Ron Paul

Students For Liberty Against Ron Paul on Crimean Crisis

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Gage Skidmore / Foter / CC BY-SA

Former Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) has been outspoken about his views on the crisis in Crimea, where a recent referendum transferred the peninsula from Ukrainian to Russian control. Paul, known for not holding back when he believes in something, is undoubtedly used to being criticized. This time the backlash might hit a little closer to home, though: Students For Liberty (SFL) has come out against Paul for his views on Crimea.

Alexander McCobin, an SFL co-founder, issued a statement warning that Paul should not be seen as "wholly representative of the libertarian movement" and that he "gets it wrong when he speaks of Crimea's right to secede."

Paul has expressed support for the secession, arguing in an op-ed last week that the Crimean push was all about "self-determination." He brushed aside the Russian military presence as insignificant enough to warrant scare quotes when describing the "occupation."

McCobin doesn't buy that. He writes:

Make no mistake about it, Crimea was annexed by Russian military force at gunpoint and its supposedly democratic "referendum" was a farce. Besides a suspiciously high voter turnout with legitimate international observers, the referendum gave Crimeans only two choices — join Russia now or later.

He also describes Paul's stance as "too simplistic" and "fail[ing] to see the larger picture" of Russia's significant human rights violations. McCobin ended by expressing support for Paul's son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has taken a more critical stance on Russia.

A different SFL representative assured Buzzfeed that none of this is to say that the organization supports American military intervention in the situation.

Although Paul is not directly affiliated with SFL, the group has in the past expressed warm feelings for and worked to advance ideas proposed by the libertarian movement's most recognizable voice.

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  1. I think this Crimean situation is complex enough for anyone to come down on any number of viewpoints.

    1. Not Ron Paul’s. Like the guy, but he’s wrong wrong wrong about this.

      1. I’ve actually endeavored to ignore this Crimean situation. So help me out here (if you’ll oblige). The Crimea seceded from the Ukraine for the purpose of joining Russia, but it’s believed to be a tainted vote because the Crimea seceded while being occupied by Russian troops?

        1. Basically. However, Crimea is overwhelmingly pro-Russian, so the reality probably is that given the choice sans Red Army, they would have seceded anyway.

          The real question is what does Russia intend to do now and how far are they willing to go?

          1. the snippets that I’ve heard on NPR and caught on the news are that many random people on the street seem to be enthusiastically pro-Russian. But I also understand that when you live in a place with a… difficult government, that when a stranger points a camera at you and asks you how you feel, you raise the flag.

            1. 2001 Census

              Russians:1.45 million (60.4%),
              Ukrainians: 577 thousand (24.0%),
              Crimean Tatars: 245 thousand (10.2%),
              other Tatars: 135 thousand (0.5%),
              Belarusians: 35 thousand (1.4%),
              Armenians: 10,000 (0.4%),
              Jews: 5,500 (0.2%).[18]

              1. Clearly, it’s teh fault of teh jooz!11!!!!

              2. Actually, it was Ukrainians, 100%.

              3. 8%. ‘Nuff said.

              4. I had heard 53% Russian, but how is this defined? More than half Russian is Russian?

                Stalin deported many of the Tatars and imported Russians to get this result.

                We had an exchange student stay with us for 9 months in 2006-07 from Crimea. She was actually 3/4 Ukrainian as I recall. But her Grandmother had fond memories of being an Army officer’s wife in the 50’s under Stalin so she was a bit of a Russophile while she lived here. Now she is older and understands better, especially after the last 3 months. But at age 17 she called herself Russian sometimes even though she was half to 3/4 Ukrainian.

                She has been wanting to come to the US to stay or at least move to Europe ever since her visit. Hope she gets the chance.

              5. I’ll have tatars sauce and 1000 Crimean islands.

            2. “the snippets that I’ve heard on NPR…”

              There is one of your problems right there.

        2. I read that the vote itself was boycotted by pro-Ukrainian groups because they didn’t want to be seen as granting the referendum legitimacy.

          A big part of the issue was that the referendum presented only two options: one was “secede immediately and join Russia”, and the other was “secede immediately to form an independent Crimea under the old consitution” with a barely unstated subtext that this would entail being annexed by Russia.

          The Ukrainian constitution by which Crimea was a part of Ukraine says Ukraine’s government has to approve of changes in Crimea’s status, so it appears neither of these options were, strictly speaking, legal.

          It may very well be that a majority or even large majority of Crimeans are pro-Russia, but this referendum is not the piece of evidence one wants to present to back that up.

          1. Thank you. That’s the best summary I’ve heard so far.

          2. 1) The two options where presented as separate Yes/No questions, so anyone who wished to remain part of Ukraine had the option of answering No to both questions. Now admittedly, the ballot seems to have been designed to be deliberately confusing so that it wasn’t necessarily obvious that you could answer No to both.
            2) According to the Ukranian Constitution, Viktor Yanukovych is also still the head of state. Opposition can’t claim the right of revolution on one hand while demanding respect for procedural minutae on the other.

            This is not to say Russia’s annexation is legitimate; just that I’m not sure either government is really legitimate at this point.

          3. Doesn’t acknowledging that something exists by boycotting it also grant it legitimacy?

          4. But people still have the right to self-government, even if some earlier document claims they don’t.

          5. We should consider boycotting the vote in this country because we don’t want to be seen as granting the our fake elections legitimacy.

      2. I really don’t know much about the situation. Was the vote to secede a vote vote, or a North Korean vote?

        1. felt VERY North Korean-esque. 96% approval rate. Come on Ron Paul.

          1. Doesn’t that just mean they live in a progressive paradise where politics works and everyone gets along?

            1. *looks around nervously*

              of course comrade!

