I want one of those!”

    Of course, this will be hard to reconcile with the “Ron Paul=God” doctrine, but the Truthers never worried about logical consistency before so why start now?

  48. One man, one woman is a silly catchphrase, MNG. But polygamy and monogamy are more similar to each other than either is to gay marriage. In Genesis, Rachel and Leah, for instance, were both married to Jacob, but they definitely weren’t married to each other.

    Again, I don’t care about this issue whatsoever — to me it’s a vain dispute about words.

  49. There’s money in the banana stand. *wink*

    “Cash, Michael. What the hell did you think I meant when I said…”

  50. I agree. But there’s no doubt in my mind that Barr is also trying to cash in.

    On what?

    On being an apostate Republican of roughly the same scalar quantity but in an orthogonal direction to Scarborough. It’s a niche that isn’t currently filled. The other points on the compass are filled by Scarborough*, Buchanan, and Bloomberg**. Now, Barr doesn’t quite have the ‘it’ factor to be a leader of a movement, so this may be a pointless, or at least low return exercise.

    *I wouldn’t call Scarborough a ‘leader’ of of movement either, he’s more of a representative sample. I can’t think of a good leader of a the ‘still leans conservative but supported Obama’ . Powell? Weigel? 🙂

    **Bloomberg was never much a republican to begin with, so to call him ‘apostate’ is not very different from calling Ariana Huffington one either. But, otoh, they both represent a ‘Republican when it was convenient’ faction that has long since split.

  51. “Cash, Michael. What the hell did you think I meant when I said…”

    “Oh, definitely the work of a flamer.”

  52. Kolohe – the “conservative in exile” faction?

  53. Kolohe – the “conservative in exile” faction?

    Not exactly. Every Tom DIck and Harry (or more specifically every Rush, Sean, and Glenn) is trying to claim that mantle.

    Rather, he’s trying to get into a niche that largely overlaps with that faction, but is heterodox (so to speak) on gay marriage and the drug war. It’s a niche that used to be filled (imo quite ably) by Neil Boortz, until Boortz went off the deep end with a post 9/11 obsession with scary Muslims* (and to a lesser extent scary Mexicans). Not saying Barr’s views are too much different though.

    *see also, Dennis Miller

  54. It looks like Barr’s DOMA article is already being used in the debate over cow flatulence taxation.

  55. I think this is more the continuing evidence that libertarians who could not bring themselves to back Barr were wrong.

    Why, exactly, am I supposed to back a guy who never stands for the right thing until after it’s too late for him to do anything about it?

  56. Barr states:

    “I’ve….come to the conclusion that DOMA is not working out as planned”

    And then proceeds to blather on that he was for it because he had the issue of federalism foremost in his mind.
    Can’t he at least be honest and state that he was part of a poltical movement/party that thought that a man deciding to insert his penis into another man’s anus was icky to him, so he thought the force of the federal gov’t should be rolled out to express his disaproval of something that just didn’t sit well with him?

    I mean, if he’s going to all of sudden have a mea culpa in order to yet again curry favor with another political movement/party, at least be honest about it.

  57. Hey so I have a question:

    How come other states have to recognize marriage licenses, but no concealed weapons licenses?

  58. I go away for a couple of months and Reason is still pimping this ‘marriage’ scam as if adding more of it will make anything better? UGH.

  59. Oppression by the government is still oppression, no matter what level. Allowing a state to ban gay marriage is *not* Libertarian – and this is just another piece of evidence that Bob Barr has never been (and probably never will be) a Libertarian.

    Well now,

    By that measure someone who opposes polygamy, incest, or various other forms of ‘consenting adult’ marriages is also NEVER LIBERTARIAN.

    I imagine those that oppose that ‘adult’ is in there with consenting could also make an argument.

    I personally am opposed to all marriage. But that is just crazy talk isn’t it? I mean it is never going to happen, just like public school is never going away.

    But really THAT is the true libertarian point. Everything else is just grades of socialism.

  60. Yeah, I guess Guy Montag said it better and shorter than I did.

  61. kwais,

    I have had the same question for quite a while too.

