Libertarians Against Ron Paul

Doctor Ron Paul with Washington, Jefferson Libertarian bloggers from across the political spectrum have come out against Ron Paul.

Right-libertarian lawprof Ilya Somin believes that “Ron Paul deserves credit for his strong commitment to limited government on many issues, including taxes, regulation, federal spending, and federalism-based limits on federal government power.” Yet, he feels unable to support Paul, even as a protest candidate, because “There are also a number of major nonlibertarian elements to Paul’s issue positions, some of which are extremely disturbing.”

As the Club for Growth describes here, Ron Paul has opposed virtually all free trade agreements. Few ideas are more fundamental to libertarianism than free trade. As the Club has documented, Paul also has opposed school voucher programs.


Perhaps worst of all, Paul has bought into the conservative nativist line on immigration. He not only favors a massive crackdown on illegal immigration but even seems to endorse the view that immigration should be “reduced, not expanded” whether legal or not. To my mind, the freedom to choose where you live and the right to move to a freer and more prosperous society are among the most important of all libertarian principles. From a libertarian perspective, our relative openness to immigration is one of the most admirable aspects of America.


Lastly, like David Bernstein, I am troubled by Paul’s refusal to repudiate the Stormfront neo-Nazis, racists, 9/11 “Truthers,” and other assorted wackos who have endorsed him. Paul is not responsible for the views of these people, and I do not believe that he personally agrees with them. However, his apparent unwillingness to distance himself from them suggests that he is insensitive to the despicable nature of their views, and the significant damage that association with them could do not only to his campaign, but to libertarian causes more generally.

Neolibertarian Dale Franks has a much more detailed criticism of Paul’s statement on racism .

Now, we can certainly have a discussion about whether government’s proper role is to ban private discrimination, but I think we can all agree that, at minimum, government itself cannot be allowed to discriminate on the base of race. I think Equality Under the Law is supposed to be the ideal.

In any event, this statement of Mr. Paul’s is certainly true in part, e.g. that the government should not be picking winners and losers in the marketplace, nor should it be distributing pelf to favored groups. But the idea that the government played any significant part in the racial practices of early America is simply ludicrous. Indeed, before FDR, most Americans had a fairly tangential relationship to the Federal government. Indeed, it was the federal government’s generally hands-off attitudes towards racial matters that led slavery to fester, and after that Jim Crow.

Left-libertarian Ron Chusid is dismissive of the idea that Ron Paul is a libertarian at all: “Confusing Paul’s social conservativism with libertarianism reinforces the view that libertarians are just Republicans who have tried marijuana.”

Sometimes when diverse groups support a candidate it is a sign of broad appeal, however when both libertarians and neo-Nazis claim Paul as their preferred candidate at least one of these groups must be badly mistaken. The tactics used by many Paul supporters who habitually spam blogs which say anything negative about him further compounds the problem. The comments by Paul’s supporters far too often are characterized by total lack of respect for opposing viewpoints, racism, and belief in conspiracy theories. Any disagreement with Paul, and anything short of one hundred percent approval of his actions, is treated as a sign of either idiocy or evil motives by his supporters.

I’ve recently half-jokingly suggested that it might be in the best interests of libertarians if a publication such as Reason were to distance themselves from Paul. I’m finding an increasing number of libertarians who have expressed similar views, or least frustrations with aspects of Paul’s campaign. Liberty Papers has frequently noted such concerns and and summarizes them in a post today. Freedom Democrats expresses concern with Paul’s “association with the cultural right.”

Now, I find the guilt-by-association business troubling. It’s not surprising that white supremacists, who have been targeted by the federal government for half a century, would gravitate toward the candidate with the least intrusive vision of federal power. That he’s also a closed borders guy is an additional bonus.

Candidates shouldn’t be tarred with the views of those who profess support for them. Further, I’m not sure they have any obligation to denounce said groups. That’s probably especially true for candidates whose whole rationale for running is that people’s private lives are none of the government’s business.

I must agree with Somin — and my OTB colleague Alex Knapp — that the concept of a closed borders, trade protectionist libertarian is paradoxical. Free trade is a founding principle of libertarian thought, going back to Adam Smith, if not earlier.

That Somin, Chusid, and Franks — whose political views are wildly divergent on many issues — all consider themselves “libertarian,” though, says quite a bit about the movement. While most of us think of libertarianism as the only ideologically coherent political view with strong support in the American system, there’s obviously plenty of room for disagreement. Presumably, considering he was once the Libertarian Party nominee for president, there’s room for Ron Paul.

