Is He Good for the Libertarians?

Why some libertarians don't want to join the Ron Paul revolution.

Republican congressman from Texas (and 1988 Libertarian Party presidential candidate) Ron Paul seems to be doing pretty good for libertarianism these days. He's gotten more press exposure and more Internet buzz than any libertarian movement political figure, and has done so outside the dead-end third party context. A surprising amount of the attention has even been respectful and positive—and for a candidate as ignored and excluded as Paul, any press short of a full-on hostile shredding is good news.

Sure, he still has zero traction (well, 2 percent) in conventional polling. And any respectable reporter would sooner fail to check whether his mother loves him than neglect to mention the apparently settled fact that Paul has no chance of winning the nomination.

But some Ron Paul Revolutionaries insist that the mainstream media are putrid corpses in brackish water, and conventional polls are for losers who still answer their landlines. Paul's support—by more postmodern measures—continues to grow. He's still the king of meetup.com, which does generate real-world crowds, and even real-world food drives. He's also the political king of YouTube (22,157 subscribers). We won't find out for months if these netroots measures mean anything in electoral terms. And that's just fine for a thrifty message-oriented candidate, who psychically benefits from running (and builds up more fundraising resources for any future effort) even if he fails utterly with vote totals.

This past Sunday he hit a political respectability jackpot, with a long, thorough, serious, and critical-but-respectful profile in the New York Times Magazine. Most of the Ron Paul press tells, however questioningly, of a politician dedicated to severely limited government that doesn't want to interfere in our personal lives, doesn't want to investigate us and control us, wants to abolish the income tax, and wants to bring troops home and dedicate our military only to actual national defense—a politician against the federal drug war, against the Patriot Act, against regulating the Internet, and for habeas corpus.

Still, many libertarians are either ambivalent or actively unhappy with Paul's campaign and the public attention it has gotten. They feel either that Paul is not libertarian enough in all respects, or are unhappy with linking libertarianism to certain aspects of Paul's rhetoric, focus, or past. You'll hear: If, after this campaign, whenever anyone thinks of libertarian, they think, oh, you are like Ron Paul?—will that be good for libertarianism in the future? And would you feel personally comfortable with it?

One prominent version of Libertarian Ron Paul Anxiety comes via noted and respected anarcho-legal theorist Randy Barnett in The Wall Street Journal. Barnett has decades of hardcore libertarian movement credentials behind him and is one of Lysander Spooner's biggest fans. (Spooner, the 19th century individualist anarchist, famously declared the state to be of inherently lower moral merit than a highway bandit.) But the mild obstetrician, family man, and experienced legislator Ron Paul is too radical for Barnett in one respect—the respect that is key to most of Paul's traction to begin with: hisconsistent, no-compromise, get-out-now stance against the war in Iraq.

Barnett is eager to dissociate libertarianism writ large from Paul's anti-Iraq War stance, claiming that many libertarians are concerned that Americans may get the misleading impression that all libertarians oppose the Iraq war—as Ron Paul does—and even that libertarianism itself dictates opposition to this war. It would be a shame, he suggests, if this misinterpretation inhibited a wider acceptance of the libertarian principles that would promote the general welfare of the American people.

This is doubly curious. First, because opposition to non-defensive war traditionally is a core libertarian principle (to begin with, since it inherently involves mass murder and property destruction aimed at people who have not harmed the people imposing the harm) and is, in fact, the position of the vast majority of self-identified libertarians. Second, why would one worry that libertarianism can be damaged by an association with an idea that is in fact immensely popular? And, to boot, a popular position in which Paul has unique credibility for being right, and right from the beginning, unlike pretty much every other candidate.

Paul does, though, believe some things many libertarians don't, and some libertarians think these issues are so important that his libertarian credentials should be revoked. For example, he'd like to eliminate Roe v. Wade and would be happy to allow states and localities to ban abortion—and personally considers abortion a moral crime.

But this position, however hard to explain to one's liberal friends who ask a libertarian about this Ron Paul guy, doesn't place him outside the libertarian pale. If you see a living human fetus as a human life the same in morally significant respects as any born human, then supporting a ban on it is as consistent with libertarianism as laws against murder.

On trade, Paul takes a position that is perfectly proper from a radical, no-compromise libertarian position. That is, he's for free trade, but against government managed trade agreements. In practice, though, this seems to block off the only way tariff reductions and eliminations actually happen in the real world, a politically tone deaf stance that makes the perfect the enemy of the good.

When it comes to immigration, Paul believes the federal government can legitimately defend the border, and thinks that, in a world of government benefits and minimum wage laws, it is appropriate for government to do so stringently. I strongly disagree with how border defense has been done in practice, as do most libertarians. But as Paul told me, it doesn't mark him as essentially unlibertarian, but rather falls within a potentially legitimate set of actions for non-anarchist libertarians who do believe in the nation-state.

Paul's concern with immigration is of a piece with his right-populist strains, an obsession with "sovereignty" that feeds his fevered opposition to international trade pacts and the UN. Combined with his strong emphasis on trash-talking the Federal Reserve and advocating a return to gold, it's the sort of thing that strikes many other libertarians as, if not inherently unlibertarian, sort of cranky and kooky, and that led me to note to The New Republic that many libertarians (though not me) think of Paul as a bit of a yokel.

And a yokel with some ugly things in his past that no libertarian wants to be linked with. As The New York Times Magazine, among others, reported, Paul's newsletter during his years out of Washington contained some ugly race-baiting comments about the overwhelmingly criminal nature of black males in D.C. Paul says the comments were written by a staffer, but he's refused to say who and hasn't gone through any serious garment-rending and regret about it, though he did disavow them.

Some unhappy with Paul's presence in the GOP race are just Libertarian Party partisans who think no good for political liberty in America can arise from someone flying under the GOP flag. But LP-associated blogger Thomas Knapp presented a more interesting and detailed version of why Paul and the Paul movement can't do good for libertarianism (which he framed, unfortunately, in a jokey 9-11 Truther baiting frame, in which he seemed to be saying that because the GOP will benefit in the long run from Paul's campaign, that Paul was recruited for the task by Karl Rove).

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  • ||

    DONDERRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • ||

    So I'm not a libertarian.

    But if I was writing a piece about why some libertarians might now like Ron Paul, maybe the history of statements about scary black people gets into the column, somewhere.

    Even if you just want to argue that those were the product of some ex-staffers. Lord knows he's got some weirdos who used to work for him.

  • robc||

    Joe,

    I dont think anyone changed opinions about Paul over that column issue though. People who support him, like me, know its bogus and doesnt represent his views. People who dont support him have other reasons not to support him.

  • ||

    I used to think of myself as a libertarian untill I stated to meet some; most were fruits, nuts and flakes. Ron Paul, imo,fits into the afore mentioned class. But man, his supporters are way out there in left field. They just don't love the NAACP the way joe does.

  • robc||

    joe,

    I just read the column (well, not all of it yet). The column is mentioned. Did you read a different one or did you do like me and comment without reading first?

  • ||

    If anything, the New York Times Magazine article showed that libertarians have very little to fear concerning the racist newsletter comments. The reporter barely mentioned it, concluding that the style was entirely different from anything Ron Paul has ever written, as is obvious.

    As for the money Paul has supposedly drained from its "rightful" home in the campaign treasuries of Libertarian Party candidates -- isn't that up to the individual donors to determine? Didn't they already vote with their checkbooks and credit cards, for the candidate and the strategy they find most effective?

    I disagree with Ron Paul on immigration, but if adopted the traditional libertarian position, he really would have no chance to win the Republican nomination, instead of a small and growing one.

    The real curiosity of the campaign so far is how little the national media have raised the drug war issue. Ron Paul hasn't made it a major part of his campaign, but doesn't hesitate to answer questions about it, in a libertarian manner. Has the Establishment media realized that it is now a politically popular position, one they don't want to publicize? Or is it not just a big national issue, like the war and taxes?

  • ||

    Ron Paul makes libertarians uncomfortable on various levels, not all of which are philosophical or grounded in political pragmatism.

    The simple fact is that all voters like to associate with and support candidates similar to themselves, and libertarians are no exception.

    Ron Paul, a 70 year old, white, drug-eschewing, farm-bred, Christian, monogamous, flag-waving Texan, is miles away in lifestyle and outlook from much of the libertarian movement. Ideologically, he's purer than most LP presidential candidates, and he's maintained that purity at a much higher personal cost. I certainly hope this is the main issue, but time will tell.

    Will the majority of people who love liberty be able to overcome these surface misgivings? The answer will be interesting.

  • Another Phil||

    joe,

    He did mention it:

    Paul's newsletter during his years out of Washington contained some ugly race-baiting comments about the overwhelmingly criminal nature of black males in D.C. Paul says the comments were written by a staffer, but he's refused to say who and hasn't gone through any serious garment-rending and regret about it, though he did disavow them.



    Granted, he didn't call it the foremost deal-breaker, but he didn't ignore it either.

  • ||

    Ron Paul has done more for the Libertarian movement than any other candidate.

    Ron Paul will win!

    A true Patriot defends freedom, liberty, and the Constitution.

    Ron Paul is 1st in YouTube, Meetup, MySpace, Technorati, Alexa, Google, etc. The old media is just too slow to realize what is happening.

    Ron Paul places 1st or 2nd in every straw poll, debate, and active participation survey.

    Dr. Ron Paul has the most contributions from U.S. military personnel & veterans above all other candidates. So support the troops and vote Ron Paul!

    Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were doing about the same in the 'Scientific Polls' at this stage in their elections. 'Scientific Polls' at this stage only measure name recognition. Over the next six months Ron Paul will gain name recognition. Most people who learn about Ron Paul become major supporters.

