Friday, January 18, 2008


I still find it ironic that people who care so much about states' rights think it's important what the Presidential candidates have to say on the Confederate flag in South Carolina, when there has never been a suggestion that the federal government can or will get involved in the issue. In other words, states' rights supporters are making the Confederate flag an issue in a federal election when just about everyone else has always considered it a state issue.

What matters to these people isn't whether the candidate would use the federal government to go after the flag, but what the candidate thinks the state should do.

(via memeorandum)

Sanchez on Libertarian Infighting

I agree with every word of this Julian Sanchez post.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Split in the Paul Campaign?

Per David Weigel, Ron Paul last week approved a press release that would have acknowledged Lew Rockwell's role in the newsletters, but it was quashed by campaign manager Kent Snyder.

If true - and the campaign has issued a non-denial denial - then this is either a clever leak or a piece of news that restores some of my lost respect for Ron Paul. There is no information as to the exact content of the quashed release, but the fact that Paul himself approved it suggests that he personally understands the gravity of the situation a bit more than we so far know.

I have continued to think a lot about this issue, and I think there are a few things that can happen that would make me willing to get back on the Ron Paul bus or at least regain some of the good that his campaign had previously been doing for libertarians of all stripes, "cosmos" and "paleos" alike.

1. A statement from Ron Paul (preferably on camera, but a press release might be ok) that simply comes clean about the whole matter. At this point, we pretty much know the circumstances surrounding the newsletters thanks in part to Reason's excellent article yesterday. The press release should come clean about his involvement in the newsletters, and their purpose. It should further state that Paul welcomes support from any quarter in his campaign for freedom, but that the attempts made by some of his newsletters to appeal for support on extremely un-libertarian and racially incendiary grounds was, to say the least, stupid.


2. A statement from Rockwell acknowledging his own role in the newsletters, indicating that he was responsible for the content at issue here, that the racial content was extremely ill-conceived. If Paul was not in fact involved in the most racial newsletters, then Rockwell must make the circumstances of this lack of involvement clear.

I realize I have no right to either of these two things. However, if I am to vote for Ron Paul, I need some kind of specific evidence that shows either that Paul understands the gravity of the situation and how poorly it reflects on him personally and on libertarianism more generally OR that Paul in fact new nothing about the racial content in the newsletters. While the latter shows poor management ability, it does not undermine his value as a protest vote or as a symbol of libertarianism (in my view). What does undermine his value as a protest vote and as a symbol of libertarianism is that these newsletters, with their blatant racism, went out under his name and, it would seem, with his knowledge. It is one thing to accept racists under your tent; but it is quite another thing to actively recruit them by using blatantly racist and inherently un-libertarian terms.

***NOTE- the newsletters I am concerned with are exclusively the racially incendiary ones; the conspiracy theory stuff and the anti-Israel stuff are not inherently un-libertarian, even though I may disagree with them in substance.

Big News Here in Jersey

Rudy Giuliani's strategy has been to lie in wait until Florida, where he has tried to build a firewall, and then take a huge number of delegates on Super Tuesday when New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York all go to the polls. Not only do those three states (all logically Giuliani strongholds) make up about 15% of the delegates on Super Tuesday, but they are all winner-takes-all primaries. A decent showing in the remaining Super Tuesday states (most of which are not winner-takes-all) would leave Giuliani in good shape at the end of the day.

New Jersey in particular played a key role in this strategy, as one of Giuliani's biggest bundlers (who essentially controlled the NJ GOP primary rules) forced through a change in the state's delegate allocation from a proportional allocation to winner-takes-all. The general perception was that in so doing, New Jersey would be removed from play under the theory that Giuliani could get a plurality of the vote in the state without raising a finger. In so doing, it was believed that Giuliani was guaranteeing himself a minimum of 15% of the Super Tuesday delegates without having to spend much, if any, resources - thus freeing up precious resources for other states.

