Ilya Somin over at The Volokh Conspiracy, it seems, is no more a fan of Ron Paul now than he was four years ago. His criticisms remain about the same. This time around, though, he’s got a candidate to contrast Paul with in Gary Johnson. His conclusion? Johnson is a better libertarian than Paul. My first response to this was laughter. This is my second response:
To start, Somin nearly lost me in his first sentence when he suggested that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was even on the radar for libertarians considering voting. If anyone thinks a hypocritical drug warrior, who might be most charitably described as untested on foreign policy issues (and much less charitably described as a propagandist for the Empire), should even be in the running, then they should probably be disqualified from commenting on the question of who the most libertarian candidate is. All that said, we’ll give him the benefit of his doubts about Daniels for now and move onto his criticisms.
Ron Paul’s Unlibertarian Positions?
Somin claims that Ron Paul “has very nonlibertarian positions on free trade, school choice, and especially immigration.” He goes on to criticize Paul’s views on the Fourteenth Amendment. He doesn’t spell these criticisms out in this piece, but rather directs us to an older article from 2007. We’ll take each one by one.
Foxnews, The Associated Press and the UK’s Telegraph are all hinting that General David Petraeus may run for President. Foxnews and the Telegraph are actively promoting the idea. The Drudge Report spread the rumor as well. Petraeus was the architect of the “surge” which the government says was a towering success, although the exact nature of this success has never been explained or defined. Obviously “success” has nothing to do with a peaceful or orderly or prosperous Iraq.
So, we’re told that Petraeus is a grand phenom as a general. We’re also told that he is a brilliant mind, fearlessly independent, a man of few words, and an evenhanded weigher of facts uncolored by the ideological battles of the day.
Never mind the fact that this description could be applied to every single other general put forward as the nation’s next greatest president whether it be Norman Schwarzkopf or Colin Powell or Douglas MacArthur. Americans eat this stuff up, although the idea that high-ranking generals aren’t politicians firmly entrenched within the beltway is based on nothing resembling reality whatsoever.
Toby Harnden, writing for the Telegraph nicely recycles some fanciful American ideas about generals:
Many voters yearn for an outsider, someone with authenticity, integrity and proven accomplishment. Someone who has not spent their life plotting how to ascend the greasy pole, adjusting every utterance for maximum political advantage. [Keep reading…]