Friday, March 21, 2008

Letters on Ron Paul's defining moment - No. 3

From a letter to a Ron Paul supporter and friend (Feb 6, 2008):
Even though I have serious doubts about Paul himself and oppose strongly the long-standing agenda of those he surrounds himself with, I'm glad to see the resonance of the basic message he has communicated to attract support, a message of liberty and constitutional government. I support this basic message, which is why I supported Paul's campaign in 1988 and for a time his present campaign.

When I decided to begin my verbal support in mid-2007 (followed later with my active support in December), I did however write an email saying that I might change my mind. I wrote on July 30,
Another reservation I have is Paul's association with members of what one fellow from Cato calls the "Fever Swamp".

My own definition of libertarian liberalism is close to the definition put forth by Dean Russell in 1955, Who is a Libertarian?, where Russell coins the word to replace the word liberalism, the meaning of which was being obscured. Unfortunately there have been two camps who have laid claim to the word over the past few decades in the U.S. One is the liberal camp, as understood in the U.S. before the "new liberals" or "social liberals" morphed into socialists and started attacking people's rights (There's a great history that discusses some of this in Alain Laurent's Le libéralisme américain : Histoire d'un détournement.) Then there are the anarchists, whom I view as feudalists. Here be beasts. I could write much more on this, but I'll leave it at that for now. I view the Cato Institute as being part of the liberal camp, and the "Fever Swamp" as being part of the anarchist camp. Ron Paul speaks and acts like he is in the liberal camp for the most part, which is why I have decided to support him. I may change my mind.
Not only was Ron Paul at a defining moment when he responded to what was written in his newsletters. We are at a defining moment. There are two camps. One is for liberty; the other is for anarchy. They are opposed. One talks of constitutionally limited taxation, the other of no taxation at all. One talks in favor of the 14th Amendment, protecting individuals from state laws that violate the rights of our Declaration; the other talks of states being left to any manner of legislation, even when such legislation ignores our rights. The one talks of free labor; the other talks of utter slavery again (Walter Block, for example, whom Paul mentions prominently in his response to the disclosure of his newsletters). The one talks of rule of law and juries; the other vigilantism, the rule of men. I reread Lew Rockwell's article in Liberty magazine (Jan 1990) recently. It absolutely horrified me nearly 20 years ago, and it still horrifies me. The overtones of racism combined with vigilantism are there for all to see. These men have no business being anywhere near the levers of power.

Again, I've met a lot of great people in the campaign. The message is greater than the messenger. I hope we can all figure out a way to keep the networking going for future candidates. Do you have any ideas? ...

I'm just sad that Ron Paul did not make the transition he needed to when he had the chance. And I think he did have a chance.

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