Image via Crash Martinez.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, 2008 Election, Blogosphere, Congress, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Fluffy says:

    Maybe the reason Paul supporters have disdain for fellow libertarians who come out against Paul is the shocking disingenuousness and dishonesty of their arguments.

    Consider Ms. Somin, for example. I’m sure she knows very well that Paul opposes managed trade agreements because he does not consider them to be free trade, and wants open trade with foreign nations unalloyed by managed trade agreements and international arbiters. It is fair to criticize Paul’s position here, as the Club for Growth does, as being an example of the perfect being the enemy of the good, but Ms. Somin’s characterization of Paul as opposing free trade is simply a lie. And one it is fairly safe to assume she KNOWS is a lie.

    Similarly, I am sure Ms. Somin knows quite well that Paul opposes tuition vouchers because he wants to bring out school choice using tuition tax credits instead. With vouchers, you’re conceding that the state can collect the money in the first place, and then redistribute it however it chooses, while allowing the citizen to spend the redistributed voucher at a school of his choice. This is not a very libertarian idea, even if it is an improvement on the current funding system.

    I think we would find, if we scratched the surface of the people making these so-called libertarian criticisms of Paul, that we would discover warmongery as the motive and nothing else. Disputes over the proper means to separate the state from education turn from friendly discussion points into major issues mainly when the person framing the discussion wants very, very badly for the state to kill Muslims, and is angry that Paul doesn’t want the state to kill Muslims, too. When antiwar libertarians start turning against Paul, then I might take the criticisms more seriously. When it’s just a crowd of Dondero-esque warmongering Bush-loving libertarians, I’ll take their criticisms with about a trillion grains of salt.

  2. Francine says:

    Let me get this straight.

    Republican/Conservatives “Leaders”: Ron Paul is too Liberal and/or Left-Libertarian.

    Democrat/Liberal “Leaders”: Ron Paul is too Conservative and/or Right-Libertarian.

    Libertarian/left-libertarian, right-libertarian, neo-libertarian(oxymoronic label) “Leaders”: Ron Paul is too Conservative and/or Liberal.

    So to summarizes, according to these self-appointed political elitists i shouldn’t support Ron Paul because he is too Conservative or Liberal or Libertarian and/or not Conservative or Liberal or Libertarian enough.


    And they wonder why Paul supporters ignore the talking heads…

  3. Mark Jaquith says:

    I must agree with Somin — and my OTB colleague Alex Knapp — that the concept of a closed borders, trade protectionist libertarian is paradoxical.

    Sure is. But that doesn’t describe Paul at all. Paul has spoken out against trade protectionism many times. He opposes “free trade” legislation because it often is a sham. On immigration, his main points are that we shouldn’t have a welfare state that encourages illegal immigrants (free education, free public services, birthright citizenship), and that as a sovereign nation, we should control or borders. But Paul also supports immigration reform and a guest worker programs. Quote: “We have to deal with the border. We have to get rid of the incentives. We have to clean up our economy. And then we won’t have a problem.”

    When antiwar libertarians start turning against Paul, then I might take the criticisms more seriously. When it’s just a crowd of Dondero-esque warmongering Bush-loving libertarians, I’ll take their criticisms with about a trillion grains of salt.

    In my experience, nine times out of ten, that is why someone is objecting to Ron Paul. It’s just that supporting the continued occupation of Iraq is increasingly unpopular — so they don’t want to say that’s why they don’t like Paul. So they engage in guilt-by-association smears, or nit-pick on minor policy issues (like vouchers vs tax credits), or willfully misrepresent his positions, or just plain call him names. Take away the issue of our militaristic foreign policy and most conservatives and pseudo-libertarians would support him in a flash.

  4. Francine says:

    I’ve also seen one blogger call him a conspiracy nut in bed with 9/11 truthers, and then read another blog where the conspiracy guys say they don’t like him because he doesn’t support the 9/11 truthiness.

    I think it’s fantastic, you all can keep dissing him, we’ll see what happens when the votes are counted.

  5. Texas Little El says:

    The amazing thing is that Libertarians rely on logic in making many of their decisions, putting emotionality aside.

    Yet those self same Libertarians didn’t look deeply enough at why Rep Paul didn’t endorse or vote for those “free trade” agreements.

    If they had would they have noticed that those ‘Free Trade’ agreements were managed / fair trade in disguise.

