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They really do not get us

I was struck by the tone of an article I recently read by a conservative journalist who simply could not understand why libertarians have not abandoned Ron Paul now that the supposedly deadly leftist power word has been uttered against him along with great waggling of magic wands.

My answer to him and others is that we are a tough lot and I laugh in the face of the PC power words. Unlike Conservative journalists I do not wet my knickers at the thought of someone attempting to tar me with it. Since I know I am not a racist, I simply do not care what anyone says or writes. I am immune, and that is perhaps one of the things which makes people like me and other libertarians even more frightening to the powers that be. We lack proper fear.

Anyone who like myself has been on the front lines of libertarianism for years, for decades even, understands. We have been fighting our battle against hopeless odds with pretty much everyone against us except when it was to their advantage and they felt they had nothing to lose. We are used to losing and then dusting ourselves off and going off to the next battle, and the next battle. Like a horde of Don Quixote’s we have continued to attack the blades of the windmill, but unlike him we are having an effect. Every strike of the lance vibrates the blade, every vibration wears on the bearings, and the wear is starting to make the axle wobble. One day the entire Statist enterprise will tear itself apart and send blades cartwheeling over the countryside and it will be in no small thanks to us.

This is not to say we do not hunger for personal tastes of victory, even if in small ways. The Ron Paul candidacy is one of those. No matter what happens now, we have won hugely. Millions of people have been introduced to ideas that will resonate long after they forget where they heard them. The libertarian genie is well and truly out of the bottle. We win with every day that goes by with us in the race. We win with every million dollars the Ron Paul campaign pours into broadcasting our message, a message of freedom and individualism the media has long ignored, filtered, twisted or blocked. Should he take Iowa and New Hampshire the old boys network of the Republican Party will be out in even more force with their friends in the Democratic Party to stop him. The two may be very different in what they want to do, but they both share a common love of power and your money.

Some made the mistake of thinking the Conservatives were our friends. I knew that was not true. They were only interested in us so long as they thought they could use us to their advantage. Has anyone noticed how the Conservative media turned against us as soon as it looked like we might actually have a real effect on the election? Even Pajamas Media has taken a decidly anti-libertarian turn. I must admit that one surprised me a bit, but as to the rest, I fully expected it.

I still do not expect Ron Paul will win, but God Almighty, I do intend to let those Sons of Bitches know we libertarians were there. If you are Conservative and you still do not understand why we fight after reading this missive… you are really rather dense.

It is simple. After thirty-five years, we have finally tasted blood in the political scene and for once it is not our own.

135 comments to They really do not get us

  • ox

    Some made the mistake of thinking the Conservatives were our friends. I knew that was not true.

    That may be because you are no friend of ours.

    Listen, when you make everybody your enemy, there is something “ratther” wrong with you. That’s probably why you keep losing. Your craziness is showing.

  • ‘…I’m not a racist…’

    Condemned out of your own mouth. What more proof do they need?

  • Laird

    Some conservatives are our friends, but that depends upon which brand of “conservative” you’re talking about. Those who support big government are not, but then they’re not really “conservatives” anyway; they’ve merely hijacked the label and perverted it, much as the leftists have perverted the word “liberal”. The “social conservatives” who want to use the power of government to enforce their ideas of morality aren’t our friends, either, although we may be fellow travelers for a part of the journey. But those conservatives who favor limited government and personal freedom, who wish to “conserve” and return to the principles upon which the United States was founded, are indeed our friends. They’re also libertarians, although they may not know it (yet). Because it is only libertarians who are the true conservatives.

    And if that makes us crazy, so be it.

  • Rob H

    Whenever I read a leftist or liberal conservative article or hear an interview I am always struck by the lack of intellectual confidence they have in whatever point they are trying to make. They are never for something, always against something worse.

    I think the self confidence of the libertarian is based on the knowledge of the weakness of the enemies position. Not many people are prepared to start from first principles or to argue to the logical final conclusions of thier argument, after all one might find out that one is wrong!

    Libertarians, having that skeptical bent, tend to have done this with not only their own arguments but with those of their foes as well. Knowledge is power and an unshakable knowledge that you are right, that you have found the essence of a fundamental truth, gives you strength.

  • ox wrote:

    Listen, when you make everybody your enemy,

    I’d argue that libertarians have only made the Political Class their enemy, not “everybody”. The problem, of course, is that the Political Class has decided that that anybody who doesn’t fit their narrow world view must be mercilessly be portratyed as some sort of whack jobs. Look in Europe, for example, how the Political Class treats any group that doesn’t believe in the EU Superstate.

  • Mikey McD

    Great work. When the Statists start calling us names we know we are making an impact (let’s hope it gets a lot uglier!).

    Notice the Jan 19th protest at the Federal Reserve; thank you Ron Paul.

  • Ash

    If Ron Paul supporters were serious, they would have backed Gary Johnson instead. Ron Paul’s candidacy in 2012 will set back libertarianism at least a decade.

  • Jeff P.

    I yearn for a presidential candidate who is a modified Ron Paul: someone who will admit that the Wahabbis are not our friends and that it’s OK to conduct foreign policy in our own interest.

    Sadly, that person is not running.

    I will vote for anyone, anyone at all, who turns out to be the Republican candidate in opposition to Obama. The difference between bad and worse is far greater than the difference between good and bad.

  • deepelemblues

    “Since I know I am not a racist, I simply do not care what anyone says or writes. I am immune, and that is perhaps one of the things which makes people like me and other libertarians even more frightening to the powers that be. We lack proper fear.”

    Actually this is precisely why we dismiss you. Your attitude, perfectly displayed here, of “I won’t give one iota of respect or consideration to anything you say that I disagree with” guarantees that you’ll never expand your popularity. You know you’re not a racist, so instead of explaining why not, you’ll simply repeat that over and over again that you aren’t until everyone is sick of your imperial tone.

    People want to be convinced, not talked down to. You’ve never learned to dance, so you talk down on dancing, while everyone else enjoys it and can’t understand why you’re such a jerk about it.

    Of course, the inability of libertarians to get along with anyone else is well-known and has been explained many times far better than I have here.

  • Richard Thomas

    I admire Ron Paul for his principles but I do wish he could find some way to qualify his foreign policy. It’s not that I think he’s wrong, I am a quite firm “Not sure” on non-interventionism, it’s just that it’s such a big sticking point for so many people. Then again, I suspect for many, that’s just an excuse for quite simply not being comfortable with someone who actually is serious about rolling back the state.

  • Russ

    Right on, Dale. The Reagan Coalition’s a marriage that’s been dead for a long time now — mostly because the Conservatives kept insisting we wear those really ugly dresses.

  • Richard Thomas

    Jeff P. I think you make the mistake of assuming that Ron Paul doesn’t consider his concept of foreign policy to be in our best interests.

    Ox, Given that most libertarians are just looking to exercise individual self-determination, it is inevitably other who place themselves as our enemies, not vice versa.

  • Mikey McD

    I see no difference between Obama and any non-Ron Paul republicans (Mitt/Newt).

    I continue to help Ron Paul via contribution$, I am betting on Obama to win in 2012 (intrade.com).

    Here’s to Rand Paul 2016!

    The best sales pitch repubs have for Mitt/Newt is that “he is not Obama.” I need more substance.

  • Westerlyman

    It is so good Dale to read someone on Samizdata who thinks Ron Paul is great and for the same reasons that I do.

    It seems that too many critics misunderstand how Ron Paul can have personal views about things like abortion and homosexuality – topics on which I disagree with him – and still have the right policies as a politician. That is to believe that no matter what his personal views are he is not about to impose them on anyone through the power of the state.

    I am British (and atheist) so I have no reason to be kind to Ron Paul but I think he is terrific. I also have absolutely no doubt that he is not a racist. He is too intelligent. The newsletters were a strategic mistake but Ron Paul has always been consistent in his views unlike every other candidate for the Republican nomination.

  • Paul A'Barge

    Hint to letter writer #2 (Laird): “Big Government Conservative”? Huh?

    WTF are you talking about?

    I know there are big government Republicans out there but dude! Big government Conservatives? What have you been smoking? And if you are the postage stamp Libertariian, why would any of you Libertaridiots be surprised that you have few friends? You are clueless.

    You want to wave your freak flag? Fine. But grt ready to get in line and vote for Mitt Romney with the rest of those of us Conservatives who are already beginning to choke on the stench of the prospect.

  • Dale Amon

    The choice may come down to having Obama, someone who will trash the economy and whose ideology will get trashed along with it; or, we get a Mitt Romney who goes along to get along, changes little and manages the slide to disaster a little bit but does not actually change anything enough to stop it… and thus gets the blame when things fall apart.

    Romney will not carry out the changes necessary to turn things around. He is nothing but a caretaker for failure.

  • vince52

    Dale has a point of view that will never go away. I don’t share it, because making things less bad is much more important than making things perfect.
    Any Republican who wins national office immediately is confronted by hostile factions within the GOP coalition — the traditional morality people; the libertarians; the wonky deregulating techno Republicans; the isolationists; the states rights people, and etc.

    If you accept the premise that democracy is legitimate, you accept the premise that you are almost always going to be governed by damn fools. Some damn fools are much worse than others. Try to avoid being governed by the worst.

  • I was a conservative, but I kept learning.
    They aren’t political allies, but their ground is ripe for converts; they foolishly teach their young about the left’s lies and it doesn’t take much to apply the same arguments to their own lies.

  • If these comments are an indicator of the Libertarians supporting Ron Paul, can you understand why you are marginalized?

    You don’t like “social conservatives” because you believe they will “enforce their idea of morality” on you so you throw out the Christian conservative vote.

    You proudly proclaim your “intellectual confidence” implying some kind of intellectual superiority. As someone once said, nobody likes a wise ass.

