Archive for the ‘Libertarian Party’ Category

1354737272848Ron Paul’s retired… What’s Next?

Yesterday, I was listening to a Ron Paul interview on NPR’s “Talk Of The Nation”. The segment was part of a larger series this week profiling important members of Congress who are retiring this year. During Congressman Paul’s segment, the primary question the interviewers pressed upon was where the Congressman’s supporters would go now that he was retiring. Dr. Paul of course wisely rejected the interviewers premise. He said that the movement birthed from his campaign was spontaneous, and that it did not need any sort of central figure to rally around. More specifically he said, ” I think they’ll have plenty of places to go. I think they’ll act as individuals, and they’re going to create a whole new atmosphere, and they’re going to propel the revolution, I think, in a very healthy way.”

The very nature of Ron Paul’s message is about spontaneous order and voluntary action. Even still, those who call themselves part of the liberty movement are currently facing the reality that Ron Paul is not running for office again. The truth is that Ron Paul was truly one of a kind. His coalition of support amongst libertarians, small government conservatives, independents and others may very well soon be parting ways due to the retirement of their ideological rallying point. While the liberty movement will certainly continue in one form or another, It is almost certain that Ron Paul will not be the primary figure behind it. I think that it is fairly clear that several different factions may arise with differing opinions as how to advance the movement politically.  I believe that we are seeing factions manifest themselves already, as the liberty movement looks forward to 2016.  Fortunately, these factions have a default position of liberty.  Certainly, with a mutual goal great advances can be made in the liberty movement even as Ron Paul’s career reaches its’ sunset.

The most immediate and obvious heir of Ron Paul’s political support was Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s candidate in last month’s election.  Following the unofficial suspension of Ron Paul’s campaign, many supporters, (including myself) considered the only choice in November was to vote for Johnson, or not to vote at all.  Curiously, Gov. Johnson’s campaign began to take on a life of its’ own completely independent of Ron Paul’s primary effort.  It was widely remarked that Johnson was, by far, the most impressive candidate in the Libertarian Party’s history.  As a former popular two term governor of a primarily Democratic state, Johnson had proven that a Libertarian in an executive government office could work.  With nearly 750 vetoes during his tenure, Johnson halted the growth of New Mexico’s state government, and by the time that he left office in 2003, the state had a 1 billion dollar surplus in its’ treasury.  His accomplishments were naturally brushed aside by his status as a third-party candidate.  Even still, with Gov. Johnson’s strong qualifications, the main focus of his campaign was to “Be Libertarian,” and to “Be the five percent.”  The campaign’s main message evolved into a strike against the two-party system itself.  Hoping to surpass Ralph Nader’s 2000 return and capture 5 percent of the national electorate’s vote, therefore qualifying the Libertarian Party for federal funding in 2016, and most likely inclusion in Presidential debates with the Republican and Democratic parties.  Unfortunately, the votes cast for Gary Johnson were well below the campaign’s intended goal, ultimately coming out to about 1 percent of the popular vote.  Even still, Gov. Johnson has already stated his intent to run again in 2016, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he again captures a good number of former Ron Paul supporters in his next effort as well.

Another route many in the liberty movement may take in 2016 is to encourage Ron Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul to run for president.  Almost immediately after the election, Sen. Paul expressed  vocal interest in running.  Many expect the younger Paul to be more successful as a national candidate than his father.  The primary tune that we hear from Doug Wead and others is that Rand is more “self-aware” than his father, and that he has “learned from the mistakes” of Ron Paul’s career.  Judging from his short tenure in the Senate, I am 99 percent sure that Rand Paul is definitely running in 2016.  Since his election to the Senate two years ago,  Rand Paul has been the most visible and outspoken member of the Republican caucus.  Perhaps however, his attribution as a member of the GOP caucus should contain an asterisk.  Unlike his dad, who took the (R) at the end of his name as only a means of getting elected, Rand came to Washington with an agenda of legislative priorities to cut government at every level, and has been quite successful at building a coalition of like-minded members of Congress in both houses.  Since endorsing Mitt Romney last summer, it is pretty clear to me that Sen. Paul is making an effort to secure his status in the GOP as a serious future presidential candidate.  I foresee Sen. Paul’s candidacy as being a polarizing point in the liberty movement, divided between those who might argue that it is necessary to share a Libertarian frame alongside a distinctly Republican pair of lenses in order to accomplish anything, and those who refuse to compromise any amount of principle for the sake of political maneuvering.

Even amongst those who might feel comfortable with a further association with the Republican Party, and those who do not, I foresee a third faction arising to vie for the inheritance of Ron Paul’s political legacy.  This very week, Revolution PAC, launched plans to draft Judge Andrew Napolitano to run for president.  Revolution PAC was an unofficial partner of Ron Paul’s campaign last year, and is the closest thing to an organizational continuation of Ron Paul’s campaign in 2012.  (Campaign For Liberty and Young Americans For Liberty being largely birthed out of Ron Paul’s 2008 campaign.)  For many supporters of the campaign this was a curious development and possibly a snub to Rand Paul’s candidacy.  I do not view it as a snub to Rand Paul directly, but more as an illustration of the fear that the liberty movement may be co opted by Republican Party establishment, and amounting to nothing more than the supposedly small government “Republican Revolution” of 1994.  Only time will tell whether or not this fear is justified, but I for one would love to see Judge Napolitano run.  Napolitano is a fantastic spokesman for libertarian ideas, and I foresee him being a fantastic candidate.

However the liberty movement grows in 2016 and in the following years, I think that we can be definitely sure that it will in fact GROW, and that is, undoubtedly, a good thing.

