Few Questions, Concerning the Present Ron Paul Campaign Situation
by Walter Block: Wonít
You Come Home, Bill Evers? Wonít You Come Home?
Paulís recent endorsement of Mitt Romney
is the proper libertarian response to Rand Paul's recent endorsement
of Mitt Romney?
For me, an
important point was the realization, thanks to Jack
that Murray Rothbard supported George Bush over Bill Clinton. That
strongly indicates to me that there is nothing anti libertarian,
per se, about such an endorsement, whether of Bush by Rothbard,
or of Mitt, by Rand.
were slaves, and the master offered us a vote for either Overseer
Baddy, who beat the crap out of us all the time, or Overseer Goody,
who only beat us once in a while, and then more gently. And suppose
we voted for the latter. Does this mean we support slavery? Of course
not. Does this mean that we have thereby violated the libertarian
principle of non aggression? Again, of course not. Does this mean
we endorse Goody? No, a thousand times no. We can only infer from
this action that we prefer Goody to Baddy.
Now posit that
a mugger held us at gun point, and demanded either our watch or
our wallet, and we gave him our time piece. Does this mean we have
acquiesced in the robbery? Certainly not. Does this imply we agreed
to having our watch stolen from us? Again, not at all. One problem
I have with Rand Paul's endorsement of Mitt Romney is its timing:
it was done before his father, Ron Paul, had actually lost the election,
which is to be based on delegates, not popular vote. Another difficulty
I have with this episode is that while Rothbard endorsed George
Bush over Bill Clinton with the back of his hand, so to speak, Rand
Paul practically gushed over Mitt Romney. Not to put too fine a
point on it, he told a few ďporkies,Ē as the British would say.
(I am grateful to Robert Wenzel for convincing me to improve the
wording of this paragraph.)
Ron Paul endorse Mitt Romney?
If in the future,
Ron endorses Mitt, I will regard this act solely on pragmatic grounds.
I am not sure whether this is a wise move or not. On the one hand,
Ron will score points with the GOP establishment if he does; on
the other, his legions of fans will be gnashing their teeth. But,
as far as libertarian principle is concerned, I would have no problem
with it, any more than I did
with the prospect of Ron accepting matching funds from the government
for his campaign expenditures. As I see things, this decision is
not a matter of praxeology, of logic, of libertarian principle.
It is solely an issue of history as Mises would put it, or practicality.
Ron will either
endorse Mitt, or not. And whatever he does, we will never know if
liberty could have been better promoted had he taken the other course.
However, were this up to me, my instinct would be to advise Ron
not to endorse the weathervane. That is my prudential judgment.
is the best tactic for promoting liberty (assuming Ron Paul does
not become the Republican nominee)?
have concluded from this likely eventuality that politics is a foolís
game in terms of bringing about a libertarian society. They cite
the vicious manner in which our hero, Ron Paul, has been treated
by the GOP hierarchy: they have attempted to ignore him, ridicule
him, change the delegate rules at the last minute, they have physically
abused his supporters, have engaged in outright cheating in terms
of miscounting ballots, etc. They offer in contention for their
conclusion how the media regarded him: denigrated him, laughed at
him, covered everyone else but him, gave him short shrift in the
debates; if they were able to, they probably would have engaged
in physical abuse and ballot box stuffing too, such disinterested
and fair judges were they.
of politics claim that we should therefore return to education.
Now, donít get me wrong. I favor trying to educate the general populace.
I have devoted a goodly part of my career in this direction, and
shall continue my efforts in this regard. However, I am not at all
giving up on politics, not even our attempt to take over the Republican
Party, and return it to its (Taft, Borah, constitutional) roots.
But fairness forces me to acknowledge the fact that one of the best
ways to educate the public regarding the merits of personal liberties,
Austrian economics and a non imperialistic foreign policy is precisely
in the manner blazed by Ron Paul. We can have our cake and eat it
too. It is a false choice: either Ron Paul style Republicanism,
or education. The former is perhaps the best way, or means, to accomplish
the latter! Murray Rothbard used to say something to the effect
that every four years, for a few months, the eyes of the public
turn to politics, and that this would be a good opportunity for
us to take advantage of this phenomenon. Murray was a political
hound. He was involved in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party
(for Adlai Stevenson, against Ike), the Peace and Freedom Party,
the Libertarian Party; he saw this as a good way to get our message
to the public. I think his insight was dead on and applies now as
well as during his own lifetime.
strategy should libertarians embrace?
