Is Rand Paul an Excellent Libertarian?

letter 1

From: Gary Barnett
Sent: Sunday, February 09, 2020 12:34 PM
To: Walter Block <
Subject: Rand Paul

Dear Walter,

You have stepped over the line of reason if you believe that Rand Paul is an “EXCELLENT” libertarian, unless the current meaning of libertarian means anyone leaning into the wind on a calm day. For if this were true, then most every other Republican, including Trump, would fall into this same category.

Even Rand Paul does not refer to himself as libertarian, which at least is more honest than any position to the contrary. It seems your “big tent” now has become open-ended almost without restriction.

As an aside, you also claim that Rand Paul is a “lousy libertarian,” but only as compared with Murray Rothbard. Comparison’s with that much reach could bring together polar opposites; very expressive of untenable compromise.

Sincerely and all my best … Gary

Letter 2

On Feb 9, 2020, at 6:25 PM, Walter Block < wrote:

Dear Gary:

Ayn Rand didn’t call herself a libertarian, either. But she was an

excellent libertarian. With the possible exception of Ron Paul,

she converted more people to our banner than anyone else.

I don’t care what Rand Paul calls himself. In my big tent book, he’s

not only a libertarian, he’s an excellent one. WAY better than

Donald Trump.

Best regards,


Letter 3

—–Original Message—–

From: Gary Barnett

Sent: Monday, February 10, 2020 8:43 AM

To: Walter Block <

Subject: Re: Rand Paul

Respectfully Walter, being a Republican, or any of the party

faithful, and doing one or two things that seem in the right

direction, does not a libertarian make. If it did, the term

libertarian would mean nothing.

Sincerely … Gary

Letter 4

On Feb 10, 2020, at 9:08 AM, Walter Block < wrote:

Dear Gary:

One or two things? Compared to whom?

Best regards,


Letter 5

From: Gary Barnett

Sent: Monday, February 10, 2020 10:49 AM

To: Walter Block <

Subject: Re: Rand Paul

Dear Walter,

All I am referring to is that Rand Paul is a Senator, and as I see

it, he has embraced the political system, and the processes that

allow it to continue to survive. Therefore, he votes or does not

vote, yes, no, or abstain, on issue after issue, bill after bill. If

one examines his voting record, it is relatively easy to discern

that he votes with the party trimmers often, but does not some of

the time. Given that he votes for some things that are more

favorable to the so-called libertarian position, big-tent

libertarians choose to embrace him for this partial favor. While it

is true that he may vote in a more “libertarian” manner at times,

certainly better than many, for what reason is this so? Is he doing

this out of a deep desire to be anti-state, anti-war, and pro-market

in the sense of all free markets for everyone? He is not. Or is he

walking the high wire by balancing his positions in order to please

his base? I believe he is gingerly staying in the middle?

I think it would be useful for those that claim to be libertarian to

define the term. If it means as I have been taught in the past that

libertarians are against government, against the state in general,

pro-market at every turn, and anti-war without compromise, then

those like Rand Paul and many others applauded by you, would never


If your “big tent” philosophy wins the day, then continuous

compromise is necessary, and acceptance of bad positions is

required, simply due to support of these middle of the road politicians.

I am a peaceful anarchist or voluntarist if any label is necessary,

so It would be difficult for me to accept the current libertarian

position if compromise is the underlying premise of that position,

which seems to be the case. One can applaud a measure that helps the

libertarian cause without claiming that a part-time “libertarian”

supporting politician is an “excellent libertarian.”

My best … Gary

Letter 6.

On Feb 10, 2020, at 11:35 AM, Walter Block < wrote:

Dear Gary:

I have no idea as to Rand’s motives. I have not made a study of each

and every one of his votes. I have no doubt that on the libertarian

criterion, he’d be more libertarian, way more, than any other senator.