              1. Sounds like Crimea could teach us something about beating the Politics of Division!

        2. 123% of Sevastopol’s population exercised its right at the ballot box.

          1. Maybe they were just enthusiastic.

          2. Whoa. That’s approaching American Idol levels of voting.

          3. That rivals Obama’s 2012 numbers in some of the Philly precincts.

            1. Ha! He only got 103% in some Chicago wards…

        3. It was a North Korean vote that probably got the same result a vote vote would have gotten anyways.

          1. If by “result” you simply mean that a majority would have voted to join Russia, then maybe. But it would have been nowhere near 96%. Some Russia-apologists make it sound like Crimea is 99% ethnically Russian, but it’s nowhere near that (I think someone posted 2001 Census numbers that put it at 60%), and just cause one is ethnically Russian doesn’t guarantee that he/she wants to join Russia (and conversely, someone who isn’t ethnically Russian could prefer to join Russia)

      3. Re: NEoliberal Kochtopus,

        Not Ron Paul’s. Like the guy, but he’s wrong wrong wrong about this.

        I don’t think so. You want to be involved? Do a Lord Byron, grab a musket and go fight alongside the Ukrainians, but do it with your own money. Not mine. I’m not willing.

        1. Saying that the Russian invasion and annexation is illegitimate is not the same as saying we should be doing anything to stop it.

          The one issue I’ve always had with Ron Paul where foreign policy is concerned is he wants to act like there is no functional difference between Switzerland and North Korea. Sure, I understand the notion of trade with all, entangling alliances with none. But where we see tyranny in the world, there’s no problem calling a spade a spade.

      4. I’m still not getting why this would be any of the US’s business. The Russian government are dicks. Our government is a bunch of dicks. All governments are dicks. How do you come down on any side?

        1. Some dicks are more diseased than others, as any brothel owner could tell you. It’s pretty absurd to suggest that N Korea’s government is equivalent to, say, Sweden’s: neither one is a model for my ideal government, but between the two I’d take Sweden any day without blinking. It is very easy to “come down” on the side of a government when that government is opposed by a force that is more anti-liberty than it.

      5. …he “gets it wrong when he speaks of Crimea’s right to secede.”

        That’s exactly where Ron Paul gets it right. The issue isn’t whether they have the right to secede, it’s about whether the vote was legitimate, or under duress.

      6. I disagree, but then I could be wrong.

    2. Probably the most reasonable comment I’ve read so far on the subject.

      1. It’s way above this, but I was responding to Paul’s comment re the complexity of the situation.

    3. Not really, if you wanna call yourself a libertarian. The only decent viewpoint is to stay out of it. Ron Paul is right and the SFL arm of the kochtopus is wrong.

    4. Ron Paul is right.

      THE CRIMEAN REFERENDUM QUESTION:

      1. Do you support Crimea’s reunification with Russia?

      1. This is to go back to Russia and

      2. Do you support the restoration of the Constitution of the Crimean Republic dated 1992 and Crimea’s STATUS AS PART OF THE UKRAINE?

      2. This is to stay as part of the Ukraine at least in my universe. The Russian military was there to make sure the vote was allowed to happen and were not there to force people to vote one way or the other.

    5. I think, as usual, Ron Paul’s main point is that we do not need to get involved with another potential conflict when we are broke and his point in the op-ed was that; if we are going to criticize a country for claiming legitimacy of a vote through occupation, then that is hardly different than the US claiming legitimacy of the Iraqi elections when we put the puppet up for candidacy.
      I’ll side with Ron Paul when it comes to basic logic and simple rational since he is the only politician in 30 years to offer anything close to it.

  2. So, if i understand this correctly, SFL, an organization that supports freedom* does not want to let Crimea secede, despite the region’s (apparent) overwhelming desire to do so.

    *“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
    – I. Montoya

    1. Right, and the North Koreans’ had a strong “desire” to re-elect Kim Jong Un. you don’t have to wear ideological blinders to be opposed to overseas interventionism, you know.

      1. Considering the quality of most non-interventionist arguments, I’m not so sure.

    2. SFL supports individual freedom, so in order to make a universal decree of their beliefs, you’d have to define what they mean by that…

    3. Secession =/= freedom contra the neo-confederate line on the issue.

      1. How could it not? Staying under the thumb of a central government you don’t want to be subject to makes you more free? How is that possible?

        1. Because “you” might be a murderer, a rapist, or some other kind of NAP violator and secession for you means getting to keep the ill-gotten goods of your NAP violation without having to deal with justice or restitution. IOW, your “freedom” to be a NAP violator is less important than other people’s freedom to not be forced to live by your NAP-violating decisions, and this principle is scalable to secession movements (the secession of slave-owners for the purpose of keeping their slaves and profits based on slave-trading, for example).

          1. Well said TIT.

            1. wow. I read it is as sarcasm.

              Secession is only allowed if you are perfect. That makes total sense.

      2. If reinforcing stupid is your point, you’re on a roll troll.

  3. The only likely solution is for Crimea and the rest of Ukraine to split off.

    Who knows what happens after that? Putin is a major big A asshole.

    This is going to become a trend out of necessity. Centralized authority and large nation states need to fall apart. Sure, if smaller states want to form cooperatives, that is great. But we need lots of experimentation to replace the currently failed model of huge centralized governments.

    This trend seems to be arising everywhere. The thing that’s going on with Venice and Italy. EU countries starting to want a split. Western MD, the movement to split Cali up. Just recently when I was in Brazil, I found out that there is a movement in the state of PE to form their own country separate from Brazil.

    Large nation states are inherently evil. People need the freedom to form smaller communities with those they are more in agreement with and to experiment with ideas.

    1. Large nation states made sense a while back because of protectionism which was a huge awful blight in the 19th century. Also, really small countries in places like Africa tend to be unstable.

