Civil Rights

Will Wilkinson Calls Ron Paul "an Embarrassment to the Creed" of Libertarianism

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Are you embarrassed?

The other day I had occasion to link to Senior Editor Brian Doherty's March 2010 essay "A Tale of Two Libertarianisms," which traced a decades-long cultural/philosophical split to a conflict between Murray Rothbard and F.A. Hayek. Sample paragraph (leaving out various to-be-sures and shades of gray):

The uneasy relationship between Rothbard and Hayek is echoed to this day, with modern Hayekians such as Will Wilkinson and former Reason editor Virginia Postrel publicly lamenting the conflation of their worldview with Rothbard-style beliefs. Writing on his blog, Wilkinson has complained that when he defends "something like the arguments for an economic safety net [Hayek and other] giants of libertarian thought actually set forth, lots of libertarians accuse me of not really being libertarian at all. And many liberals act surprised, as if I'm being saucily iconoclastic by wandering so far off the reservation." Postrel once wrote in Cato Unbound that "to an outsider, official libertarianism…does indeed look like a doctrinaire sect with a well-rehearsed catechism….Everything flows from a single principle: self-ownership or non-aggression. It's political philosophy as simple algebra." She then notes that such a definition of libertarianism leaves no room for the Hayekian style she embraces, since its advocates do not "adhere to the deductive reasoning promoted by Ayn Rand or Murray Rothbard. They aren't 'principled' or 'hard core.'" All sorts of intra-libertarian internecine squabbles follow along the same rough lines of the split between the hardcore, no-compromise, anti-statist Rothbardian and the more classical liberal, utilitarian, fallibilist, and prudential Hayekian.

Today comes further evidence for Doherty's thesis, in the form of a Wilkinson piece in The New Republic titled "A Libertarian's Lament: Why Ron Paul Is an Embarrassment to the Creed." Specifically, Wilkinson is embarrassed about Paul's stances on immigration and civil rights:

[W]hen it comes to protecting the wealth of propertied Americans, Paul is an absolutist who will brook no compromise. Taxation is slavery! But when it comes to defending an equally basic, principled commitment to free immigration and unrestricted labor markets, Paul develops a keen sensitivity to complicated questions of feasibility, hemming and hawing his way to a convoluted compromise that would continue to affirm the systematic violation of the individual rights of foreigners who would like to live and work in America, and those of Americans who would like to live and work with them.

"I strongly believe in the principle of peaceful civil disobedience," Paul begins in a chapter on that subject. "Those who resist the state nonviolently, based on their own principles, deserve our support," he says. But when it comes to mostly poor foreigners who break immigration laws that straightforwardly violate Paul's own principles, the congressman can hardly summon a flicker of sympathy. "The toughest part of showing any compassion or tolerance to the illegal immigrants…is the tremendous encouragement it gives for more immigrants to come illegally and avoid the wait and bureaucracy," Paul writes. In other words, if we allow ourselves to go soft on brown people with bad English, even more of them may wish to exercise their "individual rights that derive from nature and cannot be granted or taken away by government."

As a rule, libertarians have an unhealthy tendency to apply their principles without due regard to America's history of state-enforced slavery, apartheid, and sexism, or to the many ways in which the legacy of these insidious practices persists to this day. Paul represents this tendency at his worst. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Paul has argued, led to "a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society." […]

[I]t appears that Paul is least tolerant of ambiguity and complexity when it muddies the case for protecting privilege. To deny that structural discrimination, with or without the backing of the state, can limit an individual's liberty more injuriously than a sales tax requires the triumph of dogmatism over commonsense. But Paul's career is a case study of such bullheadedness. Not only does he deny that anti-discrimination statutes have anything to do with promoting liberty, he insists, again and again, that anti-discrimination policies have only heightened resentments between man and woman, black and white, and do nothing whatsoever to improve social amity. He would have us believe that the enormous gains over the past several decades in racial and gender equality, the dramatic rise of mixed-race marriages, and the happy detente in the gender wars have all occurred despite recent attempts to rectify centuries of legal oppression through law.

There is also some interesting discussion about how "a system of secure property rights is a means to a peaceful society of mutual benefit, not an end in itself." Conclusion?

Thanks to Ron Paul, libertarianism of a certain stripe may be more popular than ever, and its influence on the Tea Party and the broader conservative movement is not hard to see. All the same, this brand of libertarianism is never going to "cross the chasm," as the marketing folks like to say. It's destined to remain a minority creed, and that's not because most Americans are stupid or immoral. It's because libertarians have done a terrible job countering the widespread suspicion that theirs is a uselessly abstract ideology of privilege for socially obtuse adolescent white guys. Ron Paul sure isn't helping.

Disclosure: I am much more aligned with Will Wilkinson than Ron Paul when it comes to immigration and abortion and (probably?) interracial marriage*, though I daresay the 75-year-old has a much more impressive baseball swing. That said, I am not now nor have I ever been very persuaded by the whole "Person X is bad for the brand of libertarianism" argument. There may be any number of biases leading me to that point of view–Reason is an outreach magazine, not a fortified compound of definitional libertarianism; and I have zero interest in policing the proper usage of the term. But ultimately I'm far more concerned with whether America is getting more libertarian (particularly in its politics and public policy), and in my judgment it most definitely has. And I don't see how you can arrive at that conclusion without giving heaps of credit to Rep. Ron Paul.

Anyone here watch the last Republican presidential debate, in Iowa? There was about a 15-minute section where it basically seemed like Ron Paul was moderating the thing, and the various other candidates had to react to his strong and unorthodox libertarian views on foreign policy and the Federal Reserve. Where once you could see eyes roll at Paul's eternal return to the subject of government-induced "malinvestments," now you saw Newt Gingrich mouthing very Paulian lines on monetary policy. Where Rudy Guiliani once nearly snapped Paul's head clean off over foreign policy, now you have many Republicans expressing doubt over military overstretch in Afghanistan, Libya, and even Iraq. The party is moving in his direction on the issues that matter most right now–economic, fiscal, and foreign policies–and I think you certainly have to apportion some of that credit to the more-popular-than-ever Ron Paul.

As for Paul's views on the less pressing issues of immigration and the Civil Rights Act, I am much more aligned with these remarks by The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf, writing about Paul critiques by liberals Adam Serwer and Matthew Yglesias:

Serwer writes that Paul's oeuvre "too often comes across as an agenda of individual freedom for straight white men." Yes, that is unfortunate. But what is more important, how it "comes across" or the effect Paul's policies would have on minorities? Obama "comes across" as being much friendlier to minority concerns, yet under his tenure the policy that is most harmful to American blacks and Latinos, the War on Drugs, isn't being challenged or reformed in the least.

As it happens, Paul wants to completely end that very same program. And Yglesias and Serwer both agree that the status quo, the one Obama is perpetuating, has the very ruinous effects Paul says it does.

Despite this, these two progressive policy wonks, writing posts about Paul and civil liberties, neglect to mention the War on Drugs at all. Instead, they spend time on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the fact that Paul's campaign slogan, "Restore America Now," reminds Yglesias of "conservative impulses and nostalgia for the much-less-free America." Am I to accept that the implicit priorities reflected in their posts are plausibly the right ones for any voter in Election 2012? […]

I just don't get it when Yglesias righteously points out that Paul's "interest in freedom doesn't extend to the freedom of anyone unfortunate enough to have been born in a foreign country."

If Yglesias wants to vote for a candidate whose interest in freedom does extend that far, I invite him to register as a Republican and vote Gary Johnson in the 2012 primaries. Instead, he's going to wait until the general election, and vote for Obama, another guy whose interest in freedom "doesn't extend to the freedom of anyone unfortunate enough to have been born in a foreign country."

But it isn't just that Paul and Obama would both execute the laws that keep lots of armed guards on our southern border, and meanwhile deport lots of illegal immigrants. What Obama is going to do, on top of that, is wage undeclared drone wars in multiple countries that kill lots of innocent people because collateral damage in undeclared wars is okay if you're "unfortunate enough to have been born in a foreign country." And he's also going to continue sending the DEA abroad, where its agents will exacerbate a drug war that has killed tens of thousands in Mexico and wipe out the crops of subsistence farms in Latin America. In extreme ways, Obama behaves as if his avowed convictions don't extend to various folks "unfortunate enough to have been born in a foreign country." […]

All I ask, as they critique Paul's sometimes flawed conception of freedom, is that they acknowledge that they're perfectly willing to vote for a guy who embraces most of the executive power excesses of Bush/Cheney, wages war without congressional approval, ramps up drone strikes that kill innocents, spies on innocent Americans, says marriage should be between a man and a woman, and perpetuates the War on Drugs, among other policies. I also wish they'd come around to the proposition that, while all Paul criticisms are fair game, some, like the political correctness of his campaign slogan and his position on the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act, seem absurd to regard as relevant enough to focus on, given the immediacy and significance of other issues.

Reason on Ron Paul here.

* I see in the comments that people are misinterpreting this reference. This is not a comment about Ron Paul's views on whether people of different races should marry (I am more than confident that Paul has zero issue with interracial marriage per se), this is a direct reference to the blog post that I linked to at the top of this entry, which was entitled (based on a quotation from a relevant blog post by the Ron Paul-supporting David Gordon), "What do you think of interracial marriage? It would be hard, offhand, to think of a question less relevant to libertarianism." I would presume that Paul thinks more like Gordon on the issue, hence the difference between us would be whether we find the issue "relevant to libertarianism."

NEXT: Best Wishes to Robert Greene, Editorialist

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  1. Will Wilkinson is a libertarian?

    1. He’s one of the first ‘liberaltarians’ or in other words an asshole.

    2. Well, he was dating a libertarian, that might count.

      Can we drink now?

      1. They’re not dating any more? Sweet. You think I have a chance?

        1. I didn’t know you like dating dudes, Tulpa.

          1. Times like this are when H&R needs an edit button.

      2. Howley isn’t a libertarian. She is a collectivist feminist progressive.

    3. Ron Paul is Fringe! No, Ron Paul is Not Fringe Enough! Wait! LOL

      – Reason is working hard to destroy the closest thing to a “Liberty” candidate we have. I guess they are “Rooting” for Romney… oh, or maybe a real Libertarian patriot like Perry! LOL, Reason is an embarrassment to themselves.

      1. Perhaps, if you had RTFA, you would’ve caught this quote:

        But ultimately I’m far more concerned with whether America is getting more libertarian (particularly in its politics and public policy), and in my judgment it most definitely has. And I don’t see how you can arrive at that conclusion without giving heaps of credit to Rep. Ron Paul.

        1. Ron Paul’s greatest liability is his fanboys.

          1. THIS.

          2. No shit. I like Paul, if he wins the GOP nod or runs independent, I’ll register to vote and vote for him. It’s the Paultards that are ruining it all.

        2. I caught the quote, but after following Reason’s articles on or around Ron Paul (did you SEE the one last election that made him into some monster??) it appears that Reason is deciding try another tactic… Let the headline do the talking, then kinda take it back somewhere further on down into the story. Douche-baggery wrapped in pseudo-rational writing, only serves to tarnish Reason Mag. and the ideas it was founded upon.

          1. I invite you to click on the “Topics” tag, scroll down to “Ron Paul,” and do some actual reading. Your conspiracy theory is ridiculous.

    4. No, but he slept in a Holiday Inn Express.

  2. and (probably?) interracial marriage.

    Whoooooa. What’s up with that?

    The cheap shots and smear jobs are starting a lot earlier than they did last time around. I guess maybe Weigel really was more representative of Reason that I thought he was.

    1. +1

      reflive cheap shot is cheap.

      Enjoy your trip on the Orange Line to tonights cocktail party.

      1. I’ve updated the post; please read. Then update your insults.

    2. Reason is still in shock that someone leaning that “Libertarian” might actually win an election. (Since Libertarians never win elections)

      Hey Reason, we are not eating your dog food!

