Ron Paul’s Libertarian Revolution
The piece has gotten substantial blogospheric attention, little of it positive.
John Little sees not a revolution but a cult, specifically a cult of personality. This leads commenters to retort, rather persuasively, that Paul hardly has a personality at all.
Ron Chusid argues that Ron Paul-style libertarianism is about racism, conspiracy theories, insanity, and a desire for poor responses to natural disasters.
Isaac Chotiner scoffs at the idea that Paul represents a revolution, contending that “despite occasional bitching from the college kids mentioned by Gillespie and Welch, the vast majority of Americans think they live in a country which generally respects their liberty.” Furthermore, he finds discussion of trifling issues like smoking bans and Internet gambling a diversion.
Alex Massie agrees that Paul has little to no chance of winning anything but thinks the issues he’s talking about are useful as signaling mechanisms, as the major candidates on both sides are spouting rather similar policy solutions on the big ticket items.
Mark @ Publius Endures, “A somewhat ironically titled blog of libertarian principle,” received the piece enthusiastically. Indeed, he sees a recent bevy of libertarian-themed movies, television shows, and columns as evidence for the revolution. (Which, presumably, will in fact be televised.)
As for me, I find Paul’s fundraising success and ability to generate buzz quite remarkable. While I joined the conventional wisdom in dismissing his entry into the race as a lark, he’s making himself impossible to ignore. Indeed, he’s generated far more blog posts than I’d have dreamed possible.
At the same time, I find talk of “revolution” mere wishful thinking. Most Americans, like their counterparts in Western Europe, continue to demand an activist government. They like talk of small government and adherence to the intent of the Framers in abstract but they continue to elect politicians who promise to address major problems well beyond any Constitutional mandate.
Paul’s success may be spawned by young libertarians but it’s being fueled by the same thing that catapulted Ross Perot to prominence in 1992: A desire for something beyond the same old, same old of the two major parties.
The problem, however, is that while there may be an overwhelming consensus that we need “something else,” there’s incredible divergence on what shape that would take. People want more liberty for themselves, to be sure, but think “there oughta be a law” against all the annoying things other people do. People want to keep their money and stop having government funding “special interests” but see their own subsidies as God-given inalienable rights.
These trends, I confidently predict, will continue well into the future.
Our future government be more “libertarian” on some issues, such as homosexuality, immigration, and drug use as the demographics change and the social consensus evolves. At the same time, we’ll almost certainly be less “libertarian” on other issues, notably health care. I use scare quotes around “libertarian” because, regardless of the direction, the change will be based on political compromise and the interests of the dominant coalition rather than ideological revolution.
Image Source: Ron Paul MySpace
Oh, just another distortion. Not News Worthy…
I disagree entirely! Within my own very small circle of friends and family, I have been predicting a revolution for well over a year, long before Ron Paul gained any national attention. And “revolution” is the word I have used.
What most of y’all inside the Beltway don’t get is that there is a mean, ugly mood out here in “fly-over country” that has been here for some time and is getting uglier by the day. We are extremely angry that our federal government is more interested in finding innovative new ways to piss away our tax dollars than in dealing with our anger.
The longer we are ignored, the more this anger is going to grow until one day it will explode. If something doesn’t change soon, that explosion won’t be long in coming.
This country keeps voting for big government out of ignorance. People on the web take the time to read up on issues, instead of relying on the TV to spoon feed it to them. Everyone is much too comfortable. Why worry about changing anything?
I, however, am proud to be a part of the coming conservative revolution. It may take years, but I’m in it for the long haul. For starters, I’ll be voting for Ron Paul.
Who are they trying to convince? The media has lost it’s bearings when it comes to Paul because most of his supporters have followed him for years and the media can’t undo years of research in a few hit pieces. This type of so called journalism just goes to show how low the media will go and why it can’t be trusted. Conservatives are watching the media in general, they do not report news but opinion based on a predetermined set of candidates. We thought the media was choosing our candidates. This election we will choose our own.
