Hey, GOP: Listen to Ron

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Kimberley Strassel, one of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board member/columnists, has an awfully sympathic take on Paul and a pointed attackon his foes.

Former Bush speechwriter Michael's Gerson's new book, "Heroic Conservatism," calls on Republicans to give in to big government and co-opt the tools of state for their own purposes. "If Republicans run in future elections with a simplistic, anti-government message, ignoring the poor, the addicted, and children at risk, they will lose, and they will deserve to lose," he writes. Then again, Republicans have already been losing, and losing big, in no small part because they've taken Mr. Gerson's advice.

Strassel assumes that Paul will lose the primary because of his "kooky views and violent antiwar talk." Indeed, you can't breeze past this. Paul has some of the highest negative approval numbers among GOP voters, above 40 percent (much higher than the number who approve of him), and only half or less as many Republicans say they like him. That's all about the war. Still…

If Mr. Paul has shown anything, it's that many conservative voters continue to doubt there's anything "heroic" or "compassionate" in a ballooning government that sucks up their dollars to aid a dysfunctional state. When Mr. Paul gracefully exits this race, his followers will be looking for an alternative to take up that cause. Any takers?

The latest CNN poll shows Paul jumping to his first double-digit poll result: 11 percent in South Carolina. That state had been less of a priority for Paul than New Hampshire (where he's polling a solid fifth and aiming for at least third) and Iowa, but there's been a lot of under-the-radar grassroots organizing in SC. Matter of fact, the Paul blimp just took off from there.

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  1. Hey, let the Republican party turn itself over to Gerson and Huckabee and their ilk.

    The best thing for libertarianism long-term would be for it to become impossible to pretend that there is any real alliance of interest or ideology between big-government theocrats and supporters of small government of all types.

    I think there is more of a future in letting the fundies go their own way and trying to draw off fiscally responsible Democrats anyway.

  2. The latest CNN poll shows Paul jumping to his first double-digit poll result: 11 percent in South Carolina.

    I’d like to believe it, but I think I’ll wait to see it confirmed by a few more polls before I buy it.

  3. When Mr. Paul gracefully exits this race, his followers will be looking for an alternative to take up that cause. Any takers?

    None that I can see. Fortuntately, my ballot has a line that says “write in—>”

    I’m glad to know I’ll have the opportunity to vote for Paul twice.

  4. violent antiwar talk

    Wow. That makes my mind hurt.

    The best thing for libertarianism long-term would be for it to become impossible to pretend that there is any real alliance of interest or ideology between big-government theocrats and supporters of small government of all types.

    Or any real difference between Republicans and Democrats.

    I think there is more of a future in letting the fundies go their own way and trying to draw off fiscally responsible Democrats anyway.

    They cancelled the parade of fiscally responsible Democrats. One of them broke her leg and the other one didn’t want to march alone. 😉

  5. Dudes, the blimp took off from **North** Carolina.

    And though he is now in double digits, Paul is still 6th in the race. We’ve got to hope for lots of independents to show up (and re-register?) for that primary.

  6. The blimp actually took off from NC….

  7. The Blimp is flying!!!!

  8. I like Fluffy’s idea.

    This country would be better off with a three-party (or two-and-a-half-party) system like Britain’s.

  9. Anything greater than 2 bad choices would be a step in the right direction.

  10. This country would be better off with a three-party (or two-and-a-half-party) system like Britain’s.

    Our system doesn’t really allow for that. It’s two-party. The best thing is for the Republicans to come clean that they are just Dems with bibles, merge with the Dems, and let an actual small-government party emerge.

  11. I can’t beleive I am saying this, but I agree with Fluffy.

  12. Our system doesn’t really allow for that. It’s two-party.

    Maybe you can temporarily alter that reality through force of will, you shaggy quadruped.

  13. mike, I would like to think you know that from reading Startide Rising but you probably just clicked the link.

  14. JLM,

    A real third party would make the choices offered by the other two better.