Well, it seems that (apparent) strategy may backfire tremendously on Giuliani. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, John McCain is now beating Giuliani in the state of New Jersey. Of course this is well within the margin of error, but it emphasizes just how badly Giuliani has suffered from the lack of positive headlines in the early states. It's hard to see how he can stay in this race if he doesn't come back and win Florida. Indeed, things have gotten to the point where his biggest supporters think that he could lose his home state of New York should he fail to come back in Florida.

(via memeorandum)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

So Much for Petitioning the Government

Former Republican congressman Mark Deli Siljander has been indicted on charges of supporting terrorism. Since this both involves the GWOT and a former Republican politician, Siljander has already been convicted by both the left and right sides of the blogosphere. One place he hasn't been convicted, however, is here.

I have not seen the indictment in this case, but as far as I can tell, neither have any of the pundits, which means all we have to rely on right now is the AP report. To sum up: Siljander was hired as a lobbyist by an Islamic charity to get the charity off of a list of agencies suspected of funneling money to terrorists. This charity was, as far as I can tell, located in Kansas City, Missouri, and was made up of US citizens (I could be wrong about this, though). The organization itself is accused of a number of different things, but the charges against Siljander are fewer and are summed up below:

Prosecutors allege Siljander's co-defendants -- the directors of an Islamic charity -- hired him to get the organization off a list of agencies suspected of links to terrorism and paid him with stolen U.S. government funds.
The Treasury Department designated the Islamic American Relief Agency as a suspected fundraiser for terrorists in 2004, The Associated Press reported.
Siljander is also accused of lying to federal agents and prosecutors about his work for
the group, which allegedly steered $260,000 to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar -- an ally of the Taliban and al Qaeda.

As shady as all of this sounds, there's a few things that raise some red flags for me, and tell me this case is not as clear cut as it sounds (or at least it shouldn't be). Let me be very clear up front, though: if Siljander knowingly received "stolen government funds" in exchange for his services, then he deserves what is coming to him; in addition, if he lied about his activities in a material fashion when asked, then I likewise lack sympathy for him. But the main thrust of Siljander's indictment (and the investigation of him that led to the apparent perjury charges) appears to be that Siljander lobbied the government to take this particular organization off the watch list, and was compensated for his services.

I know that most people hate lobbyists and all, but we have this thing called the First Amendment, which states:

"Congress shall make no law ...abridging ...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

So far as I know, organizations on the terror watch list that are nonetheless American citizens have never lost their right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. This is particularly true when said organizations have not yet been convicted of any felonies in a court of law. I am also unaware of any restrictions that have ever been placed on lobbying fees beyond the typical attorney ethics rules (which are not criminal statutes).

While we may find it sleazy that a former government official would lobby to get an organization off a watch list, we would do well to remember that the watch list doesn't exactly give the accused a chance to adequately fight the charges that place it on the watch list. Just as any criminal defendant has a right to fight charges against him, this organization - sleazy as we may find it - had every right to fight the charges against it (as long as it complied with various legal requirements, of course). But more importantly, Siljander had every right to lobby on their behalf and receive payment for it; again, that may seem sleazy, but I don't think it is inherently any sleazier than the criminal defense attorney who defends a serial killer. We would also do well to remember that Siljander was in the private sector at the time, making money as a lobbyist; he was not an elected official anymore, and hasn't been for some 20 years.

If organizations on administrative watch lists cannot use all legal recourses to petition the government to get off those watch lists, then the government has the ability to dramatically penalize anyone without giving them any due process of law.

The right to petition the government for a redress of grievances is an often overlooked and - based on the hatred of lobbyists that exists in this country - clearly underappreciated right. In many ways, it is every bit as fundamental as the remaining rights listed in the First Amendment, for without it, the government would never have to hear about the real-world effects of its policies, and could much more easily get away with ignoring other civil liberties, since opposing legislators would not be able to hear about, publicize, and act on problems caused by the majority party.

