It looks like the campaign of Ron Paul (or Dr. Paul his supporters insist) is now in serious trouble with the revelation that racist and homophobic columns appeared in a newsletter with his name on the banner. Who knows who actually wrote them? But, Paul (sorry, Dr. Paul) is the responsible officer of his own publiction. Saying, “Sorry, I had no idea people were writing this stuff under my name,” pushes libertarianism a little too far.
In my young and foolish days, I had libertarian leanings that eventually I abandoned to become an out-and-out reactionary. One of the problems with libertarianism as a political movement is that there’s a creepy sense of dictatorship underneath all the rhetoric: “Vote for us and everything will be completely different!” It just ain’t gonna happen. Politics is the art of the possible and as Ace says, you’ll never get elected or re-elected:
Let’s take the Department of Education for starters. I assume, without knowing for a fact, Professor Science wishes to abolish it. I’m copacetic with that general notion. I do not consider that to be a “deranged” or “lunatic” idea.
What I do consider deranged is the assertion by Professor Science’s supporters that such a thing is possible. Wake up: It’s not. The Department of Education may be an ineffective, even counterproductive, scam that hurts more than it helps and is indeed an example of the federal government’s growth into areas it shouldn’t venture into.
But the Department of Education is popular. Very popular. Among dopes, yes, who think that if you’re against the Department of Education you’re against education itself and don’t want children to have an education, but those dopes, I have to say, constitute about 75% of the electorate.
This is why those “sell-out RINOs” are forced to accomodate themselves with the reality that the DoE isn’t going anywhere. The best a real, serious, non-fringe candidate can hope to do is to reform this institution so it at least is not harmful to education.
Would abolishing it be preferable? Possibly. Probably, even. I would not be sad at all to see this crap department go. But it is not politically possible. You can either have a Republican who says he supports the DoE and wants it to do its job better or you can have Democrat who says he suppors the DoE and wants it do its job better. What you can’t have is a Republican President who vows to abolish it, because he won’t be elected. Period.
There’s a real place in this country for a serious debate about personal liberties vs. public order, the role of government in our lives, the relationship of states to the federal government and the place of America in the world. None of the major candidates are asking these questions.
The problem with libertarianism as a political movement is that it’s neither broad nor deep. Ron Paul’s about the best you get. Soon afterwards, if not sooner, what kind of people are its proponents? Gold bugs. Truthers. Potheads. Whore-bonkers. Porn-pushers. Jew baiters. Racial supremicists. Survivalists. Drinkers of colloidal silver. Neo-Confederates. Conspiracy theorists. Secessionists. Little America types.
In short, the sort of folks who forty years ago put out badly typed mimeographed newsletters and who now have badly designed websites. Assistant dog warden in Arthur County, Nebraska is about the upper limit of their electoral prospects. Anything higher office and they rapidly become an embarrassment.