Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

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September 26, 2008

Ron Paul & Bob Barr: It’s Time to Unite!

by Stephen Littau

Whether you consider yourself a libertarian (big “L” or small “l”), classical liberal, a Barry Goldwater/Ronald Reagan/Ron Paul Republican, Objectivist, or just simply want less government and more freedom we should always remember that there is far more which unites us than divides us. This is not to suggest that these finer points of these philosophies are not important—they are. The foes of liberty in the Democrat and Republican Parties want us to be divided. As long as we fight amongst ourselves, we are marginalized and they win. I think George Phillies said it best at the ’08 Libertarian National Convention: “The enemy is not in here, the enemy is out there!”

The liberty movement is much bigger than the Libertarian Party, Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Lew Rockwell, Cato, or Reason. All have made an invaluable contribution to the cause of liberty and should be applauded for their efforts. Let’s not lose sight of the big picture.

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24 Comments

  1. Stephen,

    I agree, but where does Paul’s endorsement of Baldwin fit into that ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — September 26, 2008 @ 12:40 pm
  2. I would submit that those of us who fought the Paul mania from the outset were the ones who didn’t “lose sight of the big picture.”

    Comment by KipEsquire — September 26, 2008 @ 12:42 pm
  3. I would submit that those libertarians who fought the Paul mania had no mania to substitute for it. Where exactly do we have another figure who inspires as many as Ron Paul? He has grown our ranks immeasurably. I saw this coming, and went down to Paul’s HQ right after he announced. Now I’m an agnostic who’s going to vote for a preacher. The fact is that we aren’t going to win this year. Again. However, if we cause McCain to lose, we have a stronger chance of restoring our liberties in the future. Ron Paul made an honest attempt to bust up the system. Barr let his ego get in the way. (seems strange to me that he can be onstage with Al Gore but not Cynthia McKinney) It’s Baldwin who’s trying to appeal across party lines. Like it or not, we need fundies AND liberals on our side if we are to have any hope of success with ANY issues at all. I won’t malign anyone for voting for Barr, and I hope Barr supporters can see that Balwin supporters really are on the side of liberty as well.

    Comment by Sam Marsh — September 26, 2008 @ 1:19 pm
  4. Bob Barr is an agent provocateur stealing the power of the Libertarian Party and liberty movement.

    Bobb Barr is no libertarian, big “L” or small “l”). Wake up.

    Comment by Craig Combs — September 26, 2008 @ 1:20 pm
  5. Sam,

    I don’t look to people to inspire me, I look to ideas. Ron Paul was useful only to the extent that he helped promote those ideas. His endorsement of Chuck Baldwin, and his inability to have any real impact on the Republican race in 2008, seem to indicate he’s no longer useful.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — September 26, 2008 @ 1:28 pm
  6. Craig,

    Have you actually read anything Barr has said over the past two years ?

    If it’s all an act, it’s a damn good one.

    And I don’t think it’s an act.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — September 26, 2008 @ 1:29 pm
  7. Kip,

    I would submit that those of us who fought the Paul mania from the outset were the ones who didn’t “lose sight of the big picture.

    Well, at least you didn’t get caught up in the cult of personality that became the Ron Paul for President campaign, I’ll say that much.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — September 26, 2008 @ 1:30 pm
  8. I’ve never seen anything so wonderful as Paul mania. Kids with laptop video cameras, breathlessly following a brushfire of support for the Constitution, cheering Austrian economics and yelling “Ban the Fed”! And you take pride in having stood up to this with Libertarian purity? What kind of battle have you won? You’ve successfully withstood the enthusiasm of America’s children waking up to their Republic? I await your sour response…

    Comment by Linus — September 26, 2008 @ 2:34 pm
  9. Doug,

    I did not get to finish our comment conversation from yesterday. I have a couple things to say.