    People who are not your ideological brethren have a “narrow world view.” I hate to break it to you, Bunkie, but that’s not a compelling argument to convert the undecided.

    And finally we have Mikey who wants Obama to win in 2012 so that he can drive the country farther into socialism just so that Rand Paul can ride to the rescue. That assumes that the country will be recognizable in four years and Rand Paul will be seen as a savior by anyone except today’s Ron Paul supporters.

    There are several reasons I’m not a Paul supporter but two of the primary ones are (1) the Ron Paul supporters and (2) the fact that Ron Paul is running a very negative campaign. This is the exact opposite of Reagan who was one of the best presidents we ever had and who stood for Morning in America. So far Ron Paul has been busy tearing the other Republicans running for the nomination down. I’m sorry; I’m not going to vote for another angry old man.

  • mockmook

    What is libertarian (or smart, or politic) about saying all Blacks will do such and such?

    I thought we are individuals?

    I don’t even know if there is a coherent definition of Black.

    What is libertarian (or smart, or politic) about entertaining “9/11 was an inside job” fantasies?

  • Jim

    Been watching Ron Paul since 1978 and you can feel the difference this time around. They can’t hide him, they can’t smear him, they can’t bribe him and they can’t stop him. The eternal fringe candidate is leading the Iowa polls. We may finally have critical mass. Cool, isn’t it? This could be one great election cycle… if they don’t kill him first.

  • Dale Amon

    Russ: yeah, that red dress with the slit up the back was a real bummer… 😉

    As to others, when political battles are joined, things can get nasty. We are in this for the long run and we are in it to win. Where we are today is just a different universe compared to where we started. in the end, victory for us doesn’t even mean a particular candidate wins or does not win. Our victory comes when sufficient numbers of people are ready to stand up and tell the government, its regulators, its taxers, its bureaucrats and its law makers to just bog off and leave them alone and to represent enough numbers to make it stick. As my favorite SF novel from childhood said: MYOB/IW.

  • chuck

    Ron Paul would be more interesting if he wasn’t the worst sort of crank, and a dishonest and cowardly crank at that. Suddenly all those news letters with his name on them: never read them. The bits of 9-11 trutherism: denied. Opposition to the invasion of Afghanistan: adjusted. Hostile interview: fled. The least I expect from a crank is honesty and a bit of courage. After all, what do they have to lose?

  • bobby b

    “I see no difference between Obama and any non-Ron Paul republicans.”

    That’s because you have about four and one-half issues that completely drive your vote, and those issues are the ones that affect you personally.

    The fact that there are huge gulfs between Obama and several of the other candidates concerning issues that affect large portions – majorities – of the rest of “your” country bothers you not a bit, as long as you are made happy regarding your four and one-half issues.

    I put the “your” of “your country” into emphasis because it really isn’t your country. You cast your vote based upon what’s good for you, personally, and you ignore everything else.

    My children, by age four, knew more about civility, charity, and the ugliness of pure self-regard than do you.

    By the time they were six, they understood the concept of repairing the boat’s hull before you put a better cushion on your own seat.

    By the time they were ten, they not only understood the futility of loudly demanding to be the starting pitcher every game, they understood why such actions should never be rewarded.

    Ayn Rand gave us wonderful clarification of how honest and intelligent service to our own selves is, in fact, valuable to all, and by doing so she did concede that the “all” has value, too. Your particular image of Libertarianism reads as if the Harvard Lampoon decided to do Rand like they did Tolkien. But with less “funny” and more “crap.”

  • steve

    If the main stream press is any indication, it is pretty clear that the racist charges are just a side show. What the establishment Republicans really hate is Ron’s foreign policy.

    However, that is what they are going to get like it or not. Non-intervention is a foregone conclusion. The only question is will it occur now or ten years from now after we are totally broke. Russia didn’t stop it’s muscular foreign policy due to a lack of will. No vodka for Cuba any more.

    The cynic in me thinks the connected and powerful Republican operatives understand this if not the hoi polloi. They just want to keep the gravy train to the military-industrial complex going as long as they can manage it. Eisenhower (no crack pot libertarian by the way) knew what he was talking about.

    Of course, the standard Republican response would be to say cut the welfare programs enough and we can keep our foreign policy. Hmmm… Even Ron doesn’t have the guts to call for an immediate end of social security or medicare. Will Americans give these things up for the sake of war? Maybe if the war is in Kansas. Anywhere else, good luck with that.

  • Seerak

    But those conservatives who favor limited government and personal freedom, who wish to “conserve” and return to the principles upon which the United States was founded, are indeed our friends.

    I wish I knew where this delusion comes from. It certainly doesn’t come from any understanding of conservatism’s history, chronological or ideological; a simple read of Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind” or a visit to First Things or FrumForum is enough to disabuse any active mind of this one.

    Mercifully, that’s not to say that there aren’t lots of people calling themselves “conservatives” who are friendly to liberty. There are. The problem is that they are a credit to conservatism which conservatism itself does not deserve.

    This is a fight which has yet to be fought, largely due to the fear of dividing the “right” against itself: the fight between “big government” conservatives and social conservatives, against pro-liberty rightists. Unfortunately for folks like Laird, the evidence regarding which of those two sides are the true conservatives, runs the other way.

    To the extent that anyone is pro-liberty, one is not a conservative. [*]

    [*] Unless conservatism is mutating into its own opposite… and I’m just fine with that. The Left inverted liberalism by taking it over from within, philosophically… so why shouldn’t libertarians do the same to conservatism?

  • Ron Paul is carrying a lot of baggage that is not particularly libertarian. I received his newsletters back twenty years ago because I had supported in 1988 campaign for President. The newsletters were abhorrent. If he just let someone use his name, then it does not say much for him. His recent refusal to express opposition to neo-Nazi groups that support him(Link) pretty well disqualifies him from serious consideration.

  • Russ

    @Seerak. Yup. Plenty of conservatives had absolutely no problem with Bush signing McCain-Feingold into law… until a Democrat was in office. Even more conservatives were more than willing to stump for McCain, too, even though everybody who was awake knows that the man’s a statist and a half and gives not a whit for anybody’s liberties.

    Given a choice between big bold conservatives whose biggest boldest plans barely even shave the government, or else watching the liberals and neo-Keynesians continue to implode and throw their own unions under the bus as they gradually come to grips with fiscal reality (c.f. Rhode Island)…. why not endorse the liberal? At least when it’s union bus time, the media won’t be able to say anything against it.

  • Adam Maas

    The fundamental problem with Ron Paul is his batshit nuts foreign policy. And it’s not the Non-Interventionism part. It’s his refusal to admit that the US has notable foreign enemies, particularly the Wahabbi’s and Iranians, who are actively seeking to damage or destroy the US. UNtil he’s willing to admit that the US does have enemies he simply isn’t living in reality and therefore is a worse candidate for President than Obama despite Paul’s reasonably good economic platform.

    I’m personally a supporter of Non-Intervensionism and would like to see foreign deployments, especially pointless and dangerous Peacekeeping deployments ended (both by my own Government in Canada and by the US Government). But Paul needs to admit that there are foreign enemies which need to be opposed, if not necessarily opposed by the current tactics (frankly, smash & grab retaliations for any attacks makes more sense than the current nation-building methods).

  • Dale Amon

    The problem with a Mitt Romney approach is that it presumes that all we have to do is go back to status quo and everything will be all right. Well, it won’t be alright. The trend lines which have been ignored for 40 years are coming to their fruition and Romney is not going to save us. Going back to the way things were in the Bush years is not going to save us.

    If you want to use the boat analogy, from the libertarian viewpoint, the iceberg has cut a 50 foot long gash in the side of the ship and all the Republican core want to do is get everyone to bail with little buckets, and not only that, they get pissed off when we tell them that their little buckets are *NOT* going to work. That is an exercise in futility. We need to much more drastic measures, and those measures are going to mean that the money and power these people love so much is going to have to get taken out of their hands.

    If it is not, we sink.

    My only hope is that we’ve got enough libertarians on life rafts after the right and left ruin us that we can still piece something resembling a free society back together again.

  • john Henry

    Preach it, brother!

    Amen, Amen and Amen.

    I came here via Insty, will stay and return for the interesting stuff I find.

    John Henry

  • Micha Elyi

    @Russ (09:31 PM). Rush Limbaugh spoke early and often against McCain-Feingold and harshly criticized Bush when he signed it. If as many conservatives as you claim had absolutely “no problem” with it, you should be able to name, oh, two dozen of ’em from your own neighborhood or workplace. Go ahead.

    @Clayton E. Cramer. Your problem is that you think like an adult.

  • Paul A'Barge

    Russ: “Plenty of conservatives had absolutely no problem with Bush signing McCain-Feingold into law”

    Folks, I know the Samizdata is a Liberaridiot reality-free distortion zone, but this one has to take the cake.

    And frankly I should not have to do this, but just in case no one else takes the several seconds necessary to respond to Russ:

    — B*llSh*t —

    Russ and the rest of you morons can continue to spout complete nonsense and falsehood all you want. Prepare to be challenged on it.

    Plenty of Conservatives did NOT have absolutely no problem with McCain-Feingold. In point of fact, a simple Google with the dates turned on will teach you that virtually all Conservatives hurled withering blasts at McCain Feingold and at John McCain for this particularly nasty bit of his moronitude.

    Russ et al, you’re welcome to your own version of opinion, but you’re not welcome to your own version of the facts.

    Keep it up, Libertaridiots. And when ever we Conservatives do get into power, we will guarantee you that you will be at the end of the check-out line every where you go.


