After reading a great hue and cry about my comments supporting our Party’s ticket in 2008, many people compared Bob Barr unfavorably to other Libertarians (as well as Ron Paul) on a whole host of issues, including DOMA and immigration. So let’s look at the individual candidates and see who is closer, today, to the Libertarian Party platform on two issues often invoked by self-described “principled purists” when attacking the Libertarian nominee.
The LP platform says that “Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.” Where do Bob Barr and Ron Paul stand on this?
Barr says that “we must be aggressive in securing our borders while at the same time, vigilantly fighting the nanny state that seeks to coddle even those capable of providing for their own personal prosperity.” He proposes an approach identical to the LP platform — maintaining control over the borders to allow peaceful people in, while denying entry to criminals.
Ron Paul, in contrast, favors the imposition of visas, including demanding that federal bureaucrats “track visa holders and deport anyone who overstays their visa.” He also complains that open borders will “allow up to 60 million more immigrants into our country, according to the [arch-conservative] Heritage Foundation. This is insanity.” He advocates an end to citizenship by birth, a concept of American law since the beginning of the Republic. He also ran one of the most anti-immigrant television advertisements in the Republican primary.
Most Libertarian candidate of the two on immigration: Bob Barr.
The Defense of Marriage Act, Marriage Equality, and Sexual Freedom
Bob Barr co-sponsored and authored the Defense of Marriage Act. Ron Paul supports DOMA and declares that he would vote for it in its entirety.
The Libertarian Party platform says that “Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the rights of individuals by government, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships.”
Barr has advocated a repeal of the DOMA provisions that force the federal government not to recognize same-sex marriages performed by states that do recognize them. In his nomination speech at the Libertarian National Convention, he declared that “The Defense of Marriage Act, insofar as it provided the federal government a club to club down the rights of law abiding citizens has been abused, misused and should be repealed. And I will work to repeal that.” This position moves the federal stance on this issue significantly closer to the Libertarian Party platform.
Ron Paul, in contrast, has declared that “I would have voted for the Defense of Marriage Act… to ensure that no state would be forced to recognize a ‘same sex’ marriage license.” That’s directly opposed to the Libertarian Platform.
On the California same-sex marriage ruling, Barr released a press release applauding the California Supreme Court’s ruling, stating that “The decision in California is an illustration of how this principle of states’ powers should work.”
In contrast, Ron Paul has declared his undying opposition to same-sex marriage in his own state (in opposition to the LP platform), stating that “If I were a member of the Texas legislature, I would do all I could to oppose any attempt by rogue judges to impose a new definition of marriage,” effectively nullifying the equal protection clauses of the state and federal constitutions.
Worse still, Paul strongly supports state governments as sex police, declaring on the floor of the House that “the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards” — a position that no serious libertarian could possibly take.
Most Libertarian candidate of the two on these issues: Bob Barr. By far.
Now, you may be wondering why I am focusing on these two issues. It’s mostly because so many purists for Paul have attacked the LP (and Barr) on the basis of his positions on immigration and DOMA, while ignoring their own preferred candidate’s positions.
Many have lectured me, declaring that “conservatism isn’t libertarianism” and other 50 cent cliches, while ignoring the fact that their own ideal candidate is more conservative on these issues — to the point of citing conservative groups like Heritage on hot-button social issues.
I could continue comparing the records of the two candidates in this regard on many more issues, and on most of them, Barr will not come out waving the white flag based on the Libertarian Party platform.
In short, if you’re proposing that Ron Paul is the antidote to conservatism as represented by Bob Barr, you need a remedial course in the positions of the two candidates. It’s time for Ron Paul partisans to drop their “revolution” pipe dream and take an honest look at the Libertarian Party’s candidate and positions — while also honestly acknowledging their own tone-deafness on many areas of personal liberty crucial not only to American libertarians, but all American citizens.