Ron Paul and the Self-Hating u2018Libertarians'
by Walter Block
Recently by Walter Block: Ron Paul and Liberty
Karen Kwiatkowski wrote a magnificent blog exposing Reason magazine as critics, not supporters, of libertarianism. I would now like to add to her so far list of one "libertarian" who trashes Ron Paul. My nomination to be second on this list is Stefan Molyneux. Full disclosure: his speech attacking Dr. Paul goes on for almost an hour, and I didn't have the sitzfleisch (patience) to listen to all of it. But, in the first 10 minutes or so he criticizes Congressman Paul for, yes, wait for it, favoring the Constitution! Molyneux also correctly allows that if President Paul takes office, we "slaves" will have far fewer beatings, but claims that this is an insufficient reason for supporting him. I did indeed, until recently listening to this rant, have some respect for Molyneux (unlike for Reason magazine, which has long ago turned against libertarianism). He has authored some very persuasive material on anarcho-capitalism. But, evidently, Molyneux is one of those free market anarchists who does not really "hate the state" (see Murray Rothbard on this) certainly not enough to support one of the greatest enemies of statism the world has ever known.
We are now at a point in time where, thanks to Dr. Ron Paul, people are hearing of libertarianism to a degree that possibly never before occurred in our entire history. Congressman Paul's efforts in 2008 were responsible for putting our freedom philosophy in front of the American people in a gigantic, stupendous way. His present campaign is even more successful, far more so. At a time when Ron is creating libertarians wholesale, and introducing the entire world to the case for liberty, Reason and Molyneux are doing everything they can to stop this process. For shame.
I said, above, that that this list has two members. I fear there are many, many more, mainly beltway type "libertarians." Unhappily, these two, Reason and Molyneux, constitute just the tip of the iceberg. I can readily understand why liberals and conservatives hate Ron Paul with a purple passion. If they did not score on this litmus test in this manner, they would not be liberals or conservatives. I can even understand the case for the main stream media giving him the backs of their hands. But libertarians who oppose Ron Paul? Their stance boggles the imagination.
Why is it that we have so many self-hating "libertarians"? Several theories present themselves. Consider the following.
1. Inside the beltway suck-ups realize that their very tenuous connections to Washington D.C. power brokers will all but vanish with a Paul Administration.
2. Plain old jealousy and envy. Ron Paul has done more for libertarianism than all of his critics, put together. Indeed, the two do not even belong in the same sentence, so widely disparate has been their success in promoting liberty.
3. Ron Paul is from "flyover" country. He is not "sophisticated." He is a rube. If you look closely, he has hay on his suit. Our sophisticated libertarians thus see him as an embarrassment.
4. Congressman Paul does not look for "second best" solutions. He is not skilled in the art of compromise. He is a man of principle. The contrast between Dr. Paul and his many critics is all too glaring.
5. For some libertarians, this philosophy is only a parlor game (I think of Nozick in this regard). It is a beautiful philosophy (true confession: I see it this way too.) But it has nothing to do with the real world. A Paul Administration, however, would actually do things: bring back the troops, save the dollar, drastically lower taxes, legalize victimless crimes. What, then, would happen to professional libertarians in such a relatively free society? Horrors, there might be fewer jobs for such presumed opponents of statism.
6. Ron Paul is too old. I'll bet that if there were a physical test between the contenders for the Republican nomination (e.g., time in the quarter mile, number of push-ups in 3 minutes, weight-lifting, a bicycle race, something like that) Ron would outclass competitors a decade or two younger than him. But wait: this would not be a fair test. Dr. Paul was a national class athlete. Most of these others are couch potatoes. Can you picture Newt Gingrich swimming 200 yards? This picture, it wouldn't be a pretty one, puts that charge in context.
I have no idea as to whether or not these theories are true; they are only speculations on my part. Perhaps they apply to some "libertarian" opponents and critics of the Ron Paul Revolution. But, if we are to counter them, the first step would appear to be to understand them, and, perhaps, these explanations will lead others to get us that proverbial one step closer to the truth.
Dr. Block [send him mail] is a professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of Defending the Undefendable and Labor Economics From A Free Market Perspective. His latest book is The Privatization of Roads and Highways.