      Stop trashing the closest shot we got.

      1. Please read the whole post. You are wrong.

        1. Hell I didn’t even read the whole post and I understood.

          Emily should simply learn to read.

      2. Y’know, emily, you COULD just stop posting here, and go back to your Freeper pals…

    3. Matt,

      Was that a joke or is there a link you can put up to show where Paul said something with regards to this? I did see a reference to interracial marriage being the least relevant question w.r.t. libertarianism but I don’t remember the context.

      If this was simply a joke, I think it’s a mistake since anyone reading the article will now have Ron Paul linked to that.

    4. Yeah, you can smell the poop slinging from here. Isn’t is sad that a so called “Libertarian” organization is thowing their poop at the closest thing we have to a Libertarian getting in the White House.

      This is just pathetic.

      1. It’s 2:46, and not one pathetic “Drink!”
        How did this happen?

    5. I have updated the post to explain the reference, which was neither cheap shot nor smear job.

      1. The true embarrassment to the libertarian movement is that some Ron Paul fans are unable to read.

        1. The semi-literate are a valuable voting-block.

          1. The semi-literate are a the most valuable voting-block.

      2. Hey, Matt. While we’ve got you here, could you tell me why I have a buddy that just told me you and Nick Gillespie wrote a book.

        Why haven’t I heard about this up until now? You guys should publicize it on here more. 😛

    6. While I’m sure he has no personal issues with interracial marriage, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ron Paul’s restrictive view of the 9th amendment leads him to disagree with Loving v Virginia, the SCOTUS decision that ruled miscegenation bans unconstitutional.

      1. gordon is right. it is a non-issue. legislation to enforce your ideas is an issue.

  3. I love all the internecine squabbling going on when there’s a legitimate candidate who is more libertarian than not. Leaving aside Johnson for the moment, who is the candidate a libertarian should vote for?

    1. FUCK YOU! NOT PURE!!!!!

    2. The Libertarian Party candidate (if it isn’t a person like Bob Barr). Or don’t vote at all.

      1. not vote? that’s a good lil libtoid…no waterboard for u !

      2. No. Piss off. We don’t necessarily want to piss our votes away in a fit of self-indulgence.

        1. That’s right baby, you ALWAYS come back, no matter how badly I treat you!

          1. If Paul wins the nomination, the GOP isn’t screwing us.

            1. If Paul wins the nomination…

              That’s a huge caveat, but one I’m willing to live with.

              1. That’s the scenario under discussion. If he doesn’t get nominated, he’s not relevant beyond maybe being able to endorse someone else.

                1. Actually as an ancap, I wouldn’t vote for anybody, period, because I think it’s a fools errand that can never really fix anything.

                  But I do have to square that with a sneaking suspicion that a Paul regime would be less onerous than, say, Romney/Hillary/Obama/Insert Name Here.

      3. I voted for Paul in the primaries, and Babar in the general last time around.

        Look, Paul’s not my ideal candidate in a perfect world of ideal candidates, but he beats by a mile everyone but Johnson. And for some strange reason, Johnson isn’t doing so well up until now. So Paul is our only real choice if we actually want to see someone with libertarian values in the White House. As it is, he’s a long shot. If neither he nor Johnson gets the nomination, I’ll likely vote LP again, unless the GOP nominee isn’t too offensive (not sure I’m up for more Obama, though I think it would take divine or superalien intervention to keep him in office).

        I’ve given money to both Johnson and Paul, for the record.

        1. Ditto on most everything, except I will vote LP if Paul/Johnson doesnt win. Considering Obama got crushed in my state last time around, I dont think my vote will matter anyway.

          Also, Ive only given money to Paul.

          1. I’ll probably vote LP, too, if no Paul or Johnson. I saw something on the candidates that filed for them, but I didn’t notice anyone who looked very impressive.

            1. I voted for Barr, so my standards for LP candidates arent that high.

              1. ya, before Barr I’ve known that I was voting for unelectable kooks, but Barr was the only time I felt like I was voting fot the lesser of three evils.

                1. I think I had 6 evils on my ballot, but YMMV.

                2. I’ve voted for LP candidates before that I didn’t really want in office–I just wanted to throw a vote onto the LP scale. Some of their candidates strike me as, well, insane (not just talking about the presidency).

                  1. Like ol’ smurfy?

              2. Same here, but if they nominate another stinker, I could see myself doing a write-in vote. Since I’m now 35, I may just vote me for prez.

          2. I’ve given money to both but I’m only giving to Johnson these days. Paul gets’ plenty of funds and tons more press than Johnson. I think helping Johnson break through is a better use of the dollars I can give.

            1. Very good point. I think Johnson benefits Paul. They reinforce each other, with Johnson in more of a backup role unfortunately. Also, the debate stagers can keep the weaker of the two out but not Paul.

              1. I’d love to have both of them at all of the debates, all the way through the primaries.

          3. Ron Paul is the first candidate I’ve ever given money to, but I did some volunteer work for Ed Clark back when I was in high school.

            Since the 2008 campaign, I’ve supported a handful of congressional candidates that Ron endorsed. I’ve also used the business reply envelopes from various republicans looking for money with a note saying that until and unless they were endorsed by Ron Paul, they shouldn’t bother sending me any more mail.

            My reply to Mitch McConnell was rather more emphatic.

            -jcr

        2. I’ll vote LP if no Paul/Johnson (I have given money only to the latter). If no LP candidate in KY, I’ll vote whatever 3rd party there is, even if it’s the “Ultra Left-Wing We Want Soviet Style Communism” party.

          If all I have is a “choice” between Teams Elephant and Donkey (with no Paul or Johnson), I’ll go and turn in a blank fucking ballot.

      4. You can vote in the GOP primaries, then vote LP in the general. That’s my plan. Of course, if Ron Paul gets the nomination, I will campaign my ass off for him.

        1. I’ve got to say that if he wins the nomination, I’m going to get directly involved with a political campaign for the first time in twenty-five years.

          1. I volunteer for his campaign now so he can get the nomination. No need to wait around and wait, we need as many people as possible spreading the word now.

            1. I agree, but I’ve got a full plate with a job with long hours and a wife and four kids. So I send money for now.

              1. Kudos to both of you for getting active. I registered to volunteer as well, now that my schedule will allow me some free time.

                Some Libertarians are so God-damned contrarian that they refuse to do anything to help their cause at all. If you don’t do everything you can to help either Paul or Johnson get the nomination (and if one of them gets the nomination, mark my words, they WILL win), please don’t complain to me when Sarahmitt Perryachman gets the nomination! I respect the intellect of those who frequent Reason.com, but I am seriously sick of the overly contrarian tone of some libertarians. If you won’t support Paul or Johnson, then get up and run for election yourself, since obviously you think you’re the only guy whose views are correct!

                1. I couldn’t agree with this any more!!!!!!

        2. Unless it’s someone truly hideous like Gingrich or Santorum, I’m probably volunteering for whoever the GOP candidate is next summer. In a swing state you don’t have the luxury of purity (not that I’m terribly pure to begin with).

    3. who is the candidate a libertarian should vote for

      President West Wing! Oh, wait, that’s the candidates liberals should vote for…

  4. I’m really looking forward to the quality debate this article is sure to lead to in the comments.

    **grabs popcorn**

    1. Yeah. Let’s have something unpleasant to listen to during this shitfeast.

      1. Yo Warty, have you listened to the new Shining (swedish band) album? If so, is it any good?

        1. I’ve listened to a few songs on Vimeo and Youtube. I dig it. C-c-c-cocaine

          1. That was good stuff. I sat next to their manager on a plane from Berlin a couple of years ago. She was pretty excited about their future.

            Have some laid back Blue Oyster Cult:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwTlHndf2lU

            1. Nowhere near Berlin!

              1. Great track. I’m feeling so mellow now that it must be time to break out the Steely Dan:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9g-Z5nFg5Y

                1. I don’t believe you guys. Two tracks off of Secret Treaties, on a thread talking about politicians, and this doesn’t get a nod?

            2. Needs more cowbell.

  5. I can see why Ron Paul would embarrass Libertarians — he actually wins elections. (12-4 so far, isn’t he?)

    1. LOL, that is correct!

    2. Who does Paul embarrass? I disagree with Paul about several things, and I am willing to discuss those things. That doesn’t mean that he is not by far the best candidate polling above the margin of error. All I see is independent minded people who are willing to discuss the failings of a very attractive candidate and who are not prone to get sucked into the “support your team/candidate at all costs and never admit that there is anything wrong with them” scene. There is no fucking hit job on Ron Paul going on here.

      1. No, Zeb. He’s the Messiah! The Chosen one! Instead of criticizing, can we Hope for a Change? Yes, we can!

  6. Aaaand, once again, we’ve proven that ‘No True Scotsman’ arguments are the original sport of libertarians. W00T!

    Seriously, what would we all do without the opportunity to play this game? Even people like Matt, who claim not to play, can’t help but comment on it being played. This, more than anything else, is what libertarians do.

    1. The best part is when you’re not a libertarian; you don’t get sucked in and can just watch.

      1. I enjoy that part the best. Although it is kinda sad at the same time.

        FIGHT FOR YOUR TRUE SCOTSMAN LIBERTOIDS!!!

  7. Open border types, who act like anyone who doesn’t agree with them is evil, are a good reason to ignore a lot of those types of libertarians.

  8. So is Postrel saying she doesnt believe in self-ownership?

    Because if she does, then the rest does follow like simple algebra.

    1. … except when it doesn’t.

    2. Show your work if you want any credit.

  9. Also, from what I’ve read from Rothbard, he seems to have lived in his own version of reality.

    1. He got kooky toward the end but he was brilliant at one time and could stand up to Rand.

      Boy, could he!

      1. It’s important to note “Standing up to” and “presenting a better argument than” are two very different things.

        1. True. Peikoff could do neither.

          1. Even typing that asshole’s name here sullies Reason.

            1. lol, you are such a Randroid.

              1. Uhhh…well, I am an Objectivist. But the ‘name’ I was talking about was Peikoff. I was referring to him as an asshole. Although the same could be said of Rothbard.

                1. Yes, I know. But your “he who shall not be named” attitude toward Peikoff is one of the more humorous identifiers of Randroidism.

                  1. Why? I thought Lenny was still the “official” standard bearer.

                    1. Maybe it’s a fractal ideology?

                  2. But your “he who shall not be named” attitude toward Peikoff is one of the more humorous identifiers of Randroidism.

                    One subspecies of us, anyway. You won’t find the other subspecies saying that…

  10. I see it as “classical liberalism” versus “libertarianism,” with Welch and Wilkinson (and myself) more inclined to the former than the latter.

    But can’t we all just get along?

    1. But can’t we all just get along?

      Sure, as long as you admit to being wrong.

    2. But can’t we all just get along?

      Not when you’re inside the Beltway need to keep connected to the cocktail party circuit.

    3. But can’t we all just get along?

      No.

      1. I think you mean: No, you whim worshiping statist.

        1. I stand correct. Or would, if I were capable of being wrong. Which I’m not.

        2. Ack, stand corrected.

          1. Wrong! You were standing correct, since you can’t be wrong, but since you were wrong, you now stand corrected. See how your philosophy crumbles, splitter?

    4. Just to demonstrate what a bunch of assholes everyone else is, I’m going to say yes.

      1. I agree with Zeb, even though he’s a complete dick!

  11. It took me a while to understand something Matt told me several years ago when I met him.

    I absolutly hate people like you!

    While out of context this sounds bad it was actually part of a compliment from him. I didnt understand at the time why he was so strong in this way, i learned. After 4 years it became clear to me that he was right.