  15. Yes it would. But I won’t hold my breath waiting for a “real” third party to actually materialize.

  16. Yeah, don’t be getting North Cackilacky confused with South Cackilacky. 😛

    Looking forward to seeing the blimp in NoVA 😀

  17. The reason we have two parties and always will is because Americans in general are willing to compromise. People would rather get some of what they want rather than risk getting none of what they want by demanding all of what they want.

    In other words, if libertarians split from the GOP, it would be good for neither the GOP or the libertarians. This is why Ron Paul runs as a Republican even though he disagrees with the mainstream GOP on just about everything.

  18. violent antiwar talk

    That is opposed to all that peaceful pro-war talk I’m hearing. Or somethig.

  19. …violent antiwar talk.

    DING DING DING
    It gets in just in time, but you gotta like it’s chances for
    OXYMORON OF THE YEAR

  20. I’m not seeing a graceful exit from the GOP race in Paul’s future.

    I see the party gracelessly screwing him over at the national convention in St Paul and the campaign moving to the LP.

    After that, I’ll be a thrilled patriot if Ron Paul wins as a Libertarian, and I’ll be a giddy anarcho-capitalist if his (hypothetical) Libertarian candidacy draws enough votes to hang the electoral college and thus throws the decision to the floor of the incoming House of Representatives.

    That would be so cool.

  21. Fuck the Democrins. Fuck the Republicrats.
    Giant Douche/Turd Sandwich.
    I’ll stay a dreamer…

  22. In other words, if libertarians split from the GOP, it would be good for neither the GOP or the libertarians.

    Got to disagree here. It would hurt the GOP certainly, but that pain might just force the GOP to pay some attention to the libertarian wing if it hopes to keep in the game. In which case the libertarians win after suffering no worse under the Dems than the GOP (since they are not really that different from each other).

  23. The best thing for libertarianism long-term would be for it to become impossible to pretend that there is any real alliance of interest or ideology between big-government theocrats and supporters of small government of all types.

    Well, for any interested sane person, that’s been impossible for thirty seven years. People went right on pretending anyway. I don’t see why they should stop now.

  24. Wouldn’t liberty be even better than three parties? I mean, wouldn’t a federal government you gave only a passing thought to every few months be better than trying to take control of the reins of a huge bureaucracy with such enormous inertia that any feasible path to reducing the size and scope of government would require a century of concerted effort, something you’re not going to get when people are all too happy to vote themselves other peoples’ money?

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you people need to read more Hoppe. Like I said about reading the New Libertarian Manifesto, reading Hoppe is good for the soul if nothing else.

  25. Untermensch, were you around in 1992? If so, were you also around in 1993? We CAN NOT trust the Republicans. We will be sold out so fast you’d think we were Led Zeppelin tickets.

  26. Got to disagree here. It would hurt the GOP certainly, but that pain might just force the GOP to pay some attention to the libertarian wing if it hopes to keep in the game. In which case the libertarians win after suffering no worse under the Dems than the GOP (since they are not really that different from each other

    I’m saying that the GOP does pay some attention to the libertarian wing. After all, they cut taxes, protect the 2nd amendment, privitize government functions, and work against socialist health care, etc.

    The GOP just doesn’t do everything that libertarians would like – that’s just reality because libertarians are hardly the GOP’s only voter base.

    Really, the two party system works on the principle of the lesser evil. Nobody is totally happy with either party, because America is full of hundreds of millions of people with various viewpoints and interests.

  27. The best system wold be a four party one. A Liberal Party, a Conservative Party, a Libertarian Party, and a Socialist/Populist. Two parties leads to choices that are too similar, 50+ parties (Italy) leads to instability.

  28. Penguin,
    You need to put your fatties on a diet. I agree with what you’re saying, but I’m pretty sure you mean 1994-95. (I could be wrong)

  29. The best system wold be a four party one. A Liberal Party, a Conservative Party, a Libertarian Party, and a Socialist/Populist.