  • DaveJ

    The Republicans lost me about two decades ago when I realized that voting for the lesser evil was still voting for evil. After McCain-Feingold, McCain would never get my vote for any reason. Romney is no better.

    If liberal fascism is taking the country to hell, and Obama wants to floor the throttle, is that still any reason to vote for someone who wants to just idle along? Given those two choices, I will always vote for the sure loser that I most approve of. At least my concience is clear. Ron Paul is not close to perfect, but at least he wants to turn the car around.

    Before you call me an idiot, explain why the so-called conservative party has no responsibility to produce an acceptable candidate, but if I don’t vote for their socialist-lite stooge then I somehow become the problem. Yeah, I know, there’s a reason they’re called the stupid party.

  • angel eyes

    Nice essay, thanks. A bunch of my family independently found their way to libertarianism over the last twenty years. But interestingly, several have infiltrated the republican party in an attempt to convert more people to libertarian concepts. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about libertarians being kooks (as evidenced by some of the nutter conservatives in your comments). But once you start really talking to people, you find there are a lot of people who believe in libertarian ideas, or are essentially libertarians, without knowing it. Ron Paul is helping us a lot in that regard, and we’re thankful for it.

  • Brett_McS

    You think Ron Paul is a great standard bearer for libertarians? The guy is a head-in-the-sand kook who has no answers to the presence of real evil in the world. Of course he can be true to his libertarian principles; he’s never been responsible for anything. The guy is not that bright – get him away from the libertarian talking points and he’s all at sea. Still? After decades in politics? And what accomplishments have these decades wrought? None. Because he’s unconvincing except to the naive and half-bright.

    So, perhaps he is a great standard bearer for libertarians after all.

  • Mr. X

    Here’s an excellent example of ‘Ron Paul’s giving libertarianism a bad name’ meme, from another fake-tarian:


  • Denver

    Put Boortz in a toupée, maybe that would work?

  • Many decades ago the left misappropriated the term “liberal.” They took a term that was once used to describe someone in favor of freedom and began using it to describe someone who believed in communism.

    The same thing is now happening with the term “libertarian.” It too is a term that, until very recently, described someone in favor of freedom. The difference is that it is not communists and their analogues who are trying to steal it, but anarchists.

    Ron Paul is not a representative of the libertarian wing of the Republican party, but of a cabal of anarchists and other nutters who shamelessly hide behind the term “libertarian” because their true nature is so distasteful to normal people.

  • SB

    As an anti-abotionist, Paul is no Libertarian.

    Vote Gary Johnson.

  • veryretired

    I may not be a proper libertarian, or so I am told, but your use of the term libertarian to describe Paul and his supporters does the label a disservice.

    Gov Johnson just announced for the Libertarian Party endorsement, and he does not seem to cary some of the bizarre baggage that Paul does.

    Always demanding that politics be pure is a laudable principle, but naive. It will take many elections, and many, many slices of the political salami, to walk us back out of the disastrous box canyon the collectivists and statists have herded us into with their decades of big government “solutions”.

    It is becoming increasingly clear to many citizens, whether they were previously interested in politics or not, that the leadership class in this country, and the west in general, have failed utterly to tell the truth about their intentions, and, regardless of party, to pursue policies which best serve the interests of the citizenry.

    The corruption and back door dealing is now all too clear, and the catastrophic results of years of incompetence and chicanery are coming into focus as a very near future train wreck that might be avoided only at the cost of great pain and relentless effort.

    I’m afraid that Paul, his very fringe positions on so many issues, and his bizarre relationships with some very unsavory people, is not the person to lead that effort.

    Frankly, I don’t see anyone in the current group of candidates from any party who has that capability. The utterly toxic nature of the political environment, and the venomous malice of the msm for any non-liberal candidate, has made it very difficult for any normal human being to consider entering the arena.

    We need the modern version of a domestic Cinncinatus—someone who will endure the fray in order to reduce the state to manageble levels, and then put his or her hand back to the plow.

    Until then, holding the line may be the best we can do at some points.

    This is not a duel. It is the modern version of the hundred years’ war, and will not be accomplished in much less time. I hope my grandchildren are up to the task.

  • Nicholas

    Dale, the problem with a libertarians vs. conservatives mindset is that it leads to a dead end. Small government conservatives and libertarians have a lot in common, but they also have a lot of differences. Pure libertarians are having an increasing influence on conservatives, but they will never be a majority of voters. No single point of view ever will, people are just too diverse. Thus, the only way libertarians will be able to have their preferred policies enacted will by either forming alliances or by imposing a libertarian dictatorship. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be fighting to maximize your position, you should, but that it is foolhardy to make into enemies those who really are your friends.

  • John

    I think what has surprised me is the level of venom directed at Ron Paul by people who while not identical, I had always considered politically similar. I wasn’t planning on voting for him, but after several conversations with my conservative associates with the “Ron Paul said such and such” topic and their dismay when I didn’t Pavlovian an attack, but instead, offered a defense of what seemed like sound policies, I am rethinking the idea.

    I swear, its like getting into a conversation with a liberal about Palin.

  • Russ

    @Micha: I can only think of seven who thought it was okay. Will that do?

    @Nicholas: Sure. Problem is that whenever they’re in power, the Conservatives simply throw their libertarian allies under the bus, with contempt and without reservation. Got a problem with massive pork and a huge unfunded entitlement brought out by BushCo as a blatant attempt to buy votes? Shut up or you’re evil. And that doesn’t overstate the response, as libertarianism is *consistently* derided as libertinism on conservative blogs across the US — an argument as fundamentally intellectually dishonest as starting from the premise that all conservatives are fascists.

    When conservatives stop treating libertarians like kleenex, then maybe they might be allies. Until then, who cares? Slowly but surely, WE’RE winning.

  • Dale Amon

    Nicholas: You miss the point. It is not that I am ‘against’ conservatives. it is that I expected the ‘Conservative’ leadership to try to throw us under the bus or derail us the first time it looked like we might be making real headway. A partnership in which you are always looking behind you to see if when they are going to try to slip the knife in is not really a partnership.

    My posting came about *because* I have been reading Conservative leaders attacking not just Paul, but Libertarianism in general. The only interest they had in us was our support for their efforts. I do not believe they ever thought we’d come this far and now we are getting attacks from that quarter. Even in here. Read the comments. Who are the most vituperative? The Libertarians here for the most part are stating problems and disagreements and noting that the others have different goals. I admit that I have said I’d like to kick back at those who kicked us, but that kicking is intended to be entirely by means of normal politics. Raising money, getting delegates and fighting the political battle as long as we can… and bringing lots of new blood to our cause. Much of the new blood will indeed be conservatives… but not the Conservative leadership who really seemed to have had no use for us other than to use us.

  • Buzz Buzz

    Just a few weeks ago, Perry and the other Samizdata editors were banning and deleting anyone who even tried to discuss race-based issues:

    It should be possible to discuss racial genetics dispassionately and honestly in a public forum. But it is not. That is simply an empirically derived conclusion gained from running Samizdata for 10 years… it.can.not.be.done. Sorry but that is the inescapable truth. Racists are the perfect example of Churchill’s definition of a fanatic and unless you immediately show them the door and boot them through it, discourse in the comments section will quickly become untenable.

    And now here’s Dale Amon self-identifying as one of the fanatics and choosing to boldly defend libertarianism’s star racist in a front-page post on the same site. Crazy!

    Trust me, “those Sons of Bitches know [you] libertarians [are] there”.

    And after seeing what you stand for and more importantly what you’ll stand up for, Republicans – and Americans in general – have decided to show you the door and boot you through it.

    (And in the specific case of Ron Paul, I say good riddance.)

  • jsallison

    I used to be a racist. But when Richard Petty retired I pretty much lost interest in NASCAR, too commercial.

  • “Millions of people have been introduced to ideas that will resonate long after they forget where they heard them.”

    And if a core principle of libertarianism — protection of an insular minority — needs to be thrown under the bus (along with millions of American gays) in the process, well then, heck, can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, right?

  • lucklucky

    Ron Paul is not a Libertarian he is a Pacifist.
    With Ron Paul the Communists and and Nazis would have taken the World like Radical Muslims.

    He is the worst that Libertarianism have.

  • Nicholas

    Russ, Dale: It looks to me that what you both see a “conservatives vs. libertarians” conflict is actually one of “Republican establishment vs. conservative/libertarian outsiders”. Rank and file conservatives share your disgust with the professional leadership that runs the GOP. Many conservatives have long castigated Bush for his Big Government vision. One of the main points of the Tea Party movement, which self identifies as conservative rather than libertarian, is that the establishment has not been forceful enough in pushing conservative positions.

    As for the attacks on Ron Paul, if you haven’t noticed, all of the Republican candidates have been roundly attacked. In Ron Paul’s case, he is being attacked not for his small government views, but rather for his views on 9/11 and foreign policy and for his old newsletters, views which I believe that not all libertarians share. The partisans of all of the candidates are attacking the weak points in their opponents armor. There is nothing unique in the attacks on Ron Paul. The attacks on Ron Paul are on him as a candidate, not on libertarianism, please don’t conflate the two.

    You are correct that the establishment is trying to push their favored candidate, Mitt Romney, but they have gone after the conservative alternatives just as strongly as they have gone after the libertarian Ron Paul. The attacks against Sarah Palin, the darling of the conservative movement, we’re strong enough to keep her out of the race. If there has been one theme of the race so far, it has been the attempt for conservatives to find a candidate around whom they could rally against Romney.