      Western MD?

      1. Just google western MD secession movement.

        Carrol and Frederick counties are very different than Baltimore and Annapolis, politically. IOW, any democrat who runs and promises free shit is not a lock for the election win.

        Frederick is actually very nice, and I would be more than happy to join them and move there, if they have any success with this, even though it’s a 2 hour commute to work. It’s only 3 days a week so I would survive and be a lot happier with my living environment I am sure.

        1. Six Californias, brother! I’m voting for it.

          1. no fucking way would I go for 6 californias

            I’m not ready to consider suicide at this point

  4. Paul is right that we have no business intervening in a military sense but is being pretty asinine if he thinks the referendum was valid in any sense.

    Imagine if the US sent troops into British Colombia, called for a referendum on secession and admittance to the US, and 98% of British Colombians voted yes.

    Would you buy that shit? Also, is Russia going to let the parts of Crimea that want to stay Ukrainian leave Russia? I find that doubtful.

    1. Imagine if the US sent troops into British Colombia, called for a referendum on secession and admittance to the US, and 98% of British Colombians voted yes.

      No I don’t want to. Too many Canooks.

    2. Imagine if the US sent troops into British Colombia, called for a referendum on secession and admittance to the US, and 98% of British Colombians voted yes.

      Would you buy that shit?

      What if we sent troops into Northern California and they voted on secession and admittance into the US?

    3. If every antisecession organization boycotted the vote, I
      might.

    4. Probably the best analogy to the US is if Mexico sent troops into the Gadsden purchase area and sponsored a referendum there on rejoining Mexico.

      Here’s the problem with this scenario, generally:

      Unless and until a secession is actually held and recognized, sending troops into a foreign country without permission is an act of war. Sending them without insignia is a war crime.

      Bottom line: Russia has gone to war against Ukraine, and kicked it off with a round of war crimes. Now, if you think a referendum held during a war to join the invading power, should get anything other than a round of hearty laughter, then may I suggest you are naive.

    5. I live in Victoria, BC. Your comment hits close to home.

      However, imagine this scenario: A revolutionary movement takes over Ottawa, our capitol, and overthrows a corrupt but legitimate government. This revolutionary government is very anti-US. Further imagine BC at this time has 60% of its population people who were from the US. Now imagine if there was a referendum that went hugely in favor of joining the US. Would that be so unbelievable? And, 96% is not so unreasonable if a large chunk of the electorate chose not to vote, as a protest.

      1. a corrupt but legitimate government.

        Governments that slaughter protesters are not legitimate.

        How is Victoria doing? Haven’t been there in a while.

        1. It has been unusually cold and rainy for the last 3 months. I want to go to Mexico. But, thanks for asking.

      2. Pulseguy, there is a libertarian organization here in Victoria. Click on my username to find us.

  5. There’s some Rockwell, Raimondo, Russian backstory on all this from way back in the ‘aughts. I don’t follow all that intercine splitter shit but for some reason I think some of the paleos like Putin or something.

    1. Isn’t it the Paleos calling for military intervention to stop Putin?

        1. I’m asking you a question.

            1. Hmm… I don’t follow Rockwell, but I have followed Raimondo on occasion– one of the only times I paid attention to Raimondo was when he was swallowing the Administration’s oddball logic about how Libya was the result of a youtube video.

        2. This is a date that will go down in history. 3.24.14 @ 6:38 PM, the time when the term “paleolibertarian” became as meaningless as “cosmotarian” or “racist“.

          1. He meant Paleolibertarian?

            1. By referencing Rockwell and Raimondo, I assume so.

            2. I don’t think the paleoconservatives are itchin’ to fight there either. Maybe you thought I meant paleo-dieters?

              1. No, I meant Paleo conservatives. Aren’t they itching for Cold War v2.0? Or, well, I guess McCain isn’t really a Paleo, he’s just all intervention-ey.

                1. Paleoconservative usually refers to isolationist Pat Buchanan “Old Right”-types who wouldn’t have even entered the European theater of WW2. I believe the term you’re looking for is “Neoconservative”.

                  1. Paleoconservative usually refers to isolationist Pat Buchanan “Old Right”-types who wouldn’t have even entered the European theater of WW2. I believe the term you’re looking for is “Neoconservative”.

                    Jesus Christ, THIS IS WHY I NO LONGER PLAY WORLD OF WARCRAFT!

              2. Where do the paleotanners stand on this issue?

  6. If the Crimean election was rendered illegitimate by the presence of Russian troops, then every election Iraq has ever had was illegitimate.

    In fact, Iraq’s elections were even LESS legitimate, since the Russian troops hadn’t actually killed anybody yet.

    1. Eh. I think there’s a difference between an election held when you are being occupied by a foreign country, and an election on being taken over by the foreign country that is occupying you.

    2. What a bunch of shit. The Iraqi elections were held under observed free and fair conditions and it was a vote for candidates. The Russian referendum was a ‘join Russia now or join Russia later’ choice where pro-Ukrainian activists were harassed by troops coming to impose an unfree regime.

      1. In fairness the elections held in Iraq were actually freer then the elections held here.

  7. Wow.

    It’s an ORGANIZATION, it can’t support anything. The different individuals that make up SFL all have varying opinions. Alexander McCobin, even as leader, can’t represent every single individual, club, etc.

    Zenon, as a supposed libertarian writer for Reason, should know this.

    #wasteoftime

    1. Libertarian pedantry FTW

  8. OT:

    Student has weapons in dorm room against university rules; reported by another student. Weapon-owner is now a felon:

    http://www.ketv.com/news/polic…..m/25141378

    1. He is held on a felony charge for having weapons on school property.

      I guess it’s a violation of state law, so…

      1. Agree. My point was that, for this violation, this guy has now had much of his future curtailed because, you know, he’s a felon.