    Thanks Matt (this is not said sarcastically). While I had one side of idealism crushed I gained a new side of optimism on another perspective.

    p.s. I was not acting in the True Scotsman debate directly but was unwittingly supporting it which is something I never wanted to do. I find it the most destructive thing Ls and ls do.

    1. I think it’s all Reason staff. Tim Cavanaugh mildly scolded me when I met him for referring to Bakersfield as “the asshole of the armpit of America” in front of my two young children.

      1. So you don’t have to reach down to wipe?

  12. Is there any libertarian public figure that hasn’t been accused of giving libertarianism a bad name?

    If it was just a policy position checklist, the campaigns would just be a beauty contest. And the 6 foot tall guys with the plastic hair win those every time.

    1. Is there any libertarian public figure that hasn’t been accused of giving libertarianism a bad name?

      1. tag fail:

        Is there any libertarian public figure that hasn’t been accused of giving libertarianism a bad name?

        Badnarik.

        1. Was he the blue one, or the one that kept his driver’s license in his asscheeks?

        2. You mean Bednarik? Chuck Bednarik, Philadelphia Eagles, one of the last to play both sides of the ball, Hall of Famer?

          I didn’t know he was a libertine.

        3. He is an affable fellow, for sure.

  13. I don’t know if anyone hear knows this, but the evidence is clear that Courtney Love killed Kurt Cobain.

    Tell me, how does a man who’s taken a lethal dose of heroin have the strength and ability to shoot himself?

    1. When you’re married to Courtney Love, you find the strength.

      1. Absolutely no question about it, Kurt shot the wrong Cobain.

      2. THREAD WINNER

        1. Gracias. Attribution goes to my buddy Col Hogan.

          1. Hey, I think that’s my win, not yours. Back off man.

      3. my wife (then girlfriend) had the (mis)fortune of meeting Courtney Love – way back in the early 90s when Love played with Hole. My wife wasn’t impressed.

        1. That being said, more female performers should follow Courtney’s lead and do their shows topless. At least she had the good sense to do something creative to overcome her talent deficiency.

  14. Everything flows from a single principle: self-ownership or non-aggression. It’s political philosophy as simple algebra. She then notes that such a definition of libertarianism leaves no room for the Hayekian style she embraces…

    Those who want to rationalize the violation of fundamental individual rights always have problems with simple laws and fundamental principles, such as the idea that no one, not even the government, should be entitled to take your property (or your cash) without your express consent.

    1. Sounds anarchist. Great. Self-help and nothing but self-help, even for murder.

      1. So, just to clarify, you do believe in the right of a majority of a minority of people in your community (a majority of voters) decide to take something from you without your consent to use in a way you disagree with?

        1. I’m perfectly sincere. Anarchism is consistent. I can live with it, and I know what the rules are (no rules).

          It’s this bullcrap “Libertarianism” that irks me. “Taxation Power and Police Protection for me, but not for thee.” F*** that. If you’re on your own, then you should really be on your own. No Food Stamps? Fine. No “911” either. Fend for yourself for real, tough guys.

          1. Yes. Theft is OK as long its done for the greater good.

            1. Theft isn’t okay. Neither is unemployment. But their both your problem, not mine.

          2. So if government doesn’t protect you, no one can protect you. Got it.

            1. you misunderstand — see infra

      2. You are free to help others in anarchy. That’s the point.

        1. Yes, fending for yourself can include asking your homies for help — we are talking about government versus no government here.

          1. Not really, what people generally forget is that anarcho-capitalism sees the dichotomy as between monopolistic, coercive government, and competing, non-coercive government-like organizations. Not simply “government or no government.”

            The anarcho-capitalist sees that a government can still provide its police and judicial services without being geographically monopolistic or being paid thrugh force.

            1. okay

  15. This was bound to happen. Such a massive swath of people can’t hope to be contained within a single political grouping.

    If Hayek himself took one of those online “which candidate should I vote for” quizzes, the quiz would undoubtedly pop up Johnson and Paul and rank them way ahead of everyone else. Did this with a pretty boilerplate libertarian platform in 2008: Barr and Paul (when included) way ahead of McCain and Obama (and in that order). Seems to me refusing to pick the “lesser of two evils” between McCain and Obama is a thoroughly defensible position for a libertarian. But at the other end you’re probably being a little too picky, particularly when that person won’t win.

    1. Agreed.

      Ive always said I will vote for an 80, but Im not voting for a 20, even vs a 5.

      I would prefer a 95, but an 80 is good enough.

      1. I’ll take an eighty percenter, any time.

      2. Exactly. Which is why I find the GOP “Obama’s worse!” argument pretty laughable. He’s what, 10% worse than Bush? Maybe? Who cares? Johnson, Paul or GTFO.

        1. Obama is waaaay more than 10% worse than Bush. And I hated Bush, mind you.

          Every significant bad thing in foreign policy/drug war/wiretapping/etc that Bush did, Obama does too, and several of them he does more intensely. Then you add the borderline-Soviet economic policy on top.

          1. Obama is waaaay more than 10% worse than Bush.

            We can actually do this mathematically.

            We will use Sudermans numbers for this

            Bush increased the deficit by 4.9 trillion over 8 years or 612.5 billion per year.

            Obama increased the deficit by 4 trillion over 2.5 years or 1600 billion per year.

            Obama is 2.61 times worse then Bush…or to use your percentage Obama is 61.7% worse then Bush.

            1. That’s only a couple of dollars per year long-term, say a few trillion years. By then the sun will have swallowed the earth so we have nothing to worry about.

  16. Meanwhile, back on planet earth…

    Another month, another jobs report where government layoffs swamp the gain in private sector employment.

    Government payroll shrinks, shrinks, shrinks, and Obama gets the blame for the pain, while his enemies keep claiming the problem is government growth.

    If sanity is defined as the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality, we are no longer sane as a people.

    The 99ers have already run out of benefits. The employers offering jobs have already made up their minds that they won’t hire off of the unemployment payrolls- they have the overweening bargaining power to exclude the already-unemployed as a group, and they are doing exactly that.

    1. Oh boo hoo you’re plan fucking failed and now you’re blaming The Enemy for failing to go off a cliff with you (yet).

      1. Oh boo hoo you’re plan fucking failed….

        Really Cyto….”you’re”?

        Sorry! My Grammar Cop gets out sometimes.

      2. unresponsive forfeit

        1. PWNED

    2. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      1. unresponsive forfeit

      2. Epi got PWNED too

    3. The next time you’re sucking Obama’s cock, go tell him to send his goons out to raid some more of those dreaded guitar factories.

      1. unresponsive forfeit

        1. Forfeit to what? You made a bunch of observations without proof or analysis. In other words, a fart in the wind. If you don’t have a point, then don’t expect your responders to have one.

          1. You don’t even see that you were

            FACT PWNED

            1. +1 for the lulz

      2. Gotta fight those culture wars every chance we get.

    4. The problem is government growth. If government hadn’t grown beyond all reason, they wouldn’t need to lay off a bunch of people right now and the money used to pay them could have been used for something useful in the private sector.

  17. Ron Paul is not running as a “Libertarian.” He has stated that he is the “Champion of the Constitution.”

    This is another hack job by Reason to marginalize him.

    Abortion: Not all Libertarians believe abortion supports “Liberty.” Many Libertarians believe that protecting Liberty means protecting the rights of the unborn. Under the author’s version of Libertarianism rape would be perfectly fine as long as the rapist owns the woman as property.

    Immigration: I have heard almost every Ron Paul speech about Immigration and his rational about open borders is that as long as we are bombing other nations and have endless entitlements we can not have open borders. Once the warmongering ends and the entitlement system is phased out, then you would not need to fear immigrants. Can someone say “Reasonable?”

    First Katherine Mangu-Ward calls Ron Paul “Fringe” and unelectable then another author at Reason implys he is not fringe enough.

    Maybe the writers at Reason would like to tell us how Warmongering increases Govt. and takes away Liberty?

    Guess that will have to be in the next hack job article.

    1. Correctomundo.

      Ron Paul has changed his opinion about immigration over the years. Maybe he’s just pandering, but maybe he means it when he says you cannot have open borders with a welfare state.

      He has not changed his opinion about abortion.

      1. I do not think he is pandering, I think he is using logic.

        1. When he was running for election in Texas, it is possible his exact stances on immigration and abortion were a bit of pandering. But, since he tends to stick with his principles and has been consistent for so many years, don’t think so.

      2. Home run.

        Hayek also said you can’t have open borders WITH a welfare state.

        It should be rather obvious why.

        1. So did Friedman.

          1. It ain’t me babe!

      3. “you cannot have open borders with a welfare state”

        Let me get this straight: So now people are arguing that Milton Friedman wasn’t libertarian, or is in some way embarrassing to libertarianism?

        1. Milton advocated central planning of the money supply.

          It’s kind of like being a nice guy, except for the occasional violent rapes.

    2. Under the author’s version of Libertarianism rape would be perfectly fine as long as the rapist owns the woman as property.

      That might be the stupidest criticism of this article we will see in this thread.

      But I don’t think Tony has shown up yet, so I’m not making any promises.

    3. This is another hack job by Reason to marginalize him.

      Even if true, irrelevant. RP already does a great job of marginalizing himself.

    4. The most annoying thing Katherine said was that it was ok for reporters to NOT report the news and to refuse to mention Paul’s name and tell people he took a close second if they did not like him or did not think he had a chance.

      Apparently, it is ok to mention that d*^k Santorum or other assholes who got no votes and also have no chance.

      1. She didn’t say that. She said Ron Paul gets plenty of media coverage for a fringe candidate/i>. Which is completely true.

        1. Except that it’s based on his past performance — this time, he’s polling more like an actual contender. Not necessarily as strong as Romney or Perry, but not down there with Santorum or Huntsman or Johnson or whoever.

    5. Can someone say “Reasonable?”

      No it’s not very reasonable at all.

      *drinks*

      It’s like saying that we shouldn’t let people drive on roads until taxation is abolished.

      Libertarians should be against both the coercion of taxation and the coercion of immigration control. One is not conditional on the other.

      First Katherine Mangu-Ward calls Ron Paul “Fringe” and unelectable then another author at Reason implys he is not fringe enough.

      I wonder what your definition of fringe is if Ron Paul does not qualify. Libertarians and Ron Paul are in the fringe. This is not an insult, just a fact.

      And if you think Ron Paul is electable, will you bet money on him winning the presidential election? I’ll give you 10 to 1 odds, how can you resist?

      1. Fringe candidates don’t routinely get 35-40% in polls against the sitting POTUS.

        1. Yeah Ron Paul was “fringe” now he is of the influential minority….especially considering how much he directed the course of the last republican debate. What he is talking about, and what he has been talking about for like ever, is setting the debate.

          I forgive Mangu for being slow on this one. Though in her defense she did mention Ron Paul was having an influence.

          Anyway if i am pissed at Kathrine about anything (but how can i really be pissed at the woman who gave me Lobster girl) it would be about her persistent “elections do not matter” and “incumbents never lose and my faulty manipulated graphs “prove” it”

      2. Except if you allow free immigration without any kind of control WITHOUT reforming the welfare state to (at the very least) not give the benefits of stolen money (i.e. taxes) to the new immigrants you will get a massive flood of people that the system cannot support.

        Now which is more reasonable – fighting for both, succeeding on the immigration issue (as that has more support) and failing on the welfare, resulting in a collapse of the government entirely, or working to phase out both in a way that doesn’t cause more problems for statists to blame on liberty?

    6. I will take a “30%” Libertarian over a rotten statist. I’m not sure where Ron Paul falls in terms of “purity”, but if he’s the best we got, then I’ll roll with it.

      1. Here’s the list of questions from the WSPQ:

        Personal:
        Government should not censor speech, press, media or Internet.
        Military service should be voluntary. There should be no draft.
        There should be no laws regarding sex between consenting adults.
        Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs.
        There should be no National ID card.

