Ron Paul does not Speak for all Libertarians

It’s great he’s [Ron Paul] anti-war. And for legalizing drugs. I’d be tempted to vote for him just based on those two things except…he’s a hypocrite. And he wants to eliminate Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Let’s forget about that though and just get back to the hypocrisy. All I hear from him is “personal freedom!” all day long. “Personal freedom” unless you want, or need, to have an abortion. I just heard him being interviewed by Piers Morgan two minutes ago on CNN and he wants to ban it yesterday. That’s not up for debate so please don’t tell me it’s not true; he said it himself. He’d ban it even in cases of rape or incest. So that’s strike one for the Libertarian crowd, right?

And considering this country’s history of abusing “State’s Rights”, his desire to leave gay people to their fate in places like Mississippi by having no federal protections for us is just a wee bit troublesome too; we’re either one country or fifty different ones. You can’t have one State treating minorities as equals while another treats them like dirt. I’m sure you’re also aware of his stance on the Voting Rights and Civil Rights acts of the sixties; he would have left African Americans to their fate in Southern States back then as well: pure Libertarianism Does. Not. Work!! – james_from_cambridge

I found this interesting comment on a Gawker article about why the mainstream media is ignoring Ron Paul. Libertarians who run for office unsettle me because there is a risk that people will conflate that individual’s foibles as somehow representative of libertarianism in general.

And here is a great example.

Ron Paul doesn’t like abortion. But many, if not most, libertarians recognize that, in the final analysis, abortion is the woman’s decision. It’s her body. Abortion is offensive to me. But so are a lot of other things that aren’t my business. And I used to be very much pro-life.

Ron Paul doesn’t like the idea of open borders. He wants the government to control immigration. But many, if not most, libertarians recognize that national borders are a fiction, a made-up line in the sand to separate people from each other. All borders should be open. I should be able to work and travel freely and so should you.

At the same time, james_from_cambridge doesn’t really get the big liberty picture.

Ron Paul probably wants to end Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I’m not really up on where Ron Paul differs from a standard libertarian position. James_from_cambridge might think that these are great programs which help the poor, the injured, the old and the weak. And that is true. But, they’re also unsustainable programs. The government can’t afford them. No matter who is president or who controls the congress, these programs will soon be hobbled to the point of uselessness. This is due to the national debt and the fact that entitlements like these have been over-promised and under-funded.

Sure, Social Security has a $4 or $5 trillion trust fund. But the government already spent that! It’s imaginary. And it doesn’t have the funds to repay that. The bottom line is that these programs are important but that the government can not be trusted with them. Personally, I want to establish tens of thousands of these programs in the form of local co-ops across the country. Put these critical programs in the hands of those who fund and benefit from them. They are the ones who are fit to safeguard them.

Ron Paul doesn’t think the federal government should get involved in civil rights protection for gays and blacks, according to james_from_cambridge. For someone who is convinced that the federal government is the  final authority, a bulwark of security and freedom, that’s outrageous. In reality, I suspect the government does just as much, or more, harm to minorities as it does good.

As with the social safety net, it would be more effective and consistent for the protection of minorities to be handled by those who care directly, instead of subjecting it to the whims of a corrupt political body whose membership changes every two years. Mutual aid societies can be formed. Funds can be pooled. Direct action from the bottom-up is more effective anyway.

In conclusion, I’d like to say to james_from_cambridge that Ron Paul is a libertarian only in a very loose sense. He doesn’t speak for all of us. You, who speak up for mistreatment of minorities, should know better than to generalize about a group of people. The idea of individual liberty and individual rights connected with innate human empathy and collective action has a lot to offer the world. It speaks quite poignantly to our most pressing problems. Keep listening.

16 August 2011

14 responses to “Ron Paul does not Speak for all Libertarians”

  1. James Babb says:

    Good stuff, especially the conclusion.

    As for the benefits of libertarianism for minorities, the drug war is probably the most racist invention in modern times, enslaving more black men than chattel slavery. Shutting down this atrocity would be a god-send for urban communities and the millions of shattered families left in its wake.

    Also, it is less widely known, but Social Security is a direct transfer of wealth from blacks to whites. Do to the shorter life expectancy of black men, whites will receive benefits for nearly 3x as long.

