Sunday, March 20, 2011

Why Freedom Lovers Need to Urge Ron Paul to Run for President in 2012

It's been a hectic week, the Japanese continue to deal with the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power facility, they also continue to deal with the aftermath of other crises caused by the great earthquake and tsunami, the Federal Reserve continues its money supply manipulations and the United States is now militarily intervening in the civil war in Libya. Yet, with all this going on, one twitter post stood out this week and came back to me time and time again in my mind. The post was from ModeledBehavior, it said:

Why won't Ron Paul get out of Gary Johnson's way?
Gary Johnson is the former governor of New Mexico that some are touting as the "next Ron Paul". I had heard his name before but never took a deep look at the man. The ModeledBehavoir post caused me to do so. As I reviewed the web site of the OUR America Initiative, a 501(c)(4) political advocacy committee which Johnson heads, one thing stood out to me, Gary Johnson wants to be President of the United States, real bad. It's a sense I got, but it stuck with me.

Something kept bothering me about that. It caused me to do a lot of thinking. I finally reached the conclusion that most people who run for office put getting into office as their top goal. I think most of them think that the country will be a lot better if they are in charge. This type thinking causes them to often shade on their beliefs. Yeah, they might be for the legalization of all drugs, including LSD, but they know that if they say so publicly that they will lose votes and thus they shade the issue.

And the closer they get to winning, I have to think that the more issues they will shade on.

The problem is that when such a freedom advocating candidate wants the office so badly, he may eventually shade the freedom issue on something that is important to you.

Afterall, the government, when it comes down to it, is about men carrying guns taxing your money and telling you how to live your life. If someone puts getting elected above ALWAYS fighting for liberty, it means he will use the power of the government and men carrying guns to attempt to force some people to do, or stop doing, something.

The only type person I would unequivocally ever support for President is a person who ranks liberty above gaining the power of the presidency. In this modern age, I can think of only two people who have run for president that I would unequivocally say put liberty ahead of a desire to gain the White House, the late Harry Browne and currently Ron Paul.

In politics, whatever the issue, Harry Browne and now Ron Paul, are the only two that I have never had to check in advance to see if they were sound on a controversial issues. It was just clear that they would come down on the side of liberty. Perhaps in the future there will be others like Browne and Paul, I hope there are, but it takes years, if not decades, of watching men under varying situations and pressures to determine if they will crack and move away from liberty, when the pressure is really strong.

Most people now know there are great problems in this country, as do many in other countries around the world. It is great to see citizens rise up and throw out oppressive dictators, but as I have pointed out before, I am not sure these citizens know the importance of replacing a dictator with some type of societal organization that respects the rule of law, the importance of private property and free markets.

In the same way, here in the United States, the most important thing that can happen for freedom lovers is for there to be a presidential candidate who always espouses liberty. All of us can count on Ron Paul to consistently be in favor of liberty on every issue. I want Ron Paul in the debates. I want media coverage of what Ron Paul says during the presidential campaign. I know he will consistently deliver the liberty message. What is needed is for more people to understand that liberty is what works and is most important. The more people that understand why freedom is most important, the better. And although it is very much a long shot, there is a sincerity, honesty and genuine humbleness to Ron Paul that under the right conditions, it could attract enough of the public to his message that it gets him into the office.

As for Gary Johnson, he is carrying some form of the freedom message, but I am not at all convinced that he puts liberty above getting in the White House, and I am not sure how well he understands the freedom principle. I did quite a bit of research on the net trying to find where Johnson stands on issues, and then I came across this youtube video of Johnson's speech at the 2008 rally for Ron Paul in Minnesota.

What struck me first of all about the video was that Johnson didn't say much about Ron Paul at all in his speech. Secondly, he didn't really talk about liberty as much as he did about what he had done in New Mexico while he was governor. Now, maybe, the Ron Paul Rally people set aside time for high profile people to talk about themselves at the event, but I still found it odd that there was so little mention of Ron Paul and liberty.

But what was most alarming given that this was, afterall, a Ron Paul rally and that the people in attendance would really get liberty, is that Johnson said a number of things that suggest that underneath his pronouncements that he is a Ron Paul supporter and pro-liberty, he still needs some brushing up to do on what liberty is all about.

