To say that Wayne Allyn Root “remains politically ambitious” is a gross understatement. His pronouncements often give the impression that he views himself as the personal savior of the Libertarian Party. His ego may be exceeded only by his need for winning, which he pursues with all the rectitude of a TV pitchman or a used car salesman (no offense to the more forthright members of those professions).
It dismays me that I feel obliged to publicly talk this way about someone who is nominally a member of my own party, but as Miller observes, W.A.R. (as Root used to call himself before he unconvincingly adopted a more politically convenient stance on the U.S. government’s extra-national military interventions) is about promoting W.A.R. I don’t believe he ultimately gives a fig about the LP or the ideas for which it stands.
But while Root has done real damage to the Libertarian Party in his drive to mold it into a mini-GOP, the only place he is recreating libertarianism is in his own mind. “Ronald Reagan libertarian” is an oxymoron. Despite the late Republican president’s sometimes libertarian-sounding rhetoric, the size, scope and power of government grew significantly under his watch. Among other statist actions, he ramped up the Constitution-violating Prohibition of banned substances with his “War on Drugs” and ushered in the era of massive federal debt by essentially cutting a deal with congressional Democrats in which they got the social spending they wanted and he got the military spending he wanted.
Root isn’t stupid, but he’s hardly an intellectual giant like Murray Rothbard, despite his laughable claim elsewhere to be a “leading libertarian thinker”. When he argued that “States can do just as terrible things as a country can, but the difference is you can move with your feet,” I suspect it didn’t occur to him that he was making the case for the moral failure of his own xenophobic stance on immigration. The self-described “Reagan libertarian’s” unlibertarian opposition to freedom of movement would enable government oppression by preventing people from voting with their feet to get away from it.
I think that growing numbers of Libertarians rue the day that Wayne Allyn Root decided to use our party as a vehicle for his political opportunism, and wish he would just go away.