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Posts tagged Movement of the Libertarian Left

Ladies and gentlemen, the Libertarian Party candidate for the President of the United States of America

Here are some samples excerpted from David Weigel’s interview with Bob Barr in the most recent issue of reason.

reason: Some of what you’re talking about, though, you supported in Congress. You voted for the Iraq war.

Bob Barr: The Iraq war was presented as something that was based on sound intelligence: a clear and present danger, an immediate threat targeting the United States by the Saddam Hussein regime. We now know [sic] that the intelligence was not there to support those arguments. Many of us, including myself, gave the administration the benefit of the doubt, presumed that this would be an operation that was well founded, well thought-out, well strategized, when in fact it wasn’t. There was no clear strategy, and we’ve paid a very, very heavy price for that.

. . .

reason: What about the PATRIOT Act?

Bob Barr: This was presented to us immediately after 9/11. I took what might be called sort of a leadership role in Congress in marshaling a lot of different groups in opposition both to the PATRIOT Act generally and to specific onerous provisions in it. Several factors caused me to sort of go against my gut reaction and vote for the PATRIOT Act.

The administration did in fact work with us and agree to several pre-vote changes to the PATRIOT Act that did mitigate some of the more problematic provisions in it. The administration also, from the attorney general on down, gave us personal assurances that the provisions in the PATRIOT Act, if they were passed and signed into law, would be used judiciously, hat they would not be used to push the envelope of executive power, that they would not be used in non-terrorism-related cases. They gave us assurances that they would work with us on those provisions that we were able to get sunsetted, work with us to modify those and to look at those very carefully when those provisions came up for reauthorization. The administration also gave us absolute assurances that it would work openly and thoroughly report to the Congress, and by extrapolation to the American people [sic!], on how it was using the provisions in the PATRIOT Act. In everyone of those areas, the administration has gone back on what it told us.

— Bob Barr Talks, interview with David Weigel in reason (November 2008), p. 29.

In other words, Bob Barr is either an incredible sucker or a willfully ignorant fool, who supported two of the most infamous acts of a miserable and disastrous Presidency, because he spent years blindly trusting in absurd claims and ridiculous promises made by salivating Republicans in the executing branch of the government, which most people outside of the government, including almost all libertarians, already knew to be lies. He trusted in administration flunkies’ assurances over the warnings of civil libertarians, even though the assurances were empty gestures that would not hold back power grabs even for a second as soon as anyone in the DOJ or DOD or DHS decided that a power-grab is what they wanted. And he trusted in the government spooks’ and government flunkies’ claims of intelligence even though these claims were obviously absurd, and widely exposed as such at the time by anti-war writers, because in spite of all that Bob Barr would rather give his colleagues, the government spooks and administration flunkies, the benefit of the doubt.

In other news, Movement of the Libertarian Left veteran and Southern California ALLy Wally Conger has recently posted an online edition of the MLL’s Issue Pamphlet #5, Our Enemy, the Party, originally published in 1980 and reissued by Sam Konkin in 1987.

See also:

I can’t make out what you’re trying to say on account of the corpse in your mouth.

There’s an Australian state socialist magazine called Links, which, for reasons that remain completely opaque to me, seems to believe that the old Movement of the Libertarian Left listserv wants and needs to be buried under reams of its promotional materials. Here’s a choice passage from an interview they ran, which they recently promoted on the list:

Peter Boyle: You're criticising Labor for not seriously tackling global warming but what do socialists say should be done to address the crisis?

Dave Holmes: What is needed to cope with the crisis is a sharp change of direction. We need an emergency mobilisation of society, a five- or 10-year plan to achieve a drastic reorientation of our economy and use of energy. Anything else is simply not serious.

— Links (2008-04-03): A revolutionary response to the climate change crisis

Everything old is new again.

My own views about global warming, as a phenomenon, are perhaps shockingly ordinary. From what I’ve read I see no reason to doubt that it’s real, and caused largely by human activity, and an increasingly serious concern for many people all over the world. I think that each of us individually, and together with our neighbors, ought to be giving serious thought to the problem, and especially to how hypercentralized, state-supported and state-insulated corporate capitalism (especially the state-regimented, state-subsidized, and state-cartelized fossil fuel industry) structures the problem, and what we can each of us do about both the situation as it affects us, and also about the root causes that drive it.

But when you have a problem created, in large part, by a system of massive government regimentation, privilege, and technocratic planning, in an industry whose exploration and extraction are founded in colonialism and government land-grabs, whose distribution is heavily regulated, concentrated, and promoted by government, and whose protection flows from the barrel of Coalition tanks, I am not entirely convinced that this is a good reason to call for more government regimentation, privilege, and technocratic planning, or for concluding that We need less of [the so-called free market], not more.

I am convinced that people who talk about revolution without understanding the possibility of free action outside the realm of state coercion, who never see any way to approach a pressing social problem except emergency mobilization through lock-step central plans fraudulently passed off as a big society-wide discussion, but in fact handed down in the form of government marching orders–such people are talking with a corpse in their mouths.

Further reading:

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