    70% of Americans want us out of Iraq and want change.

    Ron Paul is only republican candidate against the war.

    Ron Paul only needs about 30% vote from republicans sick of the war and abuse of powers to win in republican primaries.

    Dr. Ron Paul is the man of integrity and courage that America needs at this time.

    "Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." John Quincy Adams

    We are making history - Vote Ron Paul!

    Visit YouTube and search Ron Paul to learn more…

    Join the Revolution -- Restore the Republic -- Save the Constitution!

  • ||

    I would think that supporting the elimination of Roe V. Wade would be the more Libertarian stance. After all, it wouldn't make abortion illegal, it just turns the issue back to the states to decide individually.

  • ||

    and libertarianism tarnished forevermore.

    Actually, everything previous to this sentence in that paragraph sounded like a vast improvement over the current state of things.

  • ||

    As for the money Paul has supposedly drained from its "rightful" home in the campaign treasuries of Libertarian Party candidates -- isn't that up to the individual donors to determine? Didn't they already vote with their checkbooks and credit cards, for the candidate and the strategy they find most effective?



    I've noticed that some of the biggest complainers about this are LP candidates with a history of underperformance and their hired consultants. This is probably a total coincidence.

  • robc||

    Ron Paul, a 70 year old, white, drug-eschewing, farm-bred, Christian, monogamous, flag-waving Texan, is miles away in lifestyle and outlook from much of the libertarian movement.

    Other than age and little details that a pretty good descripton of me.

    37, city-born to 2 farm-bred parents and Kentuckian. Thats about the difference. Does lifestyle choices really matter when you (generally) have the same political beliefs?

    I would vote for a black, pot-smoking, urban, atheist, womanizing, New Yorker if he agreed with me on most issues.

  • ||

    More like Bill O. Spam.

  • ||

    I would vote for a black, pot-smoking, urban, atheist, womanizing, New Yorker if he agreed with me on most issues.


    Great, but do you think he'd vote for you?

  • ||

    I disagree with Paul on both abortion and immigration but that doesn't necessarily disqualify him for President.

    His anti-abortion stance is that he doesn't like it and would like to see it relegated back to the states (contrary to Roe v Wade). As President, there isn't shit he can do to move it in that direction. The only way that the abortion question will be moved back to the states is if a)the SCOTUS rules it is not "commerce", thereby overturning Roe v. Wade or b)Congress drafts the first bill in recent history that actually diminishes it's control and power. The first is very unlikely and the second is laughable.

    Immigration is a bit trickier as Paul has waffled on why he doesn't like illegal immigrants. In many pieces he says "no illegals while we have a welfare state". That's fair enough but in other pieces he has stated "absolutely no amnesty for illegals". Amnesty includes the right to work and pay taxes to the US government, IOW to support the welfare state. I'd like to see him clarify this position.

    Even if he hateses him some brownskins, on every other position, he is just about spot on in my book and is head's and shoulders above everybody else on the playing field. If I am still having to choose the lesser of evils, I could do far worse than Ron Paul.

  • ||

    Oh, and for the record, Warty wins the thread right out of the gate!

  • robc||

    matt

    Thats my point. If we agree on politics, why wouldnt he? Is there something about black, pot-smoking, urban, atheist, womanizing, New Yorkers that make them idiots?
    Well, other than the New Yorker thing, which is a given.

  • ||

    It's easy to justify libertarian support of the Iraq war. If a libertarian thinks that democratization of Iraq as necessary to preserve his own freedom, then the rational thing to do is to support it. That's a libertarian justification.

  • ||

    As a Minnesotan, I love watching our media's top shelf political pundits state (as though it's a matter of fact) that Ron Paul has zero chance of winning the GOP nomination.

    Reminds me of the early consensus when Jesse "The Body" Ventura ran for governor. I hope this ends the same way.

    A lot can happen between now and election day. Dr. Paul's not just a starry eyed ideologue...he's also a political brawler who knows how to win elections as an outsider.

    Note: Next year's GOP national convention is to be held in Minnesota. It's a sign...

  • ||

    robc

    The things that don't matter to you or I really matter to much of the country, unfortunately, and libertarians are no exception.

    If you tour the libertarian blogs for long enough, you'll see the stance I'm describing.

  • ed||

    supporting the elimination of Roe V. Wade would be the more Libertarian stance...it wouldn't make abortion illegal, it just turns the issue back to the states to decide individually.

    States don't have rights. They're a smaller gang than the federal government but a gang all the same. Libertarianism is (or should be) about the primacy of the individual over the state. In that regard Roe does assert that primacy, so long as you don't count a fetus as an individual.

  • ||

    If I were an obstetrician, I'd probably be against abortion rights too

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    Great piece Brian.

    Ron Paul is the man even with the shortcomings I personally ascribe to him, which, are likeley different shortcomings than other libertarians see.

    My main worry is that a hell of a lot of his supporters buy off on the Twin Towers was an inside job conspiracy theory. That will kill Ron Paul later on in the real world assuming that he moves forward as he has been.

    I disagree with his point that the Arabs hate us because we are there and because we support the Jews. Not to dismiss that factor entirely but their culture demands that they hate us just the same way that orthodox religious right nut cases must hate gays.

    Other than that? Dude, he's the man. How can you complain about a candidate that shares some 80-90 percent of your philosophical values?

    As far as that goes, Kubby isn't any closer to my views than Ron Paul and Ron Paul has got better visibility.

  • robc||

    matt,

    The only thing I have seen is people upset that he is a Christian. Which I dont get. I understand the libertarians who dont agree with him on abortion or immigration but that he is a Texan?

  • robc||

    TWC,

    assuming Paul moves forward, a lot of his supports wont be the inside job conspiracy theorists anymore. There just arent enough of them to be a significant part of any large group.

  • ||

    States don't have rights. They're a smaller gang than the federal government but a gang all the same. Libertarianism is (or should be) about the primacy of the individual over the state.



    Pitting the smaller gang against the larger, more dangerous one is a good strategic move, though, wouldn't you say? Especially when you can leave that smaller gang's territory quickly and easily.

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    robc, you have an excellent point. One I missed entirely. Thanks. I'm serious. I feel a certain sense of relief.

    My dad always said every political party has a core of nuts but since the LP is so dang small the nuts are much more visible than they are with the Dems and the GOP.

  • Lava||

    Ron is only about 70-80% true libertarian..I say its good enough reason to support him when the country seems more and more drifting towards left and for increased government

  • Russ 2000||

    Ron Paul as president could implement 5,000 bad ideas and as long as he eliminated the DEA he'd end up doing more good than harm.

  • ||

    robc, Phil,

    My bad. I don't know how I missed that. I saw the link to Suicide Girls, which mentioned the article, but I somehow skipped that graph.

    Nevermind. My bad.

  • ||

    A certain percentage of libertarians will be against whatever you're talking about at the moment. Even if you're talking about being against things, they'll be against being against things.

  • ||

    Bill O Spam makes a good point, though:

    Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were doing about the same in the 'Scientific Polls' at this stage in their elections.

    It is early. Before we even get into the main body of this race, one or two frontrunners from each party is going to drop out, and one or two lower-tier candidates is going to be in the running.

    Paul has gotten much better as a candidate - in the shallow "Looks Good on TeeVee" sense - since he first announced. I still don't think he can win the nomination, but as long as he doesn't push legalizing heroin and privatizing the Marines as his defining issues, there's no reason he can't be one of the big boys in this race.

  • robc||

    TWC,

    Someone on another thread said the other day that if Paul won the GOP nomination no republicans would vote for him and he would get crushed in the primary. Im still trying to figure out how Paul wins the nomination without republicans supporting him.

  • SIV||

    In that regard Roe does assert that primacy, so long as you don't count a fetus as an individual.

    What are they then? Members of a collective...an aggrieved group......"working families" ?

  • Robert||

    Ron Paul is right about earmarks, though. They're not appropriations. They just add specificity to spending already in appropriations bills.

  • ||

    "If a libertarian thinks that democratization of Iraq as necessary to preserve his own freedom, then the rational thing to do is to support it."

    Dale,

    That's a huge if, and one that doesn't seem very plausible. At what point did Saddam pose a real threat to an American libertarian's security or liberty. Here's Walter Block on Barnett's op-ed piece:http://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block79.html.

    Additionally, this hypothetical libertarian ought to understand this: that, as Brian points out, non-intervention follows directly from the core libertarian non-aggression principle, one which should not (if ever) be compromised lightly. If there is doubt about whether a threat of violence has been made, and whether retaliation is justified, it probably isn't. Even if Saddam had a huge arsenal of WMDs and nukes, without credible aggressive rhetoric, no invasion would be justified in my mind.

  • Russ 2000||

    Paul has gotten much better as a candidate - in the shallow "Looks Good on TeeVee" sense

    This is a great point. Ron Paul never avoids TV, TV avoids him (but less than they used to). Meanwhile, most of the other candidates, especially Rudy G, seem to come up with excuses for avoiding certain TV events. Eventually TV will get tired of those guys and Paul will get TV exposure and become familiar simply because TV needs to put someone on TV.

  • ||

    What if a libertarian thinks that large welfare payments to unemployed residents of urban-renewal-era public housing projects is necessary to protect his liberty?

    I don't think a libertarian would think that, because libertarians have certain ideaa about what are, and what are not, good strategies for protecting liberty.

  • ||

    Touche, and hillarious, SIV!

  • ||

    I commented on Julian's blog that I understand Barnett's instincts. It isn't so much that there is a fear that Paul isn't a pure libertarian. Quite the opposite.

