My first presidential vote was for Reagan in 1984, when I was an 18 year old freshman at LSU. It’s the last time I’ve voted Republican for President. After that I stared voting Libertarian, though in recent years I usually don’t vote at all (see my LRC post Re: Teaching Kids about Voting). Soon after that 1984 election I became more and more of a libertarian, though initially more heavily influenced by Ayn Rand. I never joined the LP itself, but in 1988, the LSU student Libertarians hosted an appearance by Ron Paul, during his presidential campaign that year. Out of curiosity, I showed up. It was the first time I had seen or even heard of Paul. At the time I was just beginning to warm to Rothbardian-Austrian libertarianism, after finally realizing Rand’s criticisms of libertarianism made little sense. In fact, by this time I had read Rothbard, the Tannehills, et al., so was basically an anarchist already.
I showed up for the speech; it was Ron Paul in a small classroom, with maybe 30 people in the room. It was not even full. I had a seat near the front. At the time I was a typical Randian on the abortion issue, and from Paul’s talk or literature I had detected that he might not have the standard LP or Randian pro-choice line. It puzzled me more than concerned me. So during the Q&A I raised my hand and asked Dr. Paul what his view on abortion was. He did not give the standard Randian answer, of cours—-that the fetus is a rightsless collection of cells, but in any case the Objectivist or neo-Objectivist view of children and fetuses has increasingly troubled me. That year I did vote for Paul for President.
How things have changed. My dad—a Reagan demopublican type now excited about Ron Paul—called me this morning to tell me about Paul’s appearance this week at LSU and the rave reception he received from the LSU students at a packed crowd at the LSU Union Theater. From a couple of dozen LP students at a small dingy classroom in 1988, to a packed crowd at the large theater—things have changed. The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate article about it is clipped below.
2:02 pm on September 24, 2011GOP presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, of Texas, touted ending the country’s wars, including the war on drugs, to a raucous packed crowd Friday at the LSU Union … Continue reading →