Posts tagged Ron Paul

Re: The Doctor Is In (Or Near, Anyway)


I’m sure Rand Paul isn’t for completely open borders but I can’t see him or his daddy voting for storm troopers or walls.

Ron Paul already voted for a border wall twice — in 2005 he voted for H.R. 4437 (the Sensenbrenner omnibus anti-immigrant bill, which ultimately failed to become law) and in 2006 he voted for H.R. 6061 (which broke out the border wall provisions of the Sensenbrenner bill in order to get parts of it passed piecemeal; this bill “Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security, within 18 months of enactment of this Act, to take appropriate actions to achieve operational control over U.S. international land and maritime borders, including: (1) systematic border surveillance through more effective use of personnel and technology, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, ground-based sensors, satellites, radar coverage, and cameras; and (2) physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful border entry and facilitate border access by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, such as additional checkpoints, all weather access roads, and vehicle barriers.”)

As for stormtroopers, I’m not sure what you’re thinking of. Do you imagine that storm-troopers would be something new in immigration policies? In fact, ICE and the Border Patrol already have plenty of stormtroopers in their employ, staging paramilitary raids on homes and workplaces, and maintaining regular armed patrols and “Ihre papiere, bitte” government checkpoints, both on the border itself and on highways well inside the U.S. in the southwestern states. Ron Paul supports the ICE storm-troopers; and if he opposed their paramilitary raids then I haven’t been able to find him saying so anywhere; everything I can find with him talking about immigration has insisted on the need for numerically more and more intensive enforcement. I do know that he supports, and has repeatedly voted for, increasing the number of paramilitary Border Patrol agents on armed patrol and at checkpoints along the border.

As for Rand, well, who knows? But if he votes like his Daddy, then he’ll be voting for a more extensive, better-funded, and more intensely-enforced immigration police state.

Re: Walter Block Replies

Micha: I fail to see how the issue of immigration could be seen as complex, rather than for what it is ….

I think the short answer is this: calling border laws and internal immigration policing a complex issue for libertarians primarily serves a social function, not an intellectual one, in the Mises Institute / circle.

The issue is actually, obviously, extremely simple, and Hoppe’s and Ron Paul’s positions are actually, obviously, completely wrong. I suspect that most of those who criticize their positions but pass off the issue as a complex one realize this, but also reckon that it wouldn’t go over well in mixed company to say so in as many words.

Self-described libertarians

Thanks for the mention, and for the kind words. I agree about the tone of that OC Weekly article. It’s kind of baffling, because the analysis is actually so much better than the analysis in most abusive-cop pieces, but the tone comes off as if it were written by a fugitive from a direct-to-video American Pie script.

As for self-described libertarians, what I’ve found is that they (we) are a pretty diverse lot. A lot are tools or creeps, and especially those “small government” types whose views are conventional enough to fit into the outer fringes of mainstream political discourse. But, while I don’t want much to do with those folks, radical libertarians tend to be a very different sort, and those that I get along with and try to learn from (e.g. Roderick Long, Kevin Carson, Jennifer McKitrick, Carol Moore, Anthony Gregory, Sheldon Richman, Brad Spangler ….) are generally maneuvering to out-Lef the establishment Left, in terms of exposing the class dynamics of the State and making a case for radically decentralist, grassroots approaches that achieve Leftist and feminist goals by ordinary people getting together amongst themselves, and bypassing or confronting the State, rather than collaborating with it or trying to seize control of it. Maybe that approach is the right approach, and maybe it’s the wrong approach; but in any case it’s a very different approach from the one that you’d be likely to see from the “small-government conservative” types, or at your local Libertarian Party, or in your average MeetUp for Chairman Ron’s Great Libertarian Electoral Revolution. And it’s an approach that more libertarians seem to be adopting lately; a tendency which I hope I might be able to encourage, in whatever small ways I can manage.

Anyway, that’s how I see it now. Does that help clarify, or does it muddy?

Re: The Mote That Is In Thy Brother’s Eye


Well, then it definitely sounds like electoral mission creep to me. “Well, we got in here to do A, but that failed, so let’s stay in here and do B instead.” Again, perhaps it’s time to cut your losses and find a better strategy, rather than just keeping in electoral politics because that’s where you started out?