        More amusing is the full statement by the university which borders on the hysterical.

        1. Yeah, but until I clicked through your link, and even when reading the article, it made the state law thing kind of an afterthought.

          It violated all kinds of university rules, student council dictates etc., oh, and yeah, it’s also agin the law.

          Fun fact: In Washington, I can pack heat while picking up my daughter:

          (e) Any person in possession of a pistol who has been issued a license under RCW 9.41.070, or is exempt from the licensing requirement by RCW 9.41.060, while picking up or dropping off a student;

          1. In CA, I have to unload and lockbox before I can set foot on school property. You know, for the children.

            1. Because the rule in place is a huge impediment to you going Columbine, and not just an impediment to you protecting your children should someone else be going Columbine.

          2. Let me guess:
            exempt from the licensing requirement by RCW 9.41.060 = Cops and retired cops

            1. I presume. Exempt = not little people. Or “normals” as they call them in Veep

            2. Why retired cops would be exempt makes no sense. I suppose I can understand the rationale for cops themselves as they are charged (in theory and theory alone) with protection and service. But retired cops have no such duty, responsibility, or legitimacy.

          3. in TX, with a CHL I can take a gun on a college campus. Parking lots, walkways, etc. Only prohibited from “premises”, which is defined as a physical building.

    2. A dorm room is a residence. IMO any laws prohibiting guns in your residence are unconstitutional, although I don’t know the specific case law.

      That said, this guy is a fucking idiot for getting caught.

      1. Tough call. State law seems clear: No Gunz on School Propertiez. Psychotic shooters must remain unmolested.

        Are dorms considered “your” residence?

        1. Are dorms considered “your” residence?

          For certain civil matters, I’d say no. For criminal matters, if your shit’s there and you pay for it, you should be constitutionally protected.

          Would any court uphold a law that says it’s a felony to worship allah if you rent a red-bricked house?

          1. Would any court uphold a law that says it’s a felony to worship allah if you rent a red-bricked house?

            I… yeah. I hear you. Something tells me he’s got a losing case. Just a feeling.

            1. I would say the same and it’s a shame.

              I was reading up on the federal gun free zone act after reading this story and came upon a case of a guy in puerto rico that had a fully auto AK in a housing project apartment next to a school. He was charged under GFZSA, convicted and appealed. He lost his appeal. In the reading I noticed this little leap of logic on the govt’s part:

              The school-zone prohibition is based on explicit congressional findings that firearms had increasingly been found in and around schools, that concern about these firearms could deter parents from sending their children to school, that the occurrence of violent crimes in school zones had resulted in a decline in the quality of education (an effect having an adverse impact on commerce), and that states and localities had found it very difficult to handle such gun-related crimes themselves. See 18 U.S.C. ? 922(q)(1). For example, one news report counted that as of the early 1990s guns were used in and around schools in crimes of violence eight-hundred times a year.

              Commerce clause for the win…

              1. http://openjurist.org/480/f3d/…..ves-castao

                that concern about these firearms could deter parents from sending their children to school, that the occurrence of violent crimes in school zones had resulted in a decline in the quality of education (an effect having an adverse impact on commerce)

                That some weapons-grade bullshit. Preventing children from carrying guns at school is, generally speaking, a good idea. Preventing adults from possessing them within 4 city blocks of a campus is inane.

                1. It’s even more fucked up that they’re using congress’ data to decide the constitutionality of something. I didn’t know that the bill of rights was subject to statistical analysis.

                  When does the CC kick in? 100 incidents per year? One?

                  Also, 800 times a year seems really insignificant to me.

                  1. How many of those incidents impacted a school or campus, and how many were between the hours when children would likely be in school? Probably very few in both cases.

                  2. Data? It was based on feelings and politics. When congress has “findings”, there is no data about it.

          2. The issue is that the Second Amendment hasn’t been fully subjected, or subjected much at all, Heller notwithstanding, to the incorporation doctrine in the same way that the First has.

            1. Oh, I agree.

              And it’s the fatal flaw of our system. If the judiciary refuses to overturn blatantly unconstitutional law we’re pretty much at the mercy of whatever tyranny the majority can throw at us.

            2. The real issue, I think, is that the Supes aren’t willing to give the 2A “strict scrutiny” protection.

        2. I signed a 9 month lease for my dorm room (actually, my parents, since I was still 17), and I lived there and received mail there, so I would call it my residence.

          Far different than taking a gun to class, IMO.

          1. Presumably you cannot claim castle doctine when you are considered a serf there to work the land.

      2. That’d be a good constitutional battle, though I don’t know if we’d be happy with the result.

        Really, the only recourse the school should have is expulsion, which as a tax-leeching organization even that would be questionable to me.

        1. If this dude was planning on going all the way to the SCOTUS on the matter, then good for him. I might even consider donating to the cause.

          But, what I think we have here is a young dipshit who was showing off, and now he’s absolutely fucked.

          If you are going to break a law, especially when there are potentially serious consequences, be discrete about it.

          1. Have you met anyone in the 18-24 year old age bracket these days? Discretion is not a very prominent trademark of the millenial generation*

            *while I speak as a technical Millenial myself having been born in ’82 and graduated high school in 2000, as the youngest with two siblings aged 4 and 5 years older (Gen Xers), I inherited far more in common with the previous generation than my own. This is why it is often a challenge for me to put up with millenial BS in order to fornicate with millenial women.

            1. you aren’t a millineal. That cutoff is at 1985 if I’m remembering correctly.

      3. You can’t sign away your rights, but…
        the dude signed a contract agreeing not to have guns in his dorm room.

        When I was in school, that was part of the residency agreement. You were allowed to store your firearm at the campus police station, which did jack for self defense but worked out fine if you were a hunter.