    For the same reason that Rep. Paul didn’t vote for the immediate impeachment of VP Cheney, he thinks about what the proper rule of law is and applies it even to those who may not deserve it.

    I may even question why the campaign staff for Ron Paul didn’t give back $500.00 from Mr. Black. That money is a pittance to return and it stops the rumors of Anti-sematism.

    I would conclude that Rep. Paul isn’t aware of the problem since he doesn’t blog like the rest of us, so wouldn’t know of its effect. I would first ask Rep. Paul directly instead of inferring the worst case scenario.

    I think the bloggers that purport to be Libertarian have let their emotions rule where calmer heads should have prevailed. Maybe asking the questions to the candidate directly might satisfy those who think Rep. Paul isn’t all the Libertarian they claim he is cracked up to be.

  6. Anderson says:

    I don’t dislike Ron Paul because of his Nazi supporters.

    I dislike him because of his libertarian supporters.

  7. Deep Toad says:

    With all the problems and challenges our country is facing, I find it amazing that people inside and outside of the news media are still using party lines to keep the masses divided and confused. It’s heartbreaking that people are swallowing this nonsense.

    I don’t care if he’s part of the Royal Party of Navel Contemplation. He’s talking sense about what our country is facing, he’s not backing down, he has shown that he is a public servant and not just another bought-and-paid-for politician and he’s obedient to the Constitution.

    Good enough for me.

    I don’t give a flying Sabrett’s if he’s Liberal, Conservative, Moderate or anything else. He wants to solve problems and promote the personal liberties of American citizens.

    He’s got my support and my vote.

  8. Boyd says:

    I’m consistently amused that whenever James puts up a post about Paul (or even just tangentially involving him), the comments are overtaken by folks I’ve never heard of. Making statements I find somewhat fantastic.

    Oh, and Fluffy, have you notified Ilya Somin that he’s now a woman? I’m sure he’d be interested to learn that.

  9. jmklein says:

    Paul is the most libertarian candidate we will see in our generation on an actual election stage. Its time to get over the petty bickering as a movement and unit. We are not going to get another chance like this and it would be retarded to blow it because we’re trying to compare the candidate to John Galt.

    Guess what? Ron Paul is not John Galt. Get over it. Lets just win this and make libertarianism more than an obscure emerging philosophy and make it the natural philosophy of governance.

  10. jmklein says:

    Paul is free trade.

    Paul is free trade.

    You absurdly lazy blogger, Paul supports unilateral free trade, like Hong Kong, and not the paltry managed trade of treaties. You don’t need a treaty to make free trade, it happens domestically through tariffs.

  11. Anderson says:

    He wants to solve problems and promote the personal liberties of American citizens.

    Abortion not being a personal liberty, I take it?

    I know that “naive libertarians” is a caricature, but when I see so many caricatures supporting Ron Paul, I have to agree w/ Prof. Somin & others who fear that Paul is bad for liberatarianism.

  12. Of course the ol’ “we want the free trade to be fair trade” is the mainline position of the Democratic Party, is it not?

    I would think that the actual libertarian position would be that freeer trade would almost always be better than less free trade, and therefore an imperfect free trade deal would trump no free trade deal at all.

  13. Francine says:

    Abortion not being a personal liberty, I take it?

    …I have to agree w/ Prof. Somin & others who fear that Paul is bad for liberatarianism.

    Not all libertarians are pro-choice, they are just as divided as the rest of the country on that issue. If a person(especially an obgyn who who chose medical school over seminary) wants to take the ethical position that a zygot is a member of the human race(not the same as a “person” but neither are advanced alzheimers patients) and therefore subject to the non aggression principal then the reasoning is still in line with libertariansim.

    You can be pro-choice if that’s how you feel, but don’t pretend that pro-lifers are not “real libertarians” or are somehow “bad for libertariansim” for not be pro-choicers, as if being pro-choice was the libertarian’s default position, that’s dishonest.

  14. Allen says:

    Abortion not being a personal liberty, I take it?

    Anderson, please read Harry Browne. Libertarians are split on the abortion issue. Some libertarians emphasize the personal liberty of the mother, whereas others emphasize that of the unborn child. Obviously, when the personal liberties of two individuals clash, then it is legitimate to differ on this issue.