Now, I want to repeat: it seems very likely that this particular organization was in fact guilty of some abhorrent and rightly illegal activities. However, their relative guilt has nothing to do with Siljander's, and at this point no one has seen the evidence and thus no one knows how much knowledge Siljander had of any illegal activities. But even then, he would still have a right to lobby on their behalf and receive compensation for it just as they would still have a right to lobby to get off the terror watch list.

If Siljander knowingly received stolen government funds, as alleged, then he deserves to be convicted, as is also the case if he lied under oath or otherwise obstructed justice in a manner inconsistent with his duties as an attorney. But if all he did was lobby on this organization's behalf and receive funds that he did not have any reason to think were stolen, then the First Amendment should protect him. If it doesn't, then this case is a dangerous step down the slippery slope- it's always easiest to go after the most unpopular exercises of rights first.

(More at memeorandum)

***UPDATE*** I've now looked at the DOJ's press release about the case, which is much more explicit than the media reports. According to the release, the charges allege that:

"As compensation for the services that Siljander agreed to perform, IARA transferred roughly $50,000 in stolen federal funds to accounts that were controlled by Siljander at the National Heritage Foundation and the International Foundation. According to the indictment, the funds used to compensate Siljander for his services had previously been stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) by IARA, Hamed and Bagegni. The International Foundation and the National Heritage Foundation, which is not related to the Heritage Foundation, are not charged with any wrongdoing in this case."

This allegation certainly seems to show shady behavior by Siljander- it would be, I think, quite unusual to have compensation for services funneled through private charities. It is still possible that there would be legitimate reasons for doing so, but the appearance of the transaction suggests knowingly illegal activity. In addition, the press release states that Siljander denied to investigators the existence of an agreement to act on the group's behalf for compensation, and that the payments to his accounts at the private charities were just "donations" to help him with a book he was writing.

I would like to know more about the evidence in this case before coming to any definite conclusions, but it seems likely that Siljander is guilty of some clear wrongdoing. Had he simply received payment for lobbying services directly and told the truth about it to investigators, there would be little basis for the charges; but by funneling his compensation through third-party groups and then lying about the nature of that compensation, it seems likely he knew the money was ill-gotten.

If those facts are accurate, then certainly the obstruction of justice charge is warranted, as is the money laundering charge.

More Conspiracy Theories

Not that long ago, the standard meme coming out of the Rockwell Brigades was that the evil MSM overlords were deliberately pushing him off to the side and understating his chances to discourage people from voting for him. See, e.g., here, here, and here (and probably plenty others).

Now they're complaining that the Associated Press has suggested there's a possiblity that Ron Paul might win in Nevada because that would make a second or third place finish a disappointment? The convoluted nature of the conspiracy theories over there is amazing.

More on Why Romney Can't Appeal to Libertarians (Realignment Watch)

Jerry Taylor at the Cato Institute hits on something I've been discussing for awhile: although Mitt Romney purports to appeal to all the branches of the old Reagan Coalition, the fact is that he really has no appeal to libertarians. Indeed, Taylor points out that Romney's views on trade are not the free market capitalism that libertarians have long championed and which was a cornerstone of the Reagan platform. After all, no free market capitalist would ever argue that an economic problem such as the auto industry's is the result of government doing too little, and that the solution is more corporate welfare.

Taylor calls positions like these what they are: economic fascism, in the historical sense. He further points out something else that I've been arguing- Republicans no longer have anything to offer libertarians, and at least the Dems can offer us something on foreign policy and social issues.

***UPDATE*** Ross Douthat also sees the economic fascism undertone in Romney's campaign.

The Full Newsletter Story

Julian Sanchez and David Weigel have pieced together a history of the Ron Paul newsletters and the attempts at a strategic alliance between paleo-libertarians and far-right paleoconservatives. The article is in many ways revealing- it shows the extent to which Paul reaped the rewards of the newsletters, and the extent to which the fiery - and often clearly racist - rhetoric was part of a deliberate strategy to build a paleo-alliance. They also expose that an element of that alliance was a compromise centered on states' rights, particularly with respect to morality legislation.