        Economic:
        End “corporate welfare.” No government handouts to business.
        End government barriers to international free trade.
        Let people control their own retirement: privatize Social Security.
        Replace government welfare with private charity.
        Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more.

        I’m guessing Paul would score a 70% on the top half, and a 90% on the bottom half.

        1. It’s a push poll, dude. Unless you’re a hardcore statist you’re going to get at least 50%. An honest poll of the same issues would replace some of those questions with ones that don’t include questionable premises in their wording:

          Replace End government welfare with private charity

          Let people control their own retirement: privatize Social Security.

          End “corporate welfare.” No government handouts to business.

          etc.

        2. Based on his recent writings and speeches, Paul would agree with everything in the “Personal” half, and everything in the “Economic” half, as well – minus a “phase out” for Social Security to lessen the shock from a bunch of old people losing the unconstitutional benefits they foolishly relied on.

    7. Ron Paul is not running as a “Libertarian.”

      Good! Then I can vote for him with a clear conscience!

  18. I like to think that I’m an “embarassment” to libertarianism.

    Mainly becuase of the facial hair.

    1. I think my Canadianism is an embarrassment to libertarianism…

      or is it the other way round?

  19. Wilkinson is wrong over-all. Paul has done much more good than harm for libertarianism. But he is right that his closed borders stance (and his states rights stance) can sully the images of libertarians because outsiders tend to define libertarianism only through Paul’s views.

    He is also wrong about Paul’s attitude towards the Civil Rights Act being unlibertarian. Libertarians should favor the legalization of private discrimination.

  20. “adhere to the deductive reasoningcoherent and logical view of reality promoted by Ayn Rand or Murray Rothbard.

  21. the split between the hardcore, no-compromise, anti-statist Rothbardian and the more classical liberal, utilitarian, fallibilist, and prudential Hayekian.

    Is now the time to get into a huge fight with Epi and New Mex?

    Screw that, it is Friday…i would rather find all the good jokes and obscure references in the comments

    1. Hey what about me? Fight meeeeeeeeeeee

      1. Hey what about me? Fight meeeeeeeeeeee

        AGW is Bullshit!!!

  22. I disagree with Wilkinson on civil rights, but Ron Paul certainly should be condemned for his stance on immigration. It’s glaringly inconsistent with the rest of his philosophy. Gary Johnson, contrary to how he’s perceived, isn’t much better but at least he doesn’t pose as a principled libertarian.

    1. To be fair, Paul doesn’t pose as a principled libertarian either.

    2. Interesting that anyone who disagrees with you on something you care about is “glaringly inconsistent”.

  23. To deny that structural discrimination, with or without the backing of the state, can limit an individual’s liberty more injuriously than a sales tax requires the triumph of dogmatism over commonsense.

    What horseshit. Sounds like a liberal arguing that if the gov’t didn’t force everyone not to, we would IMMEDIATELY go back to Jim Crow and segregation.

    Get this through your skull: private business owners should have the right to discriminate. It’s their fucking business, and their fucking money. I’m not likely to be hired as a rabbi, because I’m not jewish. That doesn’t mean the jews are engaging in evil discrimination.

    1. WW loves that ‘freedom’ word but he really doesn’t understand it.

  24. Someone from Texas will have to correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the main impetus behind Paul’s less-than-pure-libertarian stance on immigration is that it’s a hot-button issue in his district and he is trying to get votes.

    Like any politician, Paul needs to say whatever will get him votes. What really matters is what kind of anti-illiegal-immigrant legislation he has introduced or supported. If he’s mostly just a big bag of wind on the issue, then there really is no point in having this discussion.

    1. There is some of that near the border region, but the immigration debate here is nowhere even close to the hysterics seen on both sides in Arizona.

      1. I should hope not.

    2. You are mistaken. Paul subscribes to Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s anarcho-capitalist flavored viewpoint that open borders within the context of a welfare state society amounts to forced integration. It is a long, but generally well reasoned theory.

      1. long n’wrong

      2. Again, I care more about his actual legislative actions than his gum flapping. I don’t care if a legislator is a staunch creationist so long as he/she does not try to get legislation passed forcing the teaching of the belief.

  25. Even the New Republic publishes criticism of Ron Paul!

    He has nuanced views of immigration and civil rights, making him impure. At the same time, we’re supposed to believe that it’s Paul, not the author, who doesn’t like complexity and ambiguity.

  26. Reason is an outreach magazine, not a fortified compound of definitional libertarianism;

    Happily the hit and run comment section is a fortified compound of definitional libertarianism….but sadly there are at least 10,000 definitions running around here.

    1. Woo hoo, opportunity to present once again robc’s rules of libertarianism:

      1. Everyone agrees with libertarians about something.

      2. No two libertarians agree about anything.

      [2b. Some of you dont have a fucking sense of humor]

      1. “There are slightly more versions of libertarianism than there are libertarians.”

        1. I follow at least 5 mutually exclusive versions…3 of which are of my invention.

  27. Isn’t Will Wilkinson one of the two and a half liberaltarians in the world? (nick being the half)

    He probably should not be one to attempt a purge….

    Also WTF?!?!? We have a libertarian presidential candidate who is third in the primaries and is polling near even with Obama.

    Are you fucking insane to pull this kind of shit at this moment?!?!

    I think if Libertarians does have a litmus test it is that one must always intentionally shoot one self in foot during any political contest.

    1. But people like Wilkinson didn’t become Libertarians to change anything. They became Libertarians because it was the only club that would have them. And they want their club to be pure. And the last thing someone like Wilkinson wants is for Libertarianism to attract any followers and no longer be exclusive.

      Yeah, people like him really are that shallow.

      1. Sort of like the “I was doing it before it was cool” mentality and anyone who calls themselves a libertarian now is just a poseur.

        1. Not sort of like, that is exactly what it is.

        2. Sort of like the “I was doing it before it was cool” mentality and anyone who calls themselves a libertarian now is just a poseur.

          I said the same thing before it was “cool” to say it.

  28. Reason is an outreach magazine

    No.

    It’s a political-conversational etiquette guide for people who aren’t dumb or evil enough to be leftists, but still crave the acceptance of white guys who use “white guys” as an insult.

      1. And yet you are here every. single. day. and in every. single. thread.

        1. He just means the writers, not us fine folk of HnR.

  29. Bunch of self hating cerebral Libertarians that rip down any progress that might be made by anyone that actually believes in any form of Liberty.

    Enjoy 4 years of Perry or Romney asshats!

    1. I’ll never understand why Paulistas expend effort toward TURNING ME OFF to Ron Paul.

    2. Listen Paultard, this article is defending Ron Paul.

      Ron Paul isn’t an embarrassment to the libertarian movement, but some of his fans sure are.

      1. maybe if the old libertarian base is what expanded by 10 folds since 08 there would be more incentives to take a cue from old libertarians who otherwise would have been left in social and political destitute. well maybe i wrongly assumed that you ever got out.

        1. How old do you think I am?

          1. stfu.. reading your one-liners have amounted to 3 seconds of my life already

            learn how to express yourself and not reach one paw out of your bunker like a scared kitten and maybe people will know or even care a thing about you

    3. Seriously? This post is discussing what some people are saying about Paul and how Paul relates to libertarianism generally. I really don’t see any attack on Paul here. I don’t think that there is a single libertarianish person on here who would not be ecstatic to have an opportunity to vote for paul in a general election. That doesn’t mean that no one is allowed to discuss his potential flaws.
      In any case, it is not as if this blog post is the tipping point away from Paul toward Romney (or whoever). Relax.

  30. I’ve had it up to here with both Paleo cranks and Cosmo cranks.

    We’re the People’s Front of Judea. Judean People’s front, pppht.

  31. Dr. Paul doesnt claim to be a libertarian very often. He did run as a one in the 80s(?) I believe. He is a constitutionalist. The constitution has many libertarian aspects, but it certainly doesnt go as far as Rothbard would have liked. Paul may believe in many of the same things as Rothbard, but he seems to understand we cant immediately go to that place with one election. We need to work within the system. We should simply follow the constitution – ie the law of the land, and work towards that libertarian society. You dont think Ron Paul understands some of his views arent as ‘extreme’ (for lack of a better term) as other libertarians? I personally believe he knows in order to get to that society, we need to first bridge the gap between where we are, and where we would be if we just followed the damn constitution.

    1. They know damn well Ron Paul does not claim to be the voice of Libertarianism. He does claim to be the champion of the constitution. This is just a hack job on Dr. Paul.

      1. Listen Paultard, this article is defending Ron Paul.

        Ron Paul isn’t an embarrassment to the libertarian movement, but some of his fans sure are.

        1. listen hellerj@brandeis.edu

          no one fucking cares

          we just don’t like a useless and wasted excuse of a human being in possession of the right to one vote. someone like you.

    2. Dr. Paul doesnt claim to be a libertarian very often.

      In these days when bozos like Wilkinson are claiming the title, can you blame him?

      Any club that Will Wilkinson is a member of is a club I’d be proud to avoid too!

  32. Shorter Wilkinson, all of my liberal friends think I am a douche because of that God Damned Ron Paul.

  33. WTF do you mean, shit-for-brains, when you write: Ron Paul “would have us believe that the enormous gains over the past several decades in racial and gender equality, the dramatic rise of mixed-race marriages, and the happy detente in the gender wars have all occurred despite recent attempts to rectify centuries of legal oppression through law.”

    Because idiots like Wilkerson either intentionally and maliciously misrepresent Paul’s position or are too dense to understand a nuanced argument, Ron Paul has repeatedly and unequivocally said that he was opposes to the Jim Crow laws that created such legal oppression.

    Like Welch, I favor big-tent libertarianism, and get annoyed with the stridency of the Lew Rockwell types. But Wilkerson’s antics are an embarrassment to the idea of libertarianism.

    1. i along with many of the new bloods ron paul brought in here since 08 who have since discovered the deep infighting are actually pretty sick of the label ‘libertarians’ altogether. seriously, what we are interested are the jeffersonian ideologies, not the quasi libertarianism that drove a wedge in between with all the political infighting and grandstanding. i regret we weren’t warned what we were getting into. why don’t those of us who became interested in politics since 08 just stop calling ourselves libertarians and leave you guys alone.

      rp’s original libertarian support, if they even bother voted, back in 07 when it started was less than 1%. now he’s near 10% nationally. i think we can stand on our own. what you say.

      1. Cato the Elder’s support for Ron Paul goes back to the last century … sometime around 1978.

        It’s really quite necessary to distinguish between libertarians and the phony liberals and phony conservatives whom they oppose.

        And that’s why all the recent criticism of libertarianism by phony liberals and phony conservatives is actually a positive development. Even though the criticisms are either incredibly ignorant or intellectually dishonest, the opponents of libertarianism can no longer simply ignore its idea. First, they ignore you … etc.

    2. Let anybody misunderstand, “shit-for-brains” refers to Wilkinson, not Welch.

  34. One of my faves from threads past.

    Citizen Nothing’s:

    WORLDS SMALLEST PALEO/COSMOTARIAN QUIZ

    Answer Yes or No.

    1) The Kochtopus is an evil sumbitch. Burn it.

    2) Dope smokers are hippy scum. Pray for them.

    3) Friedman kicks Rothbards ass. Write it down.

    4) Badnarick was misunderstood.

    5) No fluoride. Colloidal silver!

    6) Heroin should be banned in public schools.

    7) The South shall rise again.

    8) Ron Paul can run faster than most black boys.

    9) Abolish marriage now!

    10) Pakalolo kicks Friedman’s and Rothbard’s asses.

    Scoring:
    0-3 Yes = out of the LP
    4-8 Yes = out of the LP
    9 and 10 Yes = out of the LP

    ——
    Number 6 is a personal favorite of mine, since either a yes or no answer are both sufficient to excommunicate you from libertarianism.

  35. ‘That said, I am not now nor have I ever been very persuaded by the whole “Person X is bad for the brand of libertarianism” argument.’

    how about the ron paul movement just leave you guys alone and you can endorse him if you want to, and we over here just all stop calling ourselves libertarians and leave you guys alone. how does that sound? i’m sure some people here and there over at the Libertarian party would like it.

    1. and that’s a question to you, matt. are you older people going to start shouldering some responsibility and mediate with those armchairs rocking on the side line. cus young people like myself aren’t too patient and we don’t know those guys too well.

      with the grassroots organization we have, we can very easily stand on our own. time for you to engage in some activism as well, instead of just exercising your free speech?

      1. Funny, you and your grassroots organization were up in arms about Reason mentioning the newsletter scandal (all the facts of which were confirmed by Ron Paul himself) on its website 3.5 years ago. Indeed, I recall a fair number of you blaming Reason for Dr Paul’s electoral failures at the time.

        Good luck with your activism.

        1. i don’t speak for others. there are retards when a movement grows large (as large as 10% national poll)

          what’s sad is plenty of retards can be found among your friends, which accounts for what, .000000000000000000001%?

  36. Maybe I’m missing something on the immigration front. Ron Paul is against illegal immigration, yes? If so, why is that a bad thing at this point in time? If the government has decided to take from the haves and give to anyone that asks doesn’t it make sense to limit the amount of people asking for handouts?

    1. Re: Sparky,

      Read Paul’s “Liberty Defined.” He’s not against immigration, he simply cannot encourage or accept that people break the law.

      1. And that makes sense and my point from yesterday. We know that nobody is really trying that hard to stop “illegal” immigrants from coming into the country. “Illegal” immigrants are being granted more rights every day. Why can’t we just get rid of everything that makes it necessary to add the “illegal” tag?

      2. He’s not against drug use, he simply cannot encourage or accept that people break the law.

        What?

        1. Re TrespassersW,

          He’s not against drug use, he simply cannot encourage or accept that people break the law.

          He hasn’t encouraged people to break drug laws either. One can fight against these insane laws and yet not encourage people to break them – would you agree?

          1. Can you show me an example of Paul fighting immigration restrictions?

        2. He is against drug use, actually.

      3. Fucking repeal of unjust laws, how does it work?

  37. Katherin Mangu-Ward and Matt Welch:

    The golden children at Neocon Fox News that attack Ron Paul.

    We will see if you can get their lovely Romney or Perry a boost.

      1. Warty|9.2.11 @ 2:24PM|#
        You are tiresome.

        Hahahahaha!
        Ho-ho!
        Heh…
        Ughh.

        1. How long does it take to peck that out on your smartphone with your fat little thumbs,rectal? Stupid fat whore.

    1. Ron Paul is a politician running to be the emperor of the United States.

      He’s fair game.

      There’s gotta be something wrong with any libertarian that wants to be the emperor.

      …and anybody who thinks being a real libertarian means supporting some candidate for emperor? Isn’t a real libertarian.

      1. Anybody who doesn’t think they’re the only real libertarian–and everyone else is at best just a fake libertarian?

        Isn’t a real libertarian.

        And

        …and anybody who thinks being a real libertarian means supporting some candidate for emperor? Isn’t a real libertarian.

        WTF?

        1. I think that was on purpose.

        2. “Anybody who doesn’t think they’re the only real libertarian–and everyone else is at best just a fake libertarian?

          Isn’t a real libertarian.”

          The observation that you and I aren’t about to agree on various aspects of public policy–and that shouldn’t matter because we agree that we should each be free to pursue what we see as best for ourselves individually anyway?

          Is basic to libertarianism.

          I want to make my own choices about my healthcare regardless of what John, Barack Obama or Will Wilkinson thinks. It’s what’s best for me–that’s what libertarianism is about for me.

          That’s what I’m trying to say. What’s best for Ken isn’t necessarily what’s best for John. Real libertarianism recognizes that fact and allows Ken to pursue what he sees as best for himself–his own libertarianism.

          Fake libertarianism doesn’t recognize that fact. Fake libertarianism tries to force itself on everybody as a universal solution–whether everybody wants it or not. Fake libertarianism claims that libertarian government is the solution to everybody’s problems. It’s not. Ken’s solutions are the appropriate solution to Ken’s problems.

          “…and anybody who thinks being a real libertarian means supporting some candidate for emperor? Isn’t a real libertarian.”

          Libertarianism isn’t about seizing the reigns of power and forcing libertarianism on the world against its will.

          The problem with our presidency isn’t the office holder. One candidate can be better or worse than another to some extent, but even if we had a libertarian emperor, what’s the solution once we no longer have a libertarian in office?

          The problem with having an emperor isn’t that we don’t have our guy as emperor–the problem with having an emperor is that we’re living under an emperor.

          Slaves are still slaves–even if they get to pick their own master. I won’t vote for anyone to be my emperor. I won’t lend any legitimacy to him or his office either. “I’m a libertarian, and I want to be your emperor” should be a red flag.

          Ron Paul is not the solution to Ken’s problems. I’ve already told you who is.

          1. Ron may not solve Ken’s problems. But he can keep the government from causing Ken more. And that is pretty important.

            1. It’s very attractive to think that changing emperors will solve our problems–when the emperor in power is so obviously incompetent. And that’s the case right now.

              I don’t think Ron Paul will be able to change what’s really wrong–unless the American people want to change what’s wrong. …until a critical mass of the American people see what’s wrong.

              And once we get to that point, it won’t matter if it’s Ron Paul or someone else in power. We’re like the Tunisians were–just not as extreme. We can fix things despite our emperor, but we don’t have the will. Once we get the will, it won’t really matter who the emperor is.

              Voting for Ron Paul is like the Iraq solution. We thought the problem was Saddam Hussein–well Saddam Hussein has been dead for years now. So why are we still over there trying to solve Iraq’s political, economic, ethnic and religious problems? If Saddam Hussein was the problem, then why haven’t all those problems gone away?

              Saddam Hussein was just a symptom of the problem. Egypt and Libya and Tunisia showed us that the people were the problem, and once they got it figured out, getting rid of the dictator was just a matter of time. Now they can start working on solving their own problems–instead of blaming their problems on the dictator (like in Egypt) or the United States (like in present day Iraq).

              Ron Paul is neither the ultimate cause of not the ultimate solution to Ken’s problems–and Barack Obama isn’t either.

              The cause of Ken’s political problems is in the heads of all the people who vote for people like Barack Obama–and in the heads of all the people who will vote for his opponent too! We’re the cause of and the solution to our own political problems–not any politician.

          2. Doesn’t the Gorbachev example contradict this. The man who was a key in the dissolution of the Soviet Union was the one put in charge of it before it was dissolved.

            You might not want to vote for an Emperor, but when someone is running who wants to dissolve the empire and, amazingly, actually uses that exact term (excessively) they certainly are worth a look, no?

            If both you and a candidate view our current setup as an ’empire’ in need of removal, doesn’t that place you close enough to that candidate philosophically to at least consider support?

            If you’re a slave voting for a master, and one of the masters is running on a platform of “I’ll free all of you,” unless you have good reason to doubt his sincerity, isn’t voting for him just common sense?

            1. “Doesn’t the Gorbachev example contradict this. The man who was a key in the dissolution of the Soviet Union was the one put in charge of it before it was dissolved.”

              Don’t forget the coup attempt.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Soviet_coup_d‘?tat_attempt

              Gorbachev was reacting to internal pressures that had popular support–not just in Russia but massive support throughout Eastern Europe.

              Gorbachev could have taken the North Korean route, and he deserves credit for not doing that–if anybody deserves “credit” for not horribly oppressing his own people.

              I do think it’s possible to liberate a country by completely destroying it–like we did in West Germany. …but that’s hardly relevant to a discussion about how to clip the wings of the imperial presidency here in the US.

              The fact is that the desire to not have an emperor has to come from below. If the people want a dictator, and you depose the one they had, they’ll simply find another one.

              “You might not want to vote for an Emperor, but when someone is running who wants to dissolve the empire and, amazingly, actually uses that exact term (excessively) they certainly are worth a look, no?”

              If it’s a showing of how much support those arguments have, then it’s a welcome thing…

              …but I’m coming across a lot of people who think Ron Paul is the solution to our political problems–and he isn’t. No politician is the solution to our political problems.

              “If both you and a candidate view our current setup as an ’empire’ in need of removal, doesn’t that place you close enough to that candidate philosophically to at least consider support?”

              Support for those ideas? Absolutely.

              I support those ideas in what I say to people all the time–Ron Paul or no Ron Paul.

              “If you’re a slave voting for a master, and one of the masters is running on a platform of “I’ll free all of you,” unless you have good reason to doubt his sincerity, isn’t voting for him just common sense?”

              Ever notice that they often use our support as a mandate to do something that had nothing to do with why we voted for them.

              I thought George W. Bush had some good ideas about reforming Social Security and replacing the welfare state with private charity!

              …not because I wanted him to invade and occupy Iraq.

              People voted for Barack Obama because they were sick of the Bush Administration’s War on Terror and because Barack Obama had opposed the Iraq War. (Hillary hadn’t.)

              …not because they wanted Obama to remake Wall Street in his image and effectively nationalize our healthcare industry.

              I can support ideas encouraging people to take responsibility for their own freedom–and never regret it. The legitimacy my votes would convey to some candidate?

              Those can be used for all sorts of things–some of which I might regret for the rest of my life.

          3. Libertarianism isn’t about seizing the reigns of power and forcing libertarianism on the world against its will.

            … the fuck does that mean? The world doesn’t have a will. People do. Taking the reins of power and cutting them down to size isn’t forcing anything on anybody. It means less use of force both now and in the future.

            A libertarian running for president is like an abolitionist buying slaves to free them. It’s completely and unambiguously good.

            1. Ron Paul isn’t about to be the president.

              Even if he was, he still wouldn’t be the solution to our problems unless the American people were ready to support libertarian solutions.

              Our focus should be to get our message out to the American people–regardless of who the president is. And if the American people choose to support libertarian solutions, it won’t be because of who the president is.

              I think you’ve got the cart before the horse. Christianity didn’t take over the Roman Empire by converting the Emperor–the Roman Emperor converted to Christianity because so many of his subjects were Christians and it behooved him to do so.

              When we get to critical mass, believe me, it won’t matter who the president is. He’ll find religion.

              1. Voting for a Ron Paul or a Gary Johnson or whatever nutcase the LP happens to nominate* doesn’t mean we’ll get a libertarian president in a world of people who won’t accept libertarian solutions. It just means that you’ve stood up to be counted when you were asked whether YOU were ready. As you said, Ron Paul isn’t about to be president, but that day won’t ever come if we’re all waiting for it to happen without us.

                * Disclaimer: Barring a miracle in the Republican primary, I’ll be voting for and probably even contributing to that nutcase.

                1. I think there’s something to learn from all the supposedly apathetic people out there.

                  When they ask us to stand up and be counted, millions of Americans stay in their seats every election and say, “Leave me the hell alone!”

                  It’s like the gay marriage issue. I’ve had the opportunity to vote to ban gay marriage, and I’ve had the opportunity to vote to legalize gay marriage…

                  …but it’s impossible to put an initiative on the ballot that says gay people shouldn’t need to ask voters for permission to get married. How do I vote to express the idea that my vote shouldn’t matter?

                  How do I express the opinion–on a ballot–that neither my rights or other people’s rights are there to be voted up or down?

                  How do I convince other people that their rights shouldn’t depend on who’s in the White House, out of one side of my mouth, and then turn around and tell everyone how important it is to vote for Ron Paul?

                  How do you vote Ron Paul for emperor and then turn around and denigrate the office for being too powerful once he’s out of office?

        3. John, Mr Shultz already passed below the Emo Phillips level of coherence a few weeks (not months!) ago.

    2. Listen Paultard, this article is defending Ron Paul.

      Ron Paul isn’t an embarrassment to the libertarian movement, but some of his fans sure are.

    3. Wow, you are more annoying than Tony and MNG. At least they bother to read past the headline. Welch–you know, Reason’s editor–is defending Paul against an article written by someone else (not employed by Reason, btw) on a website of another magazine (note: not Reason). Please, RTFA or STFU already.

    4. Katherin Mangu-Ward and Matt Welch:

      The golden children at Neocon Fox News that attack Ron Paul.

      I giggled a little….Anyone see that C-Span a year or 2 ago when Matt was talking about health care in France and some D-Bag phoned in and called Matt a socialist…

      Good times.

      I should go back and take a screen shot of the exact moment when steam started coming out Matt’s ears.

    5. Emily, I have said more positive words on Fox News (and NPR, for that matter) about Ron Paul than you will in a lifetime. I have said repeatedly that he and Gary Johnson are the only Republicans worth a tinker’s damn in this race. Your writing and thinking, such as they can be described as that, are childish, tiresome, and just wrong.

  38. Anybody who doesn’t think they’re the only real libertarian–and everyone else is at best just a fake libertarian?

    Isn’t a real libertarian.

    Seriously. This is as it should be. I want to make my own choices. …I wouldn’t even want my choices circumscribed by other libertarians.

    1. And who exactly gave Wilkinson ownership of the brand?

      1. I can’t knock him for it.

        I sometimes claim to speak for libertarianism too.

        He thinks his libertarianism is superior to all others. I can’t claim to be any better than that. I think my brand of libertarianism is superior to everyone else’s too.

        That’s the way it should be in a movement that claims we should all be free to make our own choices.

      2. The same guy who told Bill Maher that he was a libertarian.

        1. That same guy told Glenn Beck that he was a libertarian.

      3. And who exactly gave Wilkinson ownership of the brand?

        That’s kind of like asking, “Who gave the skunk ownership of the backyard?”. When a guy like Wilkinson becomes associated with it, nobody else will want it.

    2. Re: Ken Shultz,

      If you believe in voluntarysm, non-aggression, property rights, liberty and freedom as a matter of principle, then you’re a libertarian. If you believe in some of the above because a cost-benefit analysis tells you that, then you’re a beltwayrian i.e. a faux libertarian. It’s that simple.

      1. utilitarian libertarian today, utilitarian socialist tomorrow.

      2. So “libertarian” just means “anarchist, but not the kind that throws rocks”? Are the people who have serious concerns about anarchy conducting a cost-benefit analysis? Inquiring minds want to know!

        1. Re: Brian E,

          So “libertarian” just means “anarchist, but not the kind that throws rocks”?

          People that throw rocks are not anarchists, they’re vandalists. And NO, it is NOT the same thing.

          Are the people who have serious concerns about anarchy conducting a cost-benefit analysis? Inquiring minds want to know!

          Do YOU make such cost-benefit analysis for every single decision you make? The problem with utilitarians is their lack of consistency: They only espouse these “cost-benefit” analysis when things already happened, to justify all sorts of things. However, they would certainly not do a cost-benefit analysis for the act of brushing their own teeth, and before you answer like a punk,
          remember that an analysis requires the gathering of ALL DATA: Water usage, waste, paste usage, time, effort, so-called “externalities”… and then come up with a result. Jsut how long would it take you to do such an analysis? And then you would have to do another for the act of leaving your house, and then to drive to your work or school, and then to park your car, and so on ad nauseam.

          1. Sorry…”People that throw rocks are not anarchists, they’re nothing more than vandals.”

            Fixed.

          2. You don’t need all the data to make a cost-benefit analysis; a huge part of human existence is working with sketchy data.

            Natural rights devotees are just as “hypocritical” for not inquiring whether the production of the toothpaste they buy violated anyone’s natural rights, or the extraction of the oil needed to make the gas for their car violated rights, etc.

            1. Re: Tulpa,

              You don’t need all the data to make a cost-benefit analysis;

              YES, you do. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it doesn’t.

              a huge part of human existence is working with sketchy data.

              Which is WHY people act on assumptions, not on “cost-benefit analysis.”

              Natural rights devotees are just as “hypocritical” for not inquiring whether the production of the toothpaste they buy violated anyone’s natural rights

              Are you insane, Tulpa? Just how would the act of (let’s say) brushing your teeth violate someone else’s natural rights?

              or the extraction of the oil needed to make the gas for their car violated rights, etc.

              Again, why would the act of procuring gas violate someone else’s natural rights? Why would a person’s actions that do NOT involve another person directly, violate that 3rd party’s natural rights?

      3. I see it the other way sometimes…

        In recent history, for instance, I’ve said I don’t oppose dictators because I’m a libertarian; I’m a libertarian because I think dictatorships are the worst possible way to solve social problems.

        I can see it both ways.

      4. Even if they actually agree with you on every single matter of policy?

        No wonder you guys don’t have many friends.

    3. There is much sense to this.

      The problem is “what do you do about it?” If such a stance leads to you never voting or only writing yourself in as a write-in candidate, you’ve permanently excluded yourself from that process and like-minded people do the same.

      And you never move any closer to environment more conducive to your philosophy.

      1. I think what we do and say to each other is more important than how we vote.

        If the Arab Spring has taught us anything, it’s that change doesn’t come from the top down anyway.

        I think Reason does more when it invades cyberspace and the airwaves than any one vote for any politician ever will.

        As libertarian ideas get out among the American people and circulate, we get closer to critical mass. And when libertarianism hits critical mass, voting will be superfluous. In the meantime, what you say around the lunchroom, at church, in school and online is more important than how you vote. If you look at the recently felled dictatorships around the world, that’s what they all fear most.

        What people are saying to each other in cafes and online and in their homes. American politicians are the same way–they’re not afraid of who you vote for. They’re just afraid you won’t vote.

        They depend on votes for their legitimacy. I believe there’s an inverse relationship between voter participation, on the one hand, and the number and scale of things politicians of both parties will attempt on the other. If that’s true, and we want to limit the number and scale of things our politicians will attempt? Then we should fight voter participation–we should deprive them of our votes.

        It’s insane that because Barack Obama and his friends got together and voted for him–that he should be entitled to make decisions about my healthcare?! Voter participation is the fuel of that fire. Don’t fall for it. Do your patriotic duty–and don’t let them use your participation as justification for undermining your rights.

        The only people who have a right to complain are the people who don’t vote.

        1. “I believe there’s an inverse relationship between voter participation, on the one hand, and the number and scale of things politicians of both parties will attempt on the other.”

          I started writing that one way, and ended up writing it another.

          The more voter participation, the greater the number and scale of things our politicians attempt. The less voter participation, the less our politicians attempt.

          It’s not an inverse relationship. It’s direct.

          1. But I think historically this is inaccurate. While voting has not been the only or even the main cause of increased human liberty through the centuries (trade, broadly, seems to be the main driver), it’s had a role to be sure.

            That voting becomes a problem and a negative when the voters vote away their liberties is a given, but those opposed to this don’t help matters by withdrawing from the process. Doesn’t mean you have to actually vote if there’s nothing worth voting for, but it does suggest you make an effort to support a situation where there actually might be something worth voting for.

            More simply, if a leader anywhere in the world tomorrow decides to remove the populace’s right to vote, he likely won’t be doing it to expand liberty. Autocrats fear free elections. That alone makes them worth something (if not necessarily the be all folks sometimes make them out to be).

        2. I think that’s an excellent defense of non-voting, Ken. I will use it in the future, both without crediting you, and giving credit to myself for having thought it up.

          Seriously though good job.

        3. I ask this because I don’t know the answer and don’t have the time to scour Google right now. Is there a vote floor below which a winner cannot be claimed? If so, what happens in that instance?

        4. If the Arab Spring has taught us anything, it’s that change doesn’t come from the top down anyway.

          The Arab Spring hasn’t changed anything but who lives in the dictator’s palace yet. We’ll see.

  39. As a rule [sic], libertarians have an unhealthy tendency to apply their principles without due regard to America’s history of state-enforced slavery, apartheid, and sexism[…]

    In other words, libertarian principles should be contingent to Political Correctness.

    Paul represents this tendency at his worst. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Paul has argued, led to “a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society.” […]

    So for Wilkinson, good intentions trump rights and if anybody disagress with this, why that person is NOT a “true” libertarian and even *gasp!* a racist! Or an apologist for slavery!!!

    1. So for Wilkinson, good intentions trump rights and if anybody disagress with this, why that person is NOT a “true” libertarian and even *gasp!* a racist! Or an apologist for slavery!!!

      is it libertarian to oppose jim crow AND support tolerate violence against state-sactioned discrimination (and murder by the KKK) even if the federal gummit has no “proper role” in preventing such discrimination/violence?
      btw, southerners in 1865 deserved to die – gone with the wind is such bullshit

  40. Wilkinson will be voting for Obama -again- so why should I give a shit?

    Liberaltarianism (useful idiocy) for life, yo.

  41. Stop the presses!!! You mean a group of individuals who are ideologically skeptical of government and it’s proclaimed authority are in disagreement over the limits of government authority?!?!?! Unpossible!!!

  42. What a surprise: fake libertarian establishment shills hate Ron Paul.

    1. Am I the only one that’s sick to death of this “shill” epithet?

      Then again, I would say that, since I’m just shilling for team Trespassers.

      1. I am a shill for Team Cocktail Party.

        Not because I hate Paul. I just love drinking.

        1. CT’s advocacy of Team Cocktail Party is spot on, and anyone who says otherwise is nothing but a shill for AA.

  43. As a rule, libertarians have an unhealthy tendency to apply their principles without due regard to America’s history of state-enforced slavery, apartheid, and sexism, or to the many ways in which the legacy of these insidious practices persists to this day. Paul represents this tendency at his worst. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Paul has argued, led to “a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society.” […]

    WTF?!?!?!? Wilkinson is a fucking moron here. Libertarian principles argue AGAINST the original “state-enforced” practices as well as the “state-enforced” remedy that introduced a new set of problems.

    1. Wilkinson isn’t a fucking moron.

      He’s intellectually dishonest.

      Since he is intentionally and maliciously misleading his readers, that makes him a fucking liar.

  44. Will doesn’t explain his overarching point very well, so let me take a stab at it. Here goes:

    There are times when applying libertarian policies are easy and times when they are hard. Ron Paul confuses the two, and he does so in a way that makes him look like an extreme right-winger. Immigration is really easy for libertarian policies: if two people want to associate, no state has the right to stop them. But Ron Paul makes this seem like a difficult, nuanced question.

    OTOH, civil rights is more difficult, because the distribution of private property in America has nothing to do with a libertarian history. Land was stolen from other people, and other people were forced to work it. People who owned that stolen land got to use the state to exclude other people from it. Defending the private property arrangement “as is” – which Ron Paul does – oversimplifies libertarian principles, since the property arrangement didn’t arise in an (even remotely) libertarian fashion.

    Now, I happen to agree with Will’s criticism, though not necessarily with the Civil Rights Act. But I also agree that Paul’s views on the Drug War, police militarization, civil liberties, and foreign wars are a vast improvement on the status quo for people of color.

    1. Paul’s committment to liberty is far better for people of color than Martin Luther King’s committment to coerced association, socialism, the income tax and the progressive income tax , etc.

    2. Will doesn’t explain his overarching point very well, so let me take a stab at it. Here goes:

      There are times when applying libertarian policies are easy and times when they are hard. Ron Paul confuses the two, and he does so in a way that makes him look like an extreme right-winger. Immigration is really easy for libertarian policies: if two people want to associate, no state has the right to stop them. But Ron Paul makes this seem like a difficult, nuanced question.

