AB: One more question on the DOMA front, your running mate Bob Barr backed DOMA and then right before the nominating process, he flipped and said he opposed it. There was some talk on gay blogs, including my own, that the gay Libertarian leaders had come to Barr and perhaps twisted his arm and said “you have to switch positions.” Do you know what happened?
WR: Yeah, I don’t think anyone came to either of us and twisted our arms. I’ve spoken to Outright Libertarians on many occasions and you never have to twist my arms. I’m a man who believes in equal rights. I was in the gay pride parade in San Francisco three days ago, I was waving from a convertible to the crowd of hundreds of thousands of people and proud to do it, because I believe in equal rights and I’ve always believed in gay rights. I don’t think anyone had to twist anyone’s arm, in Bob Barr’s case or mine. Bob had made some dramatic changes in his life and in his political thinking and Bob has gone from being the anti-gay crusader and warrior and he has changed on a lot of issues, like civil rights. He’s seen the Libertarian light, and so have I! We’re both what you call Republicans in recovery!
AB: Health care has been a huge issue this campaign, as well as in past campaigns. You support a free market health care. I’m wondering how would you encourage somebody who is low income or below the poverty line, who has HIV/AIDS, to get the expensive, life-sustaining medicine that is necessary?
WR: Well, listen, there’s always going to be exceptions to the rule. What I said is that I don’t support one big blanket universal health care proposal. That I don’t support – where every person in America has every bill paid for by the United States government. I don’t think that makes sense, I don’t think that works, I think it takes away freedom, it takes away competition, it takes away choice. You know, go look at England, go look at Canada and tell me their system works. It doesn’t work. It’s broken. Whenever you universalize or government regulate health care, what happens is that doctors can’t make big money anymore, therefore the best and the brightest don’t become doctors. See, you can’t screw capitalism. It doesn’t work. As soon as you try to defeat capitalism, it finds a way to defeat you. The best and the brightest will become lawyers or they will become business people, but they won’t become doctors anymore. I don’t know about you, but if I was sick – whether it was AIDS or brain cancer – I want a guy who makes a million dollars a year, rather than someone who makes $80,000 a year, whose bills are topped by the government. I just think universal health care is a failure. I don’t have all the answers to every question, including what will happen to a poor person with AIDS. I don’t have the perfect answer for you right now except that the free market should basically take care of it.
AB: Can you please clarify your opposition to affirmative action, which you equate with “reverse racism.” While gay people aren’t part of the measure, certainly they’re impacted by the psychological political impact. Is it not best to have a completely diverse company, organization?
WR: I don’t think diversity in companies should be equated with affirmative action. Diversity is certainly a good thing, but government should not effectively mandate discrimination against some groups in the name of helping others. I whole-heartedly endorse diversity – without supporting affirmative action. It is in the best interest of companies to create a diversified work environment and workforce, and the winners in a free market capitalist system will be smart enough to foster diversity. But to ask government to forcibly require it is more akin to a Big Brother socialist system- and always results in market distortions and unintended negative consequences.
AB: Finally, what’s your stance on teaching about homosexuality in schools?
WR: I encourage choice and parental control in the education system. This topic is one reason why. I believe it is parents who should decide what is appropriate for their children to learn, rather than bureaucrats or teachers unions stuffing an agenda down our children’s throats. There certainly should not be any federal rules on what is said about homosexuality. Curriculums for public education should be a matter only for state and local governments to decide. I would therefore not take a position on what they should teach, since I am running for federal office. That’s a battle for politicians and activists on the state and local level. I believe government should not and cannot become the “thought police.” The gay community was angry and offended when government taught that homosexuality was “bad.” Now many in the gay community want to use the over-reaching power of government to teach that homosexuality is “good.” As a Libertarian, I don’t believe government should be in the morality business. It should not judge or teach that homosexuality is good or bad – the only proper job of educators is to present the facts and let each individual decide for himself or herself.