Mary Ruwart, the Libertarian Party's frontrunner for the LP presidential race, has been under attack for a set of answers she provided to one of a number of questions outlined in her old Short Answers to the Tough Questions book that was published by her publisher Sunstar Press in 1999.
What prompted this attack on Mary and her character was an answer to a question she provided in her book under the section of "Childrens' Rights." In a blog post from Third Party Watch, in which an unidentified poster (thought to be a Bob Barr supporter assuming two different yet concealed names such as Ruwarchy! and Lifemember) began to attack LP presidential frontrunner George Phillies for his defense policy and then proceeded to attack Ruwart for the following answer to a question in her short book (the book was published nine years go for anyone who's dying to know).
The following question-and-answer exchange went like this:
How can a libertarian argue against child pornography?
Ruwart: Children forced to participate in sexual acts have the same rights and recourse as a rape victim. We can and should prosecute their oppressors.
Children who willingly participate in sexual acts have the right to make that decision as well, even if it’s distasteful to us personally. Some children will make for choice is just as some adults do in smoking and drinking to excess; this is part of life.
What we outlaw child pornography, if the prices paid for child performers rise, increasing the incentives for parents to use children against their will.
Even worse, the LP's national executive director Shane Cory issued a press release calling for more federal intervention in the matter of child pornography and urged local and state officials to work with the feds to convict would-be child pornographers and molesters.
The release, as quoted, said:
The Libertarian Party is calling for increased coordination and communication between federal and state law enforcement agencies in order to help to apprehend and convict child predators and those who engage in child pornography.
Even Corey has admitted that his press release on kiddie porn was a hit piece implicitly aimed at Ruwart. Well, duh! Wasn't that the point to begin with? His confession is in the form of a rant in the matter:
There is not a chance in hell that I’m going to smile and say “have a nice time” when my eight year-old son walks out of my front door for a date with a 50 year-old pedophile based upon his own supposed decision.
Forgive me for being so upset and so “American” about this, but I believe that our government does serve a purpose and at its core it is to protect the rights of the individual. That includes those who cannot help themselves.
I find it deeply troubling that Mary and others would dance around this issue with theoretical nonsense. This goes far beyond what will happen in Denver and her being a current presidential candidate. Significant, long-term harm may come to our party because of the anarchistic views of someone the media will portray as a party leader.
I have discussed this with our chair and in no uncertain terms, I will not defend Mary Ruwart or her stances to the media. I am not an anarchist hiding under the “purist” label, I’m a libertarian. I believe in a small, efficient government that both respects and protects our liberties.
In the meantime, I will be doing what I believe is my obligation to the party and our members by going on the offensive to protect us from further fallout. Later today we may issue a statement addressing the issue of child pornography and will do more if necessary.
Furthermore, an LNC member by the name of Stewart Flood introduced a proposed resolution that calls for a federal war on child pornography:
WHEREAS government has a proper role defending the rights of individuals, including those who cannot help themselves; and
WHEREAS government has a proper role in pursuing, prosecuting and punishing criminals who violate the rights of others; and
WHEREAS such punishment tends to serve as a deterrent against these criminal acts; and
WHEREAS young children are not capable of informed consent and require protection from those who will act as predators toward them; and
WHEREAS sex between adults and young children is a particularly heinous crime and pornography using children is inherently abusive; and
WHEREAS the government’s focus on victimless crimes diverts attention and valuable resources from crimes against young children;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Libertarian National Committee calls on state governments to divert resources from victimless crimes and vigorously enforce laws that prohibit the production and distribution of pornography involving young children and pursue adults who sexually exploit children.
All of this was actually done to sandbag a candidate who is not even running on an issue that did NOT become an issue until her detractors made it an issue.
Even Libertarian luminaries like Angela Keaton (of the Liberated Space on Blog Talk Radio) and LP founder David Nolan condemned the attacks.
Here's what Nolan had to say about the entire affair:
Well, things have certainly taken a turn for the weird in the last 24 hours. As Peter Orvetti notes, the focus of the LP Presidential contest has suddenly shifted away from all the issues that are really important (the economy, the growing curtailment of civil liberties, foreign policy, bloated and corrupt government) to a third-tier fringe issue: child pornography. Why? Who does this benefit? As far as I know, nobody in the LP (including the many declared candidates for President) is in FAVOR of adult/child sex or child pornography. The question is, how does society best protect its members from these bad things? And the LIBERTARIAN answer is 'rarely, if ever, by giving more power to governments, especially at the Federal level.'
I am appalled at the national HQ staff putting out a press release that implicitly disowns one of our candidates over such a relatively minor issue. First, because that’s not a proper role for paid staffers to assume, and second because several other candidates have taken overtly anti-Libertarian stances on a number of issues, and none of them have been shot at by the national staff for doing so. This whole fiasco just reeks of cronyism and witch-hunting. Our presidential nominee will be chosen by the delegates to the national convention in Denver, and attempts by the LNC or (especially) the office staff at LPHQ to subvert that process are despicable.
Because of these idiotic and juvenile attacks, I, like Free Talk Live's Ian Bernard, do not want to have anything to do with the Libertarian Party. Because of what happened and my non-stop, disillusionment with the Party's national staff, I announced on the air that I repudiated the LP and and refuse to be associated with clods like Neal Boortz and Glenn Beck who erroneously call themselves libertarians.
More to follow in the days to come....