There was a time, not too long ago, when I thought that an overly-obsessive Ron Paul mania was sweeping the Internet. As much as I have always admired Ron Paul’s rock-solid commitment to liberty and peace, along with his remarkable dedication to intellectual study, I didn’t yearn to hear libertarians do live blogging play-by-plays of his every speech and every step, and I didn’t care to read a trillion posts about pointless straw polls in trivial places.
Internet libertarians tend to be a well-read, principled, and feisty bunch of folks. They are irrepressible when it comes to using the resources of the Internet. They know what they like and they’ll let you know what that is. They’ll praise you in the same week they purport to hate you. For libertarians, any political action that promotes the state, distributes wealth to one group at the expense of another, or panders to empowered interest groups will bring on the fightin’ words.
Consequently, there are libertarians who have respectfully challenged some of Paul’s past policy decisions because they were said to be "unlibertarian." Thus they decline to support his presidential candidacy. I can respect the various objections and even agree, at times, but in fact Ron Paul is an avowed Constitutionalist, and not an anarchist. Thus to try and reconcile Paul’s political courses of action with the various strains of libertarian dogma could prove to be quite futile, and perhaps even self-defeating.
Over the years, we hopeful libertarians have witnessed a host of ineffective Libertarian Party candidates who throw up a second-rate website, paste a few basic "principles" on their "about me" page, and claim a presidential candidacy. The others run for city council, judge, or the school board and celebrate their 1% of the vote. And we are supposed to take this stuff seriously? Some do, and this is what has made the Libertarian Party a ridiculed failure. And then along comes a libertarian, Ron Paul, who is an established man in Washington — though an outsider — in a mainstream political party, with a support network that actually has a chance to make a lasting impression upon a whole lot of people.
Sure, there are those of us who battle tyranny, misinformation, and the political power structure almost daily. We publish, blog, engage in forum and email activity, post to YouTube, attend rallies, bomb mainstream political polls, and generally just keep the passion for freedom alive in a world of apathy. Additionally, there are those who contribute by reading and supporting those who do engage the enemy firsthand. But when you consider how much time we all spend singing to the choir, you realize we have a long way to go before our missives reach Mom and Pop on Main Street.
On the other hand, Ron Paul is a phenomenon who has made a large-scale impact on folks outside of the choir and its usual audience. He is on national TV, night after night, saying the right things about Wall Street, hedge funds, the Federal Reserve, Sarbanes-Oxley, the IRS, the war, taxes, decentralization, and regulation. He doesn’t say anything for the purpose of pandering to any particular interest group — he says it because he means it. The twenty-something thinking set grooves on Dr. Paul, and these kids may be our only hope in keeping us all from experiencing an unabridged Orwellian nightmare. After all, if we can’t get these young kids to think for themselves, what’s left over when they reproduce?
His impassioned campaign has been influential on people of all sorts: old, young, leftist, socialist, capitalist, anarchist, democrat, and even folks in the military. He is educating people on other alternatives — those that don’t offer up prescriptions for every perceived problem and propose welfare in exchange for votes. People are witnessing Paul’s uncompromising positions on issues that have never been challenged prior to his presence on the campaign trail. When is the last time you heard an elected official, in a nationally-televised forum, talking down Wall Street’s financial socialism, bringing up the devaluation of the dollar, stating that "free trade agreements" are a scam, and refusing to play along with the question of whether or not he should support the nominated candidate out of nothing more than party loyalty? He is a perfect ideological storm in a sea of statism.
Freedom, as we understand it, can never be recaptured without some very radical strategy supported by moderately conventional exposure — otherwise, who will rebel? What reason do uninformed, passive people have to rebel? We can talk "revolution" all we want, but what does that really mean? Those of us who will “live free or die” are in a minority. As with anything else, the masses have to be shown the way. You have to put a marketing campaign in front of them. You have to sell freedom to them and the message has got to be reasonable and attainable in their minds. And lastly, you have to present a genuine platform from which to broadcast your message. Ron Paul is that marketing campaign. A presidential campaign is a genuine platform according to the perceptions of the general public. Ron Paul, I believe, is giving many people a reason to doubt, to react, and to question authority. And that can only be to the good. Should he be denied the Republican nomination, I can’t think of anything that can come after the Paul campaign and give us any kind of a legitimate shot at recapturing lost liberty.
As libertarians, we understand how to educate ourselves. We may disagree, and we are sometimes right and oftentimes wrong, but still we are at the top of the self-education chain. Most folks, however, have no knowledge of basic liberty, let alone an understanding of the more abstract thrusts of libertarianism such as antitrust, Wall Street financial socialism, taxes as theft, war as welfare, victimless crimes, the corporatocracy, medical/health totalitarianism, and so on. Ron Paul has the ability and the means to bring these ideas into Mom and Pop’s living room.
Though I do not support the existence of an executive office, or even voting for that matter, somebody is going to be elected president when all of this is over. All choices but one will lead to a furtherance of the current, neoconservative-social democrat, totalitarian dictatorship, which is why I support Ron Paul. Though I remain a persevering, anti-state libertarian, I will cheer on this libertarian Constitutionalist in the greatest attempt, ever, to snatch the limelight from two near-identical, establishment political parties and turn the attention toward a platform of ideas that will spiritedly disrupt the entrenched caste.
I admire Ron Paul, his campaign, and his vision for the short run: grab the highest and most visible platform available and use it to take a multi-faceted freedom manifesto to the people in the streets. If nothing else, Ron Paul will have taught a nation of individuals how to use our existing resources and lead a real revolution, should we ever need to do so.
Karen De Coster, CPA, [send her mail] has an MA in Economics and works in finance and accounting in the securities industry. She is an anarchist libertarian and an anti-Constitutionalist who favors the Articles of Confederation over the Constitution, which she insists is a Hamiltonian-centralist’s document. She doesn’t vote, except for her county Sheriff who supports "shall-issue" gun rights. She proudly hates Mitt Romney more than Rudy Giuliani. She likes to boast that she’s been called "insane" by a Carbon Footprint Nazi because she drinks Fiji water. This is her LewRockwell.com archive and her Mises.org archive. Check out her website, along with her blog.