    As for the conservative vs. libertarian blogs, I guess judging which side has been the most vituperative depends on which side of the argument one stands. I’ve seen many claims by libertarians that conservatives are no different than the statists. Perhaps it is just human nature to concentrate on the points of disagreement and to ignore where we agree. Yes, there are many points where the two sides disagree, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to identify them as separate parts of the body politic. But let us not overlook the where we agree, which is the need to reduce the size and scope of government. Although conservatives may not want to reduce it as much as libertarians desire, we still must cooperate to prevent it from growing even larger. Only once we have the momentum going in our direction can we afford the luxury of debating how small the goverment should be.

    One final point, the conservative movement is not monolithic. There are many strains within the movement and there are probably as much disagreement between those strains as there are between “conservatives” and “libertarians”. In fact, I would argue that libertarianism has been absorbed within the conservative movement and is one of its major streams (perhaps you would disagree). Attempting to keep libertarianism separate from conservativism only weakens us against our common foe of the ever encroaching state.

  • steve

    Of course Libertarians and Conservatives have their differences. That is to be expected hence the two different labels, and the cat fight of a nomination should be expected. Nevertheless, the alliance against democrats has been a long one.

    Libertarians have frequently held their nose and voted for the lesser of two evils. The real question is if the conservatives are forced to do the same who will they think is the lesser of two evils. Obama who supports wars and big government or Ron Paul who wants peace and small government.

    Sadly, I am not sure today which one conservatives will pick. Clearly, war is near and dear to many a conservative heart.

  • Bruce

    I, for one, will be glad to see Ron Paul retire from the scene and let some fresh faces who haven’t published racist and anti-Semitic newsletter articles; who haven’t refused to disavow support from Stormfront and David Duke; who haven’t endorsed a book by a neo-confederate attacking Abraham Lincoln; who didn’t blame the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center attacks on Israel and the U.S., respectively; and who haven’t appeared repeatedly on the Alex Jones show, home of paranoiac conspiracy theories.

    It’s time for some fresh faces without the baggage of the Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard set who exploited racial and class resentment to build a coalition with populist “paleoconservatives.”

    Ron Paul is an ugly face for libertarianism and the sooner he fades away the better.

  • Mr Black

    Opposition to Ron Paul is not opposition to libertarianism. Paul mouths a lot of principled positions but he is so ideologically driven he’d sit by an watch the world burn just so long as he didn’t have to dirty himself with compromise. His foreign policy views are a relic of the 18th century, his personal views on authority and conspiracy theories mark him as a crank. Many with libertarian leanings feel, and I believe rightly, that he does more harm than good to the brand.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Ron Paul made millions of dollars by publishing inflammatory racial and religious bigotry in his newsletter, under his name.

    Now he claims he didn’t write the newsletters, and didn’t even read them.

    If he believed that stuff, he’s unfit for public office.

    If he didn’t believe it, then he circulated malignant nonsense for personal and political gain, which makes him unfit for public office.

    I pointed this out, and a Paulist responded that everything the newsletters was true, and Paul should stand behind it. Which is really funny, because Paul now claims he never believed it. So all the old-time Paulists (who literally bought it from him) should now repudiate him.

    Paul’s present spike of appeal has very little to do with authentic libertarian ideas. His support is neo-isolationists (left and right), Jew-haters (left and right – many insisting they are just “anti-Zionist”), racists, Truthers, and Democrats looking to make trouble in the GOP process. (And Birthers – like the Iowa state senator who deserted Bachmann for Paul three hours after a campaign appearance with her.)

    Paul’s been cultivating a very unsavory crowd of supporters for a long time. The John Birch Society; Alex Jones’ listeners; even neo-Nazis. His protests that he isn’t responsible for who supports him ring as hollow as Obama’s disclaimers about Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers.

    The one good thing to come out of this is that the early primaries and caucuses could be discredited; and the U.S. campaign season cut back to a reasonable length.

  • Michael Lorrey

    Those of you neocons who think Ron Paul is wacko on foreign policy. Watch this video.

    What if there were Chinese Troops in Texas?(Link)

  • I wrote why I supported Ron Paul back in 2007 and nothing whatsoever has changed.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    If were an American voter, I would not vote for Paul. And I say this as someone who can recognise why RP appeals to many libertrians/conservatives disgusted by the unprincipled garbage that most pols come out with. His stance on the Fed and the bailouts was good and brave.

    The letters – as Rich Rostrom points out – could and should have been dealt with years ago. Any potential POTUS with a functioning mind must have realised they would be used against him/her in the usual rough-house of political debate. It shows a failure to delegate wisely. A President needs to have a good management process in place; he or she needs to be a good judge of character. I am not so naive as to imagine that we can get some sort of purist libertarian into office. What I want and hope for is a person who can grasp some big issues, such as America’s fiscal mess and flagging economy. And I want evidence of good judgement and character. Paul worries me.

    A good way for Paul to kill worries about him would, for example, for him to publicly, and harshly, repudiate scum such as Stormfront,(Link) a Neo-Nazi organisation that supports his campaign and has given him money. He should tell these cunts that he does not want their support, loathes what they stand for and can win without their “support”. It would be an important gesture that he understands the concerns that good, hard-core libertarians have about some of his associations in the past.

    Adam Maas’s comments on Ron Paul’s foreign policy are very on-target. Well said.

  • “a libertarian dictatorship”.

    Says Nicholas. Well, I have now heard it all!

  • Bill Dalasio

    Some made the mistake of thinking the Conservatives were our friends. I knew that was not true.

    Please do not confuse conservatives with the Republican Party establishment. The two aren’t the same thing.

  • Bill Dalasio

    People want to be convinced, not talked down to.

    And yet you seem to think it is your place to announce the contents of our own minds without any evidence, support, logic or reason. What have you provided to convince me in preference to my own self-knowledge.

  • MajikMonkee

    Obama’s won it already, all the Republican candidates have been absolutely terrible, its incredible that with all Obama’s unpopularity all they had to do was put up a relatively well spoken candidate who has a record of fiscal discipline, Gary Johnson or Mark Rubio would have been fine. Instead its been a collection of dim witted relgious rednecks and Romney who’s basically a politician of the Blair/Obama mold that voters are so frustrated with.

    Its quite funny to see Ron Paul getting attacked on Fox this morning, he obviously has no chance but I hope he gets a good run in the primaries, exposes alot of people to Libertarian ideas and generally upsets the party that Barry Goldwater said has become a party of relgious bigots 🙂

  • Dale Amon

    A few points need clarification. First, the Rothbard side of the LP, the anarchocapitalists, have been an important part of the spectrum of libertarian thought from the beginning. The boundary between the minarchist and anarchocapitalist is a very wide and fuzzy one. I fall somewhere in that fuzzy area, sometimes moving one way and sometimes the other. Some folk in that area I find difficult to deal with; others are good friends whom I would defend vehemently. There is a very high level of rigor to Rothbard’s work and I hope those who dislike it have actually read it and understand the philosophical reasons why they do not like it.

    Second. Someone came out with a comment that was rather silly so I will not even refer to it directly. The Libertarian ideas and party came before the formation of the Libertarian Caucus in the GOP. When I first saw their table at the LP convention in Seattle in 1987 or 1988 when I was a PA Delegate, I thought they would never amount to much. To my surprise they have (under whatever name they may now bear) become a more substantial force than I ever expected. I believe Ron Paul had a lot to do with that.

    We are a party of ideas and ideals, not least of which are the were summarized in the words of Russell Means when he accepted defeat for the Presidential slot that year (Ron Paul had won it): “Individual Liberty; Individual Responsibility”. You are free and where ever you find yourself is your own damn fault, whether it is a billionaires mansion or a ghetto shooting gallery.

    Unlike many here, I have actually met and talked with Ron, albiet decades ago when he ran on our ticket. I found him to be solid, honourable and principled.

  • Dale Amon

    Oh, one other correction. The author who wrote about Lincoln is Thomas J DiLorenzo, John D Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, George Mason University. The book is “The Real Lincoln” with a forward by Walter E. Williams. He did some fascinating historical work in a very scholarly and footnoted book that shows Lincoln was perhaps the first of the Chicago brand of politician. I suggest you put it on your reading list and read it before you knock it.

    I have a signed copy which I got at a FEE event some years back. He in an engaging speaker who has dug through primary sources to show things which were pretty much whitewashed out of the narrative during wartime when media was very controlled, and afterwards when it was to the advantage of many to forget the past.

  • Dale Amon

    I’m having computer problems and my input is sometimes taking seconds to show… I badly mangled the citation and then hit the send button by mistake. It should have read:

    Thomas J DiLorenzo, Professor of Economics in the Selinger School of Business and Management at Loyola College; forward by Walter E Williams, John D Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, George Mason University.

  • John B

    Reality, the truth, is what is important.
    Labels are labels.

    Individual freedom and individual responsibility, great. A recipe for excitement, creativity and success.
    Intervention, interference and coercion – for disaster.

    Ron Paul has lots of good ideas and can only, at present, take things in a positive direction. (Okay, his world view may need some reality checks but I’m sure someone like Palin could help him there 🙂

    Margaret Thatcher, when she came to power, could only take things in a positive direction. Later she was manipulated into a lot of betrayal.
    Deal with things as they are.

    No doubt the establishment will take Paul to pieces if he is a real threat to consolidated power.

    At the moment I would back him all the way.

  • Nicholas

    NickM: The absurdity of a “libertarian dictatatorship” is the whole point of my comments. The diversity of public opinion will always require a coalition to govern in a democracy. Pure libertarianism will never be a majority on its own, and neither will any of the other strains of the conservative movement. So unless libertarians want to remain simply an intellectual exercise, they will have to build coalitions with similarly-minded allies.

  • I find Nicholas’ take on all this the most convincing.

    Dale, granted you met Paul and he left a good impression – still, aren’t you bothered by all the real problems re Paul that have been pointed out here and elsewhere? What is your response to all the (legitimate, as far as I can see) criticisms against him? The same question to Perry.