The Free State
Project? The Libertarian Party? Free market think tanks? Sea-steading?
Bookstores? Fabianism in reverse? Attempting to infiltrate the universities?
Supporting Ron Paulís efforts in the GOP? Journalism? Music videos?
Novels? Public lectures? I support them all. But in what proportion?
With my time? Academia and the Mises Institute are for me first
and foremost. I am forever trying to teach my students the benefits
of economic freedom, and the importance of understanding the dismal
science, from an Austrian perspective. In terms of my monetary donations?
Ron Paul and the Mises Institute are head and shoulders above all
the rest. But my advice to others? Engage in the course that is
the most enjoyable for you. Even Bill Buckley, no friend of liberty
he, acknowledged Murray Rothbard and his happy band. This libertarian
movement is supposed to be FUN. So, do what feels best, is my advice.
5. Who will
be better for the country? Mitt Romney or Barack Obama?
video, thereís not a dimeís worth of difference between the
two of them. I disagree. One reason is, say what you will about
Obama, at least he is not a weathervane, changing policy every time
the political wind veers. He sticks to his horrendous socialist
policies, come rain or shine. The same cannot be said for Romney.
Choosing between them is difficult, in that we really donít know
what one of them will do (ask the generals? Ask the lawyers? Ask
John Bolton?) However, attempting to look beneath the fog put out
by the weathervane, in my view Obama is likely to be slightly better
on foreign policy than Romney. And, I think this arena more important
than the other two, economic and personal liberty, however much
all three of them are intertwined. I favored Obama over John McCain
in 2008 on this foreign intervention ground,
and I now support our sitting president vis a vis Romney for that
6. Who to
vote for in the fall?
our choices are not limited to a "progressive" socialist
or a weathervane fascist. There is indeed a third option: Gary Johnson
and the Libertarian Party. Again, on the assumption that our man
Ron Paul is not in the running in November, this seems like a no
brainer. Gary Johnson is no Murray Rothbard. He is no Ron Paul.
But compared to Romney and Obama? It is no contest. The counter
argument is, a vote for Johnson is a vote for Obama. So what? I
favor Obama over Romney in any case.
of the future?
Ron Paul in
2016 is my motto. Ron is WAY better than Rand on libertarian grounds,
as Lew Rockwell brilliantly
demonstrates. Why support Rand, when Ron will still be around?
Yes, he will be 80 years old at that time. What, are you an ageist,
you despicable discriminatory creature? What about elder rights?
Wait, Iím getting off the point. Ron will have reached his nine
decade in four years, but, extrapolating from the present, he will
still be in far better physical shape than men 30 years younger
than him. Anyone want to challenge Ron to a bicycle race in the
heat of Texas? Not I, not I. Ron Paul in 2016, say I.
is the libertarian position?
What is the
libertarian position on Ron endorsing Mitt? The libertarian position
on anything is based on the question of, Does it violate the non
aggression principle (NAP) about initiating or threatening physical
violence. If so, the libertarian position is that it should be illegal,
and punished by the full force of the law. If not, the libertarian
position is that it should be legal, and it would be unjustified
to use physical violence against the person who engages in that
act. Before answering the question posed, let us consider some other
issues. What is the libertarian position on vanilla ice cream, basketball,
rap music, Mozart, homosexual marriages, libel and blackmail (as
opposed to extortion)? The question that must first be asked is,
do any of these things constitute a per se rights violation, in
that they are incompatible with that NAP? The answer is, Of course
not. Thus, the libertarian position on each of these items is that
they should all be legal. What is the libertarian position on murder,
rape and theft? Since these all violate the NAP, the libertarian
position is, they should all be illegal. Now for the question posed:
What is the libertarian position on Ron endorsing Mitt? It should
be legal. Ron should not be thrown in jail if he does this. Period.
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
Privatization of Roads and Highways.
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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