Steve G.

Barr (finally) publishes issue pages on website

In Libertarian on July 16, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Below are the issue statements from Bob Barr’s newly-updated website.  Some of the issues also have video statements on the site.

Marriage:

The federal government should neither regulate personal relationships nor discriminate against individuals for their personal preferences. Laws regulating marriage should be left to the states, precisely where the Constitution places the issue.

Regardless of whether one supports or opposes same sex marriage, the decision to recognize such unions ought to be made by each state rather than imposed as a one-size-fits-all mandate by the federal government. Any federal laws that prevent states from determining their own standards for marriage should be repealed; the federal government should not define marriage, whether by statute or constitutional amendment.

In this way, every state would remain free to determine for its citizens the basis on which marriage would be recognized within its borders, and would not be forced to adopt a contrary determination legislated by another state.

Border Security and Immigration:

Republicans and Democrats in Congress and The White House have failed to adequately address the services and growing problem of illegal immigration. In essence, America has too many illegal immigrants and too few legal ones, particularly those with unique entrepreneurial, professional and scientific skills.

The government must address both immigration issues.

The border can never be completely open or completely closed. But the starting point of any immigration policy is to secure the borders to the extent possible. America needs to be able to check potential immigrants, criminal background, communicable disease and possible terrorism. Only by deterring massive illegal border crossings can the U.S. put in place a fair and enforceable legal immigration policy.

Equally important, we must end government benefits and services for illegal immigrants. Many local communities and states have begun to reduce payments to those who come here illegally, but a 1982 Supreme Court decision mandates that we provide education to the children of illegal immigrants. This detrimental ruling should be overturned through another Court challenge or a constitutional amendment.

Government and public hospitals also are forced to treat illegal immigrants for all manner of problems (over and above true emergency care). This costs states billions of dollars annually in medical costs. Private charities may support whomever they believe to be worthy of help, but taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize those who illegally enter America. Free health care and education benefits create a powerful economic incentive for illegal immigration.

The U.S. also should reconsider the policy of “birthright” citizenship. The members of Congress and state legislatures that approved the 14th Amendment (in the late 1860s) never imagined that their work would turn the children of tourists, as well as illegal migrants, into citizens. Although a constitutional amendment likely will be necessary to do this, America should join most of the countries of the world and require more the than location of birth to determine citizenship.

We also must transform our immigration bureaucracy and process that both impede legal immigration and encourage illegal immigration. We need to sharply increase the number of economically productive people allowed to enter the U.S. Americans benefit greatly from such immigration. At the same time, however, the government should improve the operation of the fabled “melting pot.” Policies, such as foreign language ballots, which discourage assimilation, should be ended. English should be made the national language for government and official public business.

There is no perfect immigration reform. The government must balance security and sovereignty concerns, which necessitate controlling the border, with the economic benefits of immigration. The best policy would be to stop illegal immigrant flows while accepting more of the world’s economically productive who want to come to America.

Spending and the Economy:

Over the past decade, total government spending (state, local and federal) has increased from $2.9 trillion to an astonishing $5.1 trillion in 2008. The $3.1 trillion federal budget submitted by President Bush for 2009 is greater than the combined 1998 spending of the federal government, all 50 states and over 87,000 local governments.

The government cannot continue spending at this rate if America is to remain competitive in the global marketplace. The new administration’s number one job will be to drastically reduce spending by limiting federal outlays to only the government’s legitimate functions, as provided in the United States Constitution.

Every area of federal spending can and should be cut. Entitlements must be reformed and welfare should be cut, including subsidies for business sometimes called corporate welfare. Military outlays should be reduced and pork barrel spending eliminated. Needless, duplicative, and wasteful programs, most of which have no constitutional basis, should be terminated.

Controlling government spending is a necessary step to enact true tax reform, which will reduce the burden on all Americans and allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money.

We should seek to establish a wall of separation between government and the economy. The legitimate economic functions of government are to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. The government should stop attempting to “manage” the free market.

Capitalism is the only economic system that rewards risk, protects individual liberty, and furthers economic freedom. America will be most prosperous and free when the government stops interfering with private economic decision-making.

Entitlement Programs:

The cost of entitlement programs is pushing America towards financial ruin. Even though the traditional, bloated federal welfare system had been reformed in the late 1990s, other programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security are unsustainable at their current spending rates. With the latter two programs alone facing estimated total unfunded liabilities topping $100 trillion, the government will eventually face the choice of raising taxes by as much as 50 percent or defaulting on promised benefits, if we do not begin taking action right now.

Government should stop acting as the welfare agency of first resort under the guise of providing social insurance. In general, private charity should be the first resort for anyone in need. The process of welfare reform begun by Congress in 1996 should be continued to reduce even further people’s dependence on Washington. In 2007, for example, Americans gave more than $300 billion to charity, an increase over 2006 despite growing economic uncertainty. Government should eliminate regulatory barriers that inhibit private philanthropy, and expand tax deductions to encourage charitable giving.

As for Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, government must emphasize private choice in health care and private retirement accounts. Benefits also should be adjusted to reflect changing demographics as the Baby Boom generation retires, and to emphasize care for those most in need.

Energy Policy:

Every American who drives an automobile knows that something needs to be done about the cost of energy in the United States. While Republicans are calling for more subsidies to oil companies and Democrats are seeking to micro-manage energy companies with more regulations and laws — or to punish them by raising taxes on them — Americans are left to watch helplessly as fuel prices go through the roof.

Government intervention, whether through more regulations or more subsidies (or both), hurts consumers in the end. The free market, driven by consumer choice and reflecting the real cost of resources, should be the foundation of America’s energy policy. The federal government should eliminate restrictions that inhibit energy production, as well as all special privileges for the production of politically-favored fuels, such as ethanol.

In particular, Congress should allow the exploration and production of America’s abundant domestic resources, including oil in the Outer Continental Shelf and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and alternative sources such as shale oil. We should develop our nation’s natural assets, which would lower costs to the consumer and assure more adequate and consistent supplies.

Iraq War:

The invasion and occupation of Iraq were two separate mistakes, which collectively have cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Every day that the occupation in Iraq continues without a withdrawal plan is a day that more American blood and treasure (some $400 million a day) is needlessly wasted.