  • Dale Amon

    I have no qualms about the criticisms because they have no impact on what I expect us to get out of this: a huge, monstrous number of people will be exposed to libertarian ideas for the first time. There will be serious arguments all over Iowa in which our approach will be a big part of the discussions. Ron Paul is not going to win the Presidency. So who cares what downsides he may or may not have? He is doing a job that no one else is in position to do. Our victory conditions are different from yours perhaps. We win if a year from now there are millions of people asking questions and considering answers from a different viewpoint than they used to, even though they do not remember how they came to those ideas.

    I have other thoughts on strategy and tactics to maximize our gain from this election cycle but I will keep them to myself and watch them unfold. I’d be happy to privately discuss such things with real campaign managers and libertarian election strategists. We are not at our tipping point quite yet, but we are getting close.

  • Dale Amon

    I also want to mention to the large numbers of people who missed it that there was no randomness or accident in my use of conservative, Conservative and ‘Conservative’, although I do admit to screwing up at least once in my usage.

  • Richard Thomas

    The thing that conservatives (of all capitalizations and punctuations) seem to be missing in the whole “Don’t make us your enemy” thing is that they have continually and repeatedly elected those who, for all the platitudes and promises, would and have been opponents of liberty. Forget all that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” guff; my enemy is still, quite clearly, my enemy.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    The thing about Ron Paul is, who else is running who’s willing to take an axe to government? And is there any question that that axe is essential, not just for personal freedom but also for economic growth?

    The kookiness and bigotry shouldn’t stand in the way if voting for Paul is the only way to get what we must have. It would be better if a better person were carrying the flag, but one isn’t.

  • John Campbell

    Thank you Dale – excellent piece. We are at an historic inflection point in human history. And many people, but especially the ruling class, don”t have a sniff, although they must sense something is up.

    As an Ayn Rand devotee for many years, I considered Libertarians n Rothbardians to be kooks. I had drifted toward neo-conservatism out of frustration and intellectual laziness. In the last 2 or 3 months I have embraced my inner libertarian and I am back baby!

    Like you I am somewhere in that fuzzy zone between anarchism and minarchism. Details details, but I am struck now by the intelligence of the debates in libertarian circles.

    There are a whole lotta people who are realizing something is profoundly wrong in the world. A lot of those people are ready to embrace libertarian ideals. The revolution is rolling on – exciting times. I look forward to more of your writing.

  • chuck

    who’s willing to take an axe to government?

    You think Ron Paul could do that? I don’t, I think the bureaucracy would walk all over him and congress would just laugh and go their merry way. And who would be in his cabinet? Paul is on the fringe now and he would still be there if elected, the man isn’t exactly leadership material. Obama II, that’s who we’d get, without the charm.

  • Tedd

    While libertarians and some conservatives share the ideal of smaller government, I think the notion that they can form any kind of long-term alliance is wrong.

    Both conservatism and progressivism/American liberalism/whatever-you-choose-to-call-it share the same fundamental flaw: they see politics as a vehicle for promoting moral good. They differ in how they define the moral good, and in why they think politics is a vehicle for promoting it, but they both subscribe to the assumption that moral good is a (or the) purpose of politics. (Those who describe themselves as conservative but eschew this idea are not actually conservatives, regardless of what party they might support.) Statism, to a very large degree, is this moral-political marriage put into practice (though it can be more than just that).

    Libertarianism rejects this idea, and is therefor incompatible with both conservatism and progressivism (etc.). But it’s my belief that, once politics and morality are separated, most libertarians find their moral views to be more in line with those on the “left” than with those on the “right.” (This is where a lot of socially-liberal “conservatives” come from.)

    Consequently, as difficult as it may be for many self-described libertarians to accept, post-Goldwater, if there is a natural place for libertarianism on the conservative-progressive axis it’s probably in the progressive/liberal camp. Libertarians have more to gain in the long run by trying to convince progressives to give up their moral crusade (in the political domain) than by trying to convince conservatives to change their moral stance. Those in the socially-liberal-conservative camp (where I spent many years) may have the hardest task: they need to change their own thinking. They’re not conservatives, and never can be.

    I want to be clear that I’m not advocating any particular voting strategy. Libertarians (and socially-liberal conservatives) can legitimately choose to hold their nose and vote Republican/Conservative, hold their nose and vote Democrat/Liberal/whatever, hold their nose high and vote Libertarian, or hold their nose even higher and not vote at all. (I don’t mean to make a value judgement here about the voting choices, I just couldn’t resist the parallelism.) There are arguments in favour of each, and I don’t pretend to have the best answer (or even that there necessarily is one). But, regardless of how one votes as a libertarian, it’s important to have a clear picture of why one is voting that way.

  • Bruce

    Just to be clear, Thomas J DiLorenzo, who “shows Lincoln was perhaps the first of the Chicago brand of politician”, was an affiliated scholar of the League of the South Institute, the research arm of the pro-secession League of the South, and has spoken out in favor of the secession of the Confederate States of America.

    Walter Williams, who wrote the introduction to DiLorenzo’s book on Lincoln, is an odd bird. He was the first, and possibly only, black member of the League of the South, whose goal he describes as “to create a free and independent South where everyone is equal before God and the Law.”

    As recently as 2007 League of the South founder Michael Hill wrote in Conservativetimes.org:

    If the scenario of the South (and the rest of America) being overrun by hordes of non-white immigrants does not appeal to you, then how is this disaster to be averted? By the people who oppose it rising up against their traitorous elite masters and their misanthropic rule. But to do this we must first rid ourselves of the fear of being called ‘racists’ and the other meaningless epithets they use against us.

  • Second what Richard Thomas said, and I would just like to add to it that Republicans routinely demonize the libertarian contingent of their party when they are doing badly at the polls. “Free market fundamentalists” are always the go-to scapegoat among the Republican commentariat, and the solution advocated is invariably to embrace traditional values by enacting them into law. Enough already. Which is why I vote straight-ticket Libertarian (there’s even a convenient button for that in Indiana). The Republicans can happily have my vote when they start consistently cutting the size of the state, abandon the War on Drugs, reduce our commitments overseas, and stop worrying so much what everyone does in the bedroom. I’m not expecting to vote Republican any time soon.

  • I’m an Iowan who fits somewhere in the conservative-libertarian netherworld. All of the GOP candidates (now that Gary Johnson is gone) leave me cold, including Ron Paul. Why?

    He’s 76 years old. That reason alone probably makes him unelectable against the still vigorous statist incumbent.

    When he doesn’t embrace conspiracists and kooks, he flirts with them. That’s why the newsletter thing is a problem — it’s part of a pattern.

    By running this year he sucked all of the libertarian oxygen out of the race, suffocating the campaign of the much younger, more attractive and more electable Gary Johnson. As a former governor, he could have been a much more attractive alternative to our callow president and the remaining hacks in the GOP race.

    I would vote for Paul – or any of the GOP candidates – against Obama. Yes, many of the attacks on him are opportunistic. But politics is that way, and Paul left himself wide open for them.

  • chuck

    …libertarians find their moral views to be more in line with those on the “left” than with those on the “right.”

    I think there is a fairly large segment of the libertarian community that falls into that category, I tend to classify them with the ‘nooky’ socialists, those who think sexual liberty is pretty much the same thing as liberty.

    Many of the remaining libertarians I throw into the same category as the Marxists, that is, those clueless about human nature. One of the best things about the founders was their deep, and pessimistic, appreciation of human nature and the role it played in politics. I really miss that outlook.

    So why, one might ask, do I visit this site? Apart from providing a window from which to view the craziness that is Britain today, I am sympathetic to many of the libertarian ideals.
    But I don’t take them so far as to think they are a natural or stable basis for human society. One would need to be very clever to design a system in which such values could flourish for any length of time. Not least because the individual is of little consequence when pitted against the group. Hence the importance of family/clan/tribe in the past and its echoes today in party, movement, union, church, etc. In other words, all those organizations that get people to act as a group. And those organizations are invariably hierarchical and undercut individual independence.

  • Richard Thomas

    When I hit refresh, the existing posts are frequently moving down. That means that some of the messages are being released from smiteville. I’d just like to apologize to the people who posted them that I’m not going to scroll back through 78 messages and try and locate the ones have appeared from nothingness and will hence miss your posts.

  • Richard Thomas

    Chuck, one would have to be quite literally impossibly clever to design any system which would hope to successfully manage many millions of people. Which is why libertarians generally oppose it.

  • Buzz Buzz

    I’m still fascinated that libertarians (‘libertarians’?) are continuing to argue here that “Vote for Ron Paul! He’s the only one who can prepare us for the coming race wars!” is a slogan that rational, civilized Americans will rally behind.

    A word to the wise libertarians / ‘libertarians’ / Libertarians / ‘Libertarians’: this sort of behaviour is why your movement as a whole is consigned to the political fringe.

  • MajikMonkee

    Attempts to define conservatism are pretty much destined to fail. There are so many era’s in history both real and imagined, in so many geographical locations that “conservatives” wish to preserve.

    I’m a conservative of a non-existant classical liberalism

  • chuck

    Ah, but Richard, you may oppose it, but the next empire that comes around won’t give a damn. And empires have been coming around for the last 5000 years. That’s the point. You aren’t going to change that with a philosophical argument.

  • Dale Amon

    Interesting. Someone doesn’t like an organization that DiLorenzo and Williams belongs to, so that lets them dismiss his citations and scholarly work without even looking at it.

    That’s our internet world for you. Hit a few links and you don’t have to bother reading anything substantial.

  • Tedd

    I’m a conservative of a non-existant classical liberalism

    Somebody — can’t remember who — once commented that American conservatives are unique in that the tradition they seek to protect is a liberal tradition.