    The concern is that Paul brings kooky baggage with him that may spoil the brand. If he tries to get elected on the gold standard, immigration, and shutting down the IRS, we are all doomed to be marginalized for decades.

    The worst thing that can happen to an idea you like is for it to be presented in such a way as that it can claim a high degree of purity and STILL sound kooky to the world at large. You are then truly pooched because it looks for all the world like you gave it your best shot and still looked like a rabid freak.

    Consider the damage, and I hate to think of it this way, that Hillarycare did to the national healthcare debate. It became a toxic subject. Fair or not, it seemed nutty and communist to a lot of people.

  • ||

    The thing I worry about the most is the racism angle. This could be the issue that comes up to bite Paul's campaign in the ass if he starts gaining ground on the front runners. His repudiation of the articles should have been stronger, and he should absolutely repudiate the support of David Duke and the Duke boys.

  • x,y||

    Ron Paul's position on abortion is perfectly consistent with being a libertarian. As is that of Hillary Clinton. The question is moral (does life begin at conception) and the state -- especially at the federal level -- should not implement policies re: this question.

  • ||

    I'm a libertarian of some 40 years' standing, going back to Goldwater in my early adolescence and Rand soon thereafter. My Randian roots predispose me to wariness of Paul's essentially "conservative" basis for his libertarianism, with arguments from tradition and religion rather than reason. Of course I'm very uncomfortable with the widely held "libertarian" positions on Iraq and the fight against armed, aggressive Islamic fundamentalism as well. My position and, I believe Rand's, would make Bush and Cheney look like pikers.

  • x,y||

    What if a libertarian thinks that large welfare payments to unemployed residents of urban-renewal-era public housing projects is necessary to protect his liberty?

    I don't think a libertarian would think that, because libertarians have certain ideaa about what are, and what are not, good strategies for protecting liberty.


    This libertarian doesn't think that because you have to torture the meaning of liberty to get there logically.

  • ||

    JasonL,
    I have to agree with you there. So far, from what I have seen, Paul has been pretty good about keeping the "goldbuggery" out of the limelight as well as his true desire to abolish the IRS. Sadly(??), Immigration will probably land him high marks from the Republican's he is looking to court and I really don't know what the demographics say on the Blue side of the court for that one.

    My biggest fear is that he will be presented with some of his past comments and stand by them, emphatically. Comments like full legalization of drugs, the repeal of the income tax, abolition of the FED etc. While they are good and noble causes, they are not "electable" ones. There are distinct differences between what the public is willing to accept and what they think they can accept. For example calling for an end to the "war on pot" might be an okay stance but calling for a complete end to prohibition will blow the race. In reality, they are one in the same but the wider public has enough experience with cannabis to feel comfortable with it.

  • D. Greene||

    There has to be a balance between philosophy and pragmatism, at some point, and right now for me Ron Paul is the best option, even though I don't agree with him on immigration and net neutrality to name a few.

    I've never donated to a Libertarian candidate for Congress, for example (big L) because they've never run one in my district. If one ran, I'd donate money to said candidate, and to Dr. Paul.

  • ||

    Here's what I'm worried about: Ron Paul could turn out to be the libertarian Howard Dean.

    I went to a hippie college. A lot of my friends are "progressives" -- small-town socialists who'd like the government to stop Wal-Mart, fund their arts projects, and maybe help the ugly, crazy homeless be less ugly and crazy (while not impairing their freedom to live an authentic alternative lifestyle on the streets).

    These folks put a lot of hope in the Howard Dean campaign. Dean had political experience but came across as being outside the machine; he stirred up grassroots support on the Internet and among younger, politically aware voters. And then he did badly in one primary, acted a little bit goofy in public, and the media pulled a Rita Skeeter and destroyed him.

    Nice way to convince a lot of politically active young voters that they shouldn't bother.

    So, we all think Ron Paul has a chance. Cool. But what happens if he pulls a Howard Dean? If the Paul campaign self-destructs (with media help) the way the Dean one did, what will that do to the libertarian movement?

  • x,y||

    My biggest fear is that he will be presented with some of his past comments and stand by them, emphatically.

    You'd rather him be no different than 99% of the politicians in this world? Good for RP if he stands up for what he believes and loses in the process.

    My Randian roots predispose me to wariness of Paul's essentially "conservative" basis for his libertarianism, with arguments from tradition and religion rather than reason.

    I've been following RP for a while now, and it seems he supports most of his positions with appeals to: (1) the Constitution (though perhaps that you mean by "tradition"), and (2) the values of a free society.

  • ||

    All too often the terms "anarcho-capitalist" and "libertarian" are used interchangeably. Since Ron Paul is not an anarchist, many in the "I'm a Real Libertarian(tm)" movement consider him to be on the same moral plane as Stalin or Hitler. But libertarianism is not anarchism. Nor is it necessarily "minarchism", a word that some anarchists use to pretend that they aren't really anarchists.

    By word and deed, Ron Paul is most certainly libertarian. His views on abortion derive from sound libertarian principles. See Libertarians for Life for his arguments. His views on national borders stem from his belief in national sovereignty, a concept alien and foreign to anarchists, but entirely compatible with the libertarian tradition.

  • x,y||

    But what happens if he pulls a Howard Dean? If the Paul campaign self-destructs (with media help) the way the Dean one did, what will that do to the libertarian movement?

    Even if Paul pulls a Dean (highly unlikely, though, IMO), the movement won't be any worse off than it was before Paul started getting all the attention he's been getting. Most people already think libertarians are kooky and out of touch. I don't see how a Dean moment could make things any worse.

  • metalgrid||

    matt

    Pitting the smaller gang against the larger, more dangerous one is a good strategic move, though, wouldn't you say? Especially when you can leave that smaller gang's territory quickly and easily.

    Why go to all the trouble when you can vote for another candidate that won't require you to move at all by keeping it federal?

    It would be lot easier to support him if he supported laws that maximize liberty for the individual unless that individual happens to be of a group he doesn't like. The lack of consistency and lack of rational grounds for his libertarianism makes me very wary of him.

  • danb||

    Reinmoose: "If I were an obstetrician, I'd probably be against abortion rights too"

    My thoughts exactly... I have simply "ignored" the pro-life movement for as long as I have thought about the issue. When I began following Ron Paul, I "had to" listen to his position on abortion... For the first time I think my position on abortion is changing.. frankly, it's been a bit of a moral dilemma for me recently.

    Anyway... I also disagree with immigration stance.. but he's the best candidate I've seen that actually has a shot. So... Ron Paul 08!

  • Episiarch||

    I would vote for a black, pot-smoking, urban, atheist, womanizing, New Yorker if he agreed with me on most issues.

    Snoop Dogg lives in NYC?

  • ||

    Brandybuck,

    I think you use too broad a brush to paint the distinction between anarcho-capitalist and libertarian. In my experience there is very little difference on the essentials. The great majority of libertarian anarchists are libertarians first and anarchists second. That is, they believe in a libertarian society. They simply go further to believe that government cannot be trusted to maintain it and that all essential characteristics of government can likely be provided privately.

    In general, libertarian anarchists are not revolutionaries: They are evolutionaries. They believe the government should be pared back, just as minarchists or constitutional libertarians do. They simply think that, as the government is pared back to the presumed minimum, we will all find that it can be pared back further -- perhaps to nothing at all.

    When discussing presidential candidates in today's United States, there is frankly little difference between libertarian anarchists and other libertarians. The road to a more libertarian society -- the road that must be traveled by both -- is the same road.

    While I disagree with Ron Paul on a number of issues -- immigration being the biggest -- he too is on that same road.

  • ||

    Abortion should be a libertarian issue. Most Americans support the right to decide when, whether and how often to have children, and to weigh the moral questions involved for themselves, without government interference. This is a classic battle of individual freedom vs government control, and Paul is on the statist authoritarian side. I really don't care if he finds it morally consistent or not.

  • ||

    The Mrs. (a moderate liberal with liberaltarian leanings) was very unhappy when she found out that RP was so devout and chivalrous and, frankly, old-fashioned. In her mind, RP went from "my husband's choice who I might support if the Dems nominate a clinker" to "the least-evil Republican, but I still won't vote for him."

  • ||

    Daze | July 27, 2007, 2:36pm | #
    Abortion should be a libertarian issue. Most Americans support the right to decide when, whether and how often to have children, and to weigh the moral questions involved for themselves, without government interference. This is a classic battle of individual freedom vs government control, and Paul is on the statist authoritarian side. I really don't care if he finds it morally consistent or not.


    Daze,
    It IS a libertarian issue. The problem is that there are two lines of thought regarding abortion and "individual freedom". The first is that the fetus has no right to those freedoms until it is born (or at least can survive outside the womb) or that the mother's rights trump those of the fetus. The second line of thought is that the fetus does have individual rights, perhaps even from conception, and that it's artificial abortion is in essence abridging it's right to life by way of murder. I am of the former camp, Ron Paul is of the latter.

  • Kohlrabi||

    Daze,

    Huh? I can't make heads or tails out of your comment. You claim it should be a libertarian issue by virtue of the fact that the side you happen to agree with is popular with a majority of Americans? You don't argue against his position, but just dismiss it by re-asserting your opinion?

  • Kohlrabi||

    Kwix,

    I believe daze presumes s/he is the arbiter of libertarian authenticity.

  • robc||

    so devout and chivalrous and, frankly, old-fashioned.

    is there really something wrong with being devout or chivalrous or even old-fashioned?

    Other the old-fashioned, I wouldnt consider any of them to be insults if directed at me. And old-fashioned wouldnt bother me too much. Huh. People are strange (when youre a stranger).