Unlike Republicans, who are calling for essentially permanent bases in Iraq, and Democrats, who have done nothing to counter Republican calls for an indefinite occupation, I would put in place plans for withdrawal without undue delay. While I support an exit from Iraq as quickly as possible, I would not publicly announce a timetable to our adversaries. However, as President, I would begin to immediately and significantly begin to reduce both the military and the economic security blanket we are providing the government.

The Iraqi government has come to rely too heavily on American forces to maintain control of its country, and our U.S. taxpayer dollars to artificially support its economy. A continued U.S. presence in Iraq emboldens both insurgents and terrorists, and discourages the Iraqi government from taking control of promoting peace and prosperity in Iraq.

Foreign Intervention and Foreign Bases:

America should not be the world’s policeman. The American purpose is to provide a strong national defense, not to engage in nation building or to launch foreign crusades, no matter how seemingly well-intentioned.

It is time to reemphasize the word “defense” in national defense. By maintaining a military presence in more than 130 nations around the world in more than 700 installations, with hundreds of thousands of troops deployed overseas, the U.S. spends more to protect the soil of other nations than our own. Bringing these soldiers home would better protect America while saving lives and money. The U.S. requires a military strong enough to defend this nation, not to support and defend much of the rest of the world.

Moreover, foreign aid has proved to be a drain on the U.S. economy while doing little good for the recipients. Aid is routinely used by corrupt foreign governments to oppress their people and enrich powerful elites. Foreign aid almost always discourages economic and political reform, while subsidizing nations which often work against U.S. interests.

American foreign policy should emphasize swift, decisive and winning action against those who vowed would harm us. This means defense, not foreign intervention. We should encourage private involvement around the world, particularly through free trade. The most effective way to preserve peace is through an expanding free market, backed by a full range of cultural and other private relationships, not by maintaining permanent military presences around the globe.

Veterans:

Veterans have fulfilled their commitment to America. America must renew its commitment to our veterans.

Defending the liberties that we enjoy in the United States by serving in the Armed Forces is one of life’s most honorable pursuits. Our veterans who have sacrificed much and risked all to protect America, often paying in their own blood, deserve our support both during their time of duty and thereafter.

The federal government has an obligation to give back to our veterans for their earlier commitment to the nation, and the current administration has done a shameful job in fulfilling this duty. Our veterans have been neglected, ignored and often forgotten by their own government.

Our veterans deserve the medical treatment necessary to care for their injuries sustained in the line of duty. We must correct the deplorable state of health care provided to so many by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and other military hospitals.

Health Care:

Access to affordable, quality health care is an important objective. For this reason, some politicians have pushed for government programs to extend health care benefits to those who cannot afford or who otherwise do not maintain private medical insurance. These efforts come on top of taxpayer-subsidized benefits in the form of Medicare and Medicaid.

There are many causes of today’s high healthcare cost “crisis”. Medical care costs more than it should; access to insurance is more limited by government than it should be; the practice of medicine is more regulated than it should be. The American health care system desperately needs to be treated for ill health.

Our health care policy should be reformed based on the principle of consumer-oriented health care. Regulations which mandate insurance coverage and inflate premiums should be eliminated. Controls which unduly restrict competition within the health care industry, and that limit access to insurance across state lines, should be ended. Moreover, current tax policy, which is biased towards employer-provided, comprehensive health insurance, should be reformed, encouraging individual purchase of less costly catastrophic policies.

Federal health care programs, most notably Medicare and Medicaid, have become financially unsustainable. These programs need to be transformed to emphasize patient choice, focus on the truly needy, and add cost-saving incentives. Here, too, market principles should be applied to bring better quality health care at less cost.

Today’s health care problems are complex, but the solution is not socialized medicine in any form. Countries that have nationalized their medical systems inevitably ration care through the political system; costs are driven down only by denying needed care.

Education and Home Schooling:

Parents have a duty to raise and educate their children, but without choice for alternatives to government schooling, the ability of parents to fulfill that role is severely limited. Education involves not just practical learning, but the transmission of moral values, making it even more important to return authority to parents for deciding their children’s schooling without interference from government.

The free market naturally provides both choice and competition, providing goods and services of higher quality for less expense. These principles should be applied to education. Unfortunately, the government’s near monopoly on education in the United States has seized control of our children’s education from parents, and has trapped children in failing schools across the country.

The more we increase government control over education, the bigger the problem becomes. Turning education over to the federal government, as through such legislation as the No Child Left Behind Act has not worked. Trying to fix failing schools with more money and regulations also has failed to do anything other than waste taxpayer money without results.

School reform starts by shifting control over education from government to parents. We must abolish the Department of Education, eliminate federal grants and regulations, and begin moving power back to the states and local communities. States should consider tax credits or deductions for parents who home school or send their children to private schools. Public schools should be managed locally, increasing accountability and parental involvement. Parents should have control of and responsibility for the funds expended for their children’s education. Ultimately, education will best serve the children of America if it occurs within a competitive private system rather than a government system.

Property Rights and Eminent Domain:

This year marked the third anniversary of the Kelo decision, one of the Supreme Court’s worst decisions in modern times. That decision dramatically limited the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against the wrongful taking of private property by government. Kelo dangerously undermined the protection of property rights in America.

Private property should not be seized absent an overwhelming public interest, including actual use by the public — and even then only with fair compensation that truly reflects the value of the property. Allowing governments, at any level, to confiscate property without a compelling justification represents a serious attack on fundamental liberty. Government’s most basic duty is to protect individual rights, including that of private property ownership, not to diminish them.

Second Amendment:

America’s Founders viewed the Second Amendment as necessary to protect the citizen, states and the nation from tyranny both domestic and foreign. Blackstone’s Commentaries termed this right as “the true palladium of liberty.”

The Second Amendment is no less important today. As the Supreme Court recently has held, the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. The Second Amendment guarantees all Americans the means to hunt, protect themselves and their families from crime, and ultimately defeat any effort to impose tyranny in America.

I oppose any law requiring registration of, or restricting the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition to law-abiding citizens. The Court majority behind the landmark Heller ruling was narrow, and should be supported by the Justice Department, not undercut by the federal government, as happened during the Bush and predecessor Clinton administration.