The article importantly does not argue that Rockwell, Rothbard, and Paul are racists themselves, but instead that they made a conscious decision that an alliance with racists and paleoconservatives was the best way to grow libertarianism. In the process, though, it seems they did precisely what the accuse Cato of doing: they compromised some of their own libertarian values, rationalizing ways in which very un-libertarian policy aims were consistent with their purported values.

They went beyond traditional libertarian opposition to state-enforced integration to actually providing moral justification for private segregation, calling it a "natural and normal human impulse." The traditional libertarian view, however, would call private segregation irrational and doomed to failure, and therefore utterly unworthy of state intervention.

In any event, the full article is outstanding. Although it will likely be called a "hit piece" or another part of Reason's "smear campaign" (odd for a magazine that did a puff piece on Paul and put it on its cover this month), it is actually far kinder to the Rockwellians than they deserve, pointing out that they have dropped much of their racially incendiary rhetoric over the last five or six years and pointing out that Paul's campaign has for the most part been built on cosmopolitan principles. However, this does not excuse the active attempt to pander to racists, and I could not agree more with Sanchez's final paragraph:

Yet those new supporters, many of whom are first encountering libertarian ideas through the Ron Paul Revolution, deserve a far more frank explanation than the campaign has as yet provided of how their candidate's name ended up atop so many ugly words. Ron Paul may not be a racist, but he became complicit in a strategy of pandering to racists—and taking "moral responsibility" for that now means more than just uttering the phrase. It means openly grappling with his own past—acknowledging who said what, and why. Otherwise he risks damaging not only his own reputation, but that of the philosophy to which he has committed his life.

Is it really too much to ask for Paul and/or Rockwell to come clean about this fiasco? Instead, the response we get is non-denial denials and, now, this classic straw man - essentially the equivalent of "But I have black friends!" If the Rockwellians can't distinguish between the language in the newsletters and legitimate criticism of Lincoln or legitimate discussion of racial differences, then I feel sorry for them. They don't seem to understand that it's possible to agree with the Walt Williams articles they reference (or at least view them as legitimate inquiry) while still taking deep and legitimate offense at the language in the newsletters.

More reactions at memeorandum, including this from Allahpundit at Hot Air that gives me hope the fallout from the Paul fiasco will be limited and will "separate the wheat from the chaff."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Romney Flip Flops Again, Wins Michigan

Ugh. Actually, it's not so bad- this will keep Romney in the race for a while longer, which means we'll be treated to more of Hugh Hewitt's riotous excuses for Romney's future failures.

And so we turn to our ritual look inside the exit polls. And what we find is:

-That 42% of Michigan's voters thought Romney's ties to the state as the son of a former governor were either somewhat important or very important. Of these two groups of voters, Romney won over 55% of the vote. Of the remaining 58% of voters who found Romney's ties to be unimportant or not too important, McCain won by a handy margin. In other words, Romney won because of his daddy. Apparently Michigan Republicans haven't learned from the Bush administration fiasco that electing the son of a respected politician doesn't mean you get the respected politician back.

-That Romney won big amongst the remaining Bush stalwarts who made up a little over half the primary voters, and lost big amongst the rest. This suggests that good news for the Bush Administration is good news for Romney. Depressingly, it also means that good news in Iraq is perhaps not as good as though for McCain. This conclusion is bolstered by the fact that Romney won by progressively larger amounts depending on the strength of support for the Iraq War. Given that the current, much more successful, strategy was heavily influenced by McCain, these voters seem to have a strange understanding of what makes a good commander-in-chief. That said, McCain did win big amongst the surprisingly small percentage of voters who viewed Iraq as their top issue.

