Posted by PintofStout on January 7th, 2008
Then I saw heaven open, and I saw a white horse! The One who rode him is called `One who can be Trusted’ and `The True One’. He punishes and makes war in the right way.
His eyes were like a flame of fire. On his head were many crowns. He had a name written on him, but no man knew what it was but he himself.
In libertarian circles, debate and invective have been swirling in recent months based on differing opinions of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, a multi-term Congressman from Texas. Why is a Republican candidate drawing the attention of libertarians (and party Libertarians)? One direct answer to that question could indeed be that it is the second coming of Mr. Paul – he ran for president in 1988 under the Libertarian Party banner. A more general answer is the focus of many mainstream libertarians recently on fiscal and entitlement policy; which, if the eyes are squinted just right, looks sort of, maybe, like the Republican Party – or their supposed platform, anyway. Mr. Paul’s governing philosophy is refreshing (compared to other choices) in certain (not all) areas of policy-making to libertarians (like hanging out with ugly and dumb people to make one’s self look better or feel smarter by comparison), but does this deserve the reverence and fanaticism some of his followers are overcome with; fanaticism strong enough for previously-avowed anarchists to attempt to confiscate the non-believing heretics’ libertarian credential cards?
Personally, I don’t care to involve myself in the debate beyond stating my reasons for not entering. If I thought the debate a productive use of my time and effort at personal liberty, then beyond simply engaging in the “To-Paul-or-Not-To-Paul” debate, I’d be actively campaigning or engaging myself in the political system. But, since I don’t find electoral politics a workable strategy, neither this election nor the debate about whom to vote for or otherwise support is cogent to me. Not supporting Ron Paul with my vote in no way indicates that I do not desire to have less government or that I refuse to acknowledge the benefits of anything less than the total absence of a coercive state.
Imagine a large band of travelers who come upon a swollen, raging river that must be crossed. One faction of the group wants to take the shortest possible route and wades right into the currents in an attempt to swim directly across the river. Chances are they’ll make it part of the way before being swallowed by the water, dropping out of site and drowning or being swept so far downstream of where they started that they become lost and permanently separated. Another group finds a small row boat with many holes and wants to pile in and try to ford this angry river. They may make it part of the way before the boat, being over-loaded and structurally unsound, fills with water and they, too, become a permanent part of the river or end up like the swimmers, though visible for much longer. The last group decides that dealing with the river is a losing game and so walk the bank searching for the smallest crossing in which to construct a bridge and bypass the river altogether.
All the travelers wanted to reach the same place, but they simply disagreed with the best method. The swimmers, being like revolutionaries, lose many lives, and those surviving rarely finish where they intended, becoming something of slightly different flavor and sometimes worse than what they rebelled against. The boaters, which rhymes with voters, are those who wish to cling to some vessel to carry them to their destination. Strangely, when the boaters realize the vessel has become part of the river, they are still adamant that it was better to had made it only part way because they are still closer to the other shore. I jumped off the boat rather close to the shore (Badnarik ’04 didn’t make it very far into the river) and have joined the bridge builders. I can still hear the water squishing in my shoes.
Like all observers in this band of travelers, I stand upon the shore and root for every single one of us to make the other shore. I’ll root for the swimmers and I’ll root for the boaters. But when these groups succumb to the river, it is asking for the same fate to try and go in after them.
Currently, the Ron Paul vessel looks promising; especially to those whose lust for the other shore has blinded them to the holes in the boat and the nature of the river itself. Unless Ron Paul can walk on water, it looks like they’ll all go down in the flood. I just hope they can remember where they were going if they ever reach the other shore.