  15. Immigrant says:

    Libertarians not supporting Ron Paul? Maybe they aren’t true Libertarians then. The real question here is, ‘how can an American not support the American constitution?’ Ron Paul is going to win this whole thing, the government/corporate mainstream media is shaking in their boots at that thought.

  16. Francine says:

    Abortion not being a personal liberty, I take it?

  17. J.C. says:

    You know, I hesitate to put any energy into an argument I feel will probably be wasted on people who value their party more than their country, but I’ll give it a shot:

    Would you not rather have someone who captures at least some of your ideals as president than someone who is blatantly opposed to most of them?

    Would you not rather have a president who will keep your right to free speech protected so you can continue arguing for your preferred party, rather than someone who will restrict your speech?

    My point is, even if you disagree on one, or a few, of Ron Paul’s positions, do not lose sight of the fact that his approach is, at the least, DIRECTIONALLY correct, and you can argue over the details once he’s in office. But, please, don’t dismiss the man entirely because you can’t see the forest through the trees.

    The point is, Ron Paul would be better for this country than anyone else out there, if you can get past one or two hangnail issues. Vote for Paul, or chop off your whole finger because of the hangnail.

  18. Pete says:

    “Abortion not being a personal liberty, I take it?”

    I am always perplexed by those who have such a strong lust for abortion. How many have you participated in? How many more do you “need”? It’s as if aborting is the most important thing in human life or something… Ron Paul simply said that the states should be able to vote on it and do as each state pleases on the matter. You know, democracy? You know, choice of the people? Or do you think it is “more fair” for 5 out of 9 judges to decide it for the whole country, and unfair for actual citizens to vote? That’s the impression I get from these types..a strange idea of fair.

  19. Robert E. says:

    Abortion not being a personal liberty, I take it?

    Dr. Paul is personally pro-life and politically pro-constitution, the latter meaning that the Federal Government & USSC have no business meddling in what are essentially personal decisions.

    How much more libertarian can you get?

  20. Aaron says:

    I guess it’s a good thing Ron is not running for the libertarian nomination since so many libertarians don’t like him. I’m sure they’ll feel much better voting for Steve Kubby. Because that’s not going to be a wasted vote. Nobody I know who supports Ron is behind every single idea or position, however we all have compromised because we know he is the closest thing to a libertarian up on stage bringing it to the masses. Not to mention he’s doing quite well.
    I never comment online but I believe it’s about go time on that. I mean who really cares about school vouchers when the war machine is bankrupting the country and our government is passing thought crime legislation?!

  21. Alter Rosenberg says:

    All of the bloggers you quote are Jews; ethnocentric Jews “from across the political spectrum” have come against Ron Paul because of his Israel-neutrality.

    Jews want to continue to have free hand-outs like welfare recipients; and Ron Paul preaches self-responsibility.

    See the conflict?

  22. David says:

    Of course, none of the so called libertarians quoted in the article have any long-standing credentials in the libertarian movement. They can call themselves whatever they want, but the proof is in their positions being in line with long-standing definitions of classical liberal philosophy (i.e. libertarianism), not in making classical liberal philosophy comply to their personal views.

  23. ModernAcademia says:

    I’m sorry, but articles like this are precisely why alot of Ron Paul supporters insult their debating opponents.

    How can you argue logic with idiots?

    And i’m not saying that to be offensive but, Ron Paul haters only dislike Ron Paul with no foundation whatsoever!

    Their reasons for disliking him are uneducated.
    Not because they are uneducated people, but they didn’t educate themselves on his views properly enough to form an opinion, much less write a blog about it.

  24. MAtt golden says:

    im getting real sick and tired of people constantly trying to tie Ron Paul and rascism. I think Ron Pual feels anyone should be allowed to donate to their choice of campaign regardless of what they think. I worry much more about politicians who take money from groups that end up affecting policy. Rascists can give all they want to paul but it wont change one single policy decision. That should be the concern, if those donations affect policy. With Ron Paul I am confident they do not. SO what is worse. Taking money from insurance company lobbyist and manipulating policy, or taking money from rascist and changing nothing about your platform and principle. Lets focus on whats really hurting America!!!

  25. Tannim says:

    “Let me get this straight.

    Republican/Conservatives “Leaders”: Ron Paul is too Liberal and/or Left-Libertarian.

    Democrat/Liberal “Leaders”: Ron Paul is too Conservative and/or Right-Libertarian.

    Libertarian/left-libertarian, right-libertarian, neo-libertarian(oxymoronic label) “Leaders”: Ron Paul is too Conservative and/or Liberal.

