Story by Joseph Ford CottoJoseph Ford Cotto: During the years ahead, do you see America playing a larger or smaller role in the global economy?
What does it mean to be a libertarian nowadays?
There is no shortage of philosophical diversity among people who describe themselves as such, which is hardly surprising since libertarianism is not a belief system for those congenial to group-think. Nonetheless, when devout family values-oriented Christians and atheist gay pride marchers both claim the same label, it is understandable that many folks are left scratching their heads.
Few individuals have so much experience with both libertarianism as an idea structure and Libertarian partisan politics as Wayne Allyn Root. He is an author, talk radio host, entrepreneur, and, generally speaking, observer of the human animal. In 2008, he was the Libertarian Party's vice presidential nominee.
It can be argued that no other second-placeholder on the Libertarian ticket has ever done as much to publicize his party and its ideals as Root did. During Barack Obama's presidency, Root took voiced limited government concerns with gusto and ultimately decided that the Libertarian banner was not making a serious difference in American political life.
While supporting Mitt Romney and -- on an enthusiastic level -- Donald Trump, Root retained his libertarian values.
In a 2012 statement, which made clear his vacating Libertarian Party affairs, Root said he entered them as "a S.O.B. (son of a butcher), small businessman, home-school dad, Las Vegas oddsmaker, and political newcomer". Now, Root's recently published Angry White Male: How the Donald Trump Phenomenon is Changing America -- and What We Can All Do to Save the Middle Class has attained bestseller status.
Agree or disagree with his brand of 'Ronald Reagan libertarianism,' Root certainly has made a success of it.
He spoke with me about many issues pertaining to libertarianism and its role in American society. Some of our discussion is available below.
Wayne Allyn Root: Because of Obama and his horribly damaging socialist ideas…running an economy on the ignorant idea of “social justice” (how’d that turn out?)...we have a dysfunctional economy in decline. The American people are suffering. The American middle class is in despair, misery and malaise. All socialism ever creates is SHARED MISERY. I hope and pray President Trump can turn it around. I have confidence and faith he will. With President Trump at the helm, America can and will make a comeback. We will become a global leader again.
(Included below are two questions from an interview I did with Root during 2012, shortly after he left the Libertarian Party to rejoin the GOP. His answers remain timely and deserve serious consideration; irrespective of whatever views you hold.)
Cotto: In 2008, you were the Libertarian Party's vice presidential nominee. For a few years, you even seemed to be the frontrunner for the Party's 2012 presidential nomination. However, you eventually chose to endorse Republican Mitt Romney and return to the GOP. Why?
Root: The Libertarian Party is not going to win the Presidency, U.S. Senate seats, or a Governorship in my lifetime. Not in a political system like ours that makes it impossible for third parties to compete. And some of its views are just too radical and extreme to gain acceptance in America. The GOP was painted as extreme and demonized for wanting small tax and spending cuts. For wanting school choice. For wanting to reform Social Security and Medicare. I believe I can sell all of that as a future national GOP candidate.
But I’ll tell you what can never be sold…some “pure” Libertarian views…such as ending Social Security and Medicare, getting rid of public education altogether, legalizing heroin, open borders, ending America’s relationship with Israel. If you think those can be sold…I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn!
I believe the combination of strong principled conservative and Constitutional fiscal policies, combined with moderate common sense views on social issues can be marketed to America with great success. But always with personality!
Cotto: What, in your opinion, is the future for third parties in our country? Do they stand a reasonable chance of taking on the bipartisan establishment?
Root: Third parties have never succeeded in a big way in modern history. Maybe a Tea Party type combination of conservative and Libertarian can take hold, if things get much worse under Obama...and in response, the GOP under House Speaker Boehner continues to act weak-willed and agree to terrible compromises that damage the economy and betray the GOP's most loyal supporters (small business owners). Maybe. We’ll see how bad things get and what the GOP response will be. If the GOP stands up and defends small business and capitalism, I think it will continue to be the only game in town.