Tom Knapp: ‘Consciences of the Critics’

Posted by Tom Knapp at Kn@ppster:

Independent Political Report has been running and/or excerpting and/or linking to a number of reader reviews of Wayne Allyn Root’s recent campaign book, The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts.

While there’s certainly some overlap between IPR’s readership and KN@PPSTER’s, I figure that overlap isn’t total and that it’s worth providing KN@PPSTER readers an organized set of links to these reviews, which range from exceptionally laudatory to extremely negative. So, by author in alphabetical order (I’m linking to the IPR article, which isn’t always the actual review):

John Hospers
Steve Kubby
Peter Orvetti
George Phillies
Eric Sundwall
Richard Winger

I’ve read parts of the book in (Internet-enabled) excerpt, and have participated in discussions/comments on the above reviews. If anyone wants a full review from me, feel free to endow the KN@PPSTER Chair of Wayne Allyn Root Studies: The book is item #7 on my Amazon.Com wish list.

Until and unless someone wants to fund a full review by this here ordained minister and Doctor of Letters, I’ll stick to a very limited and positive analysis, as follows:

– According to Amazon, the book weighs in at 400 pages. It therefore presumably lays out Root’s political platform/program in considerable detail. That’s a good thing. The guy’s running for president. Support him or oppose him, but don’t claim that he hasn’t put his cards on the table for full evaluation.

– Don’t accuse Root of being a sore winner. He barely edged out Steve Kubby for the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential nomination in 2008, but in this book he devotes four laudatory pages to Kubby’s experiences as a medical marijuana patient and political prisoner.

– Without having read the whole book I can’t say whether or not Root completely “gets it” on foreign policy yet, but the excerpts I’ve read constitute cause for optimism on that count. In several passages, for example, he alludes to the power of the “defense” lobby and its grip on government spending.

That last bit is a big one. Linking military adventurism abroad to big government at home is key to justifying a non-interventionist foreign policy. Hell, might as well quote myself here, from the foreign policy chapter of my own forthcoming campaign book:

The first and most important thing to understand about how foreign policy drives domestic politics is this: Since at least as early as World War II, the primary function of government in the United States has been to transfer money from the pockets of the American taxpayer to the bank accounts of what President Dwight D. Eisenhower called the Military-Industrial Complex.

I’m not sure Wayne takes it that far in The Conscience of a Libertarian, but at the very least he’s grappling with the issue.

With nearly three years to go until the Libertarian Party chooses its 2012 presidential nominee, Wayne has made his case at length and in detail. That’s laudable — it gives the party three years to weigh his positions, and it puts him in the position of having to defend those positions or, should he change his mind, explain why. For that alone, he deserves congratulations.

14 thoughts on “Tom Knapp: ‘Consciences of the Critics’

  1. Robert Milnes

    Much too conciliatory, Tom. Root represents the reactionary, counterrevolutionary wing of the LP. The epitome of which is Ron Paul endorsing Chuck Baldwin CP. We need the exact opposite; a progressive-libertarian alliance/movement=slow, electorial & socialist denying revolution. We need to learn from 2008, not repeat it.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp


    “Conciliatory” is defined as “making or willing to make concessions.” Telling the truth (as I see it) about my opponent isn’t a “concession.” It’s just telling the truth. Sometimes the truth isn’t negative.

    “Root represents the reactionary, counterrevolutionary wing of the LP.”

    I disagree. From my perspective, Root doesn’t represent any ideological wing of the LP at all. Rather, he’s a focal point for the affections of what I’ve called the “Cargo Cult” wing of the LP. That wing isn’t ideological, it’s superstitious.

    “The epitome of which is Ron Paul endorsing Chuck Baldwin”

    Yeah … a Republican endorsing a Constitution Party guy is “the epitome” of a wing of the LP. Uh-huh.

    I agree that Root is not what the LP needs. There are plenty of reasons why he isn’t. I don’t have to make them up, nor do I have to lie about him to get them out there, nor do I have to slag him when he gets something right. So I won’t.

  3. Bruce Cohen

    Listen, the Editor of California Freedom, Mister Thomas Sipos, not only openly brags about voting against Barr/Root, but even wrote about in CF Magazine.

    Of course, the magazine’s content is approved by Mister Takenaga, the CA Chair, so I guess both the vote and the promotion of said vote is good with him, aye?

  4. Thomas M. Sipos

    Not only did I write-in Ron Paul, but Paul was a certified write-in candidate in California thanks to the efforts of Gail Lightfoot, one of the original founders of the LPC, and Chair of the San Luis Obispo LP.

    Gail recruited 55 people to sign on as Presidential Electors. Many of them, I assume, were LPC members or officers. I know that Ed Bowers, Chair of the San Fernando Valley LP signed on as a Paul Elector.

    I also know of several LPC officers (state, county, or regional) who voted for Paul.

    Fact is, there was a mini-revolt in the LPC, with a sizable group bolting Barr/Root to vote for Paul.

    Bruce Cohen doesn’t like that. Tough.

  5. Thomas L. Knapp


    You’re a gentleman and a scholar! Since I see that the book has disappeared from my Amazon wish list, my assumption is that your comment above means you’ve purchased it and had it sent my way.

    As soon as it arrives, I’ll set aside the first free bloc of time I have to read it, and then write a full review. I can publish that review at KN@PPSTER, or let me if you want it as an “exclusive” for Progressive Historians or some other site. If it’s at KN@PPSTER, of course, it’s free for re-publication anywhere.

  6. Thomas M. Sipos

    BTW, Bruce, get this straight — I did not “promote” Ron Paul’s candidacy in California Freedom.

    I only wrote about my (and others) voting for Paul after the election, so as not to use an LPC organ to promote an opposing candidate.

    I did promote Paul’s candidacy before the election on my personal blog, but that’s mine to do with as I please.

    I did run articles by Paul after the election. As Bruce Cohen should know, Paul remains very popular in the LPC. I’ve seen many Ron Paul Revolution t-shirts and caps at the various Los Angeles libertarian supper clubs.

    If anyone were to purge the LPC of Paul fans, supporters, and voters, the LPC would be far smaller than it is today.

  7. Jeremy Young

    Tom K, yep, that was me. Thanks for the kind words. No need to put it up at PH (where I’m not editor any more, anyway) — I just really want to know what you think of the book.

  8. The New New New New Reform Movement [?????????]

    As I told Gail’s little coastal troop, DO NOT ASSUME, DO NOT ASSUME! The East Coast geniuses and vacationing law students of P2004 just assumed that the ballot access effort [read: federal Presidential electors, like John Coffey and myself] would suffice for the write in effort, when, after they blew the ballet access movement.

    No, no, no, ya gotta start all over again. [Citizens For a Better Veterans Home basically saved Uncle Ralph’s bacon on that issue!] Glad Ms Lightfoot’s folks did not drop the write in ball —- as they are want to do ………

  9. The New New New New Reform Movement [?????????]

    Oh, Orange County Bruce Cohen, of bomb the non combat USS Liberty by the fascist thugs of Israel!

    This guy is the master of selective memory and deflective response. Proceed at your own risk!

    —– Don Lake, fighting anti American non patriots in the Lib, reform, and Green universes …….

  10. Jim Davidson

    What kind of libertarian is bothered by freedom of choice in voting and freedom of expression in discussing that vote? I don’t think Bruce Cohen is a libertarian. He seems like a dogmatic, small-minded, authoritarian jerk.

  11. Pingback: Mike Renzulli reviews Wayne Root’s Conscience of a Libertarian | Independent Political Report

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