    So to summarizes, according to these self-appointed political elitists i shouldn’t support Ron Paul because he is too Conservative or Liberal or Libertarian and/or not Conservative or Liberal or Libertarian enough.


    And they wonder why Paul supporters ignore the talking heads…

    Posted by Francine | November 21, 2007 | 11:17 am | Permalink”
    It’s actualy very simple, Francine. You have figured it out, more than you realize. Dr. Paul is right of left and left of right, so that puts him smack in the middle–a moderate, where the majority of America is (and where his support is really coming from!).

    In a world where the Old Media and conventional politics seek to divide and polarize to left and right, Dr. Paul sits smack in the middle, the perceived political no-mans-land where the majority of America, including most disaffected voters, live.

    Which just proves the long-held point that social liberal and fiscal conservative positions, which are libertarian positions, are the foundation of America, and they found in the political center.

    This is why Dr. Paul is where he needs to be, and wants to be, and why he’s gaining support. The forces that seek for divide and polarize in the Old Media and Corporatist Big Business can’t stand that because it doesn’t make them money.

    So, yes, Francine, you *do* get it, and get it well!

  26. Cleaner44 says:

    America is done with Neo-Con Facsists. The only Republican that can beat any Democrat is Ron Paul.

    Ron Paul is clearly a “top tier” candidate now as he absolutely dominates in the Straw Polls, Debate Polls, Fund Raising, Web Traffic and Grass Roots Networking. I have gathered evidence to support this statement and created a website.

    Please visit and judge for yourself.

  27. Grizzle Griz says:

    Neither of those quotes seem to comport with my understanding of Paul’s platform. I think they misunderstand him.

    1) I wish I could tell you which speech this was, but I distinctly heard Paul say that we should make illegal immigration harder and legal immigration easier.

    2) I know Paul has said that immigration should be even easier when the market is ready to handle it. He has distinctly stated that illegal immigrants become scapegoats because we don’t have a free market system that can handle them. “In a truly free market system, we would want more immigration”.

    It isn’t trade protectionism to say “let’s trade with everyone, but let’s not allow workers into the country until we’re ready to handle it”. It sounds like the complaining libertarians want their whole cake, right now. Paul’s approach is more pragmatic. He says that we should bake it, first. They will inevitably be dissapointed by a Paul presidency, because he won’t advocate for the abolition of income taxes until we’re ready to handle it either.

  28. b-psycho says:

    All of the bloggers you quote are Jews; ethnocentric Jews “from across the political spectrum” have come against Ron Paul because of his Israel-neutrality.

    Jews want to continue to have free hand-outs like welfare recipients; and Ron Paul preaches self-responsibility.

    See the conflict?

    ^^^So, is this one of the fabled pro-Paul anti-Semites I keep hearing about, or a lame joke?

    *checks poster name*

    I’d say joke.

  29. Jay says:

    Oh Please! We Libertarians have never had the chance to vote for anything close to a Libertarian candidate of this size and potential at anytime in the last 50 years. If you’re going to split hairs so be it. I think it’s stupid and counter productive. I will support anyone as long as they are moving toward freedom. As a Libertarian I do not support everything Ron Paul does either. But moving toward freedom is what is most important to me.

    Further, the issue about the Neo-Nazi’s is frankly retarded. The very notion of freedom is about being able to hold whatever views you would like as long as you do not physically harm others. If somebody wants to love or even dislike another person for whatever reason, that is their prerogative. The issue is only if somebody physically harms another or their property. It is anti-Libertarian to demand Ron Paul not allow or distance himself from any group based on their beliefs.

  30. Grizzle Griz says:

    Since I have a venue here, I would like to say two things to Paul supporters and everyone else:

    1) It is regrettable that Paul supporters are so zealous. But in our defense, I think it’s a natural consequence of listening to a legitimate candidate being marginalized, smeared, and ignored.

    2) Please do not overreact to negative posts about Paul, everyone. You have the better arguments, so use them to sway people, not to insult them. Point out what an amazingly honest politician he has been for his 20 years in Congress. Who can deny that a politician who refuses to hedge, lie, take special interest junkets, and participate in the Congressional Pension program for the benefit of the electorate, has our interests in mind.

    Feel free to visit my forum for this kind of discussion.

  31. Ki says:

    Libertarians, being a fiercely independent (and paranoid) breed can only be said to agree on perhaps one principle– the absolute desirability of a stable, transparent, core state grounded in realism which maximizes the degrees of freedom of action available to every citizen and otherwise respects each citizen as a means unto his or her own private ends.