      OTOH, civil rights is more difficult, because the distribution of private property in America has nothing to do with a libertarian history. Land was stolen from other people, and other people were forced to work it. People who owned that stolen land got to use the state to exclude other people from it. Defending the private property arrangement “as is” – which Ron Paul does – oversimplifies libertarian principles, since the property arrangement didn’t arise in an (even remotely) libertarian fashion.

      Now, I happen to agree with Will’s criticism, though not necessarily with the Civil Rights Act. But I also agree that Paul’s views on the Drug War, police militarization, civil liberties, and foreign wars are a vast improvement on the status quo for people of color.

      The problem with this argument is that one is an issue of the here and now while the other is an issue of history that has no present day remedy. I am not a Paul expert, but I have never heard it claimed that Paul agrees with the original theft of land from the early days of European colonization.

      We can only work with today.

    3. Immigration is really easy for libertarian policies: if two people want to associate, no state has the right to stop them.

      Amazing how obvious one’s deeply held beliefs are, isn’t it? Not hard to come up with a counterexample of course: say I run a bagel shop and want to hire someone who’s in the middle of a 30 year prison sentence. Do you think the state’s refusing to allow him out of jail to work at my bagel shop is violating freedom of association?

      1. I think that both of you have a problem. First, voluntary association is fine but for you to come over to a particular place you have to have permission of the owners of the areas that you have to cross. Second, when you are in jail you do not have the right to voluntary associations so your example does not apply.

        1. I think Tulpa’s point, or at least a defense of his argument, is that once you accept circumstances under which freedom of association can be modified (jail), it can be applied according to other principles (citizenship). You’re no longer relying on a blanket, unassailable assertion of freedom of association.

  45. Indeed, during the 2008 debates, “you could see eyes roll at Paul’s eternal return to the subject of government-induced ‘malinvestments'” and “Rudy Guiliani once nearly snapped Paul’s head clean off over foreign policy”.

    You should have added how utterly and obviously clueless the other candidates were when Paul said, regarding government intervention in the economy and monetary policy, “Printing more money and spending more money and asking the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates just makes thing worse … I was waving a flag the whole time, saying ‘Slow up, Slow Up, This isn’t going well’, and here we are: we’re at the verge of bankruptcy. We’re moving into a new era, believe it or not, with the dollar, and our economy, and the world economy, this is a new era.”

    This guy was saying in no uncertain terms — “WE ARE AT THE VERGE OF BANKRUPTCY” — that the US was on a collision course with hard reality months and years before it crashed in August 2008. During this 1/24/2008 debate, Paul’s dimwitted opponents didn’t have a clue that the house of cards would collapse later in the year.

    1. To be fair, RP’s been beating the same drum for 30+ years. If you predict something long enough, eventually it will come true.

      1. It didn’t work out that way for Paul Samuelson, Nobel laureate economist and author of the standard undergraduate economics text for about 30 years. Up until about 1990 this Keynesian genius was predicting that the USSR would surpass the US in economic output in just one or two decades. That never came to pass.

        More accurately stated: if you have a correct model of human action and correctly apply that model to a set of economic facts, you can make predictions that will ultimately come to pass ceteris paribus. Of course, human action is dynamic, and facts can change. E.g., a revolutionary technology like the PC or the Internet has the potential to create so much economic growth that it can extend boom-bust cycles and delay the ultimate crack-up boom. Mises understood that in 1920.

        Adherents to the Austrian school of economic thought don’t make the ridiculous predictive claims that the Keynesians make for their notoriously flawed models. Ron Paul never gave an exact date for the collapse, true enough, but he did correctly predict how it would play out pretty well.

        Looking at today’s gold closing price of $1885/oz, I think the Austrians are quite pleased with the predictive capability of Austrian economics.

        Looking at today’s jobs report on actual economic performance, the Keynesians can only revert back the their models and shamelessly continue to assert that things could have been worse.

  46. What the fuck is everyone so worked up over? This is not an anti Paul article. It quotes something that might be seen to be anti-Paul, but the post itself seems to be an even handed defense of Paul’s value to libertarianism. Calm the fuck down. Reason is not trying to bring Ron Paul down. They are making a blog post about what other people have written.

    1. Any ire I had was for Wilkinson, not for the article.

    2. For the Paultards, discussing criticism of Paul is almost as bad as directly criticizing him (and God help you if you find fault with him, even if you donate to his damn campaign and vote for him in the damn primaries).

      1. There is criticism then there are calls for excommunication.

        It is pretty clear Will’s article is of the later flavor.

    3. Calm the fuck down. Reason is not trying to bring Ron Paul down.

      I think their problem is that anything other than blind, uncritical Obeisance is somehow heretical. Or that actually acknowledging criticisms and responding to them represents a Failure of Loyalty.

      1. I know people are joking about it upthread, but this is why the Paul campaign (and C4L in general) is pretty much doomed to failure. He’s 76 years old, and almost certainly going to be out of politics after the next election, so a cult of personality is simply not sustainable.

    4. I am sorry but the objective evidence says otherwise. A misrepresentation of Dr. Paul’s positions and views is not being even handed.

  47. “Definitional libertarianism” must be libertarianism defined as advocacy of liberty as the central and sole building block of the polity. This position, which many have insisted they were developing – Herbert Spencer, Auberon Herbert, Murray N. Rothbard, Jan Narveson, etc – certainly deserves a name, and libertarianism fits pretty well. If you don’t hold to that notion – if, like Hayek and Friedman and many others, you wish, instead, to place liberty as high on the “shared value scale” as possible (in effect maximizing libertarian rights within a context usually inimical to same) – then you should probably choose a different name. Classical liberal fits pretty well. I use “individualist liberal” to encompass both groups. Not certain where I fit in this spectrum – though I’m awfully tempted by “definitional libertarianism” – I don’t see why we cannot all “get along.” Hating each other seems childish and stupid. Being embarrassed by each other, however, is always going to happen, when someone else adopts a particular position that is inconvenient for one’s own advocacy. But every family has a crazy uncle or idiot brother. Libertarians (or “individualist liberals”) have each other.

    1. Neither group should have anything to do with the word “liberal” at this point. It’s been sullied beyond repair by leftists.

  48. Reason could be giving Paul a rhetorical rim job&reach;-around… And the Paultards would still complain it lacked sufficient vigor and motivation.

    Even though this piece was *defending* Paul against critics… I suppose their gripe is that *even acknowledging his critics* shows a critical lack of sycophantism by Reason

  49. hey here’s something for those armchairs rocking on the sideline http://youtu.be/sLtdFtSAmLw
    offer an alternative or register in republican primary and become an ACTUAL activist.. put up or shut up.

    1. LOL, you think supporting and voting for a politician is libertarian activism?

    1. “He is Risen!”

    2. libertarians have deified a politician.

      I…I don’t know what world I am living in anymore.

      1. There is indeed something sorta creepy about a ‘libertarian’ Cult of Personality.

        I’m sticking to my policy of voting for potted plants and/or dogs/barnyard animals. They are certain to brighten up, enliven, and bring some character to any legislature, and guaranteed to do far less harm to society than anyone else. Also, they would serve as a regular reminder to other politicians of their social/moral worth in society.

        Actually, any dog would have far more moral backbone than a politician, so maybe we’ll stick to hogs, chickens & weasels for now. And ferns or cacti.

        1. again didn’t matter how much fact checking/contribution/the fact we still have a political system if we don’t want violence when idiotic pacifists like you sit on the side line while astronomical amount of wolves of special interests discuss what to have for dinner.. nope. just rock that armchair. cult.. deified.. toss that word to a wall and have it bounce right back to your own subjective standards, like what a schizophrenic would do. keep rocking that chair. talk about being creepy

          1. I see. that makes a lot of sense.

            sigh

      2. reality is you don’t know how much scrutiny i or anyone else besides you goes through to support a candidate. nobody even knows what ‘deified’ would specifically mean to you, let alone to anybody else on the receiving end you throw the word to, give the unknowns mentioned above. put down the novel.. your brain is already pretty full.

        1. basically, if you’re not a cheerleader, you’re the enemy.

          you’re not exactly a recruiting agent.

  50. One of the minds behind “libalterianism” is deciding that Paul is an embarrassment to libertarianism? Does the man have no shame?

    1. Really, why couldn’t statists and libertarians live together? When their goals and methods are so similar?

  51. Hayekian = Rothbardian + weed.

    1. Yeah, and you know, not advocating to “let the police loose” and administer “street justice” to the tune of tuning up black people.

      But other than that, Rothbard’s a real fuckin’ peach.

      1. Yeah, and you know, not advocating to “let the police loose” and administer “street justice” to the tune of tuning up black people.

        You have no evidence that Rothbard ever said anything like that when he was high.

    2. Rothbard + weed = as I post.

  52. “It’s destined to remain a minority creed, and that’s not because most Americans are stupid or immoral. It’s because libertarians have done a terrible job countering the widespread suspicion that theirs is a uselessly abstract ideology of privilege for socially obtuse adolescent white guys. ”

    — That’s going to be the new Reason masthead, right?

    1. Doesn’t that widespread belief prove that most Americans are stupid?

      1. Doesn’t that widespread belief prove that most Americans are stupid?

        After a few poeple died from e-coli they contracted from eating at Jack in the Box there was a wide spread drop in sales at Jack in the Box….

        Does that prove that most fast food consumers are stupid?

        Need more evidence?

        How about this from Wikipedia:

        In 2011, Barr traveled to Haiti to lobby on behalf of “former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.” According to Barr, “he is not serving as Duvalier’s attorney, but is in Port-au-Prince to consult, assist and be Duvalier’s voice to the international community.”

        Most American’s have ample reason to be wary of Libertarians and libertarians even when using libertarianism as the yard stick.

        1. IOW, americans have nothing to fear from democrat and republican party politicians and their regulatroy ruffians and their property confiscators and their airport gropers and their uniformed taser shooting thugs and their murderous mercenaries who are bankrupting them.

          But, Bob Barri’s whoring for baby doc, well now, that truly scares the american people.

          1. IOW, americans have nothing to fear from democrat and republican party politicians and their regulatroy ruffians and their property confiscators and their airport gropers and their uniformed taser shooting thugs and their murderous mercenaries who are bankrupting them.

            No in other words Jack in the Box came back (and better then ever IMHO. Yummy) because it had name recognition and locations and money and a huge although diminished costumer support.

            If Jack in the Box had been a small specialty franchise (like libertarianism it would have went bankrupt.

            In fact considering all of libertarians spectacular political failures, and gut retching “ooooh icky” moments I am surprised we exist at all.

            One does not need the extra claim of “Americans are stupid” to explain why we don’t run the world through sheer popularity…Occum’s razor and all that.

        2. Barr was simply trying to get the assets unfrozen, because Baby Doc claims he wants to give the funds back to the people of Haiti etc. He wasn’t defending him from criminal charges.

          Now, you can question whether BD is sincere about this (I sure as hell do) but it’s not nearly as bad as people portray it.

  53. What’s all the fuss over who’s a real librarian?

  54. Will Wilkinson Calls Ron Paul “an Embarrassment to the Creed” of Libertarianism

    Wilkinson is one of those people who reminds me off a Slinky. Basically useless, but he brings a smile to your face when you push him down the stairs….

  55. Will Wilkinson is a bloody fool. Ron Paul has been very consistent in his views for decades. The fact that Wilkinson seems to misunderstand or misrepresents his views shows has nothing to do with Dr. Paul and a lot to do with him and Reason’s editors.

    1. I’m pretty sure Reason’s editors don’t have a thing to do with Will Wilkinson’s understanding of Ron Paul’s views.

      1. You should have edited the post to make it sound like Will Wilkinson was being really supportive of White Obama.

      2. There’s an underreported rift in the libertarian movement…and it’s always been there in plain sight.

        It’s between what I’d call pragmatic libertarians on one side and the messianic libertarians on the other.

