Friday, 25 May 2007

Ron Paul: Pat Buchanan in libertarian clothing

Hit and Run links a New Republic profile of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, popular with the right’s equivalent of the Netroots but apparently not attracting as many fans from libertarian ranks. Michael Crowley explains why:

But libertarians are a fractious bunch, and some hardcore activists have mixed feelings about the man now carrying their banner. For instance, libertarian purists generally support a laissez-faire government attitude toward abortion and gay marriage, as well as “open border” immigration policies and unfettered free trade. Yet Paul opposes gay marriage, believes states should outlaw abortion, decries high immigration rates, and has called himself “sort of” a protectionist. (These divergences may be explained by Paul’s socially conservative East Texas district, which lies adjacent to Tom DeLay’s former district and which President Bush last carried with 67 percent of the vote. Being pro-choice simply doesn’t fly there.)

As a result, Paul’s candidacy leaves some of his erstwhile libertarian fans cold—particularly the intellectuals who congregate in Washington outfits like the CATO Institute or Reason magazine. “He comes from a more right-wing populist approach,” explains Brian Doherty, a California-based Reason editor and author of Radicals for Capitalism, a history of the libertarian movement. “Culturally, he strikes a lot of the more cosmopolitan libertarians as a yokel.” (Doherty himself is a Paul admirer.)

And, while some libertarians criticize Paul from the left on social issues, others are swiping at him from the right over the war. “Will Libertarianism Survive Ron Paul?” asked one article on the America’s Future Foundation website, before continuing, “Paul’s prominence threatens to make his blame-America instincts the defining characteristic of libertarianism in the public imagination. If libertarianism becomes inextricably associated with radical pacifism, will young people with classically liberal instincts be discouraged from serious political engagement?”

The question facing this libertarian-minded voter who’s likely to vote in the GOP presidential primary: if I wasn’t inclined to vote for Pat Buchanan, why would I vote for Ron Paul, given that on almost all the issues that matter their positions are virtually indistinguishable?


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.

I worked to help Pat Buchanan win in NH and now doing the same for Ron.

When one’s basic honesty and positions are so correct, nitpicking over open borders is ridiculous. A country must have borders if it is to be sovereign!

In fact, being for open borders tells me that those libertarians who are, are enabling socialist party A and socialist party B since open borders are essential to one world government.

[Permalink] 2. Steven Taylor wrote @ Fri, 25 May 2007, 12:54 pm CDT:

I must confess, that’s a new one: open border libertarians as promoting one world socialism!


Who IS Ron Paul? NOBODY explains Ron Paul
BETTER than Ron Paul himself!

Here is an interactive audio archive of
Ron Paul speeches and interviews in chronological
order. Worth a look!

[Permalink] 4. joshua wrote @ Fri, 25 May 2007, 1:16 pm CDT:

Well the times are too important to quibble about single issue policy. I am a liberal dem who will be voting for Ron Paul in primaries as a republican. If i can support someone who is conservative, then you can look past relatively lesser idealogical differences with Paul. Even in only half of what Dr Paul says believes appeals to you he is the best candidate. How can you even be so petty as to balk at a stated goal of anti-imperialism, anti drud war, anti tax. I mean do you reasonably believe you will find a more libertarian candidate in your life. If he doesnt get the republican nomination than people like me will end up voting for gore or hillary as the lesser of two evils. It would be sad if libertarians didnt support Paul and we ended up with someeone like ghouliani.


The problem is that for me it’s not a single issue: on virtually every important issue (with the notable exception of the War on Some Drugs), Ron Paul’s position is inconsistent with mine, and on many important issues (abortion, immigration, trade, same-sex marriage) he’s not even in line with most libertarians, either “anti-imperialist” or “anti-isolationist.” At best he’s Pat Buchanan with a more palatable position on drugs and with a little more credibility on taxing and spending.


Abortion and same-sex marriage are really very important issues for you? More important than the war and domestic economic and social restrictions? And, a “LITTLE” more credibility on taxing and spending: Are you kidding me? He’s voted down virtually EVERY single taxing or spending increase.

As a libertarian, what, are you going to go with Giuliani because he’s better on abortion, and MAYBE gay marriage?


Where on earth did you see me say I’d vote for Giuliani? I may end up voting for Paul… but yes, social issues (and trade and immigration) are important to me, and his pandering to the populist base on those issues is a turn-off. Truth be told, I’ll probably just sit the primary out.

