My Letter to the Times on Barr Article

To the Editor:
Thank you for prominently covering the Libertarian Party Presidential candidacy of Congressman Bob Barr (“A Candidate Runs to a GOP Chorus of ‘Don’t'” 6/28/08 Page A1).
It is inaccurate however to depict Barr as a spoiler. To make such a claim presupposes that certain votes belong to one of the major party candidates and that a third party candidate would steal them away from him. Votes belong to the voters, not the candidates, and have to be earned.

By opposing the current Administration’s policies of intervention in other countries’ conflicts and unconstitutional intrusions into the privacy of American citizens, Barr offers a true alternative to the almost indistinguishable me-too candidacies of Senators McCain and Obama. Moreover, as a person of good will admitting that he has been wrong in the past, he will appeal to independent and affiliated voters of all political persuasions.
Mark Axinn
Vice-Chair, Libertarian Party of New York
175 East 73rd Street
New York, New York 10021

7 thoughts on “My Letter to the Times on Barr Article”

  1. Great letter. The LP should pay some attention to McCain’s Internet regulation outrages, because young people would get very riled up if they heard about them (the MSM will not mention them).

    Example: the IMBRA law that forces Americans to be background checked before being allowed to communicate with a foreigner on an internationally-oriented dating website (dishonestly labeled “marriage broker” because a few such sites are politically incorrect enough to say foreigners make “better wives and husbands”).

    Since only 0.4% of Americans date foreigners, nobody is noticing this outrage (except a few thousand people), but a Bush appointee federal judge, Thomas Rose, said of IMBRA “there is no fundamental liberty interest in an American contacting a foreigner”.

    So much for the Right to Assemble in the 1st Amendment.

    It made me sick to see Bob Barr crow about the 2nd Amendment being upheld when owning a pop gun to the government’s nukes pales in importance to maintaining the right to simply say hello to somebody without government interference.

  2. Delphi Programmer

    Jim makes a good point. We need someone who will stand up for freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and our privacy rights. We don’t need a nanny state law that polices the international personals columns and tells people whom they are allowed to date, communicate with or consider for potential future marriage partners. This is an outrage!

    Can you imagine being asked to submit your personal background and family history information before being allowed to talk to ladies in a night club? Can you imagine having to explain to a government official how you met your fiance, and being forced to provide justification, before being granted a marriage license? This, in effect, is what IMBRA does!

    With millions of people traveling abroad and meeting people from all over the world, it’s outrageous that a law would impose these kinds of draconian restrictions on simply meeting people who happen to live outside the United States.

    What’s worse, this law sets a dangerous precedent in government’s interference in the private affairs of individuals. If the social radicals who pushed this law get a pass, and the law goes unchallenged, there will be an open invitation for government, under pressure from civil activist groups, to scrutinize any aspect of your lifestyle, family life or personal affairs that they deem “distasteful”, “sexist” or otherwise objectionable in their personal opinions. Is this the society we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in?

    I say get government out of the personals ads and out of our personal lives!

  3. James Anderson Merritt

    “Moreover, as a person of good will admitting that he has been wrong in the past…”

    As I recall, prior to securing the LP nomination, Mr. Barr admitted error and subsequent changes of position on the issue of the War on Drugs. More than a few skeptics wondered if he were sincere. Now, I go to his website and have yet to find any mention of the War on Drugs at all. Not in discussions of crime and violence (as on the LP main website), or healthcare (for the medical marijuana angle) — nowhere.

    This gives me a very bad feeling. In the LP, we have long maintained that ending the drug war is not at all the same thing as endorsing drug use and abuse. Also, that the government has no proper authority to deny the right to purchase and use any particular drug, food, or drink to any adult, because people own their own bodies. These are reasonable, common-sense interpretations of the LP’s opposition to the Drug War, and as our standard bearer, former drug warrior Bob Barr would be in an excellent position to focus on them, by way of communicating with and persuading the average voter that the sky will not fall, and that society in general will be better off, without the destructive, corrosive effect of the War on Drugs (Prohibition). Instead, the silence on this topic is deafening.

    I can understand why Mr. Barr might not want to lead with the Drug War topic in his campaign. The economy, the War on Terror, and several other topics may seem much more important to him and others. But for there to be NO mention of the issue on his website suggests that he does not intend to do anything about the Drug War if elected. How ironic would that be: if by chance, the first Libertarian President were to be elected this time around, and he accepted the Drug War status quo or even escalated the WOD…? My point is that such speculation is legitimate because Mr. Barr has not addressed the topic on his website, one way or the other. He needs to take a stand before I will decide to vote for him — and I have voted for LP presidential candidates exclusively since the early 1980s.

    If the LP is the Party of Principle, and Barr its showcase candidate, then he needs to articulate a principle that justifies either his opposition to the WOD or his embrace of Prohibition. Let the voters decide whether the principle justifies the position, and whether both principle and position are libertarian enough to earn the votes of libertarian-minded citizens.

  4. I agree with James that it would nice to see some mention of how drug prohibition increases crime, etc. on Barr’s website and I haven’t gone through it carefully to make sure it’s not there at all.

    On the other hand, he has been working with MPP (Rob Campia seconded his nomination) in eliminating prohibitions against medicinal marijuana. I know that’s hardly the full libertarian anti-Drug War at all costs position, but it’s a good start.

  5. James Anderson Merritt

    I also didn’t see any mention at Barr’s website of his work with the MPP, although I had heard about it from other sources. I have not visited every page on the website, but in my attempts to find something, anything, on the topic, I have encountered recent blog comment postings that indicate others have also noticed the omission and have been unable to find relevant material on the site.

    Again, I am not requiring Mr. Barr to become a fire-breathing anti-prohibitionist (though that would indeed warm my heart). Simple, official mention of his recent work with MPP, etc., especially in view of his legendary fire-breathing past support for the WOD, would be fair enough. Total blackout of the topic, however, invites suspicion, so I hope he makes appropriate changes soon. November is coming.

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