A college friend of mine once complained at the inability of her Social Democrat campus club to bridge the differences with the campus Ron Paul Supporters club. In spite of supposedly agreeing on many issues, any efforts at collaborative work fell short of materializing. She dismissed the bunch as Republicans who smoke weed? I thought it was an apt generalization. Ron Paul supporters strike me as people who channeled their teenage angst and contrarianism into a more adult, coherent political presence. However, I question if such an evolution in personal politics is truly an exercise in maturity. As they grew up, the meddling authority figure was no longer their parents or teachers, it became the government.
“In a time when the American two-party system is becoming increasingly seen as a false dichotomy, two heads of the same dragon, so to speak, many are looking for an alternative honest approach to governing, and American libertarianism appears as an attractive option.”
Ron Paul wants to abolish many governmental agencies, and reduce many others in budget and size. He sees the government as a gargantuan, constitution-violating, war-mongering, spending machine that needs to be promptly stripped down to its basic mechanisms in line with the constitution, or some argue, in line with his interpretation thereof. In a time when the American two-party system is becoming increasingly seen as a false dichotomy, two heads of the same dragon, so to speak, many are looking for an alternative honest approach to governing, and American libertarianism appears as an attractive option.
On one hand, Ron Paul brings a certain integrity and fresh perspective on many issues facing our country. On the other, many of his policies are a tad… insane. Ron Paul wants to significantly reduce the ability of government to regulate the private sphere in nearly all aspects. This comes with the good and the bad. I won’t insult your intelligence with a lengthy monologue on the dangers of deregulation, but I will defer to Noam Chomsky in my bottom line view of Ron Paul’s brand of libertarianism. At its core, it is an advocacy of corporate tyranny? The weakened government will leave a power vacuum that will inevitably be filled with newly deregulated corporate entities that will effectively replace the state. I believe that to see Ron Paul as a figure that will liberate us from authority is wrong, but instead that authority will merely switch hands under his guidance.
“This article, however, isn’t about Ron Paul, or rather I don’t want it to be about Ron Paul. I want it to be about our alternatives this coming election. We can’t all be Noam Chomsky, well versed in classical liberalism and the writings of all the influential political scientists and economists of the past several centuries.”
If Ron Paul were to be elected, how much of his platform could we realistically expect to be implemented? Obama was rather quickly humbled by an intransigent congress, and his inability to deliver on many of his promises was mainly due to political gridlock outside of his scope of influence. He could not even close Guantanamo and thus restore habeas corpus. Imagine Ron Paul in his position with his far more radical (undoubtedly some would argue common sense) policies . While we can expect much of deregulation in all spheres from financial to environmental to take place, some of his more popular policies will fare worse. I can fully expect states to get more rights with regard to education and abortion, meaning it will probably become harder to get both. I see environmentalists typing angrily into the wee hours of the night on how we are more doomed than ever due to some recent repeal of clean air standards. But I don’t see the military establishment relinquishing its slice of the budget, or the Drug War ending.
This article, however, isn’t about Ron Paul, or rather I don’t want it to be about Ron Paul. I want it to be about our alternatives this coming election. We can’t all be Noam Chomsky, well versed in classical liberalism and the writings of all the influential political scientists and economists of the past several centuries. We must realize that on average, our understanding of the world economy, constitutional clauses and their implications, international trade, the financial industry, class struggle, and other issues is rather limited. We are prone to make faulty judgements regarding policy decisions of public officials, decrying them either as tyrannical or irresponsible or any other derisive adjective, while not fully understanding the implications behind those decisions. That said, I think to reluctantly cast a vote for someone you see as the lesser of two evils is wrong, especially in a country as populous and diverse as America. We can’t possibly have more than two to pick from, can we?
As a group, we americans, especially those of us who seek a change to the status quo of the two ruling parties, need an option. Ron Paul now represents that alternative in public consciousness as the kooky old guy who promises a revolution. We can expect him to be on the ballot in November, and he will surely gain a substantial amount of support as american independents cast their vote of defiance in the face of the two-party machine. This is somewhat unfortunate as there is another candidate that could have taken his place as the face of american libertarianism and that is Gary Johnson, the libertarian party candidate.
“Full disclosure: I am not registered with any party, and I did not vote in the 2008 election. I watched Obama win my very solidly blue state from a bar with a beer in my hand while some drunk redneck was yelling we are all fucked?”
As governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, Johnson received significant acclaim during and after his tenure for his conservative approach to budget issues, and his staggering number of vetoes. Johnson himself emphasizes his role as the third option? and considers it pertinent that voters understand they have that option. For those of you who are unfamiliar with his political positions, I will leave it up to you to peruse them. I will just say that Johnson will be on the ballot in all fifty states at the head of the libertarian ticket with a proven record of successful governance in a high office, and as such he is someone who should be considered as a viable option for those of us who are beginning to think the top two candidates are not.
Full disclosure: I am not registered with any party, and I did not vote in the 2008 election. I watched Obama win my very solidly blue state from a bar with a beer in my hand while some drunk redneck was yelling we are all fucked? The redneck also asked everyone individually if they owned property. If the answer was yes he yelled well then you’re FUCKED! And if you answered no he yelled and now you never fucking will! I am still evaluating my options with regard to the 2012 presidential election, as I hope many of you are. I am not affiliated with Gary Johnson’s or Ron Paul’s campaigns in any way.