Austrian economist and LRC contributor, Dr. Walter Block, has posted a nearly 4,000-word account of his experiences at the 2008 Libertarian Party convention.
I had heard, beforehand, that the LP was on the verge of being taken over by conservatives, and nothing in my experience of that convention was incompatible with that surmise.
At the convention, neither [Barr nor Root] would clearly and unambiguously commit themselves to the libertarian position on either of these two questions. Both avoided a clear commitment to pulling U.S. troops, all of them, out of the some 730 military bases now located in roughly 130 different countries around the globe. They evaded questions attempting to elicit clear positions on these two issues. On the drug question they both hid behinds statesâ€™ rights: it is not a federal issue; they are running not for state but federal office; therefore, let the states decide. In any case, they would only commit themselves to medical marijuana, not its recreational use, and legalization of anything stronger would certainly be anathema to them. On foreign policy, they would only make “major” troop withdrawals, not total and complete ones.
Of Mary Ruwart, Block says:
She was magnificent. I can think of no better way to say this than that Murray Rothbard would have been proud of her. She was the leader of the radical (non Barr-Root) caucus. Her every spoken word was a credit to our movement. My favorite statement of hers was when she nominated Steve Kubby for the partyâ€™s vice presidency, saying something to the effect that we should have at least one libertarian on the ticket, someone who favors legalization of all drugs, not just marijuana for medicinal use.
Dr. Block also had kind words for Christine Smith:
The highlight of her contribution from my perspective was when she made an impassioned plea to the assembly to the effect that Congressman Barr was not a libertarian; his views on foreign policy, drugs, and several other issues were entirely incompatible with libertarian principle. It was difficult for me to hear her, though, so loud were the boos and hisses from the conservative delegates. Well, I suppose, if you canâ€™t refute an argument, the conservative tactic is to make it impossible for the speaker to be heard.
Dr. Block poses the idea of starting a new libertarian party — the Real Libertarian Party — because the purpose of the LP, according to him, has always been education. Although he’s hopeful that Bob Barr will pick up libertarian principles — either “through osmosis by interacting with libertarians, by reading some libertarian literature, or perhaps by patterning his campaign after Ron Paulâ€™s” — he’s skeptical.
Of the opinion shared by many that at least one Republican congressman, Dr. Ron Paul, is more libertarian than the LP’s presidential ticket, Dr. Block says:
Poor Murray Rothbard must be spinning in his grave.
Read the entire article here.