Rand Paul vs. the Libertarians: Is libertarian-ish good enough?

A reader recently posted on my personal Facebook page: “Rand Paul besides the Patriot act is pretty much wrong on everything these days it seems He is essentially the same as mcCain on foreign policy, he supports bombing Iraq and Syria, sanctions against Iran, supporting Ukrainian neo-nazis, and signed that treasonous letter to the Iranian government.

My general impression of Rand Paul at this point is that he’s pretty good at criticizing some of the worst excesses of the domestic police state when compared with most other politicians (which is an extremely low standard), but his willingness to kowtow to the neocons on foreign policy issues at the very least cancels out what is good about him.

By Brian Doherty


James Hohmann at Politico last week quotes me and some other people publicly associated with libertarianism to discuss where Rand Paul the presidential candidate stands in libertarian terms. His central thesis is that Paul is, in his own self-framing, declaring himself at best (in libertarian terms) merely libertarian-ish.

Hohmann sums up where Rand differs from the more steadfastly libertarian Ron Paul well:

here’s no talk from the Kentuckian about ending the Federal Reserve, no quoting Friedrich Hayek and no laments about how the U.S. deserves a share of blame for terrorism – all hallmarks of Ron Paul presidential campaign rallies. Doom-and-gloom has been replaced by sunny optimism; the language of revolution has been supplanted by something that sounds a lot more incremental and a lot less edgy.

The Federal Reserve reads less vital as an issue in a time a few years past what legitimately read as an economic crisis to which they could be convincingly blamed. Talking of Austrian economists and American foreign policy crimes just doesn’t sell to a mass audience, Rand Paul’s campaign doubtless believes.


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