Sunday, September 18, 2005

Libertarians at Fighting Bob Fest

When we found that the Wisconsin Libertarian Party had a booth at Fighting Bob Fest -- a conclave of leftists from all over Wisconsin, we expressed surprise.

Those folks are anything but libertarian.

It appears that key figures in the Libertarian Party have now reached the same conclusion.

The Libertarians had a good experience in The Peoples’ Legislature -- run by the same people who ran Fighting Bob Fest -- back in January. One source within the Libertarian Party says that “One thing that impressed me was the promise of a guaranteed voice for everyone -- not necessarily agreement, but a voice.” Ed Thompson, outgoing Chair of the party and gubernatorial candidate explained to the Marquette Warrior Blog that he talked to about a thousand people at The Peoples’ Legislature and was “well received.”

But things weren’t so congenial at Fighting Bob Fest.

The booth seemed to be fun for members. According to a source:
This was the most active booth that I have ever manned, an 8 hour debate on gun control, health care, taxes, environment, etc.

Leftists flocked to our booth. They snapped up our literature. They got more than they bargained for.
But things turned sour when Thompson took the podium as the first afternoon speaker.

He took the standard libertarian positions on the “drug war” (against it) and medical marijuana (he said its time has come). That was fine with the crowd.

Then the issue of Madison’s smoking ban in bars came up, and Thompson supported individual freedom there too. He was met with a booming and sustained chorus of boos. His speech was so disrupted that he abandoned the last two pages of his prepared text and ended his talk.

A later speaker in the program even referred to Thompson’s support of “cancer sticks,” notwithstanding that Thompson had made it clear that he did not smoke and thinks smoking unhealthy.

Thompson concluded it “doesn’t seem to me that people were interested in hearing another point of view” and indeed that he felt like one of the “ancient Christians in the Colosseum.” Although not literally “shouted down,” Thompson was not granted toleration nor respect.

An e-mail to the Fighting Bob blog, asking for their response to the events surrounding Thompson’s speech, has gone unanswered.

We frankly think the Libertarians were naïve to ever hope for anything different.

Contemporary leftists are simply not libertarian. They are fundamentally authoritarian, wanting to protect personal liberty when they happen to think something (smoking pot, having an abortion) is OK, but utterly intolerant if somebody does or says something they disapprove of (driving an SUV, smoking in a bar).

Indeed, the blog associated with Fighting Bob Fest has called for us to be fired from Marquette and banned from Wisconsin Public Radio for being a “Republican Party mouthpiece.”

What were the libertarians thinking?


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