What I’m really interested in is how to get from where I am to Liberty, and I will gladly join up with other Americans who are willing to submerge all their differences and create an organization that has one and only one aim: LIBERTY. That means Liberty for me, for you, and for everyone else. That includes people we disagree with on all sorts of issues. If we understand that Liberty means that you choose your own governance and I choose mine, exclusive of interfering with one another violently, then we can unite under this one banner: LIBERTY.
The idea that we should be free to choose our own governance is a radical idea, the most radical idea in political history. It is an idea that the Founding Fathers shrank from. They still thought in terms of a single national government. Their main compromises with Liberty were to suppose that Liberty could be attained via a single limited government and, in fact, that this government was necessary to secure that Liberty. Both assumptions were wrong, dead wrong. They also compromised our Liberty in a Constitution that had a great many loopholes that allowed for a truly enormous government power. We simply must surpass them and go the next step in order to bring into being the freedom to choose our own governance, and this means that there cannot be a single government over all who live in America.
This means breaking old and deeply ingrained habits of thought. Francis Bacon wrote: "The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it." The opinion that the State is a necessary evil is unbelievably entrenched in the minds of people the world round. They cannot imagine any other alternative. Having adopted that opinion, they rationalize it with all manner of false argument.
It will take a large educational effort by many of us to smash this wall of mis-belief and replace it with a new vision.
Liberty is whole and undivided. It cannot be sustained by a dose of limited poison (the State) in its midst that is anti-Liberty and yet is supposed to protect Liberty. The poison grows and grows and eventually paralyzes the body politic. There is simply no way of ever attaining Liberty without ending government as we know it. There can be no monopoly government that is limited. There can be no Liberty with people shifting the responsibility for solving their personal problems to this government, for then it becomes unlimited in scope and power. There can be no Liberty without self-governance. This most assuredly does not mean every person becomes an isolated atom. It means the very opposite. Liberty implies the Liberty to associate with others to choose the social governance that one desires. This is the polar opposite of being made to associate in one huge group in one delimited territory under rules formulated by distant and unaccountable officials and bureaucrats.
We who support Liberty could benefit if there were a group of 10—20 million Americans who shared this common goal. We could then move toward this goal. Winning political office within the existing system is not consistent with the ultimate objective, for there should ultimately be no single State in America or else there can be no Liberty in America. But winning political office serves two intermediate objectives. The main one is educational: elect people who spread the message of Liberty, what it means, how to get it, and why we want it. The second objective is to reduce the more egregious violent acts of the State that infringe the liberties of large numbers of Americans.
I’m really not into winning elections and ruling others. Far from it. But things are looking more and more desperate in America. Police in Washington are starting to search people before they can use the subway. If a coalition of 10—20 million voters could be put together, it would shift the balance of power tremendously. Winning elections to foster the non-rule of the winners over the losers is a sensible objective.
Ron Paul, had he been nominated, would have been the Republicans’ strongest candidate — easily. He could have amassed far more votes than their ticket will get. He could have given Obama a real run for his money, indeed Ron Paul might even have won. Americans have been bullied and pushed around long enough. They may be confused but they know something is wrong and needs to be put right. It would have been very easy to take Mr. Obama apart and reveal his deceits and lies, to reveal who owns him, to reveal his pet prejudices and favorites, and to show just how badly he will end up ruling with his panoply of programs. Dr. Paul had the issues squarely on his side.
So instead of that picture, we have the Republican Party choosing a far, far weaker candidate. Why didn’t Ron Paul win the nomination of his Party?
While there are many things that one can point to, I will emphasize three deep reasons. (1) Ron Paul goes against the basic ideas of the Republican Party that go back to Lincoln in 1860. He may be a Jeffersonian Republican but the Republican Party is Lincolnian. Perhaps Dr. Paul is an Old Right Republican, but they were eclipsed in the Party long ago. Republicans stand for the Union above all, which is the national State. They don’t believe in a limited State. They have stood for high tariffs, subsidies to business, and subsidies to build infrastructure. They are very weak on civil liberties. I could go on at length to underscore my point, which is virtually self-evident. Republicans routinely vote in large numbers against Ron Paul’s proposals. They don’t believe in his principles.
(2) If Ron Paul had secured the nomination, he would have vastly altered the distribution of power within the Party. It would have meant a shift from those who support the internationalist-banking-big business-militarist-fascist orientation to a completely opposite orientation. Obviously, parties are all about power and position and getting the election goodies. The Republican bigwigs could not tolerate a Ron Paul.
(3) The Republicans preferred running a weak candidate and having a Democrat win than running Ron Paul who might start a peaceful revolution. This is because they wish to maintain their duopoly of power and privilege. The Democrats and Republicans have a duopoly when it comes to political power. The fiction that the two parties differ (when they do not differ in any significant way) keeps Americans divided and constantly focused on trivial differences, personalities, trivial expenses, trivial personal matters, etc. Meanwhile the two parties have such a hammerlock on election rules, campaigns, debates, candidates, contributions, and the media, that no upstart party stands a chance. They have rigged the system entirely in their favor. For a Ron Paul to have run and exposed this system nationally for months on end would have been unthinkable. And if he had won the presidency, the members of his own Party would have been attacking him in all sorts of ways to discredit him and his views.
These are the three fundamental reasons why Ron Paul failed to secure the nomination of his Party, despite the very high probability that he would have done much better than McCain and Palin, and may even have beaten Obama.
Obama will win. I expect that he will put the economy even more into the tank than it already is. He could even make it bad enough that his re-election is doubtful, but he will blame his predecessors and argue that he has not had enough time to fix 8 years of Republican rule. He will also try very hard to solidify his coalition by giving them favors.
Despite all that, Ron Paul will become even more of a viable opposition candidate. But the Republicans will never go for him because of the factors above. Besides there will be the Palins and others who will want to have the power.
Paul’s only alternative is a third party run. He can’t establish a new party because of the difficulties of getting on the ballot. That leaves the Libertarian Party. Its commitment to Liberty is very strong, but it is vague on the key thing, which is to act in such a way as to free people to choose their own governance.
If such a group were to target certain vulnerable Congressional districts and focus on getting Ron Paul candidates elected there, his voice in Congress would be given immensely more support and prominence. Moreover, a voting bloc of 25 Congressmen would hold the balance of power on many issues. Paul might run for President, but the real effort would be to get a voting bloc in Congress. Alternatively, maybe there are some vulnerable state legislatures. Instead of random shots spread out everywhere, the libertarians could focus their resources on getting 25 people elected to Congress, or maybe getting 25 legislators in key states where their vote would make them the key bloc to win over.
The main objective, from my perspective, is to attract that core of 10—20 million people who set aside all their differences and become single-issue voters, that issue being Liberty. But, as I outlined it at the outset, Liberty means that each of us has the freedom to choose out own governance. This poses a problem. Suppose the Libertarian Party wins a national election. It now runs the monopoly State. Does it then have a right to impose its visions upon all Americans? It certainly does not. If there are Americans who wish to live in drug-free communities and impose these or other restrictions on themselves, should they not have the Liberty to do so?
A Libertarian government can only act consistently with its principles by doing everything it can to free Americans. This can be accomplished by recognizing the right of any person of group of persons to separate themselves from the reach of the national government while still living wherever they choose to live. In this way, Americans can achieve self-governance without monopoly and in freedom. They can choose their own preferred methods of governance. The right to separate from a government while not necessarily separating physically and territorially (while retaining that option) is key. In this way, we can bring to fruition principles articulated by our Founding Fathers but as yet unrealized in modern America.
Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.