I think you somewhat overstate the point of my post. My point wasn’t so much that there is a libertarian revolution going on in this country. Instead, it was more that I’ve noticed an increase in individualist-oriented themes in American culture going back several years. Many of these themes may not be explicitly or entirely libertarian, but the libertarian influences are in my opinion undeniable.
With regards to Paul, I should point out that I’ve raised many concerns about Paul’s style of libertarianism, and have for the moment jumped off the Ron Paul bandwagon. I largely agree with Ron Chusid on the problems with the campaign’s tendency to attract conspiracy theorists and racists. As a result, I have started to question the extent to which Paul’s successes are related to his style of libertarianism- certainly a good chunk is, but by no means all. I have further begun to argue that some of Ron Paul’s supporters’ actions are the antithesis of libertarianism, and that Ron Paul may actually be bad for libertarianism if he continues to seek out such supporters.
I do think this will be the first election where libertarians are viewed as a key constituency, though. But the reason isn’t that suddenly everyone is a libertarian. The reason is that libertarians are no longer solidly Republican; as such, they have become something of an important swing vote.
The Ron Paul Revolution shows me that there is a clear divide in America. When I talk to someone about Ron Paul and the issues he stands for, the comment is that they are to radical, he could never get the support, and no one would vote for him. What is refreshing though is I never have to ‘sell’ Ron Paul. Just the issues. So far, every one I have talked to, (no exceptions), has realized that he is the best candidate to vote for. One thing that I have seen that has been an unexpected boost is from Hollywood. (thank you writers.) while the TV shows are on hold, more people are going on-line to get news and info. Guess who is burning up the Internet? Oh ya…Ron Paul.
GO RON GO!
This is another commentary that focuses mainly on posturing rather than substance. Painting Paul supporters as a bunch of libertarian radicals, racists and conspiracy junkies is simply not accurate. I’m not one of those. I’m a life long republican who has run for public office and talked with many people on many issues. I was undecided in the presidential race a month ago. After hearing and reading about Ron Paul, I not only found a candidate who I wouldn’t mind voting for, but can support with enthusiasm. Ron Paul represents many of my political positions, from restoring respect for the Constitution to applying sound monetary policy, from a non-interventionist foreign policy to recognizing that it is folly to sacrifice liberty for some sense of security. None of the candidates are talking this way, and even if they were, I think Ron Paul is the only one who will do more than talk.
I find it very interesting how well, the argument is being articulated against the Revolution. Of course there is a concerted effort to make the American People believe it is not happening, and we should all go back to sleep. Well, bad news boys a girls a cardinal rule given by NiccolÃ² Machiavelli has been broken. “No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution. OPPS! the cat is out of the bag.
While all of the Neocon have been desperately and stupidly placing their hidden plans against the American People in place, to over through our country and replace it with the New World Order they have been caught. And now more an more information is being revealed about the Federal Reserve, The cause and cost of War, The intent of the State, The suppression of Freedoms, and Human Rights.
Unfortunately for these traitors, just be cause they get into an elitist club like the bohemian grove, skull and bones, bohemian grove, APAC, or the bilderburge that does not mean they have the intellect to find their way out of a paper bag, G.W. Bush is a great example of a stupid power monger.
We understand you must keep telling the people we don’t know what is really going on, and we are not smart enough to change anything, yet you forget all of the smart people who make your world, fly your planes, drive your cars, feed you dumb ass, and every other thing that goes on, are very very aware of all of the problems and we are unhappy about them. We are ready to do something about it as well. Like “W” said your either with us or your against us find your place and buckle you seat belt it is going to be a fun ride.
