Steve G.

Root/Kubby could have been ‘unity ticket’

In Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Steve Kubby on May 27, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Yes, a lot of Mary Ruwart backers are quite bitter. Do you imagine it would be any different from the other side, had she won? I was reviewing the round-by-round results earlier today, and the thought struck me: Some pragmatist (not me, I would take a bullet for Mary) should have organized the vast center and engineered a compromise. If Root could have pulled off enough votes to leap over Mary and into second place, then the Mary backers could have been made the kingmakers one insider predicted they would be. We would have chosen Root, of course, but we could have gotten his support for a Kubby VP nomination. Thus, both Barr and Ruwart would be off the ticket, and neither side would have “won.” There would still be hard feelings, but Barr and Mary backers could each take solace in the fact that the other lost, and both would find the Root/Kubby ticket equally agreeable.

  1. I think any ticket besides the one we have would have been more palatable.

  2. I am thinking a Milnes/Link ticket would be better than what we got.

  3. Why Root/Kubby? Why not Kubby/Root?

  4. Because the votes did not shake out anything like that, disinter. Root was the #3 man, Kubby was a distant 6th.

  5. I hear some people didn’t vote for Kubby first round because they thought he was a shoe-in due to his stellar debate performance. Evidently it was more than “some”.

  6. I will have to agree with you. Anything but Barr and his baggage would have been FAR, FAR, FAR better.

  7. I would be much happier with a Root/Kubby ticket, that’s for sure.
    I dont’ think the ticket could be much worse. It is, in fact. Donderos dream ticket. Need I say more?

  8. Coulda been Imperato/Milnes or say …Chapman/Kenline…

    Both would have been worse…

  9. Go Chapman/Kenline! ROFL

  10. Is kenline alive?

  11. Actually ENM, whats funny is, back in 2004, there were like 4 of us who started a blog calling for Badnarik to be involved with the debates. Thats how I first met Kenline, we were both among the 4…haha. At that time, I didn’t know he was mentally unstable.

  12. While virtually everyone at the convention thought Kubby won the debate, I didn’t know anybody who thought he was going to be the nominee. He only got into the debate because the Ruwart campaign, after reaching the threshold tokens needed to get into the debate, told people coming to their table with tokens to give them to Kubby instead, so that there would be another strong voice in the debate. Kubby needed 30 tokens from Ruwart supporters to even be there.

    Kubby WAS the consensus choice for VP: Ruwart people loved the idea of a P-VP ticket consisting of 2 people with such strong libertarian credentials and persuasive ability, and Barr people thought having the former drug warrior and victim of the drug war on the same ticket would be an unbelievable human interest ticket.

    What we missed because of Barr’s shortsightedness and radical petulance … sigh. Kubby would BE the VP nominee right now if Barr hadn’t endorsed or disappointed radicals hadn’t headed for bars and restaurants immediately after Barr clinched the nomination, the reduction in voting numbers for VP proving to be more than double the margin of difference between Root and Kubby.

    This is the problem with letting short-term emotions cloud one’s long-term judgment. It is yet another reason for people not to pronounce that they will NEVER support Barr or the LP ever again. Relax, hug your dog, and then figure out what you can do constructively to benefit liberty. Maybe you’ll stay with your resolve, or maybe you’ll see the benefit of continued engagement.

    Imagine how hopeless the cause would be if libertarians resolved never to have contact with non-libertarians. Exactly how do we change the minds of people with whom we refuse to have contact? Talking to the less libertarian members of the LP is as much outreach as talking to people outside the LP.

  13. It was mathematically obvious from the second ballot onward that the only way to stop Barr would be for Ruwart to endorse Root. Chuck Moulton and I were sitting together speculating when it would happen, but it never did. Barr would have never accepted a V.P. spot, so a Ruwart endorsement would have guaranteed either a Root/Ruwart ticket or a Root/Kubby ticket (depending on whether Mary wanted the veep slot). Those would have been my preferred tickets, but Ruwart’s insistence Sunday on a doomed last stand did more in three hours to make the LP potentially “Republican lite” than the Reform Caucus did in three years. I hope Ruwart wasn’t more interested in remaining the standard-bearer of anarcholibertarian purity than she was in the LP remaining the standard-bearer of political libertarianism. Since our nominating process is like a microcosm of America’s electoral system, this is an ironic little lesson about how keeping one’s hands spotless is not always the choice that best serves the cause of liberty.

    At least the Reform Caucus has given us a comprehensive libertarian Platform with which to bird-dog the positions that the Barr/Root ticket now takes. The Reform and Radical Caucuses should work together for the rest of this campaign to make sure the Denver ticket runs on the Denver platform, rather than on any kind of “conservative” platform that might be dreamed up by a Russ Verney or Richard Viguerie. The delegates in Denver decided to play for very high stakes this year, and those of us who care about libertarian principles need to help mitigate the risks that they decided to take.