  • ||

    I don't know what people are talking about when they wax poetic about "the libertarian movement." For most people, it doesn't exist. Ron Paul, however, is a guy who has been elected repeatedly to office, and has a national stage with the Republican debates. He's done more for libertarianism than any LP politician in my short lifetime. So nuts to those purer-than-thou LP people. Ride the momentum of a libertarian-leaning candidate and get some good results rather than all bad results.

  • Kohlrabi||

    robc,

    Apparently it's better to be apathetic, brutish and new-fangled. I'll pass, thank you.

  • Kohlrabi||

    Randolph,

    Dang, do that and you won't be able to tell your friends that the reason we're stuck with dog crap is because someone tried to give you a porterhouse when you wanted the filet.

  • ||

    I'm not a big fan of Ron Paul. I think it's for the same reasons I'm not a big fan of most libertarian candidates.

    Reason and Hit & Run seem to be all about taking a good, sound public policy prescription, that for whatever reason seems absurd to much of mainstream America, and showing it as the well reasoned, good policy prescription it is.

    When I listen to Ron Paul, to my ear, he seems to take those good, sound policy prescriptions and make them seem batty again. ...and it seems to happen on a bunch of topics, not just one.

    It's hard to describe, but it's kinda like listening to Jack Kemp talk about reinstating the gold standard. I believed in the gold standard. I wanted the gold standard! Listening to Kemp talk about it, though, made it all sound batty to me. ...and that's what Ron Paul does too. ...to my ear.

    I've been hoping that Ron Paul will be to whomever as Goldwater was to Reagan, and I'm too young to know much of what Goldwater said except for the choice bits I've read, but Ron Paul just doesn't come across as a Barry Goldwater to me. ...not that Goldwater, despite the inspiring speeches, fared so well.

    Ron Paul just doesn't sound convincing enough on the policy implementation side to me, and I'm a true believer!

  • John Rhoads||

    on the whole, I think ron paul will improve the image of Libertarianism. His stances bother me on a lot of issues, and if I could make say Harry Browne be the guy that reintroduces the philosophy to the country, then I would. However, most of the time I tell people who aren't intimately familiar with the philosophy that I'm a libertarian, they think ultra right (say Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh). If Paul can get the mainstream perception of libertarianism to even be closer to what it actually is, then he will have done us a service. I'd much rather explain to someone why Paul's immigration position is not libertarian than explain why say the war on drugs is not libertarian, which is what I have to do now.

  • Martin||

    I really like Ron Paul. Despite the fact that I don't agree with him on every issue, he's solid on most issues. And from a libertarian perspective, he is a lot more solid than Goldwater or Reagan ever were.

    I really cannot fathom why Dr Paul's opposition to the Iraq War will tarnish libertarianism. Would libertarians prefer to be associated with the neocons and other idiotic and increasingly discredited superpatriots?

  • ||

    It seems to me that those who want us not to back Ron Paul because he's not the perfect libertarian are doomed to forever being politically insignificant, waiting for the "chosen one."

  • ||

    Paul's position on abortion suits me fine. I've always been skeptical of this supposed 'right to privacy' that Roe pulled out of the hat, but the states clearly have the right to take a life- capitol punishment. So whatever you think a fetus is, a state has the right to make terminating it legal or illegal. Unless the Constitution is amended I would argue that the Feds can't force the states to do anything.

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    My position and, I believe Rand's, would make Bush and Cheney look like pikers.

    Well, they ARE pikers. They can't win the war and they can't shut it down. So they piddle along strewing blood and money behind them as they go with the net effect that nothing is accomplished and nobody is happy.

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    Why go to all the trouble when you can vote for another candidate that won't require you to move at all by keeping it federal?

    Someone more libertarian? Or someone like Obama or Chelsey's Mama?

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    I'm too young to know much of what Goldwater said except for the choice bits I've read, but Ron Paul just doesn't come across as a Barry Goldwater to me. ...not that Goldwater, despite the inspiring speeches, fared so well.

    Goldwater didn't come across as a Barry Goldwater neither. Not until the country had moved so far left on the spectrum that JFK seemed like a conservative did Goldwater gain any credence (except in Arizona, of course).

    I was pretty young myself but I clearly remember the teacher taking a straw poll one day in class and asking whose parents were voting for AuH2O. Out of 35 kids 2 hands went up.

  • SIV||

    However, most of the time I tell people who aren't intimately familiar with the philosophy that I'm a libertarian, they think ultra right


    They would be correct.

  • ||

    However, most of the time I tell people who aren't intimately familiar with the philosophy that I'm a libertarian, they think ultra right

    I can do ya one better. A lot of the people I tell who aren't intimately familiar with the philosophy think "Republican," and say the word with some degree of anger in their voices.

    I usually half-jokingly lash back at them "Take it back! That's not an accusation you just go throwing around!"

  • ||

    Seems clear that there really is no Libertarian Party. It's a highly fragmented semi-group that can't agree on central-core issues like the war. There's a point where opinions have to be settled to gain any traction in the political process. Philosophy's all well and good but soul-searching doesn't solve many problems.

  • ||

    See this article on Donklephant.

    Libertarians, seriously...who else do you got?

  • ||

    The two reasons that I like Ron Paul(and I happen to be a Eurpean Style Social Democrat) is that he is EXACTLY RIGHT about the continuous American belligerence abroad over the past 50 years or so...History does matter...what we sow we will reap. Also somebody needs to SAVE capitalism from this ridiculous Corporate Globalization that rests on exploitation and wealth concentration.

  • ||

    Ken,

    We are on the same page.

  • Thomas L. Knapp||

    Quoth Frater Plotter:

    "Here's what I'm worried about: Ron Paul could turn out to be the libertarian Howard Dean."

    You're kidding, right? Dean went on to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee, leading it to victory in the 2006 congressional elections, and his PAC and general following has arguably itself changed the partisan compositions of several state legislatures as well as electing several congresscritters.

    Kerry was the Democratic Party's 2004 failure story. Dean was, and continues to be, a success story for his party. If the libertarian movement has found a Howard Dean in Ron Paul, it will be better rather than worse off for having done so.

  • The Democratic Republican||

    Doherty, thank you for speaking some common sense to libertarians.

  • SIV||

    I can do ya one better. A lot of the people I tell who aren't intimately familiar with the philosophy think "Republican," and say the word with some degree of anger in their voices.

    I've got a good friend who describes me to her friends( all lefties ) as a Republican Anarchist. Seems to work out OK socially for me as those people don't associate with plain Republicans.

  • Robert||

    "I really cannot fathom why Dr Paul's opposition to the Iraq War will tarnish libertarianism. Would libertarians prefer to be associated with the neocons and other idiotic and increasingly discredited superpatriots?"

    It's not his opposition to the Iraq war that's the problem per se, for there are lots of good reasons to oppose it. The problem is many of Dr. Paul's related statements on foreign affairs, which are scary & naive. If people just know he's against the Iraq war that's fine, but if they hear him explain too much about it -- or if he gets elected -- we could be in a lot of trouble.

  • ||

    Libertarianism is essentially an obsolete political philosophy. how can one deduce a pragmatic foreign policy from a priori ideals of individual liberty, free markets and property rights? This is the central intellectual crisis going on with you guys. Can someone tell me what the "libertarian" prescription to the war in Iraq is? How does a priori libertarianism address the threat of global jihad? Does libertarianism value any kind of pragmatic empiricism? I'm anxious to hear the answers to these pertinent questions? Anyone?

  • ||

    But what happens if he pulls a Howard Dean? If the Paul campaign self-destructs (with media help) the way the Dean one did, what will that do to the libertarian movement?

    You mean if the Party passes him over in favor someone whose positions and rhetoric make him appear more "electable," only to see that electable candidate flame out, while events over the subsequent years demonstrate that Paul's out-of-the-mainstream policies and positions are thoroughly validated, and an overwhelming portion of the country comes to see their earlier repudiation of his stances as a gigantic error?

    Ron Paul could do a lot worse than to emulate Howard Dean's trajectory.

  • ||

    how can one deduce a pragmatic foreign policy from a priori ideals of individual liberty, free markets and property rights?

    Accepting for the moment that one can't... By what mechanism does it make libertarianism obsolete?

    Libertarianism also has little to say about what color to paint the federal courthouse. Does that too make it obsolete?

  • Martin||

    'It's not his opposition to the Iraq war that's the problem per se, for there are lots of good reasons to oppose it. The problem is many of Dr. Paul's related statements on foreign affairs, which are scary & naive. If people just know he's against the Iraq war that's fine, but if they hear him explain too much about it -- or if he gets elected -- we could be in a lot of trouble.'

    Scary and naive? Thats what the foreign policy of the neocons and the liberal interventionists is. Not Dr Paul's. And if you think Paul's views are 'scary and naive', then surely the foreign policy thinking of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and J.Q. Adams was too, because Dr Paul's foreign policy thinking is very similar.

    I mean Dr Paul is the only GOP candidate that rules out considering nuking Iran. And he's supposed to be the crazy one?

  • ||

    "Can someone tell me what the "libertarian" prescription to the war in Iraq is?"

    Is there a "republican" prescription?

  • ||

    "This is the central intellectual crisis going on with you guys."

    Well I guess he's got us on that one.

    ...now that we've invaded Iraq, what's libertarianism gonna do now?!

  • ||

    Don't let the hawks bully you with "scary and naive." Nobody trusts their judgement on these matters anymore, anyway.

    Why should the 29 Percenters be treated as if they speak for the American public?

  • ||

    Libertarianism is essentially an obsolete political philosophy. how can one deduce a pragmatic foreign policy from a priori ideals of individual liberty, free markets and property rights?

    Well, you don't technically have to be a libertarian to support a pragmatic foreign policy, but it sure seems to help.