Taxes:

Americans pay far too much in taxes. In 2008, Tax Freedom Day was April 23, which means the average taxpayer worked nearly four months to pay all levels of government taxes. It is impossible for any one person to fully comprehend the U.S. Tax Code; each year billions of hours are spent by taxpayers trying to comply with the tax laws.

Tax reform is desperately needed in the United States; but before we can reform the tax code, we must sharply reduce the tax burden on Americans made necessary. Second, we need a tax code that makes taxation fairer and simpler for all citizens. Meaningful tax reform begins with reining in government spending.

There are several alternative tax reform strategies. One would be to create a flat income tax, while cutting or eliminating many other levies, such as the estate tax (or “death tax”) and capital gains tax. Another option would be to replace the income tax and payroll taxes with a consumption tax, such as the Fair Tax; but prior to which it would be essential to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment, which allows government to tax the earnings of all hard-working Americans. Initiating a consumption tax while leaving the power to tax income in place inevitably would result in having an income tax on top of a consumption tax.

There may even be good alternatives for tax reform that have not yet been proposed. All of these ideas are better than the present system, and must be debated to determine which would best protect liberty and promote prosperity.

However, tax reform should not end at just reforming the tax code. America’s corporate income tax is among the highest in the world, putting the U.S. at an international disadvantage. The estate tax takes advantage of a person’s death. The capital gains tax discourages investment and capital formation. All of these must be reduced and eventually eliminated.

Racism and Equality:

The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal. Government should make no law that discriminates based on race, religion, sexuality or any other personal characteristic. Government laws should respect each person as an individual and treat them equally as such.

Monetary Policy:

The Federal Reserve is a secretive and unaccountable organization which dominates monetary policy, regulates financial institutions, and increasingly intervenes in economic markets. Congress must insist on accountability and transparency in the Federal Reserve’s operation, while reconsidering the Fed’s almost total control over the money supply. We should begin a debate over more far-reaching policy changes, including eliminating the federal government’s control over the money supply, thereby leaving monetary policy under the control of the market rather than of politics.

  1. How I rate all this:

    Marriage issue: Half-credit. NO government should be involved in marriage at any level, period.

    Immigration issues: 1/4-credit. Some nice dancing around the issue, though, and he does get the ending benefits part correct.

    Spending: 3/4-credit. A link to an appendix of cuttable programs would be most helpful (and damned long).

    Entitlements: Half-credit. No mention of transitioning out of the programs and sunsetting them, which is essential.

    Energy: Full credit. More details on alternatives is nice but not necessary.

    Iraq: Full credit. No-brainer, meaning if you disagree you have no brain.

    Foreign Entanglements: 3/4-credit. He needs to mention that by disengaging these nations will be required to step up and manage their own affairs, and the rest of the world will have to learn to not rely on our military force and influence to get the job done, as they should.

    Veterans: Full credit. Medical care should include mental health and substance abuse care.

    Health care: No credit. Focus is entirely on the wrong place, insurance and costs, and not on incentivizing proactive and preventative lifestyle choices and pesonal care decisions that lower medical costs and need for treatment in the first place. No mention of alternative care, the corruption of the FDA and its War on Health, nor improving through the private sector and enforcing property rights on the chief causes of poor health–poor quality food, water, and air.

    School: Full credit.

    Eminent Domain: Full credit.

    Second Amendment: 3/4-credit. Needs to call for repealing such laws.

    Taxes: Half-credit. The first step is to abolish personal income and payroll taxes, period, thereby creating an immediate and ongoing 20-30% increase in take-home pay for the lower- and middle-class, which will do wonders for the economy, to the tune of $80B every two weeks by one estimate. As the economy gets moving again, the rest of the reforms he mentions can be examined.

    Racism: Full credit, but this should be a no-brainer, meaning that people who do such discrimination have no brains.

    Money: Half-credit. No mention of creating competing currencies, opening up the M3 figures, or reforming the way the Fed System works in relation to the Treasury. He needs to talk to Dr. Paul more on this one.

    Total Score: 10.5/15 = 70%

    Not, bad, but he can adn should do better.

  2. The marriage stuff isn’t going to help us as a Party.

    Until he puts the words “DOMA,” “it was a mistake” and “let’s repeal it” somewhere in the text on marriage, he’s going to keep being dogged by that problem.

  3. On marriage “let each state decide . . . “?

    Should we also let each state decide whether to discriminate against people based on their skin color? Their religion?

    Can CO lock out Jews, and WA ban Mexicans? WTF? Civil rights are natural, Bob, and not negotiable across state lines.

  4. Pretty much, Rachel.

    Unfortunately, “states’ rights” became a popular position in the LP after they were advocated by the candidacy of That Republican I Am Not Allowed To Criticize Lest My Libertarian License Be Summarily Revoked.

  5. My take –

    Marriage – NO credit – Ever hear of “Full Faith and Credit?” States Rights is code word talk for bigotry… (See DOMA, or lack of mention…)

    Immigration – NO credit. Once you decode the fluff, sounds like he wants uneducated, sick immigrants except for the highly skilled (presumably white Europeans?) that he wants to admit more of…

    Spending and the Economy – 3/4 credit – has the right idea, but no specifics..

    Entitlement Programs – 1/2 credit – again right idea, mostly, except that he seems to say that those who pay the most into Social (in)Security and Medi(no)care will be screwed extra on how little they get – despite it being sold as “insurance” – those programs were sold on a basis of getting back proportional to what was paid in, they should NOT be treated as “needs based.”

    Energy Policy – Full points – Has the idea right, although doesn’t sem to say much about not giving the oil companies a “free gift” of exploration rights…

    Iraq – 3/4 credit – sounds right at first glance, but gets weasely – define “without undue delay” – talks about protection provided to Iraqi gov’t, but says nothing about protection provided to US oil companies now operating in Iraq on no-bit exploitation contracts…

    Foreign Intervention and Foreign Bases – Full points – Has idea right, except we should be bringing the troops home and sending them back to the private sector – the last thing we need is a huge standing army! (IMHO if we are going to have a military the size of the current one, it is best for it NOT to be in the US where it can be used against the people.

