An Open Letter to the Objectivist Community on Behalf of Ron Paul

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The reasons
why the Objectivist community should support Ron Paul's Presidential
campaign seem obvious to me. However, what is obvious to one person
is not always obvious to another. In light of the vicious and somewhat
childish attacks
on Ron Paul recently by so-called leaders of the Objectivist movement,
this open letter has become necessary to answer some of the charges
made against him.

Regarding Barry
Goldwater's Presidential candidacy in 1964, Ayn Rand wrote:
"In an age of moral collapse, like the present, men who seek
power for power’s sake rise to leadership everywhere on earth and
destroy one country after another. Barry Goldwater is singularly
devoid of power lust. Even his antagonists admit it with grudging
respect. He is seeking, not to rule, but to liberate a country.
In a world ravaged by dictatorships, can we afford to pass up a
candidate of that kind?" Goldwater exchanged several letters
with Rand, admitting that he enjoyed Rand's novel Atlas
Shrugged
.

This is exactly
what Ron Paul will do, as his voting record in Congress clearly
demonstrates. He is the only candidate who will end the war
on drugs, cut taxes and spending, and eliminate entire agencies
and regulatory bodies. He is the closest thing to Goldwater to come
out of the two interchangeable parties since Goldwater himself.

Consider the
following:

"Ron Paul
doesn't like NAFTA." It is certainly true that NAFTA has lowered
tariffs. However, this is not a free-trade agreement, but a regulated
trade agreement. These agreements create multi-national bureaucracies
which are unelected and accountable to nobody. This is hardly free
trade. It is, in fact, the worst kind of regulated trade.

"Ron Paul
is pro-life." But a Ron Paul Presidency will have little impact
on Roe v. Wade. No matter who is appointed to the Supreme
Court, the Nine Monkeys are not going to reverse a past decision,
because such a reversal would simply expose the court for the joke
that it is. Ron Paul can appoint judges, but this is hardly the
only issue he will consider when making appointments to the bench.

"Ron Paul
is a federalist." He sees local, state, and federal governments
as separate entities with distinct powers. They are intended to
check and balance each other. Paul opposes the consolidation which
has corrupted this system and resulted in a large loss of liberty
overall. Roe v. Wade is just one of many ways that this consolidation
has been promoted by the courts since the days of John Marshall.

"But I
read an article in The
New Individualist
. The Atlas
Society
doesn't like him. Leonard Peikoff doesn't
like
him." This says nothing about Doctor Paul. It says
a great deal about how low the "leadership" of the Objectivist
movement has sunk.

Ayn Rand ghettoized
herself around 1950. She broke with her mentor Isabel
Paterson
and soon gathered a group of followers which Random
House editor Bennett
Cerf
called "sycophants." The two main wings (quite
hostile toward each other, but practically the same) of the Objectivist
movement have largely done the same thing in the modern era.

Peikoff
was one of the sycophants who Rand had not alienated when she died
in 1982, so he got her entire estate. He later founded the Ayn
Rand Institute
. This wing actually talks and writes very little
about political candidates. They focus mainly on political issues
and philosophy.

In response
to many questions, Peikoff
did discuss Paul in a recent podcast.
He admitted to knowing nothing about him. He quoted Yaron
Brook
on the issue. Brook
is the current president of ARI. He was also born in Israel and
served in their military. Not surprisingly, Brook
is an advocate of US interventionism and deifies
Israel.

The other wing
of the Objectivist movement is not much better. The Atlas Society
bills itself as the "tolerant" and "open" wing
of the movement. The organization is currently run by Ed
Hudgins
, who used to work for one of the strongest advocates
of U.S. government intervention abroad, Dick Armey.

They have been
more open about attacking Doctor Paul. Atlas has recently published
an article in their magazine, The New Individualist; Robert
James Bidinotto
, the editor,
has also attacked Congressman Paul on his personal blog.

On a positive
note, some past speakers at their events have come out in support
of Doctor Paul. These include George
Smith
, Larry Sechrest, and Lester Hunt. The names of the latter
two can be found on this list here.

While the leadership
has either sold out or just freaked out, a significant portion of
people who call themselves Objectivists still do see Doctor Paul
as by far the best hope in 2008. But one has to wonder how long
these people will stick with the Objectivist movement and how many
good people will turn away from it over this issue.

