“History Happened”

Julian Sanchez actually has a perceptive column on Rand Paul and the limits of libertarian theory (he also has some wise words for liberals/progressives, who regard the civil rights movement less as a cause than an excuse for across-the-board bulldozing of private rights), which perhaps inadvertently underscores the distinction between conservatives and libertarians that I discussed here: conservatism may embrace many of the same principles as libertarianism, but ultimately it is formed by the real world, by tradition and experience. The problem I’ve had with Ron Paul on a whole number of fronts – aside from his shady association with conspiracy theorists, racists and foreign policy crackpots of varying stripes – is his devotion to theory at the expense of realities of various kinds. His son has made some real efforts to avoid the worst aspects of Paul-ism, and there’s a good case to be made (as I did for years with his father in the House) that one guy like that can do a good deal of good in the Senate, plus of course there’s the usual array of other reasons to discount the criticisms of him (such as the pervasive misquoting of his remarks and the fact that there is no practical chance that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is going to come up for a vote again), but at the end of the day, Paul does have to come to grips with the fact that his principles can’t be applied in a vaccuum.
I mostly sat on my hands during that primary – I wasn’t willing to go in for any son of Ron Paul, but his opponent seemed too tethered to the problematic status quo in Washington. In any event, either of them was always going to be preferable to yet another Democrat. But if you’re looking for candidates who can contribute to the future direction of the GOP, I think we can safely leave Rand Paul out of the conversation.

7 thoughts on ““History Happened””

  1. Crank, I agree that Rand Paul is not the future of the GOP, but maybe he can play a role in nudging the party away from the middle and back to the right where it belongs. The Senate sure does not need any more status quo.

  2. “…association with racists…”
    Doesn’t seem to bother you at the national GOP level.
    Without the courting of the bigot voting bloc, Republicans would never win an national election for their constituents (i.e. the corporate and rich).
    Best line on Paul: It’s like Palin completed med school.

  3. Berto, it’s the Democrats that embrace crackpot racists like Al Sharpton, Harry Byrd and Henry Louis Gates. If a Republican spent time went to a single religious service with somebody as outright racist and anti-semitic as Jeremiah Wright it would be the end of their career, but nobody blinks an eye when a Democrat goes to one for 20 years and actually gets the Democratic presidential nomination.
    It’s been this way for 150 years. The Democrats were the pro-slavery party, the party that passed Jim Crow, and the party that fought the Civil Rights Acts and integration. For good measure they were also the political party that fought against women’s rights and women’s suffrage. You would be embarrassed by your political party if you weren’t a racist yourself.

  4. Don’t know much about Rand, but Crank I think you are off-base to suggest that libertarianism cannot contribute to the direction of the GOP which is basically what you’re saying in your last paragraph. I mean, lookit, Rasmussen showed a theoretical race between Ron Paul and Obama as a dead-heat. Was that a realistic poll? Probably not. But you appear to underestimate how popular libertarianism is becoming. This is just anecdotal, but 24 months ago, none of my 25 or so conservative friends had even heard of LewRockwell.com. Now they almost all read it daily. Similarly, people are catching on to how pernicious institutions like the Federal Reserve are. Now, all of this is a reaction–perhaps an overreaction–to Obama’s policies, but there is definitely a libertarian wind a-blowin’ out in the heartland. Regardless of the merits of the theory, the GOP would be stupid to ignore it.

  5. Jeff W.,
    Then they passed the Civil Rights Act, and the southern Democrats left the party and joined another political party (rhymes with Shmeepublicans) who will show racists the respect they think they deserve.
    Get yourself a clue, Jeff. Google “Southern Strategy” and try to tell me the GOP doesn’t court racists. In the GOP’s defense, there aren’t enough CEOs of major corporations and ultra -rich to win a national election. They have to court the bigot vote (and the fake Christian vote) to even have a chance to win nationally.
    Finally, I’m not a Democrat, so they aren’t my party. You must have me confused with the sadists who think the Rs or Ds give a shit about them.

  6. I’m with Crank on this one. Libertarianism is destined to be an outlier in American politics. As Crank said elsewhere, libertarians are overrepresented on the internet.

  7. Son of Cronus, I’m not saying Republicans shouldn’t listen to libertarians and try to appeal to voters who have some sympathy for their ideas. I’m saying running them as candidates is in most cases a very bad idea, which is why even if Paul wins, he’s not any sort of model for GOP candidates, unlike Rubio, Ryan, Jindal, Toomey, etc.
    The party’s future is with conservatives. Good conservatives ask the libertarians’ questions. They just don’t necessarily always reach the same answers.

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