    All we Paul supporters can hope for, is that some vestige of a sense of political self-preservation will kick in for some portion of Libertarians and that these rare few individuals possessing said sense might take it upon themselves to rally their closest allies ONE TIME to ONE FLAG long enough to procure the ELECTORAL VOTES required to bring about a revolutionary change-of-course in the federal political process and re-establish a path towards a minarchal federal government and away from `friendly fascism’ in America.

  32. J.C. says:

    Do your homework. You can’t get any more FREE trade than Ron Paul.

    He is for TRULY free trade without the barriers of these managed trade agreements that only benefit special interests while hurting the consumer.

  33. Josh says:

    You gotta be kidding me

    1. Free trade agreements do nothing to free trade but hurdle and regulate it, if you want free trade you let it happen, not write an agreement.

    2. If you’ve even listened to his speeches & debates, he said specifically that he understands immigrants today are scapegoats under the welfare state, if we get rid of the welfare state, we’d be much more generous and welcome to immigrants. He knows you can’t have both welfare AND open borders, so get rid of one and you can have the other.

    3. There’s nothing non-libertarian about neo-Nazis, 9/11 truthers, all of them are anti-war, anti-tax and pro-Constitution. They may not all be pro-drug but there’s more beneficial similarities than differences.

  34. Josh says:

    About the racism and Jim Crow, indeed, you don’t believe it is libertarian to allow racism? You don’t believe racism is part of free speech and free thought? You don’t believe discrimination is but excercise of property rights?

    If government can say discrimination on race is wrong, can’t they say discrimination based on whether they paid you is wrong too? Thus socialism would be the same answer and end to both issues! You have more in common to socialism & communism by making racism an enemy of libertarianism.

  35. Gooch says:

    I don’t agree with Dr. Paul on some issues. I understand the frustration with some of these positions. He’s not the perfect candidate. But he’d make a great President.

    We need one of those right now

    The GOOCH
    Liberty Talk Live – Libertarian Talk Show

  36. b-psycho says:

    There’s nothing non-libertarian about neo-Nazis *snip*


    Explain. I need a laugh.

  37. brose says:

    This article is a clear scam. This woman obviously isn’t a true libertarian. How can anyone that at least even has some libertarian beliefs not vote for Paul. This author is clearly not a libertarian and she should stop lying and admit she is a staff member of the Guilliani campaign. Please, this article is ridiculous.

  38. badmedia says:

    I’ve been a libertarian for like 7 years now. Even longer honestly, I’ve just been aware that how I felt politically was libertarian for 7 years now, before then I just thought there were only 2 parties, and there was no party for me. I was pretty please to find the libertarian party so many years ago.

    But the truth of the matter is that Ron Paul was an answered prayer for me. Because I find myself in agreement with him almost 100%. Even on the 2 issues I am not in 100% agreement with him, immigration and abortion, I do actually see his point and do not disagree with him.

    In fact, his stances are the result of him having a plan for getting this country back to the constitution. That is what sets him apart from a traditional libertarian principles, and why I knew this man was electable while other libertarians are not.

    Because if you threw hardcore libertarian on the country tomorrow, the nation would be in trouble. You’d be throwing people on the streets etc. Ron Paul actually has a plan for transitioning, and I’ve never heard that from a libertarian candidate in 7 years(maybe because they know they have no chance at winning, and stick to the philosophical argument).

    I find Ron Paul to be practical, and a man with a plan. While his immigration stance isn’t exactly libertarian at the start, it is in fact libertarian once the welfare state is gone. It’s only a temporary measure until immigrants stop being the scapegoat. And while some libertarians can say they are turned off by that, I think they are just being over-critical and don’t understand that he has an actual plan.

    Because I’d like to see a libertarian candidate that actually has a plan for getting this country back on track. But I’ve never seen that. Sure, they can identify the problems, and all libertarians know the problems, but I see very few workable solutions except from Paul.

    About the only way a pure libertarian ideal candidate is going to get elected is after our country crashes and there is no choice.

    And just once, I’d LOVE to see someone who puts Paul down offer another choice. I notice in all the hit pieces that put him down, none of them ever offer a better solution, or offer a candidate with a chance to win.

