Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Doors of Perception

Dec 15, 2006 4:20 pm

The Doors of Perception

[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]

Hmm, I see that former Congressman Bob Barr has been appointed to the Libertarian Party’s National Committee.

Now I’ll readily grant that Barr was one of the more libertarian-minded Republicans on the Hill; and maybe the LP should be congratulated for landing such a high-profile member.

Still, as I recall Barr was very strongly in favour of the war on drugs, and I’ve seen no mention of his having changed his mind on that issue. Does his “star power” really outweigh the downside of having a drug warrior on the LNC?

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Roderick T. Long - 12/18/2006

I agree -- I'm all for working with partly good non-libs in broad coalitions of various sorts, but not for putting them in charge of libertarian organizations! And the drug war isn't one of the areas that's controversial among libertarians.

Aeon J. Skoble - 12/18/2006

So, he's a libertarian some of the time and not others? Seriously, how is this a "minor disagreement"? If you think it's an appropriate use of the Coercive Power of the State to imprison someone for smoking pot, you obviously don't think much of personal autonomy. I'll go read the interview for myself, but this doesn't look good.

Roderick T. Long - 12/18/2006

Okay, the Barr interview (taped last week) is up on the Reason site now. Here’s the relevant section:

reason: In 2002, the Libertarian Party called you the worst drug warrior in Congress. No hard feelings?

Barr: To be honest with you that’s never come up in our discussions. I’m not going to let minor disagreements come between us.

reason: But you haven’t changed your mind on the drug war, or on gay marriage?

Barr: There are going to be differences with my colleagues in the Libertarian Party. I can’t imagine there is ever going to be a party I agree with 100 percent of time.

Roderick T. Long - 12/17/2006

One of my contacts in the Libertarian Party informs me confidentially that Barr definitely HAS abandoned his support for the drug war and will be issuing a statement to that effect very soon; at the same time, one of my contacts at Reason magazine informs me confidentially that Barr definitely HAS NOT abandoned his support for the drug war and that this will be clear in a new interview with Barr that’s going up on the Reason website on Monday.

Well, this should be fun! Somebody’s in for a surprise – I just don't know who yet.

Roderick T. Long - 12/16/2006

For more on this, see commentary here.

Otto M. Kerner - 12/15/2006

As long as it's only one, then ... maybe.