-The TNR piece seems to have hurt Ron Paul badly. A respectable 12 percent of voters viewed him as the candidate most likely to bring "needed change," yet he won less than half of those voters. By comparison, Romney won 88% of the plurality of delusional voters who viewed him as the "change" candidate, as did McCain; Huckabee pulled a respectable 79%. The numbers for Giuliani and Thompson are unreliable due to an extremely small sample size.

-Also strange- Romney appears to have been the second choice for Paul voters, pulling 22% of people who thought Paul was the best candidate of change. Since, as I've argued, Romney is the least libertarian of all candidates on the GOP side, it seems likely that he pulled potential voters from Paul whose top issue was immigration but saw that Paul had no chance and that the relatively pro-immigrant McCain did.

- As would be expected, Romney won big on voters whose top priority is the economy. More surprising though is that McCain won by 7 points amongst voters who rated the national economy as "poor," and only lost by five points amongst voters who rated it just "not good." Amongst the 30% who thought the economy is "good," Romney won by 20. Which pretty much means that Romney's appeal on economic issues - even in the relatively pro-market GOP primary - is limited to voters who are being hurt the least in Michigan's one-state recession. Surprisingly, the populist Mike Huckabee's appeal was unaffected by views on the economy.

- DKos' Vote Romney campaign had mixed results. Romney only lost by 8 amongst Dem crossover voters, (I would have expected McCain to about double Romney among Dem voters), and actually won by a few points amongst liberal voters, so it would seem the Kos campaign had a definite effect of perhaps one or two percentage points in the final tally. But that only slightly boosted Romney's surpsing victory margin.

-One of McCain's big problems appears to be that he only won by 6 points among independent voters, who made up a quarter of the electorate. I would have expected a somewhat higher turnout amongst that group for McCain.

-Romney won big on the 44% of "values" voters, with McCain not surprisingly trailing Huckabee in that group. Romney also took a straight majority of the "experience" voters and, disturbingly, a majority of the "electability" voters (we're going to chalk that last group up to small sample size, m'kay?)

- Republicans might want to work on that diversity thing - 96% white voters? Yikes! That's a recipe for slaughter in the general election seeing as whites are only about 80% of Michigan's overall population.

- I fail to understand how illegal immigration (13%) is the top priority for more voters than terrorism (11%) in a state with a whopping 4% Latino population.

Other than that, this last week or so has been gawdawful for the independent-minded voter, with only McCain's New Hampshire win to hang our hats on. Obama was shocked, Ron Paul was exposed as an enabler of racists, and now "Battlefield Earth" Romney has gotten his campaign back on track. Ugh.

Walter Block and Libertarian Orthodoxy

(via The Liberty Papers)

Doug Mataconis drew my attention to this column from a few weeks back by Walter Block, arguing that support for Ron Paul is a litmus test for libertarians. Block's argument is absurd in many ways and thoroughly unconvincing. He makes several points as to why he finds several objections to the litmus test false:

1. Anarcho-capitalists who are morally opposed to voting. He claims that Ron Paul's platform undermines their reason for not voting since he would actually decrease the size of government; therefore it is morally imperative for them to support a politician who would help them achieve their goals. I am not an anarcho-capitalist, so I will just link to Wendy McElroy's impassioned response to Block on this issue, which shows that he clearly misrepresented the anarcho-capitalist position on voting and thus his "litmus test" cannot apply to them.

2. Libertarians opposed to Paul's position on immigration and abortion (he leaves out libertarians who won't support him for his position on Lawrence v. Texas). He argues that since these are not settled issues amongst libertarians, they are invalid grounds for opposition to Ron Paul. This argument is utterly fallacious. While libertarians do disagree on these two issues (more on abortion than immigration, I think, since the abortion issue comes down to a factual disagreement rather than an ideological one, to wit the moment when life begins), individual libertarians place different priorities on these issues. Even if the issues were "settled" in Paul's favor, this would not make libertarians who differed un-libertarian- the right to question conventional wisdom is an essential element of libertarianism. More discussion below on this topic.