  39. badmedia says:

    And for the record, if the LP doesn’t come out in support for Ron Paul, then I will leave that party and never look back. If the LP can’t put whats good for the country in front of a party label, then they aren’t even close to being good enough to represent me.

  40. Renny says:

    ‘Free’ trade agreements are about as free as the ‘patriot’ act is patriotic. What cave in Afghanistan have you been living in?

  41. NH says:

    This argument is total ignorance — NAFTA is not free trade and Ron does favor homeschooling and education not controlled by gov’t.

    Wow what incompetence in this writer!

  42. Ian says:

    I have heard the line that Libertarians are more interested in enforcing some sort of ideological purity than they are about getting anything done. Looks like there’s some truth to that. Ron Paul is surely Liberty’s best chance at the moment.

  43. Mark says:

    These shrills for the CFR… Who else would call NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO or others FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS OR ORGINIZATIONS???

    These totally MISLEADING arguments have been well addressed here in the comments!!

    Come join us…
    American NEEDS a DOCTOR not a LAWYER

  44. Danny says:

    I love it how these libertarians are saying Dr. Paul is bad for libertarianism….yet you’ve done jack shit for the “movement”. just being recognized on a national stage, Dr. Paul has done more for libertarianism than your pathetic egos. After reading this blog….I really don’t see myself changing my party affiliation back to Libertarian after this primary season.

  45. Mike Stamper says:

    As a former LP state chairman and former presidential elector for Ron Paul, I must take issue with the assertion that libertarians (including former libertarians like myself) are somehow repudiating Ron Paul. This is the first time I’ve heard that Dr. Paul is opposed to unrestricted international free trade, unrestricted immigration, and vouchers for private (i.e. religious) schools. If that is the way he feels, good for him! Free (international) trade is has been thoroughly discredited. It has resulted in the deindustrialization of the US. Unrestricted immigration has made a mockery of our borders and has overloaded the already overstressed social safety net. Vouchers are simply another faith-based-initiative handout to the Religious Right. Just what we need in this country: more theocracy… I was a libertarian for more than 20 years. I quit the party in disgust because we never elected anyone – just talked about it. I joined the Republicans and was actually elected to local office. I quit the Republicans when the bombs started falling on Baghdad. I vowed to never again vote for any Republican. However, it looks like I’m going to have to recant and vote for Ron Paul in the primary. I’m astonished at his level of support. He could be the next Ross Perot if he ran as an independent next November. I hope he does.

  46. floyd says:

    No borders, Absolute “free” trade, absolute pro-abortion,etc…..At what point does tempered intelligent libertarianism degenerate into rampant stupid anarchy?

  47. Rick Fisk says:

    Anyone who claims they are against Ron Paul and are also “libertarian” are not libertarians.

  48. James Bowery says:

    Do you or do you not support Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

  49. Brainpolice says:

    “Anyone who claims they are against Ron Paul and are also “libertarian” are not libertarians.”

    Surely you realize that this statement is absurd. Why would you let Ron Paul solely define the philosophy? Supporting Ron Paul is not a prerequiste to being a libertarian. Libertarianism is a philosophy and a broad political movement, not based on supporting particular politicians. I’m not sure if the people here are aware of this, but a sizable portion of the libertarian movement consists of anarchists (particularly market anarchists).

    Wendy McElroy, Stefan Molyneux, Brad Spangler, etc., are not libertarians? They’ve been libertarians for a long time, and they have been critical of Ron Paul and the political process. Part of their objection is not to Ron Paul himself so much as political participation (I.E. it hasn’t worked and never will). But they also have pointed out some grave inconsistancies in Ron Paul’s positions.

    Some of the statements in this article are off-base. But not all of them. And there’s much that wasn’t mentioned. Ron Paul’s support for a federally funded border fence (which will involve some degree of eminent domain to boot), for example, can hardly be described as “libertarian”. And while in rhetoric he supports the state’s rights position on abortion, he has actually introduced federal legislation defining life as beginning at conception; this is a far right manuever.

    Believe it or not, a sizable portion of life-long libertarians are concerned that Ron Paul’s cultural conservatism trumps his libertarianism on key issues. And they are not convinced that putting people in positions of political power, no matter how libertarian they may seem, is a sensible solution to our problems. Nor do they believe that Ron Paul, even if he made it into office, could realistically do much to reduce political power. Nor do they entirely trust that he would not use it for political purposes.

  50. K30 says:

    Brain Police,

    Nobody stated that Ron Paul absolutely defines the libertarian philosophy. You conjured that up on you own.