Of note, he said that he takes a common sense business approach toward government and that he wanted to make government more efficient. You would never catch Ron Paul saying such a thing. And it clearly suggests that Johnson has either never read, or perhaps never understood, Friedrich Hayek's Road to Serfdom, which warned that the rise of tyrants is often based on the fact that those tyrants call for more efficient government. Freedom lovers don't wan't more efficient government, they want less government, a lot less.

He then explained how, while he was governor, the number of government employees declined by one thousand, but then he said, and seemed to be proud of this, and I remind you he said this to as hardcore a libertarian audience as you are likely to get in front of, that he did not fire any government employees. He was clearly tone deaf to this audience, where not firing government employees should not be carried around as a badge of honor.

He then took pride in the fact that he privatized prisons. There's a number of problems with bringing this up to a libertarian crowd. The first being that most libertarians think there are too many people in prison that shouldn't be there. Johnson may understand this view somewhat because he is against the criminalization of marijuana, but, if so, why is he bragging about making the prison system more efficient?

Second, he used the word privatization in a sense that I doubt Ron Paul would ever use. Johnson privtization talk was about keeping the government rule over an entity, but allowing private contractors to run it. Ron Paul would consider privatization the elimination of government involvement in an agency. If Ron Paul called for the privatization of education. He would not mean that government set the standards and pay the bills. He would mean getting government out of the education business entirely. Admittedly, prisons are a different topic, but Ron Paul would not call what Johnson did in New Mexico "privatization", though many use the term that way.

Johnson also bragged, to a libertarian audience(!), that he increased four lane highways by five hundred miles, which means he has never read any of Walter Block's work on private roads, or not understood Block's argument, if he did read it. (See Block's most recent book, Privatization of Roads and Highways for a compilation of his work in this area).

He went on to tell this crowd that he was responsible for raising penalties for driving under the influence. This means he isn't thinking about driving under the influence the way liberty advocate Lew Rockwell does on that topic.

Johnson also said he had "cut the growth of government" in New Mexico, which everyone in that libertarian crowd would know means that he INCREASED the size of government.

Most remarkably, he said he was against the Fed, and then went on to say that he was in favor of a strong dollar, indicating he has no clue that the end of the Fed most likely means the end of the dollar as the medium of exchange, that it may mean competing currencies and most likely a return to gold as money.

In other words, the next time you hear someone tell you that Ron Paul should get out of the way for Gary Johnson or tells you, like (surprise) Atlantic Monthly does, that Gary Johnson is the next Ron Paul, smile politely, as Ron Paul would do, then run quickly.

Gary Johnson may be a lot better than a lot of politicians, but he is nowhere near being the next Ron Paul. We don't need Johnson up on stage in a presidential debate telling us what every other politician is saying about how he has slowed government growth, privatised prisons and wants to make government more efficient. That sounds like something Rudy Giuliani would say. What we need is someone who, on each and every question, is going to provide an answer that explains why less government is the only real solution to our problems.

The country is in terrible need of hearing more about how important liberty is and why it works. It takes a person, who first of all understands liberty and is not afraid to stick to the libertarian answer on every question, to deliver that message. There is no one else that I am aware of in the political arena who can deliver the message as well as Ron Paul can.

Ron Paul has stated that he is now mulling over whether he should run for President, for our own sake, we should all urge him to run.


  1. I gave to Ron Paul's recent money bomb, just to be counted as someone who wants him to run again. I urge everyone here to do the same even now.

  2. I agree generally. I've met both Johnson and Paul several times, and heard Johnson speak several times and Paul numerous times. Johnson will be a decent addition to the debates and stand somewhat out against the neocons on a few issues (marijuana legalization mainly), but Paul will unequivocally give the pro-liberty argument nearly every time, on every issue, and occasionally have good soundbites.

    I give Ron Paul a 9 for substance, a 7 for delivery. All the other neocons are a 2 for substance, with sometimes better delivery. Johnson may be a 5 for substance, with delivery of a washed-down liberty message not better than Paul's. I have yet to make up my mind about Rand Paul though - as an anarchocapitalist it's hard to support a politician, even the good son of this great man.