  14. The reason kubby didn’t win has NOTHING to do with Barr’s recommendation and everything to do with delegates walking out and blowing off the VP nominations. It was such a small difference between Root and Kubby that if the radical faction hadn’t walked out, enough people could have gotten Steve in EASILY. I’m not gonna blame Barr for this one. It was our fault.

  15. As usual, Holz is wrong. The fact is if only the statist Phillies/Gravel contingent had unanimously backed Ruwart instead of the neocon Barr, all of Root’s supporters would not have given Barr the majority he needed. We all expected to have support from the Big Government Left, but we should have known better. Denver was a victory for the state, so arch-statists like Brian Holz are very happy. Congrats. You guys deserved it. You won it fair and square, even if you smeared Mary prior to the convention and destroyed a great Web site in the process.

  16. Sorry, Holtz. Did not want the misspelling to be taken as an insult. I prefer a more direct approach.

  17. Puh-lease,

    I don’t think it is absurd to suggest that Barr’s endorsement of Root increased the number of votes Root got for VP. Indeed, how could it be otherwise? But I DID say that the radicals who spent a few hours blowing off steam after the Barr nomination instead of staying in the convention hall would have made the difference as well. EITHER Barr not endorsing Root OR the radicals remembering that the Barr nomination wasn’t the end of the convention would have been sufficient to get Kubby on the ticket.

    Which is why the claim that the LP is hopelessly corrupt is untrue: there is plenty of evidence that it retains a strong libertarian majority that has simply bought into a flawed strategy. This will be evident in November, and then those of us who care about the future of the party will likely find ourselves back on the same side in all the important ways.

    Brian, expecting Ruwart to endorse the man who publicly smeared her just to stop Barr is a bit much. That press release under his byline was inexcusable, and absent a public apology by him, I would have lost all respect for Ruwart if she’d decided to make a political calculation of the sort you think she should have made.

    That said, when November hits us between the eyes, I hope that you and I will find ourselves on the same side of the important matters affecting the future of the LP.

  18. “G.E.” (whoever you are), do the math. Root had 138 on the second ballot, and Gravel/Phillies/Kubby totaled 139, while Barr was 26 votes ahead of Ruwart and 50 votes ahead of Root. From that moment on, Barr was only going to be stopped if Root could somehow get 50 more of those 139 Gravel/Phillies/Kubby votes than Barr got — or if Ruwart threw her support to Root. But Root in fact got fewer of those G/P/K votes than Barr did, and ENM herself wrote at the time that Root would never get enough Gravel votes to get into the final ballot against Ruwart.

    It’s all well and good to now say “anybody but Barr”, but I don’t want to hear it from Dr. Ruwart or anybody in her campaign team.

    Less, can you please quote the “smear” you say Root committed? Surely that incident taught us to fairly characterize the words of our fellow Libertarians and to back them up with accurate quotes.

    I’m not worried so much about November as about the message and positions that Barr ticket emits between now and then. I’m enough of an ideologue to say damn the vote totals as long as the message is mainstream libertarianism. Root sends that message loud and clear, but Barr’s version of it is somewhat muffled and and obfuscated. Unless he puts something much closer to Root’s message through the wonderful MSM megaphone he comes with, I won’t see his campaign as a test case for the strategy I want the LP to try. Even though I voted for Kubby on all the V.P. ballots, my favorite thing about our ticket is that it grooms Root for 2012.

  19. “Kubby needed 30 tokens from Ruwart supporters to even be there.”

    This is true in spirit, but not in fact.

    As the hour grew late, we had the tokens to get nominating speech time for Kubby, but not enough to get him into the debate. The distance from the former to the latter was 27 tokens.

    The Ruwart campaign did provide the bulk of those tickets, but not all of them. Phillies provided several. Gravel provided several. Christine Smith provided the four that put us “over the top,” even though she had only 36. As soon as she did that, Kubby people went to work collecting tokens for Jingozian and Smith. Jingozian was already close, and we got him in. If we’d had another half hour, I think we’d have got Christine in as well. We just ran out of time.

    I was not in the hall to see Smith’s speech that everyone was so upset about, so maybe my judgment is colored by the token interaction. I went to Denver very much not liking Smith, thinking of her as a dilettante and a lightweight who was just there for attention. She proved beyond any shadow of a doubt to me that I had been wrong about her. She could have held on to those four tokens and kept plugging for more, but she obviously believed that Steve belonged in the debate and she made a sacrifice to put him there. I wish we had been able to return the favor, and if she runs for Congress or some other office in the future she’ll do so with my full support and with any assistance I can offer.

