Bob Barr Is winning Me Over…. Slowly

Let’s begin with this:
I Was Wrong About The War On Drugs — It’s A Failure

Ending the war on drugs is a position that will generally turn me in favor of a candidate. A lot of libertarian positions are easy to defend. Taxes? One of the major parties agrees with us-at least rhetorically-on this issue. The occupation of Iraq? We get along with the other party on that one (too bad they won’t do anything about it). Libertarian positions on most issues are at least in the same zip code as positions taken by enough other people that people don’t cringe at the suggestion.

But opposing the drug war takes work to defend. Oh, it’s easy to defend on the facts. But beating back the misinformation takes effort, and getting people past the shock long enough to hear the facts is not a task suited to sound bite driven political news coverage. Most politicians won’t make that effort.

Then I got wind of Barr’s positions on a number of other issues. Okay. So, at the very least, I’ll admit that Barr’s not the same turkey now that he was in Congress. Whether he actually believes all of it or not will take more time to convince me. But at least if he stays on this track, he’ll be able to deliver the libertarian message accurately.

I’m still pretty hot under the collar about what the national Libertarian Party did to Mary Ruwart, though. A few weeks prior to the convention, Ruwart expressed a principled position that the federal government has no authority to enforce or prosecute sex crimes. She is correct. That is a matter for the states, and the feds have no jurisdiction. Barr supported federal government involvement in this category of crimes. The same week, the national LP leadership published a press release agreeing with Barr. This appeared to me to be either a pretty obvious power play in favor of Barr, or a political path of least resistance. Come on, Party of Principle, where y’at?

I’m still pretty peeved about that, but Barr has come a long way, and he deserves credit. I remain convinced that Ruwart would have been a better choice. Unlike Barr, Ruwart has a long record of pro liberty activism, and her book “Healing Our World” would have been a great way to answer much of the criticism of individual liberty from the left. All in all, though, if the major parties are going to offer us a Trotskyite Obama and a Hamiltonian McCain, next to those two, Barr looks like a Jeffersonian giant. Immediately after the convention, there was no way I would have voted for Barr, but now, I’m at least considering it.

But I still would have preferred Mary.


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