Whenever I meet libertarians new to me, I inevitably ask, "How did you become a libertarian?"
Remarkably, a large number respond, "Because of Ron Paul." This is especially the case with young libertarians. But lately when I have been given this answer, I have been paying closer attention to their answers. They almost always go on: "I was watching the presidential debates and saw Ron Paul in the debates."
Then they go even further in their answers from there: "I remember his back and forth with Rudy Giuliani."
Here's the clip of that back and forth, which occurred on Tuesday, May 15, 2008:
Think about this?
Ron Paul at this point in the debate was not afraid to speak truth. He was not afraid to go up against the establishment and he did not hedge his position. He was not attempting to count votes to see what the voters wanted him to say.
That's why Rudy Giuliani felt so comfortable going after Dr. Paul, at that point. He knew that it was an unprotected moment for Dr. Paul, from a political perspective. A politician simply seeking power would never have said what Dr. Paul said. Giuliani smelt blood, but instead, it turned into the greatest recruiting 4 minutes and 34 seconds that libertarianism has ever seen.
Inevitably, those who were influenced by the exchange, admittedly it wasn't all watchers of the debate just the thinkers and the curious, tell me that after the debate they googled "libertarianism," and came across the great libertarian sites: Mises.org and LewRockwell.com.
There are many lessons here, but the most important is not to flinch from speaking truth about liberty. We don't need any "appendages" to the non-aggression principle. Truth is what attracts the thinkers and the curious. These are the kinds of people that will overtime, as they learn more about liberty, become the torchbearers for liberty.
Dr. Paul in this back and forth also displayed how politics should be used, not to hedge principle, but to promote principle, with the political race as merely a marketing tool. Indeed, winning a political race has to be looked at suspiciously at this time, given the lack of general acceptance and understanding of libertarian principles amongst the masses. The way to run is the Ron Paul way, get the platform, speak the truth and lose. Lose the race that is, but win the liberty recruitment effort. (SEE: How to Run for Office Like Ron Paul).
The liberty movement needs many more moments like the moments at the Koger Center in Columbia, South Carolina on May 5, 2008.