        1. Then I think we can agree that at best, it is a matter of breech of contract, and not a criminal felony.

          1. This here. You can’t hang a felony charge on a breach of contract. The felony has to be something that was illegal regardless of any contract.

            So this has nothing to do with his lease. If they were just trying to enforce that, they would evict him.

            No, they want him in jail. That’s the only reason to call the cops and accuse someone of committing a felony.

        2. You can’t sign away your rights, but…
          the dude signed a contract agreeing not to have guns in his dorm room.

          Click through to the article. The article makes noise noise noise about contract, then quietly says it’s also enshrined in state law to not have any weapons on a school campus, period, the end.

  9. Dude that makes no sense at all man. I mean none.

    http://www.anonblitz.tk

  10. There is an issue that needs to be discussed and it is the libertarian love of secession. This is a problem. Contra neoconfederates, secession is not a right and it is not necessarily good. Secession is only legitimate if 1) the resulting entity or the entity being joined is more or less rights-respecting and 2) if the entity being separated from is rights-respecting then the new entity/the one being joined cannot pose a threat to the rights-respecting one. Russia is a manifestly unfree entity that will use Crimea to menace not only Ukraine but Moldova and others.

    Paul has expressed support for the secession, arguing in an op-ed last week that the Crimean push was all about “self-determination.” He brushed aside the Russian military presence as insignificant enough to warrant scare quotes when describing the “occupation.”

    What an asshole.

    1. Re: Cytotoxic,

      There is an issue that needs to be discussed and it is the libertarian love of secession. This is a problem. Contra neoconfederates, secession is not a right [???]

      It IS a right. It is the manifestation of the right to freely assemble with whomsoever you want and to freely disassociate from any group you disdain, a corollary of the Right to Liberty. Your contention is thus wrong.

      and it is not necessarily good.

      That falls under the category of “your opinion.”

      What an asshole.

      Why? Because he brushed aside the Russian military presence in Crimea? Didn’t the US invade Grenada under the pretext to protect American medical students trapped in the middle of a communist insurrection? So why can’t the Russians argue the same thing, especially when Crimea is full of ethnic Russians?

      1. Because he brushed aside the Russian military presence in Crimea?

        I think brushing aside an invasion is worth a little criticism.

        So why can’t the Russians argue the same thing, especially when Crimea is full of ethnic Russians?

        Perhaps because the Russians didn’t go into Crimea to protect Russian citizens in the middle of an insurrection?

      2. It is the manifestation of the right to freely assemble with whomsoever you want and to freely disassociate from any group you disdain

        No it isn’t. Secession is pertains to the state. The state’s sole right to exist is based on protecting individual rights. If a new state doesn’t do that, it is not allowed to exist. That is why Palestine and The Confederacy are/were illegitimate project necessitating shutdown.

        Why? Because he brushed aside the Russian military presence in Crimea?

        Yes.

        Didn’t the US invade Grenada under the pretext to protect American medical students trapped in the middle of a communist insurrection?

        Yes.

        So why can’t the Russians argue the same thing, especially when Crimea is full of ethnic Russians?

        BECAUSE IT FUCKING ISN’T. Wow what a non-sequitor. Team PAULTARD is tops at pulling inventive stuff out of their asses.

        1. Re: Cytotoxic,

          No it isn’t. Secession is pertains to the state.

          Are you arguing now that the state holds special privileges above the individual?

          The state’s sole right to exist is based on protecting individual rights.

          Now you’re committing a perfunctory contradiction. If the state’s sole purpose is to protect rights, isn’t one of those rights the right to disassociate?

          BECAUSE IT FUCKING ISN’T [full of Russians]

          Ok, now you’re becoming irrational. 60+ percent of the Crimean population is composed of ethnic Russians. That seems pretty full to me.

          Nobody is saying that the methods followed by the Russian government are anything to laugh about. Arguing that being in favor of non-interventionism is the same as sanctioning their actions is nothing more than a fallacy of extremes.

          1. “Are you arguing now that the state holds special privileges above the individual?”

            Aren’t you the one arguing this, by saying that the majority in Crimea has the right to subject the minority to am increasingly authoritarian government (granted, Ukraine isn’t a paradise of freedom itself)? And even if the majority does want that, the way in which the secession was conducted was ridiculous and not a legitimate way of seceding. You can’t simply declare by decree that the majority supports you, and you can’t occupy a country, set up a puppet government, declare an election in two weeks, say that the referendum is meaningless and that Crimea will be joining Russia regardless, construct a confusing ballot that gives no explicit option to stay with Ukraine, restrict the opposition from making their case, rig the election (more than it already was by everything else mentioned) and then somehow claim that secession was legitimate.

            1. Re: Calidissident,

              Aren’t you the one arguing this, by saying that the majority in Crimea has the right to subject the minority to am increasingly authoritarian government?

              You don’t know if the Russian government represents an increasingly authoritarian government compared to the current Ukrainian government, so don’t beg the question. Second, I don’t agree that this case is one where a majority is imposing anything on a minority considering the Crimean was Russian for a couple hundred years and especially when so many Russian lives were lost defending the peninsula against the Nazis. With so much history behind them, I don’t see it as being far fetched that a vast majority of the Crimean people wanted to secede from an unstable Ukraine to join the devil they know.

              1. You don’t know if the Russian government represents an increasingly authoritarian government compared to the current Ukrainian government, so don’t beg the question.

                I do, as does anyone else who doesn’t have their head up Ron Paul’s ass.

                Second, I don’t agree that this case is one where a majority is imposing anything on a minority considering the Crimean was Russian for a couple hundred years and especially when so many Russian lives were lost defending the peninsula against the Nazis.