    Can someone tell me what the "libertarian" prescription to the war in Iraq is?

    That's an easy one: don't start it. Again, admittedly, a non-libertarian could arrive at the same pragmatic conclusion. But many did not.

  • ||

    Can someone tell me what the "libertarian" prescription to the war in Iraq is? How does a priori libertarianism address the threat of global jihad? Does libertarianism value any kind of pragmatic empiricism? I'm anxious to hear the answers to these pertinent questions? Anyone?

    Read this report from D-N-I's Fabius Maximus. It may not be pure navel gazing big "L" libertarianism, but it's a good start and a far cry better than what we're up to now, what with relying on fear as a method of instilling national cohesion.

    _____________________________________________

    Summary

    This report is just a sketch, some thoughts that hopefully spark discussion about America's rush to war. It proposes the following:

    *There is as yet insufficient evidence that America is threatened sufficiently to justify the large-scale mobilization of citizens that we call "war."

    *There is insufficient public evidence that al Qaeda or Islamic jihadists are such a threat.

    *The war was begun in Iraq and Afghanistan with inadequate analysis and planning, and those errors continue to this day.

    *Even if this threat is of sufficient magnitude, war is not necessarily the solution.

    *To the extent that force is required, at present we are not equipped to employ it in the manner needed. A scimitar makes a fine weapon, but a poor scalpel.
    ___________________________________________

    From: "America takes another step towards the 'Long War'"

  • ||

    Does libertarianism value any kind of pragmatic empiricism?

    In case you are actually being serious and only come across as impolitic...

    There are several ways to come to the same central libertarian political philosophy. Some of these -- particularly the economic consequentialist ones -- value pragmatic empiricism quite highly. One can effectively derive all of libertarianism from pragmatic empiricism, with theoretical principles such as natural rights or noninitiation of force falling out as generally valid statements of the empirical conclusions.

    As you note, how to deduce a foreign policy from libertarian principles is not obvious. It is not surprising that libertarians can indeed in good faith and for good reason differ on foreign policy with respect to the projection of US interests and military force.

    Most libertarians end up believing in a foreign policy much like Ron Paul's for the simple pragmatic empirical reason that governments prove time and again that they cannot be trusted with anything, much less the power to throw death and destruction around without extremely good reason.

  • ||

    Ron Paul may be a libertarian but he is just a politician when he is acting out his political duties and aspirations. The most curious thing about him is how he lives with this schizophrenia. Libertarians can still be entertained by his antics and the contortions hen engenders in straight politicians and journalists.

  • twv||

    Not all libertarians define themselves or their principles as following only and strictly from a conception of negative liberty. I don't. So I probably shouldn't respond to this:


    How does a priori libertarianism address the threat of global jihad? Does libertarianism value any kind of pragmatic empiricism? I'm anxious to hear the answers to these pertinent questions? Anyone?



    The penultimate sentence, quoted above, is not a question, but, taken as a question, coupled with that killer topic sentence about libertarianism being "obsolete," does give a good idea of the likely futility of addressing the stated concern in any detail. Any answer will simply be rejected out of hand.

    Still, I can give a clue. How would a libertarian deal with global jihad? Probably a lot more effectively than clueless neocons and latter-day-imperialists have. Certainly, by not glossing (and gloating) over collateral damage in the Mid-East, a libertarian foreign policy would not exacerbate the problem, as have the current policies.

    Arguably, had America's foreign policy been less interventionist, duplicitous, and high-hatted over the past 50 years, there would be no "global jihad."

    I am actually very concerned about radical Islam. I loathe the religion. I have little respect for its founder. Am wary of its followers.

    But I am more concerned about Americans insistent on a continuing policy of indiscriminate retaliation and naive nation-building coupled with an almost complete lack of understanding of Islam, no notions of blowback, unintended consequences, or any other social theory more complex than "we gotta do something."

    Oh, and on the matter at hand . . . I have some admiration for Ron Paul, and I guess he's as good as "we" have, at present. But that doesn't mean I didn't wish we had better politicians.

    Still, wishes don't even make a dark horse. It's really no surprise that a group known for its hatred of politics doesn't breed many effective politicians. Similarly, the ranks of the great singers aren't added to by the population of deaf mutes.

  • ||

    Paul's idiotic response to the 9/11 question (that US intervention "caused" terrorism and 9/11) in the debate demonstrates a weak point in libertarian thought -- that the state is the greatest modern threat to liberty, indeed, is so practically to the exclusion of all other threats.

    Wrong. The greatest threat to liberty is, of course, superstition and religion. Of course when religions control a state apparatus, this makes things worse but Islam has shown that it doesn't need state or even para-state actors to employ mass murder.

    As a Christian, it probably wouldn't even cross Paul's mind that another religion is the main threat to our liberty. This is too bad because Paul is right on just about everything else.

    I guess I'll be staying home (again) next November. [sigh]

  • ||

    You won't vote for Dr. Paul because he's not frightened enough of Islam?

    weird

  • ||

    michael m,

    If I had to choose the two words that had the least to do with this administration's handling of Iraq, I think I'd choose "pragmatic" and "empiricism".

    Was it pragmatic to bet all our chips that the Democracy Fairy was going to sprinkle its pixie dust on Iraq so that "nation" of several ethnic groups with centuries-old scores to settle, and no experience with democratic institutions, would easily become a shining example of Arab democracy?

    Was it empiricism to "stay the course" for year after year when it was clear that things were only getting worse?

    Idealistic blind faith was the guiding light of those who got us into this war, and that goes doubly for those who want us to continue. As Max said succinctly above, the libertarian approach to war in Iraq is "don't have one".

  • John Rhoads||

    demonstrates a weak point in libertarian thought -- that the state is the greatest modern threat to liberty, indeed, is so practically to the exclusion of all other threats.

    Wrong. The greatest threat to liberty is, of course, superstition and religion.


    interesting theory. Would you then argue that globally speaking religion has been responsible for more deaths in say the last 50 years than the state? You give a quite definitive answer to an interesting question without really backing it up with any data. I don't have any data on this matter either, but if I had to, I'd definitely put money on the state. Especially, if the state gets credit for religious states, which it should, since the damage that religious states are capable of is clearly greater than the damage that the non-stated religion can cause.

  • ||

    Paul's idiotic response to the 9/11 question (that US intervention "caused" terrorism and 9/11) in the debate demonstrates a weak point in libertarian thought -- that the state is the greatest modern threat to liberty, indeed, is so practically to the exclusion of all other threats. Wrong. The greatest threat to liberty is, of course, superstition and religion.

    I think there's a few tens of millions dead Russians and Ukranians, and a few hundred million dead Chinese who would dispute that.

  • ||

    There were muslims, probably even quite a few 'fundamentalist' ones 50 or a hundred years ago in the Middle East. Were they hell bent on attacking the US back then? Perhaps they were and I have never read about it, but if they were'nt we might ask what was different back then? And it strikes me that one thing is that the US wasn't meddling in matters that effected those folks back then...

  • ||

    MNG,

    Well I believe the Barbary Pirates that attacked US shipping in the late 1700s/early 1800s were Muslims, but I don't think their motives were religious or political.

  • Eric Blair||

    Golly gee willikers, I am flabergasted.


    I always wondered why everyone is not libertarian like myself. Everybody I know just wants Gubmint to leave them the Hell alone. I'm telling you that 60% of "liberals" who vote for left wing Socialists and 80% of right wing "conservatives" who vote for the morality police are really Libertarians. They just don't know it yet.

    I love Ron Paul's domestic policy. We need 434 more of him in Congress.

    He has no clue when it comes to foreign policy. Worse yet, he can't even handle Bill Maher and is completely devoid of personality, charm, charisma. He is not a great orator and has no ability to communicate the philosophy of limited government to the masses.

    It doesn't make him a bad person. A guy like Ronald Reagan only comes along once in a century.

    He's out there somewhere.

  • ||

    He has no clue when it comes to foreign policy.

    There's a lot of that going around. What kind of foreign policy do you think we should have?

    And, if it bears a strong resemblance to the three-ring circus we've been substituting for a foreign policy for the last five years, you're going to run into a lot of skepticism in these parts.

  • whitetower||

    To the defenders of superstition and religion: I would submit that all states, especially dictatorial and totalitarian ones, are founded on some variant of religion -- faith, the occult, otherworldiness, an institutional, "organized" religion, or whatever. Whether this manifests itself in a Fuhrer, a Great Leader, or an actual priest-class is rather immaterial.

    It isn't the "state" that is the enemy to liberty -- it is the motivating belief system (in nearly every case religious/superstitious in nature) that induces millions of people to obey the state and to enable it to destroy the liberty of others.

    So, fifty years ago the superstition that was the enemy of liberty was Nazism/fascism; twenty years ago it was communism; today it's Islam. Paul doesn't get it.

    Just on this point: I wonder what Paul would have said about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Did the United States government do something to "make" the Japanese attack us? Or was it the Japanese mystical belief system upholding the superiority in the Japanese race and embodied by their Emperor and Imperial Army?

  • ||

    To MNG:

    Ah, check your assumptions. You assume that some aggressive action on the part of the US government must have "caused" 9/11.

    What then has precipitated Islamic terror activities in Thailand and Sweden? What did these countries ever do to Islam?

    Answer: not be Islamic.

    So there you have it -- the US is not alone in suffering from Islamic terror. Countries in all four corners of the world suffer from Islamic terror, including, incidentally, majority Islamic societies such as Algeria and Egypt.

    The motivator for Islamic terror is Islam.

  • ||

    Anybody know what hideous corner of the 'Net linked here?

    whitetower, I'm assuming your claim is that belief in Islam is sufficient to turn one into a terrorist. How then do you explain the fact that 99% of Moslems are not involved in acts of terror?

  • ||

    whitetower,

    Religions and ideologies don't kill people. People do.

    If you actually look at the mass murders perpetrated by Nazi Germany and the USSR, you'll find precious few true believers among the murderers. At the beginning you might be dealing with zealots whose commitment to the ideology allows them to justify their deeds, but before long the momentum of the machinery of the state takes over.

    I'm more worried about the terrorists wearing badges than the ones that aren't. You?

  • ||

    Did the United States government do something to "make" the Japanese attack us?

    Well, we did initiate an oil embargo against them in August 1941. Not to mention the discriminatory stance we took toward the Japanese in the London Naval Treaty of 1930, where they were allowed far fewer vessels of every class than we and the UK. Then there's the fact that we'd closed the US to Japanese immigration some years earlier.

    Not that any of this justifies their actions at Pearl Harbor, but it's not the cut-and-dry case of us minding our own business till the evil, evil Japs attacked us, that's usually presented.

  • ||

    Wrong. The greatest threat to liberty is, of course, superstition and religion......

    actually, liberty grew in the West when state and church were roughly equal in power and battled it out on equal terms....our classic western liberty stopped growing when that battle was won by the state

  • ||

    So there I am, minding my own business, checking out the naughty section at a new (to me) streaming video site, and BAM, I get hit with propaganda for this Ron Paul guy in this video of hot wonkette on wonkette action! Can't you political types keep your smut out of my smut? The offending vid (actually pretty tame;) here:
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=973_1184985131

  • ||

    My concern about Paul is not his stance in Iraq, but his insistance that we withdraw troops immediately, regardless of what state Iraq is in when we leave. Like it or not (and I don't) we are collectively, in the world's eyes, responsible for the mess in Iraq. If we don't leave it better than (or at least as good as) we found it, we are in serious trouble. I doubt anyone overseas will appreciate that Paul was against the war when Bush wasn't. They will see the damage.

    If Paul thinks it's impossible to leave it in a decent state, he should say so. But, he mostly says leaving is more important than anything. If a child breaks something in a store, the parent pays for it and leaves. Then, the parent may later discipline the child later at home. He doesn't tell the shopowner it's not his problem.

  • ||

    This essay is full of errors. Not much use to anybody except to inflame. Get the facts right, if possible.

  • ||

    What then has precipitated Islamic terror activities in Thailand and Sweden?

    whitetower, Thailand I know about, but what kind of activities have happened in Sweden??

  • ||

    whitower-Actually, there was quite a bit of dipolmatic hand slapping by the US against Japan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor#Background
    Does this mean we "deserved" Pearl Harbor? Of course not. Japan could have responded with much less aggressive policies. What was deserved was the whupping we put on them after Pearl Harbor. However, our policies were certainly a cause (at least in part) of the attack. Not that the nationalism and aggression of Japan was not also a cause. I should think that many Islamists are the in the same boat; they have an ideology that makes them extremely (perhaps unreasonably) touchy, but they have many a bona fide beef with the US and other nations...

  • ||

    I will second the call for some info on Islamic terror attacks on Sweden. I'm no expert on the Thai experience, but the last I read it was seperatist activity (and to the extent foriegn Islam would get involved it would be a sympathy thing, like how foriegn Islamists went, with US aid, to help Afghans free themselves from the USSR). That goes on in a lot of places for reasons that are not necessarily religious (Ireland for example).

  • ||

    I've often said that I think libertarian foreign policy as commonly stated is A) Not derivable from other libertarian principles and B) not very well thought out.

    I would concede that there is some element of what we shouldn't be doing that causes people to dislike us, but I don't think it is serious to argue that if we stop doing things Islamic fundamentalists don't like they will leave us alone. The US is unique on the globe for any number of reasons - some are bad, but many of them are good.

    I'm not willing to stop exporting and interacting with willing people in the Islamic world just because other Islamic people might get pissed that I'm a corrupting influence.

    Further, it is not a very serious position to maintain that 'he likes me, so he won't harm me' is the best means of attaining security. You had better have a fully credible deterrent strategy in place that works on all players in the game. 9/11 didn't change everything, but it did highlight that deterrents to armies running across borders are necessary but not sufficient to deter certain types of characters.

    Pakistan and India going nuclear right under our noses should tell us something about the nature of intelligence. Maybe we need more human assets, fine, but the larger message is that you can build nasty stuff and hide it with enough space and a tight knit group. We are not going to have a guy in bin Laden's cave feeding us information.

    The standing question about our current mess remains, How CAN we establish credible threats to these types of actors at a lower cost to us and to bystanders in general?

  • ||

    Randy Barnett is no longer a libertarian. Walter Block wrote a great article reminding us of the reasons why he isn't one anymore.

    What is it about 9-11 revisionists that scare libertarians so much anyway?

  • ||

    "You can tell a man by the company he chooses," Then the pig got up and slowly walked away.

  • RSDavis||

    I am concerned that no one has mentioned Ron Paul's support of DOMA and his co-sponsoring of the Marriage Protection Act and his opposition to gay marriage in general. Do libertarians really care about this, or do they just give lip-service like the Democrats?

    - Rick

  • ||

    I'm not willing to stop exporting and interacting with willing people in the Islamic world just because other Islamic people might get pissed that I'm a corrupting influence.

    Holy strawman! Tell me where Ron Paul said we should do this.

    You had better have a fully credible deterrent strategy in place that works on all players in the game.

    I'm not sure there's a strategy in existence that would deter someone who's already on a suicide mission. Maybe we can threaten to torture surviving family members, or soak airplane fusilages in pork fat. And when you're dealing with non-state actors, you don't always have the ability to retaliate against the people giving orders, because they don't have a fixed territory you can attack.

    The best strategy, in my opinion, is first and foremost to make terrorist acts difficult by shoring up security at likely targets. I know that the war-hawks would deride that strategy as "playing defense", but that's just jingoism. Having a cellar to retreat to when a tornado hits your house is "playing defense" too; if we were to take the advice of Bill Kristol et al., we would "play offense" by grabbing a bunch of oscillating fans, stand on the roof, and try to disperse the rotation of the tornado.

    BTW, it just boggles my mind that the folks who got us into this mess, and clearly had no idea all along how to respond to the threat of non-state terrorism, are now criticizing libertarians for not having every "i" dotted and "t" crossed in our response to terrorism.

  • John Rhoads||

    Further, it is not a very serious position to maintain that 'he likes me, so he won't harm me' is the best means of attaining security.

    That position seems to have worked out pretty well for Switzerland in the last 100 years actually. To be frank, I haven't seen a lot of evidence in support of your statement. If it's not an effective security strategy, you should be able to demonstrate that this is the case.

  • ||

    "I've often said that I think libertarian foreign policy as commonly stated is A) Not derivable from other libertarian principles and B) not very well thought out."

    I maintain that libertarian foreign policy is highly pragmatic.

    ...with Iraq being a prime example of a strategic blunder.

    As a libertarian, I'm fundamentally against strategic blunders.

  • whitetower||

    For discussion of Islamic terror cells in Sweden:

    http://fjordman.blogspot.com/2005/03/swedish-muslims-call-for-terror.html

    as well as:

    http://www.tkb.org/MorePatterns.jsp?countryCd=SW&year=2006

    Additionally, I invite you to read about the cases of Swedish Islamic terrorists Khalid al-Yousef and of Oussama Abdallah Kassir.

    As Samuel Huntington's data demonstrates in his Clash of Civilizations, Islam is simply "indigestible" with other societies. Islam has a legitimate "beef" with virtually no other society -- quite the opposite, the rest of the world has a legitimate beef with Islam. Does that mean any particular Muslim individual can't get along with a non-Muslim? It depends on how strongly he believes in Islam.

    (For those who think that "99%" of Muslims are opposed to terrorism -- you are factually wrong):

    http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?PageID=814

    After reading much of the discussion on this blog I am more convinced than ever that many libertarians, quite literally, do not know what they're talking about when discussing Islamic terror and foreign affairs in general.

  • ||

    whitower-So some Islamic people in Sweden are talking about doing jihadic acts in Sweden. We have neo-Nazi or black nationalist kids here in the US talking about the same thing. Disaffection exists in every society, and if you are Islamic maybe you can dress your disaffection up in that garb.
    Looking at your second link we find these words: "Authorities considered the threat of terrorist attacks in Sweden low." The conviction it lists concerned an attempted arson on, you guessed it, an Iraqi polling station (so it hardly discounts our assertion that they are upset with certain policies).
    Now let's look at the third link. Notice that support for violence is highest in the nations that are more directly effected by US policy (Lebanon, where we gave Israel the weapons and green light to pound last year, and Jordan which has suffered from the Israeli mess we blindly support [refugees for one, lost land for another]). Nations towards which we have more friendly relations and policy, such as Turkey and Pakistan, have pretty low levels of support for violence against civilians. This supports our thesis more than yours.
    Don't get me wrong, I've read Hunington and think there is a great deal to his thesis about "Islam's bloody borders." I've read the Koran, and compared to some other sacred texts it does seem to lend itself more to violent readings. However, notice that in the poll you provide NO majority in any nation listed in the most recent year supported violence against civilians. What does that mean for your thesis that Islam inherently spurs the violence?

  • Godwhacker||

    A rose by an other name... It doesn't matter what you call Ron Paul; constitutionalist, libertarian, whatever. He is still the last and best this nation has to stop the fast slide we've been on into statism, tyranny, perpetual war, and oppression. I have some differences with Ron Paul, and you covered most of them in this piece. He might not be the perfect fit for libertarians, but look at what our other options are. Will Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Giuliani, Romney or McCain take us any further towards a freer and more prosperous society? Give me a break. Paul is the only rational choice for the rational individualist in the race. Paul in '08!