  20. Brian:

    smear: to stain or attempt to destroy the reputation of; to vilify

    I’ll let everyone here draw their own conclusion.

  21. P.S. Here was my analysis when it first appeared:


    While I’m pleased by the remarkable similarity of the description of contract law in this piece to the material I taught Aaron Starr when he attended my CPA review course in the 1980s, I agree with others that the identity of the author is not as important as the accuracy of it. So:

    (1) Ruwart has not campaigned as an anarchist, and I defy anyone to identify anything she has written or said in this entire campaign that indicates she has. Look, for example, at her piece at on Monday on dealing with terrorism, which could easily be written by any minarchist who supported our platform:

    (2) I didn’t realize that members of the LP were prohibited by the Dallas Accord from ever mentioning in any setting at any time their personal views on courts, police, and defense. If that were the case, then the author’s claim to be a limited government libertarian constitutes a blatant violation of the Dallas Accord, even worse because it IS being said in the context of the LP nomination battle. For shame, for shame! (Rather, this is a ridiculous interpretation of the Dallas Accord: we can each say what we believe on such matters, but should respect the coalition status of the LP.)

    (3) The comment that “anarchists may be fellow travelers with us libertarians” is a gratuitous insult that clearly DOES violate the spirit of the Dallas Accord, essentially declaring that anarchists are, by definition, not libertarians. I don’t like it when anarchists do that to minarchists, nor when minarchists do that to anarchists (except in fun, since both libertarians and minarchists need to have more of a sense of humor).

    (4) Others who were there in Dallas in 1974 have told me that the “Dallas Accord” was not a formal resolution of any kind but simply an informal agreement that, for purposes of the platform and party activity, the question of the ultimate legitimacy of government need not be settled. Ruwart has held to that accord in everything she has done for this party (and she has done a great deal) during her quarter century as an LP activist.

    (5) Whether the legal principles used to prosecute child predators derive from common law or statute is totally unrelated to whether the court system is a socialist monopoly or a market operation. A government system can (and Ruwart is arguing should) decide the question of capacity by applying common law principles rather than resorting to arbitrary numerical statutes.

    (6) The author of this piece PROVED Ruwart was correct about the absence of need for numerical statutes, with the example of dementia. There is NO SPECIFIC QUANTITATIVE RULE TO ESTABLISH DEMENTIA, yet somehow the law still protects such people. Seriously, how does a court manage to determine the incompetence of people over 18 but not those under 18? Indeed, puberty was the standard for adulthood pretty much throughout history until around a century ago, and it has creeped up to 18 (or 21, or whatever arbitrary number is suddenly claimed to be objective truth) only recently in the US. If the court is allowed to be flexible in interpreting the arbitrary number and to create exceptions when it seems appropriate, then what exactly is wrong with a flexible interpretation based on individual circumstances? Does or does not the author believe that an evaluation that varies based on circumstances is legitimate: he seems to want it both ways?

    (7) Returning to the candidate: rather than follow a scorched earth policy of attacking Dr. Ruwart repeatedly, behavior which may well permanently weaken the LP and which should be especially offensive to people who helped build this party and who plan to stay even if their candidate doesn’t get this year’s nomination, wouldn’t it be better if all candidates followed the example of Ruwart by not choosing to characterize the positions of the other candidates, and leaving that to the delegates?

    (8) Let me finally note that Dr. Ruwart didn’t once call for anarchism in her libertarian primer, Healing Our World, and the only mention of anarchism in the “infamous” Short Answers to the Tough Questions was the following Q&A:

    Q: What is the difference between anarchists and libertarians?

    A: Some libertarians believe that government should handle the courts, police, and national defense; others believe that all the functions of government can be provided by the private sector.

    We should all be as respectful of both viewpoints within the party as she is.

  22. I think that Barr backers would have been disappointed had Barr not won, but not “bitter”. Maybe some individuals would have (I can’t speak for everyone), but overall I don’t think it would have been the same.

    A lot of Barr backers reached out and worked the floor for Kubby on VP. I don’t expect a medal, but I’ve since then been told by many (not G.E.) that we’re assholes because it wasn’t 100%. I wonder how many Ruwart backers can honestly say they would have worked for Barr for the same reasons? Probably zero percent (same for LNC)… and if they’d HAD to make a deal with Root to get over the top, I wonder how many would have honored even that rather than go for Kubby regardless?

    I understand the emotions… but as the dust settles, the radicals need to take an objective look at some lessons learned. For one thing, the momentum toward recruiting a media-savvy candidate has been building for years now… as evidenced by the Russo campaign in ’04, and the strength that Root had been building long before Barr came along. Stop trying to portray this as an “invasion” by outsiders… it’s a shift in thinking by longtime LP members (only a handful of the Georgia delegation are newer than G.E.).

