ron paul

Just got back from seeing Ron Paul speak at the War Memorial Auditorium. First, can anyone spot the irony there? So I can divide my thoughts about Ron Paul into two categories: my political prognosis, and my personal take on his stances.

First, the political prognosis: not good. If I were his political career’s doctor I’d be advising him to get right with God. The guy reminds me of Dennis Kucinich – admirably likeable and imminently unelectable. Why? I’m just gonna lay this out there: you don’t talk about abolishing the federal reserve if you want to get elected president. You just don’t, sorry. Doing so puts you in the firing sights of some truly staggering powers from every end of the spectrum – from ignorance to eminence. They will destroy him. It is a little bizarre, however, to sit in a full auditorium of people standing up and cheering madly at the dismantling of the federal reserve. Maybe this makes me an elitist, but I had a hard time believing that most of the people I saw cheering had any clear conception of what the federal reserve even does, but hey. That said, I will gladly eat my words if he wins the presidential election, or even the primary.

Now as far as his stances. For consistency, he generally gets an A+ – this is what most people like about him. Liberty, liberty, liberty. He’s anti-tax, anti-war, anti-government intervention in almost every respect. Almost. Immigration is where he and I part ways – one of his big talking points is that we need to “secure our borders”. Immigration is one of those things where I am continually perplexed by libertarians. I’ve made the criticism of conservatives in the past with regard to, say, wealth redistribution and economic equality, that it seems their belief in economic freedom has a rather arbitrary starting point. “We’re all on equal economic footing riiiiiiight now. Yep, right now. What’s that you say, minority that we’ve been oppressing and exploiting for several centuries? No.. no, we can’t help you. We’re on equal footing now!” And so it seems with immigration and libertarians. “We believe in liberty as the great equalizer, and it should be extended to every facet of life … but it stops at this border riiiiight here. This line represents the bounds of our liberty. Yep, sorry. You have to be born here to get that liberty. Sorry, generations of natives that we shuffled off and exterminated to form this border. You’re too late!

It seems to me that the position on immigration most consistent with a truly libertarian outlook would be the advocacy of open borders. How can you rant endlessly about the power of the liberty, free exchange of money, goods, and ideas, and then suddenly decide that people need to be corraled according to borders forged over the centuries of imperialism that libertarianism is supposed to be opposing? It strikes me as hypocritical, and a rather shameful concession to pervasive xenophobia.

Lastly, there’s the RonPaul-ites. The legions of .. shall we say .. devoted fans. They have quite the reputation already, and it appears to be mostly justified. I sat sandwiched between a guy in a revolutionary war costume with a giant flag and a lady that kept yelling “YAYYYY!!!!” like she was at a Predators’ game. It was a little surreal.