    Ron Paul is the first libertarian leaning presidential candidate in decades to have even a slim chance at being elected.

    If one cannot trust Ron Paul to follow through with his stated positions, no one Washington can be trusted.

    If a Libertarian will not vote for Ron Paul because he is not “Libertarian” enough, then lets hope Thomas Jefferson is resurrected sometime in the near future, because the beacon of liberty once shining from America’s shores is nearly extinguished.

    Let me restate the quote you original referenced in a more realistic manner.
    “Anyone who claims they are against Ron Paul and are also “libertarian” are not VERY INTELLIGENT libertarians.”

    You should quit defending the positions of fools; it only encourages them.

  51. Josh says:

    I agree with those that think anybody who is libertarian and still is reluctant to support Ron Paul can forget he future. Because you might as well say you just plain don’t beleive in the voting system.

    LP was founded on the premise that issues matter more than party. If they cannot see the obvious today, they can suck it everytime later somebody says “a third party has no chance”. If you vote based on party, the game is already over.

  52. Brainpolice says:

    “I agree with those that think anybody who is libertarian and still is reluctant to support Ron Paul can forget he future. Because you might as well say you just plain don’t beleive in the voting system.”

    Well for some (although not all) of us market anarchists, that’s part of the point. We don’t believe in the voting system. We believe that voting implicitly reinforces the very institutional framework that allows statism to flourish. In other words, funds that could have been used on the market are diverted towards political ends. Using political power to reduce political power is oxymoronical. And we have a few centuries of history of the attempt to bring about liberty through the voting booth, and empirically speaking it simply hasn’t worked.

    Libertarians tried this same thing with Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagen. In the case of Goldwater, he never stood a chance in hell of winning in the first place (and his foreign policy wasn’t particularly libertarian). In the case of Reagen, the Gipper got into power and ended up expanding the state anyways. I have yet to see a good explaination as to how this Ron Paul phenomenon is particularly new in this respect. Reagen ran on many of the same things with respect to domestic policy and failed to achieve any of them.

    Even if Ron Paul did manage to get elected, does anyone seriously think that he would be able to wave his magic wand and transform the country into some minarchist utopia, let alone meaningfully slow down the growth of the state? In the face of opposition from both parties, as well as various vested interest groups? Since when has leviathan been whittled down meaningfully through the electoral process, and internally in general? I don’t believe I’m being overly pessemistic in being a realist.

    This has become a cult of personality to some extent. When the words “Ron Paul” are coming from one’s mouth more then “liberty”, it is clear that something has gone terribly wrong. When anarchists are actively and enthusiastically involving themselves in the political process and tossing money at a politician, something strange is going on. When has been transformed into a Ron Paul cheerleading squad, I cannot help but pause in mystification. And when anyone who is critical of Ron Paul is assumed to be either a liberal or a neocon, I smell fallacy.

  53. Josh says:

    Don’t believe in the voting system? Fine, don’t cry when others make the decision for you. Too bad too much of us believe in it and there’s no way to tell who doesn’t! Good luck!

  54. Scott Bieser says:

    Even if you do believe in the voting system, and vote, others will make the decision for you anyway.

    Yes, it is too bad “too much” of you believe in it. Otherwise, we might be able to move on to something better.

  55. Rick Fisk says:

    “Surely you realize that this statement is absurd. Why would you let Ron Paul solely define the philosophy?”

    I didn’t say that Ron Paul defines libertarianism. It is quite clear however that libertarianism defines Ron Paul.

    If you can give me a good reason to object to a man who has for 40 years upheld those principles even when it was very unpopular and politically incorrect to do so, then I’ll retract my statement.

    Until then I stand by it 100%.

  56. Rick Fisk says:

    By the way, since when is the Club for (cancerous) Growth, a libertarian bellweather?

    This particular piece is just absurd. Free Trade agreements are by definition the antithesis of free trade and anyone who tries to paint NAFTA as a libertarian enterprise should be ashamed of themselves.

  57. joelfarm says:

    What is it with this insane attempt to label and then automatically allienate each other?!?!?
    The liberal hates the conservative, black hates white, gay trashes christian, etc, etc,.Meanwhile the power elite continues to rob our Nation’s treasury and resources and sell our children’s future in front of us!! We stab and scratch each other over the paltry crumbs they throw at us and they have the gaul to take our young for slaughter in foreign lands. We are being led to the cliff and our eyes are wide shut.