Dear Mr. Barr.,
Allow me to clarify a key element of the libertarian philosophy for you:
Libertarians believe that individuals have rights, and that STATES do not! Decentralization to state control (from federal control) is simply a way of limiting the greater of 2 enormous evils. But if a policy is anti-libertarian it is anti-libertarian no matter which gang is doing the violating of individual rights. This is true whether the aggressor is the federal government, a state government, a city government, or the local street gang. Or is there any libertarian here who thinks that Chicago's gun ban is libertarian, simply because it isn't a federal program? When the Chicago anti-gun enforcement unit sends poor minorities to jail for felony gun possession, and ignores white suburbanites who possess similar guns, is that any less a violation of their rights because it's being done locally? (Libertarian answer: No.) Libertarianism is a philosophy that protects the rights of individual human beings, and gracefully devolves power to the individual, until an individual proves he cannot handle the responsibility of power (and only then does the state deprive him of power, and only then by due process of decentralized, jury-based law). If all human beings are equal under the law, then federalism is simply a tool that checks the abusive power of the federal government: it doesn't excuse or limit culpability for localized tyranny.
Apparently, even the village voice knows libertarianism better than Barr, and they still can't get a straightforward APOLOGY out of him (they also parrot some bullshit about him being the "front runner", which isn't true, last time I checked).
Simon Wiesenthal once said that ex-nazis should be perhaps allowed to be citizens in peacetime, without being punished for their prior conformity to social norm, in the interest of preventing a long-term, entrenched feud. But he stated emphatically that "ex-nazis should not govern us". He stated this position with much disrespect to former SS man, Kurt Waldheim. I state the same position with much disrespect to Bob Barr. for the years he served as a congressional tyrant, and his many votes against the basic rights of the individual. Barr opposed gay marriage, favoring "separate but unequal" status for gays during his "service" in congress. He favored funding the drug war, even the militarization of the drug war in Columbia (and his blog stated his support for this monstrosity as recently as Saturday, June 09, 2007 at 9:00 AM http://www.bobbarr.org/default.asp?pt=newsdescr&RI=858 ).
Bob Barr might have a personal interest in running for president as a Libertarian, but he is not a libertarian. "He should not govern us." I dearly hope, for the future of the libertarian party, that the Libertarians in Denver (at the 2008 LPNC), vote for Wayne Root, or one of the other ACTUAL libertarians. Barr carries a the stigma of gullibility. I knew that when I saw him spitting out "cheese made from Borat's wife's titmilk" in a public movie theater. The left hates Barr, and so does Ron Paul's young and hip internet constituency. Let's dodge a bullet here, and keep this chef in the kitchen.
When Bob Barr disavows his past, and helps get several other Libertarians elected to congress, then maybe he'll have earned my trust. Now, for all I know, he's seeking the presidency for the same reason he sought congress: HE NEEDS A JOB.
BOB BARR, Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at 9:00 AM: "As a conservative Republican member of Congress from 1995 to 2003, I was hardly a card-carrying member of the gay-rights lobby. I opposed then, and continue to oppose, same-sex marriage..."
For every unknown Columbian coca farmer who was shot dead trying to make enough money to feed his family, or bombed with paraquat, Bob Barr owes an apology. For every unintended consequence of the drug war, from turf wars, higher crime, and a booming black market that poisons users, Bob Barr owes an apology. For every victim of local or state gun bans who is confused into thinking there is a "limited government" basis for those gun bans, Bob Barr owes an apology. For every gay whose lover died, who was denied their rightful estate (often by by bigoted family members) who lawfully violated their relative's wishes in the name of legalized theocratic bigotry and bureaucracy, Bob Barr owes an apology. For everyone of us with a gay family member, Bob Barr owes us an apology, for mixing his poisonous religious intolerance with our secular government, and forcing us to pay taxes to support inequality under the law.
After he apologizes and understands how very wrong he was, THEN, he can say he's seen the light, CHANGED, and become a libertarian.
Barr's "States' rights" argument has no merit. The tenth amendment can be argued over, and just like every amendment, it is misinterpreted by stupid scheming collectivists, ...and it is one of the more vague amendments (that is clear only to educated and logically-consistent historians, of which there are few).
The Libertarian Party position is crystal clear: The individual has rights, the government does _not_. The government is a service to the individual, and nothing more. The military may occasionally face a "trade-off" choice in defending one group of individuals over another. That is why there are objectivist scholars who understand the concept of individual rights, and lifeboat scenarios.
But Barr doesn't even disavow his former positions. Running him for president would be a disgrace to Ron Crickenberger, the LIBERTARIAN who cost Barr his seat in congress.
Barr may be a defector to the cause of liberty, and in time, he may eventually prove to be a big gun in the battle for more individual freedom. But let's let him rack up a body count for our army, before we trust him with the keys to the castle.
In the meantime, for those among you who want to see a real libertarian: http://www.rootforamerica.com or even http://www.votemary2008.com, for a more radical libertarian...
By comparison, you can see an anti-property rights drug warrior here: http://www.bobbarr.org/default.asp?pt=newsdescr&RI=858 , and note how very different the stances are to the two preceding websites.
Bob Barr may believe on some limits to government, and he may be a fellow traveler. ...But that doesn't make him a libertarian, and being a former congressman who lost his job because he was too dumb to understand how drug laws violated individual rights doesn't make him an asset to the LP.
I hope Bob Barr changes his ways, reads a lot of Ayn Rand, Lysander Spooner, Michael Shermer, Robert Heinlein, etc... and becomes a more philosophical libertarian. He may well pursue an intellectual path, and in time, might be a great defender of freedom.
Unfortunately, he is too new to the ideas, and his blog --and the village voice interview-- indicate that he is not yet ready to run for office as a big "L" Libertarian. Keep studying, Barr. Keep learning. Help other libertarians out with strategy, and maybe they'll help you with political philosophy that lays claim to the non-aggression principle.
...But don't run for President as a Libertarian in the year 2008. You're not "ready to represent". You still have too much prosecutor in you. You still don't "get it". Sit this one out, and I'll consider helping you get through the cliff's notes to "No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority".