The Barr Code

Considering that I’ve started several blogs (in various formats with various levels of success) in the past, it’s fun for me to watch a new blog take off. For the last few weeks, Bob Barr has been blogging over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution site and it’s been interesting watching that traffic grow.

So far, he’s covered issues ranging from telecommunications surveillance to surveillance and searches on Amtrak, warrantless searches, $300,000 toilets for the homeless to mandatory pet sterilization. With respect to pets, Los Angeles has just required pet owners to sterilize their dogs and cats:

Even if a pet owner has paid thousands for a pure bred cat or dog and does not wish to have the animal neutered, the recently enacted law requires them to do so. Only a limited category of pets are excluded from the Draconian ordinance, including law enforcement dogs, pets belonging to professional breeders, those that have competed in sporting shows or competitions, and seeing eye guide dogs. Similar legislation is pending at the state level in California, and undoubtedly if the legislation finds its way to Gov. Schwarzenegger’s desk, the Big Government Governor will sign it.

The comments are flowing on this one, a telling sign that the blog will continue to grow in readership.

Since Barr also frequently writes about Atlanta politics, I’m wondering about his opinion on the possibility of Clark Howard running for Mayor of Atlanta. I was driving the other day and heard Howard being interviewed by Sean Hannity. Howard evaded questions Hannity asked which might indicate some particular political ideology or party, but was firm in cutting both spending and taxes. Clark stated that he may seek the office, but also alluded to practical advice he has been given: The only way you will see your family again is when you look at pictures of them in your wallet.

I’ll see Barr next weekend, so I’ll be sure to ask him about his impression of Clark Howard.

Hannity has also been talking about changing his party registration from Republican to Conservative. I assume he means the Conservative Party of New York State.

When I lived in Georgia, the three local talk radio heavyweights were Neal Boortz, Sean Hannity and Clark Howard. While there is some controversy surrounding the topic, Boortz identifies himself as a member of the Libertarian Party. Hannity is (or is to be) a member of the Conservative Party and I’m not exactly sure where Howard stands, but it clearly isn’t within the mainstream of either dominant party.

As I listened to the program, Hannity was extremely critical of the GOP and has been critical of John McCain for some time. This also raises the question of how Hannity might feel about the increasing possibility of Bob Barr running as a presidential candidate.

44 Responses to “The Barr Code”

  1. Richie Says:

    http://www.bobbarr2008.com/

    Draft Bob Barr! Sign the petition!

  2. David Gaines Says:

    His position on required sterilization and required microchipping reminds of why I left the Libertarian Party years ago. The LP’s basic no-coercion philosophy ultimate forces its adherents into taking the most adolescent “I wanna do whatever I feel like, wah wah wah wah” position on every issue.

    Has Bob Barr ever worked in an animal shelter, gone on patrol with animal control officers, or worked on an animal rescue? I doubt it. The rest of us who have are sick and tired of having to spend (or, more accurately, waste) time, energy, and yes, your tax dollars, cleaning up the mess left behind by irresponsible dog/cat/ferret/rabbit/guinea pig owners.

    It is quite commonplace throughout the USA for adoptable cats and dogs at municipal shelters to be spayed or neutered as a requirement prior to adoption. It is increasingly common for dogs and cats to be required to be microchipped as a condition of pet ownership because municipal shelters are sick and tired of drowning in lost/stay animals which end up being euthanized…..all on YOUR tax dime, folks. And, miraculously, people haven’t given over their lives to fascism as a result.

    This is simple common sense. A dog owner demonstrates the personal responsibility of which libertarians claim to be so fond, so that the rest of the community doesn’t have to foot the bill for what results from his adolescent desire to have a pet but not take care of it. That is the impetus for these laws.

    Does it ever occur to Mr. Barr (whom I respect mightily for his positions on civil liberties issues) and other libertarians that these measures actually end up saving tax dollars?

  3. David Gaines Says:

    Wow, I need to proofread my posts…..in that third paragraph above, “lost/stay” should read “lost/stray.”

  4. Chris Moore Says:

    The rest of us who have are sick and tired of having to spend (or, more accurately, waste) time, energy, and yes, your tax dollars, cleaning up the mess left behind by irresponsible dog/cat/ferret/rabbit/guinea pig owners.

    Libertarians get awfully pissed (as do most other people) when you start claiming to know more about how to raise their pets than they do. There is not much of a jump from forced sterilization of animals to dictating the diet and excercise program of children.

    The measures on the table do not even necessarily promote more responsible pet ownership, their intended purpose. Just as handgun laws do not promote more responsible gun ownership. Why not just prosecute those people that ARE being irresponsible, or file civil actions?

    Does it ever occur to Mr. Barr and other libertarians that these measures actually end up saving tax dollars?

    Prove it. While you are at it, don’t forget to add in the cost of enforcing such assinine laws.

  5. Wes Benedict Says:

    If women weren’t allowed to vote, and if the government didn’t have laws against shooting trespassing dogs in the city limits, the stray dog nuisance problem would control itself very efficiently—nearly free of charge.

  6. Devious David Says:

    Clearly, the solution is to take civil and perhaps in extreme circumstances, criminal action against the irresponsible pet owners. What’s so hard to figure out about that?

    All these measures are just another excuse for the government to be in our business. And clearly, bureaucracies are fans of it, because they get to have their little fiefdoms to administer and expand. This isn’t at all about saving tax payers money. Not any more than saying that mandatory auto insurance is, which is a load of bull as well. It’s all about control, bureacratic olympics and political expediency.

  7. Fred C. Says:

    Sure, if you don’t mind granting breeders a monopoly on dogs and cats (with a nice exemption for the wealthy that like to run their racially superior überpets around closed courses), costing pet-owners money pre-emptively just in case their animal may one day be in a position to bone, and giving the state & local governments all the resources they need to track down your pet once they finally pass their “breed-specific” mass-culling legislation.

    Of course sterilization makes sense, and I’m not ignoring the massive stray problem, but these are the kind of the laws that fuck up things for everyone regardless of good intentions. I’m not looking forward to seeing how the LAPD or Animal Services ends up enforcing this when it kicks in.

  8. johncjackson Says:

    Surely the forced sterilization of humans is also libertarian, as it would probably save tax dollars.

  9. paulie Says:

    That’s sure to be coming next, along with of course the microchipping. How juvenile of us to want to stop that.

  10. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Has Bob Barr ever worked in an animal shelter, gone on patrol with animal control officers, or worked on an animal rescue?

    I don’t know about Barr, but I have done all those things. In fact, I founded a rescue organization and directed it for several years.

    The rest of us who have are sick and tired of having to spend (or, more accurately, waste) time, energy, and yes, your tax dollars, cleaning up the mess left behind by irresponsible dog/cat/ferret/rabbit/guinea pig owners.

    Yes, that’s no doubt true. But some of us who are sick of it do not look to government for solutions to our problems.

    One problem with sterilization laws is that they are unenforceable – people who are responsible would have their dogs sterilized or controlled by some other means anyway, and people who are not aren’t going to rush out because a law is passed. Another problem is that they will give cops yet another excuse to harass poor people – as if they needed another excuse.

  11. Dylan Waco Says:

    As tempting as it is to get into a tit-for-tat on animal ownership regulations, I’m not sure that was really the point of Mr. Gordons post. The point as I see it was that some rather prominent media figures are at least toying with the idea of political independence from the Republican plantation.

    I said this before on my blog and I’ll say it here. Barr is probably a better “protest” candidate for the talk radio jetset, than Paul could ever have been, because Paul is known as the “antiwar guy” and Barr is known (to them anyway) as the “get Bill Clinton guy”. With Obama as the likely Dem nominee, Pauls antiwar pull from the left would be diminished significantly (I think the rise of Obama and Huckabee hurt Pauls numbers more than anything his campaign did or didn’t do), and oddly enough I think as things stand now Barr MIGHT be a bigger vote getter than Paul could have been.

    That said, if the issue is building a broader movement, Barr is a MUCH less attractive candidate than Paul, which gets to the bigger point about Hannity and co. The problem they have with McCain,( as my friend The Southern Avenger has noted here http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A40406 ) is not his issues, its that he is seen as not sufficiently Republican. They will not stay on board, even if they throw a protest vote to a Barr candidacy in a race that may not be close (and make no mistakes about it..if it is a close race with McCain v. Obama, they will almost all endorse McCain). The appeal of Paul is that his constiuency is a huge cross section of people, who are internet savy and primarily young. They would be in it for the long haul…Hannity, Boortz, et all will not.

  12. Brian Miller Says:

    “The increasing possibility of Barr running as a presidential candidate?”

    C’mon Steve. Can the wishful thinking. You and I both know that Bob Barr has no intention of running for president, and he’s made all within earshot quite aware of that.

  13. David Gaines Says:

    >

    I never claimed to know anything about raising anybody’s pets. What the laws to which I was referring address are the social costs that irresponsible people leave for others to pay for/take care of. That behavior is exceedingly unlibertarian, unless something has changed drastically in the libertarian philosophy since I abandoned it.

    As for what it is about which libertarians get pissed, I’m well aware of that. I WAS one for a couple of decades. I was a fan of Francine Youngstein and was out petitioning for Roger McBride and Ed Clark years before most people ever heard the word “libertarian.”

    >

    I shouldn’t even have to point out that there is obviously a gigantic jump involved. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe there is a single locality in the USA that requires sterilization of companion animals that has subsequently undertaken to control, by law, the diet and exercise of children.

    Interestingly, though, anyone who sends his or her children to a public school does indeed have to put up with those dictates, to some extent. Of course, libertarians advocate the abolition of public schools so that takes care of that.

    >

    Because you only find out about the violation after the fact, after the social costs have taken their toll and the tax dollars have been spent to remedy the situation. The point of this and similar laws is to keep the community from having to bear the social costs of a community member’s behavior to begin with. Having been involved in these efforts, I can tell you that they become necessary in reaction to actual events, when nothing else works. In addition, prosecutions are labor-intensive and costly. Microchips and their implantation cost essentially nothing in bulk. In terms of public $$$ laid out, which would libertarians prefer?

    >

    Okay. For California, you could look at: http://www.ab1634.org/AB1634_essay_kellyb.php Here in Virginia, you can check with Virginia Voters For Animal Welfare (www.virginiavotersforanimalwelfare.org); they keep these kinds of stats and have been presenting them to just about everybody in the general assembly this month and last month who will listen.

    >

    Which is…....zero or close to it? Enforcement of required spay/neuter is unnecessary because you can’t get the dog or cat from the shelter to begin with absent the spaying or neutering. Enforcement of required microchipping does not involve the Pet Microchipping Police knocking on random dog owners’ doors, as hysterical libertarians and conspiracy theorists seem to think is or will be the case. It’s a secondary offense, same as with seat belt laws (another libertarian favorite), or at most requires passing a chip reader over your dog when you renew its license.

    My many years in the Libertarian Party taught me that your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. What separates adolescents from grownups is that grownups are aware of that. They try to protect people’s noses instead of trusting people not to hit them with their fists (so to speak). Wouldn’t you rather have a person deterred from letting his dog poop all over the sidewalk to begin with than have to deal with the problem post facto? The libertarian solution is to privatize all the sidewalks, defend all the private property with whatever firearms you can get your hands on (assault rifles, machine guns, bazookas, whatever you feel like…...hey, it’s a free country), and shoot any dogs (or people, for that matter…...they’re trespassing, after all) who cross the line. That’ll deter dogs from pooping on your sidewalk.

    I think most people feel that having a simple clean-up-after-your-dog-or-you-pay-a-$100-fine law in place is a little more rational way of maintaining a community.

  14. Steve Dasbach Says:

    Barr’s signature issues are privacy and in recent years the loss of civil liberties as a result of the “war on terror”. These are issues that cut across party and ideological lines (as demonstrated by Paul’s campaign), which make him a good choice for building the Libertarian Party.

    Barr would likely also attract conservative “McCain protest” votes, and it’s true that those voters would be much less likely to join the LP than those attracted by Barr’s positions on privacy and civil liberties.

  15. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Enforcement of required spay/neuter is unnecessary because you can’t get the dog or cat from the shelter to begin with absent the spaying or neutering.

    Yes, because everyone gets their dogs and cats from shelters.

    Ya gotta wonder where the shelters will be getting dogs and cats in this post-perfect sterilization world.

  16. Chris Moore Says:

    My many years in the Libertarian Party taught me that your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. What separates adolescents from grownups is that grownups are aware of that.

    You obviously did not learn that lesson very well. You are advocating laws that would directly impact the pocketbook of many responsible pet owners, who have never caused problems or increased costs to the taxpayer. Furthermore, you advocate laws that dictate to all pet owners what constitutes responsible pet ownership. If a pet owner does not neuter his/her dog and is caught, even if the dog and/or owner had added no cost, the laws you are advocating would result in a very real punch in the nose.

    So you’re claiming a right to not have stray dogs running around your property. To enforce that right, you choose to make laws that would affect many people who have never contributed to the stray dog population.

    I think most people feel that having a simple clean-up-after-your-dog-or-you-pay-a-$100-fine law in place is a little more rational way of maintaining a community.

    That is reasonable and there isn’t anything particularly un-libertarian about such a fine (for minarchists, at least). However, this is by no means analogous to forced sterilization laws. The laws being discussed are equivalent to fining the dog owner for not sewing his/her dog’s asshole shut before the dog ever poops on anyone elses lawn.

    Fine the dog owner whose dog keeps making stray dogs.

  17. Wes Benedict Says:

    It’s the barking and poop that bothers me the most, plus the occasional bite. I wouldn’t mind living in a privatized libertarian community that banned dogs 100%. No chips, no dogs, no poop, no barks, no bites.

    And the barking poop-lovers could have their community too.

    The problem arises when communities (called cities sometimes) annex the adjacent properties and impose their laws on them.

    Or something like that. I’m sure there are books and papers all about it. And I’m sure there’s a libertarian solution to annoying barking dogs.

  18. Dave Williams Says:

    LOL Wes…

  19. Stephen Gordon Says:

    C’mon Steve. Can the wishful thinking. You and I both know that Bob Barr has no intention of running for president, and he’s made all within earshot quite aware of that.

    C’mon, Brian. You probably know me well enough to know that I wouldn’t have made that statement lightly or without considering the implications of the precise wording I used.

    You are correct in that he did make that statement in the past. Since then, I’ve been with him at both conservative and libertarian events where a lot of serious people have been requesting that he change his mind.

  20. Steve Says:

    John and Paulie,
    I don’t think we have to worry about forced sterilization of humans just yet. Quite the opposite it seems to me. I just got my copy of the county Republican platform for debate at next week’s convention. Among the other highly offensive things is this little gem “We support family life and laws that support, define, and ENCOURAGE MARRIAGE between and man and a woman” [emphasis mine]. I choose to be single and childless and I have plenty of free-market alternatives to encourage me otherwise – family, friends, fellow church members. The last thing I need is my taxes funding a government agent to pay me a visit and say “c’mon there’s a nice looking girl about your age living down in the trailer court a few blocks away and you know we need more kids in the local school so the state will send us more money.”

  21. Steve Kubby Says:

    Tom Knapp has been advising me for over a year that Bob Barr was going to be running against me. “Impossible,” we told Knapp. “He’s making all the right moves to position himself,” replied Knapp. Judging from your most recent missive, it looks like the former drug warrior and a genuine drug war POW will be pitted against each other, one more time. That’s a contest that will fascinate the media and add real interest to the outcome of the Denver Convention. Has the LP started looking for someone to replace Barr as keynote speaker at the convention?

  22. Steve Says:

    Mr. Kubby,
    I’d rather the storyline be “Former drug warrior turned MPP lobbyist and drug war POW now united against overreach of state power”

    Our side won this round, sir, Barr looks like the real deal.

  23. Steve Kubby Says:

    I have met with Barr and I believe his conversion is real and that we ARE united against the overreach of state power. As a big tent libertarian, I have welcomed Barr to the LP. I was just speaking today to Jack Herer, the founder of the hemp movement, about introducing him to Barr when Jack comes to the convention this May.

  24. Deran Says:

    This is where libertarian capitalism falls flat. The logic that the animal is your personal property and so you can do as you like is absurd. By not sterilizing your pet, and if it breeds more animals, those feral or abandoned animals become an additional expense on society. Not to mention the suffering of the animals (but, I get the impression libertarian capitalism is pretty amoral? do what i want shall be the whole of the law, as it were?) Would the libertarian capitalist solution to just let the feral animals breed suffer and die?

  25. paulie Says:

    I’d rather the storyline be “Former drug warrior turned MPP lobbyist and drug war POW now united against overreach of state power”

    I sure hope so. If Barr decides to seek the nomination, I don’t think we can beat him. With apologies to due to Chris Bennett, whom I have already endorsed for VP, I would counsel Steve to run for VP if that happens.

  26. paulie Says:

    I don’t think we have to worry about forced sterilization of humans just yet.

    Maybe not yet. But I expect that if present trends continue, there will be an effort to forcibly sterilize a big chunk of the population due to the desire to reduce the population. At the same time, you are probably right, select groups of people will be strongly encouraged to breed more.

  27. paulie Says:

    This is where libertarian capitalism falls flat. The logic that the animal your kid is your personal property and so you can do as you like is absurd. By not sterilizing your pet kid, and if it breeds more animals grandkids, those feral or abandoned animals grandkids become an additional expense on society. Not to mention the suffering of the animals kids (but, I get the impression libertarian capitalism is pretty amoral? do what i want shall be the whole of the law, as it were?) Would the libertarian capitalist solution to just let the feral animals unapproved humans breed suffer and die?

    Fixed for you?

  28. paulie Says:

    Strikethroughs did not work. Use your imagination.

  29. Stephen Gordon Says:

    Testing on strikethough this.

  30. Stephen Gordon Says:

    Paulie—it seems to be working with the “strike” tag.

  31. Steve Says:

    I guess I should feel honored that as a nominal Republican for another week or so that I’m one of the select group encouraged to breed. Afterwards I’ll probably just be degraded for my selfishness in not participating in the neoconservative grassroots “outbreed the Muslims” program : )

  32. disinter Says:

    C’mon Steve. Can the wishful thinking. You and I both know that Bob Barr has no intention of running for president, and he’s made all within earshot quite aware of that.

    Yea, cuz if he did the ENTIRE Outright Liber-nazi organization would revolt – all 5 of them. The LP would be doomed!

  33. Hugh Jass Says:

    Barr-Kubby ‘08!

  34. Jared Says:

    That would be a great ticket.

  35. Freelancer Says:

    I heard Hannity announce about a week or two ago that he is no longer a Republican, but changed his registration to the Conservative Party of New York.

  36. Robert Milnes Says:

    Steve Kubby, there you go again. Saying how facinating you are to the media.

  37. Robert Milnes Says:

    Barr will speak at the LP convention & his CPAC buddy Ron Paul will speak at the GOP convention. In ‘08!

  38. Devious David Says:

    Barr/Kubby? That could be interesting and really work to build a big tent coaltion, perhaps.

  39. Fred C. Says:

    Barr/Kubby (in either order) would bring the most favorable media attention per Steve’s “Former drug warrior turned MPP lobbyist and drug war POW now united against overreach of state power” and a fair slice of anti-McCain votes.

    Barr/Paul (in either order) would bring in both the most votes and a biggest share of activists & volunteers (from the ranks of Paul supporters). However, it would receive as much bad media attention as good (all the same anti-Paul articles we’ve read already, with spoiler and sore-loser additives).

    Paul/Kubby (in either order) would bring in as many votes as Paul/Anybody, but Kubby might make it an easier sell here in CA.

    Yup, I’m still holding out hope that RP’s going to pull a Perot. I’m not going to be able to disabuse myself of that hypothetical for another few weeks.

  40. Robert Milnes Says:

    Fred C., I thought RP made it clear he was going on to the convention & running for Congress? You think he is going to go indy & go on to start a new party? It is ok to disabuse yourself.

  41. Fred C. Says:

    Milnes: Yup, he’s said as much. People change their minds all the time. The LP delegates are still going into the convention uncommitted, and his congressional seat’ll be pretty much decided Tuesday. There’s ample time to change course.

    Indy would be a waste of cash. A new party might be fun for a few cycles but would just take up the sliver of room between the CP and LP until the loud idiots take it over. I think Paul could wait til the week before the LP convention and still be the front-runner going in.

  42. Robert Milnes Says:

    “I think Paul could wait til the week before the LP convention and still be the front-runner going in.” Not if he pulls a Giuliani.

  43. Chris Moore Says:

    The logic that the animal is your personal property and so you can do as you like is absurd. By not sterilizing your pet, and if it breeds more animals, those feral or abandoned animals become an additional expense on society.

    Why not address my actual argument? Why not fine the irresponsible dog owners?

    You see, your statement has a lot of ifs in it. If the dog fucks. If the dog produces more offspring. If those offspring become abandoned and/or feral. Then, maybe, they will become an additional expense to society. Your laws attack individual dog owners BEFORE any of those ifs ever have the possibility of realization. It attacks dog owners that are responsible, and who do not let their dogs run free. Why not attack those owners whos dogs actually become an expense to society?

    Your assumption that dogs are not private property make your argument even more absurd. Do you have a right to dictate what humans get sterilized? If dogs have the same rights, then how do you see these laws as protecting of those rights? Do you claim dogs to be some sort of communal property whose fate may be determined via vote by that community? What if that community voted that dogs make excellent steaks?

  44. Chris Moore Says:

    You do not have a right to “do as you like” with your private property, no matter what some of the hedonists in the LP tell you. Very few libertarians claim such a right.

    However, so long as your actions cause no harm (physical or monetary) to others, you should be able to do as you like with your property. A case can be made against dog owners that are irresponsible. It is an abortion of that principle to claim that ALL dog owners that do not choose to neuter/spay are irresponsible, and therefore in need of punishment. This is logic equivalent to that used by gun control activists: some people use guns irresponsibly; therefore, all gun owners should be punished. Or, more specific: all gun owners that do not use gun locks are prima facie irresponsible.

Leave a Reply