3. The Randy Barnett test, which amounts to pointing out that support of an otherwise clear libertarian who is pro-war would not be regarded as a litmus test issue by most libertarians. Block argues that Barnett's position on the war is a deviation from settled libertarian orthodoxy, whereas Paul's deviations are on unsettled issues. This is quite disingenuous- while I do not agree with Barnett's opposition to the Iraq War, his basis for supporting the war is consistent with libertarian principles (ie, self-defense) even though he is clearly wrong on the facts. Still, in my mind the issue of war is no more or less settled than the issue of immigration (which I do think is more settled than Block acknowledges).

4. The fact that Ron Paul has no chance of winning. Block argues, quite implausibly that Paul can win. The subsequent results in NH and Iowa have demonstrated this.

5. "Ron Paul isn't cool." Here Block creates a massive straw man of opposition, putting words in Brink Lindsey's mouth. In reality, Lindsey was strongly hinting at the problems of Paul's Old Right connections, pointing out that Paul is not representative of many libertarians, especially younger ones.

6. Fred Thompson is the "real" libertarian. Again, he creates a straw man, misrepresenting the position of two Cato Institute fellows who simply argued that Thompson is more of a small government conservative than the other Republicans running for President on economic issues. Both fellows acknowledged Paul, but seem to have simply regarded Paul as unlikely to win and thus not an appropriate subject for comparison.

Anyways, I wanted to go back to Block's arguments on the immigration and abortion questions, which I find to be quite insulting and, dare I say, collectivist. He leaves out the gay rights issue (probably because it is not an area of serious disagreement among libertarians), but gay rights fall under the same rubric for my purposes. The big problem is that he seems to think that libertarians are bad libertarians if they make "unsettled" libertarian issues a higher priority than "settled" libertarian issues (as defined by Block- in my mind, few issues are truly settled as defining one's libertarianism- it's more an issue of foundational principles).

As I wrote at the Liberty Papers:

Ron Paul's position on immigration alone is probably enough for some libertarians to find another candidate preferable. It all depends on the issue which is your top priority, and how much more a priority it is than your other issues.

For me, it's a pretty high priority- I view the freedom of movement as one of, if not the, most important freedom of all, and immigration is a key factor in terms of human rights (fleeing REAL oppression and poverty) and economic freedoms (the right to hire who you wish), and in my opinion is one of the most important elements of a stable economy. I think this is especially true if you're going to be a non-interventionist who thinks we should stay out of other countries' affairs partly on the grounds that residents of those countries have a right to choose their own destiny. You can't make that claim and then limit the ability of some of those people to choose their own destiny by moving to another country.

Paul's nativism on that issue was the first thing that made me start second-guessing my support for him; alone it wasn't enough to get me to withdraw my support for him, but it was a huge first strike. Additionally, the freedom to engage in consensual sexual relations is a fundamental freedom, and his opposition to Lawrence v. Texas is a major strike against him as well in my book.

Certainly, I think it's tough to argue that the gold standard/Federal Reserve are more important issues than either of those two things.
While those two issues alone weren't enough for me to withdraw my support (my top priority initially was the Iraq War and his position on the WO(s)D was a major plus), I don't think anyone could have justly accused me of being irrational if I had withdrawn my support on those grounds.

...And that's the problem with libertarian orthodoxy- Paul has some very un-libertarian positions on some issues that many libertarians correctly view as extremely important. On those issues, he's not only un-libertarian, but actually worse for libertarians than people like John McCain and Barack Obama, even Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton (as much as I fear those last two!). And let's not forget Bill Richardson before he dropped out (Edwards I'm not as sure about). Hell- even Huckabee is better than Paul on immigration, if that's your top priority.
To make Paul a litmus test on libertarianism is to say that libertarians must subsume the issues most important to them (qua libertarians) "for the greater good." That is collectivism at its worst.