    1. The Ron Paul “cult of personality” as you call it, captured so many people because for once, we weren’t just hearing some person saying he has these ideals only to turn around and crap all over them. Instead, he is someone that has proven that he will uphold those ideals, come hell or high water, even to the detriment of his own career and while facing ridicule on a national level. He does not bend and he cannot be bought. That is why the man behind the “ideals” is so important. Anyone can espouse a set of “beliefs”, but they mean nothing if the person behind them does not have the character to practice what he preaches.

    2. If you hate Ron Paul so much, why do you troll the comment board every time his name comes up?

    Comment by kris — September 26, 2008 @ 2:43 pm
  10. Doug,

    The Baldwin endorsement is a real head scratcher for me. You may notice that I did not include the Constitution Party among the people and organizations which advance the cause of liberty. Constitution Party is a misnomer if there ever was one (as you pointed out their party platform is very much at odds with individual liberty). As somone(who happens to be an atheist for what its worth)who recognizes that the U.S. Constitution is and always has been a secular contract between the government and the people, I simply cannot support the Constituion Party ticket. CP members have a perverted view of the Constitution.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — September 26, 2008 @ 3:41 pm
  11. Having said that, I do think that Ron Paul has, on balance, been a force for good…even as misguided as he has been as of late in his support of Chuck Baldwin.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — September 26, 2008 @ 3:47 pm
  12. Lets talk of a “Congress” of the Third Parties.

    The Mission – Write a new charter for a New Party.

    Combine the similarities of all the third parties into this charter. All the DIFFERENCES will not be written in to the charter. Nothing that is not agreed to by 3/4 of the congress makes it in to the charter.

    With this done there can be unity and victory.

    We can argue the details and the “Who Best Represents” in the internals.

    Stop The Bickering Over The Perception Of Labels.

    Ron Paul has the greatest following because he has so many essays and position papers to reference. This Is Invaluable. People are looking for reality now.

    Nothing better than taking away the bread to bring acute focus that things were not as they appeared.

    Comment by PainfullyAware — September 26, 2008 @ 3:58 pm
  13. It is not about the “Party Platform” It Is About The Character Of The Person.

    Those Who Put Their Faith In Words Will Always Be Deceived.

    Baldwin is on board with getting rid of THE FUNNY MONEY SYSTEM. This in my opinion is why Ron Paul endorsed him over the others. Even the Dull can see and feel its ramifications now.

    Do Not Be Part Of The Club Of Corruption.

    Divided We Fall, Again.

    Comment by PainfullyAware — September 26, 2008 @ 4:03 pm
  14. [...] at The Liberty Papers, there’s a call for supporters of Ron Paul and Bob Barr to overlook the minor differences and [...]

    Pingback by A Call for Ron Paul & Bob Barr Supporters to Unite :: Liberty Maven — September 26, 2008 @ 4:41 pm
  15. Not sure why Ron Paul backed Baldwin (an unknown) and someone who is not even on the ballot in Ron Paul’s home state of Texas. SDo Dr. Paul actually has to write him in, something that Dr. Paul has preached against. Baldwin had a money bomb today and it didn’t even generate $10,000.

    I honestly think Ron Paul squandered his power backing Baldwin.

    Comment by Joe Lawson — September 26, 2008 @ 4:42 pm
  16. I agree that Ron Paul and Bob Barr should unite and as someone who voted for RP in the primary and will vote for Barr in the general election, I have to say that I think both Barr and Paul let their egos get in the way. While Barr might have had some good reason not to go to RP’s press conference, he shouldn’t have RSVPed and then backed out at the last minute. I blame Russ Varney more than Barr, and Varney did say it was his choice, but OTOH Barr hired Varney so the buck stops with Barr. RP in his endorsement of Baldwin over didn’t cite any political issues that he though Baldwin was superior to Barr on… instead he just cited how Barr disappointed him by not showing up to his press conference and now is annoying him by insisting that he endorse someone. I think Paul let his ego in the way… it was almost like Paul was saying “Ok, I’ll endore someone… Chuck Baldwin… so there”

    On another note I do agree that the Ron Paul movement became something of a cult of personality, but unlike say Josef Stalin, RP did actively try to create a cult of personality around him… it just happened.

