Steve G.

Bob Barr’s Second Amendment Record

In Libertarian Party-US on July 3, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Barr seems to emphasize his affiliation with the NRA quite often. This has always seemed a little ‘trying too hard’ to me as someone who is pretty sceptical of the NRA as a tool for gun owner freedom. It always reminds me of Barr’s constant harping on his liking for Ayn Rand. It just lacks a certain … depth, if you get my meaning. Why doesn’t Barr mention JPFO or Bastiat sometime; why does it always seem to be the NRA and Rand?

At any rate, Barr – although he claims to be strong on the Second – seems to have a mixed past with regards to gun control legislation. As with so many other of his anti-freedom votes in the past, Barr has not taken the time to address the concerns of the Libertarians he now represents as to his current pro-freedom stances. Libertarians can -and should! – write the Barr campaign at info@bobbarr2008.com to ask him about this particular issue (and others) and to make a postive repudiation – not an excuse or an explanation of how it was a ‘conservative vote’, but a repudiation – of his previous anti-gun votes.

More generally, Libertarians need to direct criticism of the Barr campaign directly to the campaign. Do it politely, encourage your comrades to add their two cents’ worth, and keep up the pressure. Be public about your critiques, but try to avoid ranting. This will accomplish several things: it will let the Barr campaign know that their advisors are not representative of the true base of the LP; it will let newer Libertarians know that Barr is not particularly representative of the Libertarian position; and it will let any half-awake media types know that there is considerable dissatisfaction with Barr within the LP, which can work in favor of both a more widespread understanding of libertarianism and provide publicity for the LP (the press loves a good internal quarrel).

Barr is, in many ways, the LP’sJohn McCain. He’s a tell-em-what-he-thinks-they-want-to-hear shapeshifter with no strong principled stand. That might actually work for McCain, with the backing of the Republican Party. But it won’t get Barr elected, and I am at a loss to see how it will strengthen the Libertarian Party.

  1. The NRA very poorly represents the “right to protect oneself from tyranny”. The JPFO and GOA are much, much better. Does Barr mention any of these organizations?”

    To W.A.R.’s credit, he HAS spoken of them, but alas, it is impossible to know if the used car salesman is just dropping names for effect, or is sincere.

  2. Steve’s absolutely correct. The NRA favors enforcement of current gun laws, not the right thing which is repealing them. The NRA also worked to draft the post-Virginia-Tech legislation, which was the wrong answer, and did nothing to promote self-defense on campuses, which is the right answer.

    IOW, the NRA is not a gun-owners’ friend.

  3. I’m an NRA “lifer” – purchased several years back when they were doing life memberships at a real bargain price… I would never purchase a membership today, and won’t give the NRA another dime. I’d quit except I figure it costs them more to send me a magazine every month than if I quit….

    I totally agree that the NRA does a poor job on RKBA issues. (I do give them much credit as a body for safety training, competition and such – indeed if somebody expresses an interest to me in learning how to shoot, I tell them to go take an NRA course for starters.)

    On the LPMA website, I posted about Barr’s poor 2nd Amendment record back on June 6th, see the last post in this thread – http://lpmass.org/publicbb2/viewtopic.php?t=1134 – Based largely on information gathered from the GOA website. (I didn’t find any information pro or con on the JPFO website, they claim to be non-political, and send such questions to the GOA folks)

    Bottom line, Barr has lots of 2nd Amendment “baggage” and while he might be slightly better than ObaMcCain, I wouldn’t call him a friend.

    (I could even say that it tells us something about the NRA that they would elect a person with such a record to their board…)

    ART
    Speaking for myself

  4. Steve: Yup, while the NRA has not endorsed Ron Paul the GOA has. Paul is actually more “pro-gun” than the NRA. If I am not mistaken, years ago, the NRA, Bush 1&2, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich etc. conspired together to get Ron Paul replaced by a Democratic-turned-Republican candidate, but it backfired🙂 If it was not for Bush 1 &Co, I am sure Ron Paul would have succeeded with his senate race in 1984 or would have been the Texas governor – instead of Bush 2 – and then he would have been well known and more power, and well placed to win the presidency. The unholy alliance with the neocons since 1980 has proven to be utterly destructive, not only for the GOP, but for the whole country.