    Please, Leftoids, tell us why this is the case in some sort of logical, sensical, manner.

  62. @1238 I was asking about concealed carry, just to avoid confusing the dim.

    kiwais, ty.

  63. We’ve achieved half the libertarian platform with
    Obama certain to fully federally fund stem-cell research and tackle the civilization destroying certainty of global climate change with a vaguely market oriented solution severley limiting carbon output. We can see victory, let’s go for it all with government sanctioned same sex marriage and a coercive medical based approach to substance abuse.Ending war for oil and torture is in the Obama campaign platform. Libertopia will be achieved. Halleulah and Kumbaya my comrades.

  64. I mean, if he’s going to all of sudden have a mea culpa in order to yet again curry favor with another political movement/party, at least be honest about it.

    I do not know how this can be any more clear, but as MNG said upthread, Barr could have been on the right-wing circuit if he had wanted to be, and yes, he could have even run for the House again at some point.

    But OH NO he changed his mind and that must make him a liar! I imagine you were a libertarian out of the womb, then?

  65. Well, I won’t say “don’t blame me, I voted for Barr” on this thread 😉

  66. “But OH NO he changed his mind and that must make him a liar!”

    So you just accept his premise that when he championed the DOMA, it was because he was a federalist and not because he was, foremost, what could be called a “culture warrior”, for lack of a better term? Because I’d like to think that I paid fairly close attention to national politics in the 1990’s, and from what I remember, Barr was more of the more strident voices regarding the “culture war” about that time.

    “I imagine you were a libertarian out of the womb, then?”

    Nope. I wouldn’t even call myself a libertarian. On some issue I agree with the libertarian position, but on others I don’t. So I don’t feel the need to change positions to curry favor with other libertarians. I mean, it’s not as if I’m trying to gain the nomination of a particular political party so therefor I’m changing, quite drastically, all my previously held and deepest convictions.

  67. One day the Max’s of the world will be accepting gay marriages like they do interracial ones now, and if the topic comes up they will dismiss it by saying banning same sex marriage hasn’t the “slightest chance of recurrence in the modern era”

    It can’t be Max. Too late for his generation. It will have to be his starry-eyed and unusually earnest idealistic young Padawan, or whatever they call ’em at the Holy See.

  68. I’m sure glad I voted for Chuck Baldwin and the Constitution Party. Fuck the Libertarians.

  69. Barr was a hero on the right when he got beat. He could have made plenty money on their circuit.

    Even if you want to discount some of the guys ‘conversions’ he probably currently agrees with 70% of what Libertarians say they want. Excluding people who agree with 70% of what you want is crazy for a small third party trying to make gains.

    The Constitution Party is a theocracy party imo.

  70. Bobarr is running for the 2012 Republican presidential ticket. He’s going to try to brand himself as a “true” Republican in the style of Ronnie Raygun and as the messenger for federalism. Small government types will eat this up, because being mismanaged and abused is much more palatable at the state than at the federal level. This is how you benefit from writing in a major newspaper months after it would have any effect.

    And I agree with MNG, he’s libertarianish, which about as close as its going to get.

  71. ‘One day the Max’s of the world will be accepting gay marriages like they do interracial ones now, and if the topic comes up they will dismiss it by saying banning same sex marriage hasn’t the “slightest chance of recurrence in the modern era”‘

    Oh dear, I really hate to bust your bubble, but the Max’s of the world have been fine with interracial marriage; it was the professed modernizers who wanted to ban it.

    From Madison Grant’s racist classic, The Passing of the Great Race:

    “In the Catholic Colonies, however, of New France and New Spain, if the half-breed [half white, half Indian] were a good Catholic he was regarded as a Frenchman or a Spaniard, as the case may be. . . . The Church of Rome has everywhere used its influence to break down racial distinctions. It disregards origins and only requires obedience to the mandates of the universal church.” (p. 85)

    Grant, in contrast, was more enlightened and modern than the backward Catholic Church, with its dangerous race-equality doctrines: “The laws against miscegenation must be greatly extended if the higher races are to be maintained.” (p. 60)

    Racists knew who their enemies were. They knew that the Catholic Church, with its antiquated disregard of racial origins and its outdated insistence that the race of the parties to a marriage was irrelevant, was the primary obstacle to their attempt to redefine marriage.

