James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ron Paul and the Radical Line

Responding to my own comments in my recent post on Ron Paul, Rich Paul, a minarchist (see his blog), writes "I don't know that there is any mismatch between anarchist principals and voting ... after all, votes are weapons, and most anarchists who vote do so only in self defense."

I agree. But unless hard-core libertarians and anarchists vote only for candidates who promise to abolish the government immediately, they must accept the compromises of politics. If they are committed to parties and elections, they can't let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Too often I hear complaints that so-and-so is not a "real" libertarian because so-and-so doesn't have the same priorities or strays from the hard-core line once too often. But if such a person can persuade more people to take the country in a libertarian direction, wouldn't we all be better off?

If on a scale where a centralized totalitarian state is, say, a 10, anarchism is 0, the Libertarian Party is a 1, and Ron Paul is a 3, I can see the argument that Ron Paul shouldn't represent the Libertarian Party - if the LP exists primarily as an education tool. That's different, however, from saying that a Ron Paul campaign would be a bad thing for liberty. When every other politician in America is a 6, 7, or 8, we need Ron Paul and his Constitutionalism even if it's not pure libertarianism. Paul is the only visible counterweight to authoritarianism in America.

The role of the radical is to persuade moderate libertarians and Constitutionalist conservatives to the radical position. But the role of the Ron Pauls of the world is to persuade big-government moderates to become moderate libertarians and Constitutionalists. In the tug of war for liberty, the radicals are the intellectual anchor, but Ron Paul's broad coalition of supporters will provide the manpower.


  1. Paul is more authoritarian. He's essentially aligned himself with Radical Muslims. His prescription for fighting the rising tide of Islamo-Fascism is to Cut and Run; wave the white flag of surrender.

    How is that protecting our liberties?

    Islamo-Fascists want to force all our wives/girlfriends to wear black burqas from head to toe, want outlaw booze and gambling, cut off the genitals of gays, stamp out all free speech, and throw our marijuana smoking buddies in jail for life.

    I fail to see how being a defacto supporter of Islamo-Fascism qualifies someone for the title of "libertarian." The exact opposite is true. Those who fight Islamo-Fascism, like Giuliani, are the real libertarians.

  2. Being opposed to war is not support of the enemy. I'm opposed to the war on drugs, but I don't support people using meth. By your logic I would be a defacto meth supporter and I want everybody to get addicted to it. Shut up and learn some common sense. It isn't "You're either with us or against us."

  3. Excellent post. Since I move in both moderate and radical circles, I struggle when radicals state that libertarians/constitutionalists are our enemies. From a radical standpoint, they are a move in the wrong direction, but as you very clearly state here they are a valuable tool for moving those on the other side closer in our direction.

    Is it just me or has Mr Dondero become a caricature of the Eric Dondero caricatures?

  4. Anonymous5:51 PM PDT

    Ron Paul is certainly worth voting for even though I doubt he'll get the Republican nomination. Have no idea who to vote for if they pick either of their 'top tier' choices maybe Hillary or Libertarian pick.