ARI has almost
no friends. They survive largely because they can place business-reply
cards in every Rand book that is sold. The folks at the Atlas Society
have some friends at Reason and Cato, lukewarm supporters of Ron
Paul at best, but this organization has been almost completely irrelevant
since its founding in 1990. One of its largest financial supporters
is Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed
Snider
, who also serves on the board of the Middle
East Forum
and the Simon
Wiesenthal Center
.

Atlas is located
in DC currently. ARI operates out of Irvine, California, and recently
announced that it will be opening an office in DC as well.

The attack
on the World Trade Center was a tipping point. Before then, a person
could actually make a negative comment about Israel in Objectivist
circles without being shouted down. Today, such a comment will bring
about the immediate charge of "racist," "anti-Semite"
or "anti-Jew." The complete failure of the war on terror
has not changed anything, as these are some of the most stubborn
people I have ever encountered. Ricky Fitts in the movie American
Beauty summed up this attitude best: "Never underestimate
the power of denial."

To understand
the advocacy of war by some Objectivists, one has to understand
their psychology. Many of these people have an obsession with punishing
"evil." For Rand, it was Communism and the Soviet Union.
Since 9/11, the bogyman has been Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.

Great moral
stories often tell a story of how good people become bad. These
good people often go bad because they fall into the trap of punishing
evil. They move from celebrating and defending the good to fighting
out of revenge.

For example,
in the Star Wars movie series, it was how Anakin Skywalker
drifted to the dark side and became Darth Vader. He started out
by murdering an entire tribe that had been responsible for his mother's
death. In the last film, Luke Skywalker is on the verge of killing
a defenseless Vader. Luke then realizes that he will become just
as bad if he gives into his anger. The evil Emperor also realizes
this and roots for Luke's anger. Vader finally asks Luke to remove
his mask. Vader becomes Anakin again and dies. George Lucas said
it best: "A jedi would never seek revenge."

Anger lives
in all of us. Like fire, it is a useful servant. But it is a horrible
master. History teaches us that angry, vengeful people can do tremendous
harm, especially for liberty. People obsessed with punishment become
Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, and Mao. They do not become Jefferson, Cleveland,
or Washington.

Perhaps more
troubling than their new love affair with war is the apparent indifference
of the Objectivist movement to things like the PATRIOT act, possible
election fraud, Sibel Edmonds, Israel's "experiment
in famine
," and a federal deficit pushing $10 trillion.
If you can find any references to these things in their recent literature,
please send them to me.

Rand had somewhat
of a valid excuse for her anger. She saw the atrocities of the Bolsheviks
first hand. Because of this experience, she also respected our bill
of rights and constitutionally-limited government. She did not see
government as the root of all evil, as some libertarians do. But
she understood the harm that bad leaders have done.

The Randian
hero is not a general, a politician, a secret agent, or even a police
officer. The hero is a person like Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin,
Frank Lloyd Wright, Maria Montessori, Louis Pasteur, Henry Ford,
or George Washington Carver. Both Rand and Ron Paul understand that
a free society allows such people to thrive. A free society makes
their achievements possible.

No other Presidential
candidate in the two interchangeable parties understand this. This
certainly applies to the likes of Objectivist leaders such as Peikoff
and Bidinotto.

Perhaps the
most powerful reason for supporting Ron Paul is that Objectivist
ethics is based upon the non-aggression axiom: man has the right
to use force only to repel (or punish, or retaliate against)
prior aggression; it is improper, entirely improper, to initiate
violence against those not guilty of so doing first against us.
There is nothing in the Objectivist philosophy that would support
attacking nations that never even threatened us, let alone attacked
us. And, becoming policeman of the world should be dismissed by
all logically consistent Objectivists as nothing less than altruism
or socialism. Ron Paul is of course not a pacifist. He favors a
strong military. But, one limited to protecting us; and this
does not include dissipating our limited strength to every corner
of our troubled world.

Ron Paul is
not an isolationist; he opposes needless interventionism.
He favors laissez faire capitalism and free trade with all nations
of the world. His policies may not be 100% congruent with that of
the Objectivist philosophy, but when compared to all the other candidates
in both parties, he comes so close as to almost require support
for him from this community.

February
11, 2008

Chris Baker
[send him mail] interned
at Liberty magazine from 1996 to 1997. He has also been published
in The Freeman, Prometheus, Columbus Alive, Austin Chronicle,
and Baseball America. He first discovered Rand in 1992, at
21 years of age. He is a computer networking professional and a
certified master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming. He
lives in Austin, Texas – home of the largest Ron Paul meetup
in the country.

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