Rand Paul

Why It's So Hard to Like Rand Paul

The 2016 presidential candidate's commitment to libertarian political philosophy only goes as far as his chosen views allow.

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CSpan

Rand Paul is the Republican son of a longtime Republican House member, but let it never be said that he is not open-minded. In 2013, he confided to Sean Hannity, "I've been kind of disappointed, because honestly there were certain aspects of President Obama that I wanted to like."

I know how he feels. That's how I feel about Rand Paul.

My old friend David Boaz, author of the excellent new book The Libertarian Mind, told NPR that Paul is "the most libertarian major presidential candidate that I can remember seeing." I'm a more moderate libertarian than Boaz—or a squishier one—but my general framework is the same. I have a strong preference for free markets, civil liberties, personal autonomy, limited government and a foreign policy of restraint.

I've voted for several Libertarian presidential candidates. The biggest single influence on my policy views is Milton Friedman. I absorbed Friedrich Hayek and Ayn Rand in college. My columns appear regularly on the website of Reason, the nation's premier libertarian publication.

So I should not be a tough sell for Paul. He sounds pretty libertarian when he says, in reference to the National Security Agency, "the phone records of law-abiding citizens are none of their damn business." He shows a refreshing open-mindedness on criminal justice by envisioning an America where "any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed."

He stands out from most Republicans in not making U.S. military intervention the default option. He accuses 2008 presidential nominee John McCain of wanting "15 wars more." He dared to tell a Faith and Freedom Coalition audience, "I can recall no utterance of Jesus in favor of war or any acts of aggression."

But Paul sometimes sounds anything but libertarian. He rejects same-sex marriage, which he attributes to a "moral crisis." He denounced the DREAM Act, which offered citizenship to some young foreigners brought here without authorization as children, as "the Washington elitists' roundabout way of giving amnesty to illegal immigrant students." And sometimes he pushes his libertarian principles too far, as when he took issue with the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Paul rarely fails to balance his commendable pronouncements with lamentable ones. No sooner did he portray Jesus as peace-loving than he accused "liberal elites" of waging "war on Christianity." 

In his Tuesday speech announcing his presidential candidacy, he pandered to anti-Muslim sentiment by insisting that "until we name the enemy, we can't win the war. The enemy is radical Islam." But the administration that allegedly declines to properly identify the enemy is the very one that killed Osama bin Laden and thousands of alleged terrorists.

On global warming, Paul resides in the "see no evil" camp, discounting the evidence and opposing EPA regulation of greenhouse gases. He depicted the federal debt as "tripling under Barack Obama's watch." In reality, the gross debt has grown by about 70 percent since he took office, and the publicly held debt has doubled.

Paul's casual regard for facts is an admission that the truth does not adequately vindicate his views. It also reflects a tendency, common to the fervent ideologues, of ignoring evidence that undermines cherished beliefs.

There is nothing wrong with adopting a broad outlook that incorporates certain basic principles for their inherent value or practical utility. Ideology can be a useful framework for making sense of how the world works.

The trouble comes when it hardens into dogma. Wisdom requires a continual willingness to question one's assumptions in light of new information. The alternative is what Karl Rove celebrated when he mocked a White House colleague for being "in what we call the reality-based community," which Rove says is made up of those who imagine that "solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality."

Paul has never given the impression that his convictions are susceptible to refutation. He comes across not as someone whose judicious study of discernible reality led him to his political philosophy, but as someone who first found a political philosophy and then learned only enough to confirm his chosen views.

Some Republican legislators are known for their mastery of policy substance, like Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. Paul is not one of them. In the presidency, wisdom and knowledge are helpful.

As Paul said of Obama, I'd like to be able to like him. But he doesn't make it easy.

NEXT: Indiana's RFRA: Religious Freedom or Freedom to Discriminate?

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  1. Does this author do anything but complain about Rand Paul?

    He’s free to go vote for policy masters Mark Kirk, Paul Ryan, and Rob Portman. Not sure why Reason publishes this stuff.

    1. Chicago Steve probably already has his “Ready for Hillary” bumper sticker on the back of his Prius.

      He’s going to vote for Hillary just like he voted for Obama.

      1. presidential candidate’s commitment to libertarian political philosophy only goes as far as his chosen views allow.

        Uhhhh…

        So does everyone elses? WTF does that mean?

        He supports some libertarian principles, but he’s not libertarian enough…So, Biden in ’16?

      2. Chicago Steve? LOL. I am not familiar with this dude, but is that because is part of Chicago school of economics like Milton Friedman? The guys that believe in the free market except for a free market in the most important economic good, money?

        1. “because he is”

          When is Reason gonna add the code for a measly edit button? Seriously, guys.

    2. Oh please, Chapman is going to vote for whoever has the (D) next to their name.

  2. he pandered to anti-Muslim sentiment by insisting that “until we name the enemy, we can’t win the war. The enemy is radical Islam”

    Calling radical Islam the enemy means pandering to anti-Muslim sentiment? The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names (unless that leads to other bigots using that knowledge further their cause, then it’s pandering.)

    1. And it is pandering to people like Chapman that gave us the bizarre euphemism that what we were fighting was “terror” which has been griped about here quite a bit. What words to describe the conflict are not forbidden?

  3. Actually, it seems to me that being against radical islam is the most pro-Muslim position one could take.

    I take it the writer doesn’t quite connect the dots with that one.

    1. ^^THIS^

      People like Chapman are the ones who hate Muslims. Chapman lives in denial and pretends that Muslims are somehow less than human such that they can’t be expected to adhere to normal standards of morality. Moreover, radical Islam has murdered and enslaved a hell of a lot more Muslims than Westerners. To people like Chapman, Muslims are just animals in a zoo that should live under horrible oppression because that is what they do I guess.

      1. For John:

        The Myth of the Stay-at-Home Republicans

        There were six million fewer voters in 2012 than in 2008, but they weren’t conservatives

        http://www.wsj.com/articles/ka…..1427930037

        There’s a paywall, but if you plug the following into google, it will provide a link that gets around it:

        There’s a hypothesis circulating among Republicans that Mitt Romney lost in 2012 because a large number of previously reliable conservatives who turned out in past elections stayed home. Here’s the problem: It’s not accurate.

        1. Interesting. Thanks. I can’t get passed the paywall. So who were those 6 million if not conservatives?

          1. Karl Rove wrote the WSJ article, and I guess he had reprint rights at his site. Article is here, and a telling quote within:

            [B]ecause total voter turnout was lower in 2012 than in 2008, there were an estimated 580,000 fewer white evangelical voters, based on David Leip’s Atlas numbers and exit polls. Mr. Romney won 78% of them, compared with Mr. McCain’s 74%. In short, Mr. Romney got around 913,000 more white evangelical votes than did Mr. McCain.

            Republicans concerned about voters who failed to show up should look elsewhere. There were approximately 4.9 million fewer self-identified moderates, 1.7 million fewer white Catholics, and 1.2 million fewer women who voted in 2012 than in 2008.

            While Mr. Obama carried both moderates and women in 2012, it is likely that those in each group who dropped out of the electorate were unwilling to support Mr. Obama a second time but simply couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Mr. Romney.

            It’s a short article; you should read it.

            1. It is a tribute to how poor of a campaign Romney ran and how fanatically devoted to Obama’s re-election the media was that moderate couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Mitt Romney. think about that for a moment.

              1. John, you are right. With the media it’s all about the skin color – thou shalt not criticize a black person. With the voters Mitt just came off as stiff and boring. A combative Mitt would have been excoriated by the MSM for daring to harshly criticize The First Black Prez (TM).

                1. Bit of a history question on a dying thread but, BigT John, why do you think Romney abandoned his combative style that worked in the first Prez debate? As I remember it, the MSM didn’t have a unified idea on what it meant, or what they should think. I do remember reading a lot of people’s comments to the effect of, ‘Finally,’ and ‘Someone’s showing that Obama’s hopeless when he’s not reading from a teleprompter.’ Etc…

                  It worked so well, and then he stopped it for the other debates, and I can’t understand why.

    2. If militant Islam is a communicable disease, isn’t it better for the host body to excise the cancer?

      Because if you can’t cure someone who is fatally infecting other people, well, the alternatives are much worse for them.

      1. My understanding of RPs specific support of US air-strikes in conjunction with local forces conducting the fighting against ISIS is analogous to providing antibiotics…

    3. Apparently he conflates Islam and radical Islam.

      Can’t imagine why.

  4. But the administration that allegedly declines to properly identify the enemy is the very one that killed Osama bin Laden

    Yes, Obama was unique in having the moral courage to authorize this. Sheesh. Chapman sometimes challenges Richman in the Most Retarded Reason Writer contest.

    1. Richman at least stands by what he says and is consistent. Chapman’s just wishy washy squishy nothing, not even any principals, just feelz.

  5. It’s hard to like him because he’s a politician. He doesn’t have convictions, he has polling data.

  6. You keep on wishing for your perfect libertarian candidate that will never win the election.

    As for me, I’ll back Mr. Paul.

    1. And meanwhile, Steve will happily vote for the likes of Obama and Hillary while waiting. Come to think of it, is Chapman Bo?

  7. Next Reason article:

    Rand Paul: Does He Weigh The Same As A Duck?

    1. Yes, yes he does. You start build a wood pile while I go grab matches and lighter fluid…

  8. There are hints of libertarian principles peeping through Paul’s populist arguments. And he prominently accepts Bitcoin on his donation page, right next to PayPal and credit cards. (Which is generally thought to decrease donations, as tested by Mozilla, and probably Wikipedia.)

    Perhaps my optimism is misplaced, but it could just be pandering to the republican base thus far. (Which is fine, because words during presidential campaigns are often empty anyway.)

    1. My worry is if he has to pander to the rep base, does that mean his views need to be changed in order to win? If he has to change his views to win will he have to continue to think, and act accordingly, this new way in order to win reelection?

      If he held to his beliefs and was a member of the democrat party, would we, as libertarians, not give him the time of day because he is a “democrat?” I just started thinking that maybe the best way for a libertarian to win is to flip sides of the one party coin. There are groups that will vote one side regardless. African americans, hispanics, women, youth, etc., will all benefit from libertarian policies. Maybe switching parties would be the best way to get out the message to these groups.

  9. Im going to be serious about all of the Rand Paul bashing lately and read everybody’s responses. (I’d like to see some of the reason staff reply but I don’t expect it.).

    It may be hard to like Rand Paul in a vacuum. But the political landscape is not a vacuum. It exists in a competitive and marginal landscape. And while Rand may be “no true Scotsman” when it comes to certain issues, he’s demonstrably better than anything else the two major parties have put forth in quite some time…since Coolidge probably. Therefore, I cannot help but to question the motives and integrity of the staff that have done nothing but pile on in the last three days. They’ve scrutinized Paul in a way no other major party candidate has experienced on these pages in the several years I’ve read and commented here. They’ve picked apart policies and statements in contorted ways (questioning how much he will stray away from his current statements even…attacking those changes before they ever take place), they’ve used a fine microscope to attack the most minute of details in his platform and they’ve tried to draw defining lines in libertarian philosophy where large gray areas exist (abortion, namely) in order to put Paul on the “wrong” side of that line.

    1. What’s the motivation of reason.com supposed to be? Is it to expand free minds and free markets or is it to get ingrained into the DC social scene?

      If it’s the former, you’re doing a lousy job of it. If it’s the latter, congratulations.

      1. Is it to expand free minds and free markets or is it to get ingrained into the DC social scene? …. If it’s the latter, congratulations.

        You can’t just invite yourself to swanky metropolitan cocktail parties, you know!

        1. Oh, now you tell us.

      2. Maybe their motivation is to provide their opinions then let you make up your own damn mind.

    2. Lets not forget that Chapman wrote an entire article arguing that Obama was a Libertarian President in many ways. Yet, now he claims that Paul is “faintly” a libertarian. How can you take someone who takes those two positions seriously?

      It is like Chapman is out of central casting to prove mine and others’ worst accusations of the Reason staff being progressives pretending to be Libertarians for a paycheck and Reason Libertarianism consisting of pot, government sanctioned ass sex, and Mexicans. I couldn’t make up a caricature of the Beltway Libertarian that would match what Chapman actually is.

      1. pot, government sanctioned ass sex, and Mexicans.

    3. I’m with you, sloops.

      I can see giving the best candidate for your admittedly fringe position a close scrutiny, but the amount of negative pixels spent on Paul seems vastly disproportionate.

      How many articles has Reason run on Hillary’s multiple known felonies with her email server? Compared to how many it has written on Rand Paul’s policy positions on culture war issues that are peripheral at best to the office he seeks?

    4. Maybe I’m just crazy, but it seems to me to lend a bit of journalistic integrity. Maybe the writers at reason.com don’t want to just fall back on “he’s good enough for us”. Just because a guy is close enough doesn’t mean there’s no room for criticism. Plus, much if this stuff is going to come out anyway once the machines crank up to full speed.

      1. The criticism has to MAKE SENSE and be based in reality. Reason is failing at that.

        1. Some of the writers may be, but I don’t think they all are.

      2. It would if the dissenters didn’t always go the same way. The problem isn’t so much that Reason will publish people like Richman and Chapman. It is that they would never publish someone as off the reservation to the right. Only those who are too far left get published. If you are too far to the right, you are not a libertarian.

        1. This is…true, except for Harsyani who is published here like once a year.

        2. I think you’re right. But, I will say, in their defense, there is probably a disconnect between libertarian journalists and libertarian audiences. Specifically, I’m thinking libertarian journalists are much more likely to arrive at libertarianism from the left, while audiences are probably split or even slightly more likely to arrive from the right. As a result, they’re more likely than their audiences to see people on the left as having libertarian beliefs than their audience and more likely to dismiss the libertarianism of people on the right than their audiences.

          1. “…libertarian journalists are much more likely to arrive at libertarianism from the left…”

            They arrive at libertarianism by starting at collectivism?

        3. So maybe they all lean more left. So what?

          1. So nothing except that if they are not self aware enough to see that and make some effort to compensate for it, they don’t have much integrity.

            1. I’m not seeing why they need to compensate for anything. Are you incapable of coming up with thoughts of your own? Are you just a blank screen waiting for them to project the ‘right’ answers onto you? It’s funny that a lot of commenters yesterday were making fun of college kids who acted like that.

              1. It’s called ‘diversity’ and it’s needed to avoid an echo chamber that promulgates derp. That’s what Reason is becoming.

              2. I think they do. They claim to be a Libertarian publication, not a left wing publication that leans Libertarian. Moreover, they write about 20 “pox on both houses” articles a week. They clearly pretend to give the Libertarian perspective yet in reality give the Left Libertarian perspective. They are not what they claim to be.

                1. Seeing how you and Cytotoxic are firmly planted on Team Red, maybe they aren’t as off as you think they are.

                  1. Cytotoxic are firmly planted on Team Red,

                    You’re a lying sack of shit. Besides, that’s totally irrelevant. You’re as lame as ever Sparky.

                  2. Or maybe we are more attuned to that kind of bias and see it where someone like you who is naturally culturally sympathetic to team blue wouldn’t.

                    1. Maybe you’re right. I’ve given up on the government so I don’t really have a dog in the fight. Maybe I do lean more left than right. That is irrelevant to the politics because I’m not an active participant.

                      That being said, I’d like to think I’m capable of deciding what I do or don’t agree with without flying off the handle.

          2. So what?

            Well, if so, it suggests that maybe some of their points should be taken with the appropriate grain of salt.

            1. If you’re not doing that with everything you read on the Internet, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.

              1. True. But the exact size of that grain of salt is what you have to make a judgement on.

                1. Enough for a shot of tequila.

        4. “Left” and “Right” in this context are a little misleading, IMO, but I know what you mean and it’s the best we’ve got.

          I think the problem is that Reason is already pushing at the “Right” fringe of what they can get away with in their minds. Moving any further right-libertarian would mean they have to live in the same neighborhood with some of those yucky Lew Rockwell yokeltarians. And that’s just not gonna happen.

          I suggest they get some Hot Tom Woods action going here. He’d probably be up for it.

          1. Or Tom of Finland, perhaps? Although i understand he’s currently busy illustrating the latest collection of Sugarfree’s stories.

    5. Also, reason advertises itself as a Libertarian magazine and Rand is running as a Republican. Why is it necessary to hitch your wagon to a guy who is a bit off on some positions just because he’s right on with others? Do they need to say “Rand Paul is our guy no matter what”?

      Rand Paul may express some libertarianish ideas, but he’s still a politician at the end of the day. If you’re not going to keep their feet to the coals at all times, all of them, then you’re doing a disservice to your readers.

      1. Sure. But this is the same magazine that publishes articles about how Obmaa is a Libertarian President. If the Democrats had a left wing version of Paul running, Reason would be tripping over themselves to support him.

        1. Is someone forcing you to read reason? Is there someone in your office right now with a gun to your head? Blink twice if yes, I’ll send help.

          1. Is someone forcing you to read John’s comments? Cripes it’s criticism. I hate TEAM ORANGE.

          2. No. But just because I read it doesn’t make them immune to criticism. In fact, if I didn’t read them, how could I criticize them or say anything at all? Sorry but “no one says you have to like it” is not a substantive defense of Reason here.

            1. You’re right, they aren’t. That’s the point, nobody is. They express their opinions, you express yours. They have just as much responsibility to take your comments to heart as you have to take their articles.

        2. This is a place that took a serious run at pushing the ludicrous-on-its-face “Liberaltarian” thing (which as far as I could tell was just liberalism but with trains that run on time), and employed vigorous wedding-dancer and Journolister David Weigel. Reason can be counted on to pick the low-hanging libertarian fruit (yay pot and rectal intercourse and genetically engineering your kids/exterminating the inconvenient ones) and run for the hills when a big issue of principle comes along (“And sometimes he pushes his libertarian principles too far, as when he took issue with the 1964 Civil Rights Act.”)

          The only thing good around here is the comments section.

          1. Harsh, but becoming all too accurate.

          2. You are welcome, Pete.

        3. No, I’m afraid if the Democrats had a left wing version of Rand Paul running, HyR bloggers would find a way to criticize hir too?from the “left”, somehow….

      2. Also, reason advertises itself as a Libertarian magazine…

        Libertarian or libertarian? If the latter, the fact that Paul is running as a Republican is beside the point.

        If you’re not going to keep their feet to the coals at all times, all of them, then you’re doing a disservice to your readers.

        True. The thing is that it’s not necessarily the case that they are keeping everyone’s feet to the coals. If a leftish candidate shows even a glimmer of libertarianism, they’ll give a lot more of a pass to him/her than they would for a rightish candidate that expressed libertarian principles on a regular basis.

        1. I think that is foolish. They should call things as they are and be equally hard or easy on both sides. It drives me crazy how they will give Ron Wyden a pass on being an economic socialist because he is willing to stand up against the NSA but then excoriate Paul because he is not sufficiently gay affirming. If Wyden gets a pass on economic issues, Paul should get one on gay marriage and the Dream act or neither should get a pass at all.

          1. If Wyden gets a pass on economic issues, Paul should get one on gay marriage and the Dream act or neither should get a pass at all.

            But, John, economics is hard! 🙂

            The thing is, I don’t think it’s necessarily intentional. I think it’s more the case the more “conservative” elements of libertarianism don’t come as naturally to them as the more liberal elements. Thinking of an example, I suspect if pressed, I’m sure most of the writers would acknowledge that mandatory recycling is a violation of individual liberty. The thing is, it just isn’t the sort of thing that comes to their mind when they think of personal liberty.

            1. It is a culture thing Bill. And it drives me crazy. They all are basically urban hipsters and liberals who don’t have retarded economic views. That is fine and all. But they seem incapable of any self awareness or able to make any effort to rise above their blindspots or even realize they have them.

            2. Until the asshole knocks on your door and scolds you for not washing out a peanut butter jar.

          2. We have a winner. And Nick’s pontificating about military spending while ignoring the elephant in the room of personnel costs is another huge peeve.

        2. And since you are aware of that, you can keep that grain of salt you mentioned handy.

          If everyone decided that reason.com leans too far left and stopped reading, they would get some data to show that. They might even make some course corrections to address that. As a non-profit organization, they need to go where their donors want them to go. You want something different? Give more money.

          1. You want something different? Give more money.

            BAHAHAHAHAHA yes that’s right. Reward organizations that give what you don’t want with more money. You’re stupider with every post.

            1. Everybody all knows you are a dumbfuck and an asshole. Why do you insist on proving it with every post?

              1. On the other hand, you’re not exactly crowning yourself in glory.

      3. Thanks for the rational defense of reason’s recent editorial attacks on Paul, $park?. I understand where you’re coming from but respectfully disagree. If these were fact-based articles, I’d probably agree with you to a certain degree. They’d be right in scrutinizing Paul’s positions and how they aren’t necessarily libertarian. Of course, I’d expect a commensurate degree of writing dedicated to the other candidates of the two major parties. But these are opinion pieces, often based on anticipated policies and shifting positions that frankly don’t exist until they actually happen.

        Sorry, but these are instead editorials. Editorials that are so far out of proportion with the number directed at other non-Libertarian candidates that one must suspect a motive. what that motive is, I can’t exactly say. But their actions certainly raise eyebrows when compared to the way they’ve so far approached the candidacy of every other non-Libertarian candidate or presumed candidate.

        1. Besides Cruz and Paul, who has officially announced?

          1. Note the “presumed candidates” I brought up.

            We all know they did this same exercise when Ron Paul ran. So they have a track record of faithfully excoriating a Republican that leans libertarian and grant a wide berth on a Democrat that supposedly does (like Obama). Not to mention the disregard for Obama and Hilllary’s overwhelmingly anti-libertarian positions they both took in 08 on a wide range of issues…while beating Paul to death over newsletters he didn’t he write.

            1. Maybe you’re right, like John above. Maybe they’re just a bunch of hipster lefties running a “libertarian” website and magazine. Seems to me there’s a relatively simple market-based solution if you see that as a problem.

              And no, I’m not trying to say they are above criticism. I’m trying to say that it’s their property to run as they choose.

              1. But I have more invested in them staying sane and representing libertarian principles in the best possible light than you do. That’s why I’m so vocal.

                1. That’s said somewhat in jest, so take it lightly.

                  But they’re shifting the goalposts of what libertarianism is or should be. They want us to embrace the people we may disagree with, in many cases so as not to offend progressives since we have much in common with them on social issues.* I’m finding it harder and harder to believe they think libertarianism is a big-tent ideology with them running what appear to be a neverending series of purity tests on one, and only one, politician.

                  *I used to think we did anyway. I’m starting to think that our agreements with progressives on social issues never existed in the first place. Our beliefs are based on tolerance whereas theirs are based on acceptance. One requires a lot more force to accomplish than I and many others are comfortable with.

                2. No problem with that. I’m just giving you another point of view.

                  Like someone said above, I generally just come here for the comments. Surprisingly I find the people here some of the most intelligent on the Internet. Walker and 2Chilly are the only writers I know are gonna hit home runs with their articles. Welch, Suderman, and Doherty are in line behind them.

    6. he’s demonstrably better than anything else the two major parties have put forth in quite some time…since Coolidge probably

      Just going by “put forth”, I think Goldwater would be a more recent contender.

      1. +1 kick in the ass to Jerry Falwell

    7. The vast majority of Reason articles on Rand Paul have been positive. A couple have been mildly critical and know he’s being persecuted like no other major party candidate? Anyone who thinks Reason hasn’t been 1000x harsher on Obama, Clinton, Cruz, etc. than they have been on Paul is blinded by their support of Paul. Also, Chapman doesn’t even write for Reason, they just publish his articles.

    8. Sloop:

      They’ve picked apart policies and statements in contorted ways (questioning how much he will stray away from his current statements even…attacking those changes before they ever take place), they’ve used a fine microscope to attack the most minute of details in his platform and they’ve tried to draw defining lines in libertarian philosophy where large gray areas exist (abortion, namely) in order to put Paul on the “wrong” side of that line.

      You might have noticed that they have been getting more comments this week. It’s all about the clicks. They know our hot-button issues and just keep pushing them. That’s why Chapman and Richman are here – a ‘professional’ trolls, if you will.

  10. Chapman and Richman in one day.

    Are the Kochs planning to sell Reason to Salon?

    1. Maybe Arriana Huffington opened her checkbook.

  11. Shorter Steve Chapman: I am not really a libertarian, just a liberal. My liberal friends tell me Rand Paul is really a racist republican in disguise, and so I don’t like him.

    1. Apparently , Chapman is to libertarians what David Brooks is to conservatives.

      1. Chapman is to libertarianism what haggis is to fine cuisine.

    2. +1

      good summary.

  12. Shorter Chapman. The only things important to libertarians are Pot, Mexicans, and Ass Sex.

    1. You guys think I am kidding when I made that up. And in truth I was. It is however only funny because it contains a kernel of truth. And my God does Chapman live within that kernel.

      1. Most good comedy has a root in truth. That line certainly pegged a lot of the writers here.

      2. “Kernel,” “ass sex”… i got nothin’. Sugarfree, you want to handle this?

      3. You guys think I am kidding when I made that up. And in truth I was. It is however only funny because it contains a kernel of truth. And my God does Chapman live within that kernel.

        This whole argument sounds pretty corny to me.

    2. Also, looking at the Rand Paul articles that have been posted here in the last two days, I get the feeling that the pot, Mexicans, and ass sex meme is gonna come up a lot during the election cycle. So I’m just gonna use an acronym from now on. PMAAS.

      1. From the looks of your acronym, you’re endorsing Double-anal?

  13. I’ve voted for several Libertarian presidential candidates

    Does that include bona fide libertarian Bob Barr?

    1. Wasn’t Chapman the “I have always wanted to vote for a black man for President” guy in 2008?

      And I will mention it again, Chapman thinks Obama has real Libertarian credentials.

      1. I believe it was Tim Cavanaugh, who after leaving Reason worked for National Review, of all places.

        1. My mistake. But Chapman did publish the infamous “Obama is really a Libertarian President” article. And now he writes this.

  14. He rejects same-sex marriage, which he attributes to a “moral crisis.”

    Why this is unlibertarian is an exercise for the reader, I suppose.

    He denounced the DREAM Act, which offered citizenship to some young foreigners brought here without authorization as children, as “the Washington elitists’ roundabout way of giving amnesty to illegal immigrant students.”

    Is that not a true statement? If not, why not?

    Are there no policy arguments against rewarding breaking our immigration laws? Is it unlibertarian to say “Hey, maybe we don’t want to encourage people to send their children to this country unaccompanied” or even “Maybe its not smart to reward people for breaking even bad laws. Maybe we should change the law instead, and then see about giving the changes retroactive effect.”

    1. No, there are no policy arguments if you’re a Reason libertarian. It’s part of the Reason Holy Trinity: “In the name of the Pot, and the Mexicans, and the Ass Sex.”

  15. Richman + Sheldon = Bulk and Skull

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwup4ItqyNQ

    Thanks Reason for vindicating my decision not to give you money. You can stop running columns written by morons any time now.

  16. Politics is about choices. You are never going to get a perfect candidate. No candidate or President is ever going to deliver on every issue. Even if they wanted to, they still have to compromise on some things and only have so much political capital to spend. So as a voter you have to choose what issues are most important. Which issues are you willing to live with being neglected or going the other way as a price for getting the ones you think are most important.

    Paul is clearly committed to rolling back the surveillance state and starting to do something about the drug war and are various foreign entanglements. Yet, Chapman would not vote for him because he is not committed enough to open borders and gay marriage. Moreover, the next President is unlikely to make any difference on either of those issues. Immigration reform is not getting through Congress and gay marriage is a state issue and up to the courts. Yet Chapman still wouldn’t vote for Paul because he considers social signaling on gay marriage and open borders more important than making real progress on other issues like the drug war.

    1. This. It only makes sense to base your vote on positions that the candidate is actually in some position to put into action.

      1. Gay marriage has assumed an importance to a lot of libertarians that is way beyond any reasonable justification. No matter what you think of the issue, the fact that .5% of the population can’t get a marriage license is pretty far down the list of the injustices going on in this country. We have hundreds of thousands of people rotting in prison for the crime of having the wrong substance or downloading the wrong kind of picture. The NSA can and does listen to anyone’s phone calls and then turns it over to the DEA and FBI with instructions to start criminal investigations and lie about how they got the lead. The list goes on and on. And yet, gay marriage occupies at least 25% of the political oxygen in the Libertarian movement.

        1. Pot, Mexicans, Ass Sex. That’s what matters around here.

          I could probably add something about abortion, but I like the ring of this, and I think we understand that “Ass Sex” covers all pelvic issues.

        2. It’s even stupider when you realize that gay marriage is likely to become widely accepted simply due to cultural shift, without any input from politicians. All the more important crap from ending the drug war to spending within our means has much more entrenched opposition and requires fighting for it.

          1. That’s it, I’m coining Masturbatin’ Pete’s Second Law:

            “Reason’s enthusiasm in pushing a libertarian principle is directly proportional to its ability to be justified by progressive principles.”

          2. Pretty much. What is even worse than that is that Libertarians often and I think correctly claim that the CRA wasn’t necessary because society and the market given time and the opportunity would have eventually accepted blacks and ended discrimination on its own.

            Forget about the substance of either position for a moment. Just think about the optics. What does the juxtaposition of Libertarians’ common views on the CRA and their commitment to gay marriage being mandated by the courts look like to a black person who is not a Libertarian? I am pretty sure it doesn’t exactly help in fighting the Prog smear that Libertarians are all racists.

        3. No State shall … make any … Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts

          Insofar as there is a legitimate cause here, this is it. Article I, Section 10 is flagrantly ignored by the states and the federal courts. But it rarely gets talked about.

          1. If it is the case that states are refusing to enforce contracts between gay couples, then I am all for working to end that. That issue however never seems to get talked about.

            1. Oh, it’s not just gay couples and it extends well beyond familial relationships. The courts routinely throw out legal documents in whole or in part and substitute the preferences of judges and legislators in place of the plain language of the document.

              1. For sure. And the place they do it most often is family court. Yet someone giving gays marriage licenses and subjecting them to that kind of judicial oversight is the “pro freedom” position.

    2. SCOTUS is going to decide gheymerge before the election congress up anyway.

      1. *comes

  17. My Aunty Mackenzie recently got a nearly new blue Toyota Venza by working part time online… website here ????????????? http://www.jobsfish.com

    1. If she’s not making that money by smoking pot on a live webcam while being ass-fucked by a Mexican, then you’re on the wrong forum pal.

  18. I looked up Dr. Paul’s “war on Christianity” quote, and, surprise, Chapman ripped it out of context.

    There was a throwaway line about liberal elites, but the rest of the speech was about the persecution of Christians, and other dissenters, throughout the world, with a focus on the misbehavior of U.S. allies.

    http://blogs.cbn.com/thebrodyf…..ar-on.aspx

    1. A key theme of the speech: Don’t give foreign aid to regimes which oppress their own people.

      OMG how awful!

  19. I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that?s cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do…

    http://www.jobs73.com

  20. My issue with this article is:
    1. The negatives against Paul are mindless culture war crap. He doesn’t endorse gay marriage? In a few months, that’s not going to matter. Obama didn’t endorse gay marriage, either, until 2012. Speaking of which…
    2. Chapman is an asshole who voted for Obama. I defy any libertarian to argue that Obama was closer or even appeared closer to being a libertarian even in 2008 than Paul does. You can’t do it because it’s impossible.

    Chapman really is that guy with a bunch of progtard friends who wants to seem enlightened. You can pass in his social circle saying you’re a libertarian, but as long as you don’t actually vote for a Republican like Paul who sends out the wrong social signals. The exact type the right-leaning folks here are so fond of accusing everyone else of being.

    I disagree with Paul on a number of issues, but I’m not dumb enough to not support the most libertarian candidate I may see in my lifetime.