What’s libertarianism? In my view, it comprises a 5 level hierarchy,

in this


1.Anarcho-capitalism. No government at all. Major spokesmen: Murray

Rothbard, Hans Hoppe 2.Minarchism. Limited govt libertarianism. The

govt has one role: to protect people living in the US. To this end,

only 3 institutions are justified:

armies, police, courts. Major spokesmen: Ayn Rand, Robert Nozick.

3.Constitutionalism. Our constitution is the principle. But, as

interpreted by people like Ron Paul and Andrew Napolitano, major

spokesmen. Why worse than the above? This document supports roads and

post offices.

4.Classical liberalism. Major spokesmen: Milton Friedman and

Friedrich Hayek. Very free market, but all sorts of exceptions;

welfare, public goods, etc. Very good on free trade, min wage, rent


5.Thick libertarianism. Major spokesmen: people who write for

Bleeding Heart Libertarians, Reason, Cato, too many leaders of the

Libertarian Party, etc.

They are spread out amongst the top 4, including an caps, but they

add irrelevancies to libertarianism, about which our philosophy has

no views whatsoever. Homosexuality, mixed marriages, opposition to

hierarchy, etc.

I consider all of the above to be libertarians, so, yes, I’m a big

tent person. Rand Paul fits into #3. I’m in #1.

Here is my estimate as to the proportion of people who fall into

these five categories. This adds up to more that 100%, given the

overlap between #5 and these others

1. 2%

2. 20%

3. 20%

4. 58% = 100%

5. 25%

Best regards


Letter 7

From: Gary Barnett

Sent: Monday, February 10, 2020 1:29 PM

To: Walter Block <

Subject: Re: Rand Paul


I do not know where you came up with these numbers, but most all in

this country are collectivists, which only leads to a total decline of


And if your example includes all these criteria, then what is

libertarianism but an all-inclusive and collectivist herd. How can

this ideology be set apart with no clear positions to solidify

thought? In other words, most anybody and everybody could be called

libertarian on any given day. This is my break with your thinking,

because with parameters of this magnitude, there is no defined

position that is based on real freedom due to natural rights only. I

never had any use for consensus.

As to the Constitution, it is not principled in any way as far as I am

concerned, and I have written much about that central planning coup.

And Walter, if you are in number 1, do you not accept that this is


Best … Gary

Letter 8

On Feb 10, 2020, at 1:38 PM, Walter Block < wrote:

Dear Gary:

I see nothing wrong with collectivism, provided that it is voluntary.

These are all examples, and, all are fully compatible with liberty:

nunnery, convent, kibbutz, commune, collective, syndicalist,

cooperatives, monastery, abbey, priory, friary, religious community,


I think your understanding of libertarianism is far too narrow. It

includes, only, an caps.

Those numbers are guesstimates of mine.

Best regards,


Letter 9

From: Gary Barnett

Sent: Monday, February 10, 2020 3:22 PM

To: Walter Block <

Subject: Re: Rand Paul


I was speaking of societal collectivism, not nunneries, as occurs today in the party system, in the divisive groups, as in the herd, which is the death knell of intellectual thought, and therefore the ruination of societies.

Voluntary participation in groups of individuals is a far cry from equality-seeking collectivist mobs as exist in America.

Sincerely … Gary

Letter 10

Dear Gary:

I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this. I think collectivism is compatible with libertarianism. I’m not a thick libertarian. Obviously, I oppose ” equality-seeking collectivist mobs as exist in America.” But I would also oppose, again on libertarian grounds, inequality-seeking individualist mobs as do not exist in America.

Some lefties are very individualistic. They  pride themselves on being different, even than their “progressive” cohorts. But they are still evil.

Not because of collectivism-individualism, but due to the fact that they violate the NAP.

There are murderers who are individualistic. Maybe they are hermits or semi-hermits. But, since they violate the NAP, they are bad guys, even though not collectivists.

Best regards,



4:49 pm on May 1, 2020