    Veterans – 3/4 credit – We have contractual obligations to provide care and certain other services to our veterans, but I do NOT think we have an obligation to provide additional special treatment (such as job preferences, etc.) once their service is over, especially modern “all volunteer” veterans who get an exceptionally good deal already – especially since it is doubtful that what any veteran has done since the War of 1812 really was “protecting our country” as opposed to buying off on propaganda… I give penalty points for continuing to propogate this inacurate notion, but give some back to acknowledge that it is difficult to be effectively political w/o giving at least lip service to the idea…

    Health Care – 3/4 credit – Everything said is correct, but leaves out the need to eliminate the “AMA monopoly” where only people who’s names end in “M.D.” can practice medicine, and / or the only way to become a Dr. is to jump through the AMA prescribed hoops (which are deliberatey restricted to keep the supply of Dr’s limited and highly paid) – Likewise end the requirement to get a Dr’s note to purchase the medications one needs…

    Education – Full credit – good job on this one.

    Property Rights and Eminent Domain – 3/4 credit – Starts off good, but still seems in favor of allowing government to steal property under some circumstances…

    2nd Amendment – 3/4 credit – What he says sounds good, but can you trust someone that voted for Lautenburg? Barr’s past voting record has been far from ideal… I also have problems w/ wanting to restrict access to “law abiding” – how do you determine? (I believe in the L. Neil Smith “Vulcan Mind Meld Test” on this issue…)

    Taxes – NO CREDIT! – good for talking about getting rid of the income tax, but what’s all this about REPLACING it with ANYTHING?

    Racism and Equality – 1/2 credit – Sounds nice, but again, can we trust him given his record? Also it seems a direct contradiction w/ his stance in the Marriage plank where he explicitly advocates discrimination based on sexuality… This is also coming from the guy who thinks blacks and GBLT folks should thank God for the work of Jesse Helms… (also the guy that has NEVER apologized for his attack on the military Pagans) Past record makes it difficult to trust him…

    Monetary Policy – NO credit – Nice of him to mention it, but we need to do more than just “begin a debate” about it…

    Significant missing items – What about War on Some Drugs? Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Environment? Feelings about 9/11 Trufers? (no score given or penalty charged)

    Score – 8.5 out of a possible 15 = 56%, not a particularly good grade, but better than I was expecting…

    If he was running as a D or R with that score, and looked like a strong contender, but tossup in my state, with a non-competetive L, I might even consider voting for him – however I hold Libertarians to a higher standard than that…

    ART
    LPMA Presidential Elector, STILL not voting for Barr
    (speaking for myself)

  6. Why does Barr think the government, at any level, should recognize marriage? He’s running for federal office. Why can’t he just say: “The federal government has no authority to regulate, recognize, restrict, or define marriage”? Would that be so hard?

    His statements on the Fed are WEAK. He ignores the role of the Fed in the spending section and does not call for its outright abolition.

    BOO!

  7. Seebeck – Barr’s energy position is one of his worst. Why should the U.S. be like Communist China and “allow” drilling on communist-held lands? There is no incentive to develop those lands sustainably. Why doesn’t Barr, as a libertarian would, advocate SELLING those lands to the highest bidder — be they oil companies or environmental protection groups? Let the market decided.

    Rachel H- Answer to your question, who is “we”? The federal government should not interfere with the internal affairs of the sovereign states. If states want to practice racial discrimination, etc., that is evil and they have no “right” to do it — but nor does the federal government have the legitimate delegated authority to define what that is or intervene. A libertarian response to discrimination by the state is to boycott, demonstrate, protest, educate, agitate, etc. — but don’t call in the guns of the federal government, the most evil institution in the history of mankind. That’s making a deal with the devil.

  8. “Regardless of whether one supports or opposes same sex marriage, the decision to recognize such unions ought to be made by each state rather than imposed as a one-size-fits-all mandate by the federal government.”

    The decision should not be made “by each state,” but by each individual.

    “The U.S. also should reconsider the policy of “birthright” citizenship. The members of Congress and state legislatures that approved the 14th Amendment (in the late 1860s) never imagined that their work would turn the children of tourists, as well as illegal migrants, into citizens.”

    Why the do conservatives care so damn much about this crap? Who the hell cares whether the state regards them as “citizens?” Do the scary brown people become less of a menace when they aren’t “official” citizens?

    “Government intervention, whether through more regulations or more subsidies (or both), hurts consumers in the end.”

    Then why is Barr demanding subsidies for the oil companies as part of his energy policy?

  9. To be fair, though, I think these issue papers are WAY better than I would have expected.

    If he could actually stick to them, maybe he wouldn’t be such a total embarrassment.

  10. “Equal protection under the law” mean anything to you, G.E.?

    Fed constitution protects civil rights, not state authority.

  11. “To be fair, though, I think these issue papers are WAY better than I would have expected.”

    I’ll be honest and say that the issue papers on foreign policy are better than I expected. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced Barr fully believes them (the guy wanted to go into Latin America not too long ago…). As you said, it’s too bad he can’t be trusted to stick to much of it.

  12. G.E. stated:

    “Seebeck – Barr’s energy position is one of his worst. Why should the U.S. be like Communist China and “allow” drilling on communist-held lands? There is no incentive to develop those lands sustainably. Why doesn’t Barr, as a libertarian would, advocate SELLING those lands to the highest bidder — be they oil companies or environmental protection groups? Let the market decided.”

    You miss the point entirely. The areas he refers to are already owned by the government and the only thing keeping them from being used is an act of Congress–nothing “communist” about it. Drilling on private lands is already covered by mineral rights to property (which is a whole different topic).

    Sure, he could advocate selling those lands, except that nobody in the electorate would go for it (“Sell off our land with our oil under it? That’s crazy! Let’s just sell Alaska BACK to the Russians!” they’ll cry.), and that isn’t the point anyway. The issue is energy use policy, not who owns what land where.

    Besides, right now, the oil companies have over 6300 drilling leases that they are sitting on and not using, and that doesn’t account for the capped wells all over West Texas. As a nation, we need to tap into those resources to get us through a transition period off Mideast oil and into energy self-sufficeincy ala the Brazil Plan.

