Paul and the Self-Hating ĎLibertariansí
by Walter Block: Ron
Paul and Liberty
wrote a magnificent blog exposing Reason magazine as critics,
not supporters, of libertarianism. I would now like to add to her
so far list of one "libertarian" who trashes Ron Paul.
My nomination to be second on this list is Stefan Molyneux.
Full disclosure: his speech attacking Dr. Paul goes on for almost
an hour, and I didnít have the sitzfleisch (patience) to listen
to all of it. But, in the first 10 minutes or so he criticizes Congressman
Paul for, yes, wait for it, favoring the Constitution! Molyneux
also correctly allows that if President Paul takes office, we "slaves"
will have far fewer beatings, but claims that this is an insufficient
reason for supporting him. I did indeed, until recently listening
to this rant, have some respect for Molyneux (unlike for Reason
magazine, which has long ago turned against libertarianism). He
has authored some very persuasive material on anarcho-capitalism.
But, evidently, Molyneux is one of those free market anarchists
who does not really "hate the state" (see Murray Rothbard
on this) certainly not enough to support one of the greatest enemies
of statism the world has ever known.
We are now
at a point in time where, thanks to Dr. Ron Paul, people are hearing
of libertarianism to a degree that possibly never before occurred
in our entire history. Congressman Paulís efforts in 2008 were responsible
for putting our freedom philosophy in front of the American people
in a gigantic, stupendous way. His present campaign is even more
successful, far more so. At a time when Ron is creating libertarians
wholesale, and introducing the entire world to the case for liberty,
Reason and Molyneux are doing everything they can to stop this process.
I said, above,
that that this list has two members. I fear there are many, many
more, mainly beltway type "libertarians." Unhappily, these
two, Reason and Molyneux, constitute just the tip of the iceberg.
I can readily understand why liberals and conservatives hate Ron
Paul with a purple passion. If they did not score on this litmus
test in this manner, they would not be liberals or conservatives.
I can even understand the case for the main stream media giving
him the backs of their hands. But libertarians who oppose Ron Paul?
Their stance boggles the imagination.
Why is it that
we have so many self-hating "libertarians"? Several theories
present themselves. Consider the following.
1. Inside the
beltway suck-ups realize that their very tenuous connections to
Washington D.C. power brokers will all but vanish with a Paul Administration.
2. Plain old
jealousy and envy. Ron Paul has done more for libertarianism than
all of his critics, put together. Indeed, the two do not even belong
in the same sentence, so widely disparate has been their success
in promoting liberty.
3. Ron Paul
is from "flyover" country. He is not "sophisticated."
He is a rube. If you look closely, he has hay on his suit. Our sophisticated
libertarians thus see him as an embarrassment.
Paul does not look for "second best" solutions. He is
not skilled in the art of compromise. He is a man of principle.
The contrast between Dr. Paul and his many critics is all too glaring.
For some libertarians, this philosophy is only a parlor game (I
think of Nozick in this regard). It is a beautiful philosophy (true
confession: I see it this way too.) But it has nothing to do with
the real world. A Paul Administration, however, would actually do
things: bring back the troops, save the dollar, drastically lower
taxes, legalize victimless crimes. What, then, would happen to professional
libertarians in such a relatively free society? Horrors, there might
be fewer jobs for such presumed opponents of statism.
6. Ron Paul
is too old. Iíll bet that if there were a physical test between
the contenders for the Republican nomination (e.g., time in the
quarter mile, number of push-ups in 3 minutes, weight-lifting, a
bicycle race, something like that) Ron would outclass competitors
a decade or two younger than him. But wait: this would not be a
fair test. Dr. Paul was a national class athlete. Most of these
others are couch potatoes. Can you picture Newt Gingrich swimming
200 yards? This picture, it wouldnít be a pretty one, puts that
charge in context.
I have no idea
as to whether or not these theories are true; they are only speculations
on my part. Perhaps they apply to some "libertarian" opponents
and critics of the Ron Paul Revolution. But, if we are to counter
them, the first step would appear to be to understand them, and,
perhaps, these explanations will lead others to get us that proverbial
one step closer to the truth.
Block [send him mail] is a
professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior
fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of Defending
the Undefendable and Labor
Economics From A Free Market Perspective. His latest book
Privatization of Roads and Highways.
© 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
Best of Walter Block