The Conscience of a Vulgar Libertarian

Wayne Allyn Root, taking advantage of the name identification he received from being a proud part of the worst thing that the Libertarian Party has ever done, has written a column for telling us why libertarians ought to vote for Mitt Romney. It’s very difficult to get through, especially given the wildly egotistical introduction (he even refers to himself as deserving the title “Mr. Libertarian”), but worth a read.

No, not for the reasons he wrote it. But because it’s an excellent example of what left-libertarians mean by the phrase “vulgar libertarian.”

Not a single one of Root’s complaints regarding Obama involves the state’s favored treatments of large businesses. In a particularly telling paragraph, Root states that:

This election is our LAST STAND to save America. Mitt understands that Obama’s rhetoric, constant threats against business, union favoritism, IRS intimidation, 60,000 new rules and regulations, stimulus to nowhere, never-ending unemployment and food stamps, the added taxes and regulations of ObamaCare, and the attempt to ban oil drilling and regulate the coal industry out of existence, have collectively ground the U.S. economy to a halt. We will not survive four more years of Obama as CEO of this economy.

While Root is concerned about all kinds of programs ostensibly designed to assist the poor or rein in big business, there is nothing in his list of horrors about state beneficiaries in high places. In Wayne’s world, the bailouts apparently never happened, insurance companies don’t benefit from people being literally forced to buy their product, and there’s no potentially ecologically devastating Keystone Pipeline involving massive violations of property rights via eminent domain or the threat of it. Nope, just a bunch of rich dudes trying to making an honest living while Obama ruins their party by oppressing them in order to serve the wishes of the (apparently pretty powerful!) poor.

Root seems psychologically incapable of even entertaining the idea that there might be systematic state distortions of markets that redistribute wealth upward rather than downward. When he says that “this election is about capitalism and Big Brother socialism,” you get the feeling that he thinks those are the only two alternatives of social organization.

He also parrots the typical conservative references to Jeremiah Wright, voicing fears that after being reelected, Obama will fully embrace his views. If this means that Obama will begin to agree that Christians should condemn the United States government for murdering innocent people, then perhaps I should drop my anti-voting stance and get out the vote for Obama.

Unfortunately, of course, this is frankly delusional on Root’s part. It is telling, though, that W.A.R. doesn’t even write one word about foreign policy, which should be one of the top (if not the top) issues for anyone whose views are remotely based around non-aggression. But hey, what does mass murder matter when there’s still food stamps?

That omission (as well as odd comments that do appear in the piece, like Root categorizing the President as “CEO of this economy”) might seem strange for a libertarian. Yet as he himself goes out of his way to remind us: “I’m not just a Libertarian. First and foremost, I’m a capitalist evangelist.”

If we were to remove the word “just,” I’d have to say that Root is certainly right in that self-description.

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