  • Dale Amon

    Yep, that was true of the Goldwater/Reagan type of conservative. Very close to Libertarian, so close that Barry sometimes called himself one of us. But I am not much aware of any members of that breed who are still breathing.

  • lucklucky

    It is sad and fascinating at same time to see people that would say that someone with many of Ron Paul opinions is and idiot, but because he has a Libertarian tag they put everything under the carpet.
    No Ron Paul is not principled.
    Chamberlain at least increased military spending. Ron Paul would probably decrease it in same circumstances.

    Desperation is so much that it seems that some other can’t sustain more time in opposition.

  • frak


    Ron Paul’s candidacy in 2012 will set back libertarianism at least a decade.

    Ron Paul has done more for libertarianism in the past 5 years than the libertarian party has done in its entire lifetime.

    Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign birthed the Tea Party, drew unprecedented attention to the Fed, and awakened literally millions of people to the ideas of liberty in ways the libertarian party never has and never will.

  • frak


    No Ron Paul is not principled.

    Right. When Ron Paul was 1 of only 4 Congressmen to not sell out at the GOP convention in 1976 to Ford and stick by Reagan, when Ron Paul went against his party leadership and against the permanent Washington political class by refusing to oppose Israel’s strike on Iraqi nuclear reactor in the 1980s, when Ron Paul opposed awarding the Gold Medal to Mother Teresa, when Ron Paul opposed Medicaid Part D, when Ron Paul opposed the Patriot Act – THESE ARE ALL EXAMPLES OF RON PAUL’S LACK OF PRINCIPLE.

    You reveal how completely clueless you are here.

    He is the worst that Libertarianism have.

    Ron Paul has been CREATING POLITICAL SPACE on the right since before you were born.

    The only reason politicians are ABLE to attack the Fed today is because of the work Ron Paul has been doing for decades but especially the grueling and difficult job of his 2008 presidential campaign, which was not to be elected president, but simply to spread the message of liberty.

    The primary reason why there is a Tea Party trying (and of course failing) to hold the GOP leadership to fiscally conservative principles is ultimately due to Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign.

    But the single best piece of evidence that Ron Paul is the worst libertarianism has is that when he goes to college campuses and hundreds or even thousands of mostly young, single males come out screaming “END THE FED”. This is bad. We need more Mitt Romneys.

  • frak

    Johnathan Pearce,

    The letters – as Rich Rostrom points out – could and should have been dealt with years ago. Any potential POTUS with a functioning mind must have realised they would be used against him/her in the usual rough-house of political debate.

    Your main error is in thinking that Ron Paul is a potential POTUS. He is not and he does not want to be.

    But what exactly could he have done? Apparently these days disavowing the contents of those letters is not enough. He claims to have never wrote them and there is no evidence I’m aware of that he did write them. It’s almost like the fact that Ron refuses to rat out on his friend who wrote them means that Ron has committed thoughtcrime, which disqualifies him from the presidency. Interesting.

    Lucky for him, he’s not trying to become POTUS but, rather, is simply taking the arrows for libertarian ideals in order to advance them in the public square. And his refusal to return the contributions of even bad folks is yet another example of his dubious morals and lack of principles I suppose.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    A rational libertarianism will acknowledge the possibility of real racial differences and the consequences.

    If the welfare state, affirmative action, and big government is scrapped, there may be a consequent and serious expansion of the wealth and achievement gaps between the various races, especially between whites and blacks, and whites and hispanics to a lesser extent. This may lead to further class warfare and resentment. Libertarians may need to seriously consider the options available, but otherwise, judging people on real merit will exacerbate the tensions inherent in diversified USA.

    Liberal economics works to a certain extent, but are we ready to acknowledge the costs? I think a lot of white people are becoming paranoid and ready to back Ron Paul in order to ignite the coming storm…

    Come to think of it, would the blacks in the US support Ron Paul, even if they didn’t have a racial champion in Obama? Ever stop to think why?

  • Bruce

    Someone doesn’t like an organization that DiLorenzo and Williams belongs to, so that lets them dismiss his citations and scholarly work without even looking at it.

    DiLorenzo propounds that hoary old neo-confederate nonsense about the American Civil War being primarily about tariffs, not slavery, despite tariffs never being mentioned in the Lincoln Douglas debates or the Confederate Declarations of Causes of Seceding States. To quote from Mississippi’s:

    Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth

    Or South Carolina’s

    A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

    Were the Southern states lying when they omitted to mention tariffs and instead justified secession on the grounds that Lincoln and the north were hostile to slavery?

  • A rational libertarianism will acknowledge the possibility of real racial differences and the consequences.

    I regard that as a bit like “A rational libertarianism will acknowledge the possibility that god exists and the consequences”… well… no, not necessarily.

    I have concluded that God is actually nothing more than a psychological artifice and I see no value debating the existence of deities with believers as I regard it as a waste of time. I take much the same view on the subject of race and that is why I have such low tolerance for the topic being discussed on Samizdata.

  • guy herbert

    On this basis, I do not get us.

    What Ash said right at the beginning of the thread. I also endorse deepelemblues comment.

    Politics is about persuading people, engaging people, with one’s point of view. It requires a willingness to cope with reality in any plausible candidate.

    I don’t happen to like Paul’s version of libertarianism (which seems to me more like small-state ultra-conservatism), but even if I did, I would not want him offered as the epitome of the political movement, any more than if I were a left-wing US Democrat I would want Jesse Jackson, or as a British Labour Party member I would want Jeremy Corbyn, as leader.

    Choosing as candidate someone who represents what they take to be the true faith of their supporters in an uncompromising way is not a means to draw in others. It is a well-tested method of ensuring an irrelevant groupuscule stays irrelevant. This is nothing to do with the intrinsic value of the view they hold. (Though if you insist it is intuitively obvious that it is correct and needs no justification, then you make me less willing to believe it.) Your candidate must appear more mainstream than their base, because that is where the ground is available to be made.

    We saw this in operation at the last US presidential election. Obama may have been the first candidate brought up entirely within the bubble of the academic left to offer himself for election, but he was articulate personable and normal-seeming by comparison with his opponents. Palin may have been the perfect candidate for the conservative nativist base, but she alarmed everyone else.

    Ideology is less important than policy. What will the candidate do? Not, why do they want to do it? Do they have a believable plan?

    But policy – for the non-wonks who are to a first approximation ALL voters, ALL the reservoir of reputation you are attempting to fill in a general election campaign – is less important than personality. Is this somebody I can trust? Are their motives and positions comprehensible? How do they explain themselves? Have they capacity to do the job? What would voting for them say about me?

    I cannot see how Ron Paul can meet either test of a candidate.

    Politicians have to be shameless, but parties cannot afford to be. They should be ruthless in abandoning any politician who brings shame upon them.

  • guy herbert –

    I think you might be jumping the gun. Popular candidates are important when a faction (using the term loosely here to represent libertarianism whether or not identified with the LP) has a real chance of getting elected, but libertarianism is not there yet. Before a faction is electable, it has to invent itself, and in those stages people like Ron Paul are indispensable. First you get attention by taking a hard line, then you get elected by compromising that line. And it’s not just attention, it’s also identity. “More or less the same as those two, but less likely to win” isn’t a slogan that sells voters on a third party. “A real alternative to those two and I have the voting record to prove it” IS. Once the wave of people attracted by that comes into the fold, THEN you talk about finding the guy with the bright smile and funny quips. You have to make something useful before you hire the PR guys.

  • In Pajamas Media’s defense, it does seem like Ron Paul is the very model for what libertarian nominal anarchist Eric Raymond defined as idiotarianism. I happen to agree with Perry de Havilland’s assessment, and further think that a bit of strategic withdrawal would be a really good idea right about now, but not for reasons that Dr. Paul would appreciate. I anticipate problems with Iran and Pakistan, and as near as I can tell, “Afghanistan” is the Pashtun word for Corregidor. I am also sympathetic to the view that we need to focus on economic issues during this election cycle, and that race relations, social issues, and foreign policy demagoguery are highly unwelcome distractions at best. I will vote for the proverbial syphilitic camel when the time comes, but I regard Paul as a highly imperfect vessel for libertarianism.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Frak disputes that Paul is running for president. It is becoming clearer by the second how far in denial some people are about this man.

    Sure, his campaign may be partly about spreading ideas, but running to win the GOP ticket is not just about spreading ideas. It is about seeking the role of guardian of the constitution, of managing a government and it’s relations with other states. It is role that requires an ability to work with the legislative and judicial branches. It requires an ability to hire good people and delegate.

    Paul has now admitted writing some of those letters after having denied it. He has received support from Stormfront and not repudiated it. His views on issues such as Iran are naive at best.

    I hope I don’t lose friends over this but I am aghast at how so many principled, good people are just are giving the kind of slack to a man that they would not give to another pol. It is a sign of how desperate some have become.

    Gary Johnson is far preferable. Vote for him if you want to make a gesture rather than elect the next President of the United States.

  • I think Joshua pretty much nails it. In samizdata-speak, Ron Paul’s job is not to become POTUS, it is to move the meta-context to open up other possibilities beyond two largely interchangeable choices… and that is exactly what he is doing.

  • OK, I get it. I was reading Guy’s comment, nodding in agreement all the way through – but then I read Joshua’s, and the penny dropped. So I do get. But I still disagree about RP: not only do I not think that RP is the right person to move the meta-context, I’m afraid he’s more likely than anyone else to do this meta-context an irreparable damage. The reasons I think so are not the ones that may make him unelectable (we seem to be all in agreement that he is unelectable anyway) – such as his age, his extreme isolationism (which I don’t like), his extreme dislike of the Fed (which I like very much), etc. What I think is most damaging about RP is the company he keeps. I found SI and “converted” to somewhere between libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism long before I even heard of RP. Prior to that, I did hear about libertarianism and thought of it more or less as a fringe lunatic sect. I am fairly certain that had I been introduced to RP and some of his friends (on which he ‘wouldn’t rat’, as frak put it), there would have been no way that I would have even come close to as much as even looking at a website that had ‘libertarian’ as part of its description. But maybe it’s just me.

