Back in August of 2007 I had authored an essay questioning Ron Paul as both a candidate for President as well as his commitment to minimal government and liberty. I had concluded that, based on his voting record and despite his notable stances on things like the Iraq war, as a whole Paul was not committed to freedom at all and have gone so far as to publicly accuse him of being a statist in sheep’s clothing.
While in many ways I still question his integrity, I have decided that it might be worth giving Paul a second look. Not because he is a better candidate than the others or for many other reasons his supporters give (like being electable) but because, to his credit, Rep. Paul has stuck to his principles since being a member of Congress and has not wavered on his stances. Even while pressed on issues like he was when Tim Russert interviewed him on Meet the Press a short time ago.
I am an Objectivist and use Ayn Rand’s philosophy as a road map on how to live my life. Back in 1964, Ms. Rand outlined in her essay How To Judge a Political Candidate, which was also her endorsement of Barry Goldwater, a way to measure a candidate in which to vote for. She stated:
In an age of moral collapse, like the present, men who seek power for power’s sake rise to leadership everywhere on earth and destroy one country after another. Barry Goldwater is singularly devoid of power lust. Even his antagonists admit it with grudging respect. He is seeking, not to rule, but to liberate a country.
Ms. Rand goes on to say:
If a candidate evades, equivocates and hides his stand under a junk-heap of random concretes, we must add up those concretes and judge him accordingly. If his stand is mixed, we must evaluate it by asking: Will he protect freedom or destroy the last of it? Will he accelerate, delay or stop the march toward statism?
It’s entirely possible and is looking more like Paul is, in fact, not seeking to rule but to liberate the United States in a manner he believes is best within his frame work. While not consistently libertarian it is in that direction. I am glad that Paul has lived up to what Ms. Rand has outlined and to have learned that Paul has won the endorsement of Barry Goldwater, Jr. since it is because of Barry, Sr. that I became a Republican and later a Libertarian.
From my perspective, Paul would be better served to not call himself a libertarian due to the flaws in his logic that I pointed out in my previous essay. While he can call himself whatever he wants, a more appropriate label for him would be a free market conservative.
I understand many of the people supporting him see Ron Paul as the best chance to liberate the country and it looks like the vast majority of his supporters are people who oppose the Iraq war. However, to paraphrase the battle cry of the Scottish Freemen of Ambroath, for me, it is liberty alone that I fight and contend for.
Dismantling the warfare-welfare state is one piece of how to restore liberty in this country. In my view, it is only by electing a person that is not part of the Republican and Democrat duopoly as well as someone consistent in their libertarian beliefs that people can be won over to embrace freedom and not some watered-down version of it which I still somewhat believe Ron Paul is symbolic of.
The flaws in Paul’s platform and political philosophy can have dire consequences on the country and the libertarian movement and I would advise caution for libertarians (no matter what their association). Inclusing others who sign on to give him support.
However, I am reminded by the question posed by Ms. Rand in her op-ed:
In a world ravaged by dictatorships, can we afford to pass up a candidate of that kind?
In terms of Ron Paul and were I a Republican … probably not.