IndyTruth Blog
Barr is no enemy of racists, but perhaps of libertarians 
Tuesday, July 8, 2008, 11:43 PM - Elections, Opinion
Posted by Administrator
The Libertarian Party's presidential nominee Bob Barr issued a press release on July 4 saying,

"Today, as we celebrate our freedom and independence, we should stop and give thanks to God for the life and work of Jesse Helms. As a nation we are stronger and the world is freer for his commitment to liberty."


It is understandable to express condolences when a notable person dies. For example, when President Ronald Reagan died, many wonderful things were said about him by people all over the country. However, the situation for Jesse Helms is very different. In the case of Reagan, there were many positive things to focus on. Reagan ran a campaign focused on restoring personal and economic freedom. (I attribute the failures of his administration to the neoconservative take-over of his staff.) In the case of Mr. Helms, one has to dig pretty deep to find positives. Here is the first one Barr brought up:

"As President’s Reagan’s right hand and ally, he helped bring down Communism so that nations might grow and flourish in freedom."


Only Republicans try to argue that Reagan brought down Communisim. Communism defeated itself. No Senator or even President can be given credit for that.

Barr goes on,

"He was a stalwart ally of freedom fighters around the globe, knowing that we are all diminished if we allow fascism to flourish."


G.E. wrote in the libertarian blog Last Free Voice that Helms was "a hardcore interventionist. He had ties to Salvadorian death squads and was an outspoken supporter of fascist dictator Pinochet of Chile."

Finally, Helms was an outspoken racist. In 1950, he said in opposition to a Democratic primary candidate, "White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races."

Thirteen years later, he said of civil rights protestors, "The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that’s thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men’s rights."

In 1983, he opposed making Martin Luther King a national holiday on the grounds that King has "communist ties."

I find it puzzling and disturbing that Barr has called on his Libertarian supporters to "stop and give thanks to God for [Helms'] life and work." I understand Barr's desire to pay his respects to a lost friend, but the way he went about it is unusual. Were these two false claims the best thing he could come up with shed a positive light on the life of Jesse Helms?

This is also not the first time that Barr has associated himself with racists. In 1998, Barr spoke at an event for the Council of Conservative Citizens. A group of about 15,000 members which the Anti-Defamation League describes as "essentially a descendant of the white Citizens’ Councils that formerly opposed integration in the South."

Facing criticism for this speech later, Barr claimed that he did not know the CCC was a racist organization until he witnessed a discussion while he was at the event. However, Barr admitted that he was given some information from them beforehand. I find it hard to believe that introductory materials to the CCC would leave out the organization's Statement of Principles, which includes the following:

(2) We believe the United States is a European country and that Americans are part of the European people. We believe that the United States derives from and is an integral part of European civilization and the European people and that the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character. We therefore oppose the massive immigration of non-European and non-Western peoples into the United States that threatens to transform our nation into a non-European majority in our lifetime. ... We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called “affirmative action” and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.


In a previous article, I complimented Barr on his frequent, provocative press releases. I felt that he was doing a good job of getting attention, discussing strong issue points, and criticizing his opponents through these. The Helms release has reversed what little effort Barr has given to maintaining libertarian support.

Many libertarians are outraged at Barr's statement about Helms. It is the icing on top a cake of disappointment felt by many libertarians. Respected LP members such as Chris Bennett have left the party, and LNC delegates such as Doug Craig have expressed regret for having voted for his nomination. Many libertarians, including myself, consider Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin and Boston Tea Party nominee Charles Jay to be more libertarian choices than Bob Barr.

The members of the "Party of Principle" will not abandon principle in the name of the party. I offered Barr a clean slate when he was nominated, expecting him to run a libertarian campaign, and the most successful campaign that the LP has ever seen. Barr is instead running a conservative campaign. Barr loses a libertarian vote with every conservative vote he gains from anti-libertarian statements like the one he made this Independence Day.
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