    Comment by ShakinT — September 26, 2008 @ 5:31 pm
  17. That last line should read “did NOT actively try to create a cult of personality around him… it just happened”

    Comment by ShakinT — September 26, 2008 @ 5:38 pm
  18. I don’t get this cult of personality charge. C’mon, he’s adorable. He takes a lickin’ from the warmonger power brokers, and strikes back with humble good sense. And wins! And creates converts. He’s approachable. People can identify with him. We live in a wacky celebrity zeitgeist. If some of that is directed at a real champion of limited government, why on earth do you libertarian purists object? I think he’s more surprised and unprepared for his popularity, than trying to blow smoke to inflate it. Fascinating to see Libertarians bristle at his success.

    Comment by Linus — September 26, 2008 @ 6:46 pm
  19. I’m pretty confident that Barr’s “conversion” is genuine. He’s said some things about our government, our nation, and the situation we are in that he absolutely would not have ever mentioned if he was under the control of anyone that’s connected with the establishment.

    Comment by Anonymous — September 26, 2008 @ 8:01 pm
  20. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Littau. I enthusiastically supported Ron Paul during the primaries, but am now supporting Bob Barr. He’s not perfect, but who is. Chuck Baldwin just isn’t a credible candidate, at least from a libertarian perspective. Also, there’s the pragmatic considerations of ballot access. Barr will be on 46 or 47 ballots, I’m not sure how many Baldwin will be on, but it won’t be nearly as many.

    This is the best chance Libertarians have EVER had to get on the political map, due in large part to Ron Paul, but he is not running any more. Barr has made tactical mistakes and handled the Oct 10 press conference poorly, but his policy positions are largely correct.

    He’s not going to win the election, but if we come together this year we can build on our success in years to come.

    Comment by Mike — September 26, 2008 @ 8:58 pm
  21. Ron Paul is appealing not only because of his ideas. Anyone could say the right things to libertarians if they wanted to, but Paul has put his philosophy into action with remarkable consistency. People DO matter. Honesty and real conviction matter. There is no option on my ballot to vote for ideas… just a bunch of candidates.

    I’m not wild about the religious platform of the CP, but at least I think Chuck Baldwin means what he says, and most of what he says mirrors Ron Paul pretty closely. Barr has had to contort himself quite a bit to explain his record, and Root is a disaster in my book. If the LP candidate were Ruwart or Philles or Kubby, I would NOT be having this conversation. I’m not voting for Baldwin because Dr. Paul wants me to, I’d already been leaning in that direction since the end of the primary season. I haven’t been so unhappy with an LP candidate before. The press conference debacle was just icing on the cake. I still think Ron Paul meant what he said about each of us who is for liberty making our own choice among the third party candidates, and I agree with that. Barr is the best option in some states (California comes to mind), but not all of them, at least in my mind. Seriously, the best we can hope for is to do so much damage to the GOP that they are forced to re-evaluate where they stand. There was a time when the Republican Party was largely with us. We have a shot at making that happen again, especially with the bailout crisis. Ron saw this coming, and people are taking notice. Even on Fox news!

    We did have an impact this year. 260 Paul supporters were at the GOP Convention, and we snatched up a lot of party positions at the state and local level already. We took second in several states. I think the numbers are amazing compared to where we were 2 years ago.

    Comment by Sam Marsh — September 27, 2008 @ 12:48 am
  22. Sadly, the LP chose a very stupid statist who had “name recognition” although no one I know had ever heard of him.

    This statist continues to spew venom on Ron Paul in every press conference and tells those of that support him, that clearly we are delusional (or must be) because Paul is so obviously wrong. Way to win friends and influence people.