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Until about two weeks ago, my last post on this site was from March of 2009.  After the 2008 Election, I experienced what I thought was a period of disillusionment with the political process.  Looking back, I don’t think that I was as disillusioned as I was allowing my ideology to mature into it’s philisophical conclusion.  In anything that I write, it really bugs me not to be thorough.  I’m going to attempt to illustrate from what point of reference I will be writing from in future posts.

I.  The difference between “freedom” and “liberty”.

I’ve always described myself as a idealist.  Even now, my reasons for identifying myself as an idealist  continues to make sense to me.  I started this site back when I was a high school student because the idea of freedom matters to me.  Most think of the word “freedom” as simply the ability to act as one sees fit, however, to measure freedom’s worth in people’s lives, and in society as a whole, I think that it is important to expand the understanding of it beyond so simple of a definition.

A freedom loving society would protect a citizen’s freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom to worship, freedom of general expression, freedom to assemble peaceably, freedom to choose, and a citizen’s freedom to associate with whomever he or she chooses.

Lately, in many circles, you hear the word “liberty” more often than “freedom”.  In differentiating between the two, I am just going to go with John Stuart Mill’s understanding of both words.  Paraphrasing Mill, “freedom” is defined as “the ability to act,” and “liberty” is defined as “the ability to act freely without coercion”.

In that context, a society which openly loves and defends liberty would seem preferable to the one that does  the same exclusively for freedom.

In my last post, I wrote about how liberty was dear to the founders of the United States, and how they framed the Constitution in accordance to what they considered to be the natural rights of man.  Instead, we as a society have traded liberty for security and other social benefits that only the government can provide.  V’s speech in the movie V for Vendetta could just as well be spoken to the American people today.

(Well except for the November 5th references.)

I think that the United States’ disregard for the the philosophy which our law was founded upon would infuriate its founders.  Which brings me to my next point.

II. From Republican To Libertarian.

During my last run on this site, I proudly described myself as a conservative.  In one particular understanding of this label, I would continue to do so.  That understanding of conservatism would align itself with the definition which is featured in The Conscience Of A Conservative by Barry Goldwater.  Unfortunately, I think that most people would now call that book “libertarian” or “classically liberal”.  I guess my political philosophy fits with that of a libertarian more so than with the label of “conservatism” that Republicans throw around so much these days.

I’m not really into bashing Republicans for not adhering to conservative principles.  Luke 6:42 says,

“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

I adopted many contradictory and illogical conclusions during my last run on this site.  My favorite example was when I wrote a post which I believe was entitled, “Are We Not Conservatives?”.  I wrote this post days before the Republican Convention in 2008.  Anyway, In that post I wrote about how Republicans should keep their conservative principles in mind  before going to the convention.  I quoted from The Conscience Of A Conservative, which beautifully describes the idea of a free society which protects the rights of its citizens.  I continued to turn the piece into a rah rah cheer for John McCain.  Nothing against John McCain, but he was a candidate who deliberately wrote legislation which prohibits free speech and contradicts the first amendment.  That, and several other of his positions make his effort to convince others that he is a “small government conservative”  laughable.

If Republicans, (myself included) were to stand on the principles which they claimed to espouse, than they never would have nominated John McCain in 2008.

After voting in 2008, it became clear to me that the Republican and Democratic Parties really didn’t offer me a real choice in ideology.  Neither party is interested in protecting the rights of citizens of the United States.  Feeling this crappy after 2008, I was prone to look elsewhere for a better representation of what I believed politically.

III. Ron Paul

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”- John Quincy Adams

After voting for John McCain in 2008, I felt like my vote was lost.  To clarify, I felt like I had held my nose and voted for a candidate whose policies I not only didn’t believe in, but in fact pretty seriously disagreed with most of the time.

If I really did believe that taxation is morally wrong, then why did I vote for tax hikes?  If I really believe that preventive wars are wrong, then why did I vote for a troop surge in Iraq?

The first book I read after the election in 08 was The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul.  I’m not arrogant enough to deny that my opinions on certain issues have been changed by reading books by Congressman Paul and others, but I really believe that my core ideology has not changed.  Since I’ve become interested in politics at the age of 17, I’ve been dedicated to one principle, the preservation of the rights of men everywhere.  Much of my attraction to Governor Huckabee’s campaign in the 2008 primaries was very Libertarian in nature.  I was attracted to a massive reformation of the Unites States’ current tax system (FairTax), and I was under the impression that Governor Huckabee would dramatically change U.S foreign policy.

I don’t want to make this a “rah rah” piece for Ron Paul, but I do want to be honest about how I view the current state in which the United States is in.

I’m supporting Ron Paul in the 2012 Republican Presidential Primaries.  As a representative in Washington, he has a record of adhering to the constitution and speaking out for individual liberty which is unparalleled.  I think our country’s future would be undeniably brighter with a leader like Ron Paul in the White House.

I’m sure that I will go into more detail on some of my positions later.  For now however, If any of my old readers are catching up with me, hopefully now you know where I’m coming from.


I’ve recently been reading about Harry Browne, who ran for president in 1996 and 2000 as the Libertarian Party’s nominee.  Regrettably, Mr. Browne died in 2006, however even in death, I’m still impressed by his message and insight on personal liberty and other particular issues such as reformation of the two party system.

If he were alive today, Mr. Browne would undoubtedly have been one of the intellectual leaders of the tea party movement.  It’s scary just how much Mr. Browne was ahead of his time.  In these hilarious political advertisements from the year 2000, you can see just how in line his campaigns were with that of modern day “tea partiers”.

Also, I’m really impressed with the late Mr. Browne’s willingness to speak out on other issues that aren’t all that in line with many tea partiers, such as pacifism and reformation of the two party system.

Needless to say, the guy was really an impressive figure.  If you want to learn more about Harry Browne, you can check out his website. (Which is still running, but not very impressive.) Or, you can order his book, How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World, at Amazon.