    The “takeover” talk was intellectually lazy, and distracted the radicals from doing the INREACH and educational efforts that could have helped their cause at the root level. Rather than inreach, they just dismissed the Russo/Root/Barr backers as not “real libertarians”. That’s dangerous language to use, and turns people off. I don’t pretend for a moment that a majority of people on the floor were truly Barr fans… but at the end of the day we just came across as more reasonable to the swing vote.

    Reach out to people. Argue your positions in a positive way, trying to persuade others that they’re best for the party, rather than focusing on why the other side is so evil. Accept that you might have to take a less-palatable VP, or even play kingmaker sometimes. The all-or-nothing approach, and the telling people who aren’t on board that they’re “neocons” or “outsiders” and don’t belong, is not going to work.

  23. I don’t think very many people, other than Root supporters themselves, thought Root was better than Barr.

    I would have been pleased with Barr/Kubby. I’m still pissed that people let Root get the VP nomination because they didn’t stick around to vote.

  24. Cheer up disinter. If what you and a few other bitter folks are saying is true, that Bob Barr will tank on election day, the Reform Caucus will have been quite discredited, and it’ll be party business as normal.

    I feel bad that Barr/Kubby failed, but it seems the Ruwart and Kubby backers were sore losers…

  25. Brian,

    Unfortunately I was not at the Denver convention, but I was able to watch the high points on CSPAN, especially the Presidential voting. After the first ballot I thought there was about a 2/3 probability that the eventual ticket would be Barr/Root, and the odds increased with each subsequent ballot. However, it was nowhere near as “mathematically obvious” that Barr would win as you and Chuck seemed to have thought. Nor is it at all clear that a “Ruwart endorsement would have guaranteed either a Root/Ruwart ticket or a Root/Kubby ticket.”

    I think you and many other people greatly overestimate the level of block voting and the control over their supporters which you attribute to the Presidential candidates. Indeed, what made this an extremely suspenseful and interesting event to watch was the surprising amount of unpredictability. Libertarians delegates are a lot more independent than those in the major parties, and they prefer to make up their own minds and choose who they believe will be the best candidate.

    Hence a losing candidate’s endorsement carries only limited weight, and a losing candidate’s votes will often be distributed in unusual ways. If you look at the spreadsheet of vote totals and percentages (which is probably posted someplace but I don’t have a URL for it), Jingozian’s votes went mostly to Barr and Root on the 2nd ballot, while Phillies and Kubby both declined a bit. When Kubby dropped off after the second ballot, probably 2/3 of his votes went to Ruwart but Root and Gravel each gained a little. Phillies’ votes split fairly evenly between Barr and Ruwart. Gravel’s votes went 25% to Root, 33% to Ruwart, and 42% to Barr (ignoring NOTA). Despite Root’s endorsement of Barr, 47 of his 165 votes went to Ruwart while another 17 went to NOTA on the final ballot.

    From round to round, Mary could not know for sure how the balloting would play out. Obviously the outlook for her was not real good, but it was not hopeless. If she had built up a decent lead over Barr during rounds 2 thru 5, it’s quite possible that she could have peeled off enough Root votes to eek out a victory in round 6.

    And beyond the pure mathematics, there was the psychological factor of momentum. Kubby and Phillies each lost support from round to round, and Barr appeared to stall out in round 3 when he actually dropped 2 votes. Mary could easily have imagined a momentum shift in her direction after the third ballot. Indeed, that’s what usually happens — an unstable equilibrium and positive feedback will accentuate movements toward the finalists. The absence of that effect and a six-ballot nomination process is rare and remarkable.

    So to expect Mary to make a radical games-theory decision to withdraw before the fifth ballot in favor of Root would have required a leap that I can’t imagine from her or any other normal candidate, especially in the heat of an intense political battle. It also assumes that Mary (and her supporters) could have tolerated Root much better than Barr, which is debatable given the paper Root put out attacking Mary’s age-of-consent and child pornography positions.

    After the fifth ballot it was too late. Root was out of it and he had already made a deal to support Barr.

    Your theory also assumes that Mary could actually deliver enough of her supporters to Root so as to overcome Barr’s lead. If Mary had gone up to the stage prior to the fifth ballot and announced her withdrawal and endorsement of Root, my guess is that her supporters would have been extremely upset at her apparent cowardice and cynical political calculation in surrendering early. Many of them would have walked out, others would have voted for NOTA, and some of them would have voted for Barr just to spite her and/or demonstrate their independence or because they couldn’t stand Root. Certainly it would have destroyed Mary’s credibility and political future in the Libertarian Party.

