Libertarian Wrap-Up

Read former Libertarian presidential candidate Mary Ruwart’s words of advice to her party and presidential candidate here.


Thoughts from two women Libertarians below…

As a Green Party activist, I am always a little leery of discussing other candidates in their primaries. Though, I am trying to be at least part journalist and commentator on all things in the world. (And, I bet a lot of Republican-enrolled and Democrat-enrolled journalists make decisions to diss or ignore my party every day!)

Anyway, I used to be a member of “Advocates for Self-Government”, and I believe I was even enrolled as a Libertarian way back in my college days in Virginia. I see Libertarians as colleagues in the movement for third parties, the rights of citizens to NOT have to choose among Democrat, Republican, or out in the cold. So, I care about the Libertarian Party, and wanted to share some of their struggle.

Bob Barr won the Libertarian nomination for President 2008. From what I have read, he has made lots of decisions in the past that do not jive with Libertarian principles.

In trying to wrap-up my list of Libertarian candidates on the People’s President Page, I stumbled across some profound reflections on the Libertarian Party and what the Barr nomination means by former women Libertarian presidential candidates. I think it is so rich to hear a woman’s voice describing the truth and concerns in her own party. (I get in trouble in my own party, sometimes for saying too many truths.) So, I offer the following blurbs and links not as much as a harsh critique of the present-day Libertarians or of Bob Barr, but as a study in how party loyalty meshes with idealism. And, I also don’t want to just drop these two, strong women leaders from my web-site. Now they will have a link in this post.


Kimberly Wilder

Mary Ruwart’s thoughts. Full excerpt here.

Ruwart Disappointed by Barr’s Campaign Focus

“The Libertarian Party does not need a ‘true conservative’ at the head of its ticket in November, it needs a principled libertarian,” said Dr. Mary Ruwart in response to Bob Barr’s formal entry into the LP’s presidential nomination race.

“Like many Libertarians, I was waiting to welcome Bob Barr into the presidential contest, but I was sadly disappointed by his obvious campaign focus when he finally made his announcement,” Dr. Ruwart said…

In response to a question about his chances of winning the LP nomination, Barr said, “But the one thing that unites all three parties – the Republican Party, the Democrat Party and the Libertarian Party – as three national parties of great substance is the fact that they want to win. They view themselves and believe themselves and will act as a political party, not debating society.”

“For Democrats and Republicans, victory is equated with getting votes and winning elections,” Dr. Ruwart remarked. “For Libertarians, the only victory that counts in the long run is helping the American people to embrace liberty. Once we’ve achieved that, winning elections will follow naturally.”

“Winning votes or elections at the expense of our principles would be a loss for both the Libertarian Party and for America,” Dr. Ruwart continued. “Mr. Barr wants to continue the War on Drugs and send troops to Columbia in order to do so. He wants to replace the Income Tax with the National Sales Tax, rather than cutting back spending enough to replace it with nothing. This is a message of ‘liberty for some’ rather than ‘liberty for all.’ ”

Now that Barr is formally in the race, Dr. Ruwart said that she looks forward to hearing him directly answer questions from Libertarians about his positions. “Embracing liberty is an evolution,” Dr. Ruwart pointed out. “I can’t fault Mr. Barr for how far down the road he’s come. I’m just disappointed that I may have to wait for 2012 to see Bob Barr mount a true Libertarian campaign. Until he does, how can he help the American people understand what he does not?” -end

Christine Smith was also running for the Libertarian nomination for President in 2008. Christine Smith has stronger words about Barr and what his nomination means. A note at her campaign site clearly says her campaign for president is ended. Full excerpt here.

The LP as “The Party of Principle” is DEAD
by Christine Smith
, May 27, 2008

I have given several interviews (television, radio, internet, and to print journalists explaining my thoughts about Barr receiving the LP nomination-with every reporter asking why I cannot support the Barr/Root ticket.) It is obvious: I cannot support someone for the LP presidential nominee who is former CIA, a federal prosecutor responsible for incarcerating people for laws we as libertarians oppose, a supporter of the Patriot Act, voted for the unjust invasion of Iraq, author of The Defense of Marriage Act, supports foreign aid, one whose stances are un-libertarian to the core – on immigration-gay equality-the drug war (research what he wants to do currently in Columbia and in Latin America in general–this is not a libertarian who wants to end the drug war–this is not a non-interventionist candidate). He would have much to prove, over time, before a libertarian such as myself would trust him enough to support him to hold any LP office. I cannot support Root for the LP VP as he is someone who endorsed John McCain, defines marriage as only between a man and woman, supports foreign aid, and believes war with Iran would be the right war. Now saying a few of the “right words” suddenly does not, for me, make either one a libertarian. As I told CSPAN during an interview after my initial remarks, I think Barr is a wolf in sheep’s clothing (and I view Root as a counterfeit libertarian). However, to clarify, I do not think he nor Barr has deceived Libertarians so much as Libertarians know exactly what these men are – but they just do not care.

The libertarian principles which made this this the party for me have been abandoned. The party has become an end in itself, but I believe the cause of liberty trumps any party. Barr’s campaign will certainly attract more interventionists, more anti-immigration and more anti-freedom conservatives like himself to the LP, so the delegates may get their growth (and perhaps increased vote counts in November) they so eagerly seek, but the cost is that true libertarians now have no political home since the LP chose as its standard bearer a man who is the antithesis of libertarianism. No matter how the LP delegates and Libertarians who supported this may rationalize it to themselves, they sold out their libertarian principles.

What I saw at the LP convention disgusted me…

The LP as “The Party of Principle” is DEAD.

My heart is filled with deep appreciation to the true libertarians I have met throughout my campaign. You brought me to this point, and I am grateful. We are not alone…and meeting and receiving your support during the last year and half gave me strength despite what I became aware of was happening within the LP. I wish all of you well as you choose your path to advance liberty. (I also wish to express that the coming together of the supporters from several campaigns for the good of getting a few libertarians into the debate was heartening. Healing and cooperation among true libertarians did occur this weekend. And though we may each decide different ways to continue toward our common goal, I believe each of us can become stronger because of our experiences. The resolve to fight for what we believe is within many of us, though how we choose to channel that energy may differ. )

For those of you who have asked: I am leaving the LP. I think the party is a waste of time and resources for anyone who actually wishes to join with others whose priority is freedom (some advances are made on the local level which I think are very good-but as a whole I think the LP is unworthy of the participation of anyone with integrity, ethics, and character–that is my conclusion after witnessing what occurred at the National LP Convention this weekend.) Though some true libertarians will choose to remain in the LP, from the emails and phone calls I have received, I believe many will leave. Each true libertarian must make the choice that is right for him or her; my choice is to fight the battle for liberty in other ways. As for me, I want no part of an organization that could put Barr and Root as the 2008 Presidential/VP candidates. Their choice to do so is, in my opinion, a tragic mistake for the LP…

I remain a libertarian devoted to being part of advancing liberty in our nation. Working toward that goal is my priority, working with others who share that goal is my priority, and that is why I leave the LP… end

From Kimberly Wilder: I have to note as a third party activist, and someone really empathizing with Christine Smith now, that some of the angst and hypocrisy she is describing is just part of any organization, especially a political organization. I get frustrated in the Green Party all the time. But, I remind myself that even every church, temple, PTA, or club I have belonged to, there are times when some people have agendas, or get nasty. In progressive and/or cutting edge political parties it is worse, because there are also government infiltrators and spies from other parties. I hope that Christine Smith’s disillusionment is a circle that brings her back to the important work of electoral power. I am glad to see that she feels there are still people and organizations dedicated to the principles she believes in. And, I am kind of glad that there are still good Libertarians willing to ride out an election cycle where it seems a kind of bad candidate received the nomination. (By bad, I mean, he don’t like immigrants, and he probably really doesn’t like LGBT people, from his history and rhetoric.)

One Response

  1. Well…

    Christine ran a belligerent campaign accusing anyone of lesser perfection than herself of not being a libertarian. In person she is affected and squeaky, which just doesn’t fit anyone’s idea of presidential.

    Mary sorely botched the issue before the convention when she was called into question on statements in one of her books which said that children have the riht to make the decision to have sex or even to contract it out commercially, with little to no veto power vested in the parents.

    You misused the word, “immigrants”. Throughout the history of this nation, that word has rightly described foreign-born people who have joined us through a specified legal process. While that process needs severe reconsideration, it has always been in place and is seen as necessary by almost everyone. The word does not include people here illegally, no matter how many times you use it in pretense that it does.

    The hypocrisy you should be concerned with is the oxymoronic situation of anarchists presuming to define libertarians when the LP was clearly established to achieve a return to severely limited government, not the complete abolition of government.

    The Amerinds have a saying, “Dead don’t make you smart.” Neither does being a woman. Or a man. Or having purple polkadotted skin. If sexism has no place in the boardroom or workplace, then it has no place in a political campaign. And it should not be a criteria for credibility in commentary.


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