I’ve always been a libertarian leaning Republican, but I’ve never felt strongly enough about titles to switch parties officially. Sure, there’s a lot of things the GOP does that I don’t agree with, but that doesn’t necessitate my quitting.
My rationale is that it makes more sense to exert influence on a party that has a chance of, you know, actually winning elections than to join a party that only spoils 1 in 1,000 elections and rarely wins anything. No offense to my capital l Libertarian friends, but it’s true — the party is irrelevant.
Some guy I follow on tumblr, who periodically posts interesting graphics and things (and some more hardcore libertarian stuff) shared a post titled Rand Paul damage control. The title was deceiving, since I thought “hey, well Senator Paul’s endorsement of Romney probably irked some libertarians.”
I did not see this coming:
There has been a lot of it since his endorsement of Mitt Romney.
There is no way I can support a war mongering big government douche-bag like Romney. If someone supports an enemy of freedom I can no longer support them either. Rand Paul can be forgiven for his treason but it is going to take a lot more than just words.
And this is why, in my opinion, the libertarian party (not libertarian thinking) is going nowhere fast. [Side note: Mark Hemingway wrote a good bit at The Weekly Standard about his trip to the libertarian convention. I suggest you read it.]
Behavior like this, sadly, is typical among many hard core libertarians. Throwing around terms like “douche-bag,” “enemy of freedom,” and “treason” in successive sentences is, well, a little off the deep end. While I understand and sympathize with those who use the term “statist” as a derogatory jab, that term should leave the libertarian lexicon, too. It just doesn’t add value and makes it easy to paint those who use it as loons. Fight with ideas, not ad hominem attacks that most people will have to google.
And branding Senator Paul as a “traitor” for merely endorsing the superior candidate in what will be a two way race with President Obama? Really? Come on. I guess that makes me one.
I think that Rep. Paul and Sen. Paul are probably doing the pragmatic thing, which is getting involved to shape the debate — not taking their ball and going home like sourpusses who accuse any pragmatist in their ranks of being a “traitor.” And you wonder why many with libertarian leanings stay in the Republican and Democratic parties, or remain independents.
At the end of the day, it’s about winning elections. If you don’t win elections, nothing changes. My guess is the Pauls realize this. Consistently losing elections and accusing any of the pragmatic libertarian standard bearers of being a traitor is how you keep libertarian views out of the general discourse. What good does that do?