A twitter exchange among several fellows that went on for days made me decide to interrupt my schedule a bit and do a retrospective on Ron Paul’s run for the presidential nomination in the GOP. This is just answering a few of the complaints that were raised, as a real and in-depth look at Ron Paul awaits a historian someday.
I can recall that many people said that Ron Paul could not be any good for the liberty movement since he was running for the Republican nomination. What? Did these people think the Democrat Party is any better for liberty? Besides, there was a sitting president on the Democratic side while the Republican side was wide open. Oh, he could have run third party you say? He did that once. You can not be heard in the USA at all running as a third party candidate except in ultra rare circumstances and no third party candidate is invited to the presidential debates.
Some say that as a politician that Ron Paul is not an anarchist. Really? We can only support anarchists like ourselves? Give me a break! Very few in this country will listen to a politician who says he is an anarchist. Even worse, it would be hypocritical of a fellow who is an anarchist to run for any office. But is he a libertarian? Certainly, if one believes what I wrote here. Consider what Jeffery Tucker once wrote:
“I’m interested in only one thing: progressive reductions of the role of all government power in people’s lives all the way to zero if possible. Whatever brings that about, in whatever sector it happens, and whether it happens slowly by steps or all in one fell swoop, I’m for it. I really don’t care who or what makes a contribution to this end or how it comes about, so long as it is ethical and it actually achieves the aim of human liberation, the mother of all progress, order, and higher civilization.” ~ Jeffery Tucker
Jeffery Tucker’s statement leaves a lot of room for Ron Paul’s brand of “follow the constitution first in all matters” style of rhetoric. But is he a radical libertarian? I don’t know, but he has hung out with anarcho-capitalists of the Rothbardian persuasion for decades. Who a man hangs out with usually says a lot about him.
The question was raised, “did he do any good for libertarianism or did he do harm?” I believe that million of young folks became aware of the liberty movement and the ideas of libertarianism due to Ron Paul’s campaign. Surely we don’t want to hide our lamp under a basket do we? We have done entirely enough “fussy little seminars about municipal waste” and we have to move on to radicalizing the population.
Now some don’t like a few of Ron Paul’s stances on various issues and somehow think that only their own beliefs are “the libertarian belief”. Hogwash. Nonsense on stilts. Balderdash!
The “immigration issue” was raised and it was claimed that one issue meant Ron Paul was no libertarian and was “hurting the libertarian cause”. As Murray Rothbard pointed out on numerous occasions, private property rights answers any immigration question in a libertarian society. But we don’t live in anything resembling a libertarian society: we live under a domineering, brutal, interventionist government. Ron Paul’s immigration stance is what he thinks should be done under present circumstances. I am opposed to any national boundary lines, but I am also opposed to inviting others here just so the tax money looted from us can go to pay for their welfare and other “entitlements”. How many Democratic Party voters do you want to pay to come here anyway? Why not stop all welfare entitlements and then see how many want to come to this police state?
Can his position on immigration mean that he is not libertarian? Oh good grief. Heifer Dust! What about his wanting a non-interventionist foreign policy where we leave other countries alone and bring all our troops home to our own country? I think that is the most libertarian policy position of any politician during my lifetime. But his “end the FED” is also a real libertarian issue since the FED helps to fund the military/industrial complex as well as loot the population via planned inflation.
Ron Paul made the case for smaller government, people keeping more of their own money by lower taxation, less government intervention in health care, and all the rest. Ron Paul also was lauded by many “on the left” for his stanch defense of civil liberties in this country. Ron Paul was also against the “drug war” and his policy would reduce the prison population by a great amount. How can these messages not help our cause?
The third rail of libertarianism was mentioned on twitter. What about abortion? Did Ron Paul not come out against abortion? Why yes, the baby doctor did say that he opposed abortion and he believed that abortion should be decided at the state level or lower. But there should be no single “libertarian line” on the issue anyway. I once wrote that I disagreed with Murray Rothbard on the abortion issue. Murray was wrong on that one. It happens to us all at times.
Ron Paul’s message was one of smaller government and laissez-fair free markets. He exposed the classical liberal line that was the philosophy of the founders of the country. He did not preach anarchy; but then again, how many of you think that the average government propagandized man in the street is ready to hear radical anarchy right now? First we must get him to understand the classical liberal view and then nudge him even further.
The road from state worshiping minion to principled voluntaryist is a long one, and Ron Paul’s message put many people to walking in the right direction. How could that do anything but help?