  • ||

    I ask the question because for most people the reason why they want laws made at the local or state rather than federal level is that there is a greater chance at the federal level that some majority that is out of touch with the values of your region or locality will make laws that run counter to those values. Hence a federal law against gay marriage thwarts places like San Francisco or Mass. where they are cool with that. And yes, that makes some sense.
    However, everyone should recognize that a locality's values can run counter to a minority in that locality, and then they often run roughshod over that minority. Sometimes the only way that majority can get justice is to appeal to the federal government. Take civil rights for example. The nation as a whole was WAY ahead of Mississippi on that issue. If we let Miss. make civil rights laws in the name of not forcing national values on this poor state then we overlook the fact that Miss. was enforcing its values on some poor minority.
    In Surry County Virginia dogfighting is sure enough already illegal. But Vick is an immensely rich and powerful man, especially relative to Surry county. It's easier for a man like that to get around the law if he's faced only with the local police and prosecutor. But against the feds he can't do that as well.
    In areas where there is a genuine split in the US about whether something should be illegal or not, then the feds should stay out of it. I'm thinking gay marriage, marijuana, euthanasia, gun rights. Currently dogfighting is not one of those areas as it is illegal in all 50 states. Therefore criminalizing it also at the federal level just makes enforcement of it much more consistent and reliable, as it did here.
    Too many libertarians read that conservative tripe that gets handed out at libertarian conferences and such (historically the two movements have been close in the US, why is beyond me since conservatives are authoritarians*) about states rights. States and local governments trample on many rights just fine thank you, and sometimes the feds curb them. The South was a nightmare for individual liberty and human dignity until federal lawmakers and courts stepped in.
    *Reading a recent thread here about libertarian-conservative alliances reminds me that there are people out there who sincerely believe that conservatives have a lot in common with libertarians. I would suggest they pick up a copy of what any good conservative will tell you is THE book of the conservative movement, Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind. It's how the movement sees its own forerunners and historical icons: Burke (the monarchist and foe of toleration), John Adams (of the Alien and Sedition Acts fame who castigated Jefferson's "naive" ideas on liberty and his "athiesm")), John Randolph and John Calhoun (aristocratic apologists for the slave south), T.S. Eliot (in his conservative Catholic phase). And this is BEFORE conservatism became essentially a wing of the religious right. So much for libertarian-conservative compatibility...For that matter, go to the source, the "father of conservatism" Burke himself and compare him to the liberal forerunner and counterpart Tom Paine (whom Reason had a great article recently). Liberals strike me as having much more in common with libertarians (heck, its right there in the root of both words, a concern with liberty). Where they divide, and its a big divide, is over whether liberty is freedom from or freedom to (with a boost from the government, of course!). But they both agree that liberty is what is good. Conservatives talk more about order and tradition than liberty. But don't take my word for it, read Burke and Kirk.

  • ||

    "After reading much of the discussion on this blog I am more convinced than ever that many libertarians, quite literally, do not know what they're talking about when discussing Islamic terror and foreign affairs in general."

    After reading some of the comments in this thread, I remain convinced that the only internally consistent, Republican foreign policy is the one President Bush happened to pursue.

    ...where libertarians may or may not support those policies. I don't suppose you can be an internally consistent Republican and say that the emperor has no clothes on, can you?

    Can someone believe in Democratic Domino Theory or preemption and just think that the Bush Administration bungled the implementation? I think so, and I think that accurately describes a fair share of libertarians. ...but I imagine it would be really hard to think President Bush incompetent and yet support him.

    Anyway, what a silly suggestion! ...that someone should implement foreign policy in some internally consistent way?! That's like saying an investment strategy should always be the same, no matter what the objective is or how the situation changes. That's just plain stupid.

    That can't be what some of you are suggesting. I guess I just don't get it. ...but it looks to me like what some of you are talking about is consistently supporting the President, not supporting some internally consistent, non-libertarian foreign policy.

  • ||

    Whether Ron Paul wrote the comments about blacks or not, they are accurate. Why we continue to deny what is plainly obvious is a mystery.

    The Libertarian Party certainly can't point fingers about inconsistency. They have hopped into bed with Bob Barr an ardent drug warrior who has never repudiated his stance.

    As a longtime small "l" libertarian, I have found points of disagreement with every candidate. But they were better than the other options. It always amazed me that people would tell me they agreed with most of what Libertarians presented in their platform, but reject them in favor of a person with whom they had more disagreement.

    Many Libertarians are an odd lot who seem to relish quarreling over minutia. It is not surprising to me that some are grousing over Ron Paul -- I'd be astounded if it weren't that way.

    I'm supporting him, and think he is the best hope this country has now.

  • ||

    Sorry, my last post was for another thread!

  • ||

    "It is not surprising to me that some are grousing over Ron Paul -- I'd be astounded if it weren't that way."

    By the way, if any of you party faithful out there are harboring any weird fantasies about Paul delivering swing libertarians should he fail to win the nomination, don't hold your breath.

    Take Paul off the list and all you've got is "Well the Democrats are worse!" ...which didn't deliver swing libertarians last time and won't this time 'round either.

    "Will Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Giuliani, Romney or McCain take us any further towards a freer and more prosperous society? Give me a break. Paul is the only rational choice for the rational individualist in the race. Paul in '08!"

    I'd "throw my vote away" on the Libertarian candidate rather than vote for any of them. ...take both Paul and the Libertarian candidate out of the race, and I'd rather not vote.

  • ||

    Justin Ramaindo writes

    "No one can match libertarians in their principled critique of imperialism and their opposition to a foreign policy of aggression. America stands at a crossroads: one path leads to empire, and the other takes us back to our origins as a constitutional republic. Rep. Ron Paul, who has recently announced his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, understands this; the Cato crowd does not. For all their convoluted, "paradoxical" rationalizations for selling out, the simple and powerful message of our libertarian member of Congress puts them all to shame. Not that these wiseacres would ever think to learn anything from Ron Paul, who has been around the movement a lot longer than any of them. They wouldn't condescend to even discuss his campaign, except to diss him as "doctrinaire." Yet you find me one person willing to go to the barricades for the half-assed privatization of Social Security, and I'll give you a thousand who will fight to the death for an America free of the militarist scourge. Try explaining that to our strategic geniuses over at Cato."

  • Maria Folsom||

    Brian Doherty asks if we've seen another candidate as Libertarian as Ron Paul lately. Yes, we have. His name is George Phillies.

    http://phillies2008.org

  • ||

    Doherty assumes, a priori, that the Iraq war is non-defensive.

    1.This ignores his associations with terrorists, including quite possibly the Oklahoma City bombing. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher had conducted hearings to investigate the links.
    2. 500 tons of yellowcake and 1.8 tons of enriched uranium were known to the inspectors, and were transported out of Iraq after the liberation.
    3. Even if Saddam didn't aggress against the US (not counting his daily shots at US/UK overflights in the no-fly zone), clearly he aggressed against others. Third-parties have a right to intervene to protect the innocent, otherwise each individual would be prohibited from seeking protection from another.

    Please join our diverse discussions at:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Individual-Sovereignty/

  • ||

    The following replies to my first comment concern me:

    "Is there a "republican" prescription?"

    "That's an easy one: don't start it. Again, admittedly, a non-libertarian could arrive at the same pragmatic conclusion. But many did not"

    "Still, I can give a clue. How would a libertarian deal with global jihad? Probably a lot more effectively than clueless neocons and latter-day-imperialists have. Certainly, by not glossing (and gloating) over collateral damage in the Mid-East, a libertarian foreign policy would not exacerbate the problem, as have the current policies."

    "Arguably, had America's foreign policy been less interventionist, duplicitous, and high-hatted over the past 50 years, there would be no "global jihad.""

    "If I had to choose the two words that had the least to do with this administration's handling of Iraq, I think I'd choose "pragmatic" and "empiricism"........Was it pragmatic to bet all our chips that the Democracy Fairy was going to sprinkle its pixie dust on Iraq so that "nation" of several ethnic groups with centuries-old scores to settle, and no experience with democratic institutions, would easily become a shining example of Arab democracy?......Was it empiricism to "stay the course" for year after year when it was clear that things were only getting worse?........Idealistic blind faith was the guiding light of those who got us into this war, and that goes doubly for those who want us to continue. As Max said succinctly above, the libertarian approach to war in Iraq is "don't have one"."

    *********************
    From what I can gather from these comments is that the libertarian attitude for foreign policy is: "war, don't start them" or "If neo-cons, interventionist and imperialists wouldn't have have started this mess, we would be where we are..."

    My response is this:

    These attitudes above do not answer the original question. They are mere anecdotes and talking points. This is why, I have have to infer that libertarianism is obsolete. Its horribly illogical to propose that:

    "I favor XYZ, which only "work" under the circumstances of ABC," while the circumstances of ABC do not exist.

    or

    "Libertarian foreign policy for the future is that: neo-con policy was wrong in the past."



    Lets try this again people.

  • ||

    I recently received a fundraising letter from Ron Paul that made no mention of his opposition to the Iraq War, but went on for 2 pages on his opposition to immigration. I will not be sending any more money.

  • ||

    michael m,

    Imagine a guy who is a neat-freak, and keeps his place clean by always putting things back when he's done with them, eating in only certain places and taking out the garbage every day, etc. One day his slobby friend, who has massive problems with foul odors, mouse droppings, dirty clothes, cobwebs, and dead roaches everywhere in his place comes over and asks for advice on a philosophy of keeping a clean house.