Case in point, do you think King George ever thought that the colonies would ever get together boot the crown off the continent? I think not and even when it became evident there was a movement in this direction he sent in is provocateurs to side rail the revolution like the current owned media is doing, for present King George and his demon neocon Legion. People have had way too much crap from them and we are waking up at an surprising rate. The Internet has been our Red Pill and now it is too late. The days of meaningless wars, government control, poor education, corporatism’s, robber baron bankers, and foolish politically control coming to and end.
Ron Paul 2008 and nothing you can do about it..
We are in the midst and have been for some time in an information war. It is not the responsibility of the State to educate the populous it the responsibility of every American to educate themselves in whichever way they can.
I do not hold any ill will against the powerful elites who have undermined this country as much as I do for the American people as a whole. It is a natural progression for powerful people to want more power. It is the not their concern when the average citizen doesn’t want to take the time to learn who is governing their life and why.
Ron Paul has stirred up the imagination of the American spirit, but his only flaw is he is relying on a people who have been less then interested for many years, if not decades. While this would be a fantastic presidency under a Paul administration and his supporters have made some impressive strides to Ron Paul’s message out.
Changing minds and attitudes is a great task, but unless you understand how it works and why it will make it even harder. The status quo has had unchecked power for decades and now Dr. Paul wants to make people think for themselves, while I know they can, the question is will they?
Am I the only one who finds all these Paulites obnoxious and belligerent?
Ron Paul will win the nomination. He dominates in straw polls, debate polls, fund raising, web traffic and grass roots networking. I have created a website to support this statement.
Please visit http://www.thecaseforronpaul.com and judge the evidence for yourself.
It’s good to see the so called “elite thinkers” and MSM fight for relevance. I’m afraid it’s out your hands now. Despite what you may think, there are millions of Americans who will not “toe the party line” anymore, myself among them.
This coming election will prove to world just how irrelevant these so-called talking heads, scientific polls and main stream media have become. Ron Paul is just the messenger but the message is loud and clear! If you can’t hear the drum beat now, just wait, the pounding will get louder.
As a smoker I find the smoking bans to be a serious infringement of my personal liberty in day to day life.
And before you give me the “government science academy consensus is the Lord’s truth and it says second hand smoke kills” do a little research, you may need lexis nexis access, and you will find the science widely distorted on the subject.
I am so happy that we finally have a presidential candidate who knows how to apply critical thinking to fad concepts and consistently support the notion of liberty in everyday life.
I think the racism comment is worthy of its own post. The fascinating part of this campaign is that the naysayers always seem to jump the gun and report surface issues. I guess playing the old “Dog and Pony” show is a hard habit to break.
Ron Paul has the only reasonable way to keep our country from going bankrupt. As anyone who has read history knows, when a leader of a country spends too much money fighting wars in far off places, bad things can happen to that country. Taxes rise to pay for the war and citizen unrest follows.
We can not afford more health care or any other government program – unless and until we bring home our troops stationed in over 120 countries.
That can actually save us close to one trillion dollars a year . So far each family in the U.S. has spent about 45K on the Iraq war- and what do we have to show for that?
Ron Paul knows our only way out of our financial mess is to dismantle the U.S. policing of the world .
Some who hear this message call him names and debunk his supporters- others who hear it donate money and spread the message.
We voters have had enough of Republican war mongering and deficit spending.
You want to know what’s behind this Ron Paul ‘Revolution’? You REALLY want to know?
It’s simple.. The man has integrity and he has inspired a whole new generation of people who thought that trait was dead to pick of the mantle and fight the corruption and lies within our present system.
It’s just fear.
It’s almost hilarious. We can see the revolution brewing, and it spreads like wildfire!
Everyone else just can’t imagine it, which results in denial and fear.
I think all of this talk of Liberty could be bad for the Liberty movement (LOL!!!!). Boy, that is some list you’ve compiled from the blogosphere. Many of these professed Libertarians don’t even recognize their pet ideas when they catch fire. What does that say?