  13. Cork asked:

    “Then why is Barr demanding subsidies for the oil companies as part of his energy policy?”

    He didn’t say that anywhere above. In fact, he said the current subsidies were a bad thing.

  14. Rachel – The 14th amendment was not ratified and should never be part of a libertarian argument.

    What you’re arguing for is a benevolent centralist God-state.

    The Constitution was ratified by the states for the federal government to serve as the agent of the states. The people are to control the states via a “republican” form of government. The states are to be sovereign. Taking power away from the states takes it away from the people.

    What you’re saying is that the federal government should define “equal protection” and then enforce it through military invasion if need be. That is an incredibly flawed philosophy of government.

    Seebeck – You want the government to lease lands to private industry for the development of natural resources? That is communist. Look at the environmental degradation of the USSR. You want the government to have entirely too much power and to choose between environmentalism and energy development — the government has no authority to make that choice; the market should.

  15. Seebeck – He wants the government to “allow” private interests to develop the resources on collectively held “public” lands. How is that not a “subsidy”? The government’s playing favorites in doing so. Why should the Siera Club not have a fair shot at those lands? Why do you think the government knows best what to do with them? Let the market assign them a value.

  16. @ Rachel
    “Civil rights are natural”. Barr does not advocate each state to determine whether
    gays/lesbians has the right to vote or not, so do not make absurd statements and conclusions, as if Barr is a homophobe and want to impose some sort of slavery on homosexual people.

    One thought the federalism issue has already been decided in favor of Jefferson, and not Hamilton.
    Now with the offshore “oil drilling” issue, it is also left to the states to decide.
    Does this mean a “dixiecrat” discrimination. Should it be left to individuals and corporations to drill offshore or not?
    Think everything through.

    Let us take an international approach: only a very few countries in the world allow marriage between homosexuals. Many Western democracies do not allow for homosexual marriages, they do allow for civil unions, countries like France, Germany etc. In Western Europe, only Spain and Belgium allow for the definition of “gay/lesbian marriage”. Now are you going to say those countries do not understand civil and natural rights?

    @ GE: “The federal government has no authority to regulate, recognize, restrict, or define marriage”?
    Barr is by implication and in effect saying that indeed, as the issue is taken out of the federal government and left to the states. Does he not say: “the federal government should not define marriage, whether by statute or constitutional amendment”? Read the statement on marriage again.

    Now I know some would say the state also has no power to decide their own “definition” of what a marriage constitute. Love is a pure individual matter, but the state has some responsibility to regulate issues, though the minimum. A person does have a marriage certificate, just like you have a birth certificate or a certificate of academic degrees. I cannot see how the state cannot issue such an issue. Yes, marriage is primarily a religious function, but what do you do in
    the case where the pair is atheist, e.g. do not accept any church or religious marriage? In that case the state can and should issue a marriage certification according to the law, nothing more and nothing less.

  17. I think it is important to note that the state should also be guided by the constitution, apart from their own constitution. The US constitution does not allow for slavery. Judge Napolitano has actually said with some southern states decision about institutional slavery, they – the states and judges – shredded the constitution, so slavery should not have been possible in legal form.

    I also think that it is very important to note that proponents of “states’s right”, or the power of a state to decide make their own laws closer to the people, independent of the federal government, does not mean/imply that they would leave every single issue to the states to decide. For instance FISA etc., Barr does not say the individual states can decide whether they want to implement it or not. He is saying they have NO authority to implement it, just like the federal government has not authority to determine that (4th Amendment), and on grounds that it would be against the individual right to privacy.

    Remark: Actually with regard to FISA international law is also relevant, as calls and emails to and from other countries are monitored! One wonders why this issue has not been taken up by the media. For instance, there may be privacy laws in say France and Switzerland and if the CIA/FBI is listening to phone conservations to Switzerland or monitoring email, then it is against the privacy laws of countries like Switzerland. Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg have very strict private banking laws and is as such a very libertarian countries.

  18. Rachel – The 14th amendment was not ratified and should never be part of a libertarian argument.

    Regardless of one’s position on its ratification or incorporation, I did not see anyone employ the 14th here. I was thinking the full faith and credit clause, which is non-controversial. That is Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution which states: “Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state.”
    Rather than relying on the threat of military invasion, I think the federal regime’s ultimate “stick” against states which fail to abide by their side of the agreement – i.e., do not give full faith and credit, levy tariffs against other states, etc. – should be the threat of kicking states out of the union.

    Marriage would appear to fit the definition of “public acts, records and judicial proceedings .”

    You want the government to lease lands to private industry for the development of natural resources? That is communist.

    Fascist. Communists would have the government develop resources directly under its own ownership.

    power and to choose between environmentalism and energy development — the government has no authority to make that choice; the market should.

    Correct.

  19. Let’s see if this works…

    Marriage:

    The federal government should neither regulate personal relationships nor discriminate against individuals for their personal preferences. Laws regulating marriage should be left to the states, precisely where the Constitution places the issue.

    Regardless of whether one supports or opposes same sex interracial marriage, the decision to recognize such unions ought to be made by each state rather than imposed as a one-size-fits-all mandate by the federal government. Any federal laws that prevent states from determining their own standards for marriage should be repealed; the federal government should not define marriage, whether by statute or constitutional amendment.

    In this way, every state would remain free to determine for its citizens the basis on which marriage would be recognized within its borders, and would not be forced to adopt a contrary determination legislated by another state.

  20. Well, that did not work. “Same sex” should be crossed out in favor of interracial. But, then again, perhaps both?

    Also: what should the policy be in DC?

  21. The constitution requires that the several states each give full faith and credit to the actions of the other states. It is called reciprocity. If any one state allows gay men and lesbian women to have same sex marriages, which Massachusetts seems to have done and which that state is now proposing to open to out-of-state couples, then the other states are required to recognize those marriages. Just as states which once prohibited inter-racial marriages were forced to recognize such marriages as valid if they were performed in other states – one of the implications of Loving vs. Virginia as I recall. You could look it up.

