To Get Ron Paul's Insanity, You Have To Understand Libertarianism
To "get" Ron Paul you have to understand libertarianism -- an ism every bit as delusional as Marxism. The National Libertarian Party, which first ran a presidential candidate in 1972, hasn't had many wins -- electing 4 state legislators in as many decades, as well as a planning commissioner here and an alderman there. Ron Paul is its greatest success.
The Texas congressman is far and away the most prominent proponent of what I like to call rightwing utopianism. Libertarianism is to authentic conservatism what Barack Obama is to 19th century liberalism.
Inspired by Ayn Rand (Ron named his son, the future senator, Rand Paul), Libertarianism was an outgrowth of 1960s campus conservatism. Like ideologues of the left, libertarians of the day were on a never-ending quest for ideological purity and the foolish consistency Emerson derided. (They still are.) Unlike traditional conservatives, libertarians came to oppose the Vietnam War and what they called "prohibitionist" drug policies. You must be consistent, libertarians lectured us. If you support economic liberty, then you must support "personal liberty" (legalized abortion, freedom to use soul-destroying drugs) and the libertarian principle applied to foreign policy -- isolationism.
During the Cold War, economist Murray Rothbard (one of the foremost libertarian theorists) once observed that if we lost the rest of the world and the Soviets invaded America, we could always take to the hills and launch a guerrilla war, a la "Red Dawn." Libertarians have never been hampered by reality.
Some libertarians drifted into anarchy, others organized the National Libertarian Party. Ron Paul was the party's 1988 standard-bearer.
I understand libertarians because I was one, from roughly 1968 (when I read "Atlas Shrugged") to 1982. I was a vice chairman of the New York Libertarian Party in the early '70s. When I lived in the Seattle-area, later in the decade, I ran a libertarian supper club, which brought in a young Texas congressman as a speaker. My road to recovery began with "The Conservative Mind" by the great Russell Kirk and Whittaker Chambers' "Witness."
Other than abortion, there is no particular on which Ron Paul differs with either libertarianism or the Libertarian Party. Like them, he would legalize hard drugs and abolish age of consent laws, which violate the rights of 24-year-olds to have sex with 14-year-olds.
Like the average libertarian, Ron Paul is a dogmatic isolationist.
Rothbard believed our involvement in the Second World War was a tragedy:
"Our entry into World War II was the crucial act in foisting a permanent militarization upon the economy and society, in bringing to the country a permanent garrison state, an overweening military-industrial complex...."
A former aide to the congressman, Eric Dondero says Paul told him the United States had no business being involved in World War II. "When pressed, he often brings up conspiracy theories like FDR knew about the attacks of Pearl Harbor weeks before hand.
The 2010 platform of the National Libertarian Party sets forth a foreign policy difficult to distinguish from the lunacy of Michael Moore and Code Pink: The former provides:
"Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We should end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid."
In 1973, Rothbard observed:
"The libertarian position, generally, is to minimize State power as much as possible, down to zero, and isolationism is the full expression (of that doctrine) in foreign affairs."
Not only does Paul march in lockstep with Rothbard and the L.P., he even believes the United States should have no opinion on foreign developments. Thus, Dr. Paul was the only member of the House of Representatives to vote against a 2005 resolution condemning Ahmadinejad's call to "wipe Israel off the map" and a 2009 resolution "expressing support" for Iranian pro-democracy demonstrators.
And yes, Ron Paul has intimated, on more than one occasion, that the United States is to blame for the 9/11 massacre. He claims al-Qaeda slaughtered 3,000 U.S. civilians because America is "bombing them," because we have military bases in the sacred sand pit and because we support Israel over the dear Palestinians. Wonder who he blames for the Muslin conquest of Constantinople in 1453? The CIA wasn't around then, was it? Or for the Christmas bombings of Nigerian churches?
In a 2003 speech, Paul said we should pay attention to bin Laden, when he explained his grievances against America.:
"The U.S. defiles Islam with its bases ... its initiation of war against Iraq (notwithstanding Saddam's pacifism), with 12 years of persistent bombing, and weapons being used against the Palestinians, as the Palestinian territory shrinks and Israel's occupation expands."
As you'd expect, Paul is insouciant about nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran's incinerate-the-Jews/establish-a-worldwide-caliphate regime . Why wouldn't they want nukes? "Internationally, they'd be given more respect." Besides, "they are surrounded." (If only Israel would stop threatening to push the Shiites into the sea.) What's Tehran going to do with one or two nuclear weapons, Paul asks? Why Israel has dozens. Hint: The Iranians crazy enough to use them. A nuclear war would be just the thing to usher in the 12th imam.
On the Jewish state, Paul doesn't deviate one iota from L.P. party-line. Libertarians view Israel as the engine that drives what they call U.S. imperialism in the Middle East. Israel is said to sap our resources, drag us into their wars and make the Muslims -- who are otherwise peace-loving and well-disposed to our way of life -- hate us.
In his essay, "War Guilt in the Middle East," Rothbard excoriated Israel's "aggression against Middle East Arabs," "confiscation of Arab lands" and its "refusal to let these refugees (Palestinians) return and return the property taken from them." He had nothing to say about the equal number of Jews driven from Arab lands by pogroms at the time of Israel's founding.
Dondero says his ex-boss loathes Israel and "sides with the Palestinians and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs." While Dr. Paul hotly denies that he's anti-Israel (his campaign calls Dondero a "disgruntled" ex-aide) everything he's done or said about the Middle East seems to confirm the charge.
Ayn Rand, who unintentionally provided the impetus for the movement, disdained libertarians, calling them "right-wing hippies.' She was unequivocal in her support for Israel, which she explained this way in a 1974 appearance: "When you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are."
Ron Paul may be delusional, but he is a consistent. Neither mass murder, terrorism, the advance of militant Islam, nor nuclear weapons in the hands of fanatical regimes will shake a libertarian's faith in his dogma: We have no foreign enemies. If certain states want to kill us, it's our fault. Nothing is worth fighting for -- unless it's abolishing the Federal Reserve System.
I'd like to follow Ron Paul around to Republican gatherings, pointing at him and shouting "stranger, danger" Stranger this you cannot get.