  21. You’re clearly very bright but your article isn’t very illuminating. “There is nothing wrong with adopting a broad outlook that incorporates certain basic principles for their inherent value or practical utility…” Nothing wrong”?!? Thanks for so generously letting us know.
    You should work on criticizing his principles, such as you find them, and their dogmatic nature will naturally be disclosed. You aren’t going to vote for him…We get it.

  22. TL/DR?

    Chapman is “Ready For Hillary!”

  23. “And sometimes he pushes his libertarian principles too far, as when he took issue with the 1964 Civil Rights Act.”

    Libertarians: Taking libertarian principles too far.

    1. I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!

      It didn’t do him much good.

    2. NAP can apparently be taken too far. Good to know that a little aggression is OK.

  24. Well yes – Paul by tempering his principle with reason just might fail to alienate enough voters, thereby preventing the advance of cryptomarxism so dear to the cause of “purists.”

  25. I largely agree with most people here that this article is pretty dumb for reasons already elaborated, but can we please stop pretending like Paul is being persecuted by Reason? He’s had more positive coverage here, even just since his announcement, than any other major party candidate in recent years.

    1. Ya, I don’t actually mind the coverage overall. Or mind that the coverage isn’t lockstep worshipfullness. Still think Chapman’s over the top cosmotarian-ness should be mercilessly mocked.

  26. Based on Chapman’s list of things he dislikes about Rand Paul (Liberal Elites attack on Christianity -true, Opposition to EPA regulation of greenhouse gases i.e. CO2 – good thing, and willingness to be open and up front about the threat of radical Islam – very good thing) I see these as even more reason to support Rand Paul.

  27. I’m fantasizing about how their bloggers would line up on me as candidate. I have run for office several times, nominated by the Libertarian, Conservative, and/or Republican parties. What would they make of my idiosyncratic positions, which, while I believe them to be libertarian, are hard to pigeonhole me as on the “left” or the “right” of the movement?

    I’m for legal abortion, but what would they say of my being for legal infanticide? Is that “left-” or “right-deviationist”, or just plain creepy to them?

    Same-sex marriage? I’m against it, but also against the silly idea that one could get government “out of marriage”, when it’s a fuckin’ legal question. I guess that would peg me to the “right” side, since my reasoning is traditionalist.

    Immigration? I don’t see why there’s any more reason to inspect or reject people crossing national borders than state or city lines. However, as long as there is to be such a regime, I’m for keeping people out of whatever country you’re concerned about on grounds of, and only of, infectious disease or propensity to victimful criminality.

    Treatment of criminals? I reject any term of incarcer’n longer than 90 days at a time, but I support the death penalty. “Left-“, “right-“, or just plain-weird-deviationist?

    Security cameras & recording? I’ve no problem with them. As long as gov’t owns streets, & you know you’re open to public view there, why shouldn’t the police use the same tech as private security?

  28. The “open borders” plank of the rabid libertarians is the least defensible. There are lots of reasons we should not want the detritus of other nations washing over our borders. For the record, MY approach to criminal aliens is to shoot them at the border. For those already here, give them six months to get out, let them apply (at the end of the line) like everyone else. Make negligently hiring a criminal alien punishable by a $1000/day fine. Same with renting them property. “Dreamers” should be deported along with the rest of the criminals. Yes, I know they were brought here by their criminal parents. You know what? If dad had robbed a bank, do you think we’d let the kids keep the money? They’ve been ripping off the American taxpayer for decades. It’s time for them to go.

    As for queer “marriage” – I reject that too. But not so much on moral grounds as on the grounds that it’s nonsense. Queer marriage is like Microsoft Tech Support or Airline Food. No… such… thing. We have a perfectly good definition of the word “marriage” and it doesn’t include a goat and a woman, a pig and two men, two queers, or a woman, four wombats and a toilet plunger. That said, queers have been getting shafted by government, and that’s wrong. But the solution isn’t to pervert the definition of “marriage”. The solution is to get government out of the marriage biz.

    (cont.)

  29. So for the most part, I find myself in agreement with Paul. More so that you, clearly. And at the end of the day, these are not the MOST burning questions we should be asking (though allowing criminal aliens to overrun our Country is near the top). I’m more concerned with the endless wars, the exploding debt, the heavy hand of taxation, the police state. Instead of picking the Rand Paul nits, why don’t you explore where the other candidates stand on THOSE issues?

    One thing I’ve noticed about libertarians… given a field of 10 candidates, 9 of which are 100% anathema to the libertarian platform, and one of whom is 90% “pure”, the idiot libertarians will spend forever and a day examining the impurities of the person who most closely represents what they themselves believe, while giving Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mussolini and Mugabe a free pass .

    How stupid can you get?

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