Those of us who have been watching American politics for decades now find this Paul “phenomoenon” to be nothing particularly impressive. How many times have we seen similar things, the same heated rhetoric, the same type of cult-following mentality creeping out of the woodwork, the same talk of “revolution”. Its an old story line, and it often provides lots of entertainment to an otherwise predictable, boring mainstream campaign.
In the end it is probably a good thing in and of itself, even beyond its entertainment value. Another sweep through the ranks of the disaffected and alienated, bringing them into the political process, where they eventually and inevitably meet the reality of real democracy – i.e. the enormous inertial force generated by the mass of average citizens.
Enjoy the ride, Paulistas, and we will enjoy watching you!
Cults generally are counter culture, RP is pro-culture, in fact all of the candidates are counter-culture except him. They all essentially believe they can “fix” the culture, society and government. But what they fail to realise it matters not whom you elect if your theories of taxation and power are flawed. You will continue to pound your head against the wall as you continue to seek ever greater mountains of fiat currency, and pull power away from the culture you supposedly care so much about.
By draining the juice so to speak out of the people you give them no outlet save protest and revolt against the structure that is destroying their families and communities. The larger the government gets the weaker the influence it garners from the people, therefore people see that participation doesn’t reflect positive outcomes for friends and families and only serves to blockade and sort of creative output from the individual up to the culture at large. People feel marginalized, heartbroken, apathetic, dispirited as a result of having no visible means of control over the outcome of their lives other than consumer decisions and legal compliance to their own disempowerment.
If society doesn’t bring about peaceful change I fear we may wind up back in the same thick of problems that resulted in the 1960s. It’s only a matter of time before economic disasters bring these matters to everyone’s attention, right now these issues are all over the internet, hence the reason Paul’s massive support.
It’s dangerous to clean the gutters while somebody else points out the fact your house is most visibly on fire, not to mention foolish. The foundation needs rebuilding, the walls are almost about to hit the ground, to use a metaphor as example. The 1960’s were the most libertarian decade of the last century to some exent it has been argued, I think we are on the cusp of a new era that will be full swing by the end of this decade.
So many young people over the past decade have lived under the weight of the growth of this government to accomodate outmoded ideas and are looking for a opening, a reality that fits with our purpose, it’s just been fogotten by the boomers.
The people today want a reinstated purpose that coincides with the forgotten basis of our government, they want government out of the equation, this threatens many people that feed off the trough, and therefore they will constitute the greatest threat to freedom and with the most to gain by marginalzing and attempting to discredit RP. They simply know no other way than to take from me and you and redistribute the booty. They have no understanding of how to live with self-sufficency, in fact they regard it as extremist not to function within the current system.
This dependence will facilitate a collapse because the social engineering will become unbearable, then I’m afraid peaceful change will not come fast enough, if not now.
Ron Paul is a kook. If just his gold standard alone were adopted we would soon all be living in caves and on the barter system. Ron Paul would do fine as a doctor but the rest of us would be eating our leather belts.
We don’t need libertarians. We need more conservative republicans. The fact is, Americans want some welfare, they want some social nets. But Dems want to expand all that as much as possible, and repubs want to hold back the increases. Our economy is doing awesome and if we just hold back spending increases so the budget can balance (easily done), and keep regulations down, we will continue the great ride. WITHOUT Ron Paul.
With the dollar sinking, and Ron Paul the one candidate with a clue as to how to fix the root problem, the alternatives are 1) support the revolution, elect Ron Paul, and have a chance that the crash of the economy will not be as bad as the Depression, or 2) elect anyone else, witness the economy tank, and watch the next president try to cope (unsuccessfully) with a very real revolution.
…Funny how articles still allude to the “of course he’ll never get elected” theme when speaking of Ron Paul. Of course the same people said he’d never win a debate or a straw poll or uh raise any money or uh draw bigger crowds than any other candidate by far…Yes, of course he’ll never get elected. Last count he’s won more debates and raised more money from ordinary people I might add than anybody. Of course he’ll never be elected. How many people saw him in Philadelphia recently…5,000? Of course he’ll never be elected. How much did he raise in one day? $4.3 million, a record. Of course he’ll
never be elected. Uh I got news for you, he just might win!
