Running For President… Not God

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Roderick Long comments on Ron Paul’s appearance on Meet the Press:

I think Paul did a pretty good job on the whole, but the transcript does illustrate the perils of a libertarian electoral strategy. If you run as a consistent libertarian, you’ll scare off voters as they now are; if, instead, you water down or soft-pedal some aspects of your philosophy, you’ll get called on the inconsistency — as happens here, where Paul ends up sounding like he’s defending the FBI, the CIA, public schools, and the legitimacy of invading North Korea as long as Congress declares war first.

My comments…

We libertarians are used to answering policy questions from a “god’s eye” point of view… If we could abolish gov’t schools then we would, etc.

Ron Paul, though, does not answer questions in this way on the campaign trail. He isn’t running for god. He is running for president and he answers questions in the context of what he would do if elected. Would he abolish public schools? I hope I don’t need to remind anyone that that would be an astonishing act of centralized tyranny for a president to do. The gov’t schools are, at least nominally, under local control in the U.S.

Of course, not only is Ron Paul only running for president, he has a much more limited view of the legal authority of the executive than the mainstream. There is no doubt in my mind that President Ron Paul can accomplish much good, but he isn’t going to accomplish all our libertarian dreams in one stroke. That would require dictatorial acts that would rather destroy the point of the whole exercise.

3:30 pm on December 24, 2007