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Thursday, September 11, 2008

C4 Liberty, or C4 Protest Voting?

George, I'm not saying Ron Paul isn't libertarian.  I'm just saying that his R3volution seems to have as many religious-right conservatives and Naderish leftists in it as it has libertarians in it.  Of the 13 Pauline positions you list, only two are explicitly mentioned in the Campaign For Liberty's statement of principles.  The libertarian content of the TV and radio ads Ron Paul produced for his campaign is incredibly thin.  Radical-ness and libertarian-ness is not measured by how much you hate fractional-reserve banking or George Bush or his wars.  Rather, it's measured by how free you want society to be, and how clearly you call for that freedom.
Neither Ron Paul nor Bob Barr fully measure up on that score, and I have the same fundamental complaint about both: they don't distinguish the libertarian (i.e. liberty-loving) position as being just as far from the Right as it is from the Left.   "States' rights" don't exist.  Federalism is a strategy more than it is a principle. The greatness of America comes from its freedom, rather than the other way around.  Wayne Root is much more effective at making this point than either Paul or Barr, and that's why I supported him over Barr in Denver.
The kind of moral equivalence I'm saying Paul suggested is when he meekly said that people should just vote for whichever of Green, CP, LP, and Nader is closest to their views.  That's not a Campaign For Liberty.  That's a Campaign For Protest Voting.  I expected more from Ron Paul.  It would be bad enough for Paul to say that people should vote for whichever of CP or LP is closest to their views.  But to throw GP and Nader into the mix as unranked alternatives is embarrassing.  GP/Nader wipe their ass with Article I Sec 8 of the Constitution, and Ron Paul just helped them pull up their pants after doing so.  I'm not saying Paul should never hold events with GP/Nader like for these four points or for debate inclusion, but at some point he should step up and say that LP/CP is better than GP/Nader.  But I bet he won't.  My point remains: we now know that Paul was never going to risk offending his right-wing and left-wing fans by endorsing an LP nominee over CP or even Greens, no matter whom we nominated.  (This is consistent with the Newslettergate theory that Paul and Rockwell are all about maximizing their donor base, but I'm not quite cynical enough to buy into that.  However, I'd love to see Brian Miller update his last investigation into where all Ron Paul's donations have ended up.)
Bob, one rare area where we disagree is that I don't think liberty is going to be won on the strength LP majorities in legislatures, or even on the swing votes of LP legislators.  I think it will be won by our ideas (and candidates) moving the electoral needle, and by non-libertarian politicians then co-opting those ideas.
Eric, I've never "suggested that the LP is a major player or ever could be in the current system", except insofar as to agree with you when you've said the sort of thing I just said above to Bob.  (Do you disagree with it?)  I'm also in violent agreement that, barring victory by an LP candidate, we should fantasize about victory by whichever candidate (i.e. Green or CP) is least likely to build legislation-writing coalitions with other nanny-state legislators.  However, I'm convinced that the way to grow the freedom movement is to point out that we are just as different from the Dems/Greens as from the GOP/CP.  We're not Left, we're not Right, and we're not merely Anti-Incumbent.  We stand FOR liberty, not merely AGAINST the State and its incumbents.  Since you're an anarchist, this may be one area where we have real (and not just imaginary) disagreement.
I never suggested that Paul's 4-point program consists of "process reforms", and I clearly distinguished them when I talked of "Paul’s 4-point manifesto and calling for broader participation in the two-party presidential dialogue".  Your ability to misread me seems to know no limits -- such as you ignoring my scare quotes around the word "player".  If Paul wasn't trying to stay in front of the anti-incumbent-party bandwagon, then how do you explain him not bothering to say that voting for CP/LP is better than voting for Green/Nader?  I guess we should be glad he's not making endorsements, since I bet he'd endorse the CP over the LP if he had to pick one.
JRE, it's simply laughable for you to say I'm defending Barr's non-attendance when I called it a "bad fumble" -- and said it was "tone-deaf" for the Barr campaign to call itself a "player" and offer the VP spot to Paul.  I'm disappointed in both Paul AND Barr, and now I'm waiting for all the Paul-haters (Phillies, Knapp, Hogarth, I'm looking at you) to commend Barr for declining to taint the LP by having our candidate stand for Dissent next to the likes of McKinney and Paul and Nader, as opposed to boldly standing alone for Liberty.
P.S. We all know damn well that the LNC would give either spot on our ticket to Ron Paul in a heartbeat if he would take it, and the Bylaws clearly say that Root (or Root and Barr) could by resigning create the requisite vacancy for Paul.  Anybody who says that Barr and Root ignored our Bylaws to make this offer is just reality-impaired.  What Barr and Root ignored was common sense.  You don't publicly offer somebody something to which the best response you can hope for is "hell no".  (Then again, it creates a halfway useful talking point to use on the modal uninformed Paulite, but I'd rather have people vote LP because they like Liberty, rather than because they like Ron Paul.)