    Today, fortunately, the Catholic definition of marriage has survived the attacks of the racists and their “miscegenation” laws. It is with the Church’s assistance that the Madison Grants of the world have been relegated to the dustbin of history – the same dustbin to which, God willing, the gay-liberationists will be assigned.

  72. Max is on point on that one — of all world religions, Catholicism has (and has had for centuries) the largest percentage of mixed-race adherents, so bagging on Catholics for interracial marriage bans is silly.

    Also note that bans on interracial marriages are quite arbitrary and fragile things…you have to specify what percentage of, say, white ancestry makes you unfit to marry a black person. The reason you need a specific ban is because it is possible for a mixed-race marriage to function identically to that of a same-race marriage. That is not the case for same-sex marriages vis a vis mixed-sex marriages.

  73. I don’t quite get the “purists” dismay re. Barr; given your dubious logic, anyone who has never endorsed ever single item you folks deem appropriate at any prior time in their life should forever be barred (no pun intended) from having a change of conscience and advocating for libertarian, if not LP, positions. Seems to me Barr has recognized the errors of his previous positions and has grown; a shame we seldom see any growth on the part of many LP purists.

    And the purists wonder why the LP remains marginalized as a vehicle for electoral success…

  74. Barr was a reformers wet dream and all he accomplished was to take away the principle out of The Party of Principle. Please go away now. Kthxbai

  75. How come other states have to recognize marriage licenses, but no concealed weapons licenses?

    Because Congress hasn’t (and likely never will) said they have to.

    I still don’t see what’s unlibertarian about the government recognizing marriages. Even if they got out of the business there would still be standard contracts of what a marriage is (just as there are standard contracts for many other agreements). The government would still regulate who could or could not enter into those contracts (as they do today with other contracts). The courts would still have to preside over the dissolution of these contracts (see: divorces). There would still be ways to modify the standard contract (see: prenups). So the government could never really get out of the marriage business. Instead of copping out and say the government shouldn’t be in the marriage business, which it would be even in Libertopia, sack up and take a stand on one side.

  76. QFT, Mo. QFT.

    IN FAVOR OF IT!

  77. The government would still regulate who could or could not enter into those contracts (as they do today with other contracts).

    Such as? Aside from the blanket prohibitions on minors and mentally retarded people being able to sign a contract, etc.

  78. cunny and max
    You both missed the point. It’s not that I charge Catholics with being against interracial marriage, it’s that I charge Max as a conservative as being against something now that is contested but passing off a similarly themed cultural contest as irrelevant because going back to it is unlikely (we’ve moved “beyond” that).

    Conservatives do this all the time. They say we must fight obscenity, if you mention the attempted bans on Ulyssess by conservative censors of the past they say “well of course we don’t want to ban THAT, that battle is past, we just mean THIS stuff.” If they say we must place restrictions on reproductive rights and you mention the bans on contraceptives they say “well of course we don’t want to go back to THAT, we just want THIS stuff banned.” Etc.

    One day conservatives will look back on anti-same sex marriage laws with the same attitude they now look back on the sodomy laws they once supported so strongly: “well of course we don’t want to go back to THAT.”

  79. Why should people who want to enter into a civil marriage, which is by definition NOT a religious covenant, have to adhere to tenets of a faith they do not share?

    And, from an earlier thread, yes I think Catholic hospitals (and others, not picking on Catholics) should be expected to recognize same-sex civil marriage where it is the law of the state, just as much as they are “forced” to recognize any marriage.

    I seriously doubt that anyone would be asking for a marriage certificate if my “stepfather” was in the hospital and my mother claimed to be his wife. They have been together for about 15 years. But same-sex couples are not granted this courtesy.

    IMO, it’s better to continue to have states do the defining of eligibility for civil marriage than to pretend that everyone wants a religious marriage. That way, the several competing religious qualifications can remain add-ons for those who want them.

  80. “it is possible for a mixed-race marriage to function identically to that of a same-race marriage. That is not the case for same-sex marriages vis a vis mixed-sex marriages.”

