Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Four-Step Argument Against Voting for Ron Paul

(Cross-posted as a comment at Unqualified Offerings)

After the newsletter revelations, I can no longer vote for Ron Paul (barring unforeseen events), particularly from a libertarian interest point of view.

The argument against supporting Ron Paul is quite simple, really- and applies even if he was a consistent representative of libertarianism to begin with (which he was and is not, IMHO).
1. Paul has no chance of winning the GOP nomination or becoming President even if every potential supporter of his backed him. This is even more true today than it was before the story broke.
2. As such, supporting Paul can only serve one of two purposes: as a protest vote, or as a way of advancing the philosophy most associated with him (ie, libertarianism).
3. He is only a valid protest vote if he is most associated with things that you wish to protest (ie, the GWOT); if he is primarily associated with other things, then your protest vote will have zero effect since it will be viewed as an endorsement of those other things rather than his position on the GWOT.
4. He is only worth supporting as a means of growing libertarianism if supporting him will actually help the libertarian cause. Such a vote essentially tells the world that this man is a good representative of libertarianism. Since these newsletters are now a major part of how the public views Ron Paul, a vote for Paul on these grounds amounts to a libertarian endorsement (or at least acceptance) of the material in the newsletters. That is not a good way to advance libertarianism, unless of course you agree with the content of the letters.