The Shotgun Blog
Monday, September 08, 2008
Walter Block: Bob Barr is a “thief” and less libertarian than Palin
The Independent Political Report is reporting that...
In an article published today on LewRockwell.com, Austrian economist and libertarian philosopher Walter Block calls Bob Barr a “thief” who has “stolen our Libertarian Party from us.” Block says he will not support the national Libertarian Party “until all vestiges” of Barr’s “theft” have been swept away.
Furthermore, Block says he has sympathy for the Constitution Party and Boston Tea Party, but they’re on too-few ballots for him to seriously consider. Thus, Block has made the jump from marginally supporting Obama, to marginally supporting McCain-Palin.
Canadian libertarians may remember Dr. Block as a senior researcher with the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute. He is now Professor of Economics at Loyola University New Orleans and Senior Fellow with the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
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Brian: Excuse me. Are you the Judean People’s Front?
Reg: Fuck off!
Brian: Excuse me?
Reg: Judean People’s Front. We’re the People’s Front of Judea! Judean People’s Front. Cawk.
Brian: Can I... join your group?
Reg: No, piss off.
Brian: I don’t want to sell this stuff, it’s only a job. I hate the Romans as much as anybody.
Judith: Are you sure?
Brian: Oh, dead sure. I hate the Romans already.
Reg: Listen. If you really wanted to join the P.F.J., you’d have to really hate the Romans.
Brian: I do!
Reg: Oh, yeah? How much?
Brian: A lot!
Reg: Right. You’re in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People’s Front.
Stan: Yeah, the Judean People’s Front.
Reg: Yeah. Splitters.
Stan: And the Popular Front of Judea.
Reg: Yeah. Splitters.
Stan: And the People’s Front of Judea.
Reg: Yea... what?
Stan: The People’s Front of Judea. Splitters.
Reg: We’re the People’s Front of Judea!
Stan: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.
Reg: People’s Front!
Francis: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?
Reg: He’s over there. [points to a lone man]
Reg, Stan, Francis, Judith: SPLITTER!
Posted by: Idle Hands | 2008-09-08 4:14:26 PM
I'm glad such a venerated scholar feels the same way I do.
Posted by: attitude | 2008-09-08 4:33:59 PM
That's what I thought of, too :-).
Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-09-08 4:38:14 PM
Well, I was going to post a comment here, but the first one is already so ridiculous that this must set some kind of record for degenerative reactions here at the WS.
Posted by: JC | 2008-09-08 4:40:41 PM
No, JC, read it through! It's from Monty Python, I'm pretty sure of it. And it's really high-quality satire.
(I also had that initial "oh no! Is this another stupid wanker posting hate-filled crap" reaction, but then I read it through. Laughed like crazy. And read it again. It's awesome.)
Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-09-08 5:31:40 PM
Life of Brian. Great flick. You'd really enjoy it if you haven't seen it already.
Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-09-08 5:58:00 PM
Now I remember...it was hilarious.
Posted by: JC | 2008-09-08 7:56:43 PM
...What did the Romans ever do for us? pause.. The sewers... what else?.. the aqueducts pause OK the sewers and aqueducts.. what else?.....etc..
A great film indeed!
Back on topic, This is classic libertarian political engagement where the philosophically pure meets the professional politicians and sees the key distinction of libertarianism, the principles, bent, distorted and homogenized. Block is a very bright guy but in the continual quest for purity, libertarians more resemble a debating club than a political party. On the other hand will the Bob Barr's of the world water down the philosophy making it indistinguishable from the others while attracting main stream media attention better than his predecessors.
"Always look on the bright side of life ..dada.. dadadadadada...."
Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-09-09 9:51:17 AM
I normally make it a point to never disagree with Dr. Block, but I'll make an exception. Bob Barr is a great choice for Libertarian leader -- and he's doing a great job.
Harry Brown, who I admired, also did a good job but occasionally got a little silly with his messaging, especially when he was on the Bill Maher show, which was often.
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-09 10:09:07 AM
Back on topic, This is classic libertarian political engagement where the philosophically pure meets the professional politicians and sees the key distinction of libertarianism, the principles, bent, distorted and homogenized. Block is a very bright guy but in the continual quest for purity, libertarians more resemble a debating club than a political party
Posted by: John Chittick | 9-Sep-08 9:51:17 AM
And that is where the Libertarian Party / movement becomes bogged down every time.
Posted by: JC | 2008-09-09 10:19:08 AM
The goal of a political party is to win votes while staying true to principle. Barr is doing that.
What policy has Barr endorsed that is anti-libertarian?
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-09 10:27:02 AM
Why not ask Walter, Matthew? I'd be curious to hear his thoughts on why he's leaning Republican--are they really a more libertarian party than the Libertarian Party?
I don't see it.
Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-09-09 10:43:02 AM
Comments from Walter Block:
"Third, a criticism made by some libertarians is that her adherence to our principles is only skin deep; she has raised some taxes, considered banning some books from libraries, engaged in public-private ventures regarding oil pipelines, she is altogether too friendly to US foreign aggression. Yes, yes, she is no libertarian, certainly not of the purist variety. She is no Ron Paul. But, a little context here, please. Compared to McCain, Obama and Biden, she is a veritable Murray N. Rothbard."
He links to a Nolan Chart story that reads:
"And the small army of Ron Paul supporters is not transferring their support to Barr because he has totally failed to address their two key issues: dismantling the Federal Reserve and ending the Iraq War ASAP. In sum, nobody is being offered a compelling reason to contribute."
And another Nolan Chart story that reads:
"Rarely do you hear Barr say he favors flat-out elimination of some program because it's wrong, it violates inalienable individual rights, and/or it's none of the Federal government's damn business!"
My thoughts: Barr doesnt support the war in Iraq or the Federal Reserve -- it's just not something he wants to showcase as he is courting mainstream conservative voters.
As for the second point, Barr is not a natural rights libertarian. He's a pragmatic politician who thinks big government doesnt work. That's good enough for me.
Who was Block supporting for the LP leadership?
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-09 11:00:59 AM
Walter Block was a supporter of Mary Ruwart for the leadership of the LP in 2008.
For more of his thoughts on the 2008 LP leadership contest, go read his account of his experience at the Libertarian National Convention.
Some key excerpts with thoughts on the candidates are here: http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2008/05/walter-block-barrroot-not-real-libertarians-lp-taken-over-by-conservatives/
Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2008-09-09 11:09:27 AM
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