Rand Paul

Brian Doherty in The New York Times On Rand Paul and the Need for Hardcore Libertarianism in Presidential Politics


I appear in this morning's New York Times discussing the extent and depth of how Rand Paul has argued as a libertarian as a presidential candidate, and why libertarians crave, and America needs, a more hardcore libertarian champion in presidential politics.

The conclusion:

Libertarianism's relevance to the problems that bedevil the Republican Party, and America, goes beyond spending. You can't solve our foreign policy problems until you understand that the military's purpose is to defend lives and property on the homeland — not fight international villainy. You can't solve the immigration problem unless you understand that people, like goods and services, should be allowed maximum freedom of movement. (Mr. Paul, like other Republicans, instead wants to strengthen the borders.) You can't make criminal justice truly just until you limit the reasons government fines and imprisons us to true crimes against persons or property, not minor "quality of life" infractions or life choices (like drug use) that the government simply disapproves of…..

Do libertarian ideals sound heady, even ridiculous, to many Americans? Sure. That's precisely why we need a candidate who will articulate them. Who else will challenge both parties' complacent assumptions — and their shared devotion to ever-increasing spending on problems that exceed the proper scope of government? Since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have been as bad as Democrats in defining what government is for — what it can and can't rightly do.

Calling for some limits on government intrusion here, and some spending cuts there, isn't enough. America needs a political champion willing to stretch beyond the merely practical. It's a tricky position for anyone running for president to try to move the majority in your direction. But if liberty is your highest value, it's essential.

I first hipped New York Times readers to the libertarian wave in the GOP and Rand Paul's role in it back in February 2013.

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  1. Funny how they just happen to have comments turned on for this article, but they don’t use disqus. CNN switched up to the same tactics after the 2014 election smack down

    It does seem to generate a more favorable echo chamber. BTW someone light the Derptologist signal, there’s already some quality material over there.

    1. On second though I believe this site has always had a proprietary commenting system. However it has always been that way(as has the NY Times) But Reason always has comments for every article, unless someone can remember a post that was too hot to let the Comentariot touch?

      1. There have been some:

        Reason and its commenters get sued

        Salty ham tears. Purported to be the most active reason thread ever.

        1. Here’s an archived version of the salty tears post.

          1. Who are those people? I don’t recognize any of the commentariat there.

            1. Poor vikingmoose.

              1. Wait – I forgot to turn on scripts for archive.org.

                There are a few names I recognize who didn’t show up before.

                1. An old commenter, a minion of the URKOBOLD. He got trapped in the Salty Ham Tears thread and never escaped.

    2. only 2 comments in and already we have this

      Matt Guest Washington, D. C. 45 minutes ago
      There is no “out-of-control spending” in Washington; to the contrary, the government does not spend enough, especially in a still-weak economy.

      1. Methinks Matt has a vested interest in pork (and not the good kind)

        1. Krugman came by to get the comments rolling…..

          1. Which one? Krug Prime, Weekend at Kruggies, or Replicant Krug?

            1. Sub-creatures! Krugman the Keynesian, Krugman the Destructor, Creative Destroyer, the Economist has come!

              1. Oh, that would be Krug Prime.

                1. lolol

      2. Why these people think that taking money be force,skimming 25 percent off the top,then giving it out to favored parties with strings ‘creates wealth’is beyond me.

        1. Why these people think that taking money be force

          Brushing up on your Ebonics, I see, Adans?

          1. If this be treason, let’s make the most of it.

        2. Well, they also think that you can raise the level of water in your swimming pool by pumping it from the deep end to the shallow end.

          1. That is just foolish, because as anyone who has tried that knows, all that results in is the deep end getting shallower and the shallow end getting deeper, and if you let the pump go long enough your pool totally reverses.

            Then cats and dogs start living together and things get really out of hand.

      3. Larry Eisenberg
        is a trusted commenter New York City 28 minutes ago
        Will ineptitude precede the fall
        Of the “libertarian” Rand Paul,
        Liberty for the Wealthy,
        Wall Street and the stealthy,
        His arrogance doth appall

        Yours is more derpy, but this one got me. It’s a poem!

        1. Meh. Rhyming Paul and appall is cheating.

        2. Larry Eisenberg
          is a trusted commenter fucking moron.

          Fixt that

        3. The meter. It’s awful. It’s like he wasn’t even trying.

          1. Can’t I just like it without you guys pizzing all over it.

    3. Some of us hate Disqus.

  2. With friends like Doherty, who needs enemies?

  3. Do libertarian ideals sound heady, even ridiculous, to many Americans? Sure.

    To be fair, progressive and conservative ideals sound ridiculous to many Americans.

  4. FTFComments: Cutting the budgets of those essential institutions, which protect public health and invest in science and technologies for the future, is nothing short of insanely dumb.

    Very well. Then cut the budgets of the FDA and Dept. of Ed., which do not.

  5. Geeze, I’m pretty sure we had one of those hardcore libertarian types last time around. But, I guess, he wasn’t cool enough or “with it” enough and he had a squeaky voice and stuff like that – just couldn’t quite get behind him, you know, because of all of that. Having principles and all, well that’s good and all, but my hipster, in crowd friends didn’t dig him and that was a deal breaker.

    1. If *only* we could get Rand to grow a beard!

  6. people, like goods and services

    Libertarians think Mexicans are a good to be used by big business!

    /NYT reader

  7. It is odd in how of that massive $3.8 trillion in federal spending Rand Paul does not talk about how much he would cut. Instead he adds a sizable bit to the military budget. And he is no better than Obama on drug freedom. He is not a very good libertarian candidate even in the GOP.

    Ron Paul was – but Doherty has to work with what he has.

    1. It is odd in how of that massive $3.8 trillion in federal spending Rand Paul does not talk about how much he would cut.

      Look here.


    2. Back to outright lying again. Tell us the one about you and Barry personally fracing all of America again.

    3. “Instead he adds a sizable bit to the military budget.”

      With an accompanying cut of equal size to other federal agencies. Would most of us prefer a cut to DoD AND Education, HHS, etc.? Sure. He needed to tack for political reasons but at least he was able to do it in a way that allowed him to further highlight the idiocy of just increasing budgets on a credit card.

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  9. “Hardcore Libertarianism”

    I am pretty sure that involves chicks with dicks.

  10. Stupidest Comments in the NYT Competition – Begin!!

    My submission:

    “””We should greatly reduce immigration as that is the great driver of population growth, which is the greatest environmental threat. “

  11. As to borders, they need to be controlled for the same reason that some high-value property needs a deed or a title. If I can simply cross back and forth – steal on one side of the border and sell the stolen merchandise on the other (sort of like what happens with some Chinese or Vietnamese made goods?) it isn’t freedom or free trade. Or if I can kidnap and cross the border. Etc.

    Even Atlas Shrugged didn’t have open immigration into Galt’s Gulch.

    As to DoMA, a commenter above missed the punch-line. Ron Paul noted Marriage is a Religious institution so the 1st amendment (make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free practice thereof) should cover it at the Federal level.

    Here’s where the two come together:

    States can be allowed to be somewhat evil as long as you can change states. Kansas is NOT New York. Both/either can create a (private!) marriage contract giving property rights, powers of attorney, etc. which then must be recognize across state borders. But they can set their own standards – IF ANY – as to what they recognize as a marriage or not.

    States ought to be free to recognize none or all marriages along a continuum from “none of the state’s business” to “only ‘traditional forms'” to “any group who registers as ‘married'”.

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