Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Libertarian and the Theocrat

If you haven't read Jonah Goldberg's column today about Ron Paul vs. Mike Huckabee, you should. Goldberg is far more of a conservative than I, but I think he hits the nail on the head when discussing the historic conflict between libertarians and cultural traditionalism within the conservative movement. Money quote:

But there's something weird going on when Paul, the small-government constitutionalist, is considered the extremist in the Republican Party while Huckabee, the statist, is the lovable underdog. It's even weirder because it's probably true: Huckabee is much closer to the mainstream. And that's what scares
me about Huckabee and the mainstream alike.

I should also point out that the reason Goldberg is less scared of the whacko contingent amongst the Paul supporters is largely the same reason I've been willing to swallow my concerns about Paul so far (at least on a political level, if not an ideological level):

Whatever the faults of the man and his friends may or may not be, Paul's dogma
generally renders them irrelevant. He is a true ideologue in that his personal preferences are secondary to his philosophical principles.

This doesn't change the potential damage Paul can do to libertarianism as an ideology, as I discussed earlier, if he fails to dissociate from the whackos. What it does change, however, is the extent to which we should fear those whackos if Paul were by some force of nature elected President.