The LP debate

Email Print

The Libertarian Presidential debate is on CSPAN right now.

Barr, Ruwart, and Gravel gave good openings. Kubby was a pleasant surprise and Root is a ball of fire.

8:32 pm on May 24, 2008

The LP Debate

Email Print

I was there, and it was a surprise in some ways. Most candidates outperformed my expectations. They all seemed to give mostly good (or at least decent) answers. Some were great answers. There is still a lot of libertarianism in the LP. Even Gravel seemed to think the best way to answer a tragedy of commons question was to say that we believe in the great institution of private property and letting private owners control more resources is the real solution. Of course, his full environmental policy (and much else) has a lot in conflict with libertarianism. But these candidates all tried, for the most part, to sound as libertarian as they could.

Every single candidate advocated a fairly hardcore non-interventionist foreign policy. Bob Barr is more of an interventionist than, say, Ron Paul, but he did emphasize the problems with nation building and the “offensive” Dept. of Defense, which he said has dealt mostly in offense. Wayne Root, who used to be downright horrifying on this, was fairly antiwar, and some of his lines on the issue were quite good. The rest of the bunch were basically Paulian on the issue (and some were downright Rothbardian): Non-interventionism as a matter of course.

I am happy about this because it spells the death of liberventionism. There hasn’t been a pro-war libertarian candidate since 9/11, really, and while the deviations abound in the party on this issue there are very, very few who take a hawkish position. This is always a good thing, because there are few dangers in terms of perception of libertarianism that are worse than the idea that you can favor liberty, free markets and imperialism at the same time.

Obviously, I believe Ron Paul gets a lot of credit for this. But in any event, the great lie of warmongering libertarianism has been, I believe, mostly rejected.

3:58 am on May 25, 2008