Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Consciences of the Critics

Independent Political Report has been running and/or excerpting and/or linking to a number of reader reviews of Wayne Allyn Root's recent campaign book, The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts.

While there's certainly some overlap between IPR's readership and KN@PPSTER's, I figure that overlap isn't total and that it's worth providing KN@PPSTER readers an organized set of links to these reviews, which range from exceptionally laudatory to extremely negative. So, by author in alphabetical order (I'm linking to the IPR article, which isn't always the actual review):

John Hospers
Steve Kubby
Peter Orvetti
George Phillies
Eric Sundwall
Richard Winger

I've read parts of the book in (Internet-enabled) excerpt, and have participated in discussions/comments on the above reviews. If anyone wants a full review from me, feel free to endow the KN@PPSTER Chair of Wayne Allyn Root Studies: The book is item #7 on my Amazon.Com wish list. [Update, 09/10/09: My understanding is that the aforementioned chair has been endowed by Jeremy Young of Progressive Historians. Once the book arrives, I'll set aside the first available bloc of time to read and review it. That review may appear here, or at a site of Jeremy's choosing -- I'll make sure you know about it either way, of course]

Until and unless someone wants to fund a full review by this here ordained minister and Doctor of Letters, I'll stick to a very limited and positive analysis, as follows:

- According to Amazon, the book weighs in at 400 pages. It therefore presumably lays out Root's political platform/program in considerable detail. That's a good thing. The guy's running for president. Support him or oppose him, but don't claim that he hasn't put his cards on the table for full evaluation.

- Don't accuse Root of being a sore winner. He barely edged out Steve Kubby for the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential nomination in 2008, but in this book he devotes four laudatory pages to Kubby's experiences as a medical marijuana patient and political prisoner.

- Without having read the whole book I can't say whether or not Root completely "gets it" on foreign policy yet, but the excerpts I've read constitute cause for optimism on that count. In several passages, for example, he alludes to the power of the "defense" lobby and its grip on government spending.

That last bit is a big one. Linking military adventurism abroad to big government at home is key to justifying a non-interventionist foreign policy. Hell, might as well quote myself here, from the foreign policy chapter of my own forthcoming campaign book:

The first and most important thing to understand about how foreign policy drives domestic politics is this: Since at least as early as World War II, the primary function of government in the United States has been to transfer money from the pockets of the American taxpayer to the bank accounts of what President Dwight D. Eisenhower called the Military-Industrial Complex.

I'm not sure Wayne takes it that far in The Conscience of a Libertarian, but at the very least he's grappling with the issue.

With nearly three years to go until the Libertarian Party chooses its 2012 presidential nominee, Wayne has made his case at length and in detail. That's laudable -- it gives the party three years to weigh his positions, and it puts him in the position of having to defend those positions or, should he change his mind, explain why. For that alone, he deserves congratulations.

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