Wednesday, January 9, 2008

He Warned Us!

Kip is definitely entitled to this bit of finger-wagging. For some reason, Monty Python can always take the edge off of a depressing situation.

Kip laments:

So, on top of having to laboriously explain ab initio that I am a "small-l libertarian," I apparently will forevermore have to pre-emptively declare that I am a "small-l, Non-Paul libertarian." Splendid. Ron Paul has, quite simply, wrecked libertarianism for at least a generation. And, unlike Barry Goldwater, his legacy will never be rehabilitated.

This is the nightmare scenario Kip has been warning about ever since before my foray into the blogosphere. It is also the nightmare I started to fear in November when I actually heard Paul's Alex Jones appearance. Unfortunately, by then it was too late for anyone to put the brakes on this, and I reluctantly endorsed Paul as a legitimate protest candidate, though not as a legitimate representative of libertarianism. Although in my limited defense I should point out that at least I was willing to criticize the campaign on a whole host of issues almost right from the beginning of this blog.

There were good elements of the Paul campaign, to be sure- mostly involving his more creative but not necessarily obnoxious supporters. For a few weeks, it even looked like his best supporters were starting to self-police and rid themselves of the infamous Paul-bots and spammers. Alas, it will be for the obnoxious supporters, the 9/11 Truthers, the Stormfront crowd, and more that the Paul campaign will be remembered. Because in the end, he was closer to them than he was to us.

I just hope that the number of non-libertarians who indelibly associate libertarianism with Ron Paul is relatively small, and that they associate him more with constitutionalism than libertarianism. I doubt it. A more likely effect will be that most people will completely forget about Ron Paul within a few months, or at least won't care to read about the newsletters. Even so, enough will know the story that it will make being a small "l" libertarian a more difficult task than it was.