Ron Paul has released a ridiculous editorial slamming the “political demagogues” who are opposed to the Ground Zero Mosque. According to Paul the Elder, this ginned up national controversy is all about “hate” and “Islamophobia” and “neocon warmongering.”
There is an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” who are all for freedom so long as there is “no controversy” and “nobody is offended.” “Political demagogery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.”
With this clueless editorial, Ron Paul will endear himself to his base of hardcore ideological kool aid drinkers at the Mises Institute and Lew Rockwell.com, while alienating millions of his conservative supporters who have always been skeptical of libertarianism. I would be hard pressed to identify a more spectacular political blunder of this magnitude.
Paul had nothing to gain by wading into this controversy. Instead of taking advantage of a historic political opportunity, Ron Paul chose to douse himself with gasoline and strike a match, bowing out of the mainstream in a blaze of glory.
It seems he wanted to discredit himself at literally the exact moment when White America revolted against the socialism of the Obama administration. Now Paul will be forever tarred and feathered as a kooky extremist who can’t be trusted to defend America from Islamic terrorists.
Look on the bright side: Ron has endeared himself to progressives by rushing to Obama’s defense and discrediting himself as a credible alternative to the status quo.
In Kentucky, Rand Paul can’t afford to risk his Senate campaign in a statewide race over another rhetorical concession to ideological purity. Paul the Younger has come out against the Ground Zero Mosque. Although he is probably of the same opinion as his father, Rand Paul is smart enough to say what needs to be said to get elected, at least this time around.
As a U.S. Senator, Rand Paul will be in a position to move the goal posts and lead his constituents down the field in a more pro-liberty direction. As a rhetorical radical and failure as a political candidate, Rand Paul will be just another irrelevant anti-government loudmouth from Kentucky.
The schism within the House of Paul reflects a more significant division within the American public between “natural libertarians” and “ideological libertarians.”
The “natural libertarans” are ordinary Americans who want to govern themselves and dislike being told what to do by the federal government. “Natural libertarianism” isn’t so much an ideology as it is an attitude. These people don’t see any inconsistency between opposing the expansion of government at home and pulverizing their enemies abroad.
The “ideological libertarians” are people who make decisions on the basis of their fidelity to the abstract principles of libertarianism. “Ideological libertarians” would have no objection to building a porn studio at Gettysburg or clearcutting the Redwoods in California to make grape stakes.
Some philosopher convinced them it was ideologically consistent to do so. Hewing to the radical rhetorical line is more important than modestly changing our circumstances in the real world.
If this story strikes a familiar chord, you have probably been involved in the pro-White movement in America for a number of years, which has a similar division between “mainstreamers” and “vanguardists.”
The libertarians began to make progress when cooler heads prevailed and the rhetoric was toned down to reach out to a broader audience. Ron Paul took conservative positions on abortion and immigration which enabled him to build a wider populist coalition behind his presidential campaign.
Rand Paul has toned down the rhetoric further still. In doing so, he earned himself the animosity of the rhetorical radicals in the Libertarian Party of Kentucky, who have been trying to undermine his successful campaign for U.S. Senate. With the backing of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, Rand Paul will most likely emerge as the victor in November.
Sadly, Ron Paul seems to be drifting in the opposite direction, kowtowing to the radical vanguard within libertarian ranks. Maybe the success of Paul the Younger has inspired a little bit of jealousy in Paul the Elder.
Ron Paul was never able to shake his image as a kooky libertarian extremist. Rand Paul didn’t have the same baggage and has projected a more moderate image.
David Duke was never able to shake his image as a Klansman and Neo-Nazi. Perhaps the next David Duke could succeed where others have failed by packaging his principles in a more diluted form.