    Even more out on the edge, what if one of the states agrees with the Fundamentalist Mormons, free love enthusiasts of the last few decades, and other polyamorous folks, and authorises group marriages with more than two participants? Why should states have any role in determining who can and cannot be married, and how? The state is not involved in the marriage, only the people who are getting married are involved, and a church if they choose to be married in a church. I think the Church of the Subgenius is fine on polyamory, by the way.

    LP loyalists don’t have to be stuck with Bob Barr. They can vote for LP candidates down the ticket, including many who are being endorsed by the Boston Tea Party. Meanwhile, Charles Jay represents an actual libertarian – we’re working on write-in registration in states where we don’t have the option of getting on the ballot.

    Barr isn’t a libertarian. You can put a trunk on a frog but that doesn’t make it an elephant. And if the trunk is heavy enough, you can crush the frog.

  22. Stefan, I’ve been to France and Germany. Yes, I will say that they don’t understand individual liberty. If they understood individual liberty, why was I not free to keep and bear arms?

  23. Whatever else Bob Barr is, he is certainly the Libertarian Party candidate for president. And his votes will be counted, not weighed. Except for a few libertarians here, the public is going to say either “The Libertarians were crushed” or ‘The Libertarians really surged.” No one, excpet for a few libertarians here, are going to pick over Barr’s issue papers and quibble over “he should have mentioned this, too” or “he exhibits right wing deviationism that Rothbard warned us about.” Take the lemon and make lemonade rather than throwing it in the trash bin, where virtually all Libertarian candidates have been placed by the public due to their poor vote totals and not some arcane discussion of the Federal Reserve System
    or polyamorous marriages.

  24. I am sure that I am echoing a lot of the sentiment posted here, but this-

    “Regardless of whether one supports or opposes same sex marriage, the decision to recognize such unions ought to be made by each state rather than imposed as a one-size-fits-all mandate by the federal government.”

    is exactly why Barr ISN’T a libertarian. Libertarians understand that even though there are governments, federal, state, local, etc, the principle is that a contract between two cognizant, sound minded individuals which in no way infringes upon anyone’s rights is decided by and entered into by the contracting parties, period!

    Certainly, a good libertarian “strategy” is to devolve authority from larger governments to smaller governments, to localized voluntary groups, and ultimately individuals, but it is NOT libertarian to say that these decisions “ought to be made by each state”.

    True enough, Barr is a “federalist”, though nowhere near as consistent in support of the constitution as Ron Paul. Most libertarians I have spoken with over 30 years would align themselves with the “anti-federalists” of America’s founding period. However, even though Ron Paul addresses issues constitutionally, he also addressed them principally, ie libertarian.

    Barr doesn’t and this is one more example of that.

  25. Seebeck,

    “He didn’t say that anywhere above. In fact, he said the current subsidies were a bad thing.”

    In his previous energy press releases, he has scolded Congress for its refusal “to appropriate the minimal funds necessary to act.” That is corporate welfare.

    http://www.bobbarr2008.com/press/press-releases/30/explore-anwr-and-outer-continental-shelf-says-bob-barr/

  26. “Capitalism is the only economic system that rewards risk” . . .

    Capitalism rewards satisfaction of demand, regardless of the risk. However, people who take risks are rewarded, but many are also punished. The link is not between “reward” and “risk”, but between “reward” and “satisfaction of wants and needs”.

    The concept, correctly stated is that capitalism, or the free market economy rewards producers who provide goods and services which consumers and other producers want, and punishes those who provide ones they don’t.

    Or it could more briefly stated . . .

    The free market best provides for the demands of consumers and producers. Those who do this well are rewarded, and those who do it poorly are punished.

    Just anther example of why Barr is a pretend libertartian . . . his position papers can’t even get capitalism right!

  27. “The government must balance security and sovereignty concerns, which necessitate controlling the border, with the economic benefits of immigration.”

    Since when is the government properly equipped at evaluating “economic benefits”? I guess their supercomputer can just take all the “objective” date put into it, and Voila!, it spits out the correct balance of economic benefit and security/sovereignty.

    Even constitutionally, there is nothing about economic benefit. Border protection is about just that . . . protection. Economic benefit is best left to the marketplace.

    The founders knew this. Barr, obviously doesn’t. Once again, Barr’s faith in the government’s ability to solve a multitude of problems is right there in black and white. I guess the age of “libertarians” questioning the efficacy of government is over. Just getting the “right people” in charge of the government will solve the problems in America.

    Does anyone remember the socialists saying that the Soviet Union was a great idea for a nation, it was just that “wrong people” were running it! What is Barr saying (in concept) that is any different than these socialist?

  28. Grading Barr? Okay, let’s start. Marriage – zero points. He’s completely wrong. No government at any level has any proper role in regulating, licensing, nor taxing marriage. (0 for 1)

    Border policy – zero points. The price of labor, like the price other goods and services, should not be artificially supported by intervention. (0 for 2, so far)

    Education policy for immigrants – zero points. No government at any level should provide education to anyone, which would satisfy the Supreme Court’s requirement for equality under the law. (0 for 3)

    Health care policy for immigrants – zero points. No government at any level should provide health care services. States could save billions of dollars by not subsidizing health care, and individuals would save billions more by not being taxed for health care they don’t use. (0 for 4)

    Free health care and education benefits are economic interventionism when provided to American citizens, too.

    Birthright citizenship was conceived as appropriate when governments didn’t provide Americans with free health care and education. Who’d a thunk? Rather than amending the constitution to add criteria to who may be regarded as American, why not get rid of the economic interventionism of socialised medicine and socialised education?

    Linguistic authoritarianism, zero points. People should be free to use whatever language they please. (0 for 5)

    Deficit spending, partial credit. Since Barr demands a revenue neutral replacement for the personal income tax, he isn’t going to substantially reduce spending. (1/2 for 6)

    Separation of government and economy, partial credit. See labor market interventionism under border policy. (1 for 7)

    Entitlements, zero points. It is not just the current spending rates, it is the principle of providing money stolen from others which should be rejected. (1 for 8)

    Government should not be a welfare agency of any resort, first, nor last. It is not yours to give, as Davy Crockett pointed out about 200 years ago.