                This doesn’t even make sense.

                Now you’re committing a perfunctory contradiction. If the state’s sole purpose is to protect rights, isn’t one of those rights the right to disassociate?

                Secession =/= dissociation if you’re replacing one government with a worse government. See Confederacy, Eritrea.

                1. Secession =/= dissociation if you’re replacing one government with a worse government.

                  Define “worse government”. It’s a moving target, and highly sensitive to cultural and political biases of the people within the association. 95% of America would say that dissolving the current constitution and replacing it with Libertopia was “replacing one government with a worse government”. Unfortunately, you don’t get to define terms for hundreds of millions of people.

              2. The majority (assuming that the majority wants to join Russia) isn’t just disassociating themselves, they’re disassociating everyone who doesn’t want to be a part of Russia as well. Which would be more or less fine if Russia wasn’t an increasingly authoritarian dictatorship.

                Regardless, the referendum and the way in which the secession occurred was a sham, and it’s absurd to think that the Russian government can just claim land by asserting/assuming that the majority of people in the area support it.

          2. BECAUSE IT FUCKING ISN’T [full of Russians

            No, I meant that the lives and rights of those citizens were in no way threatened by the new Ukrainian government.

      3. From Tim Snyder, an expert on the region and fervent anti-Communist and anti-fascist:

        there are few Russian citizens resident in the country. But let’s consider those that are: One notable group are the soldiers and sailors at the military base at Sevastopol. Since these are military men on a military base, they hardly need protection. Another major group are those masked Russian special-forces who are now occupying Crimea. A third are the Russians who have been bused across the border to stage pro-Russian demonstrations and beat Ukrainian students in the cities of eastern Ukraine. A final group of Russian citizens are former Ukrainian riot policemen who took part in the suppression of demonstrations.

        Literally the only Russian killed in Ukraine in the last 6 months was killed by the Yanukovych government — he was on the side of the protestors.

        As for ethnic Russians, 1) HUGE difference between ethnicity and citizenship, and 2) they have far more basic human and political rights in Ukraine than in Russia.

    2. Secession is only legitimate if 1) the resulting entity or the entity being joined is more or less rights-respecting and 2) if the entity being separated from is rights-respecting then the new entity/the one being joined cannot pose a threat to the rights-respecting one.

      100% agreed. It would be like arguing that a rapist kidnapper has the right to have his house “secede” from the US to form the Autonomous Principality of Rapeistan, where rape is legal and thus authorities cannot arrest a clear NAP violator. That is the real moral problem with neo-Confederate apologia, not nonsense about the Constitution (which was a successor to the A of C and thus formed a union in “perpetuity”).

    3. I think secession is pretty firmly established as a right:

      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

      1. whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it

        Of what ends?

        Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

        See, it helps to keep in mind the main clause of a conditional statement — and in this case, the statement is that if a government aggresses against Lockean rights, then people have the right to overthrow. It is not an unlimited license for secession based on any reason.

        1. the statement is that if a government aggresses against Lockean rights

          Whoa there kemosabe. You just injected something very specific into a statement whose plain language is much more vague.

          1. I used the phrase Lockean rights because Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness is a well-acknowledged derivative of Locke’s famous Life, Liberty and Property formulation. If you prefer, then it means that only a government which violates Life/Liberty/Pursuit of Happiness is a valid target for secession.

            1. If you prefer, then it means that only a government which violates Life/Liberty/Pursuit of Happiness is a valid target for secession.

              Which is to say that even under this understanding of the Life/Liberty/Happiness clause, literally any and every government in history is a valid target for secession. And some people have much broader definitions of those terms than we do as well (getting into positive rights).

      2. Is 50.1% of people in an area seceding for the entire population always a right?

  11. Seems like an opportunity to troll the UN.

    In the spirit of defusing the situation and warming relations with Russia, we should introduce a resolution at the UN that would call for the adoption of a new principle of international law, namely:

    (1) Any nation is entitled to send troops to any other nation at the request of citizens of that other nation.
    (2) Such troops may cross the border without announcement or insignia.
    (3) Any referendum held under the supervision of the requested troops regarding governance, secession, annexation, whatever, should be recognized as legal and binding by the UN.

    I wonder how many votes it would get?

  12. Make no mistake about it, Crimea was annexed by Russian military force at gunpoint and its supposedly democratic “referendum” was a farce.

    Not like the referendums in Iraq and Afghanistan which were all examples of democracy in action while being carried out under the watchful eye of fully-equipped and combat-ready, corn-fed American soldiers! Am I right, people?

    1. Exactly. Those referendums were real choices held in elections observed to be fair and free.

      1. Re: Cytotoxic,

        Those referendums were real choices held in elections observed to be fair and free.

        And the Crimean referendum wasn’t because… what? American guns fire love bullets? People are naturally NOT intimidated by American M4s pointed at them? I don’t understand the logic behind it. I understand that you’re being chauvinistic about it, just not rational.

        1. And the Crimean referendum wasn’t because… what?

          Because it was a choice between joining Russia now or later and it was conducted in an atmosphere of intimidation and rail-roaded through.

          People are naturally NOT intimidated by American M4s pointed at them?

          Were you born this fucking stupid or is it learned?

      2. And there was no explicit or implicit endorsement of any particular party, candidate, or referendum by the occupying power.

    2. Tu quoque isn’t a valid argument, and remind me when Iraq and Afghanistan voted on being annexed by the United States?

      1. Re: Calidissident,

        Tu quoque isn’t a valid argument, and remind me when Iraq and Afghanistan voted on being annexed by the United States?

