Friday, June 22, 2012

How to Run for Office Like Ron Paul

By Robert Wenzel

Occasionally, I will receive an email from an EPJ reader, who will inform me of some U.S. congressional race, or some other race, where a "libertarian" is doing quite well and might win.

I have written before, that the number of people in the United States, who understand liberty, and want liberty, is under 10%, so I find it hard to believe that "libertarians" are very close to being elected in all these races.

I don't think the emailers understand the essence of the Ron Paul presidential campaign: He lost.

He lost, BUT he got an important message out. Millions more now understand that there is a very well thought out liberty philosophy, but let me again emphasize, Ron Paul is not going to be president and he lost in 2008, also. He is a big time political loser. Yet, as an educational tool to advance the liberty message, his presidential campaign has to be ranked as one of the greatest marketing success stories ever.

Where he was a political success, as a member of the House of Representatives, he really didn't accomplish much, if anything. How could he amongst a bunch of statists?

Where he was a political failure, he accomplished much, very much: he launched a movement.

And that's what libertarians need to know about running for office. It's not about compromising your principles to gain more votes, its not about hiding your true views on taxes and minimum wage laws to gain more votes, it's about running to get the hardcore libertarian message out.

It's about hoping that after you give a speech where you denounce minimum wage laws, all taxes and the local public fire department, that at least one person, maybe two, wander over to you after your speech and tell you that what you said sounded interesting.

It's about losing the election, but at the same time advancing the libertarian cause.

In other words, it's okay for a libertarian to run for office, if it's the Ron Paul way. If it's about losing the election but spreading the word. If it's about writing op-eds, appearing in debates and being interviewed on radio about hardcore libertarianism.

Libertarians aren't close to getting elected in most places with just a libertarian message. But the message can be spread. Ron Paul has proved that. If this is done in enough places, enough times, the message can be spread even more, and more people will catch on. Then some day, perhaps five years from now, perhaps ten, we may hear of people sticking completely to libertarian principle and winning here and winning there. That will be the signal that large numbers of people at that time want liberty and understand what liberty is.

As for now, though, don't email me to tell me how close you are to victory. Email me to tell me you were on a radio show and explained to the host the dangers of government charity and the dangers of government healthcare. Write to tell me that you most assuredly are going to lose the election, but as you get better and better about spreading the word about libertarianism that instead of one person coming up to you after every other speech you give, five and six people are coming up to you after every speech and are curious about libertarianism.

The real test, of course, will be to see if the black hole of power doesn't suck you in and make you a sell out.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of and author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.


  1. I really liked and appreciated this post. It was exactly right on.

  2. Here's the thing, Bob. The number of people who understand liberty may be under 10% today, but the number of liberty-lovers will likely grow significantly over the next years and decades. Who are these ~10%? Mostly young people. Older generations are the ones who tend to support socialists, but as Steve Jobs once said about people not knowing how to type (i.e. use keyboards) - death will take care of that problem.

    Go to YouTube and search ''Mitt Romney''. You'll under some 49,000 results. Search ''Barack Obama'' - the most powerful man on the planet. The U.S. President. You'll get some 220,000 results. And now search ''Ron Paul'' - the nobody. The man who doesn't exist. The man with crazy ideas out of a comic-book. Number of results? Over 710,000. You read it correctly - 710,000+. You get the same result when doing a Google search, Flickr search, etc.

    I can only assume it's because young people use Internet more than older folks. So I'm quite positive when it comes to the future of liberty. Most libertarians may not win election today, but they sure could win them in 2 years. Or 5 years. 15 years.

  3. “So as to politics, my own view is we can’t seek our salvation in Washington or in government of any sort. I don’t think it’s actually possible to take over the Republican party. I mean it’s part of the government. Why don’t you try taking over the Dept. of Justice? I mean you can’t. It’s one thing to use politics, as Ron has done so successfully, to promote his ideas, but it’s quite another thing to think ‘I’m going to take power, and enforce my will.’” You can’t wear the ring, and triumph against Mordor. It can’t be done. So the people who go into politics for the typical reasons, already have a problem. So my guess is there’s going to be lessening of an interest in politics after Ron’s campaign, and I think that’s good. I think we can’t actually achieve anything through politics, which after all is the government’s weapon. All based on force and violence, coercion and the threats of coercion. On ordering people around. Putting a gun to people’s head and telling them what to do. That’s never the path to anything decent.”
    -Lew Rockwell (from podcast #281)

  4. Ron Paul would not have been a political loser if he had not been blacked out and marginalized by the MSM. Even so, they had to cheat at the elections and conventions. He is the only one I would have voted for, even though I have little regard for the constitution, because he's an honest man.