    Obviously, simply getting into good habits like putting stuff back and taking the garbage out every day isn't going to make his place clean. Does that mean that the neat-freak's philosophy of cleaning is obsolete? Hardly. The slob needs to clean up his place, and then follow the neat freak's philosophy if he's going to keep it that way.

    Likewise, if Paul became president, he'd have to clean up the mess left by the neocons. Bring our troops home from Iraq (and NOT send them to the Sudan), reinforce the fight against the people who actually attacked us in Afghanistan, bring troops home from Korea and Europe and all the other places we've scattered them around the globe. Only in this way will we be able to "recharge" our armed forces so that they will be able to respond to REAL threats against our national security, which we would be awfully unprepared for right now.

  • ||

    Roger Cooper,

    You're not serious, are you? What do you have a problem with, his position on immigration or his not mentioning his position on Iraq?

    I got the same letter; it was addressed to my NRA name*, so it was probably aimed at conservatives who are disaffected with McCain's current stance and Rudy & Mitt's flip-flops on the issue. It's a savvy political move, and he's been very forthright on his position on immigration for quite some time, so this shouldn't be surprising.

    Right now's not the time to be poking the Republican base in the eyes with his Iraq position. That's better saved for the year's end, when Republican support for the war will probably have eroded enough that it's not the with-us-or-against-us issue that it is right now.

    ___
    * I give different versions of my name to different orgs that I suspect are going to sell my address, so that I know who's getting my address from where.

  • ||

    Another funny tidbit: I got a mailing from Tom Tancredo's campaign with the name I gave to Reason on it!

  • ||

    "Yet you find me one person willing to go to the barricades for the half-assed privatization of Social Security, and I'll give you a thousand who will fight to the death for an America free of the militarist scourge."

    Personally, I'd man the barricades to eliminate entitlements--not so sure if I'd do the same to get rid of the war mongers.

    I've denounced Iraq as an improved version of an old flavor of imperialism before, but war mongers do have their uses. ...I can't think of anything nice to say about entitlement programs.

  • ||

    I'd pay homeless people $8/hr to man the barricades. Otherwise it's just cheaper to use one of them new-fangled self-manning barricades that the geeks came up with.

  • ||

    Abortion should be a libertarian issue....This is a classic battle of individual freedom vs government control, and Paul is on the statist authoritarian side.

    Only if you believe that the libertarian non-aggression principle does not apply to the not-yet-born. In which case you are not libertarian, but totalitarian. Kill the unwanted! Right...

  • Kaligula||


    Brian Doherty asks if we've seen another candidate as Libertarian as Ron Paul lately. Yes, we have. His name is George Phillies.



    Yeah, but we don't Lipstick Lesbians for George Phillies now do we?

  • ||

    Phillies sounds like the name of a baseball team or a merry gay quartet.

    Phillies cannot even compare to Paul. Phillies has nowhere near the support, experience, or charisma. Why invent the wheel when you already have a good thing going? Phillies should drop out and support Paul like Kubby did. The LP should support Paul for President.

  • Pat||

    "Why is Ron Paul the place where making the non-existent best the enemy of the good becomes the right thing to do?"

    This is truly funny. This rationalization is used by the Democratic Leadership Council types to manipulate, with guilt and doubt, the progressive and left-wing Democrat voters into hold their noses and supporting "mainstream" right-wing Democratic candidates who espouse values inimical to the social justice values Democratic voters. I got fed up with this reasoning in 1996 and quit the Democrats over this type of shallow sophistry.

    The single minded right-wing that dominates the leadership of the two parties are forever trying to get human rights, civil liberties and social justice voters to set aside those values for candidates who campaign on policies like the drug war which is inimical to these social justice values.

    Don't be manipulated by the same bullshit that the Democrats are conned by. Defend your values.

  • Nicholai||

    Ron Paul is a hard core Libertarian. The so called "libertarians" that do not like Ron Paul are Neocons posing as libertarians. The neocons will do everything they can to stop Ron Paul from winning because Ron Paul is planning on dissolving the CIA, DEA, IRS, Federal Reserve and income tax. Libertarians CAN NOT support the war in Iraq. Every real Libertarian will be supporting Ron Paul in 2008.

    http://libertarianempire.com/Paul.html

  • pdog||

    I generally avoid calling myself libertarian, anarcho-capitalist defines me better. While there are points of disagreement between me and Ron Paul, I look at the small size of the differences in comparison to the chasm of differences between the other canidates and the choice is pretty simple for me.

  • ||

    Considering how much $$$ the income tax brings in for the government, what is Ron Paul planning to replace it with? Or is he just going to sling the whole mess on the Chinese credit card and leave the problem for the next generation?

    Oh, and for those who want to get rid of the Federal Reserve, please read up on "bank failures in New England." There's a reason the Federal Reserve came into existence, mmmkay?

  • ||

    Grumpy realist; The only money our taxes go for is debit, our income tax only goes to the Fed for advancing money for use of debit. When the government is down scaled the surplus will pay its own way via legal fees trade duty and capital gains taxes on profits and across the board fair tax like vat sales tax. Our income was never in the equation its a myth enforced by force. suggest you read your US history before posting

  • ||

    Let's bring it back to reality, ok? Ron Paul is leaps and bounds better than anyone else running.

    "Oh no, I'm Chicago school! How could I ever vote for an Austrian?!"

    Give me a break. Ron Paul is the man.

  • ||

    Here is a quote from your article, from Mr. Paul's press machine

    " a politician dedicated to severely limited government that doesn't want to interfere in our personal lives, doesn't want to investigate us and control us,"

    How can he possibly expect us to believe this when he wants to interfere with AND CONTROL awomen's right to choose what they do with their own bodies? This is either incredibly sexist or incredibly hypocritical, or both. He'll never get my vote as long as this contradiction exists. My wife, who is a physician, feels the same way. It seems very restrictive, controlling, and interfering to me.

    It's too bad, because we agree with his views on many other issues. This, however, is a deal-killer.

  • ||

    Regarding the comment that any obstetrician would be against abortion, I can assure you that returning to pre-Roe v Wade abortion laws is not something most obstetricians who lived it would want. Watch or read "The Cider House Rules" for a synopsis. I am an obstetrician and however distasteful I might find abortion I believe it is essential that it remain legal. I can't believe that a libertarian would put the rights of a potential individual ahead of the rights of someone already breathing on the planet. As Ed says, although we agree with him on many other issues, this is a deal-killer.

  • Brendan Steinhauser||

    Sound off by voting in the FreedomWorks online straw poll: www.freedomworks.org/strawpoll/

  • nanon||

    I clicked on Ron Paul's YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/RonPaul2008dotcom) and he lost me when he said:
    - "we who use the Internet a lot, and the young people who like it..." Yeah, those young kids and their internet. My parent's are more hip to the internet than he is, probably because they're 15 years younger than Paul.
    - he continues that on the internet, young people "can get information that is unbiased". Almost nothing on the internet is unbiased, you simply get to choose from many more outlets that represent many more biases than traditional MSM. In some ways that can be worse -- re-enforcing your existing biases is no substitution for getting different perspectives.

  • Mike Reason||

    You anarchists always seem to forget about the minarchist wing of the libertarian movement. The man wants to preserve our sovereignty and thereby, the universal right of association, and apparently he's a totalitarian to you guys. If a country can't legitimately enforce it's own borders, then how does one expect a person to protect his/her own property.

  • Mike Reason||

    Also you forgot to mention that many libertarians out there support the war on terror. That's a big one for many minarchists out there.

  • ||

    Headlines: Once again, libertarians cut off nose to spite face

    Let's see here: Ron Paul is arguably the most principled candidate to run for president in my lifetime (more than 50 years), a candidate whose basic platform is individual liberty, though I think he'd be more appropriately categorized as a constitutionalist or minarchist, and he's not libertarian enough??
    ,
    Ron Paul, a man who actually speaks the words I, for one, have longed to hear: individual liberty, natural and God-given rights, states rights vs. federal "one size fits all" control, constitutional law, smaller government, lower taxes, getting government out of our daily lives, strong monetary policies, no foreign entanglement AND he has a 10 term congressional voting record backing his principles, and he's not libertarian enough???

    Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater! Just who would be "libertarian enough" for you purists? Someone said it earlier, I think some of the purists would rather fight over minutae rather than promote the cause of liberty, no matter how incremental.

    And while I'm at it, for you "libertarian purists" who think the war is so grand, here's the perfect opportunity to put your pure principles to practice: check the yellow pages for the location of your nearest recruiter. I hear they may need a few more bullet sponges, especially if we take on Iran. Too old, you say? No problem! Enlist your kids. No kids? Again no problem. Stroke a check out of YOUR bank account to fund this illegal, unconstitutional war of aggression on a soverign nation who couldn't have attacked us if it tried. Leave the rest of us alone.

    And for you single issue purist voters (abortion), your thinking scares me. You might just want to open your mind and consider what pdog said earlier: "I look at the small size of the differences in comparison to the chasm of differences between the other candidates and the choice is pretty simple for me."

    Sheesh!

  • RonPaul2008||

    Picky, much? FACE REALITY, people! If you don't want to live in a box, think OUTSIDE the box! Ron Paul is the CLOSEST thing to a real Libertarian or at least embraces MANY Libertarian values.

    You'd be a fool to hold your vote for a write-in Libertarian candidate. First, stop the bleeding. Protect the shredded remnants of our Constitution. THEN, once Ron Paul is in and reason returns to Washington, focus on bringing more Libertarian values into play. With Hitlery, Obama bin Laden, or any of the phonies like Guliani in, you have a snowball's chance in hell of ANY liberty, period.

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