        This isn’t a ‘tu quoque’, C. I am calling out the SFL in their hypocrisy and Manichean rationalization. There may be truth that intimidation was rampant during the referendum but lets not forget that the ethnic Russians outnumber all other ethic peoples in the peninsula, so it is not crazy to think that at least 50% plus one really wanted to secede from Ukraine. If they’re going to call that referendum anti-democratic because of the presence of Russian troops, then they are opening the door for anybody else to consider the referendums in Iraq and Afghanistan as anti-democratic as well since the presence of a far greater and arguably much more dangerous and murderous invading army – the Americans. Just about 2 MILLION Iraqis died during the invasion and subsequent war. How many Crimean people have died so far? Isn’t that tremendous death toll intimidating in itself?

        1. “This isn’t a ‘tu quoque’, C. I am calling out the SFL in their hypocrisy and Manichean rationalization.”

          Did the SFL support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

          “There may be truth that intimidation was rampant during the referendum but lets not forget that the ethnic Russians outnumber all other ethic peoples in the peninsula, so it is not crazy to think that at least 50% plus one really wanted to secede from Ukraine.”

          It might not be crazy to think that, but that doesn’t make the election legitimate or make it ok to just assume that’s the case and invade/annex.

          Virtually nobody here supported the Iraq War or supported staying in Afghanistan beyond a punitive response to 9/11. Who gives a shit how legitimate their elections were? What relevance does that have to Ukraine? And again, Iraqis and Afghans never voted on whether or not to be annexed by the USA while occupied.

          It’s absurd how you accuse others of hypocrisy. Rothbardites and Rockwellians are insanely hypocritical on these matters. Despite portraying themselves as the true defenders of liberty, they consistently fellate tyrants like Putin just because he’s president of the Russian Federation instead of the United States of America, just as Rothbard gave a pass to the USSR for their foreign aggressions. If the United States had done the exact same thing Russia did, you and everyone at LRC would have thrown a hissy fit and screamed bloody murder.

          1. If the United States had done the exact same thing Russia did, you and everyone at LRC would have thrown a hissy fit and screamed bloody murder.

            I had intended on pointing out this irony as well. Ron Paul would be shitting his pants and calling for some American heads to roll in The Hague if the US had performed this exact same operation. This is why even people who are sympathetic to non-interventionism end up hating Ron Paul a lot of the time. Legitimizing the actions of autocratic tyrants, or fundamentalist religious terrorists, or brutal democratically elected thugs, or any other violator of liberty, is not necessary to opposing intervention in their affairs.

        2. If they’re going to call that referendum anti-democratic because of the presence of Russian troops, then they are opening the door for anybody else to consider the referendums in Iraq and Afghanistan as anti-democratic as well since the presence of a far greater and arguably much more dangerous and murderous invading army

          I personally don’t consider the Iraqi or Afghan governments as shining examples of democracy, but maybe that’s just me. More significantly, there are other reasons besides the mere presence of Russian troops which renders this referendum worthless as a gauge for public sentiment:

          a) It was declared beforehand to be “non-binding” (best way to depress turnout in an election? Tell people their votes won’t change the outcome)

          b) Opposition leaders and journalists were beaten and jailed — kinda hard to get the message out when you’re having your face smashed in, I’d think.

          c) The two options were both confusing and there was no option for either status quo or full independence.

          d) Russia is an authoritarian country lacking basic political rights, and as such its soldiers cannot be tried in any court, including Russia’s own courts.

          e) Support for Crimea becoming part of Russia was polled at ~17%. It’s unlikely that public opinion changed that much in the intervening period.

          f) The referendum was scheduled to hastily for anyone to organize or consider the options on the table.

          1. g) There is clear evidence of massive fraud.

            h) Ukrainians and Tatars (together ~50% of the population) boycotted the vote, and both groups are being forcibly shipped across the border to Ukraine in a manner rather reminiscent of Russia’s historical policies of resettlement.

            i) International observers have been barred from examining the vote, except for pre-selected members of various authoritarian/fascist right parties and communist parties (Russian stooges, all and not a classical liberal, democrat, or human rights advocate in the bunch).

            If you want to be non-interventionist, fine. That’s cool, and on this issue our opinions more or less intersect. Just don’t piss on me (or worse, hold me down while Putin pisses in my eye) and tell me it’s raining.

          2. Re: The Immaculate Trouser,

            Support for Crimea becoming part of Russia was polled at ~17%. It’s unlikely that public opinion changed that much in the intervening period.

            Possibly, and all are good points. The point here is that groups like the SFL should stop calling the kettle black. None of the points you mention means a) the US should be involved or b) Paul was wrong in saying the US should be involved.

            1. “Should not be involved.”

            2. Paul was wrong in saying the US should be involved

              The SFL is not arguing that the US should be involved; it is arguing that Paul is an asshole for uncritically disseminating clearly wrong dictator apologia. I am not a libertarian nor do I play one on TV, but here’s some free advice:

              To the degree that libertarianism is associated with dictators and dictator sympathy, it will fail. If only out of professional self-interest, they should avoid becoming dissemblers for evil empires and revanchist rulers.

            3. I’m not sure if OM is intentionally missing/conflating the point or engaging in Herculean goalpost moving.

        3. Manichean rationalization

          Projection time!

  13. Ron Paul’s reference to the right of secession in the context of Crimean annexation is somewhat akin to a 911 operator solemnly intoning about the right of women to freely consent to sex when a woman’s husband is calling to report that his wife is being raped. What is occurring in Crimea is so far away from the principles of secession, independence, and right to consent that it is impossible to take anyone talking about such things in reference to this issue seriously.

  14. We should also note that the SFL should not be wholly representative of liberty, students, or students who like liberty. Honestly, who cares what some student club said about Ron Paul and Crimea. Thank goodness the SFL’s president is so well versed in international politics that he can comment as an expert on a conflict he probably read about on Buzzfeed. “37 things you need to know about Crimea”.