    Energy policy, full credit for stating a desire for a free market, zero points for stipulating endless subsidies for oil companies and proposing development funds for “our nation’s natural assets.” (2 for 10)

    Zero points for supposing that federal ownership of the continental shelf or the wildlife refuge or any other land which has no “needful building” is constitutional. Get the government out of the business of owning and mismanaging land. (2 for 11)

    Iraq war – no contrition for having been involved in making the mistake of invading and occupying Iraq. Zero points for lying to the American people about a withdrawal policy without an announced timetable. Doesn’t mention which government is being provided a military and economic security blanket. Sounds like Nixon’s secret plan for Vietnam. (2 for 12)

    The Iraqi government is asking for a timetable for American troop withdrawals.

    Full credit for bringing all the troops home from all the countries. (3 for 13)

    Full credit for ending all foreign aid. I’ll overlook, this time, the fact that American companies benefit enormously from aid programs to send food and medicines paid for with tax dollars, to countries which are thereby unable to develop domestic agriculture and pharmaceutical industries. (4 for 14)

    Full credit for peace through free trade. (5 for 15)

    Zero points for expanding benefits to veterans. Socialised medicine for veterans is still socialised medicine. (5 for 16)

    Funny that he’s for state-determined marriage laws, but against insurance laws set by the several states.

    Does he propose to eliminate the taxes which encourage employer-provided comprehensive health insurance? This point is far from clear.

    Something tells me that transforming Medicare and Medicaid won’t eliminate them, and, thus, won’t eliminate the related payroll taxes.

    Education policy, zero points. Public schools should be eliminated, not coddled. (5 for 17)

    Private property should not be seized. Zero points. (5 for 18)

    Gun rights. Carefully silent on the Lautenberg amendment, huh? (6 for 19)

    There’s no evidence in any Supreme Court ruling that the Sixteenth Amendment created a power to tax wages, and considerable evidence in those rulings to the contrary. Zero points. (6 for 20)

    Any revenue neutral scheme would not be better, it would be, at best, the same.

    Racism – good words. Oddly juxtaposed against his eulogy for Jesse Helms. (7 for 21)

    Zero points on monetary policy. We already have a debate on the issue power of money. We don’t need a debate, we need to end the government’s issue power of money. Money should be supplied by the free market, like everything else. But beginning a debate doesn’t help. (7 for 22)

    I’m unable to get him above 32% even when I feel generous about his statements. Clearly a failing grade.

    The fact that his failing grade is higher than McCain or Obama only works if the curve stops there. Since Charles Jay gets closer to 95%, it is hard to see where a vote for the LP candidate – who won’t be the next president – makes sense.

  29. Roscoe doesn’t care about polyamorous relationships. But many people do. I had a very interesting discussion in 2004 with a Jewish family. You may recall Solomon had quite a few wives. According to my friend Quincy, such marriages were common in the Jewish faith for centuries. Multiple wives are also common in Islam, one of the world’s largest religions. Why did the Jews stop having multiple wives? Quincy says it was a Jewish scholar who suggested a thousand year moratorium on the practice – a bit more than a thousand years ago. The purpose of the moratorium was to encourage Jews and Christians to live together in harmony by eliminating one of the things the Christians found objectionable. Even Christians, as the fundamentalist Mormons indicate, are not immune from interest in this type of marriage.

  30. G.E. asks two things.

    First:

    “Seebeck – You want the government to lease lands to private industry for the development of natural resources? That is communist. Look at the environmental degradation of the USSR. You want the government to have entirely too much power and to choose between environmentalism and energy development — the government has no authority to make that choice; the market should.”

    Not at all. You need to study the Soviet system more carefully. In that case, the government did not lease lands to private industry to develop natural resources, because there was no private industry–it was the state owning the lands and the industry. The environmental degradation of the USSR was precisely because there was no oversight and no protections through a judiciary or a contract–it was government run amok. Contrast that to our system (at least how it is supposed to work, anyway) and the difference becomes clear. And by leasing to the highest bidder, and by specifying proper enivornmental protections as terms of the lease, the government is actually making use of the free market and contracts in the proper manner in the same way a private property owner could. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Yes, it does presume the reality of government as a landowner, but the issues surroundignt hat are a completely different discussion not germane to here.

    Second:

    “Seebeck – He wants the government to “allow” private interests to develop the resources on collectively held “public” lands. How is that not a “subsidy”? The government’s playing favorites in doing so. Why should the Siera Club not have a fair shot at those lands? Why do you think the government knows best what to do with them? Let the market assign them a value.”

    A lease is a subsidy? Maybe to the owner if they rent at a profit. See my response to the previous comment. As for the Sierra Club, if they are willing to honor the terms of the lease and develop the resources, then why not? If they choose not to, then they have broken the lease. It’s not that the government knows what is best in what to do with the lands. Far from it. It is that the government has an intention in the lease, and the top bidder agrees to meet that intention. The bidding process is what assigns a market value to the land.

    This is really much simpler than you think it is, G.E.

  31. Cork Says:

    “In his previous energy press releases, he has scolded Congress for its refusal “to appropriate the minimal funds necessary to act.” That is corporate welfare.

    http://www.bobbarr2008.com/press/press-releases/30/explore-anwr-and-outer-continental-shelf-says-bob-barr/

    Fair enough, but that isn’t what he said above, and that’s what I was commenting on.

  32. BTW, over the long term, leasing if done right is more profitable than selling…and energy resource development is definitely a long-term endeavor.

  33. Did anyone else notice that there is no statement on drugs or the drug war?

    Sometimes, what a politician doesn’t say speaks volumes.

  34. You know, ENM, I think you were the first to notice that. Good catch!

  35. WOW, so now that what Barr HAS said in his “white paper” has been exposed as decidedly un-libertarian, there is silence on things where it is EXPLICITLY known that Barr isn’t libertarian . . . the drug war. This is adding up to A LOT of positions contradictory to libertarianism . . . but those of us who were skeptics knew this all along!

    Excellent ENM! I think that since there is so much to dispute Barr’s credentials as a libertarian in what he DOES say, most of us didn’t notice what was he DIDN’T say! Great catch!

  36. Conservatives are generally pro-drug war, as they want to control what they perceive as “immoral”. More evidence that even in what Barr DOESN’T say, is implicitly pandering to conservatives.

