L: Doug, we’ve had a lot of readers ask us what you think about Ron Paul, and he’s just announced he’s running for president again. What’s your take?
Doug: Ron is a decent human being. I’ve met him on a number of occasions, mostly when he came to meetings of the Eris Society, and always found him to be philosophically sound, as well as pleasant and sincere. A genuinely likable guy. As far as I’ve observed, he’s always done exactly what he’s said he’d do – certainly when it comes to voting against almost everything.
But if you’re asking if he’s got a chance of becoming president, I’ll skip the “Slim and none” joke, and just say not a chance. The proverbial snowball in the mythical hot place has better odds.
L: I’m not surprised. Short of something far-fetched, like L. Neil Smith and Aaron Zelman’s novel Hope, in which a gun-toting libertarian becomes president because the other candidates happen to die the night of the election, I can’t see an honest libertarian – or any honest man at all – becoming president. But let’s talk about the man first. How well do you know him?
Doug: Just socially. The only political candidate I’ve really been close friends with was Harry Browne, who was the Libertarian Party Presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000. I genuinely supported Harry, partly because we’d been friends since the mid-‘70s. And because I don’t believe we ever disagreed about anything beyond what wine to have with dinner. And because Harry was the only avowed anarchist that I know of to have ever seriously run for president. And because he promised that, if he won, he’d make me Chief of the Secret Police – just kidding.
Seriously, though, I thought that Harry could win several million votes just because he was so rational and eloquent. And because I believe that, since most people are basically decent, there would be at least that many who would support him, if they just knew he existed. But I was wrong. It shows that I’m actually not a cynic, but a romantic. Of course it’s also said that a cynic is just a frustrated romantic. And that may well be true.