    How do you figure that?

  81. MNG-

    I wholeheartedly agree with the thrust of your post. Sometimes the “conservative” will object on the basis of the means employed to reach a particular result. Some will earnestly argue that the issue isn’t whether consenting couples shouold be able to use contraceptives. Some will also argue that the issue isn’t whether two consenting men should be able to experience the joys of sodomy.

    Instead, they will rail against the “judicial activism” that thwarted the will of the people or, in the case of the federal courts, trampled upon state’s rights. Thus, Griswold and Lawrence are anathema to “conservatives”. They will talk a good game about the means. Some may even invoke Solzhinitsyn’s command that “the higher the ends, the higher must be the means” (I often cite this advice in support of the proposition that if one has to resort to gvt to impose one’s will on others by force, one is a big fat loser). Ultimately, IMO, “conservatives” are not really concerned about the will of the people or state’s rights; rather, they use those issues as a proxy for the value they most cherish: the ability to enlist the state to impose their will on the rest of us.

    Did the “conservative” rail against the haste with which the patriot act was passed? I don’t recall too many of them that urged COngress to soberly consider and debate the proposed legislation. I don’t recall that too many of them criticized the GWB administration for demanding a vote with no time for congress to even read the legislation. What about those means?

    How about the will of the people? For quite some time, the overwhelming majority of the people have wanted out of Iraq? Nearly 80 per cent of the people do not want bailouts-they are against socialism for the rich. Yet, the “conservative” has not objected to those affronts to the will of the people.

    Sure, I could give a rat’s ass about two wolves and a sheep deciding what is for lunch, as I loathe democracy for the warfare/welfare statist cess pool that it is, but “conservatives” are such hypocrites.

  82. “it’s that I charge Max as a conservative as being against something now that is contested but passing off a similarly themed cultural contest as irrelevant because going back to it is unlikely (we’ve moved “beyond” that).”

    It must be fun to take everything ever said by conservatives and assume that all conservatives must believe the same.

    I may as well be on a lefty blog, with commenters complaining that “conservatives like Ron Paul support open-ended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, torture, executive privilege, and corporate bailouts,” or “conservatives acknowledge that the New Deal is a good thing.”

    I’m a conservative in the sense that Dr. Ron Paul is a conservative. Not that I agree with him on everything. I may not be as libertarian as he is, and I know I’m more Catholic than he is. But I can safely dismiss remarks like libertymike’s (‘Did the “conservative[s]” rail against the haste with which the patriot act was passed?’) – he’s basically reading Dr. Paul out of the conservative movement.

    If your definition excludes Dr. Paul, I will follow the good doctor into excommunication.

    Why not look to my actual positions, without trying to look up what some neocon or Republican self-proclaimed conservative hack might say.

  83. Can we get LibertyMike, and UnderZog to argue with each other about marriage?

    As a background to their argument they can use respectively that anyone who is in favor of same sex marriage is an anti-semite? And that same sex marriage is ok because the holocaust never happened?

  84. You might notice the title of my book, *The Conservative in Spite of Himself.* I accept the label of ‘conservative’ in spite of, not because of, the activities of the neocons, Republican hacks, and others who have been actively diluting the brand.

  85. LibertyMike,

    I apologize, in retrospect, your arguments are logical and fair, and the fact that you have one idea that seems crazy to the rest of us does not mean that your other opinions are invalid.

    Underzog on the other hand seems to make all of his arguments using “anti-semitic” as his appeal to authority.

    You and him are not of the same cloth.

    And I am no one to judge, everyone is entitled to an unorthodox opinion.

  86. Mo,

    Sac up and take a side huh?

    OK, I don’t care who makes a contract with whom.
    It is none of my business. It is no ones business but those in the contract. It is not the business of the taxman, not the business of the hospital, not anyone’s business besides those in the contract.

    And there is not reason why it has to be limited to two people either.

    Whether I have or not decided to enter in a contract with another person is no business of the military either.

    If I have promised to have sex exclusively with one person forever(a promise I can’t possibly know that I will keep) or whether I just like that person tonight, is no one else’s business but my own.