    Sometimes you just have to play the hand you are dealt, and lose if the votes simply aren’t there, instead of trying to get too clever with political machinations.

  26. “I feel bad that Barr/Kubby failed, but it seems the Ruwart and Kubby backers were sore losers”

    I wouldn’t say that. I am a Ruwart and Kubby backer, and by Monday morning I had shaken both winning candidates’ hands and pledged my support.

    I just got off the phone with Kubby, who is brainstorming a series of events to set up and host for Root and/or Congressman Barr in California.

    Some people may be disappointed enough to walk. Others are at least momentarily disillusioned and may take some time to reconcile themselves to the situation and figure out how to go forward. But for the most part, what I’m hearing isn’t “so sad,” it’s “what’s next?”

  27. Andy
    you are right I belive Kubby could have been VP. I voted for him and a couple of other Georgia people did. We had about three more on the fence. Kubby just did not have the people in the field to find those people and get them to vote for Kubby.
    Also I believe that Barr’s campaign was much more organized than anyone elses. We were text messaging to get people out when we needed to be there. We missed few chances.
    Also I t was nice to meet everyone there. Even by working on the Barr campaign people treated me very nice.
    I would like to say hi to , G. E., Paulie. Knapp,Jake Portman, Jeff Wartman ,Starchild, Angela Keaton and Tom Knapp. It was great meeting you guys.

  28. Gravel was a traitor to his principles. Despite having campaigned for the last two years on a hard-line anti-war platform, when he was eliminated he implicitely endorsed the most pro-war candidate at the convention. Had he stuck to his anti-war principles that he had campaigned on, he would have endorsed the most anti-war candidate, Ruwart, and that likely would have given her the nomination.

  29. That’s because to a hardcore statist like Gravel, being pro-big government is more important than being anti-war. He chose the big government ticket over the one that supports equality for gays, feminism, and ending the war.

    Gravel is a thief, a liar, and a turncoat. He belongs in the Democratic Party with the rest of them!

  30. Less, by your cherry-picked definition of “smear”, criticizing Hitler for his genocidal policies would be a “smear”. Try these:

    smear n. a false or unwarranted accusation
    smear n. a usually unsubstantiated charge or accusation against a person or organization
    smear n. an accusation which is unpleasant, unreasonable or unlikely to be true and which is made publicly with the intention of harming a person’s reputation

    Nothing you posted above even begins to suggest that Root’s article unfairly characterized Ruwart’s positions. I agree with you that attempting to distinguish anarchists from libertarians is inaccurate, but that’s hardly a “smear”. Your charge of “smear” here is so intellectually lazy as to nearly itself qualify as a smear. You did the same thing to me when you said that by criticizing Ruwart’s positions I was “trashing” her and trying to “purge” her. It’s beneath you.

    If the point of radicalism is to “hold high the banner” of pure principle, then don’t whine about “smears” and “purges” just because some of us don’t salute.

  31. As I said, everyone can draw their own conclusion.

  32. Mike Nelson (“disinter”), the links you provide document no “smear” against Ruwart — let alone an “admission” of one by Shane Corey.

    I’ll challenge you to do what Less Antman declines to attempt: 1) Type an opening quotation mark. 2) Cut and paste words actually emitted by Wayne Root about Mary Ruwart. 3) Type a closing quotation mark. 4) Argue that those words misrepresent Ruwart’s position(s).

    Unless you do so, I leave it to our readers to decide whether these unsubstantiated hand-waving charges about “smears” are themselves smears.

    Reputations matter. A lot of Ruwart critics did indeed smear her. I condemned that, and if Root can be quoted actually smearing her, I’ll condemn that too. But I’ve been paying pretty close attention, and I didn’t see it happen.

  33. Mike Nelson (”disinter”), the links you provide document no “smear” against Ruwart — let alone an “admission” of one by Shane Corey.

    Brain “conehead” Holz – The LP conveniently removed the press release that blatantly smeared Ruwart. The link proves the intent.

    Cut and paste words actually emitted by Wayne Root about Mary Ruwart.

    The smear didn’t come from Root, as the link proves. It is now obvious, though, that he was in the same camp.

  34. let alone an “admission” of one by Shane Corey.

    “In the meantime, I will be doing what I believe is my obligation to the party and our members by going on the offensive”

    Umm, yea. Cory, who was planning to leave to work for Barr anyway, goes on the “offensive” about a non-issue that he and his goons created in the first place.

    Put your huge conehead back in the sand Holtz.

  35. a Milnes/Link ticket would be better than what we got

    What’s this “we” stuff, Mike Nelson?

    You weren’t on the convention floor.

    Brian Holtz and I were. We agreed on some things and disagreed on others, but we made our votes count — unlike yourself.