        The messianic libertarians have always been with us–going back to Ayn Rand at least. They’re always looking for the messiah or, rather, they usually think they’ve found one!

        Messianic libertarians draw lines the pragmatic libertarians never even see. We pragmatic libertarians jump over that line of theirs all the time without even realizing it.

        I know Objectivists who will never really forgive Reason for things that were written in the magazine about Ayn Rand. I’ve seen Ron Paulians blame his not beating Obama last time on the timing of the newsletter embarrassment supposedly perpetrated by Reason…

        Pragmatic libertarians look at people who worship a libertarian messiah and don’t understand how someone can so thoroughly identify an ideology with one person. Messianic libertarians don’t understand why people who call themselves libertarian won’t worship their messiah.

  56. deified? cult? keep talking to a mirror. of course it didn’t matter many of us started being suspicious of paul and did not come around after scrutinizing his record for months and months and overcome pages of criticism about him. nope we were all born his supporters. not really interested in where you gained those perspectives but it sounds more like a mental patient resonating with a voice inside his head above all else. i can’t think of a more fruitless activity than arguing with the .0000001% of you here who have stayed this way for decades and decades and decades. rino republicans at least have something to offer–votes. not so much reward incentives here. peace.

    1. nope we were all born his supporters.

      Well, your post is gibberish, but I’m going with my best guess at what you mean (indignation at being labeled as a personality cultist). You realize that lots of people weren’t born into cults, right? You think progressives were born as Obama supporters? How many of them had even heard of him before campaign season for the 2008 elections?

      Paul’s a good guy, he puts forward a lot of good policies, and even where he doesn’t, he can give the establishment a kick in the pants it desperately needs. But he isn’t perfect. He’s just a man, and a politician at that — you don’t get to hold a political seat for that long without making some compromises.

      If you want to avoid being labeled a cultist, then concentrate on getting the good doctor elected, rather than beatified.

  57. Ron is the most important *political* advance to happen in libertarianism since the birth of the modern movement. Simultaneously, he has all kinds of flaws that make us cringe from time to time. Life is funny like that. If our self-consciousness leads us to reject this opportunity, it is proof our vanity trumps our convictions.

  58. My prediction:

    The GOP will nominate some statist sleazeball for the top position and Ron Paul (or more remotely, Gary Johnson) for Vice President to win over the libertarian vote and to say, “See? We really do believe in freedom!”

    Then totally ignore him for the next four years.

    How many here would vote for a Romney/Paul ticket? or a Santorum/Paul ticket?

    … Hobbit

    1. I’d vote for Ron Paul/ Gary Johnson in a heartbeat. Everyone is talking about voting for Ron Paul & the MSM & the establishment GOP are making for strange bedfellows by trying to tamp down the tsunami of support Ron Paul has going for him. I’ve voted GOP & I’m telling every GOP voter they’re a sucker if they vote for anyone other than Ron Paul. What’s amazing is how many formerly staunch Democrats are showing voters remorse over Obama & even they realize it’s Paul, or no more USA. Fellow Americans, we must take back our nation from the Fascists/Marxists/Statist elites. Give me self determination, life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness over the Nanny State, any day.

      1. You’re missing the point. Obviously Paul/Johnson is the dream team but if the matchup is different?

        Romney/Paul gonna vote for him?
        Santorum/Johnson how about now?
        Palin/Paul etc

        I could totally see the GOP grabbing the lib for the second slot just for the votes. The question is, how bad does the guy at the top of the ticket have to be before you wouldn’t vote for the team?

        … Hobbit

  59. I’m voting for Ron Paul & I hope to God he does close most of our 1000+ military bases. What’s with the wars without end we’re into & all over the world at that? Why are we in Germany & Japan 70 years after we won WWII? What the H*ll are we playing at? Just look at the DEA, too. It’s just one more rights robbing govt agency that’s waging war yet another war, on the American people. Gotta love that ‘Fast & Furious’ scam to justify taking away our right to self defense in the name of the war on (some) drug users. Up with Ron Paul. Down with the Statists & the ‘useful idiots’ who vote to keep them in power.

  60. You where much kinder than I would have been with Wilkinson. The article seemed more as bait to build his personal brand through progressive channels and the mainstream media.

    Wilkinson’s article was intellectually dishonest. He is smart enough to understand Paul’s arguments on the role of the federal government in our lives.

  61. You know, in some ways this is old hat, in some ways a breath of fresh air. In the late ’80s, Libertarian Party members were regaled with the dire prophecies of Murray Rothbard, saying that the LP simply MUST choose Ron Paul or else suffer marginality and no chance of ever effecting an election. The LP chose Ron Paul, he did awful, and the LP has suffered marginality ever since.

    Now, Ron Paul is back, running as a Republican, but this time with a lot of people shouting his praise. Was Murray Rothbard right, but just off by two decades?

    I have always liked Ron Paul. I think he’s done great work. But he’s no messiah, and he’s not a genius. His success is that of the tortoise in a hare’s race.

    Of course, “success” is measured in libertarian terms. His support is growing, appears to be a groundswell.

    To pretend he’s a perfect candidate would be idiotic. To pretend he’s evil or not much of a libertarian, also idiotic.

    To think he’s electable? Should Angel Gabriel come down and hand him top billing on the GOP slate, not even all Cherubim and Seraphim could stop the onslaught that would follow. His old newsletters would be hauled out, ads would be run, his name muddied for generations. He’d make Goldwater look like an over-achiever.

    The best we can hope for is Paul maintaining his campaign until the near end at the GOP, fire up the Tea Party, and bow out gracefully. This would remind everyone that politics can afford a larger measure of principle than we’ve grown accustomed.

  62. Ron Paul has done more for libertarianism than Wilkinson ever will.

    1. Road-kill whitetail deer have done “more for libertarianism” than that douchebag Wilkinson.

  63. As a Republican who is very libertarian, this is what disturbs me about the libertarian community, we are indeed like a bunch of angry cats that just can’t be satisfied as why we will remain perpetually frustrated. Here we have a man who has done to bring libertarian ideas to the forefront of politics,that has made the way for others to gain access to the political movement and what does this magazine do, write an article calling him an embarrassment, this is the reason why we’re on the sidelines while Obama is President and a social authoritarian like Rick Perry is in the lead for the GOP price, we need to pull together instead of feud among ourselves!

    1. what does this magazine do

      Hate to break it to ya, but The New Republic is not a libertarian magazine.

  64. “he calls Ron Paul an “embarrassment” to the creed of Libertarianism.”

    The most effective response to counter this argument would be to donate millions of dollars to Ron Paul to almost run for office in 2012. Like you did in the last election and the one before that.

    Give a voice to the hypothetical policies of Ron Paul that he promotes without having to actually commit to putting them into practice.

    Or buy one of his books about shutting down the Fed or ending all foreign wars or returning to the gold standard or whatever other populist cause suits you (there’s a reason he’s covered them all!) and think about how those hypothetical scenarios would just be awesome. Remember, they can’t happen without your support.

    By then, it will be time for the 2016 election and time for Ron Paul to raise millions of dollars to almost run for office again.

    Grifters, they never quit.

  65. Here’s the thing, and some of you may not be able to grasp this. Ron Paul is far more liberal (in the genuine, original sense of the word) than most of the people who attack him for his backward ways and thinking. He is far less inclined to want to dictate to anyone how they should live their lives than any of the people who fret about his backward ways. Here’s the other thing, it is completely irrelevant who Ron Paul “thinks like” or what he believes with respect to particular social issues.

    What matters is Ron Paul’s view with respect to the power and authority that the federal government should have over our lives. and if you’re not getting this and instead prefer to fret over Ron’s view of evolution (never mind that EVERY SINGLE Presidential candidate on both sides claim to be devoted to the fairy tale of Christianity – that Christ is the son of God and you have to believe in him if you want to get to heaven – but that’s all alright, it’s the evolution thing that’s the problem, the rest of the superstition is okay and rational.) then you are a fucking idiot.

    The arguments against Ron Paul, that he isn’t hip and with it and cool like the beltway guys and that maybe his personal views don’t match those of the hip, with it guys, when there is no another person running who is less inclined to want to inflict his personal views on others. Among all the attacks on Ron Paul, from the right, the left and from the cool, with it libertarians, I have never, once encountered an honest, substantive, legitimate or remotely pertinent one. It always comes down, essentially, to an ad hominem attack, though they are frequently veiled and sophisticated in such a way as to disguise the real motives of the attacker. The truth is, if you can’t support the only genuinely libertarian candidate we will likely ever have, then I have to believe that your agenda is, at best, tangentially about achieving liberty.

    1. Fucking Paultard.

    2. “when there is no another person running who is less inclined to want to inflict his personal views on others.”

      This would seem to conflict with him consistently receiving a 100% positive scorecard from the anti-abortion political lobbies.
      Unless of course he was wanting to prevent himself from having an abortion. The doctor.

  66. This is the first time that I have read the comments on an article for REASON Magazine. There is actually a modicum of intelligent commentary here, but it seems like most of the people posting have the emotional maturity of your average twelve year old child. Is this a sample of what we can expect from a libertarian government; a group of squabbling, name-calling adolescents?

    1. If you want intelligent libertarian commentary go to grylliade.

      Hit and run is for abuse, although occasionally someone does accidentally make a good point.

      1. If you want intelligent libertarian commentary go to grylliade.

        lol

  67. Will Wilkinson is the embarrassment to libertarianism, not RP.

  68. How can you support open immigration from Mexico if 75 percent of Hispanics vote Democrat? What if that percentage was 100, and the Democrats started proposing outright socialism? Is there a point where immigrants’ support for socialism outweights their contributions to the economy?

  69. This is total BS! Another Reason hit piece by another “pie in the sky” arm chair intellectual – “well the ‘t’ is crossed – but that ‘i’ isn’t dotted just the way I want it – now we can’t have that – lets just keep the shit we have and let the whole works go up in smoke!”

    What a crock!

    Reason articles are starting to sound like a bunch of 18th century aristocrats sitting in their over stuffed chairs in some Paris salon discussing the pro and cons of liberal thought while the world turns UPSIDE DOWN! No one is perfect – RON PAUL isn’t perfect but he is the best thing going. Modern America has never been this close to getting a libertarian near the White House as it is now – don’t fuck it up!

    1. Jesus Christ on a popsicle stick. This is a blog post about SOMEONE ELSE’S ARTICLE, which I express disagreement with. READ THE WHOLE POST.

  70. Never heard of “will wilkinson” before today, but apparently he’s one of the New Republic propagandists who thinks he can fool people by pretending to be a libertarian.

    Sorry, Will. Nobody’s buying it.

    -jcr

  71. So Ron Paul refuses to follow the logical entailment of libertarian principles when it comes to immigration and state-sponsored discrimination? Fine: nothing wrong with pointing that out.

    The problem is that self-described liberals are using these pieces about Paul’s “dark side” to steel themselves up and vote for someone who is far, far worse than Paul on all the issues they claim to care about.

    Maybe it’s not Wilkinson’s fault that those people live in an ignorant bubble. But I’d definitely feel weird for helping keep them in it by publishing a piece like this in a venue like The New Republic (whose readers I’m sure could care less about whether Ron Paul consistently upholds libertarian ideals) and not make even a passing reference to Obama’s record on civil liberties, drugs, and war.

  72. Mr. Wilkinson is obviously a neoliberal. He has said that he “adores Obama’s foreign policy”, and that he is “in favor of certain mulitlataral wars”.

    links:

    http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9658?&in=00:43:27

    http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/400?&in=00:44:24

  73. seems like Ron Paul is getting criticism from everywhere, lol. Bring it on!

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