Thursday, August 7, 2014

Rand Paul Rips 'Purist Libertarian' Web Sites

During a feature piece interview in the New York Times Magazine, Rand gets irritated in front of a reporter when the topic of libertarian purists comes up. He also attempts to define libertarian foreign policy as "foreign policy realism." Go figure. Sounds like Henry Kissinger realpolitik thinking to me. And what the hell is this talk about pro-gay marriage, when the libertarian position is that government should have no, ZERO, role in any kind of marriage? It's more libertarian dilution from Rand.

Robert Draper reports for NYT:
Last month I dropped by the Russell Senate Office Building to talk to Paul about his libertarian-Republican tightrope walk. Paul, 51 and a native Texan, possesses a supple mind and is a preternaturally confident speaker for someone who has held office for only four years. At the same time, Paul is not particularly enthusiastic about the glad-handing niceties that come with the job. “Good to see you,” he mumbled, then flopped down into a chair in his office’s conference room and fixed me with an impatient stare. I got to the point. Were we living in a libertarian “moment,” or was that wishful thinking on the part of Nick Gillespie and others?...

“What I try to point out when people say, ‘Oh, you’re an isolationist,’ I say, ‘No, there’s two poles: One is that we’re nowhere any of the time, the other is we’re everywhere all the time.’ Right now we’re much closer to the latter extreme pole — and that’s also coming from my party, the neoconservatives. So, really, libertarianism might be more like foreign-policy realism. There may be some libertarians who say, ‘By golly, we’re not going anywhere unless they attack us.’ I think I consider myself to be more moderate on the foreign-policy spectrum.”

“Do you think some political forces in Washington, like big defense contractors, hear your views on the defense budget and regard you as an existential threat?” I asked.

“I don’t think you should ever make a decision on what weapons systems we use based on the bottom line of those who make the weapons systems,” he said. “That makes some people fearful.” Grinning, he added, “But it should make other people feel hopeful.”

During our conversation, Paul made a point of characterizing libertarianism as being “moderate” rather than liberal on social issues. Movement leaders would likely object, but Paul’s preoccupation is with swaying the center-right.

“The party can’t become the opposite of what it is,” he told me. “If you tell people from Alabama, Mississippi or Georgia, ‘You know what, guys, we’ve been wrong, and we’re gonna be the pro-gay-marriage party,’ they’re either gonna stay home or — I mean, many of these people joined the Republican Party because of these social issues. So I don’t think we can completely flip. But can we become, to use the overused term, a bigger tent? I think we can and can agree to disagree on a lot of these issues. I think the party will evolve. It’ll either continue to lose, or it’ll become a bigger place where there’s a mixture of opinions.”

In effect, Paul was saying that the way for Republicans to win was to become more libertarian — though only up to a point. Purity was the movement’s game, not his. Paul reminded me that he worked on his father’s 1988 Libertarian Party presidential campaign and felt a great deal of sympathy for anyone trying to take on the major parties. “I also gathered signatures to get him on the ballot,” he said. “I know what a thankless job that is. Anybody who stands in a parking lot is thought to be an extremist.”

But later, with an irritated edge to his voice, Paul added: “Some people are purists, and I get grief all the time — all these libertarian websites hating on me because I’m not as pure as my dad. And I’m putting restrictions on foreign aid instead of eliminating foreign aid altogether. And I’m like: ‘Look, guys, I’m having trouble putting these restrictions on, much less eliminating them! So give me a break!’ ”
Rand is correct in one sense. A libertarian won't get elected given the current views of the masses. Thus, the only thing politics is good for, for the most part, for a libertarian, is as an education platform. The way Rand's father used politics. Otherwise, the only thing a "libertarian" politician can do, if he wants power, is to slink away from libertarian positions, the way Rand is doing (and hope no one notices, although they seem to be in Rand's case now). If Rand stays in the race for the presidency, he will move more and more away from libertarian positions. The system is set up to eat you, you don't get to eat the system. And that, Rand, is a pure fact.



  1. I appreciate your willingness to be critical of Rand Paul. Too many libertarians want to hop on the bandwagon and give him a pass for his transgressions. It's a shame the term "libertarian" is going to get so distorted through this.

    1. While I only follow a select few of libertarian websites, Wenzel and Adam Kokesh are the only ones that I know of that have exposed Rand for what he really is. I don't listen/read much on Alex Jones' site to make a clear call.

  2. RW;

    Politics, elections and personalities can be used to educate, sure, but gaining power, punishing criminals, stuff the place with Ron Swansons, and anything that might reduce the misery this country spreads around the globe is both moral and ethical. Seen in reverse, a purpose for libertarianism is to have a framework for the Executive to explain his actions. It's like Rothbard said, some version of, the only real question is probably peace. If one feels anything of patriotism, then one knows that if Ron Paul was elected President, and the only thing he accomplished was say, stripping Lon Horiuchi of his pension, I'd have said it was worth it.

  3. Something that has puzzled me since around 1974 is why libertarians refuse to explain to southerners and self proclaimed pious types that they could establish their own private neighborhoods and private schools and never ever encounter a "progressive" heathen, a druggie or a thug. The NAP is not "socially liberal".

    1. Because many of them want government to push others around just not them. I remember talking to an anarchist a while back and the idea of small government came up. He basically said that those who advocate small government just want it small to them but want it big towards others.

  4. It seems the big elephant in the room here is Lew Rockwell, which doesn't surprise me since this is written by the establishment NYT and Nick Gillespie has his paws all over this article. And Cathy Reisenwitz writes and speaks like a typical uneducated dopey millennial. "Like, ya know, we libertarians, like ya know, need to to more than, ya know, just be like passive when it comes to racism." But I'm glad to hear David Frum is still alive. I wasn't sure, but I guess he's so irrelevant nowadays that even the MSM mostly ignores him.