  3. Gary Johnson's good but he's certainly no dogmatist. Some may find that disappointing but it probably means he has a better chance of winning than Ron Paul. However, I think the real shot here is Rand Paul, who I could see getting the Republican nomination and who seems to be readying himself for a run. The problem is that because Rand Paul actually stakes out real positions, he would probably lose to Obama also, who proved himself the master of taking no position but skating by on "charm" the last time around. That won't work as well for Obama now that he's had to govern, but if the economy recovers, he could skate by again, particularly against a substantial candidate like Rand Paul who will be viciously attacked for every unorthodox comment he's ever made. In sum, Johnson and Ron have zero shot of winning and while Rand could get nominated and win, he is hobbled by having claimed actual positions. The best one could hope for is that Rand gets nominated and gives it a real shot.

  4. I'm not a US citizen, however Ron Paul is the only politician I thoroughly admire. No one in this country lives up to the true constitutional ideologies as much as Ron Paul. Sound money, less government, efficient free markets are all hallmark of liberty. The founding fathers understood it and reflected their thoughts in the Constitution. Unfortunately, all those values have been thoroughly eroded and the society in the US is on the verge of chaos.

    If there was one guy who can save the grace for US and put it back on the right path, that would be Ron Paul.

  5. I remember hearing about a year ago that Ron Paul would support Gary Johnson for president if he didn't run. That was the first time I have ever heard of Johnson. If Ron Paul doesn't run, Johnson would be the next best choice. As for Rand Paul, the kind of bills he is introducing (cutting $500 billion, balancing the budget in five years) have been impressive. If only he could get more senators to endorse them. I will admit I was wary of Rand at first, but there is a great youtube video out there where he is being interviewed by Alex Jones and demonstrates his understanding of the ABCT.

  6. Ron Paul, if your reading this, this country needs you!

    You woke up so many and so many more are becoming receptive to liberty. Give us, all of your supporters, the leader and the will we need to go door to door for freedom. Without you, there is no will, no leader.

  7. Excellent analysis! Bravo!

    The bad guys are always denouncing "ideologues" and "dogmatists." In other words, they hate people of consistent principles and coherent philosophies; the bad guys worship only the altar of power and rationalize this worship by calling it "pragmatism" -- in other words, the unprincipled philosophy of saying or doing anything to gain and maintain power.

  8. "Gary Johnson's good but he's certainly no dogmatist. "

    Neither are we. Dogma implies unexamined faith that is simply handed down. Sort of like statism.

  9. Wayne Goodfellow, OttawaMarch 20, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    I have followed Ron Paul's career and writings very closely and I could not agree more that he is the clear choice for freedom-loving people in 2012. It would be great if there was a younger Ron Paul that one could trust, but clearly Gary Johnson is not that person.

    Up here in Canada, we thought that we had a leader of freedom-loving people in Stephen Harper but we have been taught a painful lesson that the words of most politicians mean little. Harper has turned into a big spending, big government Conservative of the NeoCon variety after years spent criticizing Canada's welfare state. Right now, Canada has joined other nations in the bombing of Iraq, a country that did not threaten us, in clear violation of the Geneva Convention of War and the Christian Just War Theory. Now he runs around the country singing the praises of his "Stimulus Program" (Canada's version of QE to infinity)and buying votes with my tax dollars in every city and town from coast to coast. He has clearly traded any principles and values espoused before coming to power for an all consuming lust for power. As a former supporter of Harper and the CPC, I along with many other Canadians feel deeply betrayed. With an election likely this spring, Canadians who value freedom and peace are totally disenfranchised with no party to vote for.

  10. I would be happy to vote Ron Paul in 2012

  11. Politics is a false religion. The current system of government is illegitimate. When people understand this then there will be no need for "presidents". I reference the following:

    No Treason VI: The Constitution of No Authority - Lysander Spooner


    A Way To Be Free - Robert LeFevre

  12. On one hand, I greatly admire Ron and all he's contributed to promoting libertarian ideas and awareness of issues like sound money. I also think a lot of the "beauty contest" issues surrounding a Presidential election would be solved by putting him forward as a VP candidate with a more GOP-friendly fiscal conservative like Chris Christie.