  • Richard Thomas

    Many of the criticisms of RP may well be valid. However, he is managing to introduce many libertarian ideas to the mainstream so that when the usual bunch continue to muck things up, people can at least see there are some other ideas to go to than the usual statist rubbish.

    So there are two questions to ask. The first is, if you changed something about RP, would he still be where he is, doing what he does? The second is where are the people who are like RP but doing things your way?

    As much as I think “lesser of two evils” is despicable thinking, you do have to work with what you’ve got. At the moment, RP is is. If you want someone different, I suggest you work to promote someone else rather than bash RP down.

  • Richard, even if you are correct (which you well may be) that RP is doing an important job promoting good ideas, it is still important that, of all people, libertarians who oppose him on the basis of the aforementioned criticisms, do continue to bash him. I think that it is important that libertarians who like many of his opinions, but happen to dislike some of his friends and associates (and at least suspect that he may be sharing their opinions on certain issues) disassociate themselves if not from RP himself entirely, at least from his dubious associations and associated opinions. There’s nothing wrong (and much right) with showing the world that, for better or worse, not all those who consider themselves libertarians on the basis of certain general ideas, are cut from the same cloth on every single issue. I think that ideally it’s RP who should be the one doing such vigorous disassociation, but since he doesn’t seem to, for whatever reason (as he is indeed fully entitled to), there should be others to do so. After all, as at least some of RP supporters here seem to imply, quite correctly, it’s not about the messenger, but about the message. Fine, but let’s get out the right messages, and withhold the wrong ones.

  • Dale Amon

    It goes without saying that will happen Alisa. There is the old joke: “What do you call three libertarians in a room?”


    We are to be found in the Tea Party, the Republican Party, and a whole lot of Anarchocapitalists in the Occupy movement where they form a bridge for folk who have only ever heard one cant to open their minds to other ideas.

    We are and have to be everywhere. We want a metacontext, which means that new versions of the right and left start their debate from assumptions of individual liberty.

    As they say in show business: “All publicity is good publicity.”

  • Paul Marks

    I think Dale has a point. Although I will get the anti Ron Paul stuff done first….

    Ron Paul has many flaws.

    He was very foolish to allow his newsletter to fall into the hands of very dodgy people – if something has your name on it READ it before it goes out.

    Also he thinks there is no Islamist threat (neither from the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood and co, or from the Shia “hastener” regime in Iran), and I think the Islamist threat is very real – and not some just “retribution” for Western misdeeds (when Ron Paul said that I felt like punching him in the mouth – even though he is over 70, but this would be violation of free speech although “them be fighting words”).

    Also we see history very differently – sorry Ron (really sorry Lew Rockwell and the other Rothbardians) but the Nazis were a threat to the United States (as well as the rest of the world) and he who lets everywhere else fall and only fights when the enemy comes knocking on his own door is a FOOL.

    The same is true of Marxism – such things as the Korean war are things to be PROUD of (not ashamed of – as Ron seems to think).

    Lastly on the Civil War – the idea that Federal government could have prevented war by buying the slaves is two generations out.

    During the FOUNDING era the Federal government could have done something like that (and Ben Franklin BEGGED for this sort of intervention), but back then most Southern leaders (Washington, Madison, Jefferson and so on) accepted, at least in theory, that slavery was an evil – and so would have been happy to free slaves for money (Washington freed his slaves even without being paid – although only in his will when he did not need them any more, the Aristotle move).

    However, over the next two generations most Southerners (including their leaders) became convinced that slavery was a “positive good”, and the “essential foundation for our insitutions”. Even most nonslave owning Southerners believed this – and wished to SPREAD slavery over the West (and, indeed, outside the United States).

    The chance of BUYING peace was long gone by 1861.

    However, in spite of all the above I think I might well vote for Ron Paul in the Iowa Caucus events (if I had a vote that is).


    Firstly because RON PAUL IS NOT GOING TO BE THE CANDIDATE. He is not going to be the nominee – the candidate of the Republican Party for President of the United States.

    I am not going to explain why – so just “trust me” there is no possiblity (none whatever) that Ron Paul is going to be the nominee.

    So voting for Ron Paul is really about sending a message – a message about ECONOMIC POLICY.

    What at the two great problems of the United States (indeed the Western world in general)?

    Wild governmnet spending – the entitlement state.

    And the credit bubble financial system.

    Who has warned (and shows he understands) these problems more than anyone else?

    Ron Paul.

    Certainly other candidates, such as Michelle Bachmann, understand them to – but the polls say that Michelle Backmann does not have a chance of beating Romney on Tuesday.

    Why should I want Romney beaten on Tuesday?

    Because of all the candidates he has the worst economic policy (worst on taxes, worst on everything – compared to all the other Republican candidates, but still light years better than Comrade Barack) and Ron Paul has the best economic policy.

    So OF COURSE (as a message) I want Romney beat on Tuesday – and I want him beat by Ron Paul.

    By the way (between you and me – and the rest of the planet) I know perfectly well that ROMNEY IS GOING TO BE NOMINEE.

    That is set in the cards – the Economist magazine (and the rest of the establishment) will celebrate – and I will feel like I have been kicked in a private part of my body.

    Indeed I will even support Romney (against Comrade Barack) – although I will be grinding my teeth (till the blood comes out of my gums) as I do so.

    Actually it is my New Years Resolution to stop saying nasty things about Mitt Romney – but New Year is still a couple of days away.

    However, I want Romney to have a tough time – not a cake walk to the nomination.

    I want him to know that he does not have a divine right – and that free market supporting people actually exist.

    So that if there is a “President Romney” he knows that he can not just take pro freedom people for granted – and that there are a lot of us, and we matter.

    Perhaps then the good part of Romney’s program (the end of inheritance tax, the cut in corporation tax, the cut in capital gains tax….) will actually happen.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way Ron Paul is a conservative.

    He is both a conservative in his interpretation of the United States Constitution (according to my Concise Oxford English Dictionary of 1911 – a conservative, amongst other things, is someone who takes takes the limited, anti expansive, view of the powers granted to the Federal government by the Constitution – see its definition under “Democrat” by which it means Jeffersonian or Grover Cleveland Democrat – the dictionary had not caught up with the Populist revolution that hit the Dems in the 1890s).

    Ron Paul is also a social conservative on all the social issues (at State level – he, rightly, believes such things are no business of the Feds) – abortion, “gay marriage”, you name it.

    A conservative should have no problem whatever in voting for Ron Paul.

    If they really are conservatives – rather than neocons.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    I personally have not much issue with Ron Paul. Other than being a bit iffy on immigration and foreign policy (who knows, he might turn out right in the end), his platform is solid.

    It’ll certainly be fun if Ron Paul pushes Romney so hard that when and if Romney wins, he tries to scrap the welfare programs, affirmative action, and big government in general because he promised to do those things during the primaries in order to hold off Paul. Plus reduce Goldman Sachs’ influence on US central bank policy.

    And then… I’ll sit back with some popcorn and watch the fireworks.

  • Paul Marks

    “But Paul if you had a magic wand and good make any one of the candidates “leader of the Free World” in this time of international crises – who would you pick?”

    First choice – Michelle Bachmann.

    Second choice – Rick Santorum.

    Both of them understand the Islamist threat (which Ron does not), and both of them understand economic policy better than Mitt does (“but Mitt is a good businessman” – I am not going to waste time explaining why being a good businessman and understanding economics are not the same thing).

    This shows how different I am from most people around here – as to most others Bachmann and Santorum are social conservative space monsters.

    So it is Ron Paul (and so am I) – but Ron Paul gets a pass for some reason.

    However, this does not matter – as neither Bachmann (like Ron Paul a reader of Ludwig Von Mises) or Rick Santorum (less good on economics – but better than Romney) has a snowball’s chance in Hell.

    Neither does Rick Perry – whose debate performance disqualfies him anyway. His policy papers are better than Romney’s – but are they really “his” papers?

    Actually Jon Huntsman also has better tax (and other) polices than Romney – but he will lose in New Hampshire and then endorse Romney.

    Newt Gingrich?

    Who knows what this man would do?

    Art Laffer likes him and his policies (again they are better than Ronmey).

    But I do not see him winning.

    After the last stand of the anti Romney forces in South Carolinia (and Flordia?) I will get behind Romney – as much as an internet comment person thousands of miles away can.

    But that is next year – my New Year’s Resolution (“stop saying nasty things about Peter Perfect of “Whacky Races”/Barbies friend Ken”) has not come into effect yet.

  • lucklucky


    The lack of principle i attack Ron Paul is that if is serious he have to start several declarations of war, and i know he will not do it: Pakistan is one example. Instead he protested the raid against Bin Laden, says that US should have called the notorious corrupt Pakistan Government to jail Bin Laden while there are thousands of cases of support from Pakistan to the Taliban. So is he only an ignorant naif? or he just dumped it under the carpet?

    Ron Paul is a block against Libertarian ideas that can have more solid foundation in society than mere hippie libertarianism.

    “In samizdata-speak, Ron Paul’s job is not to become POTUS, it is to move the meta-context to open up other possibilities beyond two largely interchangeable choices… and that is exactly what he is doing.”

    So…Leftist tactics and narrative.. Well it always end badly…

  • Lucklucky: the narrative is not leftist (not here it isn’t). Leftist tactics never ended badly – not for the left. If RP is indeed an idiot, I have no problem with him serving as our useful idiot – although I still need to think long and hard if him being a mere idiot is indeed the case.