I’m glad that Ron Paul and his boosters have gotten people excited about libertarian ideas. I wish that there had been more thought (especially by the boosters, since I take it that Ron Paul was busy doing other things) put into what to do with all these excited, activated people after the close of the campaign. I don’t think there has been much thought about that, and to the extent that there hasn’t been, that means that a lot of time and energy and tens of millions of dollars are going to go straight down the toilet, as the Paulitarians either burn out and wander away, what with the end of their groups’ raison d’etre, or else pitch themselves into the next “educational” failing electoral campaign, either as marginalized Republicans or as members of the LP. A project like “transforming the Republican Party” is more or less guaranteed to be a tar-baby for this putative “Revolution.”

I predict that, unless something quite unusual happens over the next couple of months, in the direction of redirecting former Paulitarians toward some other concrete project outside of electoral politics, then, four years from today, Ron Paul’s campaign will have made no more difference to the political consensus than Howard Dean’s in 2004, or Pat Buchanan’s in 1992.

Re: Gene Callahan Joins the Smearbund

Matt Polzkill:

Of course Spooner greatly respected the Constitution, that’s why he devoted a large chunk of his life to studying it & writing about it (his treatise on how chattel slavery is unconstitutional is genius). His MAIN problem with it is that no one follows it.

Lysander Spooner, No Treason No. 6: The Constitution of No Authority:

Inasmuch as the Constitution was never signed, nor agreed to, by anybody, as a contract, and therefore never bound anybody, and is now binding upon nobody; and is, moreover, such an one as no people can ever hereafter be expected to consent to, except as they may be forced to do so at the point of the bayonet, it is perhaps of no importance what its true legal meaning, as a contract, is. Nevertheless, the writer thinks it proper to say that, in his opinion, the Constitution is no such instrument as it has generally been assumed to be; but that by false interpretations, and naked usurpations, the government has been made in practice a very widely, and almost wholly, different thing from what the Constitution itself purports to authorize. He has heretofore written much, and could write much more, to prove that such is the truth. But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

That’s some kind of respect he’s got there.

Matt Polzkill:

He correctly explains that paper can’t magically create a just society & that the people calling themselves “the government” are in fact the greatest criminals because they ignore or subvert it.

That is certainly not Spooner’s explanation of why the people calling themselves “the government” are the greatest criminals.

His explanation of why they are the greatest criminals is that they impose binding political obligations on free and independent people without the latter’s genuine individual consent.

Matt Polzkill:

Yeah, and Jefferson had slaves and…my god, what a way to go about things!

Yeah, that was pretty shitty of Jefferson. He was also a hypocrite, a rapist, and President of the United States, all of which I think were pretty shitty of him. What’s your point?

Matt Polzkill:

I’m sure liberty will just drop in your laps someday, or maybe Jesus Christ will come down. Have a nice wait, if things improve, the rest of us will know who NOT to thank.

You seem to be presuming that trying to get somebody elected President of the United States is the only way to get “things [to] improve”. But it’s not the only way. It’s not the best way, either, or even a particularly plausible way. Or, at least, if you think that it is, that’s certainly not a self-evident truth that you can just presuppose. It’s a tendentious claim that you’ll have to justify with some kind of argument.

Re: The Mote That Is In Thy Brother’s Eye

The Ron Paul Revolution of transforming the Republican Party won’t end with Dr Paul.

Is that the “Revolution’s” goal now?

I thought the goal was to elect Ron Paul President of the United States, or at least get him the Republican nomination for President. But I guess if at first you don’t succeed, you can always move the goalposts.

This sounds like electioneering mission creep to me. In order to do A (get libertarian, anti-war policies) you decided to do B (get Ron Paul elected). To do B you’d have to do C and D (raise money and convince Republican primary/caucus voters). To do D you found out you’d have to do E (either recruit and register new Republicans or convince enough influentials within the Republican party and the media to get your message to the existing Republicans). But now you’ve found out that to do E effectively you have to do F (“transform the Republican Party” (!)). To do F, you’re planning to do G (run a bunch of Pauliticians in other, lower-level Republican primary races). But to do G, you’ve got to go back to C and D. And around and around we go.

Maybe it’s just time to cut your losses and look for other ways to do A without getting sucked even further into the quagmire of electoral politics.

I’m not sure that Ron Paul supporters ever believed Paul was the Messiah.

Maybe not. But at least one does think he’s “The Greatest American ever” Another thinks that he’s a light that shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended him not.

Re: Smearbund Funnies

Have I been inducted into the Beltwaytarian Illuminati without having heard about it? If so, I eagerly await my imminent influx of cocktail party invites and Kochtopus cash.


