I have a deep sense in my bones that libertarians will be important members of the future political scene. The post 9/11 America is a place with not much trust in government to accomplish anything and a new strong sense of personal freedom. Reagan’s bequest of “government the problem” is still strong especially after a string of governmental failure (Mostly the fault of another Republican, George W. Bush). OWS is marching against Big Business with their control of Big Government. With basic civil liberties being fondled in airports, the surveillance society is being questioned by more and more people.
Ron Paul is the obvious prophet of the movement. His popularity with the young and twenty-somethings say more about what he represents than what he stands for. While arguing from a principled libertarian stance, he also a reactionary loon. This dark side is argued away by suggesting that Paul is not a racist but a man of certain principles. He’s not against abortion or for Jim Crow per se, he just thinks these issues should be handled on the state level, the level where Jim Crow and pro-life positions would be enforced. As though creating a process which would make racist and sexist decisions is better than being directly racist and sexist. The unattractive side to Ron Paul is often ignored.
The best example of this was the debate last night. Ron Paul’s call to end the drug war as though it was the most obvious thing in the world took attention away from what he said right before. Paul suggested we end public education and free health care to remove incentives for illegal immigrants. Salting the Earth, spiting the face, that sort of thing. This is probably the classic example of a sane libertarian stance (legalization) covering a terribly insane reactionary stance (destroying public services to scare Mexicans away). (It is worth mentioning this might not even be a passive form of racism. Instead, it’s Paul long-standing belief that the removal of government will solve any problem.) The desperation of the twittering public for someone, ANYONE, to make sense from the GOP allows them to accept the pill Paul is suggesting America should swallow.
A possible mistake this theory has is that Ron Paul popularity says more about what the Left wants in Republicans more than what Republicans want in Republicans. Paul might be a worthy foe to Democrats worrying about the nature of control in politics and business but could miss what a white Christian male expects from the Republican hierarchy. However the question remains what the GOP is going to do to attract young Americans more accepting of gays and drugs than their grandparents. Short of giving up, a libertarian Republican Party- a Party repulsed by what the first Republican President did to save a nation could be a solution. Then Ron Paul becomes the Barry Goldwater, the Moses not to see the political promise land but to prophesize of it.