    This is WONDERFUL news, as it is now becoming more rock solid that Barr is a short-timer in the LP!!!

  37. Why does Barr think the government, at any level, should recognize marriage?

    Because the government, at every level, recognizes marriage, and most libertarians believe the government has some role in it, even if only as a record-keeper and enforcer of marriage contracts in court.

  38. Yeah, the county government keeps the record of the marriage. This is only recognition of a contract. Just like any contract, recording a marriage with the county clerk’s office simply gives teeth to the contract, just as putting something in writing gives a verbal contract “teeth”. If that is “recognizing” marriage, then so be it.

    It isn’t sanctioning however, in this light: “a consideration, principle, or influence (as of conscience) that impels to moral action or determines moral judgment”.

  39. @ Jim
    Well, you were a foreigner in France and Germany. Do you really expect to have the same rights in the countries than nationals of the country? I know Germany has strict gun laws, but you cannot take one issue and based on this one issue say they do not understand individual liberty. This is simply not true. Note that the inspiration for the US revolution and all libertarians ideas come from Europe. Each country has its own laws and customs.

    In perhaps the most libertarian country in Europe, Switzerland (which is way more libertarian than the US btw), every swiss is allowed a gun. They also differentiate between marriage – between a heterosexual couple – and social partnership – for same-sex couple. And every canton is quite free in its “definition” and handling of certain issues.
    http://geneva.angloinfo.com/countries/switzerland/pacs.asp

  40. Not to blow my own horn or anything – but from MY COMMENT (#5) near the start of this…

    “Significant missing items – What about War on Some Drugs? Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Environment? Feelings about 9/11 Trufers? (no score given or penalty charged)”

    So yes ENM, somebody else DID notice… [GRIN] There seemed to be lots of items missing, I just mentioned the ones that occurred to me quickly… As you say, what is NOT said can also be revealing…

    ART

  41. Seebeck thinks the government should own and control land and lease it out to private, for-profit corporations to despoil.

    VERY LIBERTARIAN!

  42. Yes, Stefan, I think France and Germany are totalitarian outhouses because I don’t have the freedom to keep and bear arms there. I expect to have life, liberty, and property wherever I go. Do you expect Germany to take half of my property when I get off the plane? Then why do you think it is okay for them to take half my freedom?

    I can take one issue and say that they do not understand individual liberty. I can say that Germany has been occupied by a foreign power for decades and adopted gun control to appease their oppressors, and I can say that if I am not free to have the tools of self defense to defend my life, my liberty, my property, and the lives, liberty and property of others as I see fit, then Germany is not a fit place for people to live. It is some sort of socialist totalitarian outhouse.

    The inspiration for the USA revolution was Thomas Paine, who did not come from Europe, but went their after the American revolution and wrote some more works while in France. Not all libertarian ideas come from Europe. Indeed, quite a few very libertarian ideas come from Africa. As a member of the International Society for Individual Liberty, I’m very familiar with many ideas on liberty that you would probably never have heard of, unless you were, as well.

    Each country has its own laws and customs. Russia is a communist dictatorship, again. And Germany is a totalitarian sewer. Next?

    Every swiss is “allowed” a gun? No. Many Swiss are members of their national military organisation and are required to keep a battle rifle in their home, generally in a specially locked cabinet. They are not “allowed” so much as ordered, and they are expected to keep it locked up and unloaded except when called for military duty. It is not freedom if you are allowed one gun.

    I’ve also spent quite a bit of time in Switzerland. I prefer Amsterdam, thanks.

  43. Russia is a communist dictatorship, again.

    Exaggerilla alert!

    (H/T Wes)

  44. Well, if you don’t like Russia to be characterised as a communist dictatorship, perhaps you would like to give a different character to it?

    Putin is prime minister, affiliated with the United Russia party, formerly a KGB operative, significant involvement in the “Communist Party of the Soviet Union” prior to 1991 when it existed. Medvedev is president, also with the United Russia party.

    If you don’t regard these guys as communists, what would you say they are? I would characterise the policies of United Russia as authoritarian, “securing a strong state” being high on their list of priorities.

    If Russia is a libertarian paradise, you are Tsar.

  45. It’s certainly not a libertarian paradise. There are lots of shades of gray between that and communist dictatorship.

    I lived under the communist dictatorship in Russia, albeit as a young kid, and talk to people who have recently moved from Russia (or still live there and are visiting the US) fairly frequently. I’ve heard nothing that would even remotely approach it being a communist dictatorship again. There are certainly some authoritarian tendencies which are very troubling, however.

  46. I defer to your greater knowledge of your homeland. I would be curious if you would characterise Putin as a silovik.

    “First of all, the siloviki believe that the state is the very base of society and therefore should be strong. Thus, they work for an enhancement of state power in all spheres, consolidated by a strengthening of the security and defence structures.”

  47. Interesting question. For anyone following along, silovik: Roughly translated, strongman.

    I think it’s pretty clear that he prefers a certain consolidation of power – but that is generally true of government leaders and henchmen as a species.

    The motive seems to be ever-present; all that varies is opportunity.

    At present, for Russia I would rate the opportunity as greater than in the US (aside from some affordability of surveillance technology issues), but less than it was, say, in Russia when I lived there.

  48. And now the LRC reveals its true goal: the reverse of what it promised.

    This is what people warned about.

    The platform should be comprehensive, its use is for education, legislative activism and policy action.

    The presidential platform should be focused on 3-4 issues tops with supporting issue papers where we can advance opinion and interest.

    Instead, thanks to Alicia, Holtz, Capozzi, Milsted, Steve Gordon, Shane, John Wayne Smith with his phony pious purist routine, and their 3 ring circus of ignoramuses of libertarianism and invasion of the party-snatchers, there’s a long presidential platform with half-baked positions that are less so than the opponents in some areas and don’t reflect actual libertarian practice, and a legislative platform that’s too broad to be useful to legislative activists.

    As theye feed Barr more pathetic misinformation, the crucifizion of Bob Barr begins, just like what happened to Badnarik and many state candidates who were gulled by this ‘pragmatist vs. purist’ hogwash.

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