    If I make a contract with you Mo, that is no one elses business but me and yours. And whatever contract we have should give us no special privileges before the government.

  87. Mo,

    Just so you know (even thought this thread is probably dead) this isn’t purely theoretical to me. Dealing with the military rules, and the middle east. I reject the state’s desire to classify me as single or married.

    It is none of their Godamned business.

  88. Mad Max-

    My prior post does not apply to all people who consider themselves consevatives. Just like everybodyelse, I need to be careful not to get bogged down with labels, etc. My post applies to the type of conservative described therein. It certainly was not aimed at you. Though we disagree on several issues, I like that you tend to post thoughtful, detailed opinions.

  89. Not that I agree with him on everything. I may not be as libertarian as he is, and I know I’m more Catholic than he is.

    Now that’s comedy gold.

  90. Kwais-

    Thank you. I probably have a few ideas that seem crazy.

  91. Elemenope-

    Did you attend Senator Pell’s funeral at Trinity Church yesterday?

  92. FWIW, my problem with Barr has never been that he fails some imaginary libertarian purity test by having previously held un-libertarian positions. Where I have a problem with him is that when he recants his formerly un-libertarian positions (best example: The drug war), his explanation is never that “I have come to understand that my prior position is fundamentally wrong“. Instead, he explains his shift by saying, essentially, “it didn’t work.”

    That implies, to me, that his underlying beliefs/opinions haven’t actually changed. All that’s happened is he’s realized that the methods he had supported have failed to achieve his desired goals.

    That’s better than nothing; better than never coming to that realization at all. But I don’t think its a sufficiently transformative epiphany to warrant holding him up as the mainstream, public mouthpiece for liberty.

  93. Libertymike,

    I’m afraid I didn’t understand your point; sorry about that.

  94. I think a lot of people felt (rightly so, imo) that Barr saw that the Republicans were going down, decided to jump ship to the LP for his own advantage, have a 180 on numerous issues of importance, further muddy the distinction between conservativsm and libertarianism and generally do a poor job of advocating liberty.

    I have seen nothing to change my opinion on this, though this oped is perhaps a nice start, and if Barr continues to refine and hone his veiws, and more importantly, if he remains a consistent force on the side of liberty I may well vote for him in ’12.

    The point is, after an entire lifetime of actively working against libertarian positions, you don’t just get to say “oops!”. You have to prove it to me, and Barr simply hasn’t. His campaign was a joke, both from a political standpoint (which the LP is well used to) and from a principled standpoint. His running mate was a even bigger joke.

    To those who say that “purists” are being impractical when it comes to Barr, I say what did we libertarians get in exchange? The same 500,000 votes we always get. If you’re not going to stand on principle, especially when it comes to the figurehead of your organization, then why not just vote democrat or republican? After all, we may have 50% in common with either of them and, well, thats good enough. You have to be realistic about these things, right?

    Listen to me carefully: A libertarian is never, ever going to be elected president. The vote tally for a libertarian candidate is of no consequence. Literally, it doesn’t matter in the least. All that matters is the distinction of the message. Once the message is no longer clear and separate from that of the major parties, the LP has lost is purpose…not the election of a president, but the spreading of liberty.

  95. Not that it really matters. The LP is effectively dead, bogged down in its own petty bureaucracy and in-fighting. It will, unfortunately, linger on for many years sullying the name of libertarianism as it tries ever more orthodox ways of entering the state apparatus.

  96. Did you attend Senator Pell’s funeral at Trinity Church yesterday?

    Sadly, no. I was at work.

  97. Elemenope-

    Me thinks that you might have found Senator Pell’s demeanor and temperment agreeable. I did.

  98. Me thinks that you might have found Senator Pell’s demeanor and temperament agreeable. I did.

    He was a statesman of the highest caliber, something I do not lightly say.

    Many people have been able to go to college because of him more than any other single person in the last fifty years. Only the GI bill has had more impact in that area.

    If ProL’s “new enlightenment” is a worthy goal, education is definitely a key element, if not the key element. I suppose you could say that Pell is the patron saint of such an effort.

    That is just among the many fine things he did.

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