    Perhaps, but at some point two of those parties are going to realize that if they join together they could win all the elections instead of just 25% of them apiece.

    And then the other two parties will have no choice but to merge as well so they could win 50% of them…

  30. “Perhaps, but at some point two of those parties are going to realize that if they join together they could win all the elections instead of just 25% of them apiece.”

    Of the four choices above, the first two parties to merge would be the Liberal and the Socialist/Populist.

  31. Dan T.-

    Canada already has 3/4 of those parties. Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP (Socialist/Populist). If it wasn’t for a big secessionist Party I’d bet the fourth party would be Libertarian, or at least some version of “classical liberal”.

  32. If it wasn’t for a big secessionist Party I’d bet the fourth party would be Libertarian

    I don’t know; a secessionist party sounds pretty libertarian to me.

    It seems to me the easiest way to take back control of government is to lop off a big part of it, thus making the problem much smaller.

  33. I don’t know; a secessionist party sounds pretty libertarian to me.

    Not the “Quebec Block”. They’re like European Social Democrats to the next level.

  34. It seems to me the easiest way to take back control of government is to lop off a big part of it, thus making the problem much smaller.

    Yes, but then we’d have to worry about the group that has the power to lop off a big part of the government.

  35. Dan T.-

    Canada already has 3/4 of those parties. Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP (Socialist/Populist). If it wasn’t for a big secessionist Party I’d bet the fourth party would be Libertarian, or at least some version of “classical liberal”.

    Hmmm…Canadians must be a little slow on the uptake. Why don’t the Liberals and Socialists merge?

  36. Not the “Quebec Block”. They’re like European Social Democrats to the next level.

    Fabulous: if those people want a worker’s paradise, let them try it. Either way, less centralization equals more freedom: in the short term, it moves one of the resulting blocks toward greater freedom by separating out the more statist elements; and in the longer term, it results in more competition between governments, which limits the amount of damage any one of them can inflict without causing everyone to flee.

    Do any of you really have any doubt that geographic sprawl is a large part of what enables the US government to get away with murder, both literally and figuratively? A government as overreaching as ours simply couldn’t survive if it were possible for 100% of the populace to move 2 hours away to something better.

    Secession, whatever the aim, will ultimately have a much greater positive effect on freedom than trying to convince people not to use the illusory legitimacy of the state to rob their neighbors. It’s just too easy for people to ignore the inherent violence of taxation when there are many degrees of separation between them and the thug enforcing the tax.

  37. A government as overreaching as ours simply couldn’t survive if it were possible for 100% of the populace to move 2 hours away to something better.

    For a counter-example with an even more over reaching government, see the European Union.

  38. squarooticus-

    Had, for example, the South won the civil war theres little doubt in my mind the North American continent would have ended up like Europe in the 20th century. That is, squabbling small states fighting endless fratricidal wars over resources. I don’t have to tell you how much war (or even the threat of it) expands government, do I?

    As for moving, how can you be sure every state will even allow its people to move? An authoritarian secessionist group isn’t going to allow their people to leave. They will set up border walls, border fences, etc if they feel they are losing too many people.

  39. DanT:
    Greetings and Salutations.

    long time no see, hier!

    are you thinking of something like the Green/LP joint fusion work in your 12:07 post?

    And what do you think of the new tariff on the Flux Capacitor?

    What do you think of Ron Paul?

    Finally, what about those upcoming, tricky holiday leftovers?

    HAPPY FRIDAY!

  40. I’d also like to point out that political unity within a geographically isolated area is a good deal of what has allowed the United States and Great Britain to be relatively more free than the European continent through much of history. If Great Britain was still divided into England, Scotland, and Wales with the constant threat of war between those states it would have been much harder to have a liberal (in the classical sense) government. Same for the United States if each section had become its own nation.

  41. “throws the decision to the floor of the incoming House of Representatives.”

    The funny thing about that is while the house is picking the president, the senate picks the vice president.

  42. Yes, but then we’d have to worry about the group that has the power to lop off a big part of the government.

    Tell me, Dan, do you worry about the ACLU often?

  43. For a counter-example with an even more over reaching government, see the European Union.

    Not really a good analogy.

    (1) Mobility in Europe was and still is limited by the lack of a common language.

    (2) Despite this, until the recent expansion of the EU, there were plenty of low tax states. If you wanted socialism, you could get it; but if you wanted relative freedom and low tax rates, you could also get that, assuming you were permitted to immigrate to your target country.

    (2) Things will get substantially worse with the inevitable political integration of the EU. I can virtually guarantee that once the EU has the ability to directly tax the incomes of EU member states’ citizens and dole the resulting loot out to member states on an arbitrary basis resulting from whatever the current political makeup is, you’ll see the tax burden shift from the individual states to the central government, just like the good old USA.

    Case in point: yes, I can move from Taxachusetts to New Hampshire and cut my marginal income tax rate from 40.3% to 35.3%. Whoop-dee-fucking-doo. It’s still about 35% higher than it should be, give or take 0.3%.

  44. As for moving, how can you be sure every state will even allow its people to move? An authoritarian secessionist group isn’t going to allow their people to leave. They will set up border walls, border fences, etc if they feel they are losing too many people.

    Please. You don’t really believe this, do you? As sheepish as most USians are, there are far too many wolves with far too many guns for a North Korea-like state to exist in proximity to neighboring states that would love to have productive refugees.

    If it were possible to do this, Detroit and Buffalo would have done it long ago.

  45. (1) Mobility in Europe was and still is limited by the lack of a common language.

    China during the Warring States period or Germany under the Holy Roman Empire weren’t fun places to live. Despite a common language, there were endless wars between petty states. Not to mention the lack of any semblance of free trade. Each little petty principality had outrageous tarriffs, charged tolls just to move through a river that entered their territory, and so on.

    squarooticus, If each state were an independent nation, what does Maryland do when Virginia denies it access to the Chesapeake Bay? What happens when Louisiana decides to block the Mississippi River unless foreign commerce decides to pay a huge toll for shipping out to New Orleans? What does Arizona do when Colorado decides its using too much water?

  46. squat,

    I have Hoppe’s The Myth of National Defense on my 2008 reading list. Any other suggestions?

  47. Theres one thing the European Union has done well. It makes another European World War impossible.

  48. Cesar,

    You sure. How about EU countries vs European non-EU countries?

    Swiss-Turk-Russian alliance looks dangerous to me.

  49. the best system wold be a four party one. A Liberal Party, a Conservative Party, a Libertarian Party, and a Socialist/Populist. Two parties leads to choices that are too similar, 50+ parties (Italy) leads to instability.

    I don’t see how any society benefits from having Socialist parties. Over the next generation the economic situation in Latin America and Africa are likely to reverse because the former is ideologically spent and the latter is still in love with leftist romanticism.

    I found Sherry Wolf’s recent article on Counterpunch interesting as it conflates world views.

    Libertarians, using pseudo-iconoclastic logic, transform this comical send-up of religious conformity into their own secular dogma in which we are all just atomized beings. “Only an individual has rights,” not groups such as workers, Blacks, gays, women, and minorities, Ron Paul argues. True, we are all individuals, but we didn’t just bump into one another. Human beings by nature are social beings who live in a collective, a society. Under capitalism, society is broken down into classes in which some individuals-bosses, for example-wield considerably more power than others-workers.

    Socialism is inherently antisocial because it cannot be established without some form of coercion. Free markets are ultimately the most social of arrangements because nothing can be accomplished within that framework without cooperation among all relevant parties.

  50. I have Hoppe’s The Myth of National Defense on my 2008 reading list. Any other suggestions?

    I highly recommend Democracy: The God That Failed. The first chapter is very heavy on the analysis, but can best be summed up by “High time preference essentially means you prefer to trade your money for goods sooner rather than save.” Everything else in the book depends on this insight, so it’s worthwhile to take the time to understand it before proceeding.

  51. Getting back to the editorial, I wonder if the pro-war faction of the GOP is really as strong as some pundits think it is.

    Personally, I think that Ron Paul has been hurt most by a relative lack of media coverage and by his lack of “soundbite” ability when he does get coverage. It’s regrettable that a candidate needs such a thing, but in this day and age that’s we’ve become.

  52. Libertarians, using pseudo-iconoclastic logic, transform this comical send-up of religious conformity into their own secular dogma in which we are all just atomized beings. “Only an individual has rights,” not groups such as workers, Blacks, gays, women, and minorities, Ron Paul argues. True, we are all individuals, but we didn’t just bump into one another. Human beings by nature are social beings who live in a collective, a society. Under capitalism, society is broken down into classes in which some individuals-bosses, for example-wield considerably more power than others-workers.

    Just a whole bunch of mush-mouthed crap arguing for coercion and authoritarianism under the guise of the “social contract.” Marxist analysis made some sense in the context of Marx’s time and place, but the notion of rigid “classes” is laughable if one looks at the real world.

  53. squarooticus, If each state were an independent nation, what does Maryland do when Virginia denies it access to the Chesapeake Bay? What happens when Louisiana decides to block the Mississippi River unless foreign commerce decides to pay a huge toll for shipping out to New Orleans?

    Last I heard, Switzerland wasn’t a member of the EU. I guess they’d use airplanes instead of the Rhine. But they’re smart enough not to piss anyone off. That whole non-interventionism/anti-alliance thing and all.

    What does Arizona do when Colorado decides its using too much water?

    Ship water in?

    Really, these aren’t exactly the dead-ends you think they are. As a result, they are hardly the pivotal pro-centralization arguments you make them out to be.

    I disbelieve any suggestion that the alternative to a world government—something I conclude you support in the limit, based on your arguments—is perpetual war. On the contrary, a world government will result in perpetual war: that of the government on its citizens. We are already seeing this to a lesser extent right now.

    More centralization = less freedom. This should be completely self-evident.

  54. You know, there is a middle ground between postage stamp countries and world government.

  55. squarooticus –

    It helps Switzerland is completely surrounded by mountainous terrain. The border between, say, Virginia and North Carolina is a line on a map.

    Ship water in?

    If theres a drought, Colorado will decide it keeps the water to itself. Then you have conflict.

    Look, under your preferred solution protectionist trade and immigration policies of several of the new states would take the place of federal regulation. I’m not convinced this would be an improvement.

  56. It helps Switzerland is completely surrounded by mountainous terrain. The border between, say, Virginia and North Carolina is a line on a map.

    A line potentially backed up by a lot of people with guns who don’t want the other state’s government controlling them.

    Nonetheless, I suspect the border situation between two states with a shallow economic gradient wouldn’t be quite acrimonious enough to even get to that point.

    If theres a drought, Colorado will decide it keeps the water to itself. Then you have conflict.

    Who says the water has to come from Colorado? Fly the stuff in from far away. It would cost a lot, but if you want to live in a land-locked country, you accept some risk. Or offer money to Mexico, New Mexico, Nevada, or California. Contract with the huge desalinization plant that inevitably gets built on San Diego’s coastline.

    You can keep constructing examples and I can keep finding solutions to them. The bottom line is that the world will not fall apart if the US federal government ceases to exist. On the contrary, I suspect things would get much, much better for the vast majority of Americans.

  57. @alan

    I don’t see how any society benefits from having Socialist parties.

    Pig Mannix’s First Law of Social Benefit: The amount of noise an individual makes about “the Good of Society” will be inverse to the value that individual contributes to society themselves.

    I found Sherry Wolf’s recent article on Counterpunch interesting as it conflates world views.

    Yeah, that article also appears here, and it has the advantage of having her blog on it, so you can tell her just what you think… 😉

  58. Nonetheless, I suspect the border situation between two states with a shallow economic gradient wouldn’t be quite acrimonious enough to even get to that point.

    Like the US and Canada.

  59. A government as overreaching as ours simply couldn’t survive if it were possible for 100% of the populace to move 2 hours away to something better.

    With, say, 50 tiney governments loosely united for defense and a few other things … if only we had a document outlining that kind of configuration, we could implement it … we could call it a confabulation … no, that’s not it …

  60. “””Yes, but then we’d have to worry about the group that has the power to lop off a big part of the government.”””

    True, but our founding fathers had an idea. Create a document that would prevent that power grab. It is up to the citizens to hold their government to the contents of that document. So what happens when the power goes to citizen oversight, and the citizens are no longer interested in the document?? Here we are.

  61. The problem with the WSJ piece is it dismisses Paul’s foreign policy ideas as kooky without even addressing them.

    Both Republicans and Democrats advocate the same thing, big government intervention overseas.

    Who failed to protect America on 9/11?

    The government.

    So what do we need, more of what failed, namely government.

    Why not let pilots have guns. Would that be too cost effective?

  62. Strassel assumes that Paul will lose the primary because of his “kooky views and violent [sic] antiwar talk.”

    That seems like a contradiction in terms – how can a person that advocates for peace with words do so “violently”? Also, what is so “violent” about Ron Paul’s words?

    Cesar,
    If each state were an independent nation, what does Maryland do when Virginia denies it access to the Chesapeake Bay? What happens when Louisiana decides to block the Mississippi River unless foreign commerce decides to pay a huge toll for shipping out to New Orleans? What does Arizona do when Colorado decides its using too much water?

    States are not persons – it is not like one state decides by itself.

    “If each state were an independent nation, what does Maryland do when Virginia denies it access to the Chesapeake Bay?” Who denies access? The State, or the people? If the people of Virginia decided to become an incommunicated peninsula, the traders of Maryland can find open ports up north. However, there is no reason to do this – only governments could act this irrational.

    “What happens when Louisiana decides to block the Mississippi River unless foreign commerce decides to pay a huge toll for shipping out to New Orleans?” There are other ports.

    “What does Arizona do when Colorado decides its using too much water?”

    Raises the price.

  63. If theres a drought, Colorado will decide it keeps the water to itself. Then you have conflict.

    “Colorado” or rather the people that manage the water can always raise the price of it. It is because water is managed by the Federal Government that you have conflicts, like the one between Georgia and the [commie] Corps of Engineers.

  64. All this violent antiwar talk is making me crazy. If I hear anymore of it I’m likely to start a war!

  65. I’m sure the Ron Paul Blimp launch was meant to coincide with the Led Zeppelin reunion, just like the Nov. 5 fundraiser coincided with Guy Fawkes day.

  66. I raise the question of Maryland and Virginia’s rights in the Chesapeake Bay because a very conflict regarding those rights (along withe rights on the Potomac) was a huge concern in the 1780s, and one of the big things that led Washington to favor a Constitutional convention.

    The dispute wasn’t resolved until the new Federal government stepped in. It wasn’t far off from turning into a kind of war.

  67. I guess I am far too late but if anyone checks these comments I believe that there is a straw man argument here–

    Anarcho capitalism is the removal of the geographical monopoly on violence of the nation state, replacing it with contract.

    True, anarchies have been clan based, but the best of them have allowed mobility between clans, making them contractual as well.

    If we can get to the dissolution of all nation states and replace them with contracts for everyting, including what are now called defense and police and justice, we will be where we should be.

    With technological developments that make geographical government obsolete I think it is possible in this century.

  68. Anarcho capitalism is the removal of the geographical monopoly on violence of the nation state, replacing it with contract.

    And contact disputes will be resolved by ??????

    A supreme contract of some sort? Like a constitution, with powers delegated by the people to enforce said contracts?

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