Mike Renzulli

More About: Philosophy: Libertarianism

The Conscience of a Libertarian?

I was at a bookstore the other day and during my browse came across a copy of Wayne Allyn Root's book The Conscience of a Libertarian. I decided to give it a look.
I only reviewed most of Root's proposals in the last half of his book and must admit to some preconcieved notions about him due to Wayne Root's L.P. Veep campaign, or lack thereof.
Overall, I was impressed with the manner in which Mr. Root conducted himself in terms of public speaking during the 2008 Libertarian Party National Convention. Wayne Root is a dynamic, articulate speaker and carries himself well in public.
However, his logic and approach with regards to ideas based on libertarianism needs serious work.
For example, on page 164 of his book, Root makes a state's rights argument for education. He states there should be school choice initiatives in addition to government schools.
Root, rightly, goes on to blame the school system, teachers unions and education bureaucracies for education's diminished quality on page 280 but, overall, stops short of supporting school-state seperation.
This despite the fact that, as stated on page 276, that he and his wife being able to, essentially, opt-out of Nevada's school system by homeschooling their kids.
On page 170, Root supports prohibiting states from levying income taxes, but originally states he supports a tax on each state in proportion to its population with each state deciding how to raise revenue.
Yet on page 240, as part of his Economic Stiumlus Plan, he supports a national flat-rate income tax with tax rates of fifteen percent on a person whose income is less than $500,000 a year and ten percent on a person who earns and income of $500,000 or more a year.
On Page 180, Root would support eliminating capital gains, interest and dividend taxes on U.S. citizens 55 and older.
He does, however, state on page 240 that he would phase out capital gains taxes in 5 years. But stops short of repealing all 3 taxes in their entirety.
He also expresses support of alternate voting systems, national referendums and would eliminate corporate welfare, government financed bailouts and earmarks.
Unfortunately, under Root administration, rather than being eliminated, foreign aid would be decreased. Two other major points of contention is his stance on the drug war and immigration.
On page 222 he states he would end illegal immigration but would allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. as long as they buy a $250,000 home.
In the same chapter, Root states he would reposition the war on drugs by legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes while states would set their own policies with regards to drugs.
The problem with the state's rights policies on issues such drugs, education or guns each American would have to worry about a patchwork of states who would or would not criminalize the usage or posession of said substances, firearms or wether or not a state would operate school systems including the machine politics, taxes and bureaucracies that come along with them. 
Root may also want to re-think what economic model he would use should he be elected to the Oval Office. On page 226 of his book he states he would institute the Nevada economic model.
However, a recent study done this year rates Nevada as one of the worst states for business. The state ranked 47th out of the 50 surveyed.
One has to wonder if Root would include Nevada's state and local regulatory commissions and boards in his design too.
Unfortunately, if Mr. Root's approach is more along the lines of what a Republican would stand for and I get the impression that he wants the Libertarian Party and movement to be a hybrid of or welded in some manner to the conservative movement.
The Libertarian Party and movement have never been a part of the conservative movement. Neither is libertarianism, which is the core philosophy of the L.P., a conservative philosophy. While, admittedly, the conservative movement is where the vast majority of our influence is held, that is only in terms of convenience and not out of any love of or alliance with conservatives or what they stand for.
What also concerns me about Root is what was reported about him by The New York Times in 2007 in which a reporter did an article discussing the culture of professional gamblers in Las Vegas.
In it, after being asked by the reporter is he felt guilty about making his money exclusively by gambling, Root responded by saying:
Guilt? I don't have any guilt. I think zero about why things are. I just accept what they are and find a way to take advantage of them.
With a statement like this, one has to wonder if Root is really looking to take advantange of the Libertarian Party and if he would use the platform of the Presidential nomination for self-promotion rather than to further freedom.
I also have ethical concerns about Wayne Root too.
According to Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, when Wayne Root ran for President in 2008, he sent a hatchet man and former LP employee whose debts to the party were eventually written off to the Michigan L.P. convention. Root's operative openly lied by publicly accusing Dr. Mary Ruwart of approving of pedophilia.
To this day, I do not believe Mr. Root has apologized to Dr. Ruwart for what his campaign operative did.
In general, and as a Libertarian, Mr. Root should understand that an individual's rights must be respected at all times.
Libertarianism is about individual rights and state governments can be just as tyrannical as the federal one. If not more so.
Like reality itself, individual rights are an absolute not to be violated. The proper function of government is to protect an individual's right to life, liberty and property so that they may peacefully pursue their own happiness.
However, if Root's book, contradictory statements in it and the above referenced 2007 New York Times article are any indication, people would be a means to his end when it comes to him being President.
The last thing the Libertarian Party needs is a candidate that gets the Presidential nomination for self-promotion and could care less about, or downplay, libertarian principles and the philosophy of libertarianism.
There is alot of time between now and the 2012 L.P. Convention. Time will tell if Root is serious about his libertarian awakening.

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