The declarations of states are not reflective of their citizens …

No, but they are reflective of the opinions of the state governments at the time that those state governments determined to secede.

Of course, many if not most people in many southern states at the time felt differently. For starters, many if not most people in many southern states at the time were black slaves.

The white southerners who fought as common soldiers often had very different views of the import and justification for the war than those held by their governments. But of course it was their governments, and not they, who made the political and military decisions that we’re discussing here.

Charles H.,

I agree with you that any honest review of what the secessionists said (especially what they said at the time of the secession debate, rather than when they wrote their memoirs in the 1870s) would very quickly reveal that the perpetuation and expansion of race slavery was absolutely central to the Confederate cause. However, it would be an ignoratio elenchi to follow that evidence with the conclusion that ending or limiting race slavery must have been absolutely essential to the Union cause.

When people claim that the Southern states had the “right” to secede, what they mean is that a minority– adult white male landowners– had the right to decide for everyone else what form of government they would live under, and whether their basic human rights would be recognized.

I’m sure that when many people claim that, that is indeed what they mean, but I don’t think it’s at all fair to impute that meaning to most of the writers at or the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Whatever faults they may have (and some of them have a lot), most of the people in question are anarchists, who believe that no government whatever, state, federal, or other, has any legitimate right to compel anyone’s allegiance. Their point about the right of secession is that adult white male Southern landowners had a right to determine for themselves (and themselves alone) what form of government, if any, they should live under, a right which any principled and honest believer in the principle of government by consent would have to concede they do have. The obvious and hideous atrocity of southern race slavery hardly justifies military invasion and bayonet-point Unionism; what it justifies is the (Garrisonian) strategy of embracing peaceful disunion, and then supporting southern slaves in their efforts to secede from the from the illegitimate government created by their quasi-secessionist slave-drivers.

If you’re not already familiar with it, I’d like to recommend J.R. Hummel’s excellent book, Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men, which ably defends the Garrisonian-disunionist position and presents a much more accurate and sophisticated libertarian analysis of the war than the stuff churned out by, for example, Tom DiLorenzo or Tom Woods.


I think the issues at hand are a bit more complex than cultural affinities. When I see Yankees like Tom DiLorenzo running around affecting a fondness for the ol’ Moonlight-and-Magnolias, I just find it ridiculous. But when I see them actively distorting history for polemical purposes, in order to whitewash rabid slave-driving statists like John C. Calhoun, Robert E. Lee, or Jefferson Davis (cf. for example 1, 2, 2, 3, etc., not to mention DiLorenzo’s periodic attempts to portray Lysander Spooner, the author of the Plan for the Abolition of Slavery and a conspirator in an abortive attempt to rescue John Brown from the gallows, as an advocate for “peaceful” gradualist emancipation, I think there is something deeper and nastier at work that needs to be exposed and confronted.

Of course, those people who, in the name of “moderation” or “compromise” or politesse, attempt to water down or dissemble about libertarian principles on hard cases, or who try to marginalize radical libertarians for simply for making uncomfortably libertarian points — a group that intersects with, but certainly does not exhaust and certainly is not limited to — the staff at Cato and Reason deserves nothing but contempt for that kind of hand-wringing opportunism. But I don’t think it’s true that that’s the only reason that the Paulitarians and the VMI/LRC crew draw the kind of flak that they draw from within libertarian circles, or even from the Cato and Reason crowds specifically.

Re: Gene Callahan Joins the Smearbund

Matt Polzkill defends Ron Paul by comparing him to Lysander Spooner:

What IS wrong with you guys?!? Who do you support for president? Who that ran, was light years closer to Spooner?

Meanwhile, Lysander Spooner joins the Smearbund:

SIR, — Your inaugural address is probably as honest, sensible, and consistent a one as that of any president within the last fifty years, or, perhaps, as any since the foundation of the government. If, therefore, it is false, absurd, self-contradictory, and ridiculous, it is not (as I think) because you are personally less honest, sensible, or consistent than your predecessors, but because the government itself — according to your own description of it, and according to the practical administration of it for nearly a hundred years — is an utterly and palpably false, absurd, and criminal one. Such praises as you bestow upon it are, therefore, necessarily false, absurd, and ridiculous.

… You have not so much as the honest signature of a single human being, granting to you or your lawmakers any right of dominion whatever over him or his property.