  15. I wonder if Russia invaded New York or California and they voted to secede if people would support that decision too. I mean California and New York are pretty pro Russian anyway. I think we’re at the point in this country that we should give this option. Give them their utopian dream already. Can we vote to kick States out of the Union?

    1. If Cali or NY voted to secede at Russian gunpoint? Yeah, I’m good with that. C ya!

  16. McCobin is entitled to his opinion. I happen to support the succession and believe it voluntary after seeing the voting results.

    Anyone who wants to lead any parade of thought can rally their troops and head over there.

    I like Ron Paul do not believe in foreign government interventions.

    1. I happen to support the succession and believe it voluntary after seeing the voting results.

      There’s a category for people who buy 90+% vote percentages in the context of an invading army brutalizing opposition. That category is “useful idiot”. FFS, even RT journalists aren’t buying this bilge. Meanwhile, a sovereign democracy with basic political rights has just been invaded and declared “not a country” by one of the world’s most powerful and authoritarian countries.

  17. First off… I don’t like this comment in this article – Paul should not be seen as “wholly representative of the libertarian movement” – This just shows that SFL is not truly Libertarian in its own practices. No one said Ron Paul is the leader of the Libertarians in the United States. He is an individual with his own beliefs and SFL should respect that. Ron Paul is right in the fact that Crimea does have the right to secede if they want to (it is a primarily Russian ethnic area). The vote however for secession is a whole different thing all together. Yes, it may have been corrupt but there is not reason that we should get directly involved in any way just because some people say that it was not a lawful secession. This is their problem, it should remain their problem. NATO should back up and let this thing sort itself out. If Russia decides to bleed the conflict over into Poland or one of our allies then we can get involved… Otherwise, we don’t have any legitimate reason for talking about whether or not the secession is legitimate.

  18. Alexander McCobin should read some history, especially of the Crimea and Russia. Russia has controlled the Crimea for over 200 years. When the Ukraine split from Russia at the end of the Cold War, Russia still was willingly granted special rights and privileges by the Ukraine in the Crimea – due in no small part to the Naval and other military bases Russia maintains in the area as well as the oil and gas that flow from Russia to the EU through the Crimea.

    The secession of the Crimea from the Ukraine was inevitable, particularly with Putin looking to reconstitute the Soviet Union. The bigger question is what happens to the rest of the Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland.

    It’s the EU’s problem to solve. The indigenous peoples and their neighbors are responsible for their own countries.

    As George Washington said in his farewell address which laid the foundation for a tradition of American non-interventionism:
    The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. It must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of Europe’s politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

    President Thomas Jefferson extended Washington’s ideas in his March 4, 1801 inaugural address: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”

  19. Do you know how to read: These are the questions that were put on the referendum:

    1. Do you support Crimea’s reunification with Russia?

    1. This is to go back to Russia and

    2. Do you support the restoration of the Constitution of the Crimean Republic dated 1992 and Crimea’s STATUS AS PART OF THE UKRAINE?

    2. This is to stay as part of the Ukraine at least in my universe.

  20. Alexander McCobin, an SFL co-founder, issued a statement warning that Paul should not be seen as “wholly representative of the libertarian movement”…

    Anyone who sees anyone as “wholly representative” of any movement is probably an idiot. So, McCobin must think there are enough idiots in the libertarian movement that they need to be warned not to make this mistake. How flattering.

    1. Thank you.

      This is not a sign of “trouble in paradise”

      It’s rather a sign of “intelligence in paradise.” There should be some disagreement. The Crimea situation is not an easy one.

    2. Just those words “Paul should not be seen as wholly representative of the libertarian movement”… That in itself contradicts the very act of being Libertarian. We are individualists that believe that everyone should have right to their own freedom of thought and speech. This SFL representative doesn’t even know what Libertarianism is.

  21. Weren’t Russian troops already there before the American media started flipping out? The Russian troops were there as part of an agreement signed by both Russia and Ukraine in 1954… Russia has a vested interest in protecting their only access to warm waters just as the United States has a vested interest in protecting itself from Russian missiles being staged in Cuba. I’m not going to comment on whether or not Ukraine’s referendum was legitimate or rigged since there are way too many conflicting views to tell what’s true. This whole thing seems like something the U.S. shouldn’t be getting its nose into.

    On another note – Its disturbing hearing reports that the U.S. was paying people to protest? I wonder if that is true or not.

  22. I would say the students, like the president, have a lot to learn about liberty.

  23. It all comes down to power. Your rights mean shit if someone with more power wants to trample them.
    If you take land by force and can hold it . . . it’s yours. We should stop playing college ideologues and recognize that the US is not in a position of power to do much anymore because we’ve become an economy shackled by socialist entitlements. Obama and the EU sound like a whiny bitch.

    1. Well said. It is a stupid debate anyway.
      The reason we beat the iron curtain down in the 80s was because we had so much wealth through what was then even limited capitalism, we could outspend the Russians with wasteful military build-up.
      Now we are such hard core fascists in the US, we are flat broke and the world knows it. Thus, Putin can go on these binges and we are powerless. It turns out that the biggest scourge of Obama’s dumbass legacy is not that he is a complete moron pussy, but rather, he is such a communist, he has completely broken the bank at lightening speed and even the (corrupt)communist Russians are laughing at what idiot (corrupt)communists we have become.

  24. Crimea was cleansed of non Russians a century ago. That barn has already left the station.

  25. I remember a time, long, long ago when americans embraced this thing called capitalism as the saving grace against the evils of the scary Russian communist juggernaut.

    Frank Drevin even gave the Russian premier a noogy and wiped off his birthmark.

    And now we are the biggest Marxists pansies on the planet crying about whether men can get married to each other.

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