Wednesday, December 5, 2007

And the Chorus Grows

Will Hinton adds his voice to the chorus of those concerned that Ron Paul's inability to distance himself from conspiracy theorists could be bad for libertarianism in the long run. Welcome to the club, Will!

Money quote:

Until Libertarians/libertarians like Ron Paul can learn to not allow themselves to be lampooned in this manner, the beliefs they promote will make little headway. Until Ron Paul can learn to be a smarter politician, he will continue to harm the libertarian cause.

I'd like to add that Hinton's overall position on Paul is very similar to where I stand at this point. I would point out, however, that ending the war on (some) drugs is pretty close to a libertarian litmus test, as is the concept that government is on the whole "BAD." While outside the "mainstream" of American politics, perhaps, these are also ideas that have a fairly sizable constituency, even if still a distinct minority. Since Paul also appears to hold these positions himself, I think it would be pretty silly for him to distance himself from them. It may be that these are positions Paul shouldn't push overly hard, but they are not positions he should distance himself from, either.

This points to the trouble with running an organized libertarian-ish campaign: on the one hand, you have to appeal to as many voters as possible. On the other hand, you have to try and make sure that you don't dilute libertarianism too much in the process. Paul's adoption of anti-immigrant rhetoric and faith in state governments is an example of how the latter can happen. The problem with the Paul campaign is that it's not likely to do a sufficiently good job of either, meaning an insufficient amount of support to create a lasting political impact while also diluting the libertarian philosophy in the process.

I hope I'm wrong, of course, and like Hinton, I will acknowledge that there's a a good chance I'll still vote for Paul anyways.
(via memeorandum)