You hold your place only by a title, which, on no just principle of law or reason, is worth a straw. And all who are associated with you in the government — whether they be called senators, representatives, judges, executive officers, or what not — all hold their places, directly or indirectly, only by the same worthless title. That title is nothing more nor less than votes given in secret (by secret ballot), by not more than one-fifth of the whole population. These votes were given in secret solely because those who gave them did not dare to make themselves personally responsible, either for their own acts, or the acts of their agents, the lawmakers, judges, etc.

These voters, having given their votes in secret (by secret ballot), have put it out of your power — and out of the power of all others associated with you in the government — to designate your principals individually. That is to say, you have no legal knowledge as to who voted for you, or who voted against you. And being unable to designate your principals individually, you have no right to say that you have any principals. And having no right to say that you have any principals, you are bound, on every just principle of law or reason, to confess that you are mere usurpers, making laws, and enforcing them, upon your own authority alone.

… But the falsehood and absurdity of your whole system of government do not result solely from the fact that it rests wholly upon votes given in secret, or by men who take care to avoid all personal responsibility for their own acts, or the acts of their agents. On the contrary, if every man, woman, and child in the United States had openly signed, sealed, and delivered to you and your associates, a written document, purporting to invest you with all the legislative, judicial, and executive powers that you now exercise, they would not thereby have given you the slightest legitimate authority. Such a contract, purporting to surrender into your hands all their natural rights of person and property, to be disposed of at your pleasure or discretion, would have been simply an absurd and void contract, giving you no real authority whatever.

… Every man has, by nature, the right to maintain justice for himself, and for all other persons, by the use of so much force as may be reasonably necessary for that purpose. But he can use the force only in accordance with his own judgment and conscience, and on his own personal responsibility, if, through ignorance or design, he commits any wrong to another.

But inasmuch as he cannot delegate, or impart, his own judgment or conscience to another, he cannot delegate his executive power or right to another.

The result is, that, in all judicial and executive proceedings, for the maintenance of justice, every man must act only in accordance with his own judgment and conscience, and on his own personal responsibility for any wrong he may commit; whether such wrong be committed through either ignorance or design.

No one could justify, or excuse, his wrong act, by saying that a power, or authority, to do it had been delegated to him, by any other men, however numerous.

For the reasons that have now been given, neither any legislative, judicial, nor executive powers ever were, or ever could have been, delegated to the United States by the constitution; no matter how honestly or innocently the people of that day may have believed, or attempted, the contrary.

… Such, Mr. Cleveland, is the real character of the government, of which you are the nominal head. Such are, and have been, its lawmakers. Such are, and have been, its judges. Such have been its executives. Such is its present executive. Have you anything to say for any of them?

Yours Frankly, LYSANDER SPOONER. BOSTON, MAY 15, 1886.

Re: The Argument From Baseball


Oy. I’m afraid you’ve hit on one of my linguistic pet peeves.

An argumentum ad hominem is the fallacy of evaluating an argument based on features of the person advancing it, rather than on its own merits.

If somebody were saying, “Ron Paul is a nasty racist. Therefore, his argument for the gold standard must be bogus,” then that would be an argumentum ad hominem.

On the other hand, if somebody says, “Ron Paul is a nasty racist. Therefore you shouldn’t vote for him for President,” then that’s not an argumentum ad hominem. The issue here isn’t an argument, but rather whether somebody personally ought to occupy a particular political position. Details about the history, personality, and character of a candidate for political office are certainly salient to whether or not you should vote for them, since presumably when you vote for someone you are (inter alia) relying on them to do at least some of what you want them to do while in office, and whether that trust is well-founded depends in part on what sort of person they are.

So while the allegations that have been made against Ron Paul are certainly personal attacks, they are not “ad hominem attacks.” Ad hominem arguments are never cogent. But personal attacks may be uncalled-for or called-for, as the case may be, depending on whether the allegations made in the course of the attack are well or ill-founded.

As far as the allegations that have been made against Ron Paul’s history and character go, I think they’re a pretty mixed bag, but certainly the video doesn’t respond to any of them. Plenty of cornfed military veterans and doctors from Texas have been nasty racists, too. If it’s supposed to be showing that he’s not an ogre, then it seems to me that it’s just evading the issues that have been raised in favor of talking about something else, and then capping it off with a note of adulation that borders on the surreal.

I will say that I have played the video several times nevertheless because I like the old-timey music in the background.