    Minimum wage is another cruel assault on minorities. By chopping the bottom rungs off the career ladder, the less skilled and experienced are kept poor. (http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articles/wage-28091-killers-worker.html)

  2. Great points, Jim. Thanks.

  3. Robert Fernandes says:

    I have to say… Abortion is the most difficult issue for me. I do believe in a woman’s ownership of her body. But I also believe that a fetus is a living being and also has a right to life. I also know the consequences of prohibiting abortion. I have gone back and forth in my head with this issue for some time now.

    As far as Ron Paul is concerned, I don’t support him because I think he is perfect. I don’t support him because I think he can be our savior. I don’t even think he has a chance to win. There are too many brainwashed people and even if they were to wake up, the powers that are running the show would never let him win.

    I support him for one reason and one reason only. I see him as good messenger of liberty and freedom. I see him as a stepping stone of sorts. His message opened my mind. He introduced me to the ideas of liberty. Most of the average people will not grasp the idea of anarchism or voluntaryism. It is just too radical for them. But they can grasp on to Paul’s ideas of limited government and running your own life. Then those people just need to evolve from there.

  4. Teresa says:

    Well stated, George.

  5. Carlito says:

    Great post George, I think many people are automatically turned off by libertarianism because of the association with conservatism that many “mainstream” libertarians have…anyway, just have to mention one or two points that bothered me slightly…you said that things like Medicare and Medicaid truly help the poor, but I’m not so sure…it seems to me that the costs far outweigh any benefits, especially for the poorer people…and that these programs are underfunded (I think it’s exactly the opposite!)

  6. Carlito, Medicare and Medicaid are, at bottom, ways of helping poor people get medical care. If you think of it this way, I think you can see that this is a valuable service.

    Of course, it is being implemented very poorly. It can be done better. And the factors that lead to overpriced health care need to be addressed as well.

  7. Duane says:

    As others have said, great article George. You’re right that Ron Paul’s views do NOT represent all of libertarianism which something that most people don’t seem to get. And while I agree that Medicare and Medicaid are ways of helping poor people get medical care…I do not think that that is their original purpose, or at least the true purpose…I wouldn’t be surprised if the true reason these programs were implemented was to make these people dependent on the gov’t thus causing them to remain good little sheeple. :P

  8. Carlito says:

    I agree George, Medicare and Medicaid are better than no service at all I guess, but I just think that if they didn’t exist (along with the taxes and regulations that go with them), poorer people would be able to get better care for a lower price…maybe it’s just the way you phrased it, but when you said that the programs are underfunded, you might give the impression that if we just threw more money at them, they would be better…but I think that no matter how much money is thrown at them, they won’t get any more efficient =P

  9. By saying they’re underfunded, I’m trying to say that, even in the best case, and from the point of view of someone who might support those programs, the government has screwed up by promising much more than they have actually taken the time to fund.

  10. I am literally in a knock down, drag out fight with a guy who is swearing that Ron Paul is a staunch Libertarian. I have said, he does say some good things, but he’s not Libertarian. Just as Ron Paul keeps saying the litmus test is the constitution, ( although he doesn’t adhere to that either, look at his voting record, but that’s another story, that most Ron Paul supporters ignore )the Libertarian platform is the litmus test.

    Judging him by what he DOES and not just what he says, he fails on at least 5 Libertarian platform planks: abortioin; immigration; entitlement programs; government spending ( look up his voting record, I know he talks a good game, but he’s not 100% ); taxes ( another red herring for him ).

  11. George Donnelly says:

    Great points, thanks for commenting!

  12. Neo says:

    The biggest problem I have with the abortion is that I don’t believe it is “Her Body” anymore after she is pregnant. Why is this so hard to understand? I think “She” has a right to choose if she wants sex or not. But the moment she becomes pregnant, how is this any of her decision alone? This is more a consequence from her being irresponsible. Abortion is unnatural whether she is punched, thrown down some stairs, or vacuumed out. Children can’t be killed outside the womb or it’s murder, but yet, they have the same dependencies as in the womb but yet, that’s ok to kill them cause it’s “her body”?. Doesn’t make no sense whatsoever. It’s her body to choose pregnancy, that’s it.

  13. George Donnelly says:

    Her body, period.

  14. jehu says:

    I am not satisfied with this response of yours. Do libertarians stand for abolition of government or do they not. From what I know, libertarians stand for this. If they do not, then they are not libertarians, but advocate of small government — classical liberals or some other such nonsense. They are, in other words, presenting themselves as something they are not.