You Know It's Getting Ugly When....

I've only been loosely following the Obama-Hillary tiff over race and gender. My sympathies largely lie with Obama, but I don't think either side has covered themselves in glory. In any event, I think the latest salvos fired by Clinton's surrogates are among the worst yet.

Reading that article that I linked to above, I realized the biggest symbol of how ugly this dispute has gotten, though: Sheila Jackson-Lee is trying to be a peacemaker! When things have gone too far for the woman who once had a 180% turnover amongst her staff in one year....well, it might be time to take a step back.

I don't have many rules in life, but when Sheila Jackson-Lee is trying to be the voice of reason, that's usually a pretty good indicator that your feud has reached the point of absurdity.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ron Paul and the Decreased Influence of Libertarians

A comment I left in a thread at the Liberty Papers:

I just wanted to address the argument that other (anti-freedom) politicians get away with incompetence, lies, and scandals, so therefore we should still support Ron Paul. This is at least a coherent argument, which I partially addressed here.

But I want to elaborate a little bit more. Paul is either a protest vote or a vehicle to advance the libertarian philosophy (although I think his affiliation with paleoconservatism undermines this substantially to begin with). The above-referenced post addresses the protest vote issue sufficiently for me, at least - though others will differ.

On the issue of advancing the philosophy as a whole, I think any further support he gets is counterproductive, as it will only attract people to the Rockwellian brand of libertarianism that is much closer to Pat Buchanan’s paleoconservatism than to libertarianism. More importantly, though, Paul has - for better or worse - become the face of libertarianism in this country. If he is to continue in that role and if he has no actual chance of winning, libertarians should hold him to a higher standard. This is especially true where the scandal is one that ties (fairly or not) Paul’s ideology to blatant racism.

When a politician is running primarily to advance an ideology with which the majority of people are unfamiliar, that politician will symbolize the ideology to those people for all time. This means that libertarians may only get one crack at this- ever. If the candidate that gets that crack is perceived as a racist or (equally bad) accepting of racism as a legitimate philosophy, he will tarnish the ideology for a very long time. Yes, he may still gain new adherents to the philosophy- but he will turn off far more people from even allowing adherents into the door in the first place.

People don’t have to be libertarian to be persuaded by libertarian policy arguments- but they do have to have at least a positive or neutral impression of the people making those arguments in the first place. The more that Ron Paul remains the face of libertarianism, the more negative the view of libertarians will become, and the less impact libertarians can have on a national, state, or local scale.

The Paulestinian Drinking Game (Open Thread)

I realize this thread is probably a bit mean, but I feel like taking a bit of a break from my usually serious posting, and I'm still bitter at learning about the Ron Paul newsletters and his deeply unsatisfying response to the story. So, have at it:

UCrawford, a contributor at The Liberty Papers, proposes a terrific idea that I think deserves a thread of its own: The Paulestinian Drinking Game. For the record, the term "Paulestinian" does not refer to all supporters of Ron Paul (even after the TNR piece there are some sane ones left), but only to the more, uhh, aggressive ones.

The first rule (originally proposed by me):
Rule 1: Every time the phrase “defend the Constitution” is used= 1 drink; if used with ALL CAPS = +1 drink; if “Constitution” is misspelled= +1 drink; if used in the same paragraph as a statement implying that an amendment of some sort is not valid = finish your beer.

Additional rules (proposed by UCrawford):
Rule 2: Every buzzword from the aforementioned Paulestinian dictionary = 1 drink.
Rule 3: Any comments that blatantly misstates Ron Paul policy position = 1 drink.
Rule 4: Any post that claims Ron Paul will, if elected, have ability to change single-handedly change government = finish your beer
Rule 5: Any comment that claims Ron Paul possesses actual supernatural or magical powers = must immediately consume all alcoholic beverages in room.

More rules to be posted in the comments to this post.