I touched on the subject of Ron Paul’s viciously bigoted newsletters in my last post. The revelation of these newsletters doesn’t just present problems for his presidential campaign, though; it presents a problem for many of us as well.
The danger for self-described libertarians- particularly those of us who are also registered Republicans- is that our message of individual liberty and limited government will be drowned out by Ron Paul’s bigotry. It was bad enough when Democrats cast us as “the lunatic fringe” in the 1990s; one couldn’t comment on the overreach of the federal government without a littany of “militia whacko” digs. Now Ron Paul may have given them- and many of our fellow Republicans- ammuntion to do it to us again.
The best thing we can do to preserve the message of individual liberty is to cut Ron Paul loose. Yes, he was one of the formative figures in modern libertarianism. But he’s a liability to our movement we simply can’t afford.
Instead, we have to relentlessly push our powerful message: That you, the individual, are a remarkable entity, capable of self-determination and self-reliance; that left to your own devices, you are capable of achieving whatever you want to achieve; that you have a broad array of rights which are as natural to you as the fingers on your hands; that you don’t need or want government to make decisions for you or care for you or provide you a false sense of safety; that government deprives you of opportunities by taxing and regulating you and your endeavors; that government interferes with your pursuit of happiness by devaluing your money, seizing your property, and diluting your rights; and that we have a sacred text called the United States Constitution, which- in its glorious correctness- recognizes these truths.
This positivity of this message is the reason for the current “libertarian moment”. If freedom is the natural condition of man, then how can anyone argue against this message? Nobody can, which is why we see counterarguments couched in “protection” and “fairness” rhetoric, or in ad hominem attacks accusing us of being drug addicts or conspiracy theorists. Ron Paul’s racism hasn’t helped our case.
And since Dr. Paul is currently running for President (and doing fairly well in the polls), one has to ask: If we don’t support Paul, who do we support? I asked this question in a previous post: Which candidate will make government as inconsequential in your life as possible? My answer hasn’t changed.