    Barr did put out a good and quick written and also video (youtube) response to the DC (Heller) gun case, which is good.
    It is easy to criticize, but one should also offer constructive criticism and mention what is good so far, e.g. compliment, as I am sure not all is bad with the campaign. IMHO Barr is struggling with a donor-and voter base as when he left the GOP, he automatically lost his donor-list (e.g. most of those people would only contribute to Republicans). The LP list is of course more limited and he has to try to get Republicans and Democrats abroad, not only to vote, but also to contribute. You need a certain constituency or base in politics. It is obviously more difficult for a smaller third party than a big established party. Also McCain seem to be struggling a bit, he even went to raise in the UK (Rothshild).
    Actually Mr. 2nd hand salesman is supposed to contribute some of his own money (he has 2-5 million?) and to raise a lot from those 12 million online poker players and all his clients in his list, but do not count too much on it. IMHO he should contribute at least 100k from his own money, but I somehow suspect he will contribute 5k max. He is probably involved in some very high risk business deals. (Between us, I actually wish the rumors about him are true, forcing him to resign, so that a credible VP could be selected. Mary Ruwart would probably not be available? and personally I do not think Steve Kubby or Dr. Phillies would be the best. The best VP would IMHO be Dr. Karen Kwiatkowski, who is LP member since 1995, smart, intelligent, honest and well known outside the LP as well from “right” and “left” and the fact that she is a woman, should be a big plus. Also good regional diversity…I think she is in VA.
    She was active in the Ron Paul campaign, has excellent military and foreign policy experience and also economic knowledge…. BTW: did you listen to this interview? with regard to Root, the question at the end. The relevation about Root, I find very worrisome, though not surprised at all. Barr had to “ignore” it and show solidarity, but I am sure the Barr campaign is not so impressed with him. He is largely ignored, which is good.
    http://www.libertymaven.com/2008/06/26/bob-barr-interview-on-kabc-with-doug-mcintyre-06262008-audio/1214/
    I am well aware of all criticism vs. Barr, but believe his “conversion” to become more libertarian since 2003/2004 is sincere, it is not a flip-flop just conveniently. I have listened to radio interviews with him in 2004 and 2005. I think the radical caucus’s concern should be more with Root. If you compare the reasons what let him to leave the GOP with those of Barr, it is different. For Barr it is not only the lies, but expansion in govt. power and suspension of habeus corpus, while with Root it is the Shavio case and online gambling ban, and not the Patriot Act, the terrible war, overall govt. power etc. etc.

    Barr was introduced to Ayn Rand by his mother after she was afraid of his joining at UCLA of the Young Democrats, his anti-Vietnam war stance and influence at UCLA etc. I agree with Susan he should not only refer to her. She was actually more of an objectivist than a libertarian, although there are many parallels in thought. He has also received criticism of his Rand citing by some (fundamentalist) christians… He should refer much more to Thomas Jefferson, who was a very libertarian president. Rand was also more of an interventionist, I think.

    What do you think, maybe the campaign should use “slogans” like “liberty is popular””no more unconstitutional wars, “free trade with all, entangling alliances with none” (Washington), “less government, more freedom” etc. I know it is very populist, but perhaps an effective way to reach to masses, to get them interested. May people act on perception and positive focus, not the real problems and issues, as they do not think for themselves.

  5. You know, every time I criticize Ron Paul for his numerous statist positions, I’m accused of having a “Ron Paul obsession.”

    Yet I never fail to see so-called libertarians promoting Ron Paul as the gold standard of libertarianism at every opportunity.

    The irony is that the same people promoting states’ rights, anti-gay, pork-barrel-spending Ron Paul express outrage that their own party has nominated a states’ rights candidate itself.

    Well kids, you laid the groundwork for Bob Barr with the Ron Paul adulation — and you’re still too steeped in hero-worship to consider the point.

    This thread is just the latest example. The more Ron Paul and his “states rights” thing is upheld as the Gold Standard of Libertarianism, the more states-rights bullshit you’ll get in the Libertarian Party — making it even more of a joke this election cycle.

  6. “Yet I never fail to see so-called libertarians promoting Ron Paul as the gold standard of libertarianism at every opportunity.”

    Paul is not the gold standard of libertarianism but he is the most libertarian guy to get that much national attention in a long time. His campaign did a lot of good in spreading libertarian ideas, and he is about as libertarian as it’s going to get when it comes to politicians.

    “The irony is that the same people promoting states’ rights, anti-gay, pork-barrel-spending Ron Paul express outrage that their own party has nominated a states’ rights candidate itself.”

    RP believed in decentralizing power to the state and local level, that is true (and anyone who wants a powerful centralized government to run everything is not a libertarian in my book). But unlike Barr, he still advocated libertarian policies at those levels, even for heroin and prostitution, as he made clear when questioned by Stossel. As for gay marriage, Paul’s position was that marriage should be completely seperate from government and that gays can enter into whatever voluntary associations they want. Barr thinks the state governments *should* be involved in marriage, and that they should outlaw same-sex marriage. RP made it clear, repeatedly, that we get our rights as individuals, not as grants from the government. So I don’t think it’s entirely accurate to compare the “state’s rights” of Paul to the “state’s rights” of Barr.

    Paul is not a perfect guy of course and took some unlibertarian positions, but it’s looney tunes to compare him to Barr.

  7. Stefan asserts “…Actually Mr. 2nd hand salesman is supposed to contribute some of his own money (he has 2-5 million?) and to raise a lot from those 12 million online poker players and all his clients in his list, but do not count too much on it….”

    This is a gross falsehood, and an unreasonable attack on our Vice Presidential candidate.

    Wayne Allyn Root has been entirely clear from the beginning in saying that he would not invest significant money in his campaign, and there is no reason to doubt his word on this. For example, he made this statement when we debated.

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