    Barr then goes on to say how much we need “leaders” like him.

    How many ways can I say this? Barr is not a libertarian, and has no idea what a libertarian is. On the one hand you have Ron Paul who says he does not want the job because he wants to rule you, he wants the job to get rid of some of the laws and restore liberty. On the other, we have a pompous jerk who can’t wait to get his hands on power and tell everyone what to do because he is such a powerful leader.

    Libertarians don’t want leaders. We want to be left alone. Another word for leader – ruler. Let’s not kid ourselves. How many libs do you know lining up looking for the best ruler.

    If Barr can’t even get the basics right, then why on earth should any libertarian support him? He is a sham, a clown, a fake, a phony, a fraud, pretending, playing a role, etc. etc. etc.

    I was a lib long before Ron Paul ran this time and I will probably always be a lib. That is why I cannot let the LP get away with putting a neo-con up for the nomination. If we support Barr, we get more like him next time.

    Worst yet, if Barr somehow gets more votes than past lib candidates we can kiss the LP goodbye. They will choose posers like him from now on.

    You and I know it won’t make a bit of difference if you vote lib this year. No one will notice – except the LP. Tell them that you are not a sheep. You will not vote for any crock of dung they dish out. Either pick a libertarian or change the name of your party.

    Vote as a write in. It will still count as “other” (in most states) so the people can see you don’t like the silly choices, but do not support neo-con CIA men who love power and can’t wait to wield it over you.

    Baldwin, I am afraid, is worse. He is sexist, racist, and a bigot. Those are not names, they are facts. Read his website. Subjugation for all women. All brown people ought to be shot on sight. The Internet ought to be controlled by the government because it contains porn and adults should not be allowed to view such content. Homosexuals are deviant humans who do not tow the line and must not be allowed to marry. And no one has a right to put what they want in their body and this drug war ought to go on destroying America. If that is the kind of man you want in office, then what on earth did you see in Ron Paul? (He is hurt and angry, so forgive him for making a rotten choice, but don’t take this choice seriously. It was made in anger, or Ron Paul has never meant a thing he ever said. I choose to believe the former.) Oh, and Baldwin is against free trade. Very libertarian….not. This is not theory, or guesses, or me being cruel, I went to Baldwin’s website and read it. He is the one that says all these things. Not me.

    Those are the two choices. And a few other Socialists.

    So, your choice? None of the above. At least write it in, so that you are not seen as apathetic by not voting. Wouldn’t it be great if McCain got 22%, Obama 22% and other 56%?

    Comment by jill — September 27, 2008 @ 4:00 am
  23. When I heard about the 3rd parties press conference I got excited. I thought the unity would be over how the system is stacked against them. Ballot access laws, press bias, the spoiler syndrome. That would have been something that more than those brave enough to vote 3rd party can get behind. This 2 is a magic number and the system that enforces it is killing us.

    Until we change this system we cannot get any substantial traction.

    Ron Paul because he was inside the 2 is a magic number system was able to get exposure. Even then the system marginalized him and use 88 as a weapon against him.

    Until we change ballot access laws, get a fair exposure in the press, and reform our 1st past the post election system we are doomed. We need two of those three in order to make substantial progress against the tide of bigger is better when it comes to our Federal Government.

    Until then this purity haranguing is just a bitch session.

    Comment by Norm — September 27, 2008 @ 6:44 am
  24. Painfullyaware wrote:
    “Lets talk of a ‘Congress’ of the Third Parties.
    The Mission – Write a new charter for a New Party.”

    This has been suggested and tried many times over the last thirty years. The problem is that besides the vast ideological gulf, there is the problem of who are going to be the “kingfish” of the New Party.

    Right now each party and each political action group has their own set of “big fish in a small pond” and with their own mailing lists of donors. They are not going to give up their positions and/or salaries for the greater good.

    Comment by John Famularo — September 27, 2008 @ 9:48 am

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