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.
I love this article by Paul Craig Roberts on the “true cost” of the Iraq war and think everyone should read it.
But there’s one sentence in this otherwise-outstanding piece to which I take exception. Roberts writes: “The fascist Republican Federalist Society has put enough federal judges in the judiciary to rule that the president is above the law.”
This is nonsense.
First, let’s tackle the claim that the Federalist Society is “fascist” and “Republican.”
The Federalist Society was formed by law students who were frustrated by the left’s dominance at law schools. They created the organization to provide a forum for alternative voices: namely, those of conservatives and libertarians.
Here’s how the Federalist Society functions. There’s a national headquarters in Washington (a red flag, I’ll grant you), there are student chapters in almost every law school, and there are lawyers’ chapters in various cities.
The student and lawyers’ chapters generally do one thing: host lectures and debates. These events feature speakers ranging all the way from people Roberts would probably call “fascist” to anarcho-capitalist libertarians such as Randy Barnett and Walter Block. One frequent Federalist speaker is Roberts’s fellow columnist at Antiwar.com, Doug Bandow, whose lecture topics include the American Empire.
Who decides who will speak at these events? Each chapter’s members. If the members tend to be more conservative, they may bring in more conservative speakers. If the members tend to be more libertarian, they may bring in more libertarian speakers.
At the beginning of his show this morning, Glenn Beck started ripping into the imam that all the talk-radio hosts love to hate, because the imam has (correctly) pointed out that the U.S. has killed many more innocent non-Muslims than al-Qaeda has.
Beck went on to defend the U.S. embargo against Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people during the 1990s, argued that we should have fought the Iraq war “full on” from the beginning (meaning we shouldn’t have been so squeamish — as if “we” were — about killing innocent people), and claimed that the current U.S. government is the only one in the history of the world that has ever fought wars in a manner that avoided killing civilians.
Last year, Beck promoted a rally in Washington to protest the federal government’s taxing and spending. This year, he’s holding a rally to glorify the U.S. military. Can there be any doubt that by the time the Republicans regain control in Washington, Beck and his many followers will be right back where all the conservatives were during the George W. Bush years? Only it will be much worse, because they’ll have much bigger, more powerful government at their disposal, which they will not reduce one bit. And one shudders to think of what the apparent growing extreme, irrational hatred of Muslims may lead to.
Unless, that is, Ron Paul and other true libertarians can steer the Tea Party movement onto the right track before it’s too late.
As a good first step, it’s time for everyone — including some people who should know better — to stop suggesting that Glenn Beck is any sort of libertarian.
(Cross-posted at LRC and my blog.)
Well, as predicted (by me), in pursuit of one of Connecticut’s US Senate seats, Peter Schiff wasted a lot of time and money, and was forced to refrain from making several television appearances on financial news programs (due to campaign laws). He placed an embarrassing third:
Former professional wrestling maven Linda McMahon capped an improbable entry into politics Friday night when she captured the Republican Party endorsement for the U.S. Senate during a raucous Republican convention at the Connecticut Convention Center.
McMahon edged former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons after dozens of delegates switched their votes at the conclusion of the first ballot. She received 737 votes to 632 for Simmons and 44 for economist Peter Schiff.