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Thursday, December 22, 2011

RAW and Ron Paul

Believe it or not, Ron Paul is leading in the polls in Iowa. That will change, for all I know, but it's a weird development.

Every libertarian has to think about how he feels about Ron Paul, as he is by far the most prominent libertarian leader in the country.

Robert Anton Wilson, explaining why he did not vote in 1980 for the Libertarian Party candidate, Ed Clark, explained,  "I am not that kind of Libertarian, really; I don't hate poor people."

I'm guessing that if RAW was alive today, he would say that Ron Paul (the 1988 Libertarian Party nominee) was not his kind of libertarian, either. I'm guessing though, that like nearly all libertarians, he would be pleased with Dr. Paul's foreign policy and civil liberties positions.

Will Wilkinson's excellent essay on Paul explains nicely, I think, why many libertarians have doubts about Paul.

Bonus link: Conor Friedersdorf on Paul's racist newsletters. (He heaps lots of blame on Paul for them, but comparing Paul to the other candidates, writes, "My tentative conclusion: among the candidates who could win, Paul is least complicit in needlessly killing innocents abroad; he is least likely to deprive innocent foreigners of their God given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; he is most committed to civil liberties and drug legalization at home.")

Addendum bonus links: Nick Gillespie weighs in with a fair minded post at Reason's Hit and Run blog; columnist Debra Saunders writes how she "first met Ron Paul in 1988 at the Beverly Hills home of Dr. Timothy Leary, the onetime "turn on, tune in, drop out" LSD guru. Leary talked to me about how he was going to have his head frozen cryogenically when he died - it happened eight years later - and why he was hosting a fundraiser for Paul."

Gary Johnson, probably the most sane libertarian candidate in politics right now (I'll let you decide how much there is to cheer in that statement) apparently is planning to give up his attempt to win the Republican nomination and will seek the Libertarian Party nomination.


michael said...

Leary did not have his head frozen. Just to clear that up.

I generally agree with Conor Friedersdorf.

But Gary Johnson is, to me, the sanest of all the non-Dems, and I would be tempted to vote for him next Nov, if it weren't a 2000-like situation, in which I voted for Nader (and yes, I still apologize to everyone reading this, and...the entire planet, really.)

Great post!

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Well, since Gore carried California by a wide margin, I'm not sure what you have to apologize for. I'm sure your vote would have been different if the vote had been in doubt. I would have voted for Obama last time if I had been worried about a close vote, but I knew he would win in Ohio, freeing me to vote for the Libertarian. I'm happy I didn't vote for Obama; I'm really angry with him (and Democrats in general) over civil liberties and war.

Situational awareness is important. I had friends who swapped votes for Nader in safe Democratic states for votes for Gore in states where the issue was in doubt.