  • Alisa writes –

    I think that it is important that libertarians who like many of his opinions, but happen to dislike some of his friends and associates (and at least suspect that he may be sharing their opinions on certain issues) disassociate themselves if not from RP himself entirely, at least from his dubious associations and associated opinions.

    I agree, but I do not see the point in doing this in a way that tears Paul down unnecessarily (as your word “bash” indicates you wish us to do). For example, when confronted with the fact of Paul’s racist newsletters, it is better to respond that Paul has explicitly called the War on Drugs racist and uses its disparate impact on blacks as evidence that the system is not working (and supply the quote to prove it if you have it handy), than to say “Oh, yes, you’re right, Paul is a racist and I am absolutely against racism.” This isn’t deception: if you think for a minute that Paul has some sinister racist agenda behind his back please show me where in his copious voting record he has ever advanced it. And if you cannot, please explain why you think his admirably consistent voting record is somehow not an accurate predictor of how he would behave as president (not that he ever will be, but I digress).

    The same is true for foreign policy. I share many of the reservations about his foreign policy that are commonly expressed on Samizdata, but I can also see that the military industrial complex is a huge problem, that the US spends way too much on defense and is entirely too entangled in foreign affairs, that the Drug War is not an appropriate use of our military, that not all of our foreign adventures are just (some are absolutely wanton destruction), and that foreign aid is mostly counterproductive. I have my disagreements with Paul, but he is not barking at the moon.

    The status quo already has plenty of momentum without my volunteering to help it along. Sure, we should articulate our differences with Paul, but “bash” him? That’s pretty low on my list of priorities when there are Mitt Romneys and Barack Obamas on the ballot. Calling Paul a “kook” and a “racist” is nothing more than a way to help the lazy media ignore him so it can stick to its script. Sorry, but I refuse to play along. Ron Paul is getting a lot of good attention for a lot of good ideas, and I’m not going to help the establishment keep voters away from them by playing their guilt by association game. Because let’s not be naive here – if you think that people are going to remember our ideas and forget that Paul was a “kook,” you’ve got the public exactly wrong. The public LOVES to hear libertarians “bash” Paul because this gives them permission to write him off as a kook and go back to ignoring libertarians altogether.

    Paul got you a podium. Don’t burn it down. Use it to talk to people instead.

  • Dale Amon

    I will disagree with Paul on one point: the best possible outcome would be for us to go into the GOP convention with three candidates still running. If Romney and one other were both within spitting distance of a first round vote but Ron Paul held enough votes to decide who gets it, he would be able to force great concessions on whomever outbid the other for his delegates. He could push the entire GOP libertarianwards.

  • jb

    LuckLucky – whatever you meant to say . . . ok, I guess.

    Dale – Feder’s article is rife with false characterizations, and is so obviously fodder for gummint types who need to squash all opposition to their designs.

    I have no hyphenated label by which I call myself – a free man needs none of such stuff. I would go all theological at this point but that makes Perry get funny and there is no need to upset the Boss Man.

    But your original assessment was spot on – gummint types do not get “us.” Neibuhr understood, even if he was a tad off the grid.

  • John B

    Why not Sarah Palin for Pres, Paul?
    We are talking magic wands here so the field is open.

  • She’s not running, John.

  • Must read: Glenn Greenwald on how the Ron Paul candidacy is uncomfortable for “progressives” because it exposes their own hypocrisy and makes it hard for them to do their normal thing and vote Democrat because “the GOP is worse.” In other words, Glenn Greenwald reiterating a lot of points made in this thread. Note that Glenn Greenwald is not a Paul supporter.

    Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

  • John B

    Sorry Alisa. Got carried away with theoretical hope and other silly dreams of what it might be like if truth and reality prevailed one day.

    I do think, though, that without the kind of courage a presidential run by her would have represented, one is discussing the current fashion in lifeboats on the Titanic.

  • Yes John, I should have added ‘unfortunately’…

  • David

    What the people that are opposed to Ron Paul’s foreign policy don’t get is that Ron Paul is the only person that could possibly save the economy. And without a strong economy there is no military at all, let alone a strong military.
    And to all those opposed to Ron Paul because he would let Israel defend itself, why aren’t you protesting all the arms sales to Israel’s enemies?

  • Bruce

    Ron Paul is the only person that could possibly save the economy

    Cults of personality are unhealthy, whether the personality be Lyndon LaRouche, Noam Chomsky, or Ron Paul. Likewise, apocalypsism, be it religious, environmental or financial, is inherently irrational and has no place in a political movement that prides itself on reasoned arguments in favor of liberty and individual choice.

  • Actually Bruce, financial “apocalypsism” is perfectly rational, as a financial apocalypse is the only kind that is entirely man-made.

  • Dale Amon

    Romney is even worse than I thought. He’s not backed off Commie Care… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c2MWsTl41o

    So, do you want to face the choice between a socialist Democrat and…. a socialist Republican?

  • Bruce

    financial “apocalypsism” is perfectly rational

    I’m reminded of the Y2K survivalists who were convinced the year 2000 would bring civilization, as we know it, to an end because computer programmers used a six-digit, rather than am eight-digit, field for the date to save space in data storage in early (primarily financial) software.

    For some people there is a strong emotional need to believe either the end of the world is nigh or that a man on a white horse will save us from doom. At least the end-of-the-worlders tend to keep to themselves. Cults of personality are more pernicious even when they remain within a democratic framework.

  • Fine, Bruce – Happy New Year:-)

    Dale: has anyone here so far mentioned voting for Romney?

  • Dale Amon

    I believe that some have said they’d vote for him to beat Obama, and others who have not thought through the implication of what happens when Ron Paul does inevitably fall to the superior forces of the Republican country-club buddies. Gary Johnson, as an LP candidate is certainly a wonderful choice for the party but we have not crossed the tipping point yet. At best, he might be the force that defeats Romney in the Presidential race. I had thought an outcome might be that we push the GOP far in the libertarian direction, but if Romney is still defending Individual Mandate publicly, then I do not hold out much hope for this.

    That means the best outcome will be: Obama wins, GOP takes an super majority in House and Senate and libertarians massively grow their cadre and power within the GOP looking ahead to 2016 when the US will be an economic disaster and people will be desperate for something, anything but socialists.

    With this video I have gone from disliking Romney as a politician to wanting to keep him out of the White House no matter what the cost.

  • We are basically faced with the same conundrum we faced in 2008, only instead of McCain we get Romney – I’m not sure which is worse…

  • The conundrum has an easy solution, though: stop worrying and start loving the bomb. Refuse to vote for either major party and vote Libertarian instead. Encourage your friends to do the same. If enough people do this, eventually the major parties will have to start trying to win Libertarian voters back to gain an edge, and then we can start negotiating. I just don’t understand this weird mindset that one must vote for one of the two majors or not at all. Your single vote will NOT change the outcome, certainly not in a national election; the only useful thing you can do with it is send an accurate signal to pollsters of what you favor. If that is neither the Republicans nor the Democrats, then why would you allow a pollster to think you did by adding your vote to their column?

  • Yes Joshua, I’ve already figured that much, and barring a major miracle in the Republican convention, will probably vote LP with Johnson as its candidate. My immediate concern however is the FL primary – although there’s still about a month left, during which all kinds of things can happen.

  • David

    A couple replies to Bruce

    First, I should have said “Of the people running, Ron Paul is the only person that could possibly save the economy.” Not a cult of personality at all.

    Second, with regards to Y2K. It isn’t as easily explained as 6 instead of 8 digits, but a wide range of date related problems. And it wasn’t primarily financial software as you say, it was all kinds. Lots of people worked hard on the problem in the years leading up to Y2K that turned it into a non-event. In my company alone we replaced 90% of the servers at customers’ sites which would have just stopped otherwise. But no one was sure if everyone else had done their part. Had something been missed? Did Texaco get all its pipeline sensors replaced? Since there were too many failure possibilities and nobody had all the facts, running for the hills was a reasonable option. Your dismissive and inaccurate summary of Y2K after the fact, is evidence you don’t know what you are talking about.

  • Bruce

    Dave, I also worked on the Y2K problem and, while significant, it never threatened to be the apocalypse. But there were plenty who believed that it did and “running for the hills” with spam, beans, and ammo to fight off the coming hordes was an emotional, not rational, reaction.

  • Richard Thomas

    But there were plenty who believed that it did and “running for the hills” with spam, beans, and ammo to fight off the coming hordes was an emotional, not rational, reaction.

    Funnily enough, the religion to which the nominee-apparent belongs encourages its members to keep at least a year’s supply of food for emergencies…

  • Bruce, the (supposed) fact that Y2K was never going to lead to an apocalypse does not mean that nothing else will. It’s not like there are no apocalyptic precedences in history. I mean, really. Reasonable people can certainly argue on whether the current economic situation is going to lead to an apocalypse or not – why don’t you do just that, instead of relying on examples that have nothing to do with the current situation and its roots?

  • Richard Thomas

    Alisa: Indeed. In fact, our point is that if correct measures are taken, it may be possible to provide a (somewhat) soft landing and avoid financial apocalypse. It’s the “full speed ahead and damn the icebergs” attitude that is what’s worrying.

  • Paul Marks

    President Sarah Palin – worth it just because the leftists would drop dead in horror.

    Actually the leftists examined the possibility (in one of their entertainment television shows – well the control just about all of them, this one is a series about two brothers fighting demons and stuff).

    In this the forces of Hell (no I am not making that up) were overwhelming the planet – and Sarah Palin was their servant President of the United States.

    Nice to see the left interested in theology and the end times.