    On the other hand, I also think libertarians should be cautious about attaching too much hope in electoral politics. Don't make the same mistake the Obamatons did in 2008; Ron Paul as President will only be one man, and will not be able to fix the mess in DC by himself.

  13. Politics, a false religion indeed.

    Gary Johnson may as well have bragged that he extended highway communism by 2,000 lane-miles.

    As for Dr. Paul, a lot of problems during the next few years could be avoided by bearing in mind that "libertarian" means liberty sect, or the sect of liberty. It's clear enough that government is aggression, coercion, and organized crime, even when it's at its best. So what, exactly, would Paul be promising to do if he took the oath of the Office of President?

    Would he be promising to trample the principles of the liberty sect or not to trample them? Would he be promising to do both? Would he be promising, once again, to organize crime on the pretext of securing the blessings of liberty?

    No Treason, No. 1

  14. I agree with the eery feelings Bob had about Johnson. When I first heard of him, over a year ago, I researched him quite thoroughly and was impressed. However, as time went on and I became more and more familiar with him, I turned much more skeptical.

    At CPAC '10, the room went silent and then wild with whispers as Johnson responded affirmative to whether or not he liked Honest Abe, which to anyone familiar with Ron Paul supporters knows is a disturbing answer. He also lacks the incredible grasp of libertarian intellectualism that Ron Paul has. I believe that as a result of that, he supports many policies that are very unlibertarian: he wishes only more scrutiny of the Federal Reserve, not its abolition; he wishes to end foreign aid, except for Israel, a move that is diametrically opposed to a non-intervention foreign policy and is responsible for much of the animosity in the Middle East; he also has shown support for a variety of welfare measures: "fatherhood initiatives," maintaing solvency of SS, and perhaps most disturbingly, a plethora of joint state-federal initiatives.

    These distinctly unlibertarian policies ought to give one incredible pause before jumping on the Gary Johnson bandwagon.

    What is more that I truly get a sense that the man cannot be trusted. I have seen him speak on several occasions, have spoken with him personally, albeit briefly, and comingled with the Gary Johnson supporters at CPAC. The Johnson supporters are wonderful people and I give them much credit. But speaking to Johnson, I've noticed that he lacks a developed understanding of libertarianism and enthusiasm for a message which ultimate goal is not the presidency, but smashing the state.

  15. I think the post is a little unfair to Gary Johnson. He is addressing the practical problems of governing rather than the theoretical ideal. Let's face it. The government isn't going to go away regardless of who is elected president. But it's important to point out that the world won't cave in if the government does less. That said, I still favor Ron Paul. Ron Paul is a messenger, and right now the message is what is important. Gary Johnson talks about governing, and he may actually better prepared to govern than Ron Paul is. But governing means compromise and you can, and must, compromise your policies, but you shouldn't compromise your message.

    But ultimately I favor Ron Paul because I think he has a better chance of winning. Gary Johnson would start off where Ron Paul was in 2008, but Ron Paul has made a huge amount of progress since that time. Right now he's about at the same level in the polls that Romney was four years ago, but he has a larger organizational base with the campaign for liberty and his name identification is much higher than it was then.

    If a liberty candidate like Gary Johnson or Rand Paul could actually win in 2012 I might favor them over Ron Paul because they might actually be able to bring this country back from the precipice, but that isn't in the cards. Johnson is too unknown and Rand is too new. So we still need Ron Paul to hammer the message home. By 2016 the collapse will likely be upon us or at least looming over us. We need freedom to be seen as both the ethical and the practical response as the statists will then be out in force with all of their intrusive nostrums.

  16. Uh, Gary who?
    IOW get serious.
    Ventura did the same thing at the real convention in 2008. Talked about how maybe he will run next time. Like these guys got a clue what integrity and credibility is and I actually like Jesse a bit. His line about pro wrestling and politics almost redeemed him. In answer to the question is pro wrestling fake, he said, "No, I'm saying politics is fake."