The American voters are about to teach every media talking head and corporate sponsored same old same, old bozo (bozette? Hillary?) that’s running for President a lesson. We’re tired of dishonest business as usual. We’re tired of corporate owned global empires, we’re tired of war for poor kids while Bush, Romney and the like never send their kids. We’re tired of liars, thieves and empty promises. We’re tired of twisted terms like “enhanced interrogation” (torture), we’re tired of record deficits and loss of liberty.
We want an honest President. We want government out of our wallets, our bedrooms and our lives.
We’d like a President that has read the Constitution and understands what “we the people” mean.
What is so damn hard to grasp about that??
GOOGLE RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT 2008
just read a blog from australia – they just voted in a lefty. Anyway the person said there was no difference in the two parties. Welcom to America I said – there is barely any difference now in the repubs and dems and that has a lot to do with the Paul revolution.
The intriguing thing to me is that about 5 years ago I predicted that libertarianism would be hitting the national scene in about 10 years…
If(When) Ron Paul gets the nomination… looks like I was off by a couple of years…
As an aside to Christopher… you do realize that at present Ron Paul has said he just wishes to make gold and silver legal tender again, right? From the statements I’ve read, it appears he believes this alone will allow it to replace the Federal Reserve system.
Ron Paul is the only one running for president who is not owned by the establishment.
Those who make decisions based upon only emotion or filtered data doom us all.
Ron Paul has Root Cause And Corrective Action Training; he is a doctor.
I makes me sad to see people value symbolism more than substance.
Dr.Ron Paul is courageous, intelligent, consistent, and honest. He is a light in a dark well of lies. He speaks true. But as Goethe says “Truth is a torch but a tremendous one. That is why we hurry past it shielding our eyes, indeed for fear of being burned.â€
Libertarianism is indeed successfully pushing changes in this country. Unfortunately — from my perspective as a libertarian-leaning conservative — the aspects of libertarianism that are enjoying modest success are precisely those I find least appealing. Definitions of marriage and family, longstanding religious and cultural mores, and the other prescriptive institutions that check the power of Leviathan and define and strengthen the “little platoons” in which public virtue is propagated are crumbling, in accordance with the social side of libertarian ideology. Meanwhile, economic libertarianism, the side I favor, is making no gains at all.
Ron Paul must be credited with emphasizing the economic side. But if he gets any traction, it will be on the social side. Hence his candidacy is only going to make the situation worse.
Ron Paul is a coward, stupid, inconsistent and a liar. He is a darkness in the well of truthfulness. And as Goethe says “Truth is a torch but a tremendous one. That is why we hurry past it shielding our eyes, indeed for fear of being burned.â€
Christopher is illustrating his Goethe quote above.
Over 70% of Americans want us out of Iraq. None of the Republican candidates off that. In 2006 Democrats overwhelming took over congress again on 2 big issues – corruption and the war. They have not done anything to help either of those(not surprised).
Congress has an approval rating of like 11%. GWB has like less than 30%. And the only thing any of the other candidates are talking about is – more of the same, more status quo.
And then you have a candidate. A unique candidate. One who has a 20 year record of voting against the status quo. One who has been right on the foreign policy since before the Iraq war, and long before 9/11. You have a politician who understands the constitution, and civil liberties.
If you think he has no chance, or that people aren’t really serious, then sorry, but you are just repeating the days talking points, not using your brain and looking at the real factors. I’ll leave ya with a quote.
“Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.” -Leonardo da Vinci
Over 70% of Americans DO want us out of Iraq-but with victory. NOT defeat as Ron Paul seeks.
And Ron Paul is a part of congress! LOL! He is part of the 11% unfavorable! He has no courage, instead joining the republicans on capital hill, then once there he professes hw much better he is! What a strategy!
