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The Triumphant Return from Iraq of The Once-Great Libertarian

Today’s Wall Street Journal as an OpEd by one of my oldest friends.

I got involved with the libertarian movement in 1972. One of the first libertarians I met and quickly became friends with was Bill Evers. In 1973 I initiated a faction fight in California’s Peace and Freedom Party (which I had been active in for a few years) between libertarians and socialists. By 1974 we had won a statewide primary fight and took control of the legal structure of the Party.

Bill Evers was one of the intellectual guiding lights for our successful faction. He co-wrote the 1974 platform of the California Peace and Freedom Party, which was unabashedly libertarian and specifically Rothbardian. Later that year, Murray Rothbard changed his earlier position and joined and endorsed the young Libertarian Party (LP).

At the 1975 national LP convention, Murray Rothbard and Bill Evers rewrote the party platform. The essential hardcore elements of the Rothbard-Evers platform continue today, partly due to LP rules which make it extremely difficult to change platform planks.

In 1978, Justin Raimondo, Bob Costello, and I formed the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus (LPRC) to continue to move the LP toward more principled stands, with a central focus on foreign policy. Shortly after the formation of the LPRC, Bill Evers joined and urged Murray Rothbard to do the same. We expanded the LPRC Central Committee to include Bill and Murray. Bill’s friends Colin Hunter and Scott Olmsted soon joined the Central Committee.

For the next few years (also the heyday years of the LP), the LPRC grew and gained influence within the LP. In 1983 the LPRC dissolved after the Central Committee split over the choice of a Presidential nominee for the LP. At the time, Bill Evers attacked Raimondo and me for "selling out" by supporting the Cato Institute-affiliated candidate, Earl Ravenal, over the "hardcore libertarian" choice of David Bergland.

During his involvement with the LP, I remember Bill Evers as Murray Rothbard’s closest associate, practically joined at the hip. The pair were explicit anarchists and proud enemies of the state.

In the 1990s Bill became a Republican and began his campaign to get a "high" government job. Bill was largely unsuccessful, landing only a low-level advisory position, rather than the assistant cabinet status he has been seeking, with a focus on the federal and California departments of education, while working at the Hoover Institution. The War on Terror changed everything, including for Bill. There was now an important connection (for the Empire) between the Department of Education and the Pentagon. Bill, with his unrivaled expertise in foreign affairs, soon became a more valuable asset.

In August 2003, Hoover announced that Bill was appointed senior adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Education. Actually, he would be working for the Pentagon via the Coalition Provisional Authority. Bill returned last month to Hoover as a hero, with his political future much brighter. In today’s article in the Wall Street Journal, Bill describes how successful the Pentagon has been at restoring public eduation in Iraq.

When Bill ran for Congress in 1982, he called for withdrawal of all US forces from around the world. He even made a point of calling for the abolition of the Marine Corps, in a challenge to his opponent, noted antiwar Republican (and ex-Marine) Paul McClosky.

I don’t know when Bill became pro-war, but I understand that he was a strong advocate of the invasion of Iraq, egging on the Stanford College Republicans to support the war.

Is Murray Rothbard rolling over in his grave?

Antiwar.com’s New Look

This week we begin switching over to our new look. Eventually, we will also have better archive searching as our database is built.

Please let us know what you think, and let us know about any problems or suggestions you have for us as we conduct the changeover. Please write to me.

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Clarification from an Anarcho-Hawk

In an earlier post (now corrected), I stated that Tim Starr is “a San Francisco Libertarian Party member who is a self-proclaimed anarcho-hawk who advocates the elimination of government, except that as long as government exists, it should focus on wiping out radical islamists around the world.”

Tim Starr has written to me to correct and clarify his positions. In fairness, I have corrected the original post and post his email to me here:


1) I am not and never have been an SFLP member (I live in Berkeley), although I went to many of their meetings in the mid-1990s and belonged to the California and National LP for several years. I let my membership lapse due to dissatisfaction with the campaigns of LP Presidential candidate Harry Browne in 1996 and 2000. At the time, my concerns about him had nothing to do with foreign policy, although I have disagreed strongly with his foreign policy statements since 9/11/01.

2) I do not advocate “wiping out radical islamists around the world.” That criterion is both too broad and too narrow. It is too broad because there is no need to wipe out “radical Islamists” so long as they confine themselves to peaceful persuasion and other forms of consensual action. It is too narrow because there are other threats to American lives, such as North Korea’s nuclear program.

3) My position is not that the US government ought to pursue the foreign policy goals I think correct “as long as it exists.” My position is that it ought to pursue those foreign policy goals as long as there is no better non-governmental alternative. In the absence of such an alternative, the US government must protect us from being mass-murdered by Islamo-fascist terrorists.

Libertarian Party Hawks Form Group to Push for a “Powerful Military”

From the January issue of the national Libertarian Party News (not yet posted on their website):

LP Hawks Start ‘Fight for Liberty’ Caucus

A Washington state Libertarian Party member has helped found an organization of “libertarian hawks” that will encourage the LP to support a more aggressive defense policy against terrorists.

The group, Fight for Liberty, “recognizes the need for a powerful military, whether private or state, to vanquish the terror movement,” said Kevin Bjornson, an LP Life Member and former chair of the West King County LP.

The group supports a “victory over terrorism,” and opposes Libertarians who would “shrink the U.S. military to dangerous weakness,” he said.

The current LP platform, which calls for a non-interventionist foreign policy, the withdrawal of American military troops stationed abroad, and an end to foreign aid, is either “insanity or merely ridiculous,” said Bjornson.

Fight for Liberty has passed a six-point program that advocates allowing Iraqis to have AK-47s, privatizing the Iraqi Oil Industry, legalizing drugs for U.S. adults, charging allies for NATO-type defense services, preventing the “theocratic/terror state of Iran” from developing nuclear weapons, and encouraging the “establishment of secular, rational government[s]” around the world.

Bjornson said Fight for Liberty will post foreign policy analyses, offer speakers for libertarian supper clubs and conferences, and serve as a “central posting board” for hawkish libertarians.

(bold type added for emphasis)


One of the early members of the new group is Tim Starr, a (now-former) San Francisco Bay Area Libertarian Party member (an “anarcho-hawk”) who advocates having the government pursue an interventionist foreign policy until it is abolished.