The Road to Damascus

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

The Onion summarizes "Bob Barr on the issues."

(1995–2007) Trying to control the faith, sexuality, reproduction, drug use, and national allegiance of every single American.

(2007–) Aw, Fuck it.

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15 Responses to “The Road to Damascus”

  1. #1 |  Andrew Williams | 

    says it for me.

  2. #2 |  blocky McBlocked | 

    The Onion still has what it takes.

  3. #3 |  Andrew | 

    Agreed, but that still makes him an improvement on everyone else on the race, who still haven’t gotten past the “trying to control” part.

  4. #4 |  chris horton | 

    Bob Barr=Lautenberg Amendment=No Vote. Period.

  5. #5 |  Eric | 

    Why did it take this long for me to turn to the Onion for my political summaries?

  6. #6 |  Will Grigg | 

    Now, that’s a miracle of concise commentary! It also has the considerable merit of being entirely true.

  7. #7 |  Jonathan Hohensee | 

    “Average Time To Summarize Libertarian Philosophy To Stranger:
    4 hours, 16 minutes”
    He has me beat.

  8. #8 |  Gabriel | 

    “Average Time To Summarize Libertarian Philosophy To Stranger:
    4 hours, 16 minutes”
    He has me beat.

    Nah. It’s EASY to summarize: “Leave me the F alone and I’ll do the same for you.” It’s the details that take so much time.

  9. #9 |  Howlin' Hobbit | 

    As long as libertarians continue to “hold their noses” and vote for the Democan or Republicrat candidate, nothing will ever change.

    You can keep talking a good line of bs, but nobody will listen.

    Vote Barr. Vote for the next libertarian candidate, and the next, etc. until our percentages have been raised enough to force the media to notice and cover the candidate. And force the Dims and Repugs to allow a third (or fourth or whatever) voice in the debates and the general discourse.

    Then you can worry about whether they’ve slighted your purer-than-thou view of libertarianism or not.

  10. #10 |  freedomfan | 

    I’m fast to admit Barr has a less-than-stellar past record on liberty. But, being in a tiny minority, libertarian-minded folk (like most of TheAgitator’s readers, I am assuming) have to support the political epiphany. We can’t cast out anyone who started out foolish and then wised up, at least if we hope to gain strength.

    The question remains whether the platform he champions now represents a positive overall change. And, not in the relative sense the McCain may be better than Obama or Obama may be better than McCain, but both of them have policies that will make the country worse than it is presently. Progress means absolute improvement over time, not just a continued – if smaller – increase in tyranny.

    Anyway, the empty excitement over the big media candidates may be good enough for the front page, but it isn’t good enough to earn my vote. Barr is someone I can vote for, even with reservations about his past. Neither of the McBama campaigns has come close to passing the basic test. (To reiterate, that test is: Will the candidate, if elected, work toward a government that is, in aggregate, smaller, more Constitutional, and less intrusive government than the one we have now?)

  11. #11 |  JohnMcC | 

    Hum…just thinkin’ a little about the last two Presidential elections, and the issues that might have been decided differently if the Dems had won. A few small differences–Operation Iraqi Freedom, Global Warming, Credit Crisis/Freddy-and-Fannie. Little things.

    And…tryin’ to imagine someone so far from the rest of us that Obama and McCain look interchangable. Maybe when seen from the moon.

    And…looking at the poll results that MrBarr has achieved. Nine percent in Oklahoma and NewMexico. Ten percent in NewHampshire.

    Can’t see that America is breathlessly anticipating any Libertarians any time soon. Maybe this ‘leave me (completely) alone and I’ll leave you (completely) alone’ idea doesn’t work for people who need other people’s help once in a while, or even people who want to help other people once in a while. That seems like the majority.

  12. #12 |  Kristen | 

    “idea doesn’t work for people who need other people’s help once in a while, or even people who want to help other people once in a while. That seems like the majority.”

    That’s what pivate charities are for.

    I think a great PhD dissertation would be to see how much people who self-identify as libertarian give to charity, as opposed to self-identified liberals or neo-cons (maybe something like this has already been done?)

  13. #13 |  freedomfan | 

    #11 JohnMcC,

    The premise of libertarianism is not that people shouldn’t interact or that one person never needs another’s help. That is a false representation of libertarian thinking, though it is a common one, unfortunately. The “(completely)” qualifier is a strawman and an equivocation confusing “government” with “people”.

    Libertarians acknowledge that human interaction is necessary and a good thing. We do not think it should be so heavily regulated, forced, and taxed by government. We encourage the free interaction of people by saying that government should leave that interaction (almost completely) alone.

  14. #14 |  Fay | 

    Would a libertarian government interfere with, say, a Christian charity that refused to help non-Christians, or insisted on proselytizing or conversion of its beneficiaries?

    Would a libertarian government interfere with a business that only hired white people, or men?

    I am genuinely curious, not trying to, you know, be an ass.

  15. #15 |  freedomfan | 

    Fay, you’ve asked a broad question, and others may have better answers than I. But here is my take:

    I think most libertarians hold the view that it is not the government’s role to ensure that the free interaction between people be congenial or to regulate that interaction based on the government’s judgment of whether both parties were making economic decisions based on government-approved criteria.

    That generally means that the government doesn’t decide whether or not two parties agree to enter into implicit contractual relationships like sales of goods and services (like employment) or whether someone can be punished because the beneficiaries of his charitable activities aren’t “inclusive” enough. For example, if you are a woman and you hire a female plumber to fix your leaky shower, it isn’t the government’s job to decide whether you discriminated against other plumbers in making your hiring decision.

    As a practical matter, I and most libertarians I’ve talked to are dubious about the government’s ability to regulate things like discrimination without creating a host of other problems. As it stands under a regime of highly regulated employment, when the government has to decide why you did or did not hire someone, it already engages in basically a mind-reading activity. In the real world, people don’t post signs saying “People Of Race X Need Not Apply”, so the government tries to determine such things by methods that attempt to guess motivations for a decision, which is a very flawed process. There are countless cases where the EEOC decides against someone because it seems statistically likely that he was discriminating, even if there is no evidence at all that any actual discrimination against an individual ever took place.

    The free market is the better place to punish people who act in socially unacceptable (but nonviolent and non-fraudulent) ways. The obvious economic reality is that someone who chooses not to hire people based on something with no impact on ability to do the job will pay more for employees because he is restricting his available supply of labor, and he is incidentally giving his non-discriminating competitors an advantage because they will see increased supply (and, thus, better selection and lower wage prices for the same labor).

    In addition, there is nothing in libertarian thinking to stop people who disapprove of someone’s hiring practices to organize boycotts of his products. There are some who claim that approach wouldn’t be effective, but I think they underestimate the impact of social pressure and bad publicity. Current laws regarding such things probably wouldn’t be on the books if people didn’t support the social goals they represent. If they didn’t, then how, in a democratic system, are the laws justified?