You say he is against the “status quo”. So just because of that we should elect him? I bet Hitler would have been against the against the status quo also-would u have voted for him?
Ron Paul is a kook. We have one fo the strongest economies EVER. Why would the American people want to fool with that?
lol damn these dudes are worse then the liberals in believing in their own donkeypoop or should I say ostrichpoop, and will some please tell me how an ostrich can stick its head in the sand while sitting on the fence?
Are you in the military or have you ever been in the military? The military did it’s job and won the war YEARS AGO. Now we are only there for political reasons that go way beyond the reason we went there.
We are involved in Nation Building exactly what GWB said he wasn’t going to do. And that is why 70% of the people want us out of there.
The only people who would call it a defeat are people who care more about pushing political agendas in the region than the lives of people. And that sure doesn’t include me.
I’m a vet, you learn 1 thing in the military – KILL. They are not a police force, they are not target practice, they have 1 purpose, to defend our country when diplomacy and politics have failed, not to force political preferences on other people. People in the military realize this, that is why the military supports Ron Paul. They signed up to defend OUR country, the volunteered to put their life on the line for OUR country, to defend it from hostile nations. NOT to go to other countries and defend them.
If I was in the military right now, I’d be pissed that my government took my act of serving my country to sell it away to corporations to make a profit in another countries politics, while the same actions were causing problems back home.
Way to go, G.A.Phillips! Those Ron Paul supporters are pretty strange!
And badmedia, you can’t “win” a war then leave all the same conditions in place that led to your being there in the first place. What we are doing in Iraq-if it ultimately works-will have wonderful implications for our country for decades to come. You may not agree, but it is true. Plus, we KILL terrorists there everyday. Good thing!
By the way, the military overwhelmingly supports GWB. What r u smokin?
Maybe we need a little poll here. How many of you guys that are pro-war here are veterans and how many are chicken hawks? That may clear up why there is so much support for the chicken hawk candidates.
Dude, do you even know what a chicken hawk is?
C)a member of the Ostrich Party
I don’t have a blog and rarely leave comments in other peoples blogs, but I’m getting to the point where I find some peoples reaction to Ron Paul increasingly vexing. First, I am a Ron Paul supporter. I became a Ron Paul supporter before he declared his candidacy after watching Aaron Russo’s film, “Freedom to Fascism”. I suggest everyone (regardless of who they currently support) watch this movie.
I support Ron Paul simply because of his stance on the US (un)Patriot Act. If you support it then you can’t at the same time support the constitution. The two are antithetical. What is causing Ron Paul’s numbers to swell is the fact that many people have lost faith in (what was) their government that has for far too long acted on its own behalf without any real concern for ‘preserving and protecting’ the constitution. They rightly perceive that as a country we are becoming a police state. Not only does the Patriot Act violate the constitution, but have you heard about that little room in the AT&T building run by the NSA that is looking over everyones collective Internet shoulder? Have you heard about the National ID act? Have you heard about RFID. Within less then 5 years in my ever so humble opinion, if someone like Ron Paul is not elected, the government will have in place the means and mechanisms to monitor everything we do from morning to sunrise. So what is attracting people to Ron Paul is the same exact sense that attracted and motivated the founders of this country to write the deceleration of independence, the constitution and spill their blood. If you’re not supporting Ron Paul, then you don’t believe, or support the constitution.
My experience is that the Ron Paul phenomenon is not a “cult of personality”. My experience is that the Ron Paul phenomenon is the message of freedom and liberty. I paid to fly to Las Vegas last week with my family so I could pay for a private lunch specifically to tell Dr. Paul that I believe in the message of freedom and liberty.
This is about Dr. Paul’s ability to deliver on the promise of the message. He appears to be the most principled, consistent person to carry the message at this time.
It’s the message, which Dr. Paul has been following for thirty years. The public is catching on to the message.