    Perhaps you should spend less time trolling blogs and campaigning for Republicans, and more time working on real Libertarian Party issues at our conventions, and things might go your way that much faster.

    Showing up is 80% of success. If you want to succeed, stop attacking everyone in sight and instead, grow a pair and show up.

  36. You weren’t on the convention floor.

    Yea, cuz anyone that wasn’t on the convention floor isn’t a member of the LP. The retard/unity caucus speaks.

  37. The press release is still available at

    Nothing in it misrepresented Ruwart, or even mentioned her. Yes, many grownups in the LP had serious disagreements with Ruwart on substance, and criticized her positions either tacitly or explicitly. Calling all such criticism “smears” is simply self-discrediting.

    Comments so far by Mike Nelson (“disinter”) failing to meet my challenge: 3. I repeat it: 1) Type an opening quotation mark. 2) Cut and paste words actually emitted by Wayne Root about Mary Ruwart. 3) Type a closing quotation mark. 4) Argue that those words misrepresent Ruwart’s position(s).

    Brian, except for noting his non-responsiveness and general irrelevance, I would suggest that the Brian Caucus resolve not to feed this particular troll, especially considering his skills at self-caricature.

  38. Brain Holz – you know damn well the whole child porn red herring was designed to marginalize Ruwart. It came out of nowhere by the usual suspects. Quit playing stupid like you always do.

  39. Mr. Holtz:

    If I cut-and-pasted the specific references in his press release, I would then bring all the same statements into search engines and google alerts again. It is not asking much for someone to click the link and read Mr. Root’s press release free of the representations of either me or you. Those who are interested in the truth can read the release under his byline for themselves, and don’t have to really on what others claim he said and didn’t say.

    I want to stress to all that disinter’s link, while a valid part of the discussion of the matter, is different from this link to the direct words of Mr. Root on the subject. Disinter’s link is worth reading on its own merits in addition to this one.

  40. This disinter guy seems quite unpleasant. I wouldn’t take him seriously or spend time responding to him.. Life’s to short.

  41. Since when have we lost the ability to distinguish between personal attacks and smears on the one hand, and policy disagreements on the other hand? The Root press release which Les Antman links to is primarily a long explication of his disagreement with Mary’s published writings on the subjects of age-of-consent laws and child pornography laws.

    Root does not attack Mary or insult her personally. Indeed, in one of his paragraphs he says “I’m sure that Ms. Ruwart will state she would never endorse such heinous acts – and I’m certain that is actually the case. And I’m sure that she and I would agree that in a free society, parents often serve as the first line of defense against those who would act as predators against children.”

    But Root takes strong issue with Mary’s policy positions, examining them from a variety of perspectives — libertarian principles, practical consequences, political consequences, emotional reactions, and anarchist versus minarchist tensions. You may dispute his analysis and his conclusions, but I fail to see how his paper qualifies in any way as a “smear”. This is what politics and philosophy are supposed to be about: open debate on the issues.

    I have no doubt that Mary’s positions, the fundamentals of which she subsequently reaffirmed, hurt her with many delegates in her quest for the Presidential nomination. And they would have hurt her even worse with the general public had she attained the nomination. But her intellectual honesty prevented her from repudiating those views, and hence they were legitimate factors for the delegates to consider in making their decisions. Just as Bob Barr’s and Wayne Root’s prior views and the degree of sincerity of their “conversions” were legitimate factors for the delegates to consider.

  42. As usual, Dan Wiener says it far better than I can. But since I’ve already drafted the following, here it is:

    Ruwart was explicitly campaigning a candidate who has “gotten the whole picture” and is “fully attuned to the Libertarian philosophy” and “can explain to the American people what we truly are all about”. You Ruwart supporters were bragging how she “wrote the book” on libertarianism, so it’s simply ludicrous to complain when we quote the book you bragged she wrote. I said repeatedly that if Ruwart had been running to be ONLY the chief salesman for consensus libertarianism, and would disavow her apparent claim to represent the best and most authentic form of libertarianism, then she would have been my #3 choice (behind Root and Phillies). But when she decided to campaign on the moral superiority of her anarchist brand of libertarianism, then her anarchism became fair game. If fairly characterizing her anarchist views is a “smear” or a “red herring”, well, so much for holding high the banner of radical principle.

    Less, feel free to cite the paragraph and sentence number if you don’t want to quote what you claim are Root’s misrepresentations of Ruwart’s positions. And if you don’t claim that Root misrepresented her, and instead are merely complaining that Root chose a part of Ruwart’s “whole picture” that is embarrassing to her, then we’re done here.

