The Ron Paul revolution has come about quickly in less than a year's time. It has surprised nearly everyone, including Congressman Paul himself. Libertarians are accustomed to seeing the same typical Republicans and Democrats running each election cycle, while the Libertarian Party presidential candidate gets less than 1% of the vote with no hopes of winning. So why all of a sudden is Ron Paul having so much success?
In many ways, there is a bit of a perfect storm brewing. Ron Paul is the only member of Congress with a strong libertarian philosophy and he obviously has the experience of running campaigns. By running as a Republican, he is able to accomplish more since the whole system has been rigged against third-party candidates. The most important aspect of his run as a Republican is his presence in the debates, which has exposed a whole new audience to the message of freedom and small government.
In addition to all of this, there is a high resentment towards politicians these days. The current president's approval ratings are low and the Congress (controlled by Democrats) has even lower approval ratings. There is also a very unpopular war being fought, which neither side has the willingness to end.
There was a similar environment in the 1970's with a war that was even more unpopular because of the draft. There were also the disasters of the Johnson and Nixon administrations. Although there was revolution in the air at that time, it seemed to be dominated by socialists. There was certainly an anti-war revolt, but it was coupled with calls for bigger government at home.
Another major factor in the whole success of the Ron Paul revolution is of course the internet. It is hard to say how successful the Paul campaign would have been without the internet, but most could safely assume that it would have been much more difficult for people to organize.
There is another link in the whole rEVOLution that often gets ignored. The libertarian base has finally developed enough to have a revolution. The internet is great. Having an unpopular president and Congress have certainly helped. Having a man like Ron Paul, running as a Republican, has been critical. But all of this would not be possible if the ideas of liberty had not been planted in people's heads prior to this.
When Harry Browne ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1996 and 2000, he knew and admitted that he had no chance to win. The purpose of his campaigns was not to win. He continually stated that his main purpose was to educate people and recruit and grow the libertarian base for the future. He understood that you could not wave a magic wand and create liberty without the hard work of convincing our fellow humans of the great benefits of liberty.
Thanks to the work of Harry Browne, many of the writers and readers of LewRockwell.com, Ron Paul himself, and so many others, we are now in a position to make gains for our side.
Every year, it seems the government gets bigger and more powerful, while a minor setback for the government is seen as a rare accomplishment for libertarians. It seems that libertarians can't do anything to cut the government. It is a lot of work just trying to slow down its growth.
Now we see more hope than ever. We see that maybe it will be possible in the future to make significant gains for freedom. And it is due to the hard work and determination of past libertarians that fought on, even though progress could rarely be visibly seen.
Some Ron Paul supporters think this is the last chance to save our country and our freedom. While possible, it is not likely. This revolution should actually give renewed hope, as a whole new generation of libertarians is growing exponentially. Even if Ron Paul does not win the Republican nomination, this past year has been an enormous success.
In the past, we libertarians have heard from many, particularly Republicans, that the only way to reduce the state is in baby steps. In other words, we can't be too radical in what we advocate or it will turn people away. The people that said this and continue to say this have it completely wrong. It is the radical libertarian base that has stayed consistent and on message and has done far more to help the cause of liberty than anyone else.
As the number of radical libertarians increase (which has happened quickly due to Ron Paul and the internet), the quicker it will be that the state falls. It would be nice if Ron Paul were to become president in 2009. It would speed up our agenda into light speed. But even if Ron Paul doesn't win the nomination, his campaign has helped recruit radical libertarians that can now help educate other people on the benefits of liberty.
Let's thank Congressman Paul for his past work and now for leading our rEVOLution. Let's also not forget about all of the people prior to this that never gave up hope and set the stage for where we are today.
December 4, 2007