The bottom line: Ron Paul’s version of The Great Libertarian Offer seems like the Great Christianist and Buchananite Sellout from where I’m sitting.

[Permalink] 8. Scott Horton wrote @ Sat, 26 May 2007, 2:57 am CDT:

Ron Paul is for free trade. He is just against NAFTA etc. because it is an unconstitutional abdication of the authority of the Congress to unelected bureaucrats.

On abortion, at least he wants to let the states handle it.

Immigration: I think he is for a decent immigration policy, but would like to have good security. I think this is a fair compromise.

On same sex marriage: He voted against the constitutional amendment, again believing that if he was the president, it would be outside his authority to do anything about.

And he opposes torture. And bombing Iran.

[Permalink] 9. chris lawton wrote @ Sat, 26 May 2007, 9:55 am CDT:

From Tom Cornwell
May 24th, 2007 at 9:25 am
I would suggest that if one wanted to get a good fix on where Rep. Ron Paul stands on the issues, simply take a look at the principles on which the Libertarian Party is based. Read the Constitution of the United States. Read the Bill of Rights. Those conceptual thinkers who can look at the principles put forth can derive a likely outcome of Dr. Paul’s actions. This is why I like Ron Paul and this particular philosphy of politics/government – it takes all the guesswork out of it. Don’t vote for Ron Paul if you want government agencies to handle all of your problems, if you want never-ending new laws to quell your fears, if you want the government to continue (de)educating your children. Don’t vote for Ron Paul if you are not willing and ready to put some time in getting educated about and active in government at the local, state and federal levels (there is a lot to be undone). Don’t vote for Ron Paul if you don’t want to have to take on any work and responsibility for your liberties after walking away from the voting booth… If you want the status quo, vote for ANY other candidate, as it makes absolutely no difference in that case. This ‘freedom’ thing can be a very bitter pill to swallow to the majority of Americans, I believe.


Ron Paul is all things to all men, and maybe to one lucky gal!

Dr. Rep. Ron Paul generated the solutions to all of mankind’s problems using only the Principle of Noncontradiction and a form of predicate logic he invented himself.

Vote for Ron Paul if you love cookies, rainbows, and puppies, and think that the government should get out of the cookie- rainbow- and puppy-providing business.

Don’t vote for Ron Paul if you like hating yourself and being stupid.

Do I pretty much have it?


Yes some calling themselves libertarians do not realize that the open borders thing is playing into the world government proponents hands.

Usually when they learn what that is about, they change their minds.

After all if they hate the size of the US gov’t, why on earth do they want to be ruled by the UN?


You can’t have open borders in a libertarian way until you get rid of welfare. Until that time, you have to secure your borders.

Ron Paul believes abortion should be handled by the states, I’m sure he would be for free immigration (but still secured borders) if welfare didn’t exist, and the gay marriage thing? He didn’t vote for the Federal Marriage Amendment. Even some Democrats (i.e., John Edwards and Hillary Clinton) are not for gay marriage, so why is it so bad that Ron Paul isn’t? NAFTA and CAFTA are not free trade, they are managed trade which favors some (ie, big businesses) over others (the little guy). I don’t see the problem, or the contradiction with libertarian views. Many libertarians are off on one or two issues; he’s the best thing to come along for libertarian views since… well, ever.

He is for individual liberty more than any other politician and no one comes close to him on that account. He has my vote, that’s for sure. I urge you to rethink your position on this.

[Permalink] 13. Erica wrote @ Mon, 4 Jun 2007, 8:14 pm CDT:

Ron Paul DOES NOT think states should outlaw abortion; he believes that the states should govern themselves in the matter of abortion because, according to the Constitution, the federal government has no jurisdiction in this issue.

Ron Paul, though admittedly pro-life, wants to weaken government at the federal level, in accordance with the Constitution, in order to give the states the power to decide what is to be done about abortion. He also voted that it not be a crime for minors to cross borders in order to get an abortion. So EVEN THOUGH Paul himself does not believe in abortion, he thinks each state should decide for itself, and if you find yourself in the unenviable position of being a pregnant minor in a state where abortion is illegal, Paul STILL thinks you should be able to travel to another state to have the procedure.

THAT is someone who believes in freedom.

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