    I freely and eagerly admit that I, and presumably Root, tried to embarrass Ruwart by accurately characterizing her anarchistic quasi-Rothbardian principles. Indeed, I tried to go beyond the child prostitution angle, and ask whether Ruwart agreed with Rothbard that the rules should not punish parents who choose to let their children starve to death. My attempt failed utterly, and I couldn’t even induce other Ruwart critics to probe that position — one which the LP platform implicitly defended until 1996, when it removed the following sentence:
    “Whenever parents or other guardians are unable or unwilling to care for their children, those guardians have the right to seek other persons who are willing to assume guardianship, and children have the right to seek other guardians who place a higher value on their lives.”
    The bottom line is: if you find a position too embarrassing, don’t endorse a candidate who holds it. Every candidate has positions I find embarrassing, but I’m not going to call it a “smear” or “red herring” every time one of those positions is accurately characterized.

  43. The Reform and Radical Caucuses should work together for the rest of this campaign to make sure the Denver ticket runs on the Denver platform, rather than on any kind of “conservative” platform that might be dreamed up by a Russ Verney or Richard Viguerie. The delegates in Denver decided to play for very high stakes this year, and those of us who care about libertarian principles need to help mitigate the risks that they decided to take.

    I agree.

  44. The reason kubby didn’t win has NOTHING to do with Barr’s recommendation and everything to do with delegates walking out and blowing off the VP nominations. It was such a small difference between Root and Kubby that if the radical faction hadn’t walked out, enough people could have gotten Steve in EASILY. I’m not gonna blame Barr for this one. It was our fault.

    Not so sure this happened. I “walked out” but was back for VP votes. Our delegation chair new my vote and it was counted every time, even if I was elsewhere (I saw the numbers).

    Maybe it was some Barr people who walked out after he got it and they did not really care who the VP was? I don’t know.

  45. Out of curiosity, how many delegates were undecided heading into the convention?

  46. He says that a fellow candidate for the Libertarian Party nomination is not a libertarian, and that doesn’t qualify as a smear?

    It must be my perspective: I realize that you minarchists may not consider it a smear, but us libertarians do. You’re welcome to be a fellow traveler and will hopefully someday embrace libertarianism.

    (If the irony isn’t obvious, I’m just trying to make a point).

    His outrage in the third paragraph and the bulleted examples later on are all examples of misrepresentation, especially given that the author shows an understanding of contract law so complete he couldn’t possibly be unaware of the principles of reality of assent and capacity.

    Not convinced? Okay. In his article, Root refers to dementia but fails to indicate his support for an age of dementia law. He is not in favor of ANY age of dementia law: not even a rebuttable presumption! So if a 97-year-old childless widow with Alzheimer’s Disease is offered $1 for her home by a con artist, Root would not support ANY age of dementia law to protect her from having her most precious possession taken from her. I readily admit my beliefs are colored by my being the son of a wonderful elderly mother, whom I love dearly, but in Rootopia, there will apparently be NO AGE LIMIT after which someone is deemed unable to enter into a contract. NOT EVEN A REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION AGE LIMIT!

    I understand benefit of the doubt. I also believe that Root himself didn’t write this, and to that extent accept that we should cut him some slack, but it would be easier if the actual author came forward. If the LP has been hurt, it isn’t by the lack of clarity in a 10-year-old book that hadn’t resulted in any scandal whatsoever for that entire time, but then was used as a prop to help someone else’s campaign without any consideration of the consequences to the LP of sending out his campaign’s press release (remember that I’m talking about the Root and not the Cory piece).

    You understand my perspective. I understand yours.

  47. Awesome response, Less…can we sign you up to blog here? I think the “age of dementia” issue should be an article.

  48. Les, you bring up a valid issue regarding elderly dementia. I think the proper way to handle most “gray area” problems is to establish bright lines where the limits are inarguable and rebuttable presumptions where the limits are in doubt.

    In the case of children, ALL children start out incompetent and remain so for legal purposes up to at least some “bright line” age. I won’t try to define that exact age here, but for illustration’s sake let’s say that it’s 12 years old with respect to assenting to sexual acts with adults who are 21 or older, and that adults who engage in such acts should be held liable. I’d then create a rebuttable presumption that teenagers who were 13 to 16 were not mature enough to consent to sex with adults. Rebutting that presumption would require proof to a court or established adjudicator according to defined standards. Additional rebuttable presumptions would apply to the older sex partner who was not yet 21.

    The problem is more difficult for elderly people, since a large number of them never suffer from dementia and remain completely competent to handle their own affairs. Perhaps one could establish a rebuttable presumption that above some age limit a person cannot enter into certain types of contracts without the concurrence of a younger person whose interests coincide. But I expect this to be a diminishing problem as medical science continues to advance and cures are found for afflictions such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

    Incidentally, I think a similar approach is appropriate for the issue of abortion. Over the years I’ve become less of a pro-choice absolutist, and now have serious reservations about late-term abortions. If the fetus is viable outside the womb, I think a good argument can be made against abortion, or at least that the method should be Caesarian section in an effort to preserve the life of the baby. Again, you could establish bright line limits at which abortions are always allowed (e.g., 3 months or less) or forbidden (e.g., 8 months or more), with rebuttable presumptions as to when abortions are allowed (e.g., 4 and 5 months) or forbidden (e.g., 6 and 7 months).

    As for your specific criticisms of Root’s paper, most of what you disagree with refers to policy analyses and conclusions, which are certainly fair game for criticism but not evidence of smears. The only item you cite which comes close to a personal criticism is when he refers to anarchists as fellow travelers rather than libertarians. Okay, that was a bit snarky, but come on — as criticisms go that was rather mild. Certainly Root has been called far worse by his critics, as has Barr, if you look at any of these threads. One can’t be totally thin-skinned if one expects to participate in politics. Wayne Root’s paper cannot be fairly characterized as a “smear” against Mary.

  49. Speaking of the age of dementia, does anyone have thoughts if there is such an age for political parties, and if so, what it might be?

  50. I’m thinking about 36.

  51. Is that just for political parties? The reason I ask is that I turned 36 about a week and a half ago, and nothing seems to make much sense any more.

  52. “We just have a policy difference. She believes priests should be allowed to have sex with six year old boys, and I don’t. Just a policy difference. Just two reasonable people disagreeing on whether the law should allow a father or uncle to molest his daughter or niece. Destroying her reputation was the furthest thing from my mind.” Don’t you think his examples were a trifle, er, inflammatory?

    I think you’re being charitable to a fault, Dan. To say it is a policy difference means you’re accepting his characterization of her policy, and Mr. Starr doesn’t really believe that is her position, as he clearly understands contract law well enough to be aware that reality of assent and capacity are fundamental requirements of a contract, and that the reasonable person standard of common law contracts would clearly exclude these possibilities. It is a faked policy difference to associate her with the most despicable and emotion-laden positions imaginable.

    I should also mention that she referred to age of majority being established by the custom of society in the same very short chapter of that book, 2 pages after the quoted material, and I think it fair to wonder if he left out that part because it didn’t conform to the image of her viewpoint he was trying to create.

    If being thick-skinned means not objecting to one of our candidates calling another a supporter of legalized child molestation, then I’m definitely thin-skinned. You will note, by the way, that I also disagreed with her milder “Do you believe in liberty?” response a few days later, although her irritation was certainly understandable.

    I would like all members of the Libertarian Party to argue with the class and respect that I associate with people like you. We met 30 years ago, and argued for very different policies and platform planks on the floor of LP of California conventions for several years before I decided to get a life, and I never once needed a thick skin to debate with you. If a no-good dirty lowdown commie fascist socialist apologist for the state like you can remain consistently civil, it isn’t much to expect someone desiring to be our national standard bearer to do the same.

    By the way, it sounds like you and I have made almost the exact same journey on abortion.

  53. Paulie, actually I AM now a writer for Last Free Voice, and would be listed in the biography section except for the problem that I don’t seem to show up in photographs. The fact that I only come out at night is purely coincidental.

  54. “If a no-good dirty lowdown commie fascist socialist apologist for the state like you”

    There you go, Les, smearing me again. You KNOW I take a bath at least once a week, and I usually use soap.

  55. Dear Dann,

    I don’t know if you remember, but you misspelled my name Les in a letter you sent me in 1982 requesting a specific amount of money to help with your local election campaign, and I sent you double what you requested to remind you that my name is spelled Less, with a double s. Naturally, I received a “Thanks Lessssssssss” response from you (I’m generous, but not THAT generous).

    That was the campaign in which the Republican and Democrat were both women and you ran under the banner “The Best Man for the Job.” Or maybe it was the campaign when you responded to a reporter’s question on whether you could win by indicating that you COULD if the Democrat was run over by a car and the Republican was driving the car. Ah, those were the days, my friend.



  56. Just remember folks: Barr got a majority by 10 votes. Root got his by 3.

    That’s not from a walkout by people disappointed in Barr winning. In fact, a lot of us working for the Kubby VP movement on the floor got people to come back onto the floor.

    Face the reality, folks. Barr and Root squeaked in, just barely.

    And if Barr can’t get the First Amendment right (RE: DOMA, Fort Hood, etc.), then what the hell is he doing being our candidate?

  57. I can never get tired of reading the writings of Daniel Wiener.

    Dan’s command of reason and display of wit, as conveyed through the written word makes him one of the more brilliant minds in- or outside of this movement.

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