Pubdate: Mon, 01 Mar 2004
Source: Reason Magazine (US)
Copyright: 2004 The Reason Foundation
Author: Ethan Straffin
Bookmark: (Barr, Bob)
Bookmark: (Miller, Cheryl)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


"Bob Barr doesn't fit most people's image of a civil libertarian,"
writes Jesse Walker ("Bob Barr, Civil Libertarian," December).

I'll say.  He certainly hasn't struck the Libertarian Party that way.
In fact, the L. P. found Barr's record in Congress to be so odious
that it specifically -- and successfully -- targeted him for defeat in
his most recent race.  I do not dispute Walker's claim that Barr has
done his share on behalf of civil liberties.  Unfortunately, I have
also been forced to conclude at this point that his cheerleading for
the drug war has been so vociferous and so relentless that it more
than cancels out whatever good he has done.

Like many conservatives, Barr clearly believes that there should be a
"drug exception" to the Constitution and Bill of Rights and that this
exception can somehow be codified in laws that mete out punishment to
(illicit) drug users and traffickers with draconian efficiency while
leaving everyone else free to go about their business.  It's a big lie
and always has been.  That Barr believes it so passionately, even as
he talks up liberty and occasionally fights on its side, may make him
an interesting tragic figure.  